The season premiered on April 1, 2012.
Season 2 spans several months on a world where the seasons last for years at a time. The Seven Kingdoms are at war, with the King in the North, Robb Stark, fighting to win independence for his people and those of the Riverlands. Robb decides that he must win the allegiance of the fiercely independent ironborn to his cause, and sends his best friend Theon Greyjoy to treat with his father, who is hatching plans of his own. Meanwhile, Joffrey Baratheon holds the Iron Throne with the backing of the powerful House Lannister, but his uncle Renly has also claimed the throne with the support of House Tyrell, whose armies are much larger. As they struggle for the throne, Tyrion Lannister arrives in King's Landing to take matters in hand, only to face opposition from his scheming sister, Cersei, now the Queen Regent.
However, there is another faction entering the picture. Stannis Baratheon, Robert's younger brother and Renly's older brother, has also claimed the Iron Throne. A proven battle commander and veteran of several wars, Stannis is known to be utterly without mercy to his enemies and will do what is right even if it destroys him. Advising him is Melisandre, an enigmatic priestess from the east, who believes Stannis is meant for a greater destiny, and Ser Davos Seaworth, an honest and honorable man uneasy with the shifts in power at Stannis' court.
Far to the east, Daenerys Targaryen has hatched the only three dragons in the world. Eventually they will grow into terrifying monsters capable of destroying cities at her command, but for now they are still hatchlings and vulnerable. With her khalasar gone, Daenerys and her small band of followers must find a way across a forbidding wasteland and find new allies to support her claim to the Iron Throne.
In the distant north, the Night's Watch has mounted an expedition beyond the Wall, searching for missing rangers and investigating rumors of wildlings gathering in the mountains. For Jon Snow this will be a rite of passage as he is asked to make difficult choices, for the realm and for himself.
Filming of Season 2 again took place in Northern Ireland, on location and at the Paint Hall studio facility in Belfast. Additional filming, for the Night's Watch storyline, took place in Iceland. Malta was not used for filming in Season 2, with the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia standing in for King's Landing instead and used for the new location of Qarth. The production considered filming in Spain but ultimately preferred Croatia for budgetary reasons.
- Main article: Season 2 cast
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (10 episodes)
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (9 episodes)
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister (4 episodes)
- Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark (8 episodes)
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (8 episodes)
- Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish (7 episodes)
- Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont (7 episodes)
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow (8 episodes)
- Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister (7 episodes)
- Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth (6 episodes)
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (7 episodes)
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark (6 episodes)
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark (7 episodes)
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark (9 episodes)
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy (8 episodes)
- John Bradley as Samwell Tarly (6 episodes)
- Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon (6 episodes)
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (5 episodes)
- Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon (7 episodes)
- Carice van Houten as Melisandre (4 episodes)
- Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell (4 episodes)
- James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont (3 episodes)
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn (7 episodes)
- Conleth Hill as Varys (6 episodes)
- Sibel Kekilli as Shae (8 episodes)
Selected guest starring cast
- Donald Sumpter as Luwin (7 episodes)
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth (7 episodes)
- Steven Cole as Kovarro (7 episodes)
- Joe Dempsie as Gendry (7 episodes)
- Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie (7 episodes)
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor (7 episodes)
- Natalia Tena as Osha (6 episodes)
- Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H'ghar (6 episodes)
- Amrita Acharia as Irri (5 episodes)
- Nonso Anozie as Xaro Xhoan Daxos (5 episodes)
- Julian Glover as Pycelle (5 episodes)
- Esmé Bianco as Ros (5 episodes)
