Game of Thrones: “The House of Black and White” Season 5 Episode 2 Review

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With just the season’s second episode, Game of Thrones is clearly starting to reward longtime viewers. Characters continue to come together or simply reenter the fold in fascinating ways.

After being skipped over entirely in the premiere, “The House of Black and White” thankfully opens right on a shot of Arya Stark. As promised by last year’s finale, her new journey begins now as she enters Bravos to train with the Faceless Man. She approaches the tall, Greek looking structure with a modern looking double door, one black, one white. The door looks almost Victorian, purposefully out of place as Arya enters a brave new world. Even though her scenes in the episode went in an unnecessary circle, the vibe being established here is unlike what we’ve seen before on Thrones.

Season five as a whole so far has such a different feel than its predecessors. That’s because, as I stated in my review of the premiere, world’s are starting to collide.

After the brief catch-up we got with the Brienne and Sansa stories last week, these two paths intersected in an exciting manner. When they happen to end up in the same restaurant and Sansa refuses Brienne’s help, a fight breaks out. Her fight to save Podrick was exciting, and they still managed to stay pretty close to Sansa and Littlefinger, which will likely mean more confrontations in the future.

Then there was the whole debacle of Oberyn’s family having Cersei’s daughter. After telling Jaime how poor of father he’s been to their children (ew), he intends to ride to Dorne and get Myrcella back, but not alone. In a character union few would have predicted, Jaime enlists Bronn to help him. Oh how I’ve missed Bronn.

Meanwhile, as Tyrion and Varys head toward Meereen, Daenerys may be losing control of her kingdom. The Mother of Dragons sticks with the laws she instated when a former slave murders a son of a harpy suspected of killing one of the unsullied in the premiere. She punishes him with a public execution, which was one of the most tense scenes in Dany’s entire storyline. There may just be a full-scale civil war in Meereen when Tyrion arrives.

All of these combined are setting up what may be one of Thrones‘ biggest season yet. As characters come together while others set off on new journeys, season five seems focused on one thing: an endgame. Grade: A-


Some Other Notes:

– Jon Snow got promoted! But I’d still rather watch him go retake Winterfell and become Jon Stark.

– Dany’s dragons are completely out of her control now, but they look amazing.

– We got our first, albeit brief, look at Dorne this week. It’s interesting that Myrcella is in a situation not unlike the one Sansa was in a few seasons back in King’s Landing. The punishment may just fit Cersei’s crimes, depending on how vengeful the Tyrells are.

– Still no Theon. Could he be being saved for a more startling reveal later in the season?


By Matt Dougherty

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