Blog of Thrones lives on! Even though we’ve seen the end of Game of Thrones‘ epic second season, that does not mean that we can’t still blog all about the show, the books, the board games based on the books, and lest we forget, rumormongering about season three. The offseason brings us plenty of topics, which shall be addressed monthly beginning in July and more frequently should the topics dictate more discussion. For now, I’ll be closing out the month of June with a few weeks worth of looking back at what has come to pass on season two. Now that we’ve seen the battles, played the game and met all the new faces, it’s important to look at the big picture around season two. We’ll begin with the season’s most defining moments, a collection of scenes that were not just shockers or twists, but moments that greatly impacted the momentum and trajectory of the stories within the second season. And yes, some of them involve big beautiful explosions.
As always, Blog of Thrones is written from the perspective of a relative novice to George R.R. Martin’s books. It focuses solely on Game of Thrones the show and assumes that you’ve seen everything up to the latest episode. If you travel down this Kingsroad and find yourself spoiled, the king will know the reason why.
9. Every moment of Jaqen H’ghar
In the book as in the show, few characters outside the houses of Lords leave quite an impression of Jaqen H’ghar leaves upon the path of one of our main characters. After she’s had her father killed, her hopes for reuniting with her family taken from her and her freedom stripped at every turn, Arya Stark finds an unlikely ally in the faceless man from Bravos. The sultry verve of Tom Wlaschiha’s delivery does wonders for bringing the character to life. The man has much charisma. The man steals scenes wherever he goes.
8. Tyrion puts Joffrey in his place
Season one featured a Tyrion slap laid down upon Joffrey. It’s since become it’s own internet meme. But season two let fly a one-handed dramatic assault that reverberates deeper as it was juxtaposed with the scene in which Joffrey and his court are descended upon by the starving mob of King’s Landing. It’s a moment in which Tyrion shows just how bold he will be when called upon to do the right thing. In his time as Hand of the King, he digs deep to find heroism that had no business being in his little body to begin with. And hell, who didn’t want to smack the boy king by then?
7. The introduction of Brienne the Beauty
One of my favorite characters from the books, Brienne of Tarth, played wonderfully by the extra tall Gwendoline Christie, is one of Westeros’ few true knights. You know, with strength and honor. Despite being born the wrong gender for her chosen path, she’s a total package kind of warrior. She’s also a shining beacon of feminine strength, something for which Game of Thrones does not lack. The most interesting moment in her introduction — beyond her melee bludgeoning of Loras Tyrell — is her walk-and-talk with Catelyn Stark. In that moment, Christie appears to be several feet taller than Michelle Fairley, and we get a sense of just how tall and broad Lady Brienne is, a sign of just how daunting she is as a warrior.
6. The death of King Renly
Season one lived and died with the deaths of several integral players in the game of thrones. And for a time, it seemed as if season two would be relegated to reeling from the death of Ned Stark, building toward a massive late-season confrontation that would once again unhinge audiences. But the season’s fifth episode brought a reminder that no one is safe. Following the wild finish of episode four that saw the birth of Melisandre’s smoke monster baby, we saw his purpose. And Renly Baratheon was dead. It sent a number of characters storylines into action. Brienne and Catelyn were forced to flee, Loras and Margaery Tyrell were forced to retreat with Littlefinger and put their plans for the crown on hold, and Stannis became a force that would shake some knees at King’s Landing. Renly’s death was the hinge upon which the door of momentum swung in the middle of season two. It was no match for Ned Stark’s visit to the Sept of Baelor, but it certainly changed the course of the show mid-season.
Dragon fire. Finally. The big shocker ending of season one took ten episodes to pay off. But when it finally did, it made good on the promise of fire and death around the Mother of Dragons. In the show as in the book, the second season story of Daenerys Targaryen is short on substance. She doesn’t have much to do, especially once she’s made her way into Qarth. So to see her storyline pay off with a trip to the House of the Undying and end with fire was a nice treat. It promises a bit more dracarys in season three.
4. An intimate moment with Magaery Tyrell
Margaery Tyrell, as played by Natalie Dormer, may have been lost in the shuffle between Renly’s death and Stannis’ siege upon King’s Landing, but it all came full circle in the final episode of the season when Joffrey’s betrothal to Sansa Stark is broken and his hand is given over to the young, unspoiled widow. But that wasn’t her greatest moment. That came in the bedroom of a still alive Renly Baratheon. In a moment of strength and ambition, we see the young queen offering up a number of solutions to Renly’s lack of interest in the female form. And in that moment, we learn her to be a formidable player in the Game of Thrones. This information had to be kept in our back pockets for the rest of the season, but it will all undoubtedly come in handy when the show resumes for season three. More fleshed out than she was in the books, Margaery will be a major player going forward. We’ve only seen but an ounce of the player she has inside her.
3. Yoren’s last stand
“That’s what I hate about crossbows, they take too long to reload,” and so was the final stand of Yoren, a most heroic character from season one. He stole Arya Stark away from King’s Landing just after her father had lost his head and protected her about half way to the wall. The show’s writers did a wonderful job — with the help of a gruff performance from Francis Magee — of giving more depth to Yoren, aiding in the major sadness injection that was his demise. That said, while many denizens of Westeros have died very honorless deaths, Yoren went out like a badass.
2. Three Blasts
In compiling this list, it was difficult to ignore moments that were clearly about setting up the next season’s events. The legacy of season two won’t just be that it entertained, but that it also served as a perfect midway between the events of season one and those to come. None of the foreshadowing moments — not Daenarys’ dragons or Margaery’s queendom — were as flat-out cool as seeing an army of White Walkers and Wights and other dangerous dead things descending upon the Fist of the First Men, where the men of the Night’s Watch await a big confrontation. That’s a pretty big promise upon which we can only assume season three will deliver.
1. The Battle of Blackwater
Kaboom, indeed. Good luck topping that one, season three.
A note in favor of The Imp
And of course, you’re most likely thinking “what about this Tyrion Lannister moment?” and “what about that Tyrion Lannister moment?” There is endless goodness in the well that is Tyrion Lannister, elevated constantly by the deliciously smug performance of Peter Dinklage. To answer your question, here’s a gathering of Tyrion’s best quotes from season two, a surprising number of which come right out of the book. These two — Dinklage and Tyrion — are a match, for sure: