Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 2 — “The House of Black and White”
Credit: HBO © 2015 Home Box Office    

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 2 — “The House of Black and White”

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 2 ("The House of Black and White") 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?

While "The House of Black and White" didn't involve any super dramatic deaths of favorite characters or standout scenes that left us in shock, it was definitely a solid entry, and, like the premiere, helped put the pieces into place for what is shaping up to be another fascinating season. So let's jump into it and see what this episode had in store for what remains of our beloved cast.

Braavos: Arya Must Become No One

Arya (Maisie Williams) has made her way to Braavos, where she heads straight to The House of Black and White, which she's told is where she'll be able to find Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), her murderous face-changing buddy from Season 2. One problem: She's met by a grumpy old man who wants nothing to do with her and says there's no Jaqen about. Welcome to Braavos, Arya!

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 2 — “The House of Black and White”
Credit: HBO © 2015 Home Box Office    

After spending a night sulking around, Arya ditched the coin that had earned her passage to Braavos, and wanders off to explore the surrounding city, which goes about as well as you'd expect. She finds herself in a bit of a scrape when a group of men decide they want their sword for themselves. She bravely stands up for herself, but before we get a chance to see if the little swordsman could really take on that many men, they're interrupted by the same old man — merely his presence sends Arya's would-be attackers scattering.

The man leads Arya back to the House of Black and White and then reveals — he is Jaqen H’ghar! Well, at least he has the face of the man we knew as Jaqen H’ghar. As he cryptically puts it: "There isn't [a Jaqen H’ghar here]. A man is not Jaqen H’ghar."

Who is he, then, Arya wants to know? "No one," he replies. "And that is what a girl must become."

Arya, wearing an appropriate WTF expression, follows not-Jaqen into the House of Black and White. Is she going to learn to be a face-changing assassin? Because that would be freaking awesome.

The Vale: No One Wants Brienne's Help

In The Vale, Pod and Brienne stop by a bar... which just so happens to be the same bar Sansa and Littlefinger are chilling in. What a crazy random happenstance!

Over in the corner of conspiracies, Littlefinger reveals a bit more of his plan, telling Sansa that he made a marriage proposal that has been accepted, though he doesn't go into detail about it. "I thought you still mourned the death of my beloved aunt Lysa," Sansa replies. It's 100 percent snark and 1000 percent awesome.

This plotting pow-wow is interrupted when Pod spots them and Brienne decides to make her presence known right then and there, because that's how she rolls. She tries to make her good intentions towards Sansa clear, but Littlefinger is a master at sowing doubt, bringing up the fact that Brienne was accused of killing Renly. Her No guys, it was totally a shadow with the face of Stannis Baratheon defense doesn't go over well, and Littlefinger adds insult to injury by pointing out that both Renly and Cat ended up dead even with Brienne's so-called protection.

Despite her best efforts, Sansa tells her to piss off and Brienne does just that — but not without having to kill a bunch of Littlefingers' guards first, presumably because he doesn't want Brienne out there telling people where he's taken Sansa. Brienne, being Brienne, manages to escape — and save Pod in the process. Aww. We knew their bromance would only grow stronger.

Oh, and if you think Sansa's refusal is enough to dissuade Brienne from following her, you haven't been paying attention. Follow they will!

King's Landing: Cersei's In Charge, and That's Not Great

Over in King's Landing, Cersei (Lena Headey) calls Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to see her, but she doesn't want him for what he hopes she wants him for. The Queen Mother has received a disturbing gift: a snake with a necklace that belongs to her daughter, Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free). It's a threat from Dorne, Cersei explains.

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 2 — “The House of Black and White”
Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO © 2015 Home Box Office    

If you've forgotten, Myrcella — Cersei and Jaime's middle child — was sent down to Dorne in Season 2 so that she could one day marry Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian). Now, though, the Dornish seem to blame the Lannisters for Oberyn 's (Pedro Pascal) demise last season, and Cersei is convinced they're going to take it out on her daughter. She continues to hate on Jaime, telling him he's been a crap father who has "never made anything better," so he volunteers to sneak off to Dorne and bring Myrcella home. Not by diplomacy, not with an army he's literally planning to kidnap his own daughter. Yeah, that can't possibly end poorly.

First, though, Jaime needs to pick up a companion for his journey, because it's kinda hard to pull off a kidnapping with one hand. His choice? Bronn (Jerome Flynn), of course! Tyrion's former BFF is set to marry the somewhat simple Lollys Stokeworth, but Jaime interrupts their wedding planning with the news that the engagement is off, and Bronn is coming to Dorne. It's OK though, he'll get an even better (read: richer) wife later! Westeros, where romance goes to die.

Later, at a Small Council Meeting, Cersei makes it clear that she's in charge now as a stand-in for her son, who doesn't even attend the meeting and she has some changes in mind. She makes the malleable Mace Tyrell Master of Ships and Master of Coin, and installs her creepy lackey Qyburn as the new Master of Whispers, much to Grand Maester Pycelle's dismay.

