Game of Thrones: Rated (arrrr)R, for Sex and Pirates

Game of Thrones S02E02: "The Night Lands"

When George R.R. Martin says he's created a universe, he isn't joking. The series of books that Game of Thrones is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire, is an intimidating beast, housing thousands of characters (no exaggeration) who are headed in different directions and overlapping. It takes a brain full of sticky traps to keep all the information straight, and only those with high-definition photographic memories can retain everything on one pass.

The HBO series isn't going to challenge its viewers like the books challenge their readers—TV audiences are notorious for their iffy attention spa...hey what's that over there?—but it will branch out both geographically and charactorially (you know what I mean). And that's what was happening in tonight's "The Night Lands." The episode was far from the "Welcome back!" installment that was last week's Season 2 premiere, giving more screen time to characters we thought were secondary and focusing more on the "main" characters' surroundings than on their own endeavors.

And that's what is going to separate the devoted fans of the series from those without the constitution to handle a project like this. (This doesn't apply to people who've read the books; they should be delighted to see everything laid out so well on television.) We'll be spending a lot of time with new characters by either seeing them from a "main" character's point of view (Gendry, Lommy, Hot Pie, Jaqen H'gar) or from a new point of view altogether (Davos, Stannis, Melisandre). But instead of faulting these new characters for taking time away from the ones you want to see, it's best to get wrapped up in their stories as well. And because Martin is such a good storyteller, that shouldn't be a problem. Don't worry, I'll hold your hand through all of this. And if you ever have questions, the best way to reach me is through Twitter!

"The Night Lands" also reminded us that this story has a lot of boinking in it. I wonder how many 14-year-olds are learning the Reverse Cowgirl from this show? I haven't been keeping count, but I'm pretty sure this episode had the most exposed boobs and simulated sex acts of the series so far. Puritans will say the sex is gratuitous, explicit, and oh-so naughty. Fans of the series will say it's necessary to the show's storylines, characterizations, and emphasis on power (power is often portrayed through bow-chicka-wow-wow). I'll go on the record by saying I like boobs.

But the way the sex is handled on this show is very telling. Have we ever seen sex portrayed as romantic in Game of Thrones? Catelyn never led Ned out on the balcony. Tyrion hasn't covered a bed in rose petals for a two-bit whore. The only time we've seen the act in a romantic sense was when Dany finally tamed Drogo, and that was a huge part of her story. The sex, as graphic as it is, goes hand-in-hand with the violence, and it's here to remind us how this world works. This world is simple, brutal, and unforgiving.

Now let's cover what happened in "The Night Lands."


"The boy has more courage than sense."

After a peek at Arya last week, we finally caught up with her on her way to the Wall with Yoren, recruiter for the Night's Watch. And the first thing we saw was her peeing. Like a girl, obviously. But it was a great choice for a first scene because her life depends on convincing everyone else she's a boy—and since she doesn't have a lizard to drain, she has to squat out of view of everyone else. This show makes such great decisions with its shots; just a tiny detail can make such a big difference in the storytelling.

Gendry is becoming an instrumental character in this storyline. As Robert's bastard son, Gendry doesn't exactly have a claim to the throne. But a bastard who's got part of the former king's gene pool is closer to king than Joffrey, the spawn of Lannister-on-Lannister action. The Goldcloaks, who serve as the cops of King's Landing and are under command by Joffrey, traveled all the way up the Kingsroad in search of Gendry. Thankfully Yoren wasn't intimidated, and convinced them to be on their way with a simple dagger to the groin. But something tells me that when the Goldcloaks go back to Joffrey and say they couldn't find Gendry, the little brat is going to say, "Well go out and look for him again."

After the Goldcloaks left, Arya admitted to Gendry that she's a Stark, and Gendry seemed both impressed and indifferent, apologizing for telling her to take her dick out but also engaging in some good old-fashioned horseplay. Gendry's a good kid and might be the older brother she needs in Jon Snow's absence.

Arya also has some new frenemies—the two kids, Hot Pie (the fat one) and Lommy, who were introduced at the end of Season 1. And there's also that cage holding three of the worst criminals in Yoren's caravan. The eloquent one told Arya his name is Jaqen H'ghar, one of the series' most difficult names to remember. The other two are much scarier, and I'm partial to the one who looks like a test patient from the British School of Dentistry. Appropriately, his name is Biter. Why do I get the feeling these guys won't stay in that cage for long?


Was it Ned Stark's pleasure to make you his daughter?"

What's this? Now we have to follow Theon around the globe? Yup. Theon traveled home tonight to visit dear old dad to ask for support for Robb's war. A lot of people hate Theon because he's cocky, he's constantly boasting about his sexual prowess, and he shows us his dong on television. But I think he's great because he's so strongly defined.

Did you see the way he treated that chick on his boat? She was his "why not?" for an entire voyage, and all the woman could do was take it and pray that he'd take her with him onto the island. But Theon is such a sleaze he all but laughed in her face. This is Theon Greyjoy, grade-A asshole.

