The Top 10 Moments of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Two
And thus, the second season of ‘Game of Thrones‘ came to an end and there was much wailing, moaning, gnashing of teeth and demands for a time machine so everyone could watch season three right freaking now. Since we won’t be able to see the further adventures of Tyrion, Cersei, Joffrey, Robb, Catelyn, Arya, Tywin, Jon Snow, Sam, Ser Loras, Littlefinger, Varys, Jaime, Dany, Jorah, Bran, Hodor and the rest of the enormous cast until sometime in 2013, we should fill that time by looking back fondly on what has transpired. How about our ten favorite moments from the season?
10. Cersei Gets Wasted
War is at your doorstep. By daybreak, there is a strong chance that you’re going to be burned alive by Stannis Baratheon. What’s an emotionally manipulative and psychologically unsteady Queen Regent to do while she quietly waits with the other women of the castle? Drink, of course. Drink a lot. We’re not sure how much wine Cersei goes through while the Battle of the Blackwater rages outside, but the brutally honest and hilariously catty woman she becomes makes us want to attend the next Lannister family Thanksgiving. Although the captive Sansa Stark (who becomes the direct target of Cersei’s drunken attacks) can’t wait to get away, we wish we could spend more time with drunk Cersei. In a season that gave Lena Headey plenty to do, this was the highlight.
9. The Beheading of Rodrik
It’s a brutal counterpoint to the execution that opened the series all the way back in the pilot. Whereas the great Eddard Stark offered a guilty man a quick, instant death with one clean stroke of his sword, Theon Greyjoy showed that he’s only a fraction of the man his late host/captor was. We didn’t get to know Rodrik Cassel, Winterfell’s master of arms, too well, but we knew that he was a good, loyal man, the kind of guy who didn’t deserve a morbid and difficult to watch botched beheading. It took Theon several swings and swift kick to remove Rodrik’s head from his shoulders. In a show unafraid of being gruesome, it was genuinely upsetting act of violence. Theon crossed a special, terrible line and his actions directly led to Bran, Osha, Rickon and Hodor fleeing their captivity.
8. Sansa and the Hound
What do a mutilated, veteran soldier and the young hostage Sansa Stark have to say to each other? Sandor Clegane, AKA, the Hound, has spent much of the season doing everything in his power to keep Sansa safe from the cruelty of King Joffrey, but he responded to her belated thanks with harsh menace. After deciding that Joffrey was not worth fighting and dying for at Blackwater, the Hound fled the battlefield, drank too much wine and stopped by Sansa’s room to offer her a lift to Winterfell. Of course, he does it in the most threatening way possible, telling her that he’s a killer and that every man she’ll ever meet (including her future children) are killers, but Sansa sees right through him. “You won’t hurt me,” she says. She’s right. The Hound makes his exit and Sansa finds herself without friends at King’s Landing.
7. The Birth of the Shadow Baby
It was the moment that blew up Twitter, broke a few brains and made viewers realize that they were in for a whole new world of weird with this season. Stannis Baratheon instructs his right hand man Davos Seaworth to escort the red priestess Melisandre to a secret tunnel on the coast for reasons unknown. Davos is expecting some kind of espionage, but what he gets is far darker and far more unsettling. Melisandre disrobes, revealing herself to be suddenly pregnant. She lies down and proceeds to give birth to a creature made entirely of shadow (the same creature that would assassinate Renly Baratheon in the next episode). It’s the second best cliffhanger of the season (see below for the best) and shocking reminder that magic may be rare in ‘Game of Thrones,’ but it exists…and it’s nasty stuff.
