Game of Thrones (season 2)

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Game of Thrones (season 2)
Game of Thrones Season 2.jpg
Region 1 DVD artwork
Starring See List of Game of Thrones cast
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 10
Release
Original network HBO
Original release April 1 (2012-04-01) – June 3, 2012 (2012-06-03)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of Game of Thrones episodes

The second season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered in the United States on HBO on April 1, 2012, and concluded on June 3, 2012. Like the first season, it consists of ten episodes. It mostly covers the events of A Clash of Kings, the second novel of the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, of which the series is an adaptation.

The show was filmed primarily in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Croatia and Iceland. Critics praised the show's production values and cast. Viewership rose compared to the previous season. The season won 6 of the 11 Emmy Awards for which it was nominated.

Plot[edit]

The Starks declare war on the Lannisters for the death of Ned and having won three victories, Robb Stark offers the Lannisters peace in exchange for the North's independence, sending Theon Greyjoy to gain Balon Greyjoy's support and Catelyn Stark to seek Renly Baratheon's. Cersei Lannister rejects Robb's terms. Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister exiles Janos Slynt, head of the Gold Cloaks, to the Wall, promoting Bronn to commander of the watch.

Catelyn arrives at King Renly's camp to negotiate an alliance, and Brienne of Tarth wins the right to join Renly's kings guard. Catelyn and Brienne witness Renly's murder at the hands of dark magic sent by the 'Red Lady' Melisandre, an emissary of Renly's brother and rival claimant to the Iron Throne Stannis Baratheon. Catelyn and Brienne flee Renly's camp and rejoin Robb's army as Renly's supporters switch their allegiance to Stannis. Meanwhile, Theon betrays the Starks by siding with his father and seizing Winterfell by force. Robb receives news of Theon's plans and sends men to retake Winterfell, while inside the city the Starks' allies form plans to sneak Bran and Rickon Stark out.

Robb learns that his mother Catelyn has secretly freed Jaime Lannister, now escorted by Brienne of Tarth, in order to ransom her daughters Sansa and Arya; he also enters into a romantic relationship with Volantene healer Talisa Maegyr. Yara Greyjoy arrives at Winterfell to bring Theon back to the Iron Islands, after his botched attempt to recapture the Stark boys.

Tywin Lannister leaves Harrenhal, which allows Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie to make an escape with the help of the enigmatic Jaqen H'ghar. In King's Landing, Cersei attempts to blackmail Tyrion by abducting the prostitute, Ros, whom Cersei believes to be his secret lover. Leading the defense against Stannis' attack on King's Landing, Tyrion destroys many of the attacking craft with an exploding ship full of wildfire, and is forced to lead a counterattack as King Joffrey Baratheon and his bodyguard Sandor Clegane each desert the battlefield. Stannis's forces make it inside the castle, but Tyrion leads his men behind the Baratheon forces via underground tunnels and attacks. Baratheon is defeated when Tywin's forces, aided by House Tyrell, arrive at King's Landing shortly after.

Following Khal Drogo's death, Daenerys and the remnants of her khalasar find refuge in the city of Qarth, where they are taken in by the merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos. However, Xaro conspires with the warlock Pyat Pree to kill most of Daenerys' servants, kidnap her dragons and assume control of Qarth. Daenerys is lured into a showdown with Pyat Pree at the House of the Undying, where her dragons kill Pyat Pree. Daenerys seals Xaro in his own vault as punishment for his treachery and leaves Qarth with Jorah and her remaining servants.

Whilst on a ranging beyond the Wall, Jon Snow captures a Wildling, Ygritte, who soon leads him into a trap where he himself is captured by Ygritte's fellow wildlings. Amongst the wildlings' prisoners is fellow ranger Qhorin Halfhand, who convinces Jon to kill him in order to gain the wildlings' trust so he can get close to their leader, King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder. The rest of the rangers set up camp at an ancient fortification, the Fist of the First Men, where they come under attack from an ancient enemy, the White Walkers.