But for every grade-A asshole in Game of Thrones, there's at least one person ready to remind the asshole that he's an asshole. Balon Greyjoy, Theon's dad, welcomed his garishly dressed son with a parade of disses, stopping just short of asking Theon if his vagina was sore. And the young lass who escorted Theon back to Pyke on that touchy-feely, gropey, hands-down-the-pants horse ride? That's Yara, Theon's sister (in the books she's named Asha, but GoT producers thought the name was too close to Osha, the Wildling woman who hangs out with Bran). Just when you thought families couldn't get more effed up in this series, Yara let her brother get to third base just to see the look on his face when he found out who she was. And now she's their dad's favorite son. Theon, you just got ultimate burned, bro!

Don't forget Theon's background. The reason he was raised by the Starks was that he was handed over to them as a tribute after Balon Greyjoy's failed rebellion. Balon had to offer Ned his youngest son to be Ned's ward, but Ned was such a good guy that he raised Theon almost like a son instead of a servant, and Robb took him on as his best friend. So you'll have to excuse Balon for being so disappointed when Theon showed up looking like a Stark, because the Starks crushed Balon's rebellion. The Starks may not be flashy, but they're not grungy like the sea-sprayed Greyjoys. Remember where you're from, Theon.


"I wish I had a God."

More time with new characters! Davos set out to gather troops for Stannis's impending assault on King's Landing, so he went to see his old pirate buddy Salladhor Saan. Yes, there are black people in Westeros. Saan is a cheery fellow who thinks with his penis. His one condition for joining Davos and Stannis was simple: When King's Landing is overthrown, he gets to bang the queen. This is my kind of guy.

Those of you looking for a replacement for the honorable Ned Stark might want to latch onto Davos. He was a smuggler in his past life, but he's a practical man who knows what needs to be done.

Back at Dragonstone, Stannis wasn't exactly overjoyed to find out he'll be working with an armada of sex-crazed pirates, but he doesn't really have a choice and must take what he gets. However, he was overjoyed when Melisandre gave him a look that belonged in a Cialis commercial. In case you didn't pick up what they were saying during their sexy talk, Melisandre vowed that she would birth Stannis a son because Stannis's wife, who is currently dying a slow death in a tower on Dragonstone, only gave him girls and dead babies. So bam! Melisandre let him take her right there on the table for one of the hottest old-people-sex scenes in a long time. And then things got symbolic as their table-rockin' knocked a bunch of pieces off the great war board. Were those Stannis's pieces that tumbled onto the floor? Will this union portend the doom of Stannis or his foes? Were you expecting Melisandre to get naked? She's trouble, but she's also magnetic. Big round of applause for actress Carice van Houten, who has really captured the character's mystique.


"You want to be hand of the king? You want to rule? This is what ruling is. Lying on a bed of weeds, ripping them out by the root one by one before they strangle you."

Back at King's Landing, Varys was hanging out with Tyrion's chica, Shae. They call Varys the spider for good reason; instead of sinking his fangs into you and sucking your insides out, he slyly gets all the information he can. Varys's power is knowledge, and if you ever come home to find him in your crib chattin' with your girl, it's not a good thing. No wonder Tyrion was so prickly.

But the juicy stuff that made me gasp were the daggers thrown between Cersei and Tyrion. These two plain don't like each other. While Tyrion was busy setting things up to go his way (his dismissal of Janos Slynt as commander of the Goldcloaks was a big power move), Cersei was whining about how running the realm has fallen to her. Oh, you poor thing. The tough decisions she's making are with no regard for the people. She's totally the Westeros 1%, and has forgotten the Gladiator recipe for being loved: Win the crowd. Instead she sees the people as doggy doo on the bottom of her diamond-encrusted stilettos. I smell some sort of Occupy King's Landing movement coming on.

Elsewhere, the council ignored Commander Mormont's warnings about trouble from the undead beyond the wall. Tyrion was all in favor of an Anti-Zombie Committee, but Cersei was all like, "Whatevs, bro. Let the rapists and thieves of the Wall handle the problem." Littlefinger, who likes to watch people watching people have sex (ultimate fetish!), had a nice chat with a weepy Ros, telling her to stop crying at get back to work. It was the Game of Thrones equivalent to a backhanded pimp slap. You tell her, Petyr. We also got our first look at Podrick, Tyrion's clumsy new squire who pours wine like a blind barkeep.


"They will like it far less when I am done with them."

Not much to report from the sandbox, as Dany's struggles continue. One of the bloodriders she sent out for intel came back without his body. Dany's group is a lot smaller than the other Dothraki tribes out there, and none of them are cool with a woman in the role of a leader.


"If the Gods wanted us to have dignity they wouldn't make us fart when we died."

Up in Coldsburgh, of course Samwell wasn't going to keep his nose out of Craster's daughters' business. But that's just who Sam is, he can't help trying to rescue every little thing who needs help. He probably lets homeless people shower at his house and has a collection of lost puppies stashed somewhere, too. Understandably, Jon was so hot over Sam's stupidity that the frozen snot on his boy-beard started to thaw. Remember, Craster said he'd cut off Jon's wang if he so much caught the handsome fella checking out one of his daughter-wives. I don't see how this ends up with the two of them running off with Gilly, who eventually fell for Jon in some sort of budding sitcom scenario.

Later, Jon saw Craster hoofing through the woods with what we have to assume was one of his baby boys. I have no idea what happened next, only that there were some weird grumbling noises, there may or may not have been a baby sacrifice, and Craster popped Jon in the face for snooping. I don't think Jon can blame Sam for this mishap!

