Game of Thrones: “The House of Black and White” Review

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 2

As Daenerys faces further diplomatic problems in Meereen, Arya takes her first steps into a whole new world.



Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!

It’s fairly easy to lose track of each of Game of Thrones’ many lands and locations, but new arrival Dorne is going to be a big one. We got a taste of what its inhabitants could be like with Oberyn’s fleetingly great time on the show, and we’re now set up for Westeros’ most southern nation to take a more active role in the affairs of the realm. Seeds for the conflict between the Lannisters and the Martells have been sewn over the course of the last few seasons. Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, was rather innocuously sent away to Dorne a couple of seasons ago, but she has now emerged as a key piece in the ongoing war for the throne.

The one thing that excites me most about this particular tussle is Jaime’s role in all of it. Jaime seems more out of place than ever at Kings Landing. His sister is so wrapped up in her scheming that she no longer has time to love him. That coupled with the loss of his hand must have him feeling a little worthless, so now he seems to be seizing the opportunity to redeem himself. Not only does Jaime going on a mission to get Myrcella out of Dorne sound cool, it’s immediately even better now that Bronn is joining him. Their short screen-time together in the past was full of snarky banter, and this mission holds a lot of promise. Both book fans and show fans are entering into completely uncharted waters with this one, so exciting times lie ahead.

Events at King’s Landing remain quite quiet, other than the occasional severed dwarf head, of course. Cersei is focused on getting revenge on Tyrion, but she also has the sense to strengthen her own defenses. The power struggle between Cersei and Margaery is only beginning, but losing Tywin was a massive blow. Cersei set about filling the small council with people loyal to her, but it seems like she may have met someone she can’t push around in the form of her uncle Kevan. Kevan immediately seems to be a different prospect than his brother. While Tywin was all about securing the future of the family, Kevan genuinely seems like he is interested in the good of the realm. The way he dismissed Cersei’s show at the small council meeting bodes well for further Lannister family drama.



I mentioned last week that I was looking forward to Arya’s first appearance of the season, and she got a decent amount of screen time here. This show seems to get better looking every year, and Arya’s arrival in Braavos was a sight to behold. One thing I love about this story is Arya really doesn’t have a clue of what she’s doing. She hopped on a boat with nothing but the clothes on her back and her trusty sword. She had no direction other than to the “House of Black and White,” and that’s exactly where she ended up. After a test of her resolve, she finally found the doors opened to her, and opened by none other than Jaqen H’ghar. It was a real surprise to see him again, although I suppose we can’t really be sure that it’s the same person considering the nature of the “faceless men.” Arya’s story is full of tragic events and her total loss of innocence, but at least it seems like she may be coming close to finding a purpose in life after all of the death she has faced.

Jon’s story took another twist up at Castle Black this week, as he found himself elected as the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. It’s a great turn of events for Jon, who has gone from Ned Stark’s privileged bastard to a well-respected brother. The vote was close, with Maester Aemon’s vote deciding the outcome. While it is great for Jon, you have to wonder whether this will actually make things a lot more difficult for him. Not only does he have opposing members of the Night’s Watch to contend with, but Stannis is still making his presence felt. Stannis tried to get Jon on his side by offering to legally make him “Jon Stark,” an offer which Jon turned down. Now with Jon’s new position of power, Stannis will surely start to apply a lot more pressure.

Brienne and Pod’s merry adventure continued on from pretty much where we left them, but it took a bit of an unexpected turn. Brienne actually came face to face with Sansa, and yet again found herself facing rejection from a Stark girl. The ensuing chase and fight with Littlefinger’s men was a decent bit of action, but the thought of Brienne trying to get to Sansa again holds a lot of promise. While we all know Brienne to be virtuous, I also don’t blame Sansa for not trusting her after all that she has gone though. Littlefinger has treated her fairly well, and after her torment at the hands of Joffrey, she really shouldn’t put her fate in any more strangers.



No stranger to trust issues herself, Daenerys continues to struggle to gain total control of Meereen. She’s had to learn how to make the hard choice over the last few seasons, but she may have made a mistake in her quest to bring law and order to the city. Tensions between the masters and the freed slaves continues to rise, and executing an ex-slave isn’t going to win the people over any time soon. The situation in Meereen is a real powderkeg situation, and Daenerys may find her occupying force on the defensive quite soon. Ser Barristan telling Daenerys the truth about her father was a fantastic moment. It’s easy to forget that some characters accept different versions of a story as the truth, so it was great for Daenerys to be set absolutely straight on what the Mad King had done.


Little by little, the threads of the season are getting laid out. Much like the premiere, nothing really big happened in “The House of Black and White,” just lots of little pieces. Hell, we still haven’t even caught up with all of the characters who took up plenty of focus last season. Jaime and Bronn’s mission to Dorne is what really excited me about the episode, although Drogon’s reappearance was a grand, spine-tingling moment on the show. Those dragons are starting to get really damn big now, and with Meereen looking like it could explode, Daenerys could need to use their power.

85/100 – Great

Will Jon’s new role as Lord Commander make his life easier in the Night’s Watch, or will it bring a whole new set of problems for him? Tweet me @OldSnake24And be sure to follow us @YouNerded!

*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
About Michael Spring (159 Articles)
Michael Spring is a staff writer for If he's not playing Metal Gear or watching some excellent TV show, he's more than likely asleep. For some witty banter and the occasional rant about football, you can follow him @OldSnake24 on Twitter

2 Comments on Game of Thrones: “The House of Black and White” Review

  1. Jon should take the Lord of Winterfell deal. Gets to find a woman, gets to wear something other than black

  2. brendantbewley // April 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM // Reply

    Right after Jon won the election, he took a glance over Alliser Thorne’s way…I think you’re absolutely right, becoming the leader of a small, underfunded, undermanned and dysfunctional group of people, half of whom hate him, may be a more unhappy prospect for him in retrospect.

    But its nice to see him vindicated for his leadership and decency, especially with the tie-breaking vote from Maester Aemon.

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