Episodes[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
11 1 "The North Remembers" Alan Taylor David Benioff & D. B. Weiss April 1, 2012 (2012-04-01) 3.86[1]
To Cersei's dismay, Tyrion takes up his post as acting Hand at King's Landing. At Dragonstone, Stannis proclaims allegiance to Melisandre's new god and lays public claim to the Iron Throne, revealing Joffrey's bastardy. The latter orders the soldiers to slaughter Robert's bastards, one of whom named Gendry manages to escape King's Landing along with Arya. Having won three victories, Robb offers the Lannisters peace in exchange for the North's independence and Sansa's return, sending Theon to gain the support of Balon, his father, and Catelyn to seek alliance with Renly, who also claims the throne. Beyond the Wall, the Night's Watch finds shelter with Craster and his daughters/wives. In Essos, as her people slowly die in the Red Waste, Daenerys sends out riders for reconnaissance.
12 2 "The Night Lands" Alan Taylor David Benioff & D. B. Weiss April 8, 2012 (2012-04-08) 3.76[2]
Returning to his home of Pyke after nine years as the Starks' ward, Theon is reunited with his sister, Yara, and Balon, who despises Theon for his Northern ways and intends to win back his crown by force, giving the command to her. Cersei rejects Robb's terms and Tyrion exiles Slynt, head of the Gold Cloaks, to the Wall, promoting Bronn to commander of the watch. On the road to the Wall, Arya reveals her true identity to Gendry. North of the Wall, Tarly is approached by one of Craster's daughters, Gilly, who is pregnant and fears for her unborn son; Snow is reluctant to help her despite Tarly's pleas. In the Red Waste, one of the horses returns to Daenerys with the severed head of its rider in a pouch, a message from one of her enemies. In Dragonstone, Davos, Stannis's henchman, recruits the pirate Salladhor Saan to Stannis' side, and the latter has sex with Melisandre to obtain the son his wife can not give him. Snow discovers that Craster sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers. Craster knocks the former unconscious.
13 3 "What Is Dead May Never Die" Alik Sakharov Bryan Cogman April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15) 3.77[3]
Catelyn arrives at Renly's camp to negotiate an alliance, watching the female warrior Brienne of Tarth winning the right to join Renly's guard. Renly has recently married Margaery, Loras's sister, but refuses to have sex with her due to having feelings for him. In the Iron Islands, Balon makes a plan to attack the North, led by Yara. After burning a letter warning Robb of Balon's impending attack, Theon re-joins the Greyjoys in a water-based ceremony. In King's Landing, Tyrion crafts a plan to find who is in Cersei's confidence, finding it to be Pycelle, whom the former imprisons. Tyrion assigns his prostitute, Shae, as handmaiden to Sansa. Beyond the Wall, Craster demands the Night's Watchmen leave. Snow finds out that Jeor already knew about Craster's felonies. On the road to the wall, the band of Night's Watch recruits are attacked by Lannister soldiers. Yoren is killed and Arya is taken prisoner. The latter states that Gendry was a boy already killed.
14 4 "Garden of Bones" David Petrarca Vanessa Taylor April 22, 2012 (2012-04-22) 3.65[4]
Catelyn tries to convince the Baratheon brothers to abandon their quarrel and unite against the Lannisters; but Stannis demands Renly submit to his command. Baelish visits her and offers a trade of Jaime for her daughters. Melisandre gives birth to a shadow creature. Sansa is abused by Joffrey in revenge for Robb's victories. Tyrion intervenes and in return, Joffrey is cruel to the prostitutes Tyrion sends him as "gifts". Tyrion releases Pycelle, but fires him from the Small Council. The former also finds out about the incestuous relationship between Cersei and their cousin, Lancel, forcing the latter to spy on her by threatening to reveal it to Joffrey. Arya and Gendry are taken as captives to the castle of Harrenhal, where prisoners are tortured until death. Tywin arrives and stops the torture, picking her as his servant without knowing about her true identity. After her exhausting journey through the desert, Daenerys arrives at the gates of the prosperous city of Qarth, where Daxos, a member of the Council of Thirteen, convinces the others to let her caravan enter the city.
15 5 "The Ghost of Harrenhal" David Petrarca David Benioff & D. B. Weiss April 29, 2012 (2012-04-29) 3.90[5]
H'ghar, one of the three caged prisoners Arya saved, pledges to kill three people of her choosing in order to repay his debt to her. She accepts and first chooses the Tickler, the man who mortally tortured the captives. After Renly's death at the hands of Melisandre's shadowy assassin, Catelyn and Brienne, who are accused of the murder, are forced to flee from the camp. Excluding the Tyrells, Renly's forces submit to Stannis. Brienne swears loyalty to Catelyn. Theon sails from Pyke prepared to prove that he is a true Ironborn, with plans to capture Winterfell while Robb is absent. Tyrion learns from Lancel about the Wildfire, a burning substance mass produced to destroy Stannis' fleet and army during the upcoming siege. Tyrion takes control of the scheme. The Night's Watch arrives at an ancient fortress called the Fist of the First Men, where Jeor allows Snow to join the team led by a veteran named Halfhand in order to kill the enemy leader. In Qarth, Daxos proposes marriage to Daenerys in exchange for providing her with the wealth to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. Jorah convinces her to gain the support of the Westerosi people instead.
