Game of Thrones: ‘The House of Black and White’ Review


It Doesn’t Matter If Your Black Or White

It Doesn't Matter If Your Black or White

Arya Stark: “Well who are you then?”
Jaqen H’Ghar: “No one. And that is whom a girl must become.”

Episode 2 of Game of Thrones’ fifth season, titled The House of Black and White, certainly didn’t disappoint and once again, we were treated to multiple storylines all across Westeros and Essos. Heck, we even got a more detailed look at Dorne with a number of new character introductions. And while the show is now completely changing things up from the books, it has added some extra freshness to the show because not knowing what the fuck is going to happen next is something I’d lost after Season 3 after binge-reading all 5 books in a month. Damn you, Red Wedding.

What we do know, however, is that Dorne is going to become a big part of the story with certain characters from King’s Landing on their way there. Even Myrcella Baratheon (i.e. Jaime and Cersei’s only daughter) is back in the mix of things after Oberyn’s death last season. And it looks like things are shaking up pretty good with changes being made throughout King’s Landing and Meereen. Damn it must not feel good to be a ruler!

And just because I borrowed this title from a Michael Jackson song, it’s only fitting that Thriller himself makes an appearance on this blog, Macaulay Culkin included:

Let’s get right to it shall we. Valar Morgulis style.

Face Off

A Braavos New World

Our episode begins with Arya who has sailed off to beautiful Braavos in search of the faceless man, Jaqun H’ghar. You might remember Jaqun leaving a coin with Arya way back in Season 2 and now that she has parted with The Hound and the rest of Westeros, she’s playing Where’s Waldo in Braavos in hopes of reuniting with her old pal (and assassin). Her adventures have taken her to a place called The House of Black and White, a place that I had been very bored with in the books. That said, it appears Arya’s storyline on the show is much more entertaining now that we get visuals to go with our story. I mean, look at the place, it’s just epic. She’s greeted by an old, cranky man and asks him if he knows where she can find Jaqun but is immediately rejected and left pondering where to go next.

Derp

She’s also still got that list of people she wants dead and it’s getting much shorter…Cersei, Walder Frey, The Mountain and Meryn Trant. What is NOT to like about Arya though. This little go-getter has been through so much shit and she’s definitely on a mission. Quite frankly, I’d rank her as one of my favorite characters and it’s great to see that the Stark girls are coming into their own and doing things that their male counterparts couldn’t. I’m talking to you Ned and Robb.

So after being rejected from the House of Black and White, Arya is now homeless and on the streets of Braavos with her only friend Needle. She’s confronted by some randoms who give her a hard time but they run away once the old dude shows up. And in the sickest reveal of the season so far, the old dude changes his face and BAM, it’s Jaqen H’Ghar. Holy fuck…much excite! As I said earlier, this story was easily one of the most boring for me as I read through the books, but on the show it has become one of the more exciting ones, especially now that Jaqen is back in the picture.

Jaqen H'Ghar or No one?

Lost and Found

Meanwhile, back in Westeros, Brienne and Podrick are having a nice lunch when Podrick spots Lady Sansa and Lord Baelish a stone’s throw away. Brienne instantly has the horses ready since she knows this is probably not going to go well.

She confronts Petyr and Sansa as they eat and I loved every moment of this scene, especially since it was new to the story. Brienne makes her plea to Sansa to come with her…

Lets Roll Out

…but is again rejected.

Nope

It appears Brienne has nothing but bad luck when it comes to convincing the Stark girls to come with her. Stranger danger much? It also doesn’t help that she keeps blaming a shadow for murdering Renly…you so crazy, Brienne!

The right choice for Sansa here is to go with Brienne but she doesn’t know this and basically tells Brienne to frig off. And with that, Brienne starts a shit storm of epic proportions. This leads to a wild horse chase which sees Brienne and Podrick getting split up, but as it turns out, this is for the better and they are reunited safely. Well safe for them, not so safe for this guy:

Fatality

Yup, Brienne brutally murders a guy with a sword through the neck. Applause.

