A few spoilers follow…
EVEN as we begin the second episode of Game of Thrones season five, it’s still clear the world is in tatters after the events of season four.
With Simpson’s introduction to this season making it clear the debut episode wasn’t mind blowing, it’s important to remember that the first episode of any Game of Thrones season is always a tad slow. It’s when the second or third episode airs, that’s when stuff begins to kick off. Although, watching this week’s episode, I couldn’t help but feel that the scene was still being set. With the re-introduction of Arya’s character, Podrick and Brienne still plodding along and Tyrion still stuck in that ‘fucking box’, I was left a little disappointed from episode two. Let’s not forget, this time last series we had Joffrey choking on a piece of pie which was clearly too dry.
Still, there are some points to write home about.
Sophie Turner is doing a grand job of developing Sansa Stark; her sharp and strict tone is miles away from that naive girl we knew way back in series one or two. While Aiden Gillen’s Petyr Baelish remains ever scheming and increasingly Irish, their journey is one of many deviations from the source material. While this may be for the best in terms of a television show (Sansa and Baelish remain in the Eyrie for all of the final two books) I am still a bit iffy about serious changes from the books, but only time will tell if this will pay off.
After a confrontation with these characters (another *cough* book alteration) Brienne of Tarth and her squire, Podrick Payne are chased off into the woods. One thing I am increasingly noticing throughout this series is the development of Podrick into some sort of ‘Comedy Character’. I don’t feel this is fair; while he may be naive, inexperienced and young, he is also brave and to make a mockery of him seems unjust. I hope this is only a passing thing because it was quite annoying.
In King’s Landing, Lena Headey’s Cersei is on top form, and to a certain extent it’s quite easy to feel sympathetic to her, even with her past in mind. I’m sure that will change as the series progresses. The revelation of Jaime travelling to Dorne will surprise a few viewers, not least because, again, this doesn’t happen in the books. It’s understandable though; with no written guide to help us, it makes sense for the show’s producers to minimise the amount of characters. Saying that, I really think Kevan Lannister deserves more screen time. It’s also a good idea bringing Bronn back into the equation; as one of the show’s most popular characters, this is sure to go down well. With this limitation in the number characters, it wouldn’t be surprising if the characters in Dorne were also capped. We had a nice introduction to them in this episode, and I’d like to see this continue.
Across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion’s story is still going slow. It’s a shame, but I’d say these parts should be bearable until he inevitably reaches Dany. Speaking of which, I am pleasantly surprised with Dany’s storyline so far in this series. I had expected it to be…. well frankly to be quite dull. But this episode was a good one for Dany and her final scene at the execution was intriguing. Emilia Clarke is a great actress, but I also enjoy Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis; his swagger definitely brings something good to the series. On the other hand, I was underwhelmed by Arya’s story. Maisie Williams is a fine actress, but I just didn’t feel like a lot happened and what with her part being so bigged up, I was disappointed. Seeing Jaqen H’ghar again was great yet…. predictable.
Then we have Jon Snow and his story at the Wall. This is possible the most exciting and interesting part of the episode. Stannis’ proposal to make Jon an official Stark and warden of the North, followed by Jon’s election as the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. While both of these events are really interesting and shake up the series, I couldn’t help feeling they were slightly rushed and the scene with Jon’s election felt very cheesy. I was disappointed. Still, it’s quite easily one of the more interesting parts of the episode.
So this Game of Thrones episode is still pacing itself, but there’s some nice character development going on, some interesting story lines evolving with some potential in the future for some interesting revelations. I feel like there are a few underwhelming or disappointing moments, but this is a good start to this series.
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