Winter is coming all over again this spring.
HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, based on the fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, is finally coming back April 1.
Fans are as stoked as the fires on the Wall, the 300-mile fortification that runs along the northern border of Game of Thrones’ world, the Seven Kingdoms. Expectations are bound to be high after last season’s shocking twist in the second-to-last episode and the all-too-awesome twist in the final moments of the season finale. (Is it really too early for spoilers?)
The second season will focus on what is known as the War of Five Kings and many of the characters from the last season are forced into new struggles and alliances as they quest for control of the land. Fan favourite Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage (fresh off Emmy and Golden Globe wins for his performance), is thrust into a new position by his father that comes with great power, great responsibility and great risk. As well, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) will face new perils in the frigid north as he and his band of brothers known as the Night’s Watch brave the unexplored world above the Wall.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her new pets begin a journey to find followers and an army to carry herself to Westeros and the Iron Throne that is her birthright.
As the quest to rule the Seven Kingdoms ramps up during the second season, new characters from the novels will make their way onto the show. These include Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon, brother of the former king Robert Baratheon, who seeks the throne for himself, claiming that, as his brother held “no true-born heirs,” the throne is his. He is aided by his powerful sorceress Melisandre. Other characters familiar to fans of the novel who will make their way into the story include Davos Seaworth, known as the Onion Knight, and the family Greyjoy, who are brought into the war through their relation to Theon Greyjoy, a ward to the Starks in Season One.
So far, advertising has focused on the idea of power and how “it’s a trick, a shadow on the wall.” With much of the focus on Tyrion Lannister, it’s possible he is being moved into lead position, at least for this season. As well, the advertisers have been careful to make good use of the line “anyone can be killed.” Fans of the books know that in this series, no one is safe.
The show received some mild controversy over the killing-off of a big-name actor last season, leaving many feeling that their emotional investment was for nothing. It was a creative risk (though it also occurs in the books), but it paid off with high ratings and numerous accolades. Still, many viewers felt cheated and threatened to never watch the show again. So, if you haven’t watched the first season yet, consider yourself warned.
Producers have decided to stick to a 10-episode format for the season, keeping costs down. This could be a wise move as high costs did a number on HBO’s earlier series Rome. That show’s cancellation was a tragic episode in television history, as it had so much potential. Hopefully Game of Thrones doesn’t suffer the same fate.
However, given the overwhelmingly positive critical and fan response to the first season, Game of Thrones is bound to stick around for another few years.