- Oona Chaplin as Talisa Maegyr (5 episodes)
- Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett (5 episodes)
- Ralph Ineson as Dagmer Cleftjaw (5 episodes)
- Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell (5 episodes)
- Mark Stanley as Grenn (5 episodes)
- Roxanne McKee as Doreah (5 episodes)
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark (5 episodes)
- Simon Armstrong as Qhorin (4 episodes)
- Ian Hanmore as Pyat Pree (4 episodes)
- Forbes KB as Lorren (4 episodes)
- Rose Leslie as Ygritte (4 episodes)
- Kerr Logan as Matthos Seaworth (4 episodes)
- Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton (4 episodes)
- Fintan McKeown as Amory Lorch (4 episodes)
- Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne (4 episodes)
- Aimee Richardson as Myrcella Baratheon (4 episodes)
- Callum Wharry as Tommen Baratheon (4 episodes)
- Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy (4 episodes)
- Ian Whyte as Gregor Clegane / White Walker (3 episodes)
- Andy Beckwith as Rorge (3 episodes)
- Nicholas Blane as the Spice King (3 episodes)
- Karl Davies as Alton Lannister (3 episodes)
- Maisie Dee as Daisy (3 episodes)
- Ron Donachie as Rodrik Cassel (4 episodes)
- Gerard Jordan as Biter (3 episodes)
- Slavko Juraga as the Silk King (3 episodes)
- Sahara Knite as Armeca (3 episodes)
- Hannah Murray as Gilly (3 episodes)
- Robert Pugh as Craster (3 episodes)
- Eros Vlahos as Lommy (3 episodes)
- Gethin Anthony as Renly Baratheon (3 episodes)
- Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant (3 episodes)
- Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister (3 episodes)
- Tony Way as Dontos Hollard (3 episodes)
- Dominic Carter as Janos Slynt (2 episodes)
- Edward Dogliani as the Lord of Bones (2 episodes)
- Roy Dotrice as Hallyne (2 episodes)
- Francis Magee as Yoren (2 episodes)
- John Stahl as Rickard Karstark (2 episodes)
- Elyes Gabel as Rakharo ("The North Remembers")
- Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan ("Night Lands")
- Ian Gelder as Kevan Lannister ("The Prince of Winterfell")
- Wilko Johnson as Ilyn Payne ("Blackwater")
- David Benioff: executive producer & showrunner
- D.B. Weiss: executive producer & showrunner
- Carolyn Strauss: executive producer
- Frank Doelger: executive producer
- George R.R. Martin: co-executive producer
- Vanessa Taylor: co-executive producer
- Alan Taylor: co-executive producer
- Guymon Casady: co-executive producer
- Vince Gerardis: co-executive producer
- Bernadette Caulfield: producer
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, and 10
- Bryan Cogman: episode 3
- Vanessa Taylor: episodes 4 and 6
- George R.R. Martin: episode 9
- Alan Taylor: episodes 1, 2, 8, and 10
- Alik Sakharov: episode 3
- David Petrarca: episodes 4 and 5
- David Nutter: episodes 6 and 7
- Neil Marshall: episode 9
|11||"The North Remembers||April 1, 2012||3.86|
|Tyrion arrives to save Joffrey's crown; Daenerys searches for allies and water in the Red Waste; Jon Snow faces the wilderness beyond the Wall.|
|12||"The Night Lands"||April 8, 2012||3.76|
|Arya shares a secret; a scout returns to Dany with disturbing news; Theon comes home to the Iron Islands; Tyrion administers justice; Jon witnesses a terrible crime.|
|13||"What Is Dead May Never Die"||April 15, 2012||3.77|
|Tyrion roots out a spy; Catelyn meets a new king and queen; Bran dreams; Theon drowns.|
|14||"Garden of Bones"||April 22, 2012||3.65|
|Catelyn tries to save two kings from themselves; Tyrion practices coercion; Robb meets a foreigner; Dany finds her ally; Melisandre casts a shadow on the Stormlands.|
|15||"The Ghost of Harrenhal"||April 29, 2012||3.90|
|The Baratheon rivalry ends; Tyrion learns of Cersei's secret weapon; Dany suffers a loss; Arya collects a debt she didn't know was owed; Jon Snow meets a legend.|
|16||"The Old Gods and the New"||May 6, 2012||3.88|
|Arya has a surprise visitor; Dany vows to take what is hers; Joffrey meets his subjects; Qhorin gives Jon a chance to prove himself.|
|17||"A Man Without Honor"||May 13, 2012||3.70|
|Jaime meets a relative; Theon hunts; Dany receives an invitation.|
|18||"The Prince of Winterfell"||May 20, 2012||3.86|
|Theon holds down the fort; Arya calls in her debt with Jaqen; Robb is betrayed; Stannis and Davos approach their destination.|
|19||"Blackwater"||May 27, 2012||3.38|
|Tyrion and the Lannisters fight for their lives as Stannis' fleet assaults King's Landing.|
|20||"Valar Morghulis"||June 3, 2012||4.20|
|Arya receives a gift from Jaqen; Dany goes to a strange place; Jon proves himself.|
Comparison with the novels
The season generally follows the second novel "A Clash of Kings", and also consists of scenes based on the third novel "A Storm of Swords". For a full list of differences between the season and the novels, see Differences between books and TV series - Season 2.