Aside from that, what did you think of that good look at Ghost, Jon's direwolf? If Ghost isn't your favorite direwolf, there's something wrong with you.

And just for reference, the quote at the top of this section came from Dolorous Edd, one of my favorite characters from the books and new friend to Grenn, Jon, and Sam. He's such a malcontent and has some of the best lines, all indicative of his morbid point of view.



Game of Thrones Season 2 Power Rankings

Here, I'll be ordering the 10 episodes of Game of Thrones' second season from first to worst in terms of quality. But remember, it's just, like, my opinion, man.

This Week: I didn't appreciate "The Night Lands" on my first viewing as much as I did on my second. The Arya scenes were fantastic, as were Theon's and Davos's. But I still think Episode 1 was better overall. Maybe it was the excitement of the show's return, maybe it was the grand feel of the episode. But I think it was the baby-slaying. Baby-killing > baby-making. "The North Remembers" set a pretty high bar, but I don't see it staying there for much longer.

1. "The North Remembers" (Episode 1)
Annnnd we're back! Joffrey orders death for Robert's bastards; Melisandre, Davos, and Stannis make their grand entrance; Robb sends an all tomato ultimatum to the Lannisters.

2. "The Night Lands" (Episode 2)
The Goldcloaks set out to find Gendry (and Arya); Theon gropes his sister and disappoints his dad; Jon sees something strange in the forest.

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Ghost is better then GreyWind :)

Just sorry there was no Catelyn & Robb on this episode..

But it was great to see the Imp's mind working!
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No Joffrey made up for it though
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Sorry ... Grey Wind is the best!! :-)
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I loved the first episode more so far, because in the second one there was no Robb&Grey Wind...but Arya and Gendry were on fire in episode 2!!! OMG...I can't belive how amazing this show is!
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first I love this series of novels as well as the television portrayal, but there are some things that lack as far as substance is concerned. when did stannis become such a frightened old man? I mean the guy supposedly endured a year or two long siege, only eating rats and Davos's onions (thus the onion knight name)? that's the one part that seems to linger for me...besides the fact that anything that gendry, hot pie and lommy are seen through arya's eyes, not their own. she'll lead em through anything...but yeah, the wolves looked cool, and i think that if craster's daughters were as egregiously inbred as they claim to be, wouldn't they have wide fish style eyes, horrible teeth and some sort of debilitating spinal configuration? haha, just a thought...
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Well my boyfriend had told me I would really enjoy this TV series as I am into fantasy novels and games. I found myself asking why is it necessary to have that amount of sex in a 1hr TV show?



Ill be honest the sex scene are created to stimulate young boys it seems the way they do very detailed shots of the woman being either uncomfortable or willing shows nothing to how he feels being the "top DAWG".



NOTHING AGAINST FEMALE NUDITY, why do I get so see so many woman private areas then with men its implied? I think that's the reason why women have got upset by the show there too much driven on male fantasy that plays nothing to the story.



I have a suggestion for all women get that hunk from Spartacus do some close up on that fine man and I will defend all the sex in the show.
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All the tomatos, or else! Had to make an account just because the community reference, combining my two favourite shows! Awesome.
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minor SPOILER ALERT



Can't help but notice they are changing things in Daenerys' story line. In season 1, Drogo all but raped her instead of seducing her. Also, Mirri Maz dur the witch was supposed to tell her she could never get pregnant again. They left that out too so I guess there will be major changes in the coming seasons. Then they killed Mago.





Now they killed her horse and then Rakaro. Doreah (the sex-slave who taught Dany "the moves") was the one who's supposed to die. Although I really do prefer if they don't kill Doreah because she is hot! Hahaha!



All in all, it seems Dany's storyline is the one getting most of the minor changes. But these minor changes in a saga which gave meticulous attention to details have a way of creating a butterfly effect in the coming seasons.



As long as they keep up the excellent production of the show, everything's good even if they make a lot of changes. It's one way of giving those who have read the books a reason or two to still be surprised.
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Every episode of this show is great. I guess next episode will bring in Ranly and Brienne & co, so more names for those of you already having trouble keeping up.. :) One thing I love about the show is that they make the viewers work to keep up and that they don't use unnecessary time explaining everything, all though if you pay (close) attention it shouldn't be a problem. Just like The Wire, GoT assumes it's viewers actually have more than frozen pizzas for brains. Keep it up GoT!



Thumbs up for the all tomato reference.
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So glad I read the books first...you are right about how it's awesome to see the characters laid out like this. If you have trouble following the show and don't want to take the time to read the books, I suggest going here: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Chapters It lays out synopses of the chapters in the books. You can get a quick background and explanation of that's going on. The show follows pretty darn close to the chapters! Hope this helps!
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I'm AWFUL with names...so It's getting complicated to follow the story around =(. It usually tooks me half a season to learn the names on a sitcom...I'm never gonna learn the names here -.-...they're constantly adding characters and killing characters...so I'm going to have to rewatch the show if I wanna keep up with the story or else I won't understand shit.

