Friday, March 30, 2012

Game of Thrones - TV Guide: Weekend TV in Review: Apr 1 '12

Source: TV Guide [follow link for complete column]

Game of Thrones 5

TV GUIDE: Weekend TV in Review: Game of Thrones, The Killing, Great Expectations and More

Mar 30, 2012
by Matt Roush

... No fooling, this April Fool's TV weekend has something for just about everyone.

Starting with the long-awaited (though not nearly as long as Mad Men made us wait) second season of HBO's masterful epic fantasy Game of Thrones (Sunday, 9/8c). As the world of Westeros expands in year two, the animated credits begin to look like the world's largest board game of Risk, introducing far-flung new kingdoms and characters jockeying for power and plotting war on land and sea, from arid desert to icy forest.

It's a Herculean task keeping all of these divided dynasties, treacheries and vendettas straight, playing out on a canvas so large no single episode can contain all the storylines. (Not unlike George R.R. Martin's equally daunting source material, which managed to leave out a number of key characters in its fourth volume.) But once you get back in the rhythm of this enthrallingly sprawling, lusty and brutal saga, flaunting enough sex and violence to make a Hobbit faint, it's impossible not to succumb to Thrones' visceral, dark magic. As the powerful priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) from Dragonstone chants, "The night is dark and full of terror." And wonder.

Our favorite characters are in rare form: Tyrion the imp (Emmy-winning Peter Dinklage) throwing his diminutive weight around at King's Landing with sly, hilarious cunning; little Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) on the run, a scrappy fugitive disguised as a boy; Stark bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) battling for his soul in the wintry wasteland beyond the Wall; exiled princess Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), in the most slow-burning story in the first four episodes, nurturing her dragons along with ambitions to build an army. And with all the giant direwolves and supernatural forces afoot, the greatest monster of all is a sadistic boy king: Joffrey Lannister (Jack Gleeson), born of incest, who nearly everyone is desperate to depose from the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones is fantasy for adults, a corrosive Camelot where blood runs thick as ambition and honor is as rare as the wings of a dragon...

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