‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap: Review Of Season 5 Episode 2’s ‘The House Of Black And White’

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With ‘Game of Thrones’ season 5 episode 2’s ‘The House Of Black And White’ officially in the books it’s time for us to recap this week’s ‘Winners and Losers’. In hindsight, last week’s ‘The Wars to Come’ was actually somewhat lackluster of an episode, as this week’s episode of Game of Thrones had double the plot and action. Though some Game of Thrones characters came out on top this week, ‘The House of Black and White’ was not kind to all of the familiar faces of Westeros and Essos. So without further ado, let’s jump right into the ‘Game of Thrones’ recap for S05E02 ‘The House of Black and White.’

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 2: ‘The House of Black and White’ Recap

WINNER: Arya Stark

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I make not attempts to hide the fact that I think Arya Stark is the best character on this TV show (and in the books). She’s the toughest of the Starks, she’s the only Stark who doesn’t constantly make stupid mistakes, and her character arc has the biggest ceiling. Like, there’s no way Sansa ever gets revenge for the bulk of her family being murdered. It’s Arya who will bring glory back to Winterfell one day **crosses fingers**, but she has quite the journey before that happens.

Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The House of Black and White’ opens up to Arya Stark making it across the Narrow Sea from Westeros to the City of Braavos, on passage she paid for using the coin given to her by the ‘Faceless Man’, Jaqen H’Ghar. The importance of the coin is never really clarified, but we do know that it’s a very important coin, and one respected by all the citizens of Braavos.

So what makes Arya Stark the first ‘WINNER’ of this week’s Game of Thrones episode? She’s finally found her path. She’s struck out on her own, and she’s blazing her own trail through the world. Who cares if that path currently has her sitting outside the ‘House of Black and White’, some mysterious temple, she’s just out there doin’ the dang thing, l-i-v-i-n. Even the man who shut the door on her face knows she’s at a beautiful spot in life when he told her “you have everywhere else to go.”

All that, and she’s now a half a world away from King’s Landing and any member of the Lannister family who is still looking for her. She’s not quite safe just yet, because she’s still just an adolescent girl in a big city, all alone and without any possessions she couldn’t fit in her pockets. But she’s one step closer to finding enough sanctuary to allow herself to become the honed killer I want her to be, then return to King’s Landing to WRECK SHIT **crosses fingers**.

LOSER: Brienne of Tarth

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HBO


I feel foolish naming Brienne of Tarth a loser in this week’s episode, because at no point in this show’s history has she ever been considered a ‘winner’. She and Podrick are the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza of Westeros, and their entire plot line is insufferable. If HBO knew what was good for them they’d find some way to kill these characters off instead of torturing us with their ineptitude week after week. That said, in this scene at some sort of Inn it almost appears as if Brienne of Tarth is about to do something of value, and fulfill her oath to the deceased Catelyn Stark by rescuing Sansa Stark from whatever it is she needs rescuing from.

By some good fortune from the Gods, Brienne actually manages to accidentally stumble upon the person she’s been looking for. She lost Arya, she hasn’t been able to find Sansa on her own, she’s just incompetent. But she finds a needle in a haystack, and approaches Littlefinger and Sansa to declare her loyalty to Catelyn Stark and how she’s all about saving Sansa from the world.

Of course her plan falls apart and she’s forced to retreat with Podrick in order to save her own life. She does manage to kill some horses in the process of retreating, which seems like a pretty dick move, and is just one more reason for me to despise every fiber of her being. Overall the entire scene just seemed like filler, and a way to reinforce the ineptitude of Brienne and Podrick.

I’d like to send a shout out to HBO’s horse trainers though. Being able to train that horse to trot into a river, rear back and buck Podrick off its back, and trot back off into the distance must not have been an easy piece of equine training. Someone should hook them up with a raise.

LOSERS: The Golden-Haired Incestual Twins

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The twin sibling Lannisters, Jamie and Cersei, are all in a tizzy after Dorne sends them a not-so-thinly-veiled threat in the form of a necklace their daughter used to wear. If you remember back a bit, Tyrion sent Myrcella off to Dorne as both a political move and a move to keep her safe. There’s no love between Dorne and King’s Landing, after Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne was just slayed by ‘The Mountain’ in hand-to-hand combat defending Tyrion. This was like the umpteenth time in history that someone has unjustly killed a powerful citizen of Dorne, and it seems like the shiznit is about to go down.

In order to rescue his baby abomination from harm, the one-handed Jamie Lannister tells Cersei he’s off to Dorne to rescue their incestuous love child. On the one hand this is very good for us fans, because Jamie’s plot line just got a lot more interesting. On the other hand it could mean that he’s going to get killed off in the very near future, which wouldn’t be so awesome, as he’s become one of the most likable faces in Westeros over the past few seasons. So this is definitely one plot line we need to watch and see how it shakes out.