Saying that, I didn't find the episode good kinda boring because I didn't understand, not because there's some problem with the show...just with me, i'm stupid. The scenes with little girl, Arya...I believe...were good. I even understood that that dude whose name I don't remember...the blacksmith's apprentice with the weird helmet is King Roberts bastard son, and he can claim the throne to himself. But I don't have ANY idea who are the other "kings". I have no clue what their names are and why they believe they are the rightful heirs to the throne, or if they want to take it by force, because King Robert ( as I understood last season ) took the chair by force.

I don't remember the midget hand of the annoying king's name, but he's awesome. I thought Cersei was Stark's daughter, the one who's going to marry Joffrey...but I guess it's the queen.



You need to do a post like you did last season explaining every character and their relationship and what's their goal...please!



BTW...the show is kinda racist, the only black dude is a criminal...(?)



BTW2: It doesn't help at all that I have to watch the episode when I'm going to bed and everybody's sleeping...way to much sex for me to watch with my family around...and I'm 24...so I understand even less that I'd if I watch it in the day.



BTW3: The chick in the boat had ugly tits.
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The blacksmith's apprentice is indeed Robert's bastard son, but as a bastard has no real claim to the throne. Joffrey (the annoying kid king) is just cleaning house so no one can rally around Robert's other bastard sons, as he himself is not Robert's, but rather born out of incest between his mother Cersei and uncle Jamie (who is being held by Robb, one of the would be kings).

Sansa is the name of Ned Stark's daughter and is betrothed to Jofffey.

Tyrion is the name of the dwarf (he is Cersei and Jamie's other sibling, their younger brother).

The would be Kings:

Stannis = Robert's eldest brother and rightful heir to the throne as Joffrey has no true claim.

Renly = Robert's youngest brother, has many men who have rallied to aid him over Stannis as he is seen to be more likeable and Kingly

Daenerys Targaryen = only surviving Targaryen who were the Dragon lords and ruled Westeros for a long time before Robert took the throne by force.

Robb Stark = self claimed 'King of the North', seeking vengeance against Joffrey for the death of his father Ned Stark

Balon Greyjoy = the new guy from the Iron islands, he doesn't necessarily want the Iron throne but rather hates the Starks as Ned Stark crushed his rebellion against the throne years ago and in the process killed his two eldest sons. His intentions will become clearer as we go on.

Mance Ryder = 'The king beyond the wall' and an ex-crow (man of the Night's watch, like Jon Snow), is apparently amassing forces beyond the wall. His intentions will also become clearer soon. Not really bothered about the Iron throne, in fact wildlings (people from North of the wall) don't really believe in the same ideals or rules as people below the wall, they are all much more independent.



Hope that helps a bit in keeping it all clear.



Sallador Saan, is a pirate not a criminal, and there are many other black people from Essos (the land across the narrow sea) which is where he is from.
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Thanks. Still is a bit confusing and I can't put most of the names in a face...It would be nice if Tim took the time to do a complicated chart with all the characters that nobody will understand because it's so freaking huge and it has lines all over it and annotations about every character that you probably will end up more confused than before.
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More Mellisandre more Tyrion more Dany and Arya please) And I don't see in Davos good replacement for honorable Ned. and White walkers show your ugly face already)
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I'm confident they will tell more of Davos' backstory and shape out his character in the next episodes to come. I can understand that so far it's not easy to compare him directly to Ned.
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Their is a limit of sex scenes at least for me =/ So I disliked this episode, even the storyline more Deny as she is my favorite, but loved the first episode =D
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Best parts was Arya & Gendry scene & Tyrion & Cersei scene! And I guess Theon getting the smack down! LOL

What does that say writers! You can reduce the sex scenes, people do not watch this show for the porn in this episode 2! If the sex is necessary then fine, but how is all the disgusting stuff happening at the brothel for 2 episodes in row necessary to telling of the story! Come on Tim, this time you are wrong when you defend the sex in this episode.

I love the books, and hope that they don't cheapen the tv show further...
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I thought the sex scenes were a necessary contrast to Arya & Gendry's platonic existance, the loneliness of Daenerys and the ongoing celibacy of the Night's Watch men. If the story doesn't remind us what they are actually missing then we may assume everyone is living the same way as them. They are not. There are rapists among the people Arya travels with, there are others having sex while Daenerys's people are starving and the Night Watch men have gave up something important for their cause.
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Like I said above, if the sex is necessary than fine, but it was excessive in episode 2. I enjoy watching Spartacus & True Blood with all the gratuitous sex scenes, because it seems to fit the tone of the show. GoT does not need the extra sex & violence combo like Spartacus & True Blood, GoT has a lot of story to tell to begin with. The excessive & explicit sex bordering on porn does not fit GoT, sex scenes can be done with class and I believe will fit the tone & story of this show better.
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I agree with ionee24....Game of Thrones was the "tamest" book in the series so far, so if you're already not sure about the sex and violence, I'd stop watching the show, because it gets worse...
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The thing is: this isn't Grey's Anatomy/Vampire Diaries, sex is not "dreamy", "erotic" or "exciting" because Game of Thrones is filled with real people, living their sexual lives - and lack thereof - in a realistic way. Its what separates adult dramas from romantic fantasies.
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" I didn't appreciate "The Night Lands" on my first viewing as much as I did on my second... But I still think Episode 1 was better overall. "



Perfectly said. So far your power rankings are spot on, but you did have a 50/50 chance of getting them right ;)
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SPOILER ALERT! (Seriously)



Okay, I've done some digging and re-reading and it's amazing the details I forgot. I did read ACoK over 6 years ago, but that's no excuse.



