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427 of 488 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Acted, Well-Written Masterpiece.
I am unthinkably lucky. My favorite book series of all time has been turned into one of the best television shows of all time.

And I'm not the only one who thinks so! Critics love it, award shows laud it, and record-breaking millions of viewers are tuning in.

The dialog is superb, flowing with hidden subtext, overt emotion, political posturing,...
Published on April 18, 2012 by Russ Nickel

versus
205 of 257 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Un-skippable spoilers, right when you pop it in.
Don't get me wrong: I love Game of Thrones. It is one of my favorite series of all time. I've watched every episode to date with enthusiasm.

This review is about the un-skippable ad at the beginning of the DVD, completely loaded with spoilers.

I got this DVD as a gift for my friend who hasn't seen any of season 2. They were spoiled within 30 seconds...
Published 18 months ago by Richard


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427 of 488 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Acted, Well-Written Masterpiece., April 18, 2012
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This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
I am unthinkably lucky. My favorite book series of all time has been turned into one of the best television shows of all time.

And I'm not the only one who thinks so! Critics love it, award shows laud it, and record-breaking millions of viewers are tuning in.

The dialog is superb, flowing with hidden subtext, overt emotion, political posturing, unfortunate truths, naïve admissions, and much more. And each line is perfectly acted! I don't know how they managed to fill an ensemble cast of this scope with such talented actors, but even the children are impeccable. Joffrey conjures uncontrollable hatred, managing to be one of the most contemptible characters to grace the screen, and at such a young age! I feel bad for that kid. There's no way anyone will be able to look at him the same again.

Season 2 picks up after the shocking events of season 1, which I won't mention in case you haven't seen it. And if that's the case, what are you doing? Go watch it right now!

The death of a monarch has left the land of Westeros in political turmoil, rulers declaring themselves kings on every corner of the map. As the inevitable war ensues, we follow the various leaders, rooting for the most honorable, but simultaneously fearing for their lives, for this is a dark show, and the most just cause is often the most treacherous. Our heroes do not have the strength of numbers, but rather the strength of character, and that does not win wars.

The season launches us headfirst into this maelstrom of a power struggle, introducing us to even more characters than before. For people who haven't read the books, it may be a bit hard to follow, but the show does its best and usually manages to pull it off. The two newest additions to the battle for dominance are Stannis Baratheon, eldest brother to the late king, and Balon Greyjoy, father of Theon Greyjoy and perpetual enemy of house Stark.

From the moment you meet these characters, you'll be awestruck by just how high quality this show is. HBO spares no expense, and their money is put to good use. The new sets are stunning, from Stannis's table carved into a likeness of all of Westeros, to Balon's fireplace, crafted into a giant Kraken.

Back in King's Landing, we once again finds ourselves enjoying Peter Dinklage's Tyrion as he continues to cleverly maneuver the human chess pieces that make up the court. He's definitely this season's hero, and he strikes a perfect balance between likability, morality, and underhanded politicking. As the season goes on, even more people die, the stakes are raised, and a sense of impending doom settles across the land.

If you love the realism of the series, you may be shocked when things take a turn for the magical partway through the season. Still, the sorcery is artfully done, and while it's a bit hard to fathom, there isn't much of it to get used to. By the halfway point, situations have become truly dire. War is most certainly brewing, the lands north of the wall promise ever-increasing danger, and the clash of kings continues.

And what a clash it is! Episode 9 presents us with what is quite possibly the most incredible battle in television history. Only on HBO could a show achieve such heights. The tension of the women awaiting the outcome, the gruesome brutality of war, the chilling fact that no matter how much you prepare, in the end your fate is decided as much by random chance as by skill--it's all awe-inspiring. Whatever stalling the season might be guilty of is justified in this amazing episode.

And it definitely is guilty of some stalling. Daenerys doesn't accomplish much, but the resolution to her storyline is satisfying. And even if you didn't think that was enough of a season finalé, I have just one word for you: zombies. Or maybe two words: zombie horse.

This is a show of deceit and of honor, of love and betrayal and politics, of war and the base desires of man, of monsters and of loyalty, of sex and lies and conniving. It is made with the utmost sincerity, doing service to the source material, and expands upon that material with brilliant scenes we could not have witnessed in the novels.

There is plenty of violence and nudity, so bear that in mind, but that is not the heart of the show. Rather, those aspects serve to underscore the themes of the story. These characters live in a dark world, and they must make the best of it while they can. After all, Winter is Coming.

UPDATE: Packaging is gorgeous, although the DVD case is somewhat flimsy, but what can you do? Getting the digital copy was super easy. I followed the instructions and downloaded all the episodes off Amazon Unbox without any problems, and was able to watch them on my PS3 immediately. Admittedly, my TV is only 720p, but the picture quality of the discs was impeccable. Have only run through everything to make sure it works. Can't wait to watch the extra features and update again!
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106 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars info on whats in the box (Digital Copy + UV or Amazon Instant), February 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
this is mainly a post for the digital Copy info...or lack thereof.

Besides the bluray disks & the double sided DVD's you get ONE code that works with itunes AND either Amazon Instant, Vudu, or Flixster (Ultraviolet).

Note: sign up/in at Flixster/UV and then LINK your VUDU account. This allows you to get the 1080p copy onto your PS3 and still keep it stored in the cloud that is UV/Flixster.

I do not keep anything in Amazon's cloud (yet) but the option is there for you.

summary: Season2 is on my apple tv [iCloud](1080p/720p), and its also in the Vudu cloud (1080p) so I can watch it on my PS3.

sadly, the box does not state this nice 2 way digital copy code, but its all in there, which is nice that HBO realizes that people might want to watch it on a computer, iOS device, or PS3 AND gives you this flexibility.

Hope this helps.
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205 of 257 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Un-skippable spoilers, right when you pop it in., April 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (DVD)
Don't get me wrong: I love Game of Thrones. It is one of my favorite series of all time. I've watched every episode to date with enthusiasm.

This review is about the un-skippable ad at the beginning of the DVD, completely loaded with spoilers.

I got this DVD as a gift for my friend who hasn't seen any of season 2. They were spoiled within 30 seconds of watching by this ridiculous advertisement. Why on earth would anyone think it a good idea to force-advertise the show that is already being watched?? What an atrocious marketing department these guys have.

It's this reason alone I have to give this product 1 star, as it manages to completely ruin itself literally within 30 seconds of hitting "Play". If you give it as a gift or for yourself, just be warned.
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527 of 676 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review from a diehard book fan, June 6, 2012
This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (DVD)
I LOVE this show. Yes, I'm a hugeee book fan and don't appreciate all of the changes in the show, but overall I am a huge fan.

Rating guide:
Non-readers: 4-5 stars
General book readers: 3.5-4.5 stars
Book purists/fanatical: 0-2 stars

This is a great show, but in my eyes it's just not as good as season 1. It is definitely better compared to most of what is on television and the acting is superb and extremely well cast. However, my problems with this season revolve around two main issues:

#1) the severe deviations from the books that the D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have taken. In the first season deviations existed, but mostly to the point to help with time/budget constraints. The writers still generally stayed true to the characters.

Season 2 is a whole different story. GRRM has spoken many times of the Butterfly Effect. The more the writers change things, the more the story is going to change in the long run. With the huge amount of characters in the series, seemingly little changes can have huge implications. While season 1 generally stayed true to the novel (which I gave five stars to), season 2 took a life of its own. Many story lines were completely invented or so heavily modified that they barely were anything like the books.

I know that television/movies adaptations MUST be different from the books. However, I think it's crucial that the writers still accurately capture the essence of the characters. When the writers started to play with the characters and get cute, I decided that they weren't doing it due to budget/time constraints, but because they thought they were *better.* And they're not.

#2) It isn't as nearly as good overall this season compared to last, REGARDLESS book deviations. Storylines drag, some dialogue is so bad that it seems like it was taken out of a cheesy soap opera (cliches abound), there are really disjointed and awkward scenes, and they can't seem to do much else except have two people in a room talking to each other. The pacing to me was just off this season.

More in-depth look at my problems with season 2:

*Important scenes and character arcs are modified beyond recognition. While some changes must be made for the sake of adaptation, that's not true for everything. There was no reason to completely change The House of the Undying scene, which was one of the most interesting scenes in the entire series to something that was so irrelevant and had nothing to do with a "song of ice and fire." it wouldn't have hurt to use a little more caution with Jon's character as well, because his famous "kill" was confusing and its intentions unclear to many viewers. Arya's storyline was not a bad one in the show, but looked like a Disney version of what was in the books. I was looking forward to seeing the gritty brutality of it, and instead it just fell flat. Robb Stark....I don't even want to go there. It may be his storyline that infuriates me the most out of them all. In the books he was a fool that I could sympathize with; in the show he's not only a fool, but a jerk (to put it mildly). I won't go into details due to spoilers and you may not understand if you haven't read the books, but his character is butchered beyond redemption.

