The second season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered in the United States on HBO on April 1, 2012, and concluded on June 3, 2012. It was broadcast on Sunday at 9:00 pm in the United States, consisting of 10 episodes, each running approximately 50–60 minutes. The season mostly covers the events of A Clash of Kings, the second novel of the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. HBO ordered the second season on April 19, 2011, which began filming in July 2011, primarily in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Croatia and Iceland.
The story takes place in a fictional world, primarily on a continent called Westeros, with one storyline occurring on another continent to the east known as Essos. Like the novel, the season follows the dramatic death of Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, with all of the Starks being separated across Westeros. Season two mainly centers around the War of the Five Kings, fought between the leaders of Westerosi factions who are either staking a claim on the Iron Throne, or seeking independence from it. Meanwhile, in Essos, with three newborn dragons by her side, Daenerys Targaryen struggles to find allies to help her on her way to take back the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley and Emilia Clarke. The season introduced a number of new cast members, including Stephen Dillane, Natalie Dormer, Carice van Houten and Liam Cunningham.
Critics praised the show's production values and cast. Viewership rose compared to the previous season. The second season won six of the twelve Emmy Awards for which it was nominated. It received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage) and Outstanding Drama Series. U.S. viewership rose by approximately 8% over the course of the season, from 3.9 million to 4.2 million by the season finale.