The Faceless | Game of Thrones “The House of Black and White” Review
Game of Thrones is starting out its fifth season strongly with “The House of Black and White.” We got our first looks at both Braavos and Dorne. The faceless men, including our favorite Jaqen H’ghar, prove to be very mysterious so far this season. We’re only starting out in Westeros and already it proves to be as unruly as ever.
Cersei is still ruling King’s Landing for her son, Tommen, the King. Although we didn’t get to see Tommen in this episode, it is clear that he both doesn’t care about ruling but he is also happy to let his mother take over. Cersei once again finds ways to emasculate and berate her brother Jaime. She received a strange snake sculpture with a necklace wrapped around its mouth. The necklace is one of two of its kind, one belongs to Cersei and the other to her daughter Myrcella. Myrcella is still in Dorne awaiting her marriage to Trystane Martell. Cersei insists that Jaime finds a way to save their daughter as this was clearly a threat.
When Jaime begins to speak of Myrcella as their daughter and that they need to do something to keep her safe, Cersei goes off on him. She gets frustrated at the fact that Jaime never fathered their children. He does have a good reason for that since if anyone knew for a fact that they had children, their children would be stoned in the streets. Jaime decides that he will go to Dorne by himself to bring back Myrcella. Even though it seems that this is exactly what Cersei wants, she mocks Jaime for going by himself, a man with one hand. As if that wasn’t brutal and backhanded enough, Cersei also has a bounty on Tyrion’s head. It seems that men are bringing her heads of any dwarf they meet. Cersei also takes it upon herself to completely change around the King’s small council. Finally, her uncle takes a stand against her ruling rather than her son, who is the true king. Who knows when Tommen will actually have to make some decisions on his own, and it’s only a matter of time until the woman directing his decisions switches from his mother to Margaery Tyrell.
Bronn got to make an appearance in this episode. He is still in King’s Landing and is set to wed a woman who is second in line to her family’s castle. Jaime approaches Bronn and hands him a scroll. The scroll says that the woman to whom he is betrothed has just been promised to someone else. As Bronn starts to argue, Jaime promises that he will give Bronn a better woman with a better castle if he goes with Jaime to Dorne.
Our first look at Dorne comes from a very frustrated Ellaria Sand. After Oberyn’s death, Ellaria wants justice from Cersei and all of King’s Landing. She goes to Oberyn’s brother, Prince Doran Martell. Ellaria asks for Doran’s help is taking revenge for Oberyn’s death. Doran reminds her that Oberyn died in a trial by combat, and there is no reason for revenge. Ellaria suggests that they send Myrcella back to Cersei piece by piece. Thankfully, Doran reminds her that they don’t mutilate little girls as long as he rules. Before Ellaria walks away, she wonders aloud how long his rule will last.
Brienne and Podrick are riding along seemingly with no purpose when they just so happen to stumble upon Sansa Stark and Petyr Baelish. Brienne’s sole mission is upholding her vow to Lady Catelyn Stark. Brienne vowed to protect Catelyn’s daughters, Sansa and Arya. Brienne approaches Baelish and Sansa but doesn’t get far with the many guards surrounding them. Baelish recognizes Brienne and lets her speak with him and Sansa. Brienne tries to explain to Sansa how she promised to protect her, but Sansa is wary of strangers. Sansa won’t hear anything Brienne has to say after she saw her bend the knee to Joffrey while he was King. Brienne and Podrick make a quick escape; Brienne even takes out a couple of Baelish’s guards along the way. While saving poor Podrick, Brienne got to show off her skills and had some great kills. I have a feeling this isn’t the end of Brienne’s mission or her vow to Catelyn Stark.
Easily the best scenes of the night had to come from Castle Black. First, we find Gilly learning to read from Stannis’s daughter. She asks what the southerners call the stuff on her face; she says that they call it greyscale. Gilly reveals that her sisters had greyscale, and it spread to their entire bodies making them act like animals. Perhaps, we will learn more about greyscale someday. Stannis warns his daughter to stay away from Gilly because she is a wildling. I think his daughter has more common sense than he does.
Meanwhile, Stannis is upset with Jon Snow for showing mercy to Mance Rayder. Stannis offers to give Jon Snow the Stark family name if he bends the knee and helps Stannis to take back the north. It is everything that Jon has ever wanted. He would finally be free of the bastard title, but Jon knows that he will refuse. He made a vow to the Night’s Watch. He remarks to Sam, what kind of leader would he be if he just broke that vow. That evening, there is a vote for Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Sam speaks up to nominate Jon Snow. He says, “he may be young, but he’s the commander we turn to when the night is the darkest.” His speech must have worked because the vote comes to a tie between Jon and Alliser Thorne. Maester Aemon is the tiebreaker and, with a smile, places his chip on Jon’s stack naming him the latest Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
Daenerys usually has great scenes, and this episode continued to impress. She is still struggling to rule Meereen. She wants to give the people freedom but justice as well. The Sons of the Harpy are raising havoc in Meereen, and Daenerys sends out Greyworm and Daario Naharis to find the man who has been murdering for the Harpy. Daario proves to be the sneakiest and snarkiest in Dany’s camp. Even though it appears no one is in the house of the presumed assassin, Daario stabs a wall behind which the man just happened to be hiding. Daario never disappoints.
After some council from Barristen Selmy, Dany decides that the best way to get justice is a fair trial for the Son of the Harpy. One of the former slaves in Meereen thought that Dany should just execute the man. Sadly, this former slave took matters into his own hand and murdered the prisoner set for trial. Daenerys struggles with getting justice and upholding the law in this occasion. She has the former slave executed in front of all of Meereen. It seems that she is often surprised when people don’t worship her every move. Riots break out over the execution and she is whisked to safety. HBO showed the extent of their amazing CGI in this episode by showing off Drogon. Drogon came back to see Dany at the end of the episode. It appeared that he knew that his mother was in danger and came to make sure she was all right. Daenerys needs to find a way to keep the dragons in line.
Saving the best for last, Arya got her season five debut this episode. She arrived in Braavos and was taken to the House of Black and White. When a man answers the door, she shows him her coin and asks to see Jaqen H’ghar. The man turns Arya away saying there is no one there by that name. When she tells him that she has no place else to go, he answers, “You have everywhere else to go.” Arya wanders around Braavos until she sees the man again. She follows him back to The House of Black and White where he changes his face into the Jaqen H’ghar we all know and love. He tells her that he is no one and that is who she must become.