TV Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode 5 – ‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’

Written by Guest May 01, 2012

“Calling Yourself a King Doesn’t Make You One”

This week’s episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’ does not mess around. Nearly every plot progresses nicely while not neglecting exposure to the show’s ever-expanding world building. We have hit the half-way mark of the second season, and it seems that the show is done setting up the chess pieces and it is now time for them to play out in the chaotic clash of kings.

I was not expecting the ending of last week’s episode, the birth of the shadow demon, to play out almost instantly in this one. With one important death Stannis has all the power in the war, even surpassing the strength of the Lannister’s grip, and Catelyn and Brienne are accused of the murder. This sort of twist feels like it belongs at the end of a season, not the beginning of an episode. It is thrills like this that make ‘Game of Thrones’ thrilling to watch. Due to the nature of the ensemble cast and wide variety of plots, not everyone is able to get their due each episode, such as the woefully missed Jaime who has had very little screen time this year.  This allows game changing scenes to occur at any time. This incident is probably the best example of this so far in the series and it is exhilarating.

This leads to another aspect of the series that makes it so engaging: the way information travels. Tyrion and Cersei catch word of Renly’s death, as the rumour mill spins out that it was either Catelyn or Stannis himself who turned the blade. Some of these rumours are absolutely unbelievable, but this is the world of ‘Game of Thrones’. Dragons have arisen from extinction and the dead are given life again beyond the wall. To the commoners and some politicians, anything can happen and anything can be believed making the truth even more impossible to uncover. This season, unlike the first, does not focus on just one group of power to identify with making the plot far more engaging as allegiances and perceptions change.

Catelyn Stark: Public Enemy Number One

Both Jon and Daenerys’ plots are the strongest they have been this season. Jon observing the vast unknown from atop a mountain is breathtaking. The landscape of the mountainous, filmed in Iceland, are unlike anything ever filmed on television. Daenerys is back to civilization, but one she does not fully understand yet. The wardrobe department for this show did an amazing job differentiating the dress and culture of Qarth with that of Westeros. For the first time yet, it feels like Daenerys is on a different continent from everyone else and that she has a long way to go geographically to reach the Iron Throne she desires so badly.

“Anyone Can Be Killed”

A shining point in an already amazing episode is Arya’s plot in Harrenhal. Maisie Williams may be the strongest child actor in the business. In the scene where she is discussing Robb’s victories in the North with Tywin, Williams’ successfully demonstrates the discomfort of the situation while letting her pride in her brother slip through just enough. Arya is an intricate character and Maisie Williams has done an amazing job of making her stand out amongst a sea of other strong actors in the series. Arya’s deal with Jaqen to be able to kill three people of her choosing gives her power in a hopeless place. The calm look of satisfaction and contemplation she gives off in the end of the episode is perfect as she considers her next target in a large line-up of people who have wronged her family. With the ability to kill anyone with just a whisper, Arya has shifted the balance of power in this conflict to her favour.

‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’ is an extremely strong episode that signals more great episodes are to follow. Not only are all the plots and characters intriguing but the production quality has now hit a new high. ‘Game of Thrones’ is already groundbreaking in terms of putting a believable medieval-style world on the small screen, and now the show is setting new goals for itself with a great degree of success. This is television at its finest.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Guest

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on TV Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode 5 – ‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment