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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Paying The Iron Price For
Game of Thrones Season 2 takes on the series from the outstanding Season 1, keeping it firmly as the best fantasy show on television and in competition for the best television show of any genre. Season 2 follows on directly from the previous season, building the various factions amid an outstanding world of intrigue, politicking, and battle.

What has set Game...
Published 23 months ago by MLA

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great books why change the plot
The second series started well and is as good as the first. With the same high levels of production. I was pleased that the series continued for the first few episodes to follow the books. Why then did the producer/director decide that from about episode six that the best selling books were actually not very good and completely rewrite some of the plot. The dragons were...
Published 21 months ago by JC


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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Paying The Iron Price For, 13 Jun. 2013
By 
MLA (Jakarta, Indonesia) - See all my reviews
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Game of Thrones Season 2 takes on the series from the outstanding Season 1, keeping it firmly as the best fantasy show on television and in competition for the best television show of any genre. Season 2 follows on directly from the previous season, building the various factions amid an outstanding world of intrigue, politicking, and battle.

What has set Game of Thrones apart is the sheer breadth of ambition. The best of US television shows have been ensemble. Nothing has come close to producing the range of cast assembled here. While one faction does disappear from Season 1 as those who inhabited the Eerie play no role but the addition of more groups just makes this so much more fascinating than traditional television for those with short attention spsns.

The factions are largeiy the same as in Season 1. The Lannisters retain control of the capital of Westeros, King's Landing. They are at war with the Starks who are pushing south from Winterfell following the execution of Ned Stark towards the end Season 1. Further north, beyond the wall are the Wildlings and the Knights Watch. Far away but still seeking to return are a faction of Dothraki led by the Targaryen claimaint to the throne of Westeros. New for Season 2 are two different factions of Baratheons angling for the kingship, the wealthy and ambitious Tyrells, and the warlike Iron Islanders.

With so many factions it can at times be hard to keep track. That is especially when seemingly important characters turn out not to have a real role. This is particularly the case with the very brief apperance of Lucian Msomati who viewers will recognise from No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency but who only appears in one scene. The arrival of a known actor seemingly heralds someone to follow so it is strange when that character is not referenced again.

It can also be a bit confusing when defining features of factions lack distinction. The Tyrells are described as being the richest family in Westeros. As the Lannisters were described in exactly the same way in Season 1 it makes it a bit difficult to follow.

Of course the continuing difficulty of the name Westeros which sounds far too much like Wester Ross spoils the suspension of disbelief.

Still, Game of Thrones sometimes gets it more right than anything that has come before. This is so amazingly the case in the form of the Iron Islanders. As a group of people living on islands to the west of the mainland and who make their living by raiding they demonstrate such incredible understanding of British history by Americans. The Iron Islands geographically seem to be the Isle of Man but more completely they are of course the representation of both the Kingdom of Mann and the Lordship of the Isles. That they have their own culture and beliefs is such a pitch perfect representation of those two raiding societies with a strong sense of independence from the mainland. Being so close to reality yet being clearly fantasy is such a spectacular success of this season.

Other quibbles include accents. The idea of using different British accents to represent different types of people is genious. It is not executed perfectly. The Wildlings for instance should surely not have the same accent as those of Winterfell. The accent of Theon Greyjoy was excellent in Season 1 because it clearly marked him as being from the North but not being of Winterfell stock. It turns out he doesn't have the same accent as all of those from his homeland in Season 2, most particularly his sister which is a bit of a shame. Also, Theon's actions in Winterfell receive scorn from his family yet represent exactly the success they claim to have wanted so it is never clear why his actions should be considered a failure.