My Anaconda Does

Back in King’s Landing, we catch up with Cersei and Jaime who appear to argue more now than ever before. The Dornish are pissed off at Oberyn’s death and they mean business. Just look at the snake they sent:

Snake in the Ass

Cersei is completely livid over this and the one super important point to note here is that Myrcella is in Dornish hands. Way back in either Season 1 or 2, I can’t even remember at this point, Myrcella was sent off to Dorne to meet her future husband. Oh marriage arrangements are so fun aren’t they!

Jaimie, however, decides that he’s going to ride off to Dorne and save the day. Let me tell you, this is a completely interesting plot twist as Jaime does NOT go to Dorne in the books so I’m very curious to see what the writers have planned for him going forward.

First, Jaime heads off to find a partner in crime and that person is our good friend Bronn, who has recently met his future wife Lollys, but Bronn gets screwed over so Jaime can get some aid.

Jaime recruits Bronn to come with him on his journey to Dorne and I could not be more thrilled about this.

The Misadventures of Jaime and Bronn

We also get a glimpse of Dorne in this episode, a brand new location for us to explore and plenty of new characters.

The Water Gardens

First up, we have Ellaria Sand who is seen confronting Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne and brother to the late Oberyn. Obviously, Ellaria is right pissed over the death of her man and wants Doran to take action. You might remember her from last season as she was with Oberyn in King’s Landing.

Ellaria Sand and Doran Martell

I’m a bit disappointed that Arianne was not cast for the show. She is an awesome character from the books but it looks as though Ellaria Sand will be taking her place. This particular scene where Ellaria confronts Doran about retaliation was actually with Arianne in the books so I can only imagine that the show has simply filled Arianne’s role by using Ellaria. We also get to meet Areo Hotah, this beast of a man:

Areo Hotah

It’s also worth mentioning that Sand is the name given to bastard children in the South much like Snow in the North. The Sand Sisters, who will be introduced soon enough, are all bastard children but the one thing they have in common is their father Oberyn and revenge will be fresh on their minds.

Back in King’s Landing, Cersei is heading up matters on behalf of the King. Let’s call her the temporary Hand of the King and she has a ton of changes on her mind. Most notably, she has named Qyburn the new Master of Whisperers. This leaves Pycelle out of the circle.

The Queen B

Cersei also asks Uncle Kevan Lannister to become the new Master of War but ultimately this starts an argument between Cersei and Kevan. Absolutely love that Uncle Kev is having none of Cersei’s crap and stands up to her. And since Kev doesn’t recognize Cersei’s authority, he basically walks out to head back to ole Casterly Rock.

Rough Justice

Back in Meereen, Dany and her crew are having tons of trouble with the Sons of the Harpy. Daario and Greyworm end up capturing one of the Harpy’s and there is a debate at their daily council meetings regarding whether they should send the man to death or give him a fair trial. Personally, I say give him the death penalty but Dany sees it differently.

Hide and Seek in Meereen

Politics

Barristan and Dany have an amazing conversation about Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King and Dany’s father. Barristan had some experience serving in the King’s Guard back in the day when Aerys was king and boy, was he not a good leader.

Aerys lost his mind and burnt men alive with wildfire, killing sons in front of their fathers and laughing at their screams. One can only hope that we get a flashback of this, the possibilities! The point here is that Barristan does not want the same thing to happen to Dany. Aerys, by killing everyone around him, made him feel powerful and right each time he had someone killed under his rule. Dany is convinced and decides to go with the fair trial but are lawyers really the better path to take? I’m not sold.

Still, the prisoner is killed by some random slave before a trial can happen and Dany is not impressed. The “vigilante” was taking justice into his own hands…and when you take justice into your own hands, you’re going to have a bad time!

vigilante-justice

While I can’t help but feel sorry for this guy, we all know where this is going. Dany simply can’t have people taking justice into their own hands, especailly after she decided to give the Harpy dude a fair trial. That said, this really gives us a great look at how the City is reacting to Dany’s rule. Dany has decided to kill the vigilante and it’s not sitting well with her followers. Needless to say…he dead and the Meereen riots have begun:

Riots in Meereen

On one hand, you have to feel sorry for Dany here. She tried to do what was best by giving the Harpy a fair trial. Instead, he gets murdered by one of her own and all hell breaks loose after they execute the vigilante. What would you do in that situation cus I have no fucking clue what the right decision would have been there.

