TV Review: Game Of Thrones 2.5: The Ghost Of Harrenhal

Game of Thrones
Season Two, Episode 5 – The Ghost of Harrenhal
Directed by: David Petrarca
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Starring: Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Emilia Clarke, Liam Cunningham, Charles Dance, Stephen Dillane, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Conleth Hill, Carice van Houten, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, Patrick Malahide, Rory McCann, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, and Issac Hempstead-Wright

Now things are getting interesting.

“The Ghost of Harrenhal” is an arbitrarily important episode of Game of Thrones for several reasons. First, this fifth episode of Season 2 marks the halfway point in the season. Second, and more importantly, this is the episode (much like last week’s) continues some much needed plot advancement in a truly compelling manner by presenting each of our major players with a unique strategic advantage or ally.

The true power of Stannis (Stephen Dillane) and Melisandre’s (Carice van Houten) new shadowy plot comes to life in an abrupt and haunting way. Seconds into the episode, the true nature of the creature is revealed, causing a huge shakeup for Westeros. While this particular event happened in such a sudden matter, I wasn’t as thrown off as I think I might have been. The future of this character has been foreshadowed for quite some time now, however, I was surprised at just how quickly the events played out. These events work out well for Lady Stark, as Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) finds herself with a new friend, one who I think will be a valuable asset to Catelyn as the season continues.

Lady Stark isn’t the only member of the Stark clan with a new ally, as one of the mysterious men Arya (Maisie Williams) freed from the cage, comes to repay the youngest female Stark in a way she’s not quite prepared for. However, the mysterious man doesn’t stop Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) from realizing Arya is from the North. When asked on her thoughts about her brother’s victories, Arya replies with a chilling truth: “Anyone can be killed.”

In King’s Landing, Cersei (Lena Headey) seems to be taking Arya’s mantra to an entirely different scale as she prepares for the upcoming war. As we discover the secret production of ‘wildfire,’ I can only begin to imagine to horrible uses of the magical weapon. To Tyrion (Peter Dinkage), the wildfire is a weapon that’s seemingly important enough for the newly titled ‘Demon Monkey’ to want to have full control over.

While Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has had her own mystical force for quite some time now, a good backer might be just want she needs. Xaro (Nonso Anozie) purposes a new arrangement that would provide Daenerys with all she needs to conquer the Iron Throne. Yet, while Daenerys is making a new friend, another mystery figure appears to give Jorah (Iain Glen) a warning about the Mother of Dragons and her place in the greater scheme of things.

What worked so well about “The Ghost of Harrenhal” is that the show continued to ramp up the various narratives in a compelling manner. Most everything that happened throughout the course of the episode was interesting and engaging, and is really helping this second season to come together in a very nice fashion. I hope this trend continues throughout the back half of the season.

Quick Thoughts:
– I haven’t talked about how much I enjoy what Iain Glen does for the character of Jorah, but I’ll fix that now by saying that I very much enjoy what Glen brings to the table. I’m glad he finally got some real material to work with in this episode.
– I didn’t talk much about Theon (Alfie Allen), but the former Stark ally looks to fully understand ‘the iron price’ as he begins a possible conquest of the North. Very interested to see how this will play out.
– After loving Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) arc so much last year, I’m beyond bored with the events north of the wall. Here’s to hoping they pick up soon.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off in our comments below!

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