HBO has released production featurettes through the Making Game of Thrones website. D. B. Weiss's assistant Cat Taylor took over writing responsibilities for the site from Bryan Cogman for the second season.
Season 2 of Game of Thrones was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on 19 February 2013, and in the UK on 4 March 2013. The set includes all 10 episodes of the second season and a large number of extras.
- The War of Five Kings: an interactive featurette which tracks the movements of the armies and the key characters involved in the conflict, listing the battles and their outcomes.
- Histories and Lore: 19 animated featurettes expanding on the history of Westeros and Essos, narrated by key characters and featuring artwork by storyboard artist Will Simpson.
- In-Episode Guide: in-episode resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories while each episode plays.
- Hidden Dragon Eggs: Find the hidden dragon eggs to uncover even more never-before-seen content.
- DVD and Digital Copies: As well as all of the episodes on Blu-ray, there are additional copies of all the episodes on DVD, with them also available via digital download.
Blu-Ray and DVD
- Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay: 30-minute documentary focusing on the Battle of the Blackwater and how it was created, including interviews with producers, special effects personnel and actors.
- Game of Thrones Inner Circle: a roundtable discussion about the shooting of Season 2. Moderated by producer-showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and featuring actors Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Michelle Fairley and Liam Cunningham.
- The Religions of Westeros: George R.R. Martin, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss discuss the religions of Westeros and Essos and the impact they have on the characters.
- Character Profiles: Profiles of seven characters as described by the actors playing them, including Renly and Stannis Baratheon, Robb Stark and Theon Greyjoy.
- Audio commentaries: Twelve audio commentaries with cast and crew.
- "The North Remembers": Commentary by producers/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
- "The Night Lands": Commentary by actors Alfie Allen and Gemma Whelan.
- "What is Dead May Never Die": Commentary by writer Bryan Cogman and director Alik Sakharov.
- "What is Dead May Never Die": Second commentary track by Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams and Isaac Hempstead-Wright.
- "Garden of Bones": Commentary by actors Carice Van Houten and Liam Cunningham.
- "The Old Gods and the New": Commentary by actors Kit Harington and Rose Leslie, and writer Vanessa Taylor.
- "A Man Without Honor": Commentary by producers/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
- "The Prince of Winterfell": Commentary by actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Michelle Fairley.
- "Blackwater": Commentary by writer/producer George R.R. Martin.
- "Blackwater": Commentary by actors Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey and director Neil Marshall.
- "Valar Morghulis": Commentary by Rainer Gombos and Steve Kullback of the visual effects team.
- "Valar Morghulis": Commentary by actor Emilia Clarke and director Alan Taylor.
The Game of Thrones second season box set set a new record for HBO first-day DVD and Blu-ray sales, breaking the record previously set by Season 1's release a year earlier. On its first day of release the box set sold 241,000 units, which is 44% higher than the first-day sales of Season 1. There were also 355,000 sales of episodes via digital download services, more than twice that for the first season.
Season 2 has been advertised through the release of numerous trailers and featurettes.
- Main - Gallery: Season 2
HBO have released a range of promotional images and posters to market the second season.