The House of Black and White
|"The House of Black and White"|
|Game of Thrones episode|
Arya Stark sitting in front of the
House of Black and White
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Michael Slovis|
|Written by||David Benioff|
D. B. Weiss
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||David Franco|
|Editing by||Katie Weiland|
|Original air date||April 19, 2015|
|Running time||55 minutes|
"The House of Black and White" is the second episode of the fifth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 42nd overall. The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Michael Slovis. It aired on April 19, 2015. Prior to airing, this episode along with the other first four episodes of the season were leaked online.
In King's Landing
Cersei and Jaime receive a message from Dorne: a small viper statue with a necklace in its fangs. Cersei tells Jaime that the necklace belongs to their daughter, Myrcella, who was sent to Dorne by Tyrion. Jaime tells Cersei that he will travel to Dorne and bring Myrcella back. He travels to meet with Bronn, who has gone to Castle Stokeworth with Lollys, his fiancée. Jaime gives Bronn a letter telling him that he will not be wed to Lollys. When Bronn reminds him of the deal he had with Cersei, Jaime tells him that, should he agree to help rescue Myrcella, he will instead be wed to a woman of higher standing, with a larger castle.
Cersei meets with two hunters who have brought her a severed head, though she is disappointed to find that it is not Tyrion's head. Qyburn lays claim to the head for his research and the two walk to a small council meeting. With the office of Hand of the King vacant, Cersei tells the council that she will stand in temporarily until Tommen chooses a new Hand. She appoints Mace Tyrell as the new Master of Coin and Qyburn as the new Master of Whisperers. When Cersei tries to appoint her uncle Kevan as the Master of War, he declines, telling her that as the queen mother she holds no power, and he has no interest in serving in a council filled with her sycophants. In defiance of Cersei's "orders", Kevan states that he will return to Casterly Rock until he hears direct word from Tommen that he is required.
At the Wall
In the library, Gilly is tutored in reading by Shireen Baratheon before her mother Selyse orders her to stop. Jon is chastised by Stannis for giving Mance Rayder a merciful death. Stannis shows Jon a letter he received from Bear Island, stating that former Lord Commander Jeor Mormont's relatives will only recognize a Stark as their King. Ser Davos tells Jon that the Night's Watch will elect a new Lord Commander that night, and that it is almost assured that Ser Alliser will win. Stannis asks Jon to kneel before him and pledge his life to him, and in exchange he will legitimize Jon, making him Jon Stark and giving him Winterfell.
In the great hall, Jon tells Sam that he will refuse Stannis's offer, as he swore an oath to the Night's Watch. After Maester Aemon asks for discussion about possible candidates, Janos Slynt advises his brothers to vote for Ser Alliser, saying he is the only true choice. Another man tells the brothers to vote for Denys Mallister. Before the voting can begin, Sam gives a speech imploring his brothers to vote for Jon, reminding them all how he led the mission to Craster's Keep to avenge Commander Mormont's death and how he led the defense of Castle Black. After the voting is complete, the ballots are tallied and show a tie between Jon and Ser Alliser. Maester Aemon casts the deciding vote in favor of Jon, making him the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
In the Vale
Brienne and Podrick stop at an inn. They discover that Sansa and Petyr Baelish are eating lunch there. Brienne decides to approach them. She pledges her life to Sansa and asks Sansa to exit with her, but is refused. Petyr tries to capture Brienne, but she flees with Podrick and kills the guards sent after her. Meanwhile, Petyr and Sansa also flee the scene. Podrick suggests that Brienne is now released from her vows, but Brienne knows that Petyr is a malicious person, and insists that Sansa must be saved.
Arya arrives in Braavos, and the ship's captain, Ternesio Terys, takes her to the House of Black and White, the headquarters of the Faceless Men. She is turned away by the door-keeper, even though she displays Jaqen H'ghar's iron coin. She spends several nights sitting in front of the House. Later, while she is defending herself from a group of thieves, the door-keeper appears, causing the thieves to flee. The door-keeper transforms into the man she knows as Jaqen, but he says that he is no one. And that Arya must "become no one" to join the Faceless Men.
Ellaria Sand watches the loving couple Trystane Martell and Myrcella Baratheon from afar, before meeting with Prince Doran Martell, the ruler of Dorne, and the captain of his guard, Areo Hotah. She demands that he take action for the murder of Oberyn, though he reminds her that Oberyn was killed in a trial-by-combat, which by law is not considered murder. When she asks to take revenge on Myrcella, Doran rebuffs her, and she leaves, subtly warning Doran that he will not be in power forever.
In the Flatlands
Tyrion and Varys travel through the Flatlands outside Pentos on their way to Volantis. Tyrion is dissatisfied at being forced to travel in a wheelhouse, but Varys warns him that he is not safe, as Cersei has offered a lordship to any man who brings her his head.
Daario Naharis assists Grey Worm in capturing a member of the Sons of the Harpy. Mossador asks Daenerys to execute the captive, but Ser Barristan suggests that every captive needs a fair trial. Daenerys at first wants an execution, but after Barristan confirms to her that her father was a vicious king whose actions led to the deaths of House Targaryen, she relents to the fair trial. Mossador disobeys and personally kills the captive. Daenerys responds by having Mossador publicly executed, which leads to a riot between the former masters and former slaves, from which Daenerys is forced to flee. Drogon flies to Daenerys at night but quickly flies away.
This episode was written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and contains content from three of George R. R. Martin's novels, A Storm of Swords Jon XI and Jon XII, A Feast for Crows, Arya I, the Captain of the Guards, Cersei IV and partial Cersei II and A Dance with Dragons, chapter Tyrion II and partial Jon I.
As in the previous episode, several scenes were written specifically for "The House of Black and White" and do not appear in the books. For example, Myles McNutt of The A.V. Club commented on the scene in which Brienne meets Sansa, who rejects her offer of help and protection, saying that it creates crisis regarding the character's purpose.
With this episode, Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar) and Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand) are promoted to series regulars. Wlaschiha returns after last appearing in the second season. The episode has the introduction of new recurring cast members Alexander Siddig, who plays the Prince of Dorne: Doran Martell, DeObia Oparei, who plays his bodyguard Areo Hotah, and Toby Sebastian, who plays Doran's son Trystane Martell, while Nell Tiger Free replaces Aimee Richardson as the recurring character Myrcella Baratheon.
"The House of Black and White" was watched by an estimated 6.81 million American viewers during its first airing, and received a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49. In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.164 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.145 million timeshift viewers.
Reception to the episode was generally positive. Matt Fowler from IGN gave the episode a rating of 8.8/10 stating "The House of Black and White" was a notably bigger, better episode than the Season 5 premiere. It not only brought Arya and Bronn back into the mix and introduced Dorne... it contained huge moments for Brienne, Dany, and Jon." The episode received a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes from 27 reviews with an average rating of 8.3 out of 10 and the consensus reading: "Building upon the season opener, 'The House of Black and White' increases the intensity by calling upon some major characters to make some tough decisions."
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- McNutt, Myles (April 19, 2014). "Game Of Thrones (experts): "House of Black and White"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
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- Fowler, Matt (April 19, 2015). "Game of Thrones: "The House of Black and White" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- "The House of Black and White - Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
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