16 6 "The Old Gods and the New" David Nutter Vanessa Taylor May 6, 2012 (2012-05-06) 3.88[6]
Myrcella, Cersei's daughter, is sent away from King's Landing. Theon manages to take Winterfell and executes Cassel, a henchman, for insulting him. Osha, the captured wildling, helps Brandon and Rickon escape. Robb reunites with the healer Maegyr. At the Fist of the First Men, Snow captures a Wildling named Ygritte, but gets separated from his patrol when she tries to escape and he is forced to chase her. Joffrey incites a riot at King's Landing, in which he is nearly killed and Sansa is nearly raped. Tywin allows Baelish to seek the allegiance of the Tyrells. An officer suspects Arya; and she has H'ghar kill him. Robb receives news of Theon's plans and sends men to retake Winterfell. At Qarth, Daenerys tries to procure a ship to take her people to Westeros, all the while keeping Daxos at bay. Daenerys' dragons are stolen.
17 7 "A Man Without Honor" David Nutter David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 13, 2012 (2012-05-13) 3.69[7]
Theon begins tracking Brandon and Rickon. Tywin begins searching Harrenhal for the murderer. Ygritte continues her attempts to seduce Snow and, after a momentary lapse in Jon's concentration, she escapes and leads him into a trap. Still shaken from the riot, Sansa is horrified when she awakens to find that she has had her first menstruation and can thus bear Joffrey's children. Cersei warns her to love no one but her children, not even Joffrey. In Robb's camp, a failed escape attempt by Jaime leaves a guard dead, with some soldiers seeking retribution. She visits him, who angers her to the point that she pulls a sword. In Qarth, the warlock Pree reveals to Daenerys that he stole her dragons, but gives her the opportunity to reunite with them before slaughtering the Council of Thirteen and establishing Daxos as the king. Theon presents to Luwin and his subjects the charred corpses of two boys, claiming that he has tracked down and killed Brandon and Rickon.
18 8 "The Prince of Winterfell" Alan Taylor David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 20, 2012 (2012-05-20) 3.86[8]
Robb learns that Catelyn has secretly freed Jaime, now escorted by Brienne, in order to ransom Sansa and Arya; he locks her in her tent and sends men to find them, also entering into a romantic relationship with Talisa. Yara arrives at Winterfell to bring Theon back to Pyke, blaming him for his actions. Tywin leaves Harrenhal to attack Robb, which leads Arya, Gendry and their friend Hot Pie to attempt an escape with the help of H'ghar, who agrees in order for Arya to refrain from naming H'ghar himself as the third man to kill. In King's Landing, Cersei attempts to blackmail Tyrion by abducting the prostitute, Ros, whom the former believes to be his secret lover. On the way to King's Landing, Stannis promises Seaworth to make him his Hand of the King. Beyond the Wall, the Wildling leader "Rattleshirt" leads the captured Snow and Halfhand to his king, Rayder while the other Watchmen, including Tarly, find hidden blades, called Dragonglasses, hidden. In Qarth, Jorah agrees to accompany Daenerys into the House of the Undying to retrieve her dragons. Brandon and Rickon are revealed to be alive and hiding in Winterfell.
19 9 "Blackwater" Neil Marshall George R. R. Martin May 27, 2012 (2012-05-27) 3.38[9]
Baratheon's fleet assaults King's Landing. Leading the defense, Tyrion destroys many of the attacking ships with an exploding ship full of wildfire, forcing the former to attack on land. Sandor leads the defense outside the gate, but is defeated and returns inside, denouncing Joffrey and leaving. Joffrey also escapes. Tyrion convinces the Gold Cloaks to fight with him. Baratheon's forces make it inside the castle, but Tyrion leads his men behind the Baratheon forces via underground tunnels and attacks. Cersei goes to the throne room with Tommen, intending to kill him. Shae convinces Sansa to go to her chamber, where Sandor offers to take her back to Winterfell; but she decides to stay. As Tyrion is wounded and Cersei is about to poison Tommen, Tywin's forces, joined by Loras, arrive and defeat Baratheon's forces, with the latter forced to retreat.
20 10 "Valar Morghulis" Alan Taylor David Benioff & D. B. Weiss June 3, 2012 (2012-06-03) 4.20[10]
Joffrey sets Sansa aside in favor of marrying Margaery while Tyrion fears for his and Shae's safety now that Tywin has replaced him as Hand and relieved Bronn from his command. Melisandre gives Stannis a new hope. Brienne and Jaime are spotted by three Stark soldiers, whom she kills. Catelyn fails to dissuade Robb from marrying Talisa. In Qarth, Daenerys ventures into the House of the Undying and successfully retrieves her dragons, who kill Pree. She then seals Daxos inside his own vault and claims his wealth for herself. In Winterfell, Theon tries to convince his men to fight Robb's army, but is knocked unconscious by them, who decide to leave. A dying Luwin convinces Brandon's party to go to the Wall. Arya, having escaped Harrenhal with Hot Pie and Gendry, receives the gift of a valuable coin from H'ghar, who magically changes his face. North of the Wall, Halfhand forces Snow to kill him to prove his loyalty to the Wildlings while an army of White Walkers surrounds the Fist of the First Men.

