Game of Thrones, Season 5 – The House of Black and White

Arya arrives in Braavos
Arya arrives in Braavos

In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Arya finds a new home, Sansa makes up her own mind, Jon Snows moves up and the prodigal dragon returns.  Let’s get to it.

Our Rebel Arya arrives in Braavos in search of Jaqen H’ghar’s former home.  She is taken to the House of Black and White, which sits away from the rest of the city.  Arya knocks once, twice, almost three times when an elderly man answers.  Well, not really answers because he says nothing until she mentions her friend Jaqen, to which the man says he’s never heard of him.  Como say what?  He closes the door on Arya, who has nowhere else to go.  So she stays put through the night, repeating her prayer of names which has become alarmingly short.  The next day, Arya takes the coin Jaqen gave her in Season 2 and tosses it in the water.

On the road, Brienne and Podrick are enjoying a meal at one of the local inns, when Pod notices Littlefinger and Sansa sitting at a table.  Pod alerts Brienne and she decides to approach them.  She kneels in front of Sansa, spouting the same spiel she gave to Arya, hoping this time it will not fall on deaf ears.  Sorry Brienne!  Sansa turns her down, leaving Brienne empty-handed (again) and having to fight for her life (again).  She and Pod make a run for it when Lord Baelish sics his guards on them, leading them on a merry chase.  The two escape, but Pod wisely wonders out loud if Brienne’s quest is worth the hassle.

Back in King’s Landing, Cersei receives an elaborate threat from the Sand Snakes of Dorne.  They want a Lannister dead for the death of Prince Oberyn (I’m still pissed about that one too) and the closest one is Myrcella (now played by Nell Tiger Free).  Cersei wants blood, but Jaime decides to go to Dorne himself to save their daughter even after his sister bitches him out.  Shedding his King’s Guard armor, he convinces Tyrion’s former sellsword Bronn, now a Lord, to accompany him, promising more money and a better match for him to marry.

Later, Cersei tries to run a Small Council meeting and gets schooled instead.  Her uncle Kevan Lannister (Ian Gelder) basically tells her that she doesn’t run squat and that she’s nothing more than a fake Queen.  He also tells her that if King Tommen wants him to stay and assist, he can find him at Casterly Rock and then walks out like a boss.

Prince Doran makes an unpopular decision
Prince Doran makes an unpopular decision

In Dorne, Prince Oberyn’s paramour Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) is incensed with her dead lover’s brother, Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig).  She wants vengeance, specifically pieces of Myrcella’s body mailed to her mother, but the Prince, unlike Oberyn, is not ruled by emotion.  He is even-tempered and thinks like a ruler.  He decides not to act since Oberyn was killed during trial by combat, which doesn’t sit well with Ellaria at all.  How will the Sand Snakes react to their Prince’s decision?

At Castle Black, Stannis is frustrated with Jon and the Northerners.  The late Lord Commander Mormont’s niece gave Stannis the North’s version of the middle finger when she refused to help his cause.  The only king the North recognizes is Robb Stark (R.I.P.) which tells you what the Northerners think of Stannis and his claim.  The King asks Jon to help him, requesting he bend the knee in exchange for what he’s always wanted:  the Stark name.  But Jon’s no fool and decides to decline the offer to remain a brother of the Night’s Watch.  Later on, nominations for a new Lord Commander are underway, with Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) and Denys Mallister nominated.  Before the voting can begin, Samwell speaks up and nominates Jon.  He talks of his friend’s bravery during the battle against the Wildlings and says, very eloquently, “He was the commander we turned to when the night was darkest.”  Well said!  After the votes are tallied, the race ends in a tie, with Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) deciding.  Of course, he votes for Jon, who is now Lord Commander Jon Snow.  The look on Thorne’s face was priceless.  Watch your back, Jon.

Back in Braavos, Arya uses her skill to find dinner, attracting the attention of some wannabe toughs.  Before she can stick them with the pointy end, the guys see the same elderly man who closed the door in Arya’s face and run like the wind.  She follows him back to the House of Black and White, where he peels off his face and becomes Jaqen H’ghar!  Mind.  Blown.  How long before we see Arya perform that trick?

And in Meereen, Dany has more troubles than she can count.  She wants the Sons of the Harpy’s heads on a platter, but no one can seem to find any of them.  So Sellsword Hottie Daario and Grey Worm go a-hunting.  Daario finds one of the Sons in the wall of a house and brings him to his love.  Dany wants him dead, but her council cautions her to be smart, not rash.  All but one.  A former slave on her council wants the prisoner dead because he doesn’t want to go back to being a slave.  Ser Barristan talks to Dany on his own, confirming what she has only heard from others:  that her father, the Mad King, became drunk with power and killed indiscriminately whenever he wanted.  He fears that his Queen is going down the same path.  Dany agrees to give the prisoner a fair trial, but alas, it was not to be.  The former slave who spoke up earlier takes matters into his own hands, killing the prisoner and putting his corpse on display.  Dany is ticked and decides to make an example of him in the public square.  Her children beg her to show mercy, but she has him executed anyway.  You could hear a freaking pin drop after it happens, which was pretty creepy.  The former slaves turn on their Mysha, hissing at her and throwing rocks, causing a full-scale riot.  Oh Dany, what have you done?

Drogon returns!
Drogon returns!

Later that night, Dany heads out to the terrace and is surprised to see her first baby, Drogon.  Like his brothers, he is HUGE.  She reaches out to him, but he withdraws before they make contact and flies away.  Can Drogon feel his mother’s weakness?  What will Dany do now that her son has returned?  Will she continue down her destructive path or finally show the people of Meereen what the Targaryen words truly mean?

Stay tuned.

Game of Thrones airs on Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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