Hopefully, enough time has gone by since Sunday night, and the fans of HBO’s Game Of Thrones have watched ‘House Of Black And White’ enough times now. If you are unfamiliar with my review style, I will compare and contrast things in the tv series with the book series, but I always warn at the beginning if you have NOT read all the books, there will possibly be spoilers.
As it’s come to pass almost every time GoT has returned with a new season, the first episode is slightly disappointing. I don’t know why they chose to do this, the only real saving grace is the amount of YAY moments in the second episode. Season 2, 3, and 4 all started like this, at least to me.
Episode 2 of season 5 titled ‘House of Black And White’ should make any Arya fan from the books dance with excitement. That’s right, this is when our favorite little assassin has traveled across the Narrow Sea to Braavos, beneath the legs of the Titan, and to the HoBaW.
Can I have a spinoff series with Brienne and Pod? For serious? I adore them, the casting of these two characters is amazing, and the more I see them together, the more I love them. I’m still not sold on this entire “let’s have them meet Sansa on the road” thing, because part of the impactful journey of Brienne is that she never finds the girls.
One of the most spoilery things I can talk about is the lack of one Lady Stoneheart. If you don’t know who that is, click away now, and you don’t have to learn about her from me.
Lady Stoneheart is the resurrected personage of Lady Catelyn Stark. After the horrific happenings of the Red Wedding, Caitlyn’s naked body is tossed into the river outside The Twins, her throat slit, her body abused. There is a dream sequence of Arya’s, when she slips into the skin of Nymeria her Direwolf who runs free, of finding her mother’s body in the river, and leading Dondarrion and Thoros to her. Thoros, Red Priest of Myr, brings Catelyn back, although “she don’t talk much”. After much trying on Brienne’s part to find either of the Stark girls (which she never does), Brienne is captured by Dondarrion and his men. She is put to questioning, and is found to be lacking in her fulfillment of her sacred vow to her liege lady, Catlyn. Lady Stoneheart makes herself known to Brienne, and as far as we know in the book, Brienne is hung as a traitor. We know we won’t be seeing Lady Stoneheart anytime soon, so, I guess they had to find something to do with Brienne.
When did Bronn become the good guy? I mean seriously, here he is, all fancy and seemingly happy with Lollys. She doesn’t look all doughy and stupid like she is described in the book, and Bronn seemingly adores her. I like this change, because it works for his character, we know there are things about him we don’t know. “If there’s one thing i’ve learned, meanness comes around. Mean people like your sister, one way or another, they get what’s coming to them,” Bronn says to her. And then he’s informed he doesn’t actually get to marry Lollys, ok fine, in order for he and Jaimie to GO TO DORNE? Because of this here ‘threat’ the Dornish sent to Queen Mother Cersei, the Mother (and father) Lions have decided it’s a good idea to sneak into Dorne and rescue the Princess.
WHAT? Jaimie doesn’t go to Dorne!! I guess this is how they’re getting around the lack of Arianne Martell and her tie in to Princess Myrcella.
But really, the most IMPORTANT THING that happens in s5e2 is the introduction of the true house of Martell. DORNE AND THE WATER GARDENS. Yes, I’m yelling. My favorite house, my favorite lands, and one of the best casting choices they could have possibly made for the gouty prince, Doran Martell.
Ser Barristan is one of the best royal advisers in the realm, aside from Varys. He gives it to Dany straight, and at least she’s at a point where she’s willing to listen. This is another change I like, instead of her entire “I am a Queen, don’t tell me how to rule” temper tantrums she has so often while in Mereen.
“We surround ourselves with large comfortable boxes, but we’re never satisfied inside them for long,” the Spider coos at a stircrazy Tyrion. I wish we got to see Tyrion drinking and speaking with Illyrio Multipass, but I guess we’re skipping over that part and going straight to dwarfnapping.
Meanwhile back on the wall, I’m still not sure how I feel about the lack of Mance Rayder’s wife, sister in law and child, but I’m enjoying seeing Shireen getting more screentime. The casting of this young actress is fantastic, and I’m hoping she is more than what she seems in the long run. The warmth of Stannis towards Jon threw me at first, but it does make sense. It is implied in the book that Stannis at least respects Jon, something he doesn’t give out freely, and what we see in the scenes leading up to the Lord Commander voting, we see that perhaps Stannis isn’t JUST using Jon for his own gains. Maybe, just maybe, Stannis sees the son he never had in Jon, along with the lingering respect Stannis had for Ned, despite Jon’s bastard name.
The voting goes rather smoothly, I understand they’ve cut down the entirety of the multiday thing because there is so much to tell in the season. But, BUT, Sam planting the idea in the heads of the brothers to elect Jon to Lord Commander with the help of the message ravens was something I was looking forward to seeing. I wanted to hear them cawing out “Snow, Snow”, the creepy aspect of these real watchers on the wall.
Back in Braavos, Arya has thrown her Valerian iron coin into the canals, because the ‘Old Man’ from the House has said he will not take her in. Let’s talk about that moment of Jaqen Hagar’s face. I kind of resent the show watchers get this instant gratification, as us hardcore book reading fans ARE STILL WAITING for his return. There is something wonderful about the relationship between Arya and Jaqen, something we always want to see again. I’m not quite sure why they chose to have him return, other than the audiences all LOVED him.
The episode ends with turmoil breaking out in Mereen, Dany is just starting to understand the full danger she is in with regards to not responding with swift and merciless justice to the Sons Of The Harpy. I’m curious to see how they go forward with this storyline.
All in all, I rather enjoyed s5e2 more than I thought I would, and will tell you guys, the NEXT episode is where it gets really good. LIKE, REALLY REALLY GOOD.