Cast[edit]

Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)
Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister)
Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish)
Richard Madden (Robb Stark)
Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy)
Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont)
Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth)

Main cast[edit]

Starring
Also Starring

Guest cast[edit]

The recurring actors listed here are those who appeared in season 2. They are listed by the region and/or allegiance in the War of the Five Kings in which they first appear.

Production[edit]

HBO ordered a second season of Game of Thrones on April 19, 2011, two days after the series premiere.[12] The second season obtained a 15% increase in budget in order to be able to stage the war's most important battle,[13] the Battle of the Blackwater, in episode nine.

Filming took place during 106 shooting days. During three-quarters of those, two crews ("Dragon" and "Wolf") were working simultaneously in different locations.[14]

Crew[edit]

David Benioff and D. B. Weiss serve as main writers and showrunners for the second season. They co-wrote six out of ten episodes. The remaining four episodes were written by story editor Bryan Cogman, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin, and new series writer and co-executive producer Vanessa Taylor, who wrote two episodes.

Alan Taylor was promoted to co-executive producer and directed four episodes, including the season premiere and finale. David Petrarca and David Nutter each directed two episodes, while series cinematographer Alik Sakharov and filmmaker Neil Marshall directed the remaining two.

Casting[edit]

The casting for the second season began in May 2011.[15] Although a large portion of the first season cast were returning, the producers were still faced with a huge number of new characters to be cast. The producers decided that several characters from A Clash of Kings, including the Freys and Crannogmen Reeds at Winterfell, Frey bannermen of the Starks, the Tullys, Stannis' wife and daughter, Theon's uncle Aeron Greyjoy and the bastard Ramsay Snow would not be cast despite appearing in the novel. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss commented on this saying that certain character introductions taking place in A Clash of Kings would be delayed until the third season. This was done due to the large number of characters already introduced in season two, and because they couldn't afford to have people "waiting around" for their characters to become central to the plot.[16] Having to fill so many speaking roles, the showrunners not only "postponed" the introduction of several key characters, but they also merged some into one, or certain plot-functions were given to different characters. Many physical traits were also altered, such as the ethnicity or age of characters. The cast was estimated to be the largest on television.[17] Scattered around two fictional continents characters include, by order of importance:

Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon)
Carice van Houten (Melisandre)

Emerging as the fourth claimant to the throne is the estranged brother of the late king Robert, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane).[18] The foreign priestess Melisandre, portrayed by Carice van Houten poses as an influential, yet manipulative advisor to Stannis. Van Houten was previously asked (but unable) to audition for the role of Cersei in season one. While her character retains her signature red robes and hair, unlike in the novels Melisandre is not portrayed as having red eyes, making her appear somewhat more human.[19] Liam Cunningham stars as Ser Davos Seaworth, the "Onion Knight", a bannerman of Stannis and a former smuggler.[20] Cunningham had already been in talks for a role in the first season. As he is left-handed, his Davos has the fingers of the right hand shortened, unlike in the novels where his left hand is crippled. In an interview, Cunningham said that a lot of new dialogue had to be written for his character, because in the novels Davos, a point-of-view character, is portrayed more through his thoughts than through his actions.[21] These three characters headed a new storyline set on a different location, that by the end of the season merged with the main plot.

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), a main cast member from the first season, but with lesser importance than the others, came to prominence during the second season, as his story unfolded and his character became more central. Gemma Whelan appeared as his sister, Yara Greyjoy. Named "Asha" in the novels, the character's name was changed to avoid confusion with the Wildling Osha, Bran Stark's companion.[22] "Asha" is portrayed as a fairly provocative and independent woman, a captain of thirty ships, as opposed to her television counterpart Yara, who did not retain "Asha's" traits, although her rivalry with Theon remained intact. Their father Balon Greyjoy was played by Patrick Malahide.[23] Many of the characters involved in the Greyjoys' storyline weren't introduced, most notably Balon's brother Aeron Greyjoy. Nonetheless, the storyline received enormous praise, with the alternation of Yara's name and persona being the only criticism.

Tom Wlaschiha is cast as Jaqen H'ghar, a mysterious prisoner who develops a murderous relationship with young Arya Stark (Maisie Williams).[24] Wlaschiha's pronunciation of his character's name, Jack-in, was adopted for use in the show.[25] Natalie Dormer, best known for her portrayal as seductive Anne Boleyn in Showtime's The Tudors, was cast in a similar role as Margaery Tyrell, a noblewoman and the wife of the third claimant to the throne, Renly Baratheon.[26] Gwendoline Christie played, to much praise, Brienne of Tarth, a female warrior who joins Renly Baratheon's guard, but later becomes a follower of Catelyn Stark.[27] To prepare for the role, Christie took up an intense training regimen, adding over a stone (6.4 kg) of muscle mass.[28] So that she could be mistaken for a man, her armor was decorated with lines that slant away from her hips.[29] On the other side of the fictional world, two female roles with rising prominence were added to the cast: Skins star Hannah Murray filled the role of Craster's daughter Gilly, a love interest to Samwell Tarly;[30] while the second role, the one of Ygritte, Jon Snow's love interest among the Wildlings, was played by Rose Leslie.[31]

Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) stay at Qarth, opened the way for several recurring characters. Nonso Anozie played Daenerys's host at Qarth, Xaro Xhoan Daxos.[32] The character differed a lot from his novel counterpart. Xaro's homosexuality, femininity and caucasian origin were overshadowed by dark skinned Anozie's masculinity and heterosexuality. Acting as one of her suitors is the treacherous warlock Pyat Pree portrayed by Ian Hanmore. Her third and final suitor was the masked priestess Quaithe (Laura Pradelska). Specially created for the television series was the so-called "Spice King", a rich merchant from Qarth, played by Nicholas Blane. Also an original creation of the show is the character of Talisa (Oona Chaplin), a healer from Volantis and a romantic interest for Robb. She fills the role of another female interest of Robb's, called Jeyne Westerling, who has no similarities with Talisa whatsoever. In addition to Talisa, Michael McElhatton joins the cast in the role of Roose Bolton, an important character in Robb Stark's storyline. Lastly, Simon Armstrong plays the legendary Night's Watch ranger Qhorin Halfhand.

Others were also added to the cast, either in a small recurring role or with reduced prominence. The most notable example is Tony Way's Ser Dontos Hollard, a drunkard knight, who had a pivotal role in Sansa Stark's storyline that ran in the course of two novels, while in the series the role was reduced to a small scene in the opening episode. Others include: Ben Crompton as "Dolorous Edd" Tollet, a man of the Night's Watch.[33] Robert Pugh as the Wildling Craster, father and husband to Gilly.[34] Kerr Logan as Davos Seaworth's pious son Matthos.[35] Karl Davies as Ser Alton Lannister, a character created for the series[36] who replaces Cleos Frey as envoy from the Starks to the Lannisters. Daniel Portman took the role of Podrick Payne, the squire to Tyrion Lannister.[37] The 19-year-old Portman plays Podrick as about 16 years old, instead of about 12 as in the novels. To be able to portray Podrick as awkward, shy and weak, Portman, previously a sportsman, stopped his fitness regimen and gained some weight to appear more endearing.[38] Lucian Msamati played Salladhor Saan, a Lysene pirate and friend of Davos Seaworth. Finally, Edward Dogliani appeared briefly as the "Lord of Bones" (or "Rattleshirt" in the novels), a Wildling leader and Oliver Ford Davies as Stannis's maester Cressen.[39]

