Game of Thrones: Season 2, Episode 10

Valar Morghulis (3 Jun. 2012)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
8.8
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 10,727 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 17 critic

Joffrey puts Sansa aside for Margaery Tyrell. Robb marries Talisa Maegyr. Jon prepares to meet Mance Rayder. Arya says farewell to Jaqen H'ghar. Daenerys tries to rescue her dragons.

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Title: Valar Morghulis (03 Jun 2012)

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With the battle won, King Joffrey names his grandfather, Tywin Lannister, as the Hand of the King. It has an immediate impact on Tyrion, who awakens in new and much smaller quarters wounded from the battle . Petyr Baelish is rewarded for his loyalty. The King takes an interest in Lady Margaery Tyrell and decides to marry her. Lord Varys recruits a new spy. Arya has managed to escape from Harrenhal with Jaqen H'ghar's help. He shows her something of himself. Theon and his men are surrounded at Winterfell and are forced to abandon their position. They don't leave much behind. North of the wall, Jon impresses his captor in a fight with one of his own. King Robb and Talisa are married despite the promise he had previously made. Brienne and Jaime Lannister continue their journey but not without difficulty. In Qarth, Daenerys enters the House of the Undead to retrieve her dragons. Written by garykmcd

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3 June 2012 (USA)  »

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Trivia

According to the novel, while Daenerys was at the House of the Undying, she saw no vision of Khal Drogo with their stillborn son Rhaego. She saw various visions about the past and foreshadowing of future events, and heard obscure prophecies. See more »

Quotes

Jaime Lannister: [after being recognized as Jaime Lannister] I wish someone would have told me, I wouldn't have had to steal that pig.
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Valar Morghulis
(uncredited)
Written by Ramin Djawadi
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User Reviews

Season 2: Bloody, twisty, colourful and engaging throughout
5 June 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As I have said before, I am not a particular fan of swords and sorcery style stories, full of long names and even longer genealogy charts to help you keep track of who is who; it isn't a genre that ever has me searching for more even if I have enjoyed it in some instances. That said, I am a fan of well told stories that engage me and surprise me in equal measure, and it is for this reason that I came to the second season of Game of Thrones and is also the reason why I will feel every month until I get to watch the third season and continue all these stories.

With the first season I felt it took me a minute or two to get into the tone of the show and also understand the basic characters enough to be able to get caught up in what was happening; with the second I had no such time and I was keen to get back into the battle as various armies marched across the land while small threats build overseas and political betrayal is embedded in every conversation of those seeking power for themselves. The war means that the second season has a much larger and perhaps simpler agenda but at the same time there are plenty of smaller moments and manoeuvring of characters that I continued to find as enjoyable as I did unpredictable. Not having read the book and being keen to avoid spoilers, all the various twists and turns of the plot was news to me, whether it be the turn of the war or the specifics of an individual character, and each story arch held me easily with no one thread being of more interest than another. The only obvious downside of having so much to squeeze in is that occasionally there are gaps in threads that are just left to save time – this is best seen in the final episode where several characters go from one situation to a different location without it really being clear how they did this. I imagine this "squeeze" effect is much harder for those coming from the books to the show.

That said, the season is impressive in how well it does this with relatively little time on each thread. Every second and every line of dialogue is important and are therefore mostly used very well to deliver character, motivation and also plot. The cast respond to this well and even the smaller characters are played in such a way that you are interested in them, which helps the nature of the telling where one cannot be sure who will live and who will die considering that characters who appear to be "main" can quickly be dispatched and forgotten within a few episodes if the plot turns in that direction. Generally I was impressed a lot more this season as characters grew and developed. Dinklage continues to give a great performance and is my favourite in terms of colour, although only marginally more than Gleeson, who delivers a monstrous c*** who is as arrogant as he is ill-suited for this role as King. Headey has grown on me more this season, as has Coleraine-girl Fairley. Likewise Allen, Harington, Gillen, Madden, Glen, Clarke and others all do strong work across their characters – too many to mention in fact, it is a real boon of the show that there are so many characters and yet I am interested in all of them and all of their threads.

The production looks great as well. I'm sure those who know the books inside out will complain about the presentation of some of the larger battles but for me nothing here felt limited by budget – it all felt like they did it that way because this was the way that worked best. Costumes, sets and locations all continue to be great and I got a nice kick out of this season being the first time I recognised somewhere they had used (Pyke being the nearby Ballintoy harbour in Northern Ireland). The gore and the nudity are excessive but they work because they fit with the excessive and colourful nature of the telling and the grand, gaudy sweep of the bloody tales.

Season 2 of this show doesn't disappoint. It delivers an engaging overall story with loads of threads and seeds for future threads and does it in a way that makes it all look easy. So much going on could easily have seen the show have weaker threads that annoy for taking up time but this doesn't happen and even though some characters and threads have lesser time, I was interested in all of them and in their threads. Not knowing the books really helps as well since no character are pushed to the fore or seem immune to the bloody and cruel twists of fate that are common here. Great show – a year will be a very long wait for the third season.


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