Review: GAME OF THRONES Season 2 Ready for War

Review: GAME OF THRONES Season 2 Ep 1

When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.

When you watch the Game of Thrones, you just plain win. Luckily, that truth from Season 1 carries over into Season 2, judging by the first episode of the year.

HBO's fantasy hit returns on Sunday April 1, 2012, continuing the adaptation of George R.R. Martin's series of novels called "A Song of ice and Fire." This season is based mostly off of book two, "A Clash of Kings," and the title is self evident from the very beginning.

The second season picks up directly after season one; this is honestly less "season 2 episode 1" as much as it is "episode 11." The cast expands, certainly, to introduce people like Stannis Baratheon and his clan, but the core cast all gets their moment in the spotlight in the first fifty minutes of the new season. Dany figures out how to lead, Tyrion stirs things up, Robb continues his march as the King of the North, and much more that was teased at the end of the first season comes to fruition immediately.

Where this show really succeeds isn't just in "more of the same," though, it's the way the characters, new and old, all feel familiar, real, and like old friends (or foes). These are people you will revel in relating to, and be horrified in how you sympathy with. They live in a time out of time, in a world of dragons and sword fights, yet they clearly are waging wars that can be seen just as much in the here and now as in the then and gone.

The stakes are just as high, if not higher, than in the first season. With several kings laying claim to their thrones, let alone the throne of the seven kingdoms, these leaders of men will most definitely be clashing as the novel title promises. Outside of the seven kingdoms, however, may be bigger wars than ever seen within their borders. Whether it's the mysterious lands north of the Wall or the sands across the sea, peace does not appear to exist in this world in any way.

Season two also holds true to the series' signature cliffhangers. If you don't yell and curse in the final moments of the first episode, there is something very wrong with you and your disturbed mind.

The Game of Thrones is played again this weekend, and it is still without question the best drama on television. If you haven't started yet, the first season is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digitally on HBO GO for your marathoning needs. If you're anxiously awaiting Sunday, then let the games begin.

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