'Game of Thrones' stays dark and enthralling partway through its second season run. The tone for this second season has been thoroughly grim.
Arya and Gendry decide the best course of action for their pursuit of more information on the mysterious Brotherhood is to torture superfluous characters. Without knowledge of their future, these scenes seem overly gratuitous, and we can only hope they stop meandering and begin focusing on their mission, as opposed to torturing girls for pleasure.
Joffrey continues the grim trend with his treatment of a few background prostitute characters. Tyrion was largely vacant this episode, but we do catch a few glimpses of his faraway journey and his compassion towards another character after her ruthless treatment.
Lastly, we have Dany venturing into a new city demanding entrance, only to be halted by the gatekeepers. Though her story has only inched forward slightly, we can expect intriguing things shortly as the season winds down.
For fans of the novels, you may find the "rushing" feeling happening her with a few specific characters, as a few scenarios are consolidated to make for more enthralling fast-paced television. Readers of the novel should be slightly alarmed that they are going to get to the end point far before George R.R. Martin collects his drafts on the future of the series and the mythical world of Westeros.
Regardless, the shows tone is steady and dark, and we can expect a few key elements coming together shortly to make for a fascinating conclusion to this branch of the series.