*Women are dramatically different in the show than the books. The writers feel the need to make the majority of the female cast "badass," ruthless, and/or bratty. An example is Tyrion's whore, Shae. In the books she is very obedient to Tyrion and very much acts like a prostitute (which she is). She shows signs of cleverness, but most of their interactions are based on sex and lust. In the show, Shae has a huge potty mouth, acts like a big "tough girl," and doesn't treat Tyrion like someone of high noble birth in the slightest. The writers think they are making a more complex and dynamic character by making Shae witty and rebellious, because that seems like Tyrion's type of gal. However, nothing's ever so simple. One of Tyrion's biggest weaknesses is his naivety in love and even though he *knows* Shae is at the root, just a whore in it for money, he can't stay away from her. It's a richly layered story that doesn't need assistance from the writers. They also changed Robb's love interest to someone completely different, and once again she was more of a "bratty rebel." Dany is another character that is also much more cruel in the show. The writers have no imagination when it comes to writing/modifying the women in the book. And Sansa, one of the main characters in the books, is hugely neglected for most of the season. I guess she just isn't "cool enough."

Not to mention, Dany's entire storyline in Qarth was different. Hardly any of it was from the books. I understood and expected that, considering she was rather inactive for most of book two and her chapters were admittedly pretty boring, but instead of changing it for the better, they somehow managed to turn it into a ridiculous soap opera that made little to no sense.

*Cheesiness. One of the things I love about GRRM is that he is never a cheesy romance writer. I DO enjoy scenes that show true emotion and express things I can empathize with, such as love for others. I DON'T enjoy super contrived, cheesy romance stories that are so cliche and boring that not even my most "hopeless romantic" friends can enjoy it. And there was just too much of that in this show, especially between Robb and a certain love interest. The dialogue was just atrocious. But David Benioff DID write Troy, so that explains quite a bit.

*Two characters talking to each other in a room. It seems like practically every scene is two people in a room talking to each other. The writers don't seem to excel particularly well at writing group scenes, and like the one-on-one talks. This is alright to an extent, but I think sometimes it makes it come off as a cheesy medieval soap opera. Not good.

An example of this is Arya Stark and Tywin Lannister in Harrenhal. Charles Dance and Maisie Williams have amazing on-screen chemistry together and are a joy to watch, but they had their little back-and-forth banter for what....4 episodes? It got a little old. Arya is supposed to be going through a living HELL while at Harrenhal, not hanging out with Daddy Warbucks all the time.

*All of the little mistakes. A few mistakes is normal and expected - a ton is not and a sign of lazy writing. These writers claim to making a somewhat faithful adaptation of ASOIAF, yet they continue to mess up religions, locations, and simple Westerosi facts the entire show. And these weren't things that had anything to do with budget constraints. Having northern men referencing to praying to the Seven for instance, is completely unfaithful to the books, and the only reason I can come up with them changing it is simple - lazy writing. The Old Gods were already mentioned several times in season 1, so there is no reason to have men of the North praying to gods of the South. A bunch of little things like that add up over time and seem like a disservice to book readers. Most of us highly appreciate the little things in the books being acknowledged and done correctly. Not to mention, these errors could be seen by even a non-reader, considering religions have already been established and explored to a degree in the first season.

If you are a book reader and can completely separate the books from the show in your head, you can still enjoy this. It's entertaining, suspenseful, and brutal. It moves at a rather uncomfortably slow pace, but gains some momentum toward the end. Also, the show is mostly very good at staying true to Theon's arc, which is one of the most interesting in the series. The Battle at Blackwater Bay Episode (8) was also phenomenal, and written by GRRM himself. It is possibly the greatest battle scene in television HISTORY. If only he could be a writer in every episode!

I would also like to add that GRRM does NOT have any sort of veto power or control over the script and final decision making. He can loosely be called a "consultant" and has one episode a season to write, but that's it. He has said himself that D&D can do whatever they want (turn the characters to zombies or getting abducted by aliens is all within their right - HIS WORDS) and he can't stop it. The show is D&D's baby, not his. He doesn't "approve" or "sign off" on anything. I know that D&D probably for the most part kind of want to stay true to the books, but they DO NOT HAVE TO. Proof is in my second comment - and that's in reference to the very faithful first season, not season 2.