But wait, there’s more. DROGON! He’s back! And looking more bad ass than EVER! I don’t know about you, but there is one thing that simply rules on this show and it’s the dragons. While she may not be able to tame them, Drogon at least returns briefly to say hello!

pups-all-grown

Isn’t that cute. We’ve seen these dragons grow from little pups to the beasts they have become now and it’s really something to behold. The question we have to ask ourselves going forward is what role will Drogon and his brothers play in the wars to come? All I know is that I’d want to be on their side when shit goes down. After all, this is a Song of Ice and FIRE! Flame on!

Vote of Confidence

Before we head to the Wall, we also get to learn about where Tyrion and Varys are headed. They have decided to head off to Volantis, a City we haven’t got to see yet. This particular storyline has taken a complete turn from the books as a number of different characters are missing so far. Not to say they won’t be added in the future, but even for book readers this is going to be brand new with a few exceptions.

Tyrion has to be very careful as well since Cersei has a bounty out on his head and dwarf’s everywhere are about to get a little bit shorter.

Not Tyrion

And at the Wall, Gilly is being taught how to read by Shireen. Yawn. Clearly, Sam’s storyline has changed dramatically from the books as well and I couldn’t be more bored. Shireen will be very important if only for the fact that she has succumbed to Greyscale and this will come into play in the not-so-distant future (that’s all I’m saying), but Sam staying at Castle Black was a terrible decision and makes me want to fall asleep.

Meanwhile, Jon Snow and Stannis had an interested chat after Mance was burned at the stake. And Stannis offers Jon a very tempting title…he is giving him the option to take back Winterfell and become Jon Stark, King of the North. Wait WHAT!? Snow could finally shake his bastard title and become a Stark, something he has always wanted.

But not only that, we also know the Night’s Watch is going to be choosing a new Lord Commander. And currently, Alliser Thorne is leading the pack to win this thing. This is important because Thorne and Snow don’t see eye to eye. Also, Jon knows nothing.

But in a twist of fate, Sam of all people steps up for his good friend at the Wall and nominates Jon for Lord Commander. Jon ends up winning by one vote…obvs!

The New Lord Commander

Nuff said! Also, this makes Jon’s decision so much easier and we know he’s going to stay as Commander at the Wall instead of take Stannis’ offer. The question now remains: how will Stannis react to Jon’s rejection of his offer? I can only imagine these two are going to be butting heads for the remainder of the season. Also, MORE MELISANDRE PLEASE! Every time she’s on screen, I’m intently watching so let’s get with it show!

Of course, Alliser, being the bitch that he is, tries to make a fool out of Jon by bringing up his past relationship with Ygritte. And to borrow some words from the late Ygritte, you know NOTHING, Alliser Thorne! Indeed, Jon is elected the new Lord Commander, just barely, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. While this was much more entertaining and drawn out in the books, I certainly can’t complain with how they handled it on the TV screen! JON SNOW! JON SNOW! JON SNOW! Let’s have some drinks to celebrate.

Next Week

So far, so AWWSOME! This season has been absolutely brilliant even for those who have read the books. Stories are starting to change significantly and there is a lot going on all over Westeros and Essos now. I’m loving Arya in Braavos and the entire Meereen plotline but I would like to see more from Dorne which is inevitable at this point.

It looks like next week we’re going back to King’s Landing for a bigger dose of the High Sparrow. Book fans will know this entire story has crazy implications for some of our characters and heck, maybe the show can even explain it better than the books did. I’m very intrigued though so check out the preview below for next weeks episode, simply titled High Sparrow:

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3 responses

  1. Isabeau D'anjou 1981 | Reply

    I love the meme but… it does not matter if you are black or white… it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white… please change it to you’re, ‘your’ makes no sense…

    Like your blog, found it because of the black//white meme, just about to subscribe…

  2. It doesn’t matter if I’m black or white what?

    1. It’s a reference to an old Michael Jackson song…check out the video at the beginning of the review and you’ll see what I mean! 🙂

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