The Melisandre/Stannis relationship is a far-cry from interpretive. The chapter Davos smuggles Melisandre under Storm's End doesn't leave much to the imagination. At the beginning of the chapter Davos talks of Stannis's inability to sleep and internally muses, "Is that why she (Melisandre) shares his pavilion now? To pray with him? Or does she have another way to soothe him to sleep?"



Later on Stannis himself admits they share a tent at night:



Stannis: "Others whisper that she has no place in my war councils, that I ought to send her back to Asshai, that it is sinful to keep her in my tent at night. Aye, they whisper . . . while she serves."

Davos: "Serves how?" Davos asked, dreading the answer.

Stannis: "As needed."



At the end of the chapter Melisandre literally gives birth to a shadow. Here's a few excerpts:



"Beneath she was naked, and huge with child. Swollen breasts hung heavy against her chest, and her belly bulged as if near to bursting."



"Panting she squatted and spread her legs. Blood ran down her thighs, black as ink. -- Davos saw the crown of the child's head push its way out of her. Two arms wriggled free, grasping, black fingers coiling around Melsiandre's straining thighs, pushing, until the whole of the shadow slid out into the world."



"He knew that shadow. As he knew the man who'd cast it."



So, yeah, after re-reading that chapter my assertion of this being a grey area is completely wrong. The shadows are even described as looking like Stannis. The book doesn't come right out and say it, but it's pretty damn obvious for people who have read the books and have a better memory than me.



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Thanks for finding the citations! It's been a while for me, too. Seems like typical Martin - if you don't look for hints carefully you might skip a line too fast and not fully grasp the meaning behind it. I never gave too much thought on the line "He knew that shadow. As he knew the man who'd cast it." In retrospect, it really seems kind of obvious.

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Episode 1 was much better than this episode. I wanted to smack Theon numerous times and I yelled "HAH! In your face!" when we found out that Yara was his sister. That was perhaps my favorite scene of the episode. Also, not enough Dany!
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awesome on the "all tomato; scratch that" part....noted! ;)
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I liked this episode much more than the first. It was more tightly-focused, and I got to see more of Arya. I really loved the part in the book when Gendry finds out that she's a Stark and he apologizes for talking about cocks so much, so I was glad that they included that in the show. I also love all these scenes with Tyrion and Cersei, both actors are getting lots of good bits this season. The sex scenes in this episode felt necessary, but I can't say the same for last episode's. I'm all up for the bastard-killing scenes taking place in whorehouses, but did we really need to see some of the prostitutes in action?
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Lol great review. I liked the 2nd episode better, it has more action (and I don't mean the horizontal one : P )
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Bonus points for slipping in a community reference. Robb wants the whole tomato.
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Last night's episode was like watching porn. Sex every 10 mins, or even a sex scene after another! And the brothel scene where the girl has the white goo on the corner of her mouth and she kisses the guy after, eughhh.
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It is a fact that you cannot imagine an episode of GoT without any nudity and/or sex scenes in it. I'm not against it, but I do differentiate scenes that add to the story and others that are just cheap add-ons. Like the scenes with Theon, and the scene with the red haired witch are necessary imo. But almost every scene in littlefinger's whore house just seem tacky. I can do without the p*rnstars wannabe's...
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I don't expect this to make me popular and don't want to sound prudish, but I think the sex scenes are excessive and self indulgent. There are 51 or so minutes in each episode and a freakin epic story to tell and it just feels like they're maxing out on the sex because they can. I don't think it adds any colour or character to the show, just cheapens it.



That said, it really is an amazing show and I can't wait to see how this season pans out.
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I agree, it does cheapen the show. I really don't think they needed to show the sex in the brothel again since we saw it in episode 1! If they are going to have it, make it a necessity. There is a lot of story to tell & these extra sex scenes cuts in that time.
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Littlefinger's business is indeed necessary, but gets far more time on the screen than it did in the books. The Stannis/Melisandre is important, but Stannis was too straight-laced in the books to stray, and Stannis' wife was the one who brought Melisandre to him. As for Theon, I can only say he deserves what's coming...



Yes, there's far more sex in the show than in the books, and yes, it cheapens the story.
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Well the brothel is a key element in the King's Landing story in the books so the scenes there are somewhat necessary. Stannis and Mellisandre also rather important for the future development of the story. And Theon is just being Theon.
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Ghost vs. Greywind. Who wins?
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in a fight probably greywind because he has been to battle but i think ghost is cooler because he is like a ninja.
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Ghost is a Ninja and Greywind is a battle brawler. Awesome.
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I need to buy the book, read it, and rewatch the first two eps. Tim, we need intros to the new characters like you did for us last season!!!
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Nice all tomato reference.



Also, didn't you see the white walker in that scene with Jon and Craster? The blue eyes were clearly shown, yet I noticed that a lot of people missed it.
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There were White Walkers (at least one) in the woods at the end. That's what that crackling noise means-that's their language I think. Plus you could see glowing blue eyes through the trees.