Great things about this season?
-Amazing CGI and battle scenes, including the direwolves. Grey Wind is fierce and Ghost is just beautiful.
-Superb casting. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Conleth Hill as Varys, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, and the list goes on and on. We also have the addition of Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth and many other new characters, and Christie as Brienne is just perfection. She IS Brienne.
-With a few exceptions, Theon Greyjoy's storyline was an excellent book to television translation. It's a shame how quickly the seasons have to move, because it's one of the most intriguing storylines in the entire series. Alfie Allen also gave a stellar performance as Theon.
-Brienne/Jaime scenes were classic and they have great on-screen chemistry.
-The behind the scenes look at the Loras/Renly/Margaery triangle was very well done.

And that's just a few. It's great in MANY ways and is beautifully done on so many levels.
I would also make a list of things that book purists wouldn't like, but that would be about 20 pages (not kidding).

So, do I recommend this? Definitely not to a severe book purist, but yes in general and definitely to a non-reader. I personally don't enjoy the major deviations and wish they would stay truer to the novel, but it all depends on the viewer. I'm not trying to say that this a terrible show, because it's not. It's beautiful and I'm thrilled to see some of my favorite characters ever come to life. It's simply just becoming more and more different from the books, and for some people like me, that's not appreciated. Just remember, this isn't A Song of Ice & Fire this season, but a loose adaptation of it set in an ASOIAF world. And not to mention, in my opinion this is a downgrade from the first season, book reader or not.

I have faith though that things will become better in the future, however, because A Storm of Swords will be broken up into two seasons. That will give the writers some more leeway and time to develop things (hopefully). Also, we have some great new cast members for next season, such as Iwan Rheon (probably as Ramsay Bolton), Ciarán Hinds (as Mance Rayder and played Caesar in HBO's Rome), Tobias Menzies (as Edmure Tully and was in HBO's Rome as Brutus [funny, huh?]), Clive Russell as Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell, and a host of other new cast members. Lots to look forward to!
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Words of Wisdom, July 10, 2012
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This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (DVD)
Dear fellow Game of Thrones viewers, potential and current alike,

As an avid A Song of Ice and Fire fan, I cannot resist the urge to say that any reader should experience the epic and tragic tale of Westeros. Nevertheless, this review is about the current HBO spin-off of the rave political fantasy brawl.

I will not spill the bloody details or shocking twists and turns of the show, nor will I layout a treasure map of the plotline for Game of Thrones. That is not the point of a review, the reason is to advice potential buyers and viewers whether or not the item is Aye, or Nay.

With that, the Second Season of Game of Thrones is simply put, amazing. Do not expect your typical Lord of the Rings fantasy adventure; expect bloody plots, devastating climaxes, and gripping horror. Game of Thrones is not for the light of heart, that loose their grip on the present to a splash of blood, or a glimpse of a nipple; or the young of age, whom should not even be in the same room when this show is airing. (Shame on you if so)

However, do not strife. This is not one of those shows that is merely sex and blood. No, be prepared to be floored by the twists and turns of the devious plotline. You will be enthralled, gripped, and captivated by the talent on and off screen.

To put it simply, Game of Thrones (both season one, two, and beyond, based on the novels) is astounding. You might get a little confused by the cast of thousands and dismayed by some of the events, but Game of Thrones is entertainment at its best.

I would now like to address the unhappy viewers that are distressed about the show detouring from the novel. Let me share some words of wisdom from a quote written by George R.R. Martin, himself, from his A Game of Thrones The Graphic Novel: Volume One,

"The comic book is not the book; the graphic novel is not the novel. The same, of course, is true of the films and television. When we move a story from one medium to another, no matter how faithful we attempt to be, some changes are inevitable. Each medium has its own demands, its own restrictions, its own way of telling a story.

There are aspects of my epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, that make it an especially difficult work to translate to any visual medium. The sheer scale of it. All those scenes. All those settings. A cast of thousands. The complexity of my plots and subplots. The structure: tight third-person narratives, interwoven from the viewpoint of many different characters. In the novels, I make free use of some techniques that work well in prose, and less well, or not at all, for a visual medium: internal monologues, flashbacks, unreliable narrators. I strive to put you inside the heads of my characters, make you privy to their thoughts, let you see the world through their eyes. Screenwriters and comic-book scriptors cannot do any of that, not without resorting to clumsy devices like voice-overs and thought balloons. For all these reasons, I went for years thinking A Game of Thrones and its sequels would never be adapted. Not for film, not television, and certainly not for funny books. Just. Could. Not. Be. Done.

