Ironically, with Winter trudging ever nearer, the second season of Game of Thrones is just starting to heat up. This second episode is similar to the first in that it spends most of its time building tension for the coming snowstorm, and instroducing a few new characters, but it ends on quite a bang - one that makes us wish we didn't have to wait another week for episode three.
While episode one gave us only a glimpse of Arya, this week she gets more than her fair share of screen time. Ned Stark's tomboyish daughter seems to be in her element as she pretends to be Arry the orphan boy on his way to the Wall with the other Night's Watch recruits. Her friendship with Gendry the armourer (also bastard son of Robert Baratheon) is going from strength to strength, but when soldiers from Kings Landing turn up to dispatch him as part of the biblical bastard-culling ordered by Joffrey, Arya assumes they are looking for her, and subsequently gives her identity away to Gendry. Luckily, he seems to be one of the good guys, and promises to keep her secret - unfortunately for Gendry, when playing the game of thrones, it's the good guys who tend to find themselves without their heads sooner or later.
Dany is still toiling away in the desert, and gets more than a little pissed off when the head of one her bloodriders is returned to her in a bag (presumably by one of the other Khals, who don't seem to like the idea of a female leader). Stannis and his cohort Mellisandre are still plotting away, and babbling on about some mysterious 'fire god'.
Tyrion is diving head first into the swamp of intrigue that is King's Landing; when Varys the Eunuch shows up uninvited to drink tea with Shae (whom no-one is supposed to know about) Tyrion makes it very clear that, unlike Ned Stark, he understands how the game is played and will not put up with passive aggressive threats. Tyrion also boots out the head of the guard following the baby massacre, and slots his man Bron into the job, much to the chagrin of Cersei Lannister. Cersei herself seems to be having trouble adjusting to her new role as Queen Regent; she is losing control of her inbred son, King Joffrey.
The most intriguing new character to be introduced this week hails from the Iron Islands. Yara, the younger sister of Theon Greyjoy, took over the responsibilities of soldiering when Theon was fostered out to the Starks. When he shows up with Robb's message to his father, Theon is astonished to discover (after a bit of misplaced groping) that his sister has certainly not been idle in his absence. It looks as though the Greyjoys are unlikely to come quietly.
Beyond the wall, Jon, Sam and co. are still partaking of the hospitality of a Wildling man who marries his own daughters (all of them) so that he can then father more daughters (and marry them). This week, Jon and Sam discover the fate of any male babies; after spying a baby being carried out into the snowy night, Jon follows. Creepily, the baby has been left as some sort of offering for a creature Jon only manages to catch a glimpse of before the Wildling smacks him over the head - a tall, spindly-looking thing in a hooded cloak. Did someone say...White Walkers?
Episode 2 Best Moment: When Theon Greyjoy finally recognises his sister.
Episode 2 Best Line: The whole 'fish' conversation between Varys, Shae and Tyrion.
Game of Thrones | Episode 3: What is Dead May Never Die