Game of Thrones Season 2 “A Very Small Man Can Cast A Very Large Shadow”

*This post is dark and full of spoilers for season 2 and plenty of HINTS for later on*

Hello all! I’m back with my second instalment of my Game of Thrones series review! If you missed last week’s, you can catch up here.

game of thrones review.png

I will admit, rewatching Game of Thrones, I forgot how dark the show was. I guess with the more fantastical, hopeful aspects of the later series, it had slipped my mind. These early stories are all “out of the frying pan and into the fire”. There’s harrowing scenes littered throughout, including the murder of all Robert’s bastard children and Bran’s visions of death. At the same time, there’s grim visual settings, like the Red Waste, Harrenhal and the Garden of Bones. And of course, we get our first look at the army of the dead. While I rarely think of season 2 as the most memorable, there’s certainly a lot to it.

Daenerys Targaryen

dany

One of the best pieces of imagery that ties the whole first episode together is the red comet and as we’re told it “means one thing- dragons”. I love how this again hints at the connection Dany has to all of Westeros, even in exile. This is of course the cue for Daenerys “Where’s my dragons?” Targaryen. Of course this is the season where she comes into her own as the mother of dragons. It is a season where she has to make difficult choices and sacrifices– so well exemplified by her vision of the throne room covered in ice (not so subtle foreshadowing) where she must leave behind the dream of her husband and child, as life calls her back. And that call is of her baby dragons who need their mother.

She doesn’t have a whole lot of power to begin with, exemplified by her ragged appearance at the gates of Qarth, yet she becomes even more queenly than the previous season. Perhaps it is because even borne so low, she never loses that regal quality. I think this is one of my high points for Dany, because even with so little, she has such a commanding presence in this series.

However, she does some shall-we-say morally ambiguous things in this season too– namely locking the scum who betrayed her in a vault to die. *Ahem*, yeah, I know it’s wrong, but I can’t say I blame her for that one. It does however act as a precursor for some of her more dubious actions later on.

Jon Snow

jon-snow.jpg

I feel sorry for Jon in this (and every) series- I mean he was made to stand out- he’s sharp and has a strong moral compass regarding Craster’s sons- but he’s constantly pushed into the shadows and told to shut up. However: “You want to lead one day, then learn how to follow” is good advice for all the would-be leaders on the show. Highlight for season 7 spoilers: It kinda makes me more forgiving of him bending the knee to Dany, only I wish it hadn’t been one sides and wish they had pledged themselves to each other instead.

Speaking of humility- it turns out that what our hero needed was a wildling girl to tell him “You know nothing Jon Snow”. And as a major plus, he gets one of the best love stories in the show, because Ygritte is simply awesome- SO CHEER UP JON! (alright spoilers, but given how that one turns out, I can’t blame him for pouting there)

He does also have tough challenges like killing Qhorin Halfhand- but he steps up and actually does it- showing not for the last time that he is not a Stark (truthfully, I’ve no idea if the Starks are capable of that, but it’s an interesting question). Personally I think this shows he has both honour and wit.

Moving on to someone who has neither of those…

Theon Greyjoy

theon greyjoy.jpg

WTF Theon?! Why are you so thick!! Sorry, had to get that out my system. He makes *the worst* decisions this series. It’s bad enough that he decides to switch sides in the war, making him a traitor (though I guess one could argue he was a traitor to his own house before) still, on top of that, he gets a very simple task and effs it up. I mean, I’m hardly condoning the notion of “paying the Iron price”- yet does he really think people need moral support in reeving and raping? Really?! He’s trying to play this honourable leader figure to people whose main purpose in life is to raid and pillage. Plus he gets good advice from people like Yara and Maister Lewin annnd he totally ignores it.

There’s also a ton of things he shouldn’t have said this season:

  • “Winterfell has stood for a thousand years”– that’s TV code for it’s about to burn to the ground.
  • “I’m looking at spending the rest of my life looking at spending the rest of my life looking like a fool and a eunuch”– *ahem*, awkward…
  • “It’s better to be cruel than weak”– are you sure? Tell me that after one of your sessions with Ramsay Bolton.

Okay, I know I’m being excessively harsh, but he did betray his friends, murder two innocent children and a shit ton of other things. My sympathy for Theon at this point in the story was at rock bottom.