Shows you what I know.
...

For my part, I love television series, and I love the comics...er, graphic novel...too. This is my world, these are my people, and this is still my story, now being told in a different medium, where a whole new audience can enjoy it.
...

A series of novels. A television show. A comic book. Three different media, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, its own pleasure and frustrations...but all ultimately telling the same story."

There you have it folks. I understand it can be slightly frustrating when a TV show, movie, etc. does not follow the book verbatim, however, it is its own story. Reading Martin's Preface to his Graphic Novel allowed me to understand and relinquish any hostilities toward TV shows or movies that did not honor the "complete" storyline of personal favorites. Take the previous words to heart, and you will realize just how marvelous Game of Thrones Season Two is, by itself, as its own story.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT get this through Amazon Instant! UPDATED- Read Amazon's response., February 23, 2013
By 
Jason Geyer (Universal City, TX United States) - See all my reviews
The show itself is marvelous. Definitely seek out the discs or download through iTunes.

I'm a long time Amazon Prime member, but I will never buy another Amazon Instant movie or TV show again. I have a new iMac, 40mps internet connection, Netflix Instant, iTunes, and Hulu and NONE of those ever pause or show lower resolution. But I can't even try to watch Game of Thrones Season 2 again, as just watching (or trying to watch) the first two episodes has resulted in the player pausing every few minutes, and then jumping to a different part of the show when I finally get it to resume playback. The pop-out player shows captions that I can't turn off (and looking over the forum threads I'm far from alone in this) and the quality of the stream keep bouncing to very high compression for no good reason. Again, I stream Netflix nearly every day and have yet to encounter a fraction of the problems I'm having with this one program. I've tried multiple browsers, an iPad and my PS3 and none of them resulted in anything but frustration.

At this late date, Amazon has no excuse to be so far behind the field, especially when you cannot get a refund for their terrible service. Shame on me for buying the full season upfront.

UPDATE: April 4, 2013.

Amazon apparently just read my review, contacted me to let me know that there were problems with the show files on their end, refunded my money AND send "new copies" of Season 2 to my instant account.

THIS is how you do customer service. They can't give me back my frustrated weekend, but they can make sure that I'll still be a satisfied Amazon customer, and earn another chance at their service. I've bumped up the review to 4 stars (instead of the original 2) to reflect my satisfaction. Their response is below:

"I am sorry that you have had a bad experience with Amazon and streaming our Game of Thrones Season 2 videos from Amazon Instant Video.

I am contacting you to let you know we hear your voice and we are prepared to do something about this horrible viewing experience with us. I have went through and refunded your money for this video seeing as how you were not able to view it at the quality that it should have been at. We pride ourselves on the quality of our videos and we will make sure we do better in getting a video to you with higher quality.

It seems that we had issues with the Game of Thrones at the time that you had issues with playing it and it was the file it self which was giving you the errors. We apologize deeply for this issue and I hope you can give us a second chance at making things right."
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34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NO ONE wants to watch those unskippable previews, April 1, 2013
This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (DVD)
I love the show itself, but I'm giving the DVD set a 1 star review for one reason, and one reason only - the nearly four minutes of HBO promos that you have to sit through EVERY TIME you put the DVD in the player. There's absolutely no way to skip them (menu button doesn't work, fast forward buttons don't work, stopping the disc then hitting menu doesn't work). I PAID for these discs, I shouldn't be required to watch commercials for HBO every time I try to watch them. I won't be buying any more HBO DVD sets, just because of this issue. Do the companies putting these unskippable promos on their products really think that irritating their customers every time they put a disc in the player is good for business?

