Synopsis: As the war of the four kings rages on, both Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister must find their places within the chaos. Jon attends to his duties as steward to the lord commander of the Knight’s Watch, and Tyrion assumes the role as Hand of the king at the behest of his father. These two men struggle in their positions of service, but if they are to succeed, they must persevere. And under the tyrannical rule of Joffrey Lannister, Tyrian’s fate may mirror those of the other Hands before him.
Review: Framing this issue between Jon and Tyrion is a smart way to show the importance of both of these characters. They both serve powerful men, and their new statuses do offer power themselves. Conversely, it also limits them in various ways. Jon knows that he will never be more than his brother Rob if Rob gains the iron throne. Jon will still be bound by his oath to the watch. Similarly, Tyrion, as interim hand of the king, can wield great power, but he remains stymied by both his father, Tywin Lannister, and his cruel nephew, the king. Though their houses war with one another, highlighting these similarities shows us how sensible these two characters are. Neither uses their new power to for personal gain, but Tyrion and Jon attempt to be just men unlike so many others.
There is a less is more approach when it comes to this issue. Not to say that things look too sparse, but the real focus lies with the characters. The strongest visual presence is Cersei. Cersei’s expressions really convey how much disdain she has for her brother. And once he is named hand of the king, she practically hisses and spits venom while delivering belittling dialogue.
Clash of Kings has a lot of moving pieces, and it should be applauded for taking time to fully develop certain characters. It is only a matter of time before the series launches head first into the bloody wars that are being fought during this time, so it remains important to set the foundations first.