Game of Thrones season 5 episode 2 introduced us to new locations, caught us up with some old faves, brought one of our main characters to new heights of power, and saw another making such a terrible leadership decision, we basically want to slap her. So all in all, kind of a slow episode, right guys?
The pieces are slowly coming together, but the universe of Game of Thrones is growing bigger. The “House of Black and White” may not have been an episode that saw plenty of character deaths, but it’s still a solid entry that will help in shaping another fascinating season.
Here’s what happened:
The House of Black and White
Across the Narrow Sea, Arya has made her way to Braavos. However, she is shooed away by a grumpy old man so she ventures off into the city and ditches the coin Jaqen H’gar gave her 2 seasons ago. When she finds a group of men who take notice of Needle, she stands up for herself like the little badass Stark girl that she is. When the grumpy old man reappears, the boys scurry off in fright and Arya follows the man back into the House of Black and White. Then that same old man takes off his face (or puts on another) and reveals that he is Jaqen H’gar. Or at least he has the face of a man who we once knew as Jaqen H’gar. As he cryptically puts it, “A man is not Jaqen H’gar.” When Arya asks who he is, he replies, “No one. And that is what a girl must become.”
Uncharted Territory in The Vale
It’s been apparent from the get-go of the season that the episodes won’t be following the books in terms of location and plot development, so long as the end-result will still be the same. This may prove an unwelcome news to a lot of book readers. For one thing, we’re going to be just as clueless as non-book readers. Second, this will make the show seem like a fan fiction spin-off and will, at some point, spoil the outcome of the books. Or at least tarnish Martin’s carefully constructed albeit slow developing plot.
Sansa’s storyline is among those changes. From the books, Sansa is still at The Vale and hasn’t even met Brienne yet. Now, they meet at some tavern where Brienne immediately offers to protect Sansa. Of course, she refuses. What happens next is a wonderful little chase scene that sort of teases us for the appearance of Lady Stoneheart, but she never appears. This is another major deviation from the books but it’s something that I don’t really feel strongly about. However, Lady Stoneheart was major because she was sorta Martin’s way of “punishing” the Freys. A sort of cosmic karma if you will.
Kingslayer Goes South
While the kingdom mourns the death of one of the most formidable patriarchs and strategists in the form of Tywin Lannister, Cersei receives a not-too-subtle threat from the Sandsnakes (perhaps?). Remember, Myrcella is being held “hostage” at Dorne, betrothed to Prince Trystane Martell. After Cersei lays some serious guilt trip on the Kingslayer, Jamie leaves again for another voyage but this time with the help of Bronn. Things are about to get interesting for the Kingslayer. I’m glad they brought Bronn back too; that guy was a badass. Sidenote: they recast Lollys Stokeworth and got rid of the “raped by an angry mob” storyline, making Lollys a gullible and amusing spinster.
Snakes in the Sand
We get our first welcome appearance of the Sand Snakes, daughters of Oberyn Martell named after his own street moniker “the Red Viper”. We see the strongest of the bunch, Obara Sand, whose weapon is a long spear just like her father, Nymeria Sand, who’s deadly with a whip, and Tyene Sand, Ellaria and Oberyn’s own daughter, who’s deadly with a pair of daggers. Deadly and sexy as hell, these girls will stop at nothing to exact vengeance for their father.
998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch
If you somehow forgot Jon Snow’s backstory, the whole point was that being an official Stark has been his life’s dream. And if you somehow forgot what kind of personality Jon Snow has, it’s that he’s too honorable to accept the offer of legitimacy from Stannis in exchange of giving up his post as a brother of the Night’s Watch. I’ve wanted to slap Jon since I read his POV about this chapter in the books and my feelings haven’t changed.
However, the primary emotion I felt regarding Jon is pride. From the words of Samwell Tarly (who gave an impressive performance delivering a witty and impassioned speech about Jon), “He may be young, but he’s the commander we turned to when the Night was darkest.” The new Lord Commander of the Nights Watch is Jon Snow and my heart basically swells with pride and my panties swoon. #jk
When Slaves Hiss at Dragons
The hunt for the Sons of the Harpy is still on. But because Daario Naharis seems to know how secret assassins think, they catch one of the Sons. Now, Queen Daenerys is caught in a tangle: what to do with the guy? Should she punish the criminal by executing him or subject him to a fair and just trial? One of her loyal freed slaves takes it upon himself to execute the Harpy conspirator. Now, Dany is caught in an even more difficult predicament: slay the freed slave and show that she is a just queen or give him mercy.
Dany chooses to have the freed slave beheaded, an act that angers the mob of other freed slaves. I mean duh, said freed slave kills a Son of the Harpy who’s been killing Unsullied and freed slaves. WTF Dany! I want to slap you so bad right now. Did you forget what Barristan Selmy said to you like 2 scenes ago?
What ensues after the beheading is an angry mob throwing rocks at the dragon queen and the former Masters of Meereen. Oh, and we see Drogon too. Hello, Drogon! You look like you can take Smaug now. As you were.
The pieces are certainly coming together. Jon Snow is Commander of the Nights Watch, which means that the fate of the Wall and the captured Wildlings is on his hands. Daenerys Targaryen is learning what it’s like to truly rule: a leader is not always liked nor popular among the masses. Arya Stark is on the path to becoming no one. Sansa Stark is shunning her Stark values and learning how to be a conniving player in this brutal world by being Littlefinger’s apprentice. And Jaime Lannister and Bronn has made his way to Dorne. I still vote that these two should have a spin-off show. Add Tyrion and you’ve got 2 and a half men. *teehee 😀
What did you guys think of this episode? Tune in again for next week’s “High Sparrow”.