But before he hits the road to Dorne, Jamie swings by and grabs Tyrion’s old sellsword, Bronn. Bronn’s also the man who taught Jamie Lannister to swing a sword again after he lost his sword-fighting hand. So there is some history between these two, and it’ll make for a compelling trip to Dorne. However, one thing we know from watching Bronn over the past few seasons is this: everything involving Bronn comes at a price. That price could be gold, or the lives of both of them on the road to Dorne, but we won’t know any more about that for a few more weeks (presumably?).

LOSERS: The Sand Snakes

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If you’ve been following the news leading up to this season then I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the ‘Sand Snakes’. In this scene we’ve got Oberyn Martell’s estranged widow-chick-on-the-side, and she’s jumping down the throat of the ruler of Dorne, threatening to unleash the ‘Sand Snakes’ in an all out war of revenge. His daughters known as the ‘Sand Snakes’ are world renowned for being cold-blooded killers, and as big of badasses as their late father was.

Technically Oberyn’s side chick isn’t one of the ‘Sand Snakes’, but for all intents and purposes she is when it comes to this show. And in this scene she’s berating Prince Doran Martell, the ruler of Dorne. Effectively calling him a massive pussy for not doing anything to avenge their dead father. She’s going on and on about how her sister Sand Snakes are with her, and they’re about to reign hell fire down onto the Lannisters.

As I said last week, now that we’re catching up to the books from time to time I’d mention slight differences between the books and the show. One thing that sort of bothered me here is how goddamn skinny Prince Doran Martell is. In the books he’s stuck in that chair because he’s fat, and suffering from serious gout (the ‘King’s Disease’). He’s obese, unable to walk, and always complaining of pain. Yet in this scene he’s just chilling in that chair and arguing with his bastard of a niece. It’s not a huge plot deviation, it’s just not how I ever imagined Prince Doran Martell to look.

That said, he IS the man in charge. And no matter what the Sand Snakes want to say or do, he can have them all killed, imprisoned, or whatever the hell he chooses. So these girls better get in line before someone brings the hammer (axe) down!

WINNER: The Second Sons

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HBO


While the ‘Sons of the Harpy’ are running around Mereen in the middle of the night, killing Daenerys’ army of Unsullied, and whoever the hell they choose to kill, the Unsullied has been powerless to stop them. The Unsullied cannot find the ‘Sons of the Harpy’ to kill them or bring them to justice, but where the shortcomings of the Unsullied begin the chance at valor for Daario Naharis and the ‘Second Sons’ begins.

Daario just strolls into that room like it aint no thang, breaks down a wall, and stabs the shit out of one of the ‘Sons of the Harpy’ hiding inside the walls. Daario does all of this while teaching the Unsullied some lesson about ‘fear’.

Everyone in Mereen seems to be struggling with something: Dany has problems ruling and with her dragons, the Unsullied are getting killed, the Sons of the Harpy are being hunted…everyone BUT Daario Naharis and the Second Sons. Daario’s out there hunting down ‘Sons of the Harpy’, torturing them, and he’s banging the Dragon Queen on the side. Literally EVERYTHING is coming up Millhouse (and Second Sons).

While everything is on the up-and-up for the Second Sons, things are just falling apart for Daenerys, who refuses to make a resolute decision, or send a message, or show the appropriate measure of restraint. She’s back to her ol’ bumbling teenage self from last season, and no longer a ‘Dragon Queen’ that’s loved and respected by the common folk.

LOSER: Tyrion Lannister

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HBO


The fact of the matter is that Tryion is a grief-stricken dwarf. No matter how much he might have despised his father, the recently deceased Tywin Lannister was his father. He’s stuck in a wheeled cart on the road to Mereen by way of Old Volantis, and he’s losing his mind by drinking enough to kill a small village. Tyrion’s mind is his greatest strength, but in this scene it’s also his biggest weakness. Drinking wine non-stop, he’s trying to grapple with having just committed multiple acts of murder of people he loved, and he’s now in another word and stuck in a steamy box, losing his sanity. It is not a particularly great time to be Tyrion Lannister, and that’s definitely showing as his patience grows thinner by the minute.

There’s also this whole matter of his sister hunting down dwarves all across the world in an effort to find her younger brother. Dead or alive, Cersei has put a bounty on Tyrion’s head and the hunters of bounty are all about chopping dwarf heads off without any regard to whether or not it’s actually Tyrion. Case in point:

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TAGSArya StarkDaenerys TargaryenGame of ThronesGame of Thrones Season 5GOTtyrion lannister