The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Game of Thrones; the Next Chapter

The second season of “Game of Thrones” is now well underway, and the cast and crew have outdone themselves once again. The “Game of Thrones” television series is based on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, to which the producers have continued to maintain a substantial degree of narrative integrity, despite a few deviations to streamline the plot.

The essential story (both in the show and the books) revolves primarily around the kingdom of Westeros, a medieval fantasy world where knights in steel are commonplace but magic is mostly replaced with historical fiction. The great giants, dragons and forest-folk, magical creatures which once terrorized the human population, are now relegated to history books. At the beginning of the second season, the kingdom (spoilers ahead) is thrown into turmoil after the death of King Robert Baratheon, when five men from different provinces of Westeros seek to assert their claims as kings. These conflicts provide a backdrop of political intrigue and questions of legitimacy to the open battlefield and burgeoning wars.

Already a few new characters have been introduced to the show, expanding the copious number of personalities on the show. These new characters include Davos the Onion Knight, an ex-smuggler who serves Lord Stannis Baratheon, one of the new contenders for the throne, and Brienne the Maid of Tarth, an enormous woman with a martial who becomes one of the bodyguards of Renly Baratheon, the youngest of the Baratheon brothers. Even as new characters are introduced to viewers, the old ones are fleshed out. In the books, Martin zeros in on a single character’s point of view in each chapter which allows readers to get a very solid feeling of who that character is and who they become. While some of the detail from the books is lost in the show a great deal is added as well by the visual nature of the presentation. There are trade-offs either way, but both depictions of the story remain subtle and excellent.

The acting in “Game of Thrones” remains superb and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister is notably magnificent. Jack Gleeson, who plays the cruel and sadistic king Joffrey Baratheon, has the talent to to incite hatred from every viewer, which speaks volumes to his acting. Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy has brought an emotional depth to his role that really brings his character to life, and the finer points of Queen Cersei Lannister are shown in Lena Headey’s performance perhaps more so than in the books.
Speaking of Queen Cersei, the number of strong female characters in the show is astounding, and speaks to both Martin’s and the producers’ desire to create an accurate portrayal of the roles of both sexes in medieval society. While the newly crowned King of the North Robb Stark marches his armies to crush the Lannisters and avenge his father’s death, his mother Catelyn works behind the scenes trying to woo the other kings into becoming allies. At the same time, Margaery of House Tyrell, seeks to use her family’s powerful armies to restore stability and order to Westeros through their support of her husband Renly’s claim to the throne, and Daenerys Targaryen, the last of the Targaryens the ancient ruling family of Westeros, leads her late husband’s khalasar through the barren wastelands in an seemingly futile attempt to find a welcoming civilization.

Story continues below advertisement

Yet what really shines through in “Game of Thrones” is the plot. It is an enormous credit to the writers of “Game of Thrones” (the TV show) that they have managed to condense books in excess of 700 pages into seasons of 10 episodes. This is especially important considering the multiple interrelated story threads within the show, and while this season not all the plotlines have appeared in every episode, overall each thread is balanced well and work together to create a greater cohesive whole which allows the story world to feel hugely expansive. Occasionally, the plot might feel somewhat rushed, but the show always manages to hit all the high points and still feel detailed.
In a recent example (more spoilers ahead), Tyrion tells each of the members of the small council (the upper echelon of advisers for the royal court) that he intends to marry off his niece, Myrcella, Robert’s and Queen Cersei’s daughter, to a different potential ally. In each case Tyrion emphasizes that the councillor must not tell the queen. When Cersei comes to him, furious that he would marry Myrcella to a foreign prince, Tyrion works out which councillor betrayed him. He promptly proceeds to intimidate the old man and may, or may not, also had the traitor’s beard forcibly removed. It’s moments like these that restore my faith in television.

While there are some fairly minor deviations from the story of the books, they are usually done to speed up the plot. Deviations are fewer so far in the second season; however, some of the changes could even be considered improvements and the overriding story certainly remains the same.

In fact, the only serious criticism to be made of the new season so far is the rather gratuitous number of sex scenes sprinkled throughout the political intrigue that forms the body of “Game of Thrones.” It isn’t that the scenes themselves are offensive, but rather that they take up time that might be better spent incorporating more of the layered detail that is so readily available in Martin’s books.

“Game of Thrones” manages to take an excellent story and turn it into and stellar television show, so if you’re looking for a cerebral new series to get into and don’t mind depth in your entertainment it is more than worth a try.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Talon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *