As the countdown clock approaches the appointed day and hour, we remain astir with restlessness. Not for any toll or tidings of doom, no; we stalwarts of House Gatewatch have excited hearts and emboldened spirits brought on by glad missives, word that our show is of a quality that might please even the most hardened, cynical soul. Critics already agree: Game of Thrones is the bees knees.
It is with eager anticipation that we await that balmy eve in mid-April, not trepidation. We fear no clocks; the timepiece ticks, ticks, ticks, though it does not toll our doom. No, if this is an Armageddon Clock, it sounds in the deep for those sycophants who might seek to steal our light, be it by their shadowy silhouette on the selected solstice or by their very structure, hoping to see some semblance of success simply by seeming to be similar.
We are not afraid. Come at us from the sin-filled back halls of the Vatican, or from once-proud Camelot, now overgrown with weeds, or from prim and petulant Wisteria Lane. We take all comers here at House Gatewatch. Our swords are bigger than yours, and they’ve been sharpened by grumpkins and snarks.
In plainer words, we’re ready to kick the asses of anything that thinks it’s our competition.
If there is any clock we need to concern ourselves with, it is the one that ticks toward season two. A Clash of Kings is coming. It frickin’ has to be. I can’t see what would prevent it. But when will HBO give us the GO? I should think sooner is better than later.
To help spur them along, I, your Fanglorious FaBihoff, have compiled more than a few reasons why HBO needs to give considerable thought to greenlighting season two ASAP. And here they are…
(Seacrest says) … after the break:
Note: Clearly this article is about A Clash of Kings. THERE ARE ACOK SPOILERS HERE. Go read A Clash of Kings. And then come back and tell us what you think. Please.
1. The kids won’t always be kids. They grow up. They grow tall. They grow boobs. (Hopefully only the girls.) It happens, and television has ways of dealing with that. Indeed, one of the advantages of this show is that it takes place over chunks of time, and seeing a 4′ 9″ Arya become a 5′ 3″ Arya isn’t such an issue so long as we can be reasonably certain some length of time has passed.
Some shows (foolishly) attempt to switch actors, seeking to remain “forever young” in their casting, but that sort of hoax won’t fool this fandom; we’re happy with the choices, and many of these actors already feel like part of the family. So the best option is to catch them while you can. Shoot them this summer, this autumn. Get the other details out of the way now so that there’s nothing keeping anyone from rolling cameras. (At the very least do it for Kristian Nairn’s back. A 200-pound Isaac Hempstead-Wright would prove problematic for anyone.)
2. Good old-fashioned pride. HBO has made its mark through excellence. There’s a reason shows such as Deadwood and The Wire and The Sopranos are still hailed as some of the best television anyone has seen, and no one ever asks “What channel was that on?” It is known. By all accounts Game of Thrones continues in that tradition of excellence. Sure, I may have talked a little Borgias smack, but the truth is this series will not live or die on ratings alone. Even subscriptions—gained or lost—should not be the ultimate deciding factor.
Were I HBO, I would not wait for numbers. (I probably sound like a huckster, I know, but hear me out.) There is widespread acknowledgment that HBO erred in pulling up their tent stakes too soon where Rome was concerned; the BBC pulled out and HBO got spooked. The truth is, DVD sales of Rome could have paid for much of season three, and perhaps beyond, and no one buys DVDs like the sci-fi / fantasy crowd. Hell, I didn’t watch The Wire or Deadwood or Rome until they each came in a neatly boxed package. And I had HBO at the time. I’m literally the target demographic for this argument.
Even if initial ratings are tepid, word of mouth—by fans, by critics, by proboscis monkeys howling from palm trees—should stir an exponential interest in the badassery that is our beloved story. The cream always rises to the top, and the only regret greater than lost art is lost revenue. They need to give it a chance to do just that; ours is not A Limerick of Ice and Fire! If you build it, they will come.
3. Cutting the Edge. HBO doesn’t shy away from the stuff that will shock the senses. Game of Thrones’ second season does more than push the envelope—it beats on it with an axe. Grand Maester Pycelle gets pulled from his bed, naked, and gets his beard hacked off by Shagga; he’s so frightened for his life he pisses all over the room. Joffrey proves himself to be a bottomless well of douchebaggery by having the Kingsguard strip Sansa naked in the middle of a hall and beat her bloody. This isn’t a grown woman we’re talking about, but a young girl played by a young girl. Knowing it will be filmed as safely as you can imagine doesn’t remove the fact that it will have mothers and fathers across the world averting their eyes and then screaming bloody murder at their television sets. The Mountain does his bloody work and his men follow suit; the Tickler is going to give people nightmares. Lommy Greenhands (“You have to carry me”) gets a spear through the throat. And freakin’… Harrenhal, man!
