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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x02: The House of Black and White


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> The Eyrie -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Braavos -> Meereen

Braavos
Everyone's favorite little girl with murderous intentions is entering Braavos between a man's legs. Well, it's actually a giant statue's legs. Either way, I hope Arya doesn't look up!

Thanks to her magic coin, Arya is being ferried to The House of Obvious Symbolism. (OK, it's the titular House of the Black of White.) She knocks the appropriately two-toned door and is greeted by a creepy looking man (and by “greeted” I mean silently glowered at). Arya asks for Jaqen H'ghar but there is apparently nobody there by that name.

After a rainy night of naming off the people she wants to kill Arya decides to ditch the coin and slaughter pigeons. Whatever passes the time, I suppose. So, some random thugs decide they want Arya's tasty pigeon corpse but Arya wants them to taste her sword instead. Before she needles them to death the creepy looking man appears and scares the thugs off with a glower.

To the surprise of no one, the creepy man turns out to be Jaqen although he refuses to call himself by that name. Apparently, to enter The House of Black and White you must have no name. Arya follows the assassin formerly known as Jaqen into the House of the Black and White via the black door.

The Eyrie
Brienne is eating at a inn with the only man born with his own walking stick, Podrick. Podrick spots Sansa and Petyr Baelish eating at different table. Despite Podrick's apprehension, Briene confronts Littlefinger in an attempt to save Sansa from the creep incarnate.

Brienne swears complete loyalty to Sansa but Sansa doesn't buy it since Brienne had bowed before Joffrey once. Brienne says we all do things we don't to do but Sansa, lacking all self-awareness, says we have choices in what we do. So Brienne tries to leave but Baelish tries to have her killed. (I wonder what Sansa thinks of that?)

A chase through the woods ends with Baelish's soldiers getting Brienne-ed. Brienne then vows to follow Sansa and protect her from Petyr. Podrick agrees to go with her because what else is he going to do? Besides, he needs an extra pair of hands to help lug his own Petyr around because his finger sure ain't little.

On The Road
Tyrion and Varys are in a carriage reminiscing about Tyrion's time as Hand of the King. Tyrion is bored and wants to stretch his legs but Varys won't let him go out because it's too dangerous. Tyrion is like, there's a lot of dwarves in the world, it's not like Cersei is going to kill all of them, right?

King's Landing
The answer is, YES! But we'll get to that in a moment.

Cersei and Jaime are looking at a threat from Dorne in the form of a viper statue with Cercei's daughter Myrcella's necklace in its mouth. Cersei seemed quite pleased with The Mountain squishing Oberyn's head. Perhaps she should have seen this coming?

So, Jaime decides that he'll go to Dorne and do...something. But that something can't be done alone. So Jaime seeks out Bronn, messes up his wedding plans (as well as his plan to murder his future-sister-in-law) because he wants Bronn to help him out in Dorne. Bronn agrees to go at the promise of greater reward. Let the zany, buddy cop hijinks commence!

Meanwhile, Cersei is examining a dwarf's head. It's not THE dwarf's head so she's upset. But she doesn't punish anyone because she wouldn't want to discourage the wonton slaughter of dwarves. One of the dwarves slaughtered could end up being Tyrion!

Cersei then holds a council in which she claims to be taking the place of the king until King Tommen is of age to rule. Most people are OK with it including newcomer(?) and all around creepy guy Qyburn who is now the Master of Whispers. Cersei's uncle Kevan Lannister, however, is not impressed by Cersei. I'm not sure if he's sexist or just recognizes Cersei as an awful person but he says he'll be at Casterly Rock until the king personally calls for him.

Dorne
Ellaria Sand is still hella pissed about Oberyn's death. Prince Doran Martell isn't sure what all the hubbub is about. Oberyn died in a perfectly legal trial by combat. Ellaria says the people of Dorne won't stand for inaction. Prince Doran is then thankful that the people aren't the rulers of Dorne.

The Wall
Shireen Baratheon is teaching Gilly to read. Cute! Shireen's mother lectures Shireen on what dirty mongrels the wildlings are. Not Cute.