Those quibbles are minor compared to the scope of excellence. Most particularly what works well is the depth of characterisation on show. So many of these characters are fascinating in their own right. There really are no weak links in either the characterisation or the acting. The leading characters are largely the same as in Season 1 and they remain excellent. Tyrion Lannister in particular is an amazing character. Peter Dinklage's performance is undoubtedly the best ever produced by a dwarf and arguably the most positive representation of a disabled person the television screen has ever bestowed. Tyrion's machinations and his brilliance are delicious. His clever moves to survive as The Hand and to fight off his enemies are just superb because they play so well into the story so far. The intenal feuding within the Lannisters, most particularly between Tyrion and Cersei is great. The moment in which Tyrion displays unbelievable leadership against the threat from Stannis Baratheon and then moments later sees Cersei's defining move is breathtaking. It really does take a couple of reflections from a viewer to grasp the gravity of what transpired. Almost no television shows have produced something quite so mesmerising.

Tyrion's foil Cersei is really unlikeable. She is clearly the bad guy in many ways and Lena Headey is so easy to dislike. She's not even likeable during the Extras when she takes part in a roundtable with several other actors and is the only person to try and use scorn to get her point across. The edge Headey has makes her scenes feel sharp, when she pushes Tyrion it feels impactful.

The men of the North are a bit less impressive during this Season. Rob Stark and Jon Snow are both gritty, reliable, and honourable. Stark and Snow both grow as people during Season 2, discovering more about the world around them and the people they can be. In Stark's case it is his leadership and the tough choices he has to make. He is a great leader, warm and engaging with his people. He contrasts so much with the unpleasant Joffrey Lannister. Snow loses his innocence in the harsh land beyond the wall, finding the compromises others put up with being too much for him and having his eyes opened to the potential horrors that lie beyond.

It is perhaps the second tier of characters that turns Game of Thrones from excellent into amazing. Daenerys Targaryen is a long way from Westeros and her story does not tie in with any of the other characters. The siloed story still works well because it is a reminder of this faction and also builds a sense of potential through the dragons. Not knowing whether they are likely to be a source for good or ill makes them fascinating. The experience of Daenerys in the city of Qarth is at times beautiful. The Qarthaginians have an interesting governance structure as a free trading city, a nice nod to the powrful merchant cities of European history. The magician of Qarth is horribly creepy and the reveal of the source of the wealth owned by Qarth's richest is really well structured. The lack of screen time and twist for Daenerys' assistant Doreah played by the very attractive Roxanne McKee is a disappointment. On the other hand the scene in which Daenerys has to choose between a life of comfort with the light of her life and her ambition is absolutely beautiful.

The new factions of Baratheons are very interesting in their difference. Renly is such a sympathetic character and seemingly quite popular with the ladies despite being gay. Perhaps Gethin Anthony has a charm that really works. He is so different to Stannis played by Stephen Dillane. Of all the characters in Thrones, Stannis seems the straightest - he issues not one moment of comedy and hardly any emotional scenes at all. The stoicism his chief assistant Davos in the face of the single-mindedness of Stannis is very moving, aided by Liam Cunningham's outstanding acting. Of the Stannis faction the most eye catching is of course the witch Melisandre, a devastating combination of exceptionally sexy and so very dangerous. For all the flesh on show, Carice van Houten is arguably the most eye catching woman on display.

In this reviewer's opinion the most eye catching male chatacter is Jaqen H'Ghar. Like Melisandre he has a very memorable turn of phrase that marks him out as foreign. Jaqen is a relatively minor character but is so very interesting in his own right. The interaction between Jaqen and Arya Stark is terrific. Arya the tomboy is seemingly defined by her companions - her fencing teacher in Season 1 was the source of Arya's characterisation then while Jaqen fills that role in Season 2. As an assassin, Jaqen is a potential cliche but his phraseology and value system are both fascinating.

With these and so many other engaging people on display, Thrones Season 2 is really interesting because of their interaction. Like the very best of US television it is mainly about the way those people react to one another and changes in their environment. Still, this is a fantasy show which means visual effects and battles. There are some draw dropping moments in Thrones Season 2 on that front. The naval battle scene with the greek fire followed by the sequence in which The Hound becomes transfixed by a burning man etch their way into a viewer's long-term memory. The use of sorcery by Stannis and Melisandre is disturbing.

