14 Important Things To Remember About 'Game Of Thrones' Season 2 Before The Season 6 Premiere
It's weird to think that there have been other seasons of Game Of Thrones, because Season 5 was just that intense. Between all the death and torture, a lot happened! The plot over the first five seasons of GoT has gotten pretty wild, and has birthed hundreds of theories about what is ahead — especially for Jon Snow — but let's not forget where and why it all started: Because Ned Stark was beheaded as a traitor, and Robert Baratheon was killed by a boar, and the battle for the Iron Throne shook Westeros just as winter was coming. Season 1 introduced us to the crazy world of Westeros, and in Season 2, the battles begun. With all that's happene in the show, I wouldn't blame you for needing a Game Of Thrones Season 2 refresher.
Season 2 was all about alliances and enemies, and there was also a lot of moving about. The Seven Kingdoms were at war. Dany had to figure out how to get across the Red Waste in the East with her dragon babies, and a very slim skeleton of her once powerful Khalasar. The Baratheon brothers were family feuding, and so were the Lannisters. The season was very important in that it set up many of the alliances that carry through the rest of the show.
If you don't have time to rewatch every episode of every season before the premiere of Game Of Thrones Season 6 in April, (you technically do, find the time) here are a few things to refresh your memory about Season 2:
1. The Seven Kingdoms Are At War
This is the season where things are HAPPENING, and the real moves for the Iron Throne start. The first episode, "The North Remembers," begins with the ominous red comet in the sky, which all of those vying for the Iron Throne interpret to mean that they are definity going to be the winner.
The main players are Daenerys Targaryen with her dragons and her small group of followers in Braavos, Robb Stark, the King in the North, Joffrey Baratheon at King's Landing (which really means Cersei Lannister and dad Tywin Lannister), Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone, and Renly Baratheon, also at King's Landing.
2. All The Baratheons Get In The Mix
After King Robert's death, his bros are like, "Cool, it's my turn." There's the good and great Renly, who would have truly made a great King, but suffers a terrible fate (more on that later). Then there's estranged angry guy Stannis Baratheon from Dragonstone, who falls in with red priestess Melisandre and converts to the Lord of Light.
3. Melisandre Paints The Kingdoms Red
The first time we meet Stannis' new boo and "spiritual advisor" Melisandre, we know she is up to no good, when she says those chilling words: "The night is dark and full of terrors." Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone has defered to the council of the mysterious and beautiful and terrifying Red Preistess, who serves the Lord of Light, R'lhhor.
Under Melisandre's advisement — and much to the dismay and doubt of Stannis' kindhearted knight Ser Davos Seaworth — Stannis decides to take on Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark and Joffrey all at once, which does not go well for him. Melisandre is undeterred and says it's all a part of the Lord of Light's plan, which we learn by Season 5 did not pan out very well.
4. The Shadow Baby
Oh my God, the shadow baby. There are few scenes more unforgettable on Game Of Thrones than in Season 2 when Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon bump uglies and make a hideous monster shadow baby which murders Renly Baratheon. Stannis urges Renly to surrender to him, which he refuses, so Melisandre takes action and births a literal demon assassin to kill Renly at camp.
This is devastating for many and especially for Renly's most loyal knight, Brienne of Tarth, who vows to kill Stannis for killing her king. Also for Ser Loras Tyrell, because he and Renly were totally in love. Sadface.
5. Joffrey Is King And It Still Sucks
Which seems like it should go without saying, but it really causes a lot of issues. Cersei is adamant about supporting her horrible child-king son, while Tyrion is just fed up with his nonsense. There is a satisfying scene where Tyrion slaps bratty little Joffrey across his evil face, but he really mucks things up in Season 2.
Joffrey orders that all of King Robert's bastard children be killed, abuses Sansa Stark for his own pleasure (and some prostitutes, sigh), and installs the Mountain at Harrenhall to torture and kill prisoners. He also drives his mom to drink, a lot.
6. Tyrion And Cersei Really Hate Each Other
Tyrion Lannister is the hand of the king, and Cersei, the Queen Regent, is really miffed about it. She drinks a lot, and I mean A LOT in Season 2 — but LBR, if anyone has a reason to hit the wine bottle, it's her. She'll do anything for her boy-king son, even though he's a "half-wit," as Tyrion calls him, right before he very satisfyingly slaps him across the face during a riot in King's Landing. Tyrion and Cersei spit some amazing, hateful insults at each other throughout the season.