In an effort to calm the people of the north, Stannis offers Jon Snow a chance to become Jon Stark and rule Winterfell. Jon Snow likes the idea but says he'll turn it down because of course he will. He's Jon Snow.

It's voting time for Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Denys Mallister, commander of the Shadow Tower, and Ser Alliser both want the job. Sam points out that when the going got tough Janos got going into a basement with the women and children. He also points out the when Ser Alliser got injured it was Jon Snow who took charge and, through command of the Night's Watch, successfully defended the Wall.

The votes are in and it's a tie! It's up to Maester Aemon to cast the final vote and Jon Snow wins! I'm sure that won't have any negative repercussions for Mr. Snow.

Meereen
Daario helps capture a Son of the Harpy. Ex-slave Mossador wants the guy executed. Ser Barristan wants a fair trial. Daenerys nearly sides with Mossador. However, Barristan tells Daenerys that her father being called the mad king was not a misnomer. When a ruler blindly doles out justice on a whim without thought or recognition of any personal flaws or biases, well, a lot destruction could be had.

Daenerys then decides a fair trial is in order but Mossador has no patience for a trial and kills the Son of the Harpy member himself. Mossador tells Daenerys he did it for her but she tells him that she must abide the law and the law says murders are put to death. So we get our second execution in as many episodes.

The people of Meereen (specifically the ex-slaves) are NOT happy with Daenerys. Riots soon erupt and Daenerys is learning that ruling isn't as easy at it seems. Just then, her lost dragon Drogon shows up and I think Daenerys believes that ruling might be a bit easier if her dragons were around.

Other Thoughts
So both Jon Snow and Arya Stark seem to be on a prototypical "hero's journey." To risk oversimplification, Arya on the Batman path while Jon is on the Superman path. This makes me very wary of what's in store for them considering George R.R. Martin is involved.

When Arya was listing off the names of people she wanted to kill, I couldn't make out who the fourth person was and couldn't remember who else had wronged her.

I get that Arya was feeling down, but that coin seemed valuable. It didn't seem wise to throw it away.

I try to be sympathetic towards Sansa but her dismissal of Brienne doesn't help with that. So what if she bowed to Joffrey? I didn't see Sansa openly opposing Joffrey.

I figured that Bronn's story was over and that he'd be a non-factor going forward. I don't mind being wrong but, despite being fun to watch sometimes, he really is an odious human being.

Myrcella Lannister seems to have grown up really fast.

I get that Trystane thinks Oberyn's death was honorable/legal but the Mountain also admitted to raping and squishing the head of his sister...

I wonder how well Daenerys's voice travels during her big speeches.

So, how will the rioting affect Daenerys? Will it encourage her to explore diplomacy more or make her resort to martial law?

No updates to the counts this episode unless you count Mossador as a main character...which I don't.

Arya: I have nowhere else to go.
Jaqen: You have everywhere else to go.

Brienne: Do you think she's safe with Littlefinger?
Podrick: No m'lady.
Brienne: Get your horse.

Tyrion: When I agreed to come with you did I misrepresent my intentions?

Season 5 Totals
Boob Count: 3
Full Frontal Count: 1 (1 Female)
Butt Count: 3 (3 Male)
Coitus Count: 0
Main Character Death Count: 1 (Mance Rayder)
Hodor Count: 0

4 comments:

  1. Actually, Janos only recommends Ser Allisser, it s another old guy (dont remember seeing before) that s the second candidate.

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  2. Thanks to her magic coin, Arya is being ferried to The House of Obvious Symbolism.

    I wonder if she'll learn a lesson about race relations inside?

    I realized one of the things I like about Braavos in this episode: when Arya thanks the ship captain for bringing her to the House, he says any man if Braavos would have done the same. I feel like that's one of the few certainties in this world. Over in Westeros, loyalties seem to belong to family, house, lord/king, in that order, and we've seen such loyalties can change/be bought/etc. Kings aren't safe, guests invited into the home aren't safe, anything goes.

    But give one of those coins to a Braavosi and no matter what, you'll end up on the same doorsteps as Arya. That's a comforting bit of certainty for this world, and it endears me to Bravos as a whole. It's like the only place which adheres to its principals, no matter how narrow.

    Besides, he needs an extra pair of hands to help lug his own Petyr around because his finger sure ain't little.