There are surprisingly few battle sequences in the Season. It is mostly dialogue and actually very little action, just the way a great show should be. Unfortunately the lack of action is supposedly made up for by unnecessary repetitions of sex scenes. It becomes a little boring trying to work out which woman will be naked by the end of an episode. Pretty much all the female characters are on full or partial display which is fine but seems aimed at that less experienced segment of the audience for whom such visions represent something new.

The other visual elements are great. The scenery continues to be terrific. The scenery beyond the wall is Iceland and of course it is incredible. Iceland seems to just be one giant film set and it looks great here. The use of Dubrovnik makes a lot of sense as Kings Landing. Malta did a fine job in Season 1 but Dubrovnik is one of the great wonders of the tourist world.

The costumes of course are exellent. Whether that be the vivid red for Melisandre, the outstanding warrior garb of The Hound, Joffrey's regal attire, or any of the so many great costumes they really add to the sense of people and place.

Musically, Thrones is hard to recall. The main element is the opening sequence where attention is drawn heavily to the map. That map continues to be excellent.

The DVD Extras are good, not great. Some of the main players do not really give much. There is not a huge amount from Peter Dinklage for instance. The roundtable discussion is ok. There is extensive coverage of the naval battle which does make sense as it is the main set-piece in the series. Very interesting that battle is not the conclusion of Season 2, and a great piece of directing to avoid that result. There is a brief coverage of the religions but it acts more as a resume of what has already been seen rather than any additional insight.

Game of Thrones Season 2 is among the best of US television. It builds on the excellent Season 1 and is arguably better. The factions are riven with more internal dissention, the motivations and machinations of so many different aspirants are fascinating to follow. The acting is uniformly excellent. The pacing and focus on dialogue is terrific with the use of language and witty retorts filling the show with brilliance. Game of Thrones is fantasy but it could easily pass for altenative history, it really is one of the most interesting shows television has generated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'ONE OF THE GREAT T.V SERIES CONTINUES IN STYLE', 7 Mar. 2013
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
The series again, addictive viewing.
The once proud Kingdom has become fragmented after the death of 'King Robert'
leaving a young 'King Joffrey' to succeed driven by his power seeking mother
'Cerse' (The 'late' King's wife) who's family are the ambitious 'Lannister's)
The young King had sent shock-waves throughout the Kingdom when he ordered
the execution of 'King Robert's' loyal 'Hand' 'Ned Stark'
This coupled with the rumours regarding 'Joffrey's' rights to the throne is causing
an uprising against 'Kings Landing'
The scheming, always planning and wheeling-dealing talents of the lustful 'Lannister'
Imp 'Tyrion' should really be heeded by the young King in the light of what is to come.
There are now five Kingdoms within what had been one.
The 'now' King of 'Winterfell' and the north 'Rob Stark' is driven by the need to avenge
his father's death and heads his army south toward 'King's Landing'
He is supported by his mother 'Catelyn Stark's' wisdom and the joint need to rescue
the siblings who are now scattered around the kingdom but thus far surviving, and of
course daughter and sister 'Sansa' who is being groomed for 'King Joffrey' in 'King's
Landing'
The deceased 'King Robert's' brothers 'Stannis' and 'Renly' also lay claim to the Throne
and head army's of their own.
'Rob Stark's' army is fighting it's way toward it's objective, however this leaves 'Winterfell'
with little in the way of defences, the 'Greyjoys' see the opportunity to claim the territory.
Just to deepen the plot, and perhaps confuse matters, 'Mother-of-Dragons' 'Daenary
Targaryen' who's father once sat on the 'Iron Throne' before it being seized by 'Jamie
Lannister' and subsequently snatched by 'Robert Baratheon' also has a claim to the Throne.
'Daenary' perhaps having the strongest claim to the Throne by rights, now waits to raise
an army and aquire ships needing the finance to do so, and of course having to wait for
the three Dragons to grow and do her bidding in battles yet to come.
The story again delivers 'treachery' Greed' 'Jealousy' and plotting, couple with 'graphic'
battle sequences and again containing an adult-theme.
This remains a terrific series, certainly right up there with some of the best TV series made
down the years.
(Here's hoping all the books are filmed, it would, perhaps be a crime not to)
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240 of 273 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best thing on TV right now, 15 May 2012
I won't beat around the bush here, Season 2 is superior to Season 1. This show
is quite extraordinary and just gets better and better as it progresses. You know
you're watching something special when 50min episodes feel like 25min shorts - time
just flies by when watching Game of Thrones, and although the climax of each episode
means the end, it's not without some amazing cliffhanger which makes you crave for more.