7. The Starks Are All Over The Place (Literally)
One of the saddest threads throughout all of the seasons of Game Of Thrones is that the only good family there is, the Starks of Winterfell, are totally disbanded, scattered, and over the course of five seasons, mostly killed. After Ned Stark gets executed at the end of Season 1, son Robb becomes the King of the North and goes to war to avenge his father from the Lannisters.
Catelyn Stark tries to keep peace between Renly and Stannis Baratheon on behalf of her son. Jon Snow is at the Wall and beyond; Sansa is at King's Landing with Joffrey, ugh. Arya is traveling along the Kingsroad. Bran and Rickon remain at Winterfell under the care of Hodor and Osha, who they escape with after Theon sacks Winterfell.
8. Jaime Lannister Gets Captured By The Starks
Things go very bad very quickly for jerkface Jaime Lannister. He gets his comeuppance and then some in Season 2, making him a surprisingly sympathetic character at the end of the season: he's captured early by Robb Stark, the King of the North, and spends much of the season as a prisoner of war.
9. Sam Meets Gilly
The men of the Night's Watch go beyond the wall to seek help from the wildlings in anticipation that Mance Rayder has gathered a wildling army. At Craster's Keep, Sam rescues one of the repulsive wildling's many abused wives, Gilly, who is pregnant — and she reveals she wants to escape so she can keep the child, as Craster feeds all children that are not girls to the wildlings.
10. Arya Makes Her List...
Arya gets really mad really fast after seeing her dad Stark executed, which makes perfect sense, let's be real. She flees King's Landing and ends up Yoren's caravan of recruits for the Night's Watch along with Gendry (who is one of King Robert's bastards), who she becomes fast friends with. She pretends to be a boy named "Arry," which everyone pretends to fall for because they don't really care. They travel along the Kingsroad met by, of course, many trials and tribulations, including going to Harrenhall and witnessing the torture at the hand of Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain.
11... And Meets Jaqen Hagar
Between Syrio Forel, the Hound, and Jaqen H'ghar, Arya Stark has definitely had the most colorful history of mentorship. She meets Jaqen becasue he's being kept prisoner by Yoren on the Kingsroad. She saves him from a fire in a battle with the Lannisters (who capture them and take them to Harrenhall,), and in return, H'ghar says that because she saved him and two other prisoners, the Red God is owed three lives.
When they part, Jaqen offers to take Arya along with her to Braavos to join the Faceless Men, but she insists on finding her family (oh, Arya). He gives her the famed Braavosi coin that she'll use later and tells her: "Valar Morghulis." And as he always knew, Arya ends up back with Jaqen eventually.
12. Daenerys Is Wandering The Desert
After she mothers the dragons, Dany finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She had to find a way to cross the Red Waste. She's invited to Qarth, a super cool-looking city (the sets across the Narrow Sea are the best), but they don't receive her as well as she hoped. Eventually they try to capture her dragon babies and Dany and Ser Jorah have to find a way out.
13. Theon Loses It
Things do not go well for Theon Greyjoy (who we currently know as Reek) in Season 2. Theon gets King Robb to send him to the Pyke to seek help from his dad Balon Greyjoy, who rejects him. Strike one. Theon does not take well to this, and afterwards seals his fate by betraying Robb Stark and taking Winterfell. Robb is enraged and sends Ramsay Snow (Bolton) to capture Theon, and that really ends things for Theon: Ramsay is the one that tortures him and turns him into Reek.
14. The Battle Of Blackwater
This is the most important battle of all the many battles in Season 2. In the episode, Stannis attacks King's Landing with a ton of ships, and it looks like the landlocked fighters are #SOL. But Tyrion saves the day, as usual: He has the idea to use Wildfire on the ships, which Bronn beautifully dispenses by shooting a fiery arrow into one of the armada. I love you, Bronn. Stannis is pretty sad, and Melisandre is like, "It's OK, pal! We'll get 'em next time!"
Season 6 premieres in April, so make sure get caught up on the rest of the seasons before Game Of Thrones returns.
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO, Giphy (14)