All of the recurring characters from the first season returned, with one notable exception: Conan Stevens, whose role of Gregor Clegane was recast with Ian Whyte, did not return.[40] Roy Dotrice, a friend of George R.R. Martin, known for reading the audio versions of the novels and having previously rejected a role due to health reasons, appears this season as Pyromancer Hallyne, an elderly alchemist at King's Landing.[41]

Locations[edit]

The walled city of Dubrovnik stands in for King's Landing in season 2.

For the second season, the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, was used instead of Malta for scenes in King's Landing and Daenerys' scenes in Qarth.[42] For example, the Minčeta Tower in Dubrovnik was used as the House of the Undying. Scenes set north of the Wall were filmed in Iceland in November 2011. The main locations are the Vatnajökull glacier,[43] the Svínafellsjökull glacier near Skaftafell, and the Mýrdalsjökull glacier near Vik used as the location for the Fist of the First Men with Höfðabrekka as the Frostfang Mountains.[44][45][46] New shooting locations in Northern Ireland include The Linen Mill Film & Television Studios in Banbridge, Ballintoy Harbour[47] and Downhill Strand. As the story in the second season required that the Winterfell set be expanded, a new set for Winterfell was built at the Moneyglass Estate near Toome village.[48]

Music[edit]

The music for the second season, again composed by Ramin Djawadi, was published as a soundtrack album in June 2012. It contains a rendition of a song often mentioned or sung in the novels, The Rains of Castamere, by the indie rock band The National.[49]

The soundtrack for the season was released on June 19, 2012.

Promotion[edit]

HBO released numerous teaser trailers for the second season, beginning on December 11, 2011.[50] The second trailer, published on January 29, 2012,[51] was viewed 3.5 million times in the first three days after publication, a record for HBO promotional content.[52] Other trailers were released on February 24,[53] March 3 (set to Florence and the Machine's Seven Devils)[54] as well as subsequently.

HBO also published other promotional material, such as cast photographs[55] and teaser posters, prior to the airing of the first episode. The second issue of Entertainment Weekly in March 2012 had four alternative covers dedicated to in-costume photographs of Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey (Jaime and Cersei Lannister).[56]

Reception[edit]

Thanks to the critical and commercial success of the first season, as well as HBO's marketing efforts, the second season received intensive media coverage well before it started airing. Sunday is Coming, a two-minute short film for Funny or Die, satirized viewers' excitement about the return of Game of Thrones.[57]

Critical response[edit]

Several media outlets reviewed the season's first four episodes before they were broadcast, and rendered almost uniformly positive verdicts. The season holds a Metacritic score of 90 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim".[58] On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has a 96% approval rating from 34 critics with an average rating of 8.8 out of 10; the season also received a 96% average episode score.[59]

Entertainment Weekly rated the new season "A-" and praised the "vivid, vital, and just plain fun" storytelling. In the reviewer's opinion, the greatly enlarged cast did not feel like bloat and the show remained accessible to those who had not read the novel.[60] The Huffington Post called the start of the second season "far more elegant and engaging" than that of the first, and appreciated the show's maturation, increased assurance and momentum as well as the visually improved settings and the new actors' performance.[61] Newsday's review gave it an "A+", calling it the "best show on television" and warranting the preparation required by viewers.[62]

The Hollywood Reporter also wrote that Game of Thrones made a "strong case for being one of TV's best series". Impressed that the series continued to improve in quality as it breathed life into its vast web of interconnected storylines, the reviewer considered that, unlike other genre shows, Game of Thrones had gravitas such that it should not be considered dramatically inferior to shows like Mad Men or Breaking Bad.[63] HitFix's Alan Sepinwall gave the new, "bigger and better" season an "A", praising its increased confidence and smoothness despite its even greater use of "sexposition".[64] New to the series, the Chicago Sun-Times's reviewer found the season premiere "engrossing" and praised the "top-notch" acting, writing, sets and storytelling.[65] The New York Times was the only major publication to publish a mixed review. It criticized the lack of complexity in the characters apart from Dinklage's, the confusing multitude of characters and the meandering plot.[66]