Season 2 covers the whole of the second book, 'A Clash of Kings', and it progresses the
story forward at a decent rate whilst introducing plenty of new faces, making the battle
for the Iron Throne very intense. Not all of the people you'd expect to see in Season 2
are here yet, the show's creators stated that Season 2 introduced enough new faces, so
several key characters that appear in 'A Clash of Kings' have been delayed until Season 3.

We're at a good point now though, where most of the show's foundations have been set in Season 1,
so the story is free to steam forward. As always, the acting for the series is just top notch, and
the sets look superb, although the big battles usually have to fade to black because of budget and
man power issues i suspect, other than that the show is almost perfect. Just like Season 1 there
are some great twists, even more nudity, even more fighting and a little bit of love & laughter
with a splash of tears - it's the complete television show and right now, the best thing on TV.

If you watched and enjoyed Season 1 then this is an obvious purchase. For anyone new to the
series, pickup Season 1 and 2, clear your schedule and prepare to watch some damn fine
television, then join the rest of us in the year long wait until Game of Thrones Season 3.

P.S if you haven't read the books yet (like me), then the temptation to do this after watching
the show will likely be great. However i've personally found the show is infinitley more enjoyable
if i don't know what's going to happen next; the suspense and surprises are definitley a big part
of the experience for me now. So definitley consider this notion when watching the show, & before
embarking upon the books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful romp through a complex plot, 24 Feb. 2014
By 
Bernardette Lugner (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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Compared to Season 1, there is loads more plot, more characters, and a wider fantasy world is depicted, as rival kings manoeuvre for victory. The special features help immensely in understanding who's who and what's going on. As an adaptation of the huge books, it is a triumph. The way you tell a story on-screen is different from on-page. So much that the books describe has to be shown us through the actions of characters and the acting out of events. Settings have to be taken in completely visually. The writers and directors succeed brilliantly. I had to use will power to restrict myself to watching just one episode at a time, and was truly saddened to reach the end of them all. I'll be there to buy Series 3, and I bet you will be, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Game of Thrones gets better & better, 25 Feb. 2014
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
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War rages across Westeros as five Kings battle for the right to sit upon the Iron Throne. The young King Joffrey continues his reign with his uncle Tyrion Lannister taking the position of Hand of the King and attempts to bring his sadistic nephew under control. Meanwhile Daenerys Targaryen, along with her new-born dragons, attempts to lead her remaining people to safety and rebuild her power base, arriving in the mercantile city of Qarth. North of the Wall, John Snow and the men of the Nights Watch search for the Wildlings who have been massing under the banner of a traitor.

I really like the first season of 'Game of Thrones' and I am glad to say that this second season is even better. I still haven't gotten around to read the Song of Ice and Fire novels that the show is based so I cannot say how close the season sticks to its source material unfortunately but watching season two has definitely motivated me to read the books at some point.

The plot of this second season is just as convoluted as the first and if anything this is the only real problem with the series as a whole as there is so much happening in various places that some events and characters don't seem to get the focus that they probably deserve. Despite this however, I still found the series engaging enough to keep watching and I will definitely be getting season three when I have the chance. Most of the characters in the series remain interesting but Tyrion Lannister remains my favourite character in the series by far as he tries to do the best job he can as substitute Kings Hand while navigating the politics of King's Landing. The season also introduces a number of new characters with the female knight Brienne Tarth played by Gwendoline Christie easily being my favourite of these.