The direwolves look awesome. Real wolves make the difference. Ghost is so cool. Grey Wind looked good too. I can't wait to see bigger Shaggy Dog-gonna scare the crap out of me.
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Ha, the wolves are CGI not real.
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No, they are in fact real wolves which are then enlarged with CGI.
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Um, I was fairly certain that season 2 was supposed to cover the entire 2nd book. I feel like after 2 of 9 episodes we should be beyond chapters 10-12. Essentially need to cover 8 episode a chapter, should be interesting to see how they handle it. Good episode, but I think we're moving too slowly.
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Assuming episode 9 is about the Battle of the Blackwater, which was the huge battle towards the end of book 2, I think everything will be done in time.



Also, seasons 3 and 4 will cover book 3.
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There will be 10 episodes for season 2 just like it was for season 1. The show is no longer trying to cover one book per season but is instead adapting the whole book series. Having said that, the second season will cover most of the second book but not everything. Some of it will be moved to future seasons and some will be cut altogether.
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Don't worry about the pace, it's a chess game. Even if you didn't read the books to know how important some of these new characters and storylines are going to be, remember season one. Ned wandered around King's Landing talking to people and following clues about John Arryn's last days, and suddenly joffrey is not Robert's, and wait he's the child of incest from the queen, Ned goes to jail for an episode and then CHOP. the pieces have to be in place first.
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The seventh or eighth episode is called The Prince of Winterfell, and the ninth is called Blackwater, so I guess everything will be done on time.
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Neah, the pace is right enough in order to build the plot and slowly getting to the blackwater chapters( hoping for a full blackwater episode)
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I also like the "brothery" moment between Gendry and Arya...I just though like you, that he was playing the part of Jon now that she is alone :)
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I liked this episode better than the first one, but so far I don't think either episode has matched the quality of any of the season 1 episodes. This episode was very uneven - there were parts that were amazingly good and then parts that seemed to fall quite flat. The Arya, Tyrion, and Theon stuff was all excellent and very closely followed the books.(ala season 1) The rest though....not so much. I do feel in some instances they seem to be taking too many liberties with the source material this season.



I also felt that the sex was needlessly over the top in this episode. Of the several sex scenes, only 1 was actually in the books.
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Agreed. I think, unfortunately, that the show is feeling pressure to compete with The Borgias and Spartacus. But then, it's also Hollywood's idiocy that assumes that every fourth episode of a police show is going to involve questioning someone at a strip club. It's a sad sellout for this series that started out so close to George R. R. Martin's books.
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Melisandre/Stannis-get-together was definitely not in the books and I was seriously kind of shocked to see it! I'm not sure Stannis would do such a thing as he is an extremely honest and righteous man standing law and vows. But [SPOILERISH] considering what will happen under the stronghold of Storm's End in Davos' boat, I think I understand why they included that scene.[/SPOILERISH] That also gives us a new interpretation of what happened in the books....

Anyway, I'm also not sure how much I like the rest of the changes. Didn't Daenerys have more people? I only count like 20.. I also imagined Asha with short, dark hair. Kind of less attractive but more with cunning looks.

On a sidenote: I really want the intro sequence to update the Essos map! They are not in Vaes Dothrak anymore (please! at least when they reach Quarth!) and the Nightswatch is also not on the Wall but moving near the Frostfangs. It would be awesome if they would consider this.
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For me the biggest surprise was the death of Rakharo!!! Why on Earth would they do such a thing?? And the ending scene with Jon! Why??? I understand that they need to change certain things/exclude some characters but to do stupid thing with no reason whatsoever... O.o
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They killed him because of conflicting shooting schedules (I know, it's kind of strange, they could have just let him "get lost" for 1 season instead.....). I hope this doesn't actually influence Martin to avoid giving Rakharo a more pivotal role in the next books.

Anyway, if this goes on like this I think every book fan will need a clarification as to how much the series is "interpreting" the book or if they got an OK from Martin so that we can include certain things into canon.
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The Melisandre/Stannis hookup is interesting for the book readers because it's one of those grey areas where we don't quite know the full nature of their relationship. Considering Stannis's great reliance on Melisandre, how highly he regards her, and the state of his marriage, it's definitely an unknown interpretation someone could draw from the books. Stannis does have an unflinching sense of duty and honor, but a King's got needs.



What throw's me is the promise of a son. That's a pretty big deviation if the writers follow through with this storyline.
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THIS HAS MAJOR BOOK SPOILERS!



Melisandre and Stannis did have sex in the book, several times in fact. It's not told directly as they are not POV characters in ACoK, but she does give birth to their children (the shadow assassins) in the book and that will happen in the show as well. The way I understood Melisandre's comment in the show about giving Stannis a son was simply a way to get him interested in sex with her since Melisandre knew she needed to have sex with Stannis in order to "produce" the shadow offspring necessary for removing certain obstacles for Stannis' future glory. After all, Melisandre sees Stannis as Azor Ahai reborn, the holiest figure in her religion (apart from the Lord of Light, of course), so she will do anything to help him win the throne.
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SPOILERS!

Actually, I am not conviced that Melisandre believes Stannis to be Azor Ahai reborn...I think she is using him to get to her end goal. The Mance Rayder situation clearly tells us something about Melisandre...

