'Game of Thrones' Season 2, Episode 1 Recap - 'The North Remembers'

'Game of Thrones' Season 2, Episode 1 - 'The North Remembers' How best to approach the machinations of "Game of Thrones" in a way that won't be totally confusing? Even the show itself can't always manage that. Let's just take a tip from the opening credits and go by location, shall we?

King's Landing:

The second season of "Game of Thrones" starts, as it should, with two guys beating the hell out of each other. Well, it really starts with the longest, most complicated "previously on..." you've ever seen, and THEN it starts with two guys beating the hell out of each other.

The mace match is for Joffrey's nameday, which means he's what, 9 years old now? He's still as much of a prick as ever, threatening to kill a guy by filling him with a barrel of wine by force... but Sansa steps in and dupes the kid into sparing the guy and making him the court's fool from now on. Nice save, Sansa. If only you'd had that much guts back on the bridge.

Tyrion also shows up (yay Tyrion!), mouths off to Joffrey because of course he would, and tells Sansa "I'm sorry for your loss," which only pisses Joffrey off even further. Joffrey can't do anything about it, though, because it's Tyrion and he's UNTOUCHABLE. He's also Hand of the King now, which pisses Cersei right off, and any time both Joffrey and Cersei are pissed is a good time.

Tyrion notes to Cersei that they're more or less in big trouble, considering the way the war against Robb has gone thus far. Furthermore, Cersei has misplaced Arya (who is now on a wagon heading north to The Wall), who was one of their bigger bargaining chips. With Arya gone and Ned beheaded, all they have is Sansa, and I get the feeling even the Starks don't like Sansa that much.

We'll come back to King's Landing in a bit. But first...

Dragonstone:

Didja see the new spot on the map during the opening credits? It's Dragonstone, and that's where Stannis Baratheon is hanging out, ready to make his claim to the throne. He starts out with a little ceremony from his resident sorceress Melisandre, who has him pull a flaming sword out of the statues of the old gods, calling him the Lightbringer.

Later, Stannis composes a letter to be sent out all over the kingdom, and it reads something like this: "I'm Stannis, the throne is mine, and that's because Cersei and Jamie boinked, which is not only gross but means Joffrey isn't the heir, so suck it." I'm paraphrasing, of course.

Stannis' old priest attempts to assassinate Melisandre, but in a classic "Princess Bride" moment, she drinks the same poison he took and is unaffected. Don't mess with a lady who wears a necklace like that.

North of The Wall:

Jon Snow et al continue on their journey through the wilds and stop at Craster's Keep. It's not much of a keep really, it's more of a cabin. Craster is a nasty fellow who marries his own daughters, which elicits approriate levels of disgust from Jon and his buddies, and puts Jamie and Cersei to shame.

Winterfell:

Bran is serving as Lord of Winterfell, continuing the trend of new titles for people who are way too young for them. He's still having those dreams, the most recent showing the red comet in the sky and the reflection of a dire wolf in the pond. Bran travels out there, and while he has his theories about what the comet means, Osha seems to be on the right track: "The comet means one thing: dragons."

The Red Wastes:

Speaking of Dragons, Daenerys continues her exodus from the rest of the Dothraki across the Red Wastes, and things aren't looking so great. Not only are her people tired and thirsty, but her horse dies, and it was a gift from Drogo so that's kind of a big deal. Plus, she doesn't know what to feed her dragon, as meat doesn't seem to be cutting it.

To solve her problem, Dany sends three riders to the south, east and northeast to see if they can find any water, villages, pretty much anything that isn't dirt.

Somewhere Outside of King's Landing:

Robb is getting used to this King of the North thing, and when he gets the letter from Stannis exposing Cersei and Jamie, he feels he has the upper hand. First he confronts Jamie about it, and makes sure his dire wolf gives Jamie a good scare while he's at it. Then he sends a peace agreement to Joffrey and Cersei, saying that he'll stop if they return his family to him and give up control of the North, allowing it to be its own independent realm from now on. As Theon says, they're probably not going to go for it.

Back to King's Landing:

Now that the letter has circulated, the rumors are flying about Jamie, Cersei and Joffrey. That has Petyr Baelish a little overconfident, as he does his passive-aggressive thing to Cersei about incestual relationships, to which Cersei responds with her own display of power, reminding Petyr that he could be dead if she wanted.

This is all enough to rattle Cersei, though, as when Joffrey (who is doing a little bit of remodeling, how fun!) asks if it's true that Robert was off banging other chicks, she slaps him right in the face. "What you just did is punishable by deaht," he reminds her. Oh, please have your mother executed. That would be awesome.

It's a bad day for bastards, though, as guards are sent throughout the city to murder any child who is thought to be a bastard son of Robert, including a baby in Petyr's brothel. All I can say is this: Robert got around.

Our closing shot reveals one bastard who got away: the fellow who helped Arya out toward the end of last season, who is now on the cart with her heading north to The Wall. Lucky bastard! Hahahahahaha see what I did there?

The preview of the rest of the season looks to be promising waning power from Cersei, a showdown between Stannis and Renly, and some shocked expressions from Tyrion. I can't wait!

 
 
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