In most shows, the second episode of the season is time for consolidation, properly setting up the character arcs for the year. Except this is Game of Thrones, they have more cast than a Very Best Of Cast CD, so we’re still getting everyone in shot.
So, what’s up with Arya, Jamie and Bran? How many recognisable British actors can you spot popping up as new characters? Spoilers, obviously.
Bump Bump Bumpity Bump
Thrones has always done a decent job of linking episodes together either with plot or themes, so the disparate locations feel like they might be a single show after all. This time, it must have really written itself, as our intrepid fantasy heroes… bump into people!
Bran and chums bump into a forest boy, played by the kid from Doctor Who’s Human Nature episode! They accept him as a friend oddly quickly, but I guess I’d be desperate for company too if I was on the road with my kid brother, a man who says only one word, and no chance of running away.
Arya and company bump into a band of outlaws, led by Paul Kaye! And if that wasn’t unfortunate enough, the Hound shows up! I particularly enjoy these scenes – the Brotherhood do a nice line in friendly-yet-menacing.
Jamie and Brienne bump into… well, each other mostly, but a guy in black appears at the end too. Their banter was still excellent, although good to see them moving things along quickly, rather than letting the newfound fun duo meander on indefinitely.
Bump Bump WATERBOARDING
Jon Snow bumps into some wildlings! Well, I’m pushing my theme here, but still more stranger intros, and one of them is played by Mackenzie Crook of The Office and Pirates Of The Carribean! Hopefully this storyline will move quicker next week – an endless parade of quirky savages will just give me flashbacks to last year’s plodding Daenerys/Qarth scenes.
Sansa bumps into the Tyrell matriarch, played gloriously by Diana Rigg! Well, again, more of a scheduled meeting, but nonetheless lovely dialogue, and an equally enjoyable scene later when her granddaughter manipulates Joffrey. Enjoyable to see the bastard incest King in a new light.
Theon bumps into a slave boy played by Iwan Rheon of Misfits! Well, chats to him whilst being tortured. One of those characters you assume will be more important later, because they’ve cast too good an actor to only give him a few lines.
Daenerys not in this episode at all (even though it says “Wings” in the title), because she had her bumping quota last episode, when Ser Barristan introduced himself. Anyway, everyone’s finally in place, the new cast have had brief introductions, next week: stuff finally goes down? In the meantime, an entertaining Game of Thrones episode, even if it had the obvious smell of necessary set-up.