6. Tyrion Puts Joffrey in His Place
Any scene with Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister could be drawn at random and put on this list and no one would complain. The same can be said of Jack Gleeson’s King Joffrey, who is one of the most fun-to-hate villains in television history. Why don’t we kill two birds with one stone and just put one of their shared scenes on the list? When a riot breaks out in King’s Landing while Joffrey and his escort are returning to the castle, the entire party suddenly finds themselves in mortal danger. Once they’ve taken cover, Tyrion confronts the king, rightfullyblaming him for the riot: “We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot king!” Then Tyrion gives his nephew one of the most satisfying slaps we’ve ever seen. It’s a fist-pumping moment in a sequence otherwise defined by horror…there’s nothing quite like watching our favorite character put our least favorite in his place.
5. Theon Seals His Fate
Oh, Theon. Theon, Theon, Theon. What have you done? Born in the Iron Islands and raised by the Starks, Theon is a man torn between two families…two families who are about to go to war. Although Theon drafts a letter warning Robb Stark of the planned Greyjoy invasion of the North, he doesn’t send it. No. After a few moments of inner turmoil (sold brilliantly by Alfie Allen), he burns the letter, picking a side and sealing his fate in one moment. It would be easy to hate Theon if he wasn’t such a sad, broken man. Everything he does in the later episodes of the season can be traced to this harrowing moment.
4. Jaime’s Great Escape
Jaime Lannister spent most of the season as a prisoner of war, bound in Rob Stark’s stockade. Then, after a lengthy absence from the show, Jaime found himself in the company of his distant cousin, Alton Lannister. They had a nice lengthy chat, where Alton reminded Jaime that they had met before and Jaime reminisced about his time spent winning tournaments and fighting wars. It’s a long, quiet scene that concludes with Jaime accepting that he’s only good at one thing: killing. He proves this to Alton firsthand by strangling him to death and using the ruckus as part of a brutal, ill-conceived escape plan. Jaime may be a charming, hilariously sarcastic rogue who we love to hate, but he’s also a deeply damaged man. The fact that he acknowledges and accepts this makes him all the more captivating.
3. Tywin and Arya
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat. We couldn’t pick just one scene between Tywin Lannister and the disguised Arya Stark during their time together at Harrenhal, so we’re just lumping all of them together and sticking them here. We don’t think you’ll mind since they’re some of the best scenes the show has offered so far. The spunky, whip-smart Arya proved to be the perfect counterpoint to the cold and ruthless Tywin and their lengthy conversations/verbal duels were showcases of two great actors working in perfect conjunction with one another. A great Charles Dance performance isn’t uncommon (although Tywin may be the best role he’s ever played), but he brings out incredible things in the young Maisie Williams. Their scenes range from frightening to hilarious to, somehow, slightly touching as the two form a tentative bond despite being mortal enemies.
2. Three Blasts
Remember how we called the shadow baby the second best cliffhanger of the season? Well, here’s numero uno. Samwell Tarly and his Night’s Watch buddies are collecting scattered feces to burn for warmth (such is the duty of a brother in black) when they hear one blast from the horn. Oh, Jon and Qhorin Halfhand must be returning! Then a second blast! Oh, no! A wildling attack! And then a third blast, a signal that has not been heard for thousands of years… Sam, unable to keep up with his friends, takes refuge behind a boulder and watches as an army of walking corpses, led by the ancient creatures known as the White Walkers, descends upon the Night’s Watch camp. And then the season is over. Of course.
1. The Wildfire
It would be cheating to put the entire Battle of Blackwater as the number one spot on this list, so we decided to go with the moment that made the most jaws drop: the Wildfire explosion. Vastly outnumbered by Stannis’ forces, Tyrion gambles big and fills an entire ship with the highly flammable and incredibly volatile substance known as Wildfire. When the enemy fleet approaches, the unmanned ship is there to greet them. One flaming arrow (courtesy of Bronn) later, the boat and a massive chunk of Stannis’ fleet is gone in a flash of green light. We’ve seen countless explosions in countless movies and television shows, but few have mattered this much. Few explosions have felt this huge not only in scale, but in their ramifications for the story. Yeah, it’s a special effect created with 1′s and 0′s in a computer, but it’s a special effect that directly affects the fate of characters we’ve grown to love and hate over twenty hours. Television is rarely this majestic.