Game of Thrones

Season 2 Episode 2

The Night Lands

45
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 08, 2012 on HBO
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

8.4
out of 10
Average
361 votes
  • "The Night Lands", . "The Incest Episode"

    8.0
    The Night Lands is an episode that has a lot of great stuff, but also more than just a few disappointing aspects that mitigated my general view on it. Most of all, they decided to focus on sex even more than usual, especially increasing the incestuous content to an unsurpassed high. The inbreeding parts don't get really explicit, but just the mentioning of it, together with the baby-slaughtering in the previous episode, leads me to believe that this season of Game of Thrones is going to be a lot more unsuitable for children than before. That's not to say that I disliked seeing Carice van Houten nude, I'm solely questioning its necessity, especially since that particular scene wasn't even included in the novels. Anyway, as long as you don't watch it with your kids, the episode is still really nice entertainment.



    First of all, we have scenes with Arya again and they are some of the funniest moments the show has had up to that point. The conversation between her and Gendry, bastard son of the late King Robert, was absolutely natural and uplifting and definitely one of the most enjoyable scenes in The Night Lands, whose best part was undoubtedly Peter Dinklage's Tyrion who was present in two scenes and nailed it each time. The first one, him having dinner with Janos Slynt, the Commander of the City Watch, is hilarious and so well acted; the second one is another debate between him and Cersei that made me laugh my arse off (to stay in Game of Thrones British English) while also giving important background information. Another very good part of this episode was Littlefinger solacing Ros, which soon turned out to be a bit more than that and showed off Littlefinger's attitude so perfectly well. What happened when Theon Greyjoy visited his family is one of the incest facets the episode has to offer while actually being very entertaining and interesting since it gives us a lot of character insight.



    So much for the good parts about The Night Lands; the not bad, but not really good scenes were basically everything I didn't mention in the previous paragraph. Dragonstone, the freshly introduced new setting, already got a bit boring in this episode, however, if you haven't read the source material, it will definitely help you to understand all the new characters better. The attribute 'boring' can also be given to the scenes across the Narrow Sea where Daenerys and her khalasar of some two dozen people and most of them women are planning to attack the rest of Westeros. I'm utterly convinced that this plan will work.



    While not boring, the Night's Watch scenes were unappealing to me right from the start as unfunny fart jokes were made, while Kit Harrington did a really fine acting job and proved that he can be just a tiny bit amusing as well. The Night Lands ended in a scene with him that is bringing up the question: Is every Game of Thrones episode now going to end with a baby being killed?



    My conclusion: I did enjoy this episode, yet I found it to be one of the weakest episodes of the show yet. There were too much things happening that I didn't like and if it weren't for the numerous and circumstantial sex scenes, this would've easily been the most boring Game of Thrones episode yet. Keep in mind that my rating always augments a bit because of the show's visuals that never fail to impress me.
  • The Night Lands

    6.5
    A good followup to the season premiere to keep my interest in this show. I was not as engaged as some viewers were with the episode tonight, but amidst this very talented cast, I found myself drawn to Arya's storyline the most. Seeing her pursuit for revenge has been good and I cannot wait until it reaches fruition down the line. I do not like this show as much as some do, but I liked tonight's ep.
  • The Night Lands

    8.5
    The Good:

    -"Sometimes those with the most power have the least grace."

    -"Dwarf? You should have stopped at imp."

    -Theon finally gets some substantial character development away from the Starks.

    -Davos admits to his son that he has no God but King Stannis.

    The Bad:

    -Melisandre and Stannis having sex does not make sense at all.

    -It seems as though the story is going awfully quick for being only the second book. Hopefully, "Game of Thrones" doesn't get ahead of itself.
  • The Night Lands

    10
    "The Night Lands" was a perfect episode of Game of Thrones and I really enjoyed watching because the story focused on other characters and gave them more depth and development. It was awesome to see Theon return home to find a disappointed father, Arya finding a friend in Gendry who is wanted dead by Geoffry, and Sam trying to help a pregnant girl. Seeing Ghost was pretty cool. Tyrion stirred things up around court and it was great to see him in action. I love how clever he is. Jon Snow finds himself caught up in trouble in the end leaving me wanting to know more. I look forward to watching the next episode, though it can't come soon enough!!!!!!!!!
  • there we go, we're getting back to the magic of the first season

    8.0
    Just as I thought, while the premiere didn't feel like it had much story going on, it did set the show on track and this episode start to feel like the first season ! We see political games slowly taking places, wars being prepared and the mysterious events in the North teasing our curiosity. I still think the pace is a little slow for a show that only has 10 episodes but it sure makes me want to see the next episode !

