The second episode of the new Game of Thrones season starts with Arya, who I personally missed in the first episode. I was re-watching the very beginning of the show the other day, and Arya looked so miserable, I was thinking she’s one of the only characters that seems more comfortable in the 5th season than in the 1st. She really found her calling as a lonely, messed-up killer.
The episode is named after the house where Arya goes to find Jaqen H’ghar, or as I call him, valar morghulis guy. At first he puts on a different face and pretends that he doesn’t know her and so she eventually leaves. But then she sees him the following day in the city and follows him back to the House of Black and White, and he lets her in. I’m not really sure what the point was of him not letting her in at first, but it happened. Very mysterious. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what’s inside the House of Black and White, because right now we really don’t know much.
Brienne and Podrick get some food at an inn when they finally run into Baelish and Sansa. As you might imagine, this situation does not turn into a nice brunch double date. Sansa seems to be venturing into Stockholm syndrome territory, and she truly trusts Baelish, despite him obviously being the creepiest and sneakiest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Sansa refuses to go with Brienne and all hell breaks loose. Podrick messes up as they’re trying to run away from Baelish’s knights, but Brienne saves him and we get another chance to see her being a complete badass. It’s a little gross but so good. Eventually they decide to follow Sansa and Baelish from a safe distance, just to make sure she’s okay. Knowing that makes me feel a little better.
Cersi receives a threat from Dorne, where her daughter Myrcella lives and is supposed to marry the local prince. Dorne, in case you forgot, is where the lovely Oberyn Martell was from. He was killed by the Mountain, Cersi’s representative in Tyrion’s trial by combat, so I guess someone from Dorne wasn’t too pleased about that. Jaime decides to go on a little mission to get Myrcella (who is secretly his daughter too), and recruits Bronn to help him. Apparently Bronn’s intended bride is not good enough so Jaime offers him a “better girl and a better castle” in return. A little sexist but I find Bronn funny so I guess it’s good he’s back.
Also in King’s Landing, now that Tywin is gone, someone else has to take care of ruling matters since Tomen is still too young. Cersi says she can’t be the Hand of the King since she’s a woman, but makes it pretty clear that she won’t let anyone else run the show. She appoints Qyburn, the uber-creepy “doctor” man, to be Master of Whisperers, which is quite unorthodox because apparently he’s underqualified (also just a minute ago he was asking her if he could keep the severed head of a man mistakenly thought to be Tyrion, “for his work”… How lovely). Then Cersi, “on behalf of the king”, asks her uncle Kevan to be Master of War. Kevan is not pleased with Cersi ruling instead of her son so he refuses and tells her that she’s “the Queen Mother. Nothing more.” Oh, poor Kevan, you obviously have no idea who you’re dealing with.
Later we get to see the city of Dorne for the first time. Ellaria, Oberyn’s lover, is understandably upset about his death (and is probably the one who sent the threat to Cersi). She goes to Oberyn’s brother, the prince Doran, saying that he must avenge his death and go to war with the Lannisters. She wants to take it out on Myrcella, but luckily the prince refuses, telling her that they don’t mutilate little girls for revenge in Dorne. Fair enough.
I really enjoyed seeing Dorne. Not only is it beautiful, but it will be quite interesting to have these characters enter the story. Ellaria might be a little cruel right now, but she’s definitely a cool character. This could provide some really interesting new directions for the story since we haven’t been introduced to new main characters in a while. I think we’ve had enough blonde characters to last us a lifetime, so we can move on to some more diverse storylines.
Stannis wants Jon Snow’s help in controlling the north, offering him to leave the Night’s Watch and become a lord, a Stark. For a bastard, this is like a dream come true, but Jon is just too darn loyal and doesn’t want to break his oath to the Night’s Watch. Right after Jon tells Sam about this offer, a vote is taken to elect the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Alliser Thorne, who dislikes Jon Snow, is expected to win, so Jon is essentially choosing to stay under his hater’s command instead of becoming lord. What a good/silly boy.
But then, a twist! Okay, it was pretty expected, but it was still fun to see. Sam surprises the Watch by nominating Jon to be Lord Commander. Sam gives a little inspirational speech about how awesome Jon is, and eventually it is Maester Aemon, the blind Maester, who casts the last vote to break the tie, and Jon Snow is elected Lord Commander. Pretty exciting stuff.
Back in Mereen, the man who killed the Unsullied soldier in the previous episode, is caught. Daenerys faces a dilemma when her council disagrees on what to do with him. Mossador, who represents the former slaves in Dany’s council, wants to execute him, but Dany decides to give him a fair trial first. Mossador is not happy about that and so he kills him anyway, leaving Khaleesi with an even more difficult dilemma.
Dany is all about order. She simply can’t have people in her city killing prisoners awaiting trial. She decides to execute Mossador, publicly, for some reason. This doesn’t go over too well with the former slaves of Mereen, and they start turning on her. This is a bit upsetting but I think it’s also a good new angle for the show. Dany sees herself as the liberator of all slaves (and masters), but it just can’t be that easy. I want to see her handle this and figure it out. Not everyone’s always going to love you, Khaleesi, deal with it.
This episode was definitely more eventful than the previous one, and we start to get a feeling of what this season is going to be like. Arya will explore mysterious and magical places (which I think will be a welcome change for her after a long while of walking around killing people), Daenerys will face adversity in her post-slavery city, Sansa will end up in creepy situations with Baelish, and Jon Snow will have to lead the Night’s Watch and somehow save us all from winter. The Lannisters, of course, will keep fighting everyone around them for power and control.
The most exciting storylines are going to be, IMO, getting to know Dorne and its people and intrigues, and finally seeing Tyrion and Daenerys meet. I feel like Daenerys is in a parallel universe and I need her to meet Tyrion and Varys already and enter the main story. Not sure I can wait much longer. Let’s hope they don’t make me.