Unless you've been living under a rather large rock these past few months then you know all about the excitement surrounding Game of Thrones season two. I fell in love with this series when it premiered in April 2011. It's like a much darker, more sexual Lord of the Rings. I have not yet read the books but my husband has and so he became a guide of sorts during this season.
Season one left us with heartbreak, death, hope and exciting new beginnings. The much adored Ned Stark had been killed thanks to Joffrey who had claimed the throne at Kings Landing. The Stark children were scattered. Arya was hiding under disguise as a boy, Sansa was a prisoner of Kings Landing and soon-to-be bride to Joffrey, Bran and his younger brother were left at Winter Fell, Robb was preparing for battle, and Jon Snow was at the wall. Dany however had discovered her true calling as the mother of dragons when she and her 'children' emerged from the fire untouched.
At the start of Season two things are in complete disarray. Arya is on the run, Robb is at battle, Bran is a child making the decisions of men, Sansa is doing her best to play dutiful princess in waiting, and Jon is learning the hard way in the Night's Watch. Theon Greyjoy reunites with his father and sister years after being taken prisoner at Winterfell. The meeting does not go as he planned and he spends the rest of the season trying, unsuccessfully, to earn respect of the men of the Iron Islands. Dany is having a tough time. Most of her men abandoned her after the death of Drogo. Those that remain are starving and exhausted. When she comes upon the city of Quarth she knows it is her last hope. She doesn't have the easiest time in Quarth, many try to take advantage of her, but they are foolish to underestimate the mother of dragons.
I found Dany's story to be the least exciting of the series, up until the last episode when she finds her strength. My husband tells me that she has a great storyline in the third book so I look forward to seeing that. I really enjoyed the character arc of Dany in season one. She went from being a woman sold for a throne, to a woman in love, a widow, and then finally a dragon lord. In season two the focus around her character was primarily on her love for her dragons. At the moment they are still babies but once they have grown I feel as though Dany will hold more power than the seven kingdoms combined.
I enjoyed Arya's storyline in season two. She's a clever girl who knows how to survive. She saves a man named Jaqen H'ghar who makes her a promise that he will kill three people for her. She gives the first two names but realises that she needs more than just three. And so she gives Jaqen H'ghar his own name, forcing him to help her further until she unnames him. He proves to be a handy person to have around in a sticky situation. Along her journey Arya met up with Gendry, who is the bastard first born son of Robert Baratheon, the former king of Westeros. His 'son' Joffrey now sits on the throne, but we know that Joffrey is actually the son of Cersei and her brother Jaime. Therefore Gendry has more power in his blood than he truly realises. It's not surprising then that all the children of Robert were ordered killed in order to keep Joffrey on the throne. At the end of season two Arya is on the run again with Gendry after Jaqen H'ghar helps her escape from Harrenhal.
Sansa has an interesting season also. She is becoming a woman more and more. She is much less annoying in this season, many of her childish tantrums replaced by fear and survival instincts. We see some wonderful moments between her and the hound who seems to go out of his way to ensure her safety. At the end of season two Sansa is happy to find out that Joffrey has replaced her as his future bride. The happiness is short lived when she is told by littlefinger that this doesn't mean her freedom, she will always be one of Joffrey's toys.
Robb himself grows up a lot in this season. He fights, reaching many victories, and he meets and falls in love with a woman. At the end of the season Robb loses his virginity and marries her even though he is promised to another. This will no doubt cause many problems for Robb in season three.
Jon has quite an adventure when he is ordered to kill Ygritte, a wildling. He chooses not to kill her and ends up being captured by the wildlings. Another guard of the Night's Watch is taken prisoner with them and he chooses to let Jon kill him in order to gain the respect of the wildlings. The season ends with Jon a prisoner.
Jaime Lannister is not in the season much but is a prisoner of Robb's army for most of the season. Then one day Catelyn sends Brienne, an incredible female warrior, to take Jaime, much to Robb's anger. The season ends with Brienne and Jaime on the road and we get to see some of the strength Brienne possesses. I look forward to seeing more of both characters next season.
The true star of season two is of course Tyrion who uses his wit and intelligence to take control of King's Landing. In the penultimate episode of the season there is a huge battle at King's Landing and Tyrion proves himself as a leader. Unfortunately the arrival of his father does not bode well for Tyrion. We last see him injured in bed, hidden away at the request of his father, his lover Shae vowing to stay with him. The only good thing about seeing Tyrion at the bottom is that I know he will have one epic rise to the top. He is by far the best character of this series and a fan favourite. I can't wait to see where he goes in the next season.
I am of course missing many other plot points in this summary as there are just too many to write about. I thought this season was excellent. We got to see a new side to all the characters, plans were made, schemes plotted, battles fought, lost and won, heroes killed, villains too. My only complaint would be that I wish we got to see more of the dire wolves. They were such an important part of season one but have all but disappeared in season two. Here's hoping the make a grand return in season three. I have no idea where season three will go, everything has changed for all the characters, but I for one am counting down the days till it gets here.