Game of Thrones: The North Remembers

“Stars don’t fall for men.”

Game of Thrones

Well, there’s nothing like a bit of bloody violence to start a new series of Game of Thrones. It’s the beginning of series 2 and it’s King Joffrey’s nameday, which means that he’s holding a tournament for lucky knights to kill each other. King’s Landing is such fun.

In other Westeros news: Tyrion returns to the capital as Acting Hand of the King. Daenerys crosses a desert with her motley band of Dothraki slaves and her collection of baby dragons (awww). Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch cross the Wall to gather news about the coming winter and the disappearance of the Wildings. Rob Stark continues to rampage through the North; Cersei gets nervous about Arya’s disappearance and the incest rumours circulating about her and Jaime; and, in an entirely new plot thread, we meet Stannis Baratheon and his mad consort as they plan to claim the Iron Throne.

It’s nice to see the whole gang back again, isn’t it?

The North Remembers was a good opening episode. It did an excellent job of recapping all the major storylines without feeling repetitive or padded, while also introducing some solid character development that seems neither sudden nor unwelcome. It’s nice, for instance, to see Samsa gaining some backbone and joining the ranks of the powerful, backstage Thrones women as she plays off her husband’s pride and arrogance to achieve her own ends. And Cersei’s role is interestingly downgraded as her son’s megalomania expands beyond even her control. That looks like a storyline that’ll be intriguing to follow in series 2.

While the more supernatural elements of the Thrones universe are downplayed in this first episode in favour of the political manoueverings which set up what will presumably be the main plotlines of this series – there’s little mention, for instance, of the horrors that may or may not be flourishing beyond the Wall in anticipation of the long winter – there are a few tantalising gestures in this direction: a red comet flaming in the skies (apparently a sign of the return of the dragons), a spooky dream of Brand’s, and did I mention the baby dragon? (Awww.) I look forward to finding out how all these beginnings unfold – and, of course, who dies.

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