Once in a while a franchise comes along so epic in proportion, so broad in setting and characters, and so vast in interwoven storylines, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. You sweet summer children who think waiting a mere 10 months between seasons is difficult should count yourselves lucky. Book-lovers reading along with ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ have waited up to 6 years between release dates.
But if you’re one of the many who just loves the Stark family, despises the Lannisters, but can’t quite put the name Jaqen H’ghar to a face, then this recap is for you. And don’t worry — it happens to the best of us, especially with Jaqen…
Like any proper recap of an epic magnum opus, this is no 30-second “Last Time on ‘Game of Thrones’…” type of summary. Trade that Iron Throne you’re sitting on for a comfy chair, because this summary of season 2 is 14 minutes of beauty and intrigue to whisk you back into the world of the Seven Kingdoms.
The only thing more fulfilling than reliving an entire season in a fraction of the time is hearing the actors describe it to the audience in their true accents. If you don’t have time to watch the entire video, however, here are the cliff’s notes.
The death of the true king Robert Baratheon in season 1 brings to light five kings who think the throne is theirs by right. Robert’s son Joffrey seems the logical choice, but as he is actually the product of inbreeding between Queen Cersei’s and her brother Jaime, Eddard Stark knows he’s unfit to rule.Gethin Anthony as Renly Baratheon. Photo by Helen Sloan
Before being beheaded for treason, Eddard named the true successor as Robert’s oldest brother Stannis, a cold and unlikeable man, regardless of his ability to lead. Renly, Robert’s youngest brother, fancies himself a good fit for a king, and the townspeople love him. Upon Eddard’s death, his eldest son Robb Stark is named King in the North, and his townsfolk are so outraged at his father’s beheading, they believe Robb should be the true king of Westeros. A fifth king considers himself deserving of the job — Theon’s father, Balon, who has the power of the seaward attacks at his disposal.
Across the narrow sea, in Essos, Daenerys Targaryen fends of starvation and death by exposure with the few Dothraki soldiers who remained by her side after her husband Khal Drogo died. She is welcomed into the arms of a suspicious group of people in a nearby oasis, and she welcomes it as the only respite for her people and her dragons, which are quickly stolen.
Back in Westeros, Robb Stark has been having great luck with his battles on the way to take the throne from Joffrey, but he finds himself unable to cross a large river. The only crossing is owned by the Frey family, and his mother arranges a marriage to one of the Frey daughters in exchange for his army’s passage. It’s granted, and Robb is betrothed, which makes his subsequent falling in love with a healer all the more untimely.
In Dragonstone, an evil sorceress named Melisandre bends Stannis’ ear, which sets off a plot that results in the murder of his younger brother Renly. Eddard’s widow Catelyn and Renly’s Kingsguard, Brienne, are in the room at the same time as the mysterious murder, and they flee the scene to avoid blame.
Theon Greyjoy, in an attempt to win favor with his father, takes over the Stark’s home of Winterfell, where he himself grew up. This forces the two youngest Stark boys, Bran and Rickon, to flee into hiding with the help of some crafty protectors. Theon looks so foolish for allowing his bargaining chips to escape, he kills two young farm boys and burns them to a crisp to prove to his naysayers that he means business.
Across the sea in Essos, Daenerys’ has finally found her stolen dragons, and, although small, they pick the perfect time to show the world and their captors their recently learned skill: breathing fire on all who oppose Daenerys.
‘Game of Thrones’ won 8 Emmys in its first two seasons, and fans couldn’t be more eager for its return on HBO. The third season begins on Sunday, March 31, and runs for 10 episodes, which is not nearly enough.
Be sure to take in your favorite characters this season, because as they say in High Valyrian, “Valar Morghulis.” All men must die.