Game of Thrones S05E02 ‘The House of Black and White’ Review

*BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD*

“If you show people kindness, they won’t fear you. If they don’t fear you, they won’t follow you.”

As much as power is a catalyst for change in Game of Thrones, there are always other virtues or demons to look out for. Fear, for instance is what drove Ser Jaime to take charge of the secret mission to bring Myrcella home, even as her mother Cersei was too overcome with her own fears to realize that after losing her son and her father, she may well lose her daughter and brother *cough* lover, as well. Revenge on the other hand perhaps, is a more purer from of emotion and all the more potent, reflected eerily as Ellaria Sand, the late Red Viper’s paramour plots to wage war against those who wronged her. And finally, there’s justice, that small measure of fairness in an unfair world which is the world of Game of Thrones. But, at what cost does justice come, is the question Daenerys asks herself towards the latter part of today’s episode, ‘The House of Black and White.’

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

To be honest, I am getting tired of how much time the show (and the books, as well) takes in portraying Dany as a just and kind ruler. Sure, she’s fair in a Disney princess kind of way, but in the books for instance, there is that raring vein of venom just below the surface of her character. The show has failed to a degree in making a Targaryen of Dany, with few cases (Sacking of Astapor, for instance) showing the audience how much she (And Emilia Clarke) can kick ass. Which is why when towards the end when the entire population of Meereen hisses at her (The eternal question of justice, again), you don’t root for her, you feel sorry for her. Tyrion, and Varys more so, is likely to be disappointed with the conundrum the Mother of Dragons has found herself in, as they make their way to Volantis. Sure, there’s most likely to be the scene from Daznak’s pit later but c’mon, how long can you keep a dragon tamed.

Speaking of venom, Sansa sure is mining all the venom she has pent up inside. This, as she refuses strongly to Brienne’s proposal to come with her to safety (Very Stoneheart-y) and instead chooses to stick with that ‘sneaky guy’ (Littlefinger, for the uninitiated), from Honest Trailers. Now, as she goes on her way (With Brienne closely tailing her) to presumably, Winterfell, I can’t help but feel excited about where Sansa’s arc will take her.  With Littlefinger talking about a marriage proposal, I think I’m pretty sure who the lucky man (Or woman?) it will be. But in the end, it is not Martin’s story to adapt; it is a creation of the show. And I can’t wait to see where it all leads to.

Even Jon Snow of the Night’s Watch (As he likes to remind us every other episode) had a choice, a choice presented on a platter when the one true king of Westeros (I never get tired of this), Stannis Baratheon offered to make him a Stark by royal decree, and give him the North by default. And yet, he refuses (He’s Ned Stark’s son after all), only to be elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch following a rousing speech by Samwise Tarly (Samwell, I know!). Knowing that the show has as of yet followed the gist of Jon’s storyline from the books (albeit leaving out Val, the Wildling princess), it’s credit to the show that I can still find myself looking forward to his arc in the coming weeks.

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

Due credit must also be given to the producer’s faith in Cersei and Lena Headey, who as I have always maintained is casting done perfectly. That message from Dorne (Similar to the Sicilian message in The Godfather) is an ingenuine trick to pull off with an already unhinged character like  Cersei, and Jaime’s decision to bring back his daughter home is natural reaction for  man looking for redemption. As a book reader, I have really nothing to complain, especially as they have paired him up with Bronn. This is a great adventure to take Jaime’s character on, considering he spends most of his time in the latter books moping around (He calls it ‘rebuilding’) in Harrenhall and Riverrun.

Miles away to the east, in the free city of Braavos, Arya Stark (An always fab Maisie Williams) finds herself knocking at the door of the House of Black and White, the HQ (that an apt terminology?) of the Faceless Men, better known as workplace of Jaqen H’ghar (that face-changer from Season 2). Now, even though Jaqen doesn’t appear towards the latter half of Martin’s books, especially in context of Arya’s arc, it’s nice to see the producers giving them some scenes to do together. ‘I am nobody,’ he says, implying that Arya’s initiation is conditional to her being nobody. Whether she will become so, and abandon the death-wish list of Arya, of the House Stark, is another matter (Don’t count on it).

Game of Thrones continues to stump the law of averages by putting up consistently good episodes each week. This week’s episode did much of the same as last week, moving the pawns and soldiers on the chessboard that is the Game of Thrones (Although, I wish we had a glimpse of the Sand Snakes, but I guess Doran Martell will do for now). With the Sansa, Jaime and Dornish arc deviating substantially from the arc in the books and the show, more or less sticking with Jon and Dany’s arc, it’ll be worth a wait to see where these characters will end every other week.  I am really curious about Brienne as well because sure, she isn’t going to let go of her vow so easily. But, will she meet the same fate as she does in the books? Time will tell, and well, with the way things are going, we can all expect heads to be rolling pretty soon (Keep your tissues ready).

Until next week, Hodor!

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

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