“Game of Thrones” returns

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Illustration by Joseph Weeden

By Chris Mudd, Staff Writer

The premiere of season 5 of Game of Thrones was generally well received, although got some criticism for being a little slow. Much of the pacing remains the same in the second installment, although there does seem to be a little improvement along the way. If it is a sign of things to come, then the next episodes are only going to get better. The episode felt somewhat long, but there were certainly some pretty interesting moments within.

One of the more satisfying moments of the episode took place in the council chamber when Cersei Lannister’s uncle Kevan completely undermines her authority. I enjoy seeing little jabs at her whittling away at what little power she has left. She is not a very compelling character, and most of the time when she gets a scene I can’t wait until we move out. King’s Landing is too mired in politics compared to the rest of the Game of Thrones world, and Cersei is right in the middle of it.

Similarly, Danny is wading through the muck of politics in Mereen as well, when a former slave takes the law into his own hands and murders one of her prisoners. She is caught between a rock and a hard place, having to either execute the former slave and alienate her most loyal followers, or ignore the rule of law and take one step closer to tyranny herself. For some reason, though both King’s Landing and Mereen are much more political than other parts of the world, Danny’s plotlines are far more interesting to watch.

We are also introduced to Doran Martell, ruler of Dorne and older brother to Oberyn, who encountered a pretty nasty surprise towards the end of last season. Finally we are given a character that is three-dimensional and doesn’t stoop to the level of vengeance at the drop of a hat. He puts the needs of his people above the blood-thirst of his family. It’s fascinating to see how a character like that exists and deals with the consequences of his restraint.

Arya sees a return to the screen after an episode of absence. Her journey in Braavos is where her story really kicks off in the books. Seeing it brought to life was certainly a highlight of the episode and will no doubt get much cooler before the season ends.

However, the best part of the episode again took place in the North, with the election of Jon Snow to the rank of Lord Commander. Sam always knows just what to say to win the crowd’s affection, and does so to great effect here. Everything in the North seems dire and immediate when compared to other locations and stories this season. There is a kind of elegant simplicity to the Wall that lends itself quite well to awesome acting moments as well as really cool set-piece action scenes.

The season seems to be picking up speed slightly with the second installment, but something still feels slow and weighty. Perhaps it’s because the first couple episodes are always a kind of recap of what has happened so far, and I’m optimistic that as we move on through the weeks we will be given a more and more enticing show.