“The House of Black and White” Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 2

Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

The House of Black and White

The House of Black and White

Series: Game of Thrones Season 5

3.5 Stars

Coder Credit

Has anyone else noticed that the narrative through the first two episodes of Season Five seems to be neatly separating characters off into pairs? I assume this is intentional, a useful way to offset the sheer volume of the cast: each duo’s exploits can be chopped up into pithy vignettes that offer a bit more chance for localized character development than a traditional ensemble menagerie. Today, I will use the water cooler to make my predictions (and they will be honest predictions; yes, we all know about the leaks, but I won’t be watching episodes three and four until their air date anyway) regarding this season’s buddy system. And what better way to do it than through movie analogies? Well fine, okay, I imagine there are quite a few better ways, but I’ve settled on movie analogies, so if you don’t like it, just scream at me on Twitter or something (please don’t).

Sansa Stark and Petyr Baelish in Lolita: Sansa is becoming more and more like the precocious, self-assured nymphet and titular character of Kubrick’s film (an analogy to Nabokov’s novel would not work as well, so we’ll stick with the flick). And just like James Mason, Baelish has taken to trying to kill anyone who pays her too much attention. Coincidentally enough, the beginning of this season has them on a potentially sexy road trip through Westeros to some unknown location where Baelish intends to keep her “safe.” I’m trying really hard to think of some good jokes to make about this, but the whole situation is just giving me the jibblies. If everything pans out as in the film, I feel sorry for the poor sucker who’s going to wind up getting a sword through the face whilst playing the piano.

Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne in Terminator 2: Judgment Day: After Brienne and her sword finished giving pursuing knights a brief lecture entitled “this is what happens when you wear plate mail over every inch of your body except your neck” she tells Podrick “you can stand up now.” I don’t know about you, but all I heard was “Come with me if you want to live.” And let’s be honest, Pod’s only chance of surviving for any stretch of time in Westeros is Brienne, who is pretty much the closest thing in GoT to a cyborg killing machine from the future. Though I will admit, Petyr kind of had a point: for someone who is clearly among the most talented fighters on the continent, Brienne has thus far had comparatively lousy success rates in the important field of “preventing people from dying when she’s promised to do just that.”

Jaime Lannister and Bronn in Beverly Hills Cop: Holy crap, Bronn is back! Honestly, how perfect was that transition cut!? As soon as Jaime quipped “I never said I was going alone,” my immediate thought was “please be Bronn, please be Bronn.” So yeah, I think we know how this goes down: Bronn and Jaime go to Dorne, where Jaime is uptight, by-the-book Judge Reinhold, and Bronn is loose cannon (I think “results-oriented” is a nicer way to say it) Axle Foley. I envision a ton of ready-made fish-out-of-water scenes just begging to be filmed, including “Bronn, in his innocent, boorish way, takes a leak on something that turns out to be a priceless artifact/a religious icon/someone’s dad,” and “Bronn does something rash, and Jaime rolls his eyes and says ‘here we go again!’ as they beat a hasty retreat.” Speaking of Bronn…

Bronn and his fiancée in Dial M for Murder: Yeah… Don’t lie. After the cute-yet-awkwardly-annoying scene of her badgering Bronn on a beach, you also assumed he was going to just knock her out, steal her jewelry, and then skedaddle to a brothel. Bronn is a fascinating character in that way: he’s one of the most unapologetic dicks in the show, and yet we love him seemingly because of his capacity for dickishness.

But maybe the dickishness is behind him. Maybe… Maybe he thought he was out… And they pulled him back in!

Cersei and The Small Council in Grumpier Old Men: Not that the grump levels are actually unreasonable or anything, because, you know, it is pretty obvious what kind of shenanigans Cersei is trying to pull. In some ways, I want to feel sorry for her, because it does seem like the Crusty Old White Man Brigade is resisting her because she’s a woman more than because she’s a sociopath trying to control the kingdom by manipulating her young impressionable son. But then she goes and starts having dwarves murdered because she wants Tyrion dead so badly, and well, you know, the sympathy meter starts falling again. Anyways, my hope for the rest of the season is that the Council scenes are mostly just Pycelle complaining about gout and trying to get Cersei to execute the kids who walk on his grass.

Tyrion Lannister and Varys in Road to Meereen: Okay, it was either this or Twins, but I like to imagine that both Tyrion and Varys have a little of Hope and Crosby in them, so this makes perfect sense. Presumably, once in Meereen, they’ll both fall in love with Dany and spend the film trying to one-up each other while also foiling some swarthy foreigner’s dastardly scheme to usurp the throne. And no, I didn’t make that up; it’s more or less the plot to Road to Bali (film buff side note: Bali is a weak late entry in the series, start with Morocco or Singapore), so there’s historical precedent here. The thing is, it’s hard to figure out which of the two is the straight man in this pairing, mostly because Varys won’t stop blathering about politics and the “greater good,” and Tyrion’s too damned depressed to be anything but blackly comedic. If one of them doesn’t cheer up, I suppose we’ll find out what a comedy duo comprised of Laurel and Costello would have been like.

Arya Stark and Mel Gibson [The Man Without a Face] in H’Arya Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: I was honestly a bit baffled by the Braavos scenes (besides my slight sigh of annoyance when it was revealed that of course every city in Essos looks like Cairo or Venice). Okay, sure, we all expected that when she got where she was going, there was going to be some kind of cryptic secretive nonsense and some kind of weird test she’d have to pass to prove herself or something… But, what exactly did she prove? She sat outside in the rain all night, then wandered off, killed a pigeon, and almost got in a fight. And that was enough to bring cloaked Hagrid out of the shadows to proclaim “yer a wizard, Arya!” Well, let’s just focus on the fact that Arya is going to SOIF Hogwarts to learn how to turn into an old black man and/or Jaqen H’ghar at will.

Doran Martell and Ellaria Sand in Game of Thrones Season One: Let’s be frank: Alexander Siddig is a boss. He’s the man. He’s on a boat. He is also Doran Martell, and Doran Martell is going to fucking die. As soon as he said “we do not mutilate little girls for vengeance,” his fate was sealed. Because we all know what happens to people with scruples in this show. So, the way I figure it, in this configuration, Doran is Ned Stark, Ellaria is Cersei, and his head is going to be spiked like Prom punch by the time we hit episode nine. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts though, because motherfucking Doctor Bashir is on Game of Thrones, y’all!.

Shireen Baratheon and Gilly in Reading Rainbow: I don’t have too much to say about this. I just like the idea of Shireen being the Levar Burton of Westeros. And so do you. Hopefully, when Shireen becomes the head of House Baratheon, she changes their words to: “Take a look. It’s in a book.

Matthew Malott

Matthew Malott

Matt was raised by a pack of unusually sophisticated wild turkeys in the urban jungle of South Detroit (which sounds way cooler than Windsor, Ontario). Having been accepted into their ranks, he learned about the finer things in life such as music, board games, and biting the ever-loving crap out of pilgrims (the natural enemy of turkeys). When not avoiding deadly Thanksgiving cyborg hit squads, Matt read lots of classic science fiction and obsessively watched The X-Files. After Gillian Anderson awakened his budding pubescent hormones, Matt--now officially a man--reluctantly bid farewell to his turkey family and spent several years making a living in the renowned doughnut mines of Katmandu. He now lives in Toronto, where his pursuits include law-studying, out-rocking, fiction-writing, and Sasquatch-trapping (don’t worry, if he does catch one, he’ll let it go).

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