The second season of "Game of Thrones" has
been on the air for three episodes so far, and while we loved the season
premiere and raved about it a few weeks back, something has been happening over
the course of the next two segments that has us a little worried.
Is the show becoming too overburdened with characters and plotlines?
We know, of course, that "Game of Thrones" is based on George R. R. Martin's
epic fantasy cycle, "A Song of Ice and Fire," and that Season 2 is drawn from
the second book, "A Clash of Kings." We haven't read the books, but we
understand that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are staying relatively
faithful, while occasionally even adding characters (like brothel worker Ros) or
giving smaller characters more to do.
This week, on Episode 3, we met new characters such as Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), to add to the
clutch of unfamiliar new faces that came our way the week before. There are also
the multiple would-be kings vying for the Iron Throne, and all the men and women
attached to them.
There were instances in episodes 2 and 3 where we stopped and said, "Now, who
is this again?" For someone just enjoying the show without being a diehard
acolyte of the books, that really shouldn't happen. We don't think we're
particularly slow; we love complex story lines as much as anyone. And we're
aware that only three episodes in, the story is just beginning to coalesce.
The main issue, we think, is that so far, Season 2 lacks a real central
protagonist. Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was clearly that person in
the first set of shows: Nearly all the events of the story were driven by him or
spun back to him somehow. With Stark gone, no one has stepped forward to fill
Tyrion, while a wonderful character played to brilliant perfection by Peter
Dinklage, is not that person even if Dinklage himself is top-billed. Neither is
Robb Stark (Richard Madden), nor Dany Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), neither of whom
even appear in Episode 3 despite being central to the story up until now (Jaime
Lannister is off this week and next week as well).
We found ourselves with a curious lack of concern for the events of Episode 3
(titled "What Is Dead May Never Die") and less interest in the characters and
their interaction (Tyrion was the exception). That doesn't mean we're giving up
on the show -- it's only one episode that really made us feel that way. But we
hope that as the story comes together, the show perhaps becomes a bit more
streamlined, the way that Season 1 felt even with all its characters and
On a related note, HBO announced last week that it had renewed "Game of
Thrones" for a third season -- no surprise there, of course. What is interesting
is that the third book, "A Storm of Swords," is huge (973 pages in hardcover,
more than 1,200 in paperback), which will make its adaptation difficult. Benioff
and Weiss have already discussed breaking it up into two seasons, which seems
like the smartest route to take and one which may ease the narrative
There is also a lot of death in "Storm," and for viewers of the show who have
not read the books, some of the characters who bite the dust may be shocking
surprises. It's another challenge for the viewers of a show that is already
challenging on so many fronts. And, even with our concerns this past week, we
say that as a compliment!
Geeking Out On...J.J. Abrams Directing 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars'
J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is set to open this week, then begins the task of directing a new 'Star Wars' film for 2015. Check out this episode where Kurt argues why he's the man for the job and how it's enough already about the lens flares. Also, a few other "double dippers" in the dueling franchises as well as a few others.