    Nicely done.

    Let the zany, buddy cop hijinks commence!

    I just hope one of them decides he's too old for this shit, and tells us that constantly.

    Most people are OK with it including newcomer(?) and all around creepy guy Qyburn who is now the Master of Whispers.

    Qyburn is relatively minor but not new. He showed up briefly last season to help Cersei with...female troubles, because she (rightly) thinks Pycelle is a creepy old perv and wants him nowhere near her, and then he popped up again in the last episode, promising to save the Mountain using unauthorized, presumably Frankenstein-esque techniques.

    He's a discredited Maester (or whatever their term for it is) kicked out for practicing forbidden Maester-y stuff (like the aforementioned Mountain-revival techniques). It's still unclear if his methods are genuinely not kosher, or just outside the usual Maester-doctrine, but I'm leaning more towards the former given his desire for the dwarf head.

    Prince Trystane Martell isn't sure what all the hubbub is about.

    Dr. Bashir is playing Prince Doran Martell. I believe Trystane is Doran's son, the one to whom Mrycella is betrothed. It's confusing because they're all princes, even the head of the state (because there's only technically one king in Westeros). So the prince is the ruler and his son is a prince even though the ruler is also a prince...

    Jon Snow likes the idea but says he'll turn it down because of course he will. He's Jon Snow.

    As there ever been a less suspenseful moment on the show?

    This makes me very wary of what's in store for them considering George R.R. Martin is involved.

    Me too, though last week I was all ready to shoot down the "Jon's going to be the next Lord Commander!" idea because it seemed too traditionally-hero journey for the character, so who knows? Then again, GRRM could just be twisting the knife.

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  3. When Arya was listing off the names of people she wanted to kill, I couldn't make out who the fourth person was and couldn't remember who else had wronged her.

    I believe they were Cersei, Meryn Trant, the Mountain and Walder Frey (not sure which one you missed).

    I was bummed the list was so short. While some of the people have been dispatched (Joffrey, the Hound, presumably) and I'm willing to accept that she learned about Tywin's death, she's still missing Ilyn Payne, Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion and the Red Woman (Melisandre).

    I believe the actor that played Payne has terminal cancer so they've basically written him out of the show, but the absence of the others suggests the whole Brotherhood of Banners storyline from seasons 2 and may not ultimately amount to much, which is a shame, cuz there were several ways it seemed like that storyline could intersect with others, and it sure seemed to be setting up something big (ie resurrection of the dead) that shouldn't go ignored.

    I get that Arya was feeling down, but that coin seemed valuable. It didn't seem wise to throw it away.

    I thought the same thing!

    I wonder how well Daenerys's voice travels during her big speeches.

    I wondered that too! Like, is that place she was at the designated speech giving place because it was designed to have good, sound-carrying acoustics (like in old pre-microphone theaters)?

    @Frenchie: Actually, Janos only recommends Ser Allisser, it s another old guy (dont remember seeing before) that s the second candidate.

    Yeah, the other candidate was the commander of the Shadow Tower, one of the only other two manned posts along the wall. Given how shortstaffed Castle Black is, he must only have, like, five guys there with him. I don't think we've ever seen him in the show before.

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  4. @Frenchie "Actually, Janos only recommends Ser Allisser, it s another old guy (dont remember seeing before) that s the second candidate."

    Huh, I must've written that down wrong. I looked it up and the second guy is named Denys Mallister.

    @Teebore: "Nicely done."

    Is it getting time for me to retire the Podrick penis jokes?

    "Dr. Bashir is playing Prince Doran Martell."

    Argh, I was getting bad at keeping track of names this episode, wasn't I?

    "I believe they were Cersei, Meryn Trant, the Mountain and Walder Frey (not sure which one you missed)."

    Meryn Trant is the one I forgot. I even had to look him up now to refresh me on who he was and it reminded me of Syrio Forel. I always dismissed him as dead but as I look at everything together: we don't see his death, no one mentions his death and the Hound says "Any boy whore with a sword could beat three Meryn Trants", I start to think he's alive.

    This all makes me think that he could be alive. My out-of-the-blue and completely unintelligent guess? Syrio Forel is Jaqen.

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