    It is nice to see some character development, and I am really curious of Arya's future since I haven't read the books yet.
  • 2x02 "The Night Lands"

    8.5
    I like this season, even though I miss Ned this season seems darker than the first one. I mean there are 5-7 kings and only one throne... I can't wait to see how that is going to end. But meanwhile this show gives you more than decent hour with the characters that we love and the vibe LOTR like that just keeps me coming back home, Westeros.

  • The Powers that be (Major Book and Series Spoilers Ahead)

    8.5
    Another generous helping of GOT this week. While the episode primarily focused on Theon and his return to his hometown of the Island of Pyke and the Iron Islands not being at all what he expected, the many characters were left out. Daenerys was given a very short peek at this week as one of her bloodriders returns as a head in a satchel on the horse he rode out on, with no clear culprit of his murder. Dany not shying away from seeing it with Jorah's warnings show that she is no longer the girl awkwardly wedding a horse lord and has really come into her own as a potential ruler and a true Targaryen. While Rakharo, the murdered bloodrider is dead, it was rather shocking seeing as he is alive and well in the books much later on meaning that showrunners aren't afraid to diverge a little from the source material. In King's Landing Tyrion discovers that Varys knows of Shae and her presence in King's Landing and he doesn't know whether to take his visit to his chambers as a threat or not. Cersei also showed her more venemous side towards her little brother when she explains how "funny" he is. More surprisingly is that Joffrey ordered the murder of Robert's bastards. On the other end Yoren and the NIght's Watch recruits are visited by two soldiers and Arya tells Gendry her secret that they are there for her when they are really there for him. But with some smooth dagger threatening Yoren gets rid of them but they vow to return. Also worth noting is Arya meeting Jaqen H-quar who is a confusing character to read at first but gets much better as you get to know him more. The book readers and I also know what's coming in her story. Theon's seemingly easy betrayal of Robb Stark really challenges the many sides of him that we've been exposed to up to now and fleshes him out even more as he is caught between Theon of Winterfell and Theon of the House Greyjoy. A look at Dragonstone solidifies a fleet of pirate ships to transport Stannis and his troops to King's Landing captained by an old smuggling friend of his Sallador Saan. Also Melisandre is revealed to have a hidden relationship with Stannis that would make him convert to her religion in the first place. But his insecurities about numbers and not being able to take are capital are not unfounded. Hopefully next week we can see more of Robb Stark and Catelyn at Renly's camp. Great episode, but with how much more material there is to cover it will be much more scattered narrative wise than the first season.
  • Exotic Westeros, welcomed feminism, vivid darkness but editing seams, unbalanced writing, thirsty creativity (Spoiler-free)

    8.0
    One week was at least what I needed to recover considering the premiere propelled my spirit beyond the stars. However despite its cosmic qualities I have to admit that it wasn't as jaw dropping as Winter Is Coming. It featured many stellar scenes, like Daenerys taking care of her baby dragon or Jaime's hallucination, but it lacked a knocking out ending. This second episode delivered the cliffhanger we were hoping for but sadly I have to admit that it lacked some of the elements that made The North Remembers so outstanding.



    My first complain would be about the editing. I really missed how the parts were linked using the burning comet in the past installment. The mistake had already flawed the epic A Golden Crown in my opinion because it's inappropriate to cut sharp from one point of the kingdom to an other. So let's hope the upcoming episodes will surprise us with their creativity and fantastic metaphoras because a top notch production isn't enough. It leads us to the exotic sets because from Arya's lost woods to Theon's cliffs it felt like flying above Ireland, England and Scotland !



    My second major complain would go to the unbalanced development of some arcs. For instance Daenerys' one was way too short. Of course it wouldn't have been entertaining to witness their slow descent toward the river of thirst but her seeing a mirage or having a daynightmare about her precious creature could have been thrilling. In fact it seems this time the dream team behind the show decided to focus more on sexuality. The red-hot Melisandre (Carice van Houten) was back and she actually reminds me of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series. Such a feminist reference is inevitable considering the number of female characters that are now moving across the board. Theon's filthy rides were controversial and The Adventures of Lady Arya were promising. A charismatic sister, not a boy wanted by Cersei George R. R. Martin knows his classics and Littlefinger's cheering up one of his protgs was well staged.