Update - I wrote the above after watching just the first two episodes. It turns out the remaining discs don't have the unskippable promos before the menu. Still annoying that disc 1 is that way though. Complaining about here probably won't do much good, but on the off chance a DVD producing company should be reading this - most people watching your discs would be more likely to buy other products you're selling if you put the promos as an option that can be watched from the menu, rather than ruining the viewing experience with these unskippable commercials.
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63 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the Battle Begin..... I'll Gladly Pay the Iron Price!, June 18, 2012
This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
We've got kings climbing out of the woodwork vying for the coveted Iron Throne. We've got a little girl wandering around the countryside just trying to get home, and what she does just to survive, and another young lady just trying to stay alive, living among her enemies. We've got one little boy left in charge of the homestead and trying to keep the home fires burning. We've got a young man trying to find his place upon the Wall and beyond it, and another who could possibly jeopardize his war for independence due to his hormones. Add into the mix, two brothers who can't seem to come to terms, a trusted friend turned traitor, a stalwart amazonian female knight charged with the daunting task of protecting a prized prisoner, a red witch, dragons, emerging magic, a cameo appearance of a familiar face from season one, and an awesome season end shot of what creeps and crawls beyond the Wall. This is a recipe you can't wait to sample when it's done cooking!

The cast is amazing, but then, was there any doubt? Who does not love the irrepressible Tyrion, (Peter Dinklage)? He's accused of many things he hasn't done, but doesn't get the credit for the good things he has done, yet he always seems to take it in stride. Close on his heels is Jamie, (wonderfully played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Next to Tyrion, he's got some of the best one liners, "Where did you find that massive beast?" (referring to Brianne (loved that!). Bronn (Jerome Flynn), is great as Tyrion's muscle.

We get a couple of brief glimpses into Cersei's (Lena Heady) attempt at humanity when she laments to Tyrion about what her and Jamie's actions may have brought about. But it's not enough to allow us to sympathize with her a whole lot, as she's still a hateful manipulative person. Tywin (superbly executed by Charles Dance) is cold and unyielding, but delightful to watch.

Arya (Maise Williams) is magnificent as she's thrust into an unknown world and tries to adapt as best she can. Sansa, (Sofie Turner) although still naive in a lot of respects, is starting to use her wits somewhat, and knows the right things to say and do to keep from getting beat by her "beloved Joffrey's" henchmen, or worse. She's learning the game. Littlefinger, (Aiden Gillen) and Varys, (Conleth Hill) are, as always, the snake and the spider. Both are wonderful in their roles.

Bran, (Issac Hemstead Wright) tries to run Winterfell as best he can in the absence of his brother and mother. At least he has Maester Luwin for council, as well as wildling Osha, and let's not forget his surrogate legs, Hodor.

Jon's (Kit Herrington) oath and loyalty will be tested as the Night's Watch ventures beyond the Wall to gather information. The constant badgering and harassing of Jon by wildling Ygritte is delightful to watch. She definitely gets under his skin. Robb does his best to continue to win battles and loses his heart, while Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) will do whatever it takes to bring her girls home. Speaking of loyalty, Dany (Emilia Clarke) finds out who her friends are and who aren't. We see a different side to the Theon (Alfie Allen) we've known, and see a much more sadistic side to Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), (me thinks the apple doesn't fall too far from this family tree).

I am a ASoIaF book reader, (on book 4, a Feast for Crows). After watching spellbound to season 1, I decided to pick of the books. I'm glad I did. Having watched the show before having read the books allowed me to put faces to names, got a sense of places and of course the magnitude of the ever imposing Wall. It greatly helped in understanding this immense world known as Westeros. Let me tell you, it can get confusing, it's that big!

And, because it's so big, HBO had to streamline some events and/or characters. Keep in mind, this is an adaptation. If the show followed the books word for word, that would be boring, because we'd know everything that was going to happen. At that point, why watch at all? There is no element of suprise, such as there is now with these (what I feel is minor) changes. This way, it keeps book readers on their toes.

Some events which were not in the books are in the show. Does that devalue the story of the books? In my opinion, no... not really. While interaction between Arya and Tywin never took place in the book, I loved the fact their paths crossed in the show, and personally that's an event which would have played out well in the book. The scene of the council of 13 in Qarth with Pyat Pree was fabulous, and I could have easily seen it as part of the book. True, there was no "weasel soup" but with an undertaking of this massive size, some events just have to go, some characters have to do double duty to knit the storyline together. Yes, they've deviated from the sacred books, but I do understand the necessity of it.

A couple of places in the show were muddied just a little bit. They should have gone more in depth and been more succinct over the importance of Arya's "list", as well as clarifying what was happening between Qhorin Halfhand and Jon. It can be a bit confusing to non-book readers. While I thought they could have done the House of the Undying a bit better, it was nice to see a familiar face. Other than that, I've got no complaints about the season. The story and our characters progressed, some a little more than others. Even with the changes and deviations, this is by far, the best show out there. It bites that we have to wait almost a year before season 3.