Cersei then tries to promote Tywin's brother Kevan Lannister to Master of War, but he's not about to take her BS. He declares, "I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet," instantly winning our love from now until forever. Sadly, Kevan's spine leads him to storm off, declaring he's headed back to Casterly Rock until such a point when the king himself asks for his help. No, Kevan! Come back! We miss you already!

Dorne: We Want More!

Speaking of Dorne, we finally get to see that southern kingdom this week. Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) is full of violent hatred for any and all things Lannister including, yes, Myrcella. Turns out Cersei isn't just being paranoid! We also meet Oberyn's older brother, prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig. Ellaria declares that whole kingdom, wants him to go to war over Oberyn, but Dornan is apparently the reasonable type, and isn't about to start a war over one death or chop up a little girl for vengeance. We like him, which of course makes us worried. Reasonable people don't tend to last long on this show.

On the Road to Volantis: Tyrion Drowns His Sorrows

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is still as grumpy as ever on the road to Volantis. He's stuck in the carriage because Cersei is still looking for him, and has a price on his head that would entice people even this far away from Westeros, but after some bonding with Varys (Conleth Hill), Tyrion decides to say screw it, he's going for a walk! Yeah, that doesn't have a 100 percent chance of going wrong at all.

The Wall: Lord Commander Jon Snow

At the Wall, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) is discovering it's hard to get the North to rally to his cause, so he has an offer for Jon Snow (Kit Harington): he'll declare Jon an official Stark — that means he'd no longer be a bastard! — and reinstate him as Lord of Winterfell, if Jon promises to get the Northern houses to fight for him.

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 2 — “The House of Black and White”
Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO © 2015 Home Box Office    

If you somehow missed everything about Jon's backstory, we'll remind you being an Official Stark was basically his dream forever. If you somehow missed everything about Jon's personality, we'll remind you that it doesn't matter, because he swore an oath to the Night's Watch, and he won't break that oath and return to the world beyond the Wall.

Luckily for Jon, this episode isn't all disappointment, all the time. There's also an election for the new Lord Commander, and thanks to an impassioned speech from Sam (John Bradley) — and the fact that the other candidates aren't exactly appealing — Jon and his enemy Alliser Thorne end up in a tie, which Aemon breaks. Surprise, surprise: Jon wins! So he might not be Lord of Winterfell, but at least he's in charge at the Wall.


In Meereen, the hunt is still on for the Sons of Harpys. Thanks to Daario (Michiel Huisman) and the Second Sons, one Harpy conspirator is caught. This is great, except now Dany (Emilia Clarke) has to decide what to do with the guy. Her former slave advisor advocates for execution, while Barristan (Ian McElhinney) calls for restraint. At least give him a trial, Barristan suggests, which makes sense to us.

He also lingers after the meeting to gently tell his queen that her dad's "mad king" image was no lie spread by her enemies. This is apparently news to her. Like, legit, Dany, your dad was a freaking crazy person. Don't be like him! She seems to get that being too stringent can lead to a dark path, and agrees to the fair trial.

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 2 — “The House of Black and White”
Credit: HBO © 2015 Home Box Office    

Of course, if you've ever watched this show, you know that won't go smoothly. In fact, the trial doesn't even happen, because her ex-slave advisor takes it upon himself to have the Harpy killed, telling Dany that he did it for her — so that the man could die without her looking like a tyrant.

That's great in theory, except that Dany, apparently forgetting what Barristan told her two scenes ago, declares that now her advisor must die for the crime of killing a prisoner. She takes him to a public square to do the deed and spoiler alert: her "children" do not take well to seeing her kill one of their own. Dude, Dany, learn to read a crowd. Her lack of mercy ends with her people turning against her, literally hissing their disapproval as she's rushed off to safety.

But hey, it's not all bad for Dany. Her fave kid Drogon pays her a visit. The dragon is giant, but still seems to love his mom, unlike basically all of her other followers. So, that's something.

Stray Thoughts and Observations:

  • "I have nowhere else to go."/"You have everywhere else to go." Not-Jaqen still brings the snark.

  • Arya recites her kill list: "Cersei. Walder Frey. The Mountain. Meryn Trant." No Tywin, we notice. Did she hear he's dead?

  • Check out Pod checking out the barmaid. Boy has moves.

  • Sansa on alcohol: "I don't see what all the fuss is about."

  • Jaime on his lack of fatherly affection: "If I was a father to any of my children they'd be stoned in the street."

  • Ellaria on Myrcella: "Oberyn is dead, and this Lannister girl skips about the water gardens, eating our food. Breathing our air." Yes Ellaria. How dare she breathe. The nerve.

  • "Someone who has forgotten fear has forgotten how to hide." Darrio, bringing the wisdom.

  • Tyrion, on his drinking: "Then I agreed to come with you, did I misrepresent my intentions?"

  • Tyrion line of the week: "Are we really going to spend the entire road to Volantis talking about the futility of everything?" "You're right, no point."

  • Dwarves all over the Seven Kingdoms and beyond are being killed because of the price on Tyrion's head. That sucks for them.

  • "I do not recognize your authority to dictate what is and is not my concern." We'll say it again: Tema Kevan!

  • Interesting that the writers spent so much time talking about Greyscale, the disease that scarred poor Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram). Hint that it will play a bigger role in the future?

What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments below!