Onto other mistakes…

Robb Stark

robb stark

Ahh poor Robb, a great military leader, but OH MY GOODNESS he makes *so many* mistakes. Let’s go through them shall we:

  • Trusting a Greyjoy. Actually, scratch that- just trusting Theon- that guy has snake written all over him.
  • He should’ve stayed in the North. I know, it’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but at this point, they didn’t have all that much to gain from military action. Once Ned was dead, the cause feels more aimless and trying to get to King’s Landing seems like a waste of time. Even if you say “oh it’s to save Sansa”, that’s nonsense, because the Lannister’s would have killed her before he ever reached the capital. I dunno, maybe I’m crazy saying they could’ve sued for peace- I just know, tactically speaking, they could have held the North on their own and they couldn’t take the South, so…
  • Not attempting to trade Jaime earlier, before things got out of hand. And then, like I said, RETURN TO THE NORTH. With Sansa and compensation (crazy idea, I know).
  • Yeah marrying someone for a bridge is pretty dumb- but do you know what’s more dumb? Marrying someone else when you’re already engaged for political reasons. Look, I get it, I used to love his romance with Talisa- however knowing everything that comes to pass… it’s too hard to watch it with blinkers on. I did like his little jibe at Cat though when she criticises him: “the only parent I have left has no right to call anyone reckless.”

Honestly, I don’t know if my suggestions would have made things better, it’s just speculation on my part, but I think we can all be certain (knowing the events of season 3) IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MUCH WORSE. I feel like this entire season is laying groundwork for the catastrophes that are to come. Yet, if you think I’m letting Cat off the hook for her part, you have another thing coming…

Catelyn Stark

catelyn

Now I’ve already said that I think there was an option for a prisoner swap (actually, I didn’t mention this last time, but there’s a lot of times when she’s partially right- still she only ever gives enough advice to have leeway to say “I told you so”, never mind that the other half of her advice is always godawful). *However* swapping the Kingslayer for two girls had to come with more provisos- aka money and peace. Yet, Cat’s still got her eye on revenge, when she should be taking in the whole bloody picture.

Again, her negotiation style leaves a lot to be desired– how can you say to two grown men who call themselves kings “I’ll knock your heads together”? Really, Cat? Thanks for your oh-so-helpful input. But if you want to talk about non-negotiations- letting Jaime go in exchange for his word is INSANE! If you really believe the Lannisters are the villains you say they are- then what the hell are you thinking?!?

Stannis Baratheon

stannis baratheon.jpeg

From one awful character to another- and I’m not just talking about Stannis. I’m of course referring to the Red Woman. She’s one of the most evil characters in the show- and that’s saying something! She kills people for no reason and says charming things like “You will betray everything you once held dear”- good pep talk I guess? She also is a bit of a fraud- I mean, she had to know sticking a random sword in a fire wasn’t going to make it Lightbringer- or is she a fool? It’s a possibility, since her catchphrase is “the night is dark and full of terrors” and doesn’t realise she’s evil.

Not to say that Stannis isn’t awful too. Let’s discuss some of the things he does wrong:

  • He sleeps with some bloody weird priestess, not only breaking his vow to his wife, but creating a demon baby to kill his brother.
  • He decided not to align with the Northmen out of pride that they were taking half your kingdom- dude you lived under the Targaryen’s and never thought to be king- why are you so attached to it?
  • He has this righteous arrogance and thinks he’s the chosen one- which he uses to justify *anything*.
  • He has no heart– I mean not only does he not care when people are burned alive in his name, he also sacrifices all of his men at the battle of Blackwater and is pretty callous about it.

So yeah, not a fan of Stannis. There was a point later when I almost liked him, but that’s a story for another post.  The Onion Knight is awesome though.

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion_1_3295189b.jpg

On the other side of the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion gets the chance to shine and boy does he LIGHT IT UP WITH DRAGONFIRE BABY! Okay, I’m getting carried away, but this is one of Tyrion’s best moments. He shows he’s a master manipulator and the best Hand of the King. He manages to get Varys on side, use Littlefinger and expose treacherous Maester Pycelle. He also blackmails Lancel to spy on Cersei and puts Joffrey in his place. All whilst looking out for people like Sansa.

Sansa Stark

sansa stark.jpg

Poor Sansa has a crap time of it this season. Cersei and her monstrous son take full advantage of her vulnerability. I did have one criticism for her this season in that I always thought she should have had courage to go with the Hound– she knew he’d protect her and frankly even if Stannis had won the battle, she’d have just flitted from one cage to another. BUT I did appreciate some of the smart things she did, like how her quick thinking saves Ser Dontos from being murdered and how she plays her part very well when she’s released from her engagement.

Cersei Lannister

cersei lannister

With more freedom afforded her, we get to know Cersei better this season. Her saying “love no one but your children” to Sansa sums her up completely. There’s interesting elements in Cersei developing Joffrey’s sadistic stupidity (both this season and the last filling his head up with arrogance and idiocy). However, I appreciated seeing Blackwater from her personal angle. When I think of season 2, I often get images of her, entertaining the frightened hens of her court, getting drunk, wishing she could be a part of the man’s world and having the only courage afforded to her, waiting on the throne with Tommen as the battle rages. Sure, she does terrible things and she’s not that smart (calling Joffrey away from the battle kills morale) but I can’t deny there’s something very iconic and human about her on the brink of taking her own life, telling a story, with the notes of Rains of Castamere starting up in the background.

Arya Stark

arya stark

Now I would be remiss to not to talk of another strong female character. With her sharpened wits and her little blade, she begins her adventure with Jacquen. Well, I use the term “adventure” very loosely. She watches people get murdered, tortured and everything in between. There’s a very poignant scene when she asks “how do you sleep?” And with everything she’s seen, it’s no wonder she has trouble. Yet she does not let that deter her, constructing a scheme to help her and her friends escape the horrific Harrenhal.

One of the best things about this season is her interactions with Tywin. I know this is fictionalised for the show, yet it works so well. And of course, I haven’t had time to talk about Tywin in either of these reviews, but let’s just say, I think the character, introduced last season symbolically skinning a deer, is enigmatic.

So how did you feel about season 2? What did you all think of some of the character decisions? In particular, what do you think about my alternative Robb Stark strategies- yay or nay? I’m open to hearing all your suggestions! 

47 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Season 2 “A Very Small Man Can Cast A Very Large Shadow”

  1. You know, all the pictures you posted are pictures of people with hair. Where’s the tough bald guy who glares at people as he kills them? I’m feeling very…..
    (wait for it)
    TRIGGERED!

    …..aaaaaaahhhhhhhh….

    Bald, merciless killers need attention too!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hahahahahaa 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Yeah you actually have a right to feel offended, cos there are actually lots of bald people in GOT- I’ve just shown my non bald privilege by excluding them and not giving them equal representation 😂😂 Then again I think Stannis is bald in the books, so we could just blame hair-normative Hollywood for promoting bald-phobic ideas! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. With you on Robb Stark. Getting engaged to a Frey and then breaking the engagement is not the brightest of ideas. And neither is going South when you’re a Stark. It’s just painful to watch really…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Aaah Season 2. That was a rough one now that I’ve relived it through your review. I definitely enjoyed Dany’s transformation because she still goes through some pretty rough stuff. JON AND YGRITTE ❤ ❤ Okay I'm done. There's no one else like her and she was the best thing that ever happened to him. I think she made him realize more about himself and the courage to speak out which we see in later seasons than before when he was like a quiet whipping boy. Theon…. I can't even. Horrible character. Even now, regardless of his bit of "noble" still hate this dude. Everything he had coming was karma, truly. Robb…. I wanted to like him but I distinctly remember yelling at the screen about his stupidity! They definitely set that up well because you can just see the chips just slowly crumbling especially where Catelyn is concerned. I'm still with you on your opinion about her. Stannis and the whole Red Woman thing, you are so right! She was so evil and he was so jaded! I guess its easy to imagine all this power when there's someone constantly whispering it in your ear and has magical vaginal powers. Still love Tyrion, still didn't care for Sansa (but I don't begin to like her until basically season 7 really so I'm biased, lol). Of course still love Arya and her warrior woman developments and event though I hate Cersei, I can't deny her bad bitchness and her mothering instincts are spot on even if she's psycho. Can't wait for the season 3 review!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehe I know right 😉 Yeah me too! I thought it was one of my favourite seasons for her. Ahhh yes I agree about Jon and Ygritte! ❤ I really agree- I absolutely loved Ygritte ❤ That's such a wonderful way to put it! Ach yes Theon- I get what you mean- I definitely see it as karma and really hated him in this season and never end up liking him… only problem is I end up feeling so sorry for him. hehe totally get what you mean about Robb- honestly I loved him, but he was a total idiot (unfortunately) Glad you agree on Catelyn! Ahh yes!! hahahahah so true! hehehe fair enough lol! Yeah Cersei's horrible, but I enjoy all her scenes and I never get irritated by it. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love these posts so much! This was definitely still when I was rooting for Dany and hated Theon, whom I’ve really grown to love in the final seasons though. I think it was him and Sansa running away together that warmed my heart for him. Anyway, this is not the season we are talking about, so I need to get back on track.
    Marrying someone for a bridge is pretty dumb … ugh … knowing all the things that happen to Rob, it was really painful to watch. I mean, he was principled … he could have made it a lot longer if his decisions were a bit more calculated and less trusting.
    Speaking of Sansa and the Hound. I always found their tension really strange. I believe he would have protected her though, so I definitely agree with you on her going with him. But do you remember in the books? I love how they show how unreliable the narrators are when Sansa remembers kissing the Hound even though that never happened. Makes me wonder what that means …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I completely get that. I don’t think I’ll ever love Theon, but I feel so sorry for him that even watching this back, I can’t help but get a twang… cos no one deserves Ramsay Bolton!! But I of course cheered him on running away with Sansa (though she had to give him a *massive* push for that).
      Hehe yeah, it really is! I agree- it’s so painful to watch back! And yeah- I just really wish he could’ve survived longer.
      Yeah that’s certainly true, it’s very strange. And yep I do remember in the books. I always wonder about that too (aren’t there a group of people that ship it… there’s always a group of people who ship it… 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, no! I don’t think I could go as far as loving Theon either, but I definitely like him way more than I used to. I want a peaceful future for him now, if he survives that is.
        I knoooow! There are people for everything out there. I don’t think I could get on board with Sansa and the Hound … I think my weird pairing for her that I could maybe sort of get behind just because it is so strange is her and Jaime haha but Jaime and Brienne will always be my preferred option.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah I totally get that. I just want him to get *something* out of everything- cos he’s been through enough.
          hahahaha yes!! I couldn’t get on board with it tbh- it’s just too weird!! hahaha that’s even weirder!! Totally get the Brienne/Jaime thing (but I think after Jon/Dany happened I’m sworn off any shipping- either it won’t happen and I’ll be disappointed, or it will and I’ll question all my judgement 😉 )