    The fat guy's naive attitude seemed slightly misplaced but when it comes to Snow shivers are sent down my spine everytime ! It feels like Martin was possessed by Stephen King while writing it and that Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Walking Dead) was hired to adapt it. Last but not least Tyrion's candles lighted face off with Cersei was wicked, one second you laugh the next you cry, and of course all the challenging mind games were exciting to follow.



    Note : This review was first posted on Kritikenstein, my weblog.
  • The Prince and the Pauper

    8.5
    Arya engages in a most platonic love story as the now only son of Robert Baratheon reveals he knows she's a Lady (as evidenced by her tomboyish reactions to Genrdy and lack of awkwardness toward his rather blunt language). Far away, in the North, John withness a love story of other kind, through Samwise's hidden courage trying to spare a daughter-wife's unborn child from the unforseen consequences of being born a boy. Consequences Cerceis knows all too well, for it was her own boy the one who gave the orders to kill Gendry's baby brothers as promptly as the next Khalasar executes Daenery's emisaries. So many boys killed ...and yet a boy is the only thing Stannis Baratheon wishes to father.
  • The game continues, but this turn isn't as exciting as the first.

    8.0
    'Game of Thrones' is a tricky show to review. One reason for this is because I absolutely love the books the show is based on, and A Clash of Kings is one of the better ASOIAF books. The opener was good because it introduced us to the new characters of season 2, while also reminding us where the originals are. It also ended with a disturbing, yet epic, montage, involving a lot of children and a lot of death. The twist at the end of the last episode was that one of the bastard children is actually with Arya, so Arya's party will now be hunted down.



    Episode 2 is primarily about the aftermath of that. Tyrion tries to pick up the pieces in King's Landing by getting rid of the man that killed the baby in the brothel. Meanwhile Arya, on the road with Gendry (the bastard) assumes it's her they are after, and ends up revealing her true identity to Gendry.



    While this episode was mainly about Tyrion and Arya, it also had another major step: Theon Greyjoy arriving home. This was mainly where I have problems with this episode. The book did a MUCH better job of making his upgrade to a main character seem a lot less forced, and the encounter with his sister was just stupid in the show. In the book the fact that his sister flirted with him made Theon outraged, but in this Theon was a lot less upset and surprised. This could've been done better, but it got the message across I suppose.



    Also included are Davos and Stannis, the new characters of the season. In this episode, Stannis is one step closer to a full on invasion of King's Landing. Davos hires a pirate and his ships, while Stannis gets to...err...truly "connect" with the hot chic...ehem, I mean, the Lord of Light.



    Dany and Jon also get some time here, although both of their stories are altered a lot from the book. In Dany's one of her bloodriders returns without a rider and instead the head of one. This does not happen in the books. That bloodrider returns and follows her on her journey. A small change, but a change nonetheless.



    Jon's is where things really change. In the book, Jon never actually sees Craster give his baby boy to the wild, he is just told that is what happens. And Craster never actually discovers that Jon knows either. This is entirely new for me, so I am interested to see how they tie this in to what happens next in the book. This is a cliffhanger for both the readers and the non-readers.



    Overall a good episode, but not as good as the premiere. Maybe it's the ending of last week that made it awesome, but this one didn't quite live up to it. Still better than everything else on TV though, and I can't wait for next week.
  • Still good, not great.

    7.5
    Game of Thrones has so far followed pretty much the same formula, with two or three episodes of setting things up and then one or two great episodes in executing them. It seems to be going the same way here. For the second episode in a row, we have a collection of scenes which are nice to watch individually but seem incoherent collectively.

    There is more plot development here than the first episode. Theon returns home and finds out his father is in no mood for alliances with Rob. Gold cloaks find Gendry, but are turned away by the Nights watch commander. Jon finds out what Craster does with his boys but Dany is still stuck doing nothing. Tyrion vs. Varis was probably the best scene here. However, the scene where Davos (had to find his name on wikipedia) convinces the pirate to help Stannis probably should have come in a later episode, because we have no idea who Davos is, and the scene does not help us find out. Another unnecessary scene was Littlefinger and the whore's 5 minute exposition. While it gave us more insight to Littlefinger's character, we already know his business is quite dirty, from Season 1.

    All in all, the second season has been good so far, but not great. Still, season 1 started off slowly as well, and I'm sure season 2 will go the same way.
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