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Game of Thrones Season 1, Episode 2

Season 1, Episode 2

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“Winter is Coming,” according to the Stark Family’s stoic motto, but “Game of Thrones” heats up in its second episode, “The Kingsroad.” After scene-setting of pilot episode (give or take an ice-zombie attack), the daggers come out in the second. And if the show hinges on a literal “game,” “The Kingsroad” indicates who cheats and who plays by the rules.

We begin across the narrow sea with the Dothraki caravan. Daenerys, with long white-blonde hair and bare arms and shoulders, looks like a bummed-out Lady Godiva when she’s on horseback. Ser Joram rides over to cheer her up and recounts the Dothraki legend of the “ghost grass” that will one day cover the world. You know, like kudzu. He also tells her, “It’ll get easier,” probably referring to the young bride spending all day literally in the saddle, and all night figuratively so with Genghis Khan Khal Drogo. Her brother Viseryrs looks like an evil young Ian McKellan as he plots the conquest of Westeros.

Viseryrs would be the show’s #1 sniveling, bullying royal pipsqueak were it not for Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Early on he sasses to his uncle “Better-looking bitches than you’re used to,” when Tyrion wakes up in the kennel. Tyrion orders Joffrey to pay respects to the Stark after Bran’s life-threatening fall, and when the little brute protests, Tyrion reaches up to slap him across the face.