‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 2 Recap: ‘The House of Black and White’ «

April 20, 2015 1:12 PM

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 2 Recap: ‘The House of Black and White’ «

I haven’t read the novels upon which Game of Thrones is based — no trolling, just the truth. But I’m not immune to their appeal. Only the written word can truly traverse terrain this massive or explore internal landscapes so twisted and diverse. As I discussed on a podcast last week with Jason Concepcion, George R.R. Martin has the time and space to take us deep inside the mind of secondary — tertiary? octonary? — characters like Mance Rayder and illuminate the hidden corners of history and psychology that make them tick. All respect due to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as actor Ciarán Hinds, but the best they can do is take us inside of Mance’s tents. Game of Thrones is as ambitious and sprawling as TV can possibly get, and yet there are still moments when I sense it chafing against the limitations, financial and otherwise, that are endemic to the medium. I feel, in other words, very much like Tyrion Lannister. Sure, the box I’m in is well appointed and very nice. But sometimes a guy just wants to take a walk.

The spectacle began in the very first frame. Arya, absent last week, is revealed in full wonderment: face tilted upward, eyes wider than the Wall. Thanks to some nimble CGI, we see what she sees: The Titan of Braavos — easily TV’s most compelling broken, oversize statue since this one — and surely a...

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