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Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Thrillingly Closes Out Season 2 With Songs Of Ice & Fire

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 4, 2012 at 9:56AM

While the series has kept the "Game Of Thrones" title from the first novel, George R. R. Martin's book series are collectively known as "A Song Of Ice & Fire," and while hints of the relevance of that have been contained throughout the show so far, that title has never been so front & center than in "Valar Morghulis," the superb season two finale, which managed to give satisfying climaxes to most of the ongoing stories that have run throughout the last nine episodes, including those that have been rather less developed.
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Game Of Thrones Finale 3

Away from the whole ice and fire thing, things aren't looking great for Tyrion Lannister -- he's sporting a horrific scar across his face, his sister tried to kill him, he's been replaced by his father as Hand of the King, given new quarters that seem a lot like a cell, has had his men scattered, and is generally on the outs at King's Landing. And yet he can't bring himself to leave, knowing that playing the game is the thing he's really good at. Peter Dinklage was typically superb in his big scene here, and having seen him plotting from the top of the tree across the last season, we look forward to seeing him as the underdog next time around.

Sansa Stark got what she wanted, too: the Tyrells ask that Joffrey marry Margaery to cement their pact, and he eventually consents, meaning Sansa has been cut adrift. But then, as Littlefinger (now the Lord of Harrenhal for his efforts) reminds her, she may be in a worse position now than ever before. Meanwhile, her brother Robb, against the advice of his mother, takes the plunge and marries his love Talisa, and given how often we've been reminded how unwise this decision is, we can't see it working out for the best. And the last Stark sibling, Arya, didn't have a huge episode, but did get to see her assassin chum turn out to be some kind of shape shifter.  Finally, Brienne and Jamie had a lovely little scene together, fighting off some Stark soldiers, and we look forward to much more of them together in the third season.

There was an extra ten minutes to play with for the finale, and it really helped the show breath a little more: the choppiness of some of the season was thankfully absent. If the budget can accomodate it, we hope it's an option that gets used more often as the show continues. Right now, the major problem with the show is the sheer number of characters and plots to follow even though the scenes themselves are almost invariably superb, and no show on TV has a better cast. Rumors are that series three will only adapt half of the third book, "A Storm Of Swords"; hopefully that'll give more room to unfold across the season. Either way, the show's really hit its stride in the final couple of episodes, and we can only keep our fingers crossed that it keeps getting better and better. It's going to be a long, long ten months. [A]

Bits & Pieces

- Given the lack of appearance from Davos Seaforth, are we to assume that he died in Blackwater bay? It would seem that way, but given the abruptness of it, we assume we may see him again down the line. The same goes for Theon, too, and Bronn, who was sadly absent from this episode, but has been relieved as the head of the King's Guard.

- Also missing from this episode: Tywin Lannister. But given his new position of power, and that he's in the same place as both Cersei and Tyrion, we expect Lannister family drama to be a major part of the next season.

- Seriously, we do hope that Daenerys gets across the Narrow Sea sooner rather than later: while there's been fun in Qarth, it's also been pretty much a waste of time, and an exercise in wheel-spinning.

- For British TV fans who've been wondering where they know the actor who plays the warlock from -- Scottish thesp Ian Hanmore played evil monk Father Angelo in "Doctor Who" episode "Tooth And Claw," and was the lead Fade in Jack Thorne's series "The Fades."

- Looks like Mance Rayder is going to be a major addition to the next season -- those who've read the books (while avoiding spoilers) -- any dream casting for the part?

- Alan Taylor directed for the fourth time this season, and it was great work once again. The more we see of what he does on this show, the happier we become about him helming "Thor 2."

- Fantasy Joffrey Death Of The Week: He finally gets laid thanks to his marriage to Margaery, and his head explodes.
 

This article is related to: HBO's Game of Thrones, HBO , Television, TV Reviews


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