Game of Thrones S05 E02: The House of Black and White

Arya on Steps

This week we catch up with some characters missing from episode one of “Game of Thrones,” someone gives herself a big promotion, some characters reunite, and we learn that sometimes the right thing to do is wrong in so many ways. Find out more after the break.

Episode two opens with Arya staring with amazement of the Titan of Braavos and getting a mythology lesson from the ships captain. The captain, certainly one of the most helpful of characters we’ve seen, brings her to shore. You can almost imagine, as she watches the markets and merchants, that she can’t help but compare this relatively peaceful land to war-torn Westeros.

...you know, where this guy serves as a best friend...
…you know, where this guy serves as a best friend…

Arya is dropped at the House of Black and White, which is pretty much as described, a giant block of a temple with a striking black and white door. Unfortunately, Arya is initially denied entrance, as the priest within sends her away, even after she name-drops Jaqen H’ghar and shows his coin. Arya displays her usual tenacity, waiting for days through the rain and sun, reciting her hit list (now much shorter with the Hound and Joffrey dead). Eventually she gives up, tosses Jaqen’s coin into the sea and storms off.

...I wonder if I can get my deposit back on that flat?
…I wonder if I can get my deposit back on that flat?

A little later, we find her hunting pigeons. She is set upon by a gang of teenage boys, who seem unimpressed by her threats. Lucky for them, they are saved from Arya’s wrath by the appearance of the temple priest. Arya follows him back to the temple and he returns her coin and reveals himself to be Jaqen, wearing the face of another. Looks like Arya’s lessons begins today, the first one being she must become “no one” to follow the path she wishes.

...surprise!  It is this one! I bet that one never saw it coming...
…surprise! It is this one! I bet that one never saw it coming…

Back in Westeros, Pod and Brienne end up dining in the same Inn as Baelish and Sansa. Brienne presents herself to Sansa, swears her loyalty and offers protection. Baelish, after running through Brienne’s less-than-stellar resume (Renly – Dead, Catlyn- Dead), urges her to stay. (Though I don’t think it was for tea). Brienne respectfully declines and we get an excellent, horseback and swordplay as our lady warrior pretty much hacks through Baelish’s knights and saves Pod from his own crushing ineptitude. This story arc is one that doesn’t exist in the books, and I’m liking very much how it’s shaping up.

Brienne and Pod
…Okay, so I’ll be the damsel in distress, and you’ll do all the stabby stuff, agreed…

We get to meet the Dornish leader, Doran Martell, played by the always-excellent Alexander Siddig. He’s got his hands full as a vengeful Ellaria Sand (the unfortunately Oberyn’s consort) wants war with Kings Landing, and wants to send young Myrcella back to her mother in pieces. Doran echoes Oberyn’s words to Cersei from last season, and reminds her they don’t slaughter little girls in Dorne.

Doran Martell
If Benjamin Sisko could see me now…

And speaking of Cersei, she summons Jaime to review the latest gift form Dorne: Myrcella’s pendant wrapped around the teeth of a viper. Cersei goes Mama Grizzly for a moment and Jaime swears to rescue their daughter. He seeks help for his mission in the person of fan-favorite Bronn, who is busy not listening to his young fiancée (arranged by Cersei for Bronn’s betrayal of Tyrion last season) prattle on about their approaching wedding. Jaime has a counter-offer: Help him in Dorne and he’ll be able to trade up in the fiancé and castle department.

dornish gift
… no one understood the Dornish Viper-in-the-box really was a toy…

This represents another big (and welcome departure) from the books as Jaime and Bronn are pretty much non-existent in the story. A little later in Kings Landing, we return to some book elements as Cersei seats herself in the Hand’s chair most recently occupied by her father. The remaining small council are incredulous, and she buys some of their loyalty with new stations. Twyin’s brother, Kevan, shows he got some of the Lannister brains his niece may lack by scorning Cersei and leaving the table. It will be interesting to see what role he plays as the season progresses.

Up at the wall, young Princess Shireen is teaching Gilly how to read; and listening to Gilly’s horrid tales about how those north of the wall suffer from greyscale. I love the scenes with this young, smart princess, and love the somewhat expanded role she has in the series.

Shireen

While Shireen is doing the tutoring thing, Jon Snow is getting lectures from Stannis, and Jon in return is providing lessons in ruling the north. Stannis makes an offer, if Jon swears fealty, Stannis will run him through the debastardization machine, and name him Warden of the North. Jon decides (again) that for a Stark honor is it’s own reward, and plans on declining in favor of his oath to the Night’s Watch.

Jon Snow alone
…I mean why would I want to be a “Stark?” Do you know what their life expectancy is?

For once, he may be right, for the elections for a new commander are held. It’s a near forgone conclusion that Ser Alistar will win, but Sam (to Jon’s surprise) puts our bastard’s name up for election, and gives a resounding and heartfelt speech, finishing with the reminder that Jon was “the commander we turned to when the night was darkest.” It apparently resonates because Jon wins, with that crazy Targaryen Maester Aemon casting the winning vote.

...Ser Alistar's supporters always referred to this as the "Blind Chad" elections...
…Ser Alistar’s supporters always referred to this as the “Blind Chad” elections…

Finally, on the other side of the world, Varys and Tyrion have started their journey to Meereen. Tyrion apparently wasn’t joking about drinking himself to death, despite Arys’ continued remainders of the power he held in the past and the good he’s done. I understand we need some character arc here, but I’m already annoyed at this whining, self-pitying Tyrion. I’m fairly certain the showrunners are only only doing to give someone else a chance to win the Emmy this year.

...Tyrion's little known twin brother, Emo Lannister...
…Tyrion’s little known twin brother, Emo Lannister…

And over in Meereen itself, Dany’s gang has found itself a Son of the Harpy. Her council argues over the terrorist’s fate, with a former slave calling for the most blood. Barristan Selmy urges a trial, arguing the import of a trial, and telling Dany about her mad father’s frequent and cruel abuse of power. It’s a great scene and shows us the value of having the old Kingsguard around.

...Jorah who?
…Jorah who?

Unfortunately, not everyone sees it the same way and the former slave kidnaps the prisoner and kills him. He announces his deed to Dany, who feels compelled by the law to sentence him to death, despite the calls for mercy from the crowd. Once again, we find an instance in the GOT world where doing the “right” thing can lead to your downfall. The crowd quickly turns on Dany (reminiscent of the Kings Landing riot scene back in Season 2), the cheers and calls of “Myhsa” quickly turning to hisses and a shower of rocks.

The episode ends with Dany hearing the pitter patter of little dragon feet on the roof. She discovers Drogon who allows a brief touch before flying off with a gout of flame, leaving his mother alone with her potentially bad decisions.

slide_dragon-chat_compressed
Hi mom, I ate all the shepherds. Do you have anything else to eat?

Things to think about

Is there any meaning behind the priest/Jaqar only opening the black door at the House of Black and White.

Does anyone else think Drogon is starting to look like the dragon in Shrek?

To whom was Baelish proposing marriage? And why didn’t he say who the bride was?

Did Jon Snow actually smile when the election results were announced? Or was that a grimace.

Guess we’ll find out all this an more in the next few weeks!

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