In small part because I was bedridden for much of the weekend and in larger part because I’m a geek, I watched not only the season finale, but I re-watched much of the second season.
Note: There are spoilers here but I am going to try to write this so that you can’t catch them simply by scrolling past the text. If you watched it, you’ll know what I meant.
First the finale. I enjoyed it immensely, but like the whole second season, it felt rushed to me. This is a tricky criticism to offer because part of the problem might be my insatiable desire for more. It’s similar to the tension one finds in gluttons who complain about the portions being too small at a restaurant.
Still, I doubt I’m the only one who felt like this season sprawled out in too many directions for the show to give all of the story-lines justice. I know, I know, the hardcore GOTers will tell me I should read the books. And I should. But that response is not a defense of the show, it’s a criticism. There are simply times when the show clearly slips into “truncate the book” mode or “solve a less-than-TV-friendly book problem” mode. The whole business with Dany and the warlocks last night seemed like it was either 200 pages reduced to 2 or a total divergence from the book itself. The most egregious example was the rush to get the Stark boys heading North after the troubles at Winterfell. I’m sure they’ll try to smooth over the story next season, but it didn’t work for me. The Maester is the only living soul when the smoke clears? How did that work?
Likewise with the whole second season. There was just too much going on to do all of the plotlines justice. Season one sort of had the reverse problem. Yes, it took you a few episodes to figure out who was who (in part because of the odd choice to cast so many actors who look alike), but once you did, the whole thing was rather straightforward and you got to know the characters as you needed to. This season you know who everyone is but you want nearly everyone to have a little more room to develop their motivations and plotlines. That’s even true of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) who actually does get plenty of time, but he’s just so enjoyable to watch that you want him to have more anyway.
I don’t have any grand thoughts about it that haven’t been offered by countless others already. Though I will say that the much commented-upon theme of “honor is a dangerous luxury” is almost over done at this point. We certainly go that message with a thud from Ned Stark last season (and Little Finger et al). And Arya alone could have hammered the point home this season.
Anyway, I’m really pretty dyspeptic that there will be no more episodes until next year, which in itself is a sign that I’m basically nitpicking.
And, yes, yes, I’ll read the books.