GAME OF THRONES, SEASON 2: THE HEAVY METAL REVIEW — EPISODE 2.2, “THE NIGHT LANDS”
HBO’s epic fantasy series Game of Thrones is a rich meditation on power, class, religion, family and politics. It’s also metal as fuck. At its most basic level, the show is a drama about long-haired dudes wielding steel and kicking ass, every one of them a slave to power. So MetalSucks is covering the much-buzzed-about series as only we can.
We’ll leave the arty shit to the pencil-necked geeks at every other site; instead, we’ll evaluate every episode in terms of how Metal it is. How badass was Game of Thrones this week? We’ll tell you true. And we’ll try to provide some useful perspective along the way. Tune in every Monday morning for the only Game of Thrones review that matters.
Frequently Asked Question: “Should I read the books?”
Long story short: You don’t have to read the books to enjoy the TV version of Game of Thrones. But if the story intrigues you, yes, you should read them. The producers and the rest of the TV team are doing an admirable job distilling 1,000-page novels into ten-hour TV seasons. They put as much of the books on the screen as they can. (And they cut what they can — the tomes sure could use a good trim here & there.)
But unless you’ve read the books, there are things going on in the show that you literally cannot know unless you’ve read the books. And if you start looking for answers on the internet, you will quickly encounter severe, joy-destroying spoilers. I watched Season One first, then read the books, then re-watched the show.
The TV version is a very different experience once you’ve read the books. When I watched the first season again after I’d read the books, it was like the first time through, it had been in standard-definition black & white — and now it was in 3D hi-def. Hundreds of details register suddenly: exactly why Queen Cersei looks so pissed, why the Lannister camp is so red, what that guy’s sigil means, etc.
The chief benefit of reading the books before — or as — you watch the shows is: You know who’s who and what’s what and what’s going on. Without the books, you’re watching one of those dudes from that one castle talk to some random guy. After you’ve read the books, you realize Ned Stark is talking to Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, who will later… ah, but let’s not spoil you. Once you’ve read the books, no longer do you think of half the cast as That One Guy and That Girl. And that enhancement is worth your time, I believe.
Anyhow, on to this week’s episode.
Episode 2.2, “The Night Lands.”
Threats. Intrigue. Rewards offered for betrayal. The dead walk, but the living do not believe. A great white wolf menaces a maiden. In the badlands, a riderless horse delivers a detached head. A cruel pimp likes to be happy. A returning raider lords gets pwned. A man in black stalks the moonlit white night landscape. The theme music gets a doom-y remix. Stats: 2 couples have sex, 1 head, 1 dismembered head, 6 boobs. Once again, it’s a little slow this week – but plenty of your favorite albums have an uncharacteristically delicate introduction.
Rating: Not too metal, it’s getting there.
D.X. Ferris wrote the 33 1/3 series book about Slayer’s Reign in Blood, writes & draws the webcomic Suburban Metal Dad, and runs Pentagrammarian, the world’s only heavy metal grammar & usage website (that we’re aware of). You can follow his bullshit on Twitter here ,here, and here.