The shocking things that happened in season one are only a brief taste of the stuff that happens in season two. (And don’t get me started on season three. Dear lord…)
If it’s not titillation or shock that convinces you, it should simply be the fact that we’re going to be able to see some of the best actors in what may be their defining roles going toe-to-toe with one another over the course of a television season. Tyrion vs. Cersei is Dinklage vs. Headey. Lock ’em up for this war of wits. Do it now. ‘Nuff said.
If none of that convinces you, I offer five scenes that Game of Thrones fans would kill to see on the television screen. Just imagine these:
The Kingslayer’s Escape:
A Poisoner, a Murderer, a Mummer and a Thief slip through the shadows of Riverrun’s high halls. Jaime Lannister is found locked away in a well-appointed but heavily-guarded room. A brief distraction is all that is needed for the Thief to free the Kingslayer. Once he has a sword in hand, Jaime Lannister is a fury to behold; he cuts his way to freedom leaving Riverrun men dead and bleeding in his wake. He rushes with his liberators down toward the hunter’s gate. The Mummer calls for the gate to be opened using Edmure Tully’s command. It opens … but there beyond stands Edmure Tully himself and a host of Riverrun guardsmen waiting for them. Jaime curses and charges…
The Ghost of Harrenhal:
Arya speaks quietly with Jaqen H’ghar in the shadowy hush of a long-forgotten godswood. The Faceless Man would have the last of three names from her. “Speak the name, and death will come,” he promises. “At the morning, at the turn of the moon, a year from this day, it will come.” Jaqen kneels before her. “A girl whispers if she fears to speak aloud. Whisper it now. Is it Joffrey?” We are close on Arya’s lips as she whispers one name into Jaqen’s ear: “It’s Jaqen H’ghar…”
Prince Theon of Winterfell:
Theon Greyjoy wanders the dark halls of Winterfell as the ghosts of his misdeeds and betrayals play haunting tricks on his mind. The children Theon killed (Bran and Rickon, or so we think) and even three of his own men—murdered by Theon’s hand even if we do not yet understand why—come in gruesome flashes of memory. No death is easy; even Farlen mocked him, saying, “M’Lord Eddard always did his own killing,” as the kennelmaster was laid upon a block. He forced Theon to wield the axe himself. That memory is the messiest. And then Reek stands before him. “My lord prince,” Reek says, smiling. “Your sister has come to Winterfell…”
Wildfire on the Blackwater:
Blackwater Bay is choked with ships as the assault on King’s Landing is now in full fray. Davos Seaworth captains Black Betha as he watches Swordfish bear down to ram a fat cog seemingly wallowing in the weight of its cargo, easy pickings in an overwhelming assault. Too late, Davos notices the green liquid leaking out from the cog’s hold—and Swordfish does not. None of the crew can hear Davos’s scream. Swordfish and its spiked ram splits the cog in two. WHOOOOOM! Green fire fills the air, lighting the night to emerald day. “About!” Davos commands, frantic, trying to turn his ship around in the face of certain death, even as other ships are caught in the inferno. And that is when he notices the great chain slowly rising from the waters behind them…
The Betrayal of Jon Snow:
Jon stands with his back to Quorin Halfhand as the wind whips ice and snow across the trenched crags beyond Skirling Pass. Ygritte and the other wildlings crouch in a half circle, watching with wide-eyed interest. Rattleshirt snarls, “Kill the Halfhand, bastard!” Quorin replies, “As if he could.” He draws his own blade. “Turn, Snow, and die.” Jon turns and is barely able to parry Quorin’s first thrust…
And more. More, more, more. Some people simply consider A Clash of Kings to be a stepping stone to A Storm of Swords. But it’s great storytelling all its own.
Lock it up, HBO. Lock it up!
GoT fans, help me out and show us some of the scenes from season two of Game of Thrones that you’re dying to see. Even if we didn’t see them happen “onscreen” in the book … the magic can happen here. Always support the bottom! Gimme some of your favorite scenes! Go!