Season one of the HBO series Game of Thrones is a lot about setting up the world of the show, introducing us to the characters and their various positions and relations. Season two, though, which aired last spring, and is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download, is about floundering for control in a major power vacuum, the world thrown into chaos, and enough uncertainty that anyone could come out ahead.
Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) sits on the Iron Throne, the traditional place of power for the Seven Kingdoms. He is young and arrogant, battling with manipulative mother Cersei (Lena Headey) and frustrated uncle Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) over what should be done for their land. Only Tyrion truly understands the costs of Joffrey's actions, with Dinklage delivering a stellar performance, and Cersei begins to question whether she has sway over her son any longer.
Joffrey's rule is disputed by many, both because of (true) rumors that he is not the actual son of the departed King Robert, but instead a product of incest between Cersei and her brother, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and because he coldly executes the beloved leader of the North, Ned Stark, late in season one. Ned's eldest son, Robb (Richard Madden), is declared King of the North by his people, a title Joffrey is determined not to let stand, while Robert's brothers, Renley (Gethin Anthony) and Stannis (Stephen Dillane), the latter of whom is distracted by the lure of a wicked temptress (Carice van Houten), each hope to take back the entire Seven Kingdoms.
These are the main power players at this point, and they clash numerous times. It's interesting how Game of Thrones not only can balance so many personalities, but keep them all feeling distinct and authentic. The series is not about the war, even though that is a major focus, but instead is about the characters. Each have good and bad sides, struggling with their flaws, and occasionally getting to showcase their strengths. The bad guys are deliciously creepy, and the heroes are noble, but each also have other elements about them, and people in their camp who should be on the opposite side.