The action in this series remains good, if quite bloody, with the Siege of Kings Landing in episode nine probably being the best part of the season as a whole. With the language used in the season remaining somewhat course, along with some sex and nudity, the season probably won't be to everyone's taste but personally I found it very engaging and entertaining.

This second season of 'Game of Thrones' sees the series improve on an already entertaining first season and is well worth a full five stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Some of the depth is lost, but it still carries you away., 22 Jun. 2013
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I have seen this series as I was still reading the book - and sometimes I had to stop watching, to avoid inflicting myself spoilers. it is certainly a good show: the acting, the costumes and scenes are really good, absolutely above standard (and if you happen to be Italian, lime me, it is stellar compared to the pitiful products we have here).
Yet.
Changes are to be expected when you adapt from a book: even in a long series such as this, you'll have to cut, so there'll be episeodes one loved in the book which are lost (to me, Meera and Jojen are the sorest cut), and characters or situations will be overlapped to avoid confusion. maybe it is even to be expected that someaspects will be simplified, but there I am not so happy with it: already in series one, some interesting elements in the book had been reversed in the tv show, so if the book Lady Catelyn insisted that Lord Stark should accept to be hand of the king, and therefore is responsible of all the disasters that will befall her family, in the seres, she is against it and he if in favour. And Drogo doesn't start his marriage raping his young wife, in the book. Maybe tv audiences are lazier than readers and what simplified situations and predictable characters, Anyway, the level of changes in series one was, I think, overall acceptable. In series 2 I do believe it goes too far. There are entirely made up characters, like the young lady-doctor that Robb Stark marries, and generally speaking, the simplification of situations and motive of the characters' action is much more evident than in series one. What's worse, it seems to me that while what may be shocking but obvious increases ( like the number of unnecessary sex scenes) so that both the witch Melisandre and poor virginal Margery Tyrrell become hungry sex machines, anything that may be disturbing to the average American viewer is tamed: Queen Cercei has "moments of doubt" on her incestuous relationship with Jaime, while in the book he is all she wants and needs. The warrior princess Asha, who obviously despises her brother Theon, here has a sudden tender memory of when he was a small baby (and why did they have to change her name?), and so on. Thankfully they didn't tame the Hound into a sweet Golden retriever. Anyway, it's still worth watching, and the amount of work in the filming, the effects, the recreation of this fictional world is admirable per se. Only, it made me want to read the book all over again, and i really can't afford that, there's still three I haven't read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A clash of Kings, 5 May 2013
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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Here, in one box set containing five dvds, are all ten episodes of the second season of fantasy drama series Game of Thrones.

This is not a good jumping on point for new viewers, who should start with Game of Thrones - Season 1 [DVD].

If you've got to grips with that season without reading the books on which the show is based, then you should be able to get into this season as well.

If you have read the books, then you'll be fine.

There are two episodes to each disc. The first nine run for fifty minutes, and the tenth for fifty seven.

The story continues on from where season one left off. With what comes to be called the war of the five Kings. As The Starks from the north battle the forces of King Joffrey and the Lannister family, the two brothers of late King Robert both lay claim to the throne as well.

Over in the east, Daenerys looks to gain power. And up in the north, the NightWatch head out into the lands beyond the wall intending to take the fight to their enemies.

All the characters who survived season one continue their storylines. There are new characters to go with them and new storylines result.

There's a lot going on. Some storylines do have the occasional episode when they don't feature whatsoever. And in the truth, the season does take about three episodes to get going. But from the fourth part on it does become compelling viewing once again.

There are just one brief scenes of conflict in the first eight episodes. The majority of the drama comes from characters talking instead. But there are some moments of simply great character drama to be found once the season clicks, and some scenes you won't forget in a hurry as a result.

There were no big battles in season one. But they have made sure of it this year, with episode nine resulting in one big bit of conflict. It makes judicious use of it's budget and also focuses on those not involved in the fighting waiting to find what will happen, all of which makes for an unforgettable fifty minutes.

