Film and TV

Game of Thrones: "The North Remembers"

So, where were we?

At the end of the first season of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin's epic blood and breast-laden tale of royal succession, supernatural threats and -- oh yeah -- dragons, things weren't looking good for House Stark. Eddard, family patriarch and former Hand of the King, was beheaded, leaving one daughter (Sansa) betrothed to nasty King Joffrey (who gave the execution order), and the other (Arya) moving north disguised as a boy with recruits for the Night's Watch. Eldest son Robb has been declared "King in the North" by his bannermen, while bastard Jon Snow has gone with the Night's Watch beyond the Wall to confront the undead Others.

And Daenerys's eggs hatched in Khal Drogo's funeral pyre, so now she has three -- count 'em, three -- dragons.

Last night's season premiere introduced a few new characters, all embroiled in the dispute over the rightful claim to the Iron Throne of Westeros. Be prepared for plenty of death, sex and bad things happening to good characters (though, to be fair, bad things tend to happen to everybody).

And because it bears repeating: While I have read the five (so far) books in Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series, there will be no future spoilers in these recaps. If you leave any comments revealing upcoming events, your comments will be deleted, you will be blocked from posting, and Shagga son of Dolf will cut off your manhood (or XX-chromosome equivalent) and feed it to the goats.

The first thing you notice, from the trademark cool opening credits, is the addition of Dragonstone, seat of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), one of four current contenders (five if you count Daenerys) for the throne. We'll get to him later.

It won't come as much of a shock, but King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is still a shit. He presides over his Name Day celebration and there's little enough to note, except for Sansa (Sophie Turner) saving the life of one Ser Dontos, who makes the mistake of showing up drunk to the tournament. She convinces Joffrey to make him a fool instead of drowning him in wine. It's something, and small consolation to the probably 50 other dudes he put to death for one reason or another.

A white raven has arrived in King's Landing from the Citadel, signifying the end of summer. Littlefinger notifies them they have perhaps five years' worth of grain, which -- going by the traditional reckoning (long summers traditionally mean longer winters) -- won't last them long enough. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) shows up to assume the role of Hand, per father Tywin's instructions, and also to "bring the boy to heel." Cersei doesn't take the news well.

At Winterfell, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Maester Luwin are doing their best to hold councils. That is, when Bran's not dreaming(?) he's in the body of his direwolf, Summer. Osha the captured wildling is savvy to these dreams. and also notes the now omnipresent red comet signifies the reappearance of dragons.

This is our cue to bop over to Essos and see how Dany (Emilia Clarke) and the dragons are doing. Not well. Her meager khalasar is on the verge of starvation and she can't seem to figure out how to feed her new babies, so she sends her three bloodriders searching for...well, anything. She also seems especially fond of Rakharo. Maybe she has a type.

The Dothraki still look like a bunch of LARP-ers, not Mongols with the serial numbers filed off. I thought they'd squeezed more money out of HBO this season.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar