“In Joffrey Baratheon, we have the most despicable television villain of all time”

Grace Dent's Game of Thrones journey continues this week, with season two

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The Independent Online

“After falling madly in love with Game of Thrones during Season One, the long wait for the next installments felt like agony. I was su­ffering from severe dragon-withdrawal. I’d pledged allegiance to House Stark. I’d even learned some conversational Dothraki; mother-tongue of the Seven Kingdom’s most fearsome vagabond horse-traders. It’d be handy, I thought, if I was ever invited to one of the Dothraki’s legendary raucous weddings.

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Grace Dent

Safe to say, by Season One’s ­finale, I was pretty invested. Game of Thrones is a terrif­ic, all consuming ride. Real life feels f­limsy compared to it. Of course, the huge advantage of being a Westeros newbie right now to is that you can finish Season One – weep over the unjust deaths and whoop at the new arrivals – and then jump straight into Season two.

Your biggest problem will be rain-checking all your other plans. Because I defy you to watch Season Two, episode nine (‘Blackwater’) then patiently save the rest of the episodes ‘for later’. Impossible. Of course, I wouldn’t wish to spoil a moment of the show for late arrivals – unexpected gut-punches are what Game of Thrones thrives on – but I will say the second series is where the show ­flourishes.

We spread our wings and visit several new kingdoms, lingering in, for example Qarth, known to its locals, rather braggingly, as ‘The Greatest City that Ever Was or Will Be’.

We begin to make some sense of what life is like beyond The Wall and throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Game of Thrones prods us to look at our yearnings for power, wealth and respect. It shows us the realities of ruling and warns us to trust nobody, especially our friends and family.

And In King Jo­frey Baratheon [Jack Gleeson], I believe we have the most perfectly-written despicable television villain of all time. Scenes involving Jo­frey’s lusts and tempers will linger on in the mind long after viewing. So thank heavens for the dryly funny, mutual antagonism of frenemies Tyrion and Lord Varys, as well as young Arya’s heroic journey which def­ies all expectations of a princess.

In Season Two your allegiances to the various houses will wobble. You may not like House Lannister but still feel oddly smitten by Queen Cersei. You may lack faith in House Targaryen, but be quietly impressed that in this Game of Thrones, Daenerys is certainly playing to win. Above all, this is beautiful television, so expect epic, gorgeously-hewn scenes, casts of thousands and mind-boggling e­ffects. Season Two will leave you gasping for more, which is perfect. Because your journey is only really beginning.”

Every episode of Game of Thrones is available now, exclusively on Sky Box Sets.

 

Images: ©2016 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.

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