Game of Thrones (season 2): Critical reception by episode

Ratings[edit]

Game of Thrones: Viewers per episode (millions)
Season Ep. 1 Ep. 2 Ep. 3 Ep. 4 Ep. 5 Ep. 6 Ep. 7 Ep. 8 Ep. 9 Ep. 10 Average
Season 1 2.22 2.20 2.44 2.45 2.58 2.44 2.40 2.72 2.66 3.04 2.52[68]
Season 2 3.86 3.76 3.77 3.65 3.90 3.88 3.69 3.86 3.38 4.20 3.80[68]
Season 3 4.37 4.27 4.72 4.87 5.35 5.50 4.84 5.13 5.22 5.39 4.97[69]
Season 4 6.64 6.31 6.59 6.95 7.16 6.40 7.20 7.17 6.95 7.09 6.84[70]
Season 5 8.00 6.81 6.71 6.82 6.56 6.24 5.40 7.01 7.14 8.11 6.88[71]
Season 6 7.94 7.29 7.28 7.82 7.89 6.71 7.80 7.60 7.66 8.89 7.69[72]

Accolades[edit]

The second season was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, which included Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Peter Dinklage. It won six awards, for, Outstanding Costumes for a Series, Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic), Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour), and Outstanding Special Visual Effects.[73]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2012 AFI Awards AFI TV Award Game of Thrones Won [74]
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Series Drama Nina Gold Nominated [75]
ASCAP Awards Top Television Series Ramin Djawadi Won [76]
Portal Award Best Actor Peter Dinklage Nominated [77]
Best Actress Lena Headey Won
Best Supporting Actor Aidan Gillen Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Michelle Fairley Nominated
Maisie Williams Won
Best Episode Ghost of Harrenhal Nominated
Best Series Game of Thrones Won
Best Young Actor Jack Gleeson Nominated
Maisie Williams Won
EWwy Award Best Supporting Actress, Drama Lena Headey Won [78]
64th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, George R. R. Martin, Vanessa Taylor, Alan Taylor, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and Bernadette Caulfield Nominated [73]
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated
64th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series Gemma Jackson, Frank Walsh, and Tina Jones for "Garden of Bones", "The Ghost of Harrenhal" and "A Man Without Honor"[Nb 1] Won
Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Nina Gold and Robert Sterne Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Series Michele Clapton, Alexander Fordham, and Chloe Aubry for "The Prince of Winterfell" Won
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media HBO Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks, Rosalia Culora, and Gary Machin for "The Old Gods and the New" Nominated
Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) Paul Engelen and Melissa Lackersteen for "The Old Gods and the New" Won
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special Paul Engelen, Conor O'Sullivan, and Rob Trenton for "Valar Morghulis" Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series Peter Brown, Kira Roessler, Tim Hands, Paul Aulicino, Stephen P. Robinson, Vanessa Lapato, Brett Voss, James Moriana, Jeffrey Wilhoit, and David Klotz for "Blackwater" Won
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (1 hour) Matthew Waters, Onnalee Blank, Ronan Hill, and Mervyn Moore for "Blackwater" Won
Outstanding Special Visual Effects Rainer Gombos, Juri Stanossek, Sven Martin, Steve Kullback, Jan Fiedler, Chris Stenner, Tobias Mannewitz, Thilo Ewers, and Adam Chazen for "Valar Morghulis" Won
2nd Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated [79]
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated
Hollywood Post Alliance Awards Outstanding Visual Effects – Television "The Prince of Winterfell" Won [80]
Golden Nymph awards Outstanding International Producer David Benioff, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss and D.B. Weiss Won [81]
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Emilia Clarke Nominated
Lena Headey Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated
Kit Harington Nominated
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Television Drama Sam McCurdy for "Blackwater" Nominated [82]
17th Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Peter Dinklage Nominated [83]
Best Television Series – Drama Game of Thrones Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated [84]
Best Ensemble In a Drama Series The cast of Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Direction In a Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Writing In a Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Music In a Series Ramin Djawadi Nominated
Best Editing In a Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Cinematography In a Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Production Design In a Series Game of Thrones Won
Best Costume Design In a Series Game of Thrones Won
Best Makeup/Hairstyling In a Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best Sound In a Series Game of Thrones Won
Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
IGN Awards Best TV Episode Blackwater Won [85]
Best TV DVD or Blu-ray For the complete first season on Blu-ray Won
Best TV Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best TV Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best TV Villain Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon Nominated
