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FIRST WATCH: “Game of Thrones” Season 2, Episode 1 “The North Remembers” Review

Quick and Dirty Plot:

Welcome to season two of “Game of Thrones,” and let’s see what this bananas show has in store for us. In the opener, we see Jon (Kit Harington) beyond the Wall with his BFF Sam (John Bradley). The Night’s Watch meet up with this dude named Craster (Robert Pugh), who has a whole bunch of wives who are also his daughters. Seriously, any incest is too much incest, but this is getting ridiculous. Craster tells the commander (James Cosmo) that there is a wildlings’ leader who is amassing an army and heading south. 

We are introduced to Stannis Baratheon (Stephan Dillane), who declares himself the rightful heir to the Iron Throne because of all of that twincest. He then sends out a letter or news bulletin or something to let everyone across the Seven Kingdoms know that the supposed children of Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) are actually children produced by the horrendously gross twincest between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Stannis’s advisor person, Davos (Liam Cunningham), encourages Stannis to align with his brother Renly (Gethin Anthony) and Robb Stark (Richard Madden). Stannis says, “Nah, bro. I don’t roll like that. I’m not here to make friends.” 

Photo Credit: HBO

Robb confronts the still-imprisoned Jaime about Stannis’s newsletter and has a Lannister cousin come to their base camp and deliver their demands for peace. Their demands? 

1) Return Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner). 

2) Return Ned’s (Sean Bean) remains. 

3) Recognize the North’s independence.

Robb sends Theon (Alfie Allen) to go talk with his dad, whom he hasn’t seen in years, about getting some ships. Robb sends his mom, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), to go talk to Renly about creating an alliance. Feels like an episode of “Big Brother.” Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) remains in Winterfell. He hangs out with Osha (Natalia Tena), and they see a red comet. Bran thinks it’s a sign that the Starks will be victorious in war. Osha says that it means dragons have returned. In case you didn’t know, she’s right.

Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), with her dragons, walks in, like, a desert with the remaining entourage of her late husband, Khal Drago (Jason Mamoa). Their horses are dying and they’re suffering. Jorah (Iain Glen) tries to be encouraging, but things are looking grim. Daenerys sends riders ahead to try to find shelter. In the desert.

At King’s Landing, Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is being a maniac and celebrating his new reign by having crazy-ass duels. Sansa is still betrothed to Joffrey so she has to witness his shenanigans. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) shows up as Hand of the King. He then spends time trolling Cersei for losing Arya, as Arya and Sansa could have been traded for Jaime. Tyrion is basically just trying to clean up some dumb Lannister messes. Because of the wide knowledge that Joffrey is likely a product of twincest, all of Robert Baratheon’s illegitimate children are killed. All but one: Gendry (Joe Dempsie).


And now we start season two! Okay, I am back to being kind of confused. I’m sorry. We are adding more white people and it was already difficult for me to tell most of them apart.

Photo Credit: HBO

So, we are being introduced to Stannis. I kind of forgot Ned sent him a letter. But now it is going to create even more confusion because now there are more white people I have to keep straight. I find it interesting that the death of Robert Baratheon has caused such a splinter in loyalty. “There’s a king in every corner.” For real. There are leaders and factions all over the place. I think Joffrey is going to be in an uphill battle to regain control. And he’s a little punk so the rest of his family is going to have to clean up this mess.

Speaking of Joffrey, he is the WORST. He is horrible and terrible and the absolute worst. I have to give credit to Jack Gleeson. He has to portray this deplorable person as a kid! Can you imagine having to play this toxic villain as a teenager? I remember hearing the kind of abuse this kid — he was literally a child actor — received for playing this role. He does such a great job at playing the most evil villain. I just hope that this poor kid had space from the awful people on the internet who were probably just as vicious and relentless as Joffrey himself.

Okay, now back to the show. I am interested to see Jon beyond the Wall. That creepy dude that they met up with sure gave me the heebie jeebies. He only has daughters and then marries them and has daughters with them? Sickening. Who thought of this? Was this in the books? Does George R. R. Martin have a therapist? He should get one. He and Ari Aster can start a support group for dudes who make messed up stories that people greatly enjoy. (Don’t get me wrong. I love Ari Aster’s films. But someone should definitely be checking in with that dude.) Jon seems to struggle with boundaries — talk about another person who needs therapy — and the commander has to tell him to learn how to lead before just taking charge. One day, Jon Snow will learn, right? 

Photo Credit: HBO

I think the other thing that really stuck out to me in this episode was Emilia Clarke. So, watching this in 2020, I know that she survived a brain hemorrhage right before the filming of season two. In her article in the New Yorker, she discussed how she had a lot of physical pain still following the procedure and had additional stresses, both concerns about her health and keeping her job. And while we only see Daenerys briefly in this episode, she is literally wandering through a desert. Clarke had to be on location, in a hot environment, wearing a long blonde wig after a horrendous medical emergency and recovery process. Knowing that Daenerys will remain in that environment makes Clarke’s performance even more incredible. I will probably comment on this for a long time, because it is utterly astounding and inspiring what Clarke experienced and how she persevered. Why did no one ever give this woman an Emmy? 

So far, I am finding the start of season two to be a lot of story building. Makes sense. You can’t just open a season without letting everyone know where the stakes now lie. I will be interested to see what happens given that we are adding even more people into the mix. No offense, but I hope some people die soon so there are fewer people I have to keep track of. 

Out-of-Context Quotes:

  • What is Joffrey playing at? This lunatic.
  • Wassup, Tyrion!
  • “You love your children. That’s your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones.” Truth.
  • Dragons!
  • This is right after Emilia Clarke survived a brain hemorrhage. Girl, they got you in the heat after brain trauma?!
  • My dude’s on the other side of the Wall!
  • This rando has daughters and marries them and then has more daughters. Gross. I didn’t think anything could outdo twincest. I was wrong.
  • What is this? Who is this?
  • Is this a magic ritual? I love magic.
  • Cersei slapped Joffrey. Pimpin’.
Photo Credit: HBO

“Game of Thrones” is available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.

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Featured image credit: HBO

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