Book readers will find changes. One character in particular is competely different on the screen to the book pages. Things have been changed and moved around. But all of this makes it work on screen and keeps it pacey.

As with season one, this is an eighteen certificate dvd. For the same reasons as that was.

Ten episodes of compelling television that will make you eager for season three to come along.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English, French, Castilian Spanish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish.

Subtitles: Castilian Spanish, Danish, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, Swedish, Serbian, Turkish.

There are twelve different commentaries from various members of the cast and/or crew.

Other extras:

On disc one there are seven character profiles. These can be watched individually or all in a row. Each last for two minutes and as with the ones on season one feature the actors talking about one of the characters and clips which involve them. They're good viewing but some of the new characters from this season don't feature in these, and you do find yourself wishing there were more which covered them.

Plus three features:

On disc four is a twenty two minute long one called 'Game of Thrones Inner circle' which has some of the cast and the two producers discussing the season. It's an entertaining watch that you do end up wishing was longer. Do watch it to the very end of the credits.

Disc five has a seven minute long feature about the religions featured in the show. It's short but fascinating.

There's also a thirty one minute long feature about the making of the ninth episode. This is detailed and involving and very interesting. And well worth a look.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Season 1, 1 May 2013
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After the overwhelming Season 1 I had great expectations when I started to watch Season 2. Of course it was a brilliant entertainment and the Fantasy World of Westeros always had my interest, especially the fate of the different characters. Some new characters were introduced, especially Ygritte was asemome. Even I am a German and my English far from perfect (as you can read) I must recommend to watch the movie in English, because in the example of Ygritte her unique voice ist matching to her tough character. These are the reasons why I rated Season 2 with 4 of 5 stars.

But - if you compare the last 15 minutes of Season 1 with the end of Season 2 you will ask yousrself wht happened in 5 DVDs of Season 2 - there was almost no progress in general. The most interesting location is meanwhile the North beyond the wall. It's a matter of taste - but even if I don't need happy ends and think sometimes it's better to have a tragic final if it makes sense, I hate it when the same bad characters survive all the time, even if it would be quite reasonable to kill them. This is not satisfying. What I am afraid of: the books are not finished, so I see the danger of a never-ending-story (like Dallas or Dynasty) which gets boring by the time. This is something, that the great Saga doesn't deserve.

Nevertheless - I can recommend it to all people who loved Season 1.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great books why change the plot, 8 Aug. 2013
By 
The second series started well and is as good as the first. With the same high levels of production. I was pleased that the series continued for the first few episodes to follow the books. Why then did the producer/director decide that from about episode six that the best selling books were actually not very good and completely rewrite some of the plot. The dragons were never stolen from Daenerys, the attack on the wildings lookout on the mountain took place at night, Jon let the girl go, did not chase her and get separated from the rest of his party. I realise that somethings must be left out as the series is ten episodes long and the books are quite long with many plots. Why then did they feel the need to add occurances that were not in the books. I found this a bit frustrating and can see no benefits for the viewers. The books are very good and do not need altering for the TV.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the series, 27 Feb. 2014
By 
Brian Coates (UK) - See all my reviews
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I confess, I got into GOT via the TV series before reading the novels - that probably earns the immediate derision of hard-core GRRM followers but, hey, everything starts somewhere.

I was always impressed with the concise nature of the story-telling in these adaptations; the pace rattles along, there are details of great significance dropped into throw-away lines, yet all the way through it remains faithful to the books. This set is no exception, with the absolute climax for me being the battle of Blackwater Bay. Without giving anything away, the way this was portrayed here is phenomenally exciting and, whilst differing in detail from the novel version, it manages to set up a huge array of consequences for many of the characters in an entirely logical fashion that never seems contrived. There are also some fabulous set pieces involving Dani, Arya and Tyrion where the dialogue crackles spectacularly.

Finally, a vote of appreciation for Bronn (Jerome Flynn) in this series - not an actor I've ever liked before but his wry, knowing, underplayed portrayal here is one of my personal highlights. He steals every scene, which isn't easy given the rest of the excellent cast.
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