Sundays 10:00 PM on HBO
Game-of-thrones

Game of Thrones Review: Sons of Monarchy

by at . Comments

On the Game of Thrones season two premiere last Sunday, Cersei famously said knowledge is not power. Power is power.

But, following what she learned about her son on "The Night Lands," this queen regent would have to admit: knowledge can certainly have the power to make one think: OMFG, what the heck have I created?!?

Gendry Photo

Of all the great scenes and developments on the second episode of season two - from Tyrion confronting Varys to Theon and his father stepping into the spotlight - the reaction of Cersei to the news that Joffrey actually ordered the execution of all Robert's bastards stands apart for me because it symbolized this week's theme:

Family. Or better yet, how effed up the families across Westeros can be.

We have Cersei finally coming to the realization that she's responsible for a monster, although it's unclear what she can possibly do about it. I doubt Joffrey would respond to a grounding. Maybe dock his allowance for a week? Nay, two weeks!

We have Theon and the introduction of his father, Lord Balon Greyjoy, a parent who would seemingly give Tywin Lannister a run for his strict, bitter money. But whereas Tywin is disappointed in almost all his offspring, and worried about the family's legacy, Balon is simply... hurt.

He puts on a strong front and he makes a reasonable point about family ties and traditions and loyalty - scoffing at Theon's clothing, mocking his appearance - but it's really his pride that's at stake here. And it will clearly result in Theon having to choose between his real family and his adopted family.

We have Daenerys, who once again doesn't receive a great deal of screen time, but who does receive a major blow to her Dothraki family when Ricardo's horse only returns with one body part of its rider. Who is out there? What, exactly, is Daenerys leading her troupe in to?

(Now seems like a good time to once again say I have NOT read the novels on which Game of Thrones is based. I am writing these season two reviews as someone merely following along each week on television. For the point of view of an expert in all things George R.R. Martin, read Carissa Pavlica's take on "The Night Lands".)

We have Tyrion, of course, who family connections aren't strong, yet have resulted in landing him smack dab in the middle of the action. But, unlike the honorable Ned Stark, it's action with which he's familiar: scheming, manipulating, making threats, striking deals. Remember when Ned asked Varys to whom he was loyal last season? He seemed legitimately baffled by this eunuch.

But not Tyrion. A couple questions for Shae were all Tyrion needed to hear in order to make it as clear as possible: I see what you're doing. And, trust me, I can do it, too. He later made that even more evident in his dealing with the City Watch Commander. I loved that scene. Quick, efficient, humorous. Classic Tyrion all around.

We have Stannis, who actually wanted to be a good family man. He tried to be, at least, for all of five seconds, until Melisandre played the "son" card. Legacy is also a major theme of GoT - as outlined previously with Tywin and Balon - and, while we don't know a great deal about Stannis still, we're now keenly aware of his desire to both rule and for his child to one day do the same.

But can Melisandre really be trusted?

We have Arya, who is leaving her family way behind on the road north, but who is making a new connection with Gendry, someone whose family tie (about which he has no idea) might soon get him killed. Something that also holds true for Arya, of course, giving these two an unfortunate bond. But also a funny one. Game of Thrones isn't exactly known for its humor, but Gendry seems like a more light-hearted lad than most. At least until he learns of his father's identity, perhaps.

And, finally, we have Jon Snow. That stubborn, courageous-to-a-fault Jon Snow. You could see how it pained him to turn down Sam's kind request that they take/save Gilly, but it seemed to be his only choice at the time. There's a bigger goal at stake here for the Night's Watch, although one can reasonably ask: if you can't protect an innocent young woman, who exactly are you fighting for?

Maybe for the sons who are getting... sacrificed by Craster? Handed over and turned into other creatures? It's times such as this cliffhanger when I'm glad I haven't read the books. I have no earthly idea what's going on beyond The Wall. But few, if any, father/son relationships are healthy on Game of Thrones. And on an episode that depicted just how deep family ties can cut, simply put, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (122 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Game of Thrones?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Ryans-confession

Gang Related Review: Golden Boy No More

On tonight's Gang Related, Ryan was forced to make a difficult decision. Which side did he chose?
Satisfaction-costumes

Satisfaction Review: Invisible Masks

On the latest episode of Satisfaction, Neil learns an important lesson about being honest with himself from Adriana while Grace struggles on her new job. Read on for analysis.
The-teams-go-undercover

Rookie Blue Review: Curse of the White Shirt

On Rookie Blue, Oliver turns down extending his contract as Acting Staff Sergeant until Duncan's dismissal hearing turns unpredictable. Read on for more.
A-new-ally

The Bridge Review: Going After the Beast

On tonight's The Bridge, Marco is made an offer that he initially refuses. Will he agree to go after Fausto?

Fifty

Sorry for the late comments folks. I recently finshed watchin' GOT s01 and only watched 2 episodes of s02. Gotta tell you I'm lovin' it :D Tyrion brings life to his character so easily. He surely deserves those awards for best supporting actor. Will comment more when I see the rest :)

Fortyseven

Great title Matt.

Avatar

@ SuperIdole - Well, duh, she is a kid. That´s the one thing I´ve disliked about the show so far. If it wants to push boundaries with incest and all the dirtiness of the real middle ages (with it´s own land and fantasy stuff, but wahtever), it sould go there. I mean, there is a guy having daughters with his own daughters! And that was a lot less common than a 10-year-olds having sex. Girls were to mary at that age. And Arya is... Nine?
I´m not saying it will be totally healthy relationship but that is the magic of the show. And that is what it is about. Relationships. Even love, just not in the traditional american way. Love may not be the main thing but it´s like oil of the well working machine. If I weren´t total blond and remmembered the names of the characters, I´d give you examples. But just try to remmember when the show made you cry...
And I´ve gotten the books a week ago, can´t wait!

Avatar

Dany's bloodrider is named Rakharo, not effing Ricardo...do some research before you post a review. You can easily find the names if you put a bit of effort into it.

Avatar

most boring episode till date.

Avatar

All of the weird Westeros incest aside, can't wait for more to come of Tyrion and his one-liners, Daenerys and her dragons, Joffery and his douchery...Yay for Season 2!!!!

Cidalni

The name of Daenerys' man was Rakharo.
Didn't like the introduction of Theon's sister. She made a greater impact in the books. Also she's more likable than Theon.

Avatar

@Guenon
I'm all for Gendry/Arya but in friendship only, At least for non, come on Arya is still a kid!
But anyway, this show doesn't revolved around love stories, at least not as we know it, as it would be a shame if they were changing that aspect (I don't think they will).
I just love this show and how they're protraying George Martin's world!

Avatar

I just hope HBO actually has the balls to get Arya and Gendry together. I haven´t seen chemistry this natural since Jess and Rory(I was young, don´t judge!). Anyway, it makes my heart race just to see Gendry. Oh, my beloved Chris... I sure have missed you.
And isn´t it cool how the skins group is gathering? I hope Tony´s next.

2lolo

GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!!!