That is all that I will say, since the TV show is nowhere near it.
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I think it's a stretch to say the shadow assassins are the fruit of Stannis and Melisandre. You might make the leap that she had sex with (unknown) to produce the shadows, but I think a priestess could do without. There's absolutely no evidence, however, that her mate was Stannis, and his rigid morality is evidence against that, not to mention that the whole "Give you a son" thing is ridiculous when his whole argument for the throne is that the current holder is illegitimate.
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SPOLIERS from the book



It is not a stretch at all, yes the whole Melisandre and Stannis relationship is largely played out away from Davos (from who we see the story). However it is known that they share a bed, especially before the whole Renly deal. However the most important Davos chapter of all, the one in which he smuggles a pregnant Melisandre into Storm's End confirms the suspicion that they have been more than buddies.

In the books Davos recognises the shadow she births to be Stannis' shadow. George R.R. Martin didn't put this subtle reference in for no reason, give it a re-read and im sure you'll be convinced.

They definitely jumped up the pace of their relationship in the show but thats just to make it that much more understandable when the shadow Stannis pops out.
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Then how is it that the shadow assassins look just like Stannis? They had sex, that is a fact from the books. And they had sex in the show as well with the same reason as in the books. GRRM does not use "high magic" in his books, so in order for Mel to give birth to a shadow with Stannis' features requires him to be involved in the conception. Otherwise it would be like throwing fireballs out of thin air or casting spells with a wand la Harry Potter, neither which will ever happen in this series.
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SPOILER ALERT!



Oh, yeah, the shadow assassins.That's not quite the same as promising a son and presumptive heir, though. But I see the show is taking correctly deducted liberties as to why Stannis would be persuaded to break his marital vows. I wonder if there will be a scene after Renly's death where Stannis is like, "Oh, you meant SHADOW children."



Also: Do you think they'll make Melisandre look pregnant?
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SPOILER ALERT



Yeah that's what I ment with the scene at Storm's End. But seriously - I didn't need to see her get fertilized to "understand" how she can breed shadows. It's still magic. Them having sex doesn't clarify anything up.



I know the majority of fans always speculated of Melisandre/Stannis' sexy times but I just personally didn't like the idea. Davos and others often describe Stannis under heavy influence of Melisandre but I imagined him to be more of a pighead to actually fall for her completely, meaning also sexually.
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I'll be very surprised if someone's not selling "Occupy King's Landing" T-shirts soon.
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More of Hannah Murray. I am a happy person.



Other than that, not quite as good as the first episode, but I still love the way things look, and it manages to keep me interested in what is going on.
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There was a White Walker there in the end making the stange sounds. Didn't you see its blue eyes as it picked up the baby? I guess Craster gives his sons to the Walkers so that they don't kill him and his sweet little harem. I can't remember if this was the case in the books, it's been a few years since I read it.
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If i remember correctly Gilly tells Sam what Craster is doing with the boys. I guess that it's easier show exactly what is happening then having sam talk to gilly and then sam with jon and so on... plus it;s always cool to see a white walker
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I agree, even a glimpse of White Walkers makes an episode for me (not that it wasn't otherwise good, bloody brilliant I say!). I think it was especially effective in this episode as we saw just moments earlier how the small council outright laughed at Commander Mormont's letter. Reminds the viewers that there are bigger threats lurking in Westeros than Joffrey's scrawny arse on the Iron Throne. I can't wait for future seasons where the White Walkers storyline truly gains momentum. Let's just hope that the HBO gods grant GoT all the seasons it deserves.
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While the scene doesn't explicitly happen in the books, it's told that it's what Craster does. The whole giving the boys to the forest thing.
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Good catch! I just re-watched the episode and noticed a very quick flash of two blue eyes.



Personally, I don't remember this happening in the books, but I don't mind the change. It seems remarkable how Craster and his harem so easily survive beyond the wall with the Wildlings, White Walkers, and everything else that might be lurking about. So it at least makes some sense that he would have a pact with the Walkers.
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Jon did run around in the woods but it happened when they were at the Fist when he found dragonglass weapons. But Craster never shoved him in the head -.- and he they did mention that he gives his sons to ww but only as a rumor the same as Melisandre/Stannis
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You can also hear the White Walker talking, it's the strange sound that Tim commented on in his recap. The same sound is heard in the prologue scene in the first season premiere episode when Will is running for his life in the forest. The language of the White Walkers is called Skroth, and it was created by David J. Peterson, the guy who has created all artificial languages for the show.
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Charming.
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Carice van Houten is perfect in her role. Pure magnetizing mystique creature. I didn't recognize her first time. I remember her in Verhoeven Black book. Great for her. I on Team Mellisandre.

I think second ep always like this. slightly off comparing to premiere. more relaxed. i wish more sansa scenes. she might have her little revenge plot against jerk ffry. or may not? i don't read the books sorry.

one thing is kinda botherin' me - why black pirate guy speaks in excellent english? WTF?

how it could happened? I think we are in very past times aren't we? I get this is fantasy past times with dragons and all but may be it explained in books? i don't buy it. dathraki speak in nonsence language we see subtitles. but black guy he may be moor. why he speaks english? coz we lazy audience can't handle another subtitles?
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They call it The Common Tongue (english) in the books
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Asha is one of my favorite characters in the books,and this is nowhere close to how i pictured her! The first time GOT casting has disappointed me.