IGN People's Choice Award Best TV Episode Blackwater Won
Best TV Drama Series Game of Thrones Won
Best TV Villain Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon Won
28th TCA Awards Program of the Year Game of Thrones Won [86]
Individual Achievement in Drama Peter Dinklage Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Game of Thrones Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards 2012 Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated [87]
Best Drama Supporting Actor Peter Dinklage Nominated
Best Drama Supporting Actress Lena Headey Nominated
Breakthrough Performer of the Year Maisie Williams Nominated
Ensemble of the Year The cast of Game of Thrones Nominated
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite Thriller Show Game of Thrones Nominated [88]
ADG Excellence in Production Design Award One-Hour Single Camera Television Series Gemma Jackson for "The Ghost of Harrenhal" Won [89]
American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in One-Hour Episodic Television Series Kramer Morgenthau for "The North Remembers" Won [90]
SFX Awards Best Actress Emilia Clarke Won [91]
Best Actress Lena Headey Nominated
Best Actor Peter Dinklage Nominated
NewNowNext Awards Cause You’re Hot Richard Madden Nominated [92]
British Academy Television Awards International Game of Thrones Nominated [93]
Radio Times Audience Award Game of Thrones Won
Costume Designers Guild Awards Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series Game of Thrones Nominated [94]
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Television Series – One Hour Ronan Hill, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters, and Brett Voss for "Blackwater" Nominated [95]
Dorian Awards TV Drama of the Year Game of Thrones Nominated [96]
10th Irish Film & Television Awards Best Television Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [97]
Best Director of Photography P.J. Dillon Nominated
Best Sound Ronan Hill, Mervyn Moore Nominated
Astra Awards Favourite Program – International Drama Game of Thrones Won [98]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing — Long Form Dialogue and ADR in Television Game of Thrones for "Valar Morghulis" Won [99]
Best Sound Editing — Long Form Sound Effects and Foley in Television Game of Thrones for "Valar Morghulis" Won
Best Sound Editing — Short Form Dialogue and ADR in Television Game of Thrones for "Blackwater" Nominated
Best Sound Editing — Short Form Music in Television Game of Thrones for "Blackwater" Nominated
Best Sound Editing — Short Form Sound Effects and Foley in Television Game of Thrones for "Blackwater" Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Neil Marshall (director) and George R. R. Martin (writer) for "Blackwater" Won [100]
Producers Guild Awards "The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama" David Benioff, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss Nominated [101]
Saturn Award Best Television Presentation Game of Thrones Nominated [102]
19th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series Rob Cooper, Jamie Edgell, Dave Fisher, Dave Forman, Paul Herbert, Michelle McKeown, Sian Miline, Jimmy O’Dee, Domonkos Pardanyi, Marcus Shakesheff, CC Smiff, and Mark Southworth Won [103]
Visual Effects Society Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial or Broadcast Program Irfan Celik, Florian Friedmann, Ingo Schachner, Chris Stenner for "Training the Dragons" Won [104]
Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program Falk Boje, Esther Engel, Alexey Kuchinsky, Klaus Wuchta for "White Walker Army" Won
Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial or Broadcast Program Rene Borst, Thilo Ewers, Adam Figielski, Jonas Stuckenbrock for "Pyke" Won
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program Rainer Gombos, Steve Kullback, Sven Martin, Juri Stanossek for "Valar Morghulis" Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Television Drama Series David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, George R. R. Martin, Vanessa Taylor, D.B. Weiss Nominated [105]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright Nominated [106]
Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actress Sophie Turner Nominated
Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actress Maisie Williams Nominated
IGN Awards Best TV DVD or Blu-ray For the complete second season on Blu-ray Nominated [107]

Release[edit]

Broadcast[edit]

The second season of Game of Thrones was broadcast on HBO in the United States from April 1, 2012 to June 3, 2012.

Home media[edit]

DVD/Blu-ray box sets and digital downloads of the second season were released in North America on February 19, 2013.[108] The DVD set contains a 30-minute feature covering the production of the episode "Blackwater", actor interviews, character profiles, twelve audio commentaries by cast and crew, and a discussion about Westerosi religions by the showrunners and George R.R. Martin. The Blu-ray set additionally contains a feature about the "War of the Five Kings" that breaks out in season two, as well as 19 animated histories of the mythology of Westeros and Essos.[109]

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External links[edit]