Definitely a keeper. It is known.... : )

~ jade ~
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31 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware of Bluray sets having problems., February 21, 2013
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This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
There's a lot of people out there having issues with these Bluray sets. A lot of people have missing discs, others (like myself) have all the discs, but the Blurays won't play. In my set it's disc 3 that won't play. Excellent show, but this is a place to rate these specific sets and my opinion is if you're thinking of buying them, wait... there's too many problems with them now. EDIT: It seems my disc 5 won't play either. Discs 1 ,2 and 4 play fine, discs 3 and 5 don't play at all. New Sony Bluray playerwith the latest firmware updates and still won;t play those specific discs.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strays From the Source But Still Great Television, August 16, 2012
This review is from: Game of Thrones: Season 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
Since the home video release has yet to come out I'll mostly be commenting on the merits of the show itself as opposed to the forthcoming additional features.

While the show's writers did an excellent job of adapting the first novel (A Game of Thrones) into a ten episode season this time around the challenges were far greater than even they may have expected. Based upon the second book "A Clash of Kings", season two had the intimidating job of trying to cover a continent-wide war for the Iron Throne along with the continuation of Daenerys Targaryen's story arc within the same amount of time as the first run. Suffice it to say if you thought the scope of season one was significant this time around it's even greater.

Unfortunately for hardcore purists who expect a nearly identical translation of the novel it doesn't happen as many liberties are taken with this season in order to make everything fit properly. The general tale is still intact but you'll find that quite a lot of content from the book doesn't make it into the season or in certain instances is augmented and tailored to get the general idea across but isn't as fleshed out. Season 2 also sports quite a bit of created scenes in order to support the inclusion of the character Robb (who is no longer a viewpoint character in the novel) as well as to support an entirely new series of events for Daenerys whose original story-arc is mostly left on the cutting room floor.

Despite all of these changes and fixes getting under some fans' skin, comfort can be taken in the fact that season 2 continues onwards with brilliant performances from the cast, both old and new, as well as some awe-inspiring set pieces and locations (Northern Ireland, Croatia, and Iceland). With Sean Bean and Mark Addy gone there was some concern on both the audiences' and writers' parts about how well the rest of the actors and actresses would hold up. Thankfully quite a number of them stepped up to fill that void: Theon (Alfie Allen) finally gets some screen time as we see him struggle between his ties to Robb and his disapproving and cold family, Arya (Maisie Williams) has to use her wits and her lessons from her father and Syrio Forel in order to survive amongst enemies, and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) in an unexpected way replaces Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) as being Joffrey/Cersei's main combatant as he seeks to bring the young ruler and his mother to heel.

The second season brings other changes as well. For instance the overwhelming amount of nudity and sex from the first has been vastly curtailed. I think I can count the number of times sex happens on screen on only one hand and honestly that's perfectly alright to me. In a lot of ways the sex felt absolutely useless in the first season (most of which was purely created for the show) aside from possibly the attempt of the writers or HBO to attract viewers through such things. Now that a large audience is secured and critical praise is running rampant it appears as though the program doesn't need to feature it as prominently. Replacing the sex however is blood and guts. This season is a lot more violent than the last which isn't only a reflection of Martin's work but also indicative of the additional funding which the show received as a result of its highly positive reception. Fans will be ecstatic to see that Stannis Baratheon's attack on King's Landing actually makes it into the season (having an entire episode dedicated to it) in all its fiery, blood soaked glory.

Overall the second season is right on par with what the first established in terms of quality. The acting is still great, the locations are beautiful, and the story-telling is gripping. Once again though - those that wanted a direct copy of A Clash of Kings will not be entirely happy. However those people can take solace in the fact that the heart of the novel is still very much intact and effectively adapted to the screen.

If there is one flaw to season two though it has to be the number of viewpoints. Season one told its story using the nine different perspectives from the first novel - a feat made a little easier for the show in that many of them were actually together in the same place (though thinking and doing different things). Season two on the other hand pulls from nine characters once again but also stays with Robb who is only referenced to by others or appears in dialogues with Catelyn in the book. On top of this most of the characters are on their own as opposed to a couple being in one place and others being somewhere else. The result of this is a lot of transitions within a single episode. Although the shifts are still fluid and not confusing at all it makes for potentially disappointing episodes if your favorite character or story-arc only gets shown for about seven minutes out of an hour. This is also undoubtedly the reason why so much from the source material either gets severely cut-down or left out entirely.
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