And whats the deal with the Melisandre/Stannis sex scene? I don't remember it happening in the books. But then again there's no way to know since we see everything through Davos's POV.
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I'm with you on the casting of Asha. Balon Geyjoy is absolutely perfect, but Asha is not quite what I pictured.

~

You're right about it never happening in the books to our knowledge, but I've always wondered and speculated if Stannis was having sex with Melisandre. It seemed like a logical conclusion seeing as all of Stannis's men think of her as the real Queen. I also don't remember Melisandre ever promising Stannis a son. I could be wrong, but I believe that's a new twist.
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SPOILER/ maybe she was referring to the shadows
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SPOILER!



I just re-read the chapter, and I can't believe I forgot how the shadows came into being. That's definitely what she was talking about. A little false advertising on her part, though.
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I'm still waiting for it to pick up, it's still good and all, but it's just too much talk still...



I think it's neat that both Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) both came from season 1-2 (aka the first generation) of Skins..
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Don't worry, the plot should begin to heat up next episode.
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Yes im sure we'l get to meet Brienne and Renly next episode.

Waiting for *that* scene!
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Great episode, way better than episode 1.
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episode 1 was better.
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Hate that they are changing the storyline of Dany so much 1st it was Silver and now her bloodrider c'mon HBO. I know that the actor had conflicting schedule between WWZ and GoT but Dany doesn't get to do much this season and anyway. Should Whitebead show up this season or in the next?



of GoT didn't get renewed as fast as the 1st season. Any news on that?
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They aren't actually changing her story that much. The fact that she only has 5 chapters in ACoK (as opposed to Tyrion's 15) means that the writers have to make up some filler to include her in every episode.
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There was an article about this on Westeros.org. The article speculated that HBO is probably trying to negotiate not just a renewal for a third season, but a double season renewal. This would greenlight season 3 AND 4, allowing A Storm of Swords (the biggest, and best, book in the series) to be told properly over the course of two seasons. It's far too big to get right with 10 episodes, so with two seasons ordered the writers would be able to map out every episode ahead of time.
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My Cassie!! Oh, how I loved seeing Hannah Murray again. Two Skins actors in my new favorite show! I do hope Gilly sticks around. Ok, when the episode first started, HBO's TV rating said there was no Nudity. I was all like Whaaaaat!? I think they made a mistake. Tee hee! I was also super surprised by the 1-2 punch of there being Pirates! and Black People! in Westeros!! And 'all tomato,' ha!
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Episode 1 was better.



I hated the way Theon and Asha/Whatever her name is in the show was handled. In the book it made more a big deal that Theon tried so hard (no pun intended) to be with her. Then in the book she said something like "I now know you better than I did before." That scene disappoints.
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Still blows my mind how Theon could've been that blind to not notice his own sister. I guess he saw himself in her -- cuz you know, he loves himself so much.
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Well in the books GRRM screwed up the age of every stark kid (including theon) making them a lot younger for how they are acting. So in the book after balon's rebellion Theon was very very young and Asha(Yara) even younger.
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I love the Community shout out in the power rankings. Also this was a very well done review once again!

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i believe littlefinger scene is rather interesting. his words, even if they are not clearly in context are meant for Cersei too.... speaking about bad investments that is LOL
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I watched this episode last week on HBO GO (I regret it now since I have to wait another week for Episode 3) and I agree that "The North Remembers" was superior. BTW loved the "all tomato" from this week amazing episode of Community! LOL.
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Occupy King's Landing - priceless
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I loved the Arya, Davos and Tyrion scenes, and winced through Theon's (but your meant to), but the rest of it was a bit meh. The changes kind of bugged me and seemed unneccesary (other than changing Asha's name, I spose that makes sense). Still, good tv.
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Actually I think they're kind of insulting us thinking we would confuse Osha with Asha. I understood when they changed Robert Arryn's name to Robyn (however, it's kind of stupid, since Robert Arryn was obviusly named after Robert Baratheon), but this seemed unnecessary.

The other changes bugged me too, specially what happened in Essos and Craster's Keep. Still, great TV.
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I also appreciated the episode best on my second viewing. However, I misliked a couple of changes from the book (kind a huge changes, at least one of them), which I'm not sure how the writers intend to handle.



I also think the bourdel scene between Petyr and Rose was just lame. It didn't give any character development (we already knew Little Finger is a weasel), and wasn't important in the "whole picture". It also gave one of the most disgusting (if not the most) scene in the show (when LF cleans the prostitute's mouth and then she kisses the old man, yak!).



Jaqen H'gar is one of my favourite characters from the books, it was nice to see him and he's just like I'd imagine, as well as Rorge (well, except for the nose), but Biter I kind of thought of him as a very evil Curly (from the Three Stooges) with sharpened teeth.
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Littlefinger has been mishandled thus far in season 2. The scene with Cersei was totally against his character (a gamesman of his skill would never allow himself to be outmaneuvered by Cersei of all people), and as you wrote, there wasn't much point to his pep talk with Rose, other than to reinforce what we already know. He's one of my favorite character's in the books, so I hope they start doing him justice again
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totally agree, that scene with Cersei was non-sense, specially with her being surrounded by four guards. C'mon HBO, LF would never expose so much!
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