House of Black and White

A review of House of Black and White by Jerry Stephen

As good as episode one was, you wouldn’t fault anyone for saying it was a little stale at points. The episode reminded us of what had happened in the previous series and reintroduced us to characters. Episode two firmly left that behind as several plots began to move.

I’ve been looking forward to Arya arriving in Bravos and visiting House of Black and White since it became clear that she would arrive there at the start of this season, and visually it didn’t fail to impress. The imposing building was testament to the ever growing budget of Game of Thrones, and has left me excited about what they will have done with the inside. Whilst I can understand why they showed Arya’s time in Bravos before she was allowed into the House as they did, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a little rushed and could have been better explained.

Bronn’s scene on the beach with his now ex-fiancé was great, and his ready acceptance of his (ex) fiancé’s sister being in line for the main house, or rather, his acceptance of his need to kill her helped to bring comedy to what was at points a very tense episode. That being said, given the hatred that Dorne holds for the Lannister’s following the death of Oberyn I find myself worried for both Jamie and Bronn in their journey, especially given the scale of the task ahead of them.

Dany’s story is becoming a harder watch as it progresses, turning into a spiral of good intention and bad action that highlights her need for an advisor with the political wit of Tyrion or Varys. The clash between the needs of the free slaves and the laws and moral stances of Westeros that Dany holds are bound to happen again. I wonder how long she can hold their love whilst making them follow a system that they do not appear to hold as their own.

The Stark contrast between Jon’s choice to stay at the wall rather than retake Winterfell and his readiness to leave when Robb marched south truly shows how much he’s developed as a character, and we begin to see just how much of a Stark Jon is, especially when it comes to his morals in which he looks more and more like Ned. As much as I enjoyed seeing John become Lord Commander, I was far more impressed by Sam (what is it with fantasy characters called Sam playing the underdog role?) and his speech. His character has changed drastically over the last few seasons, to the point where he is now willing to publicly taunt Janos Slynt and make a speech that won Jon his new role. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will change the relationship between Jon and Stannis, as well as seeing where the storyline with the Wildlings ends up.

In Kings Landing perhaps my favourite part of the show occurred when we saw Cersei attempt to take control of the small council only to be turned down by Kevan. I think this shows just how instrumental Tywin was not only in holding the capital and in doing so the country together, but also the Lannister’s themselves. Whilst Cersei and Jamie’s comments about the instability to come has been left alone for the most part, after the public disagreement between Cersei and Kevan I can’t imagine it will remain the same for too long.

Overall I have been drawn back into the series once again and cannot wait for next week’s episode, although this time it will be with a little trepidation for some of my favourite characters than before.

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