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh, I’d forgotten half of the things that happened in season two. Tyrion is so awesome and Ygritte is pretty cool too, although I don’t understand why, in a fictional world, all the Northerners sound like they come from Yorkshire.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Season 2 definitely continued to deliver quality moments! Also showed us all why the show was so worth following. Everything was so masterfully told and you could feel that things were going to built up into big things. And man, Theon sure was a dumbass… But then what happens to him is insane… Got to admit how we feel about certain characters as you progress in the show is just as insane! Hate to love to hate to love! The rollercoaster never ends! Awesome review of S2!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I really agree with you! It really was done so well. And yeah, I can’t believe I feel sorry for him now, after everything he did in seasons 2- but that’s the genius of the show! Yeah I definitely agree!! Thank you so much 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. like you said season 2 wasn’t that memorable but once you recited what happened i realized it was one of the most important seasons in the show! (aren’t they all?!) even in the last season dany is still proud and will torture those who disagree with her not pausing while doing it (most of the time) theon like you said made the most awful choices in this whole series!! he deserved what happened to him but i can’t help but feel sorry for him as well. as for rob and cat they made some horrible choices as well, what make these choices horrible is the fact that they both are leaders and have political influence yet they completely acted on their emotions.
    tyrion my favorite! he really did shine in this season!! i can’t wait for you to talk about tywin! he’s character interdiction scene was one of the best!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah- I can’t believe how much happened, given how easily I forget it. Yes absolutely!! I feel the same way about theon. And yes they really did make very bad decisions unfortunately.
      Ahh he really did!! I absolutely love Tywin!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoyed season two, it almost felt like after season one it’s where a lot of characters journeys had been building up to you know? God back then all the characters still seemed so innocent, hard to believe that the choices Theon made in season two led to where he is now at the end of season seven. I will say season two is when I started liking Sansa’s character a lot more. Trapped in Kings Landing with Joffrey and Cersei she had to be smart and she really was, she seemed a lot more grown up than she was in season one but after the things she saw I guess that’s not really surprising is it?
    Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes I can understand that! And yes that’s so true!! I totally can understand that- although the first time round I wasn’t as keen on her then, I actually found her very sympathetic when I rewatched it. And yes for sure! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s