'Game of Thrones' Recap: Arya, Daenerys & Jaime Encounter Familiar Faces at a Time of Need

game of thrones house of black and whiteHere we go, episode 2 of season 5 of Game of Thrones! Yes, folks, winter is finally, definitely over, thank goodness, and with "The House of Black and White," we finally get the grand return of Arya Stark and a peek at the hometown of Oberyn Martell, Dorne. After a rather slow start with "The Wars to Come," fans had a lot of high hopes for this week to kick the momentum up another notch.

Here we go! Obvious spoilers for episode 2 ahead. Go watch, then come on back!

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Arya finally makes it to Braavos with a badass opening shot of the Titan. A city of canals and waterways, Braavos becomes Arya's new home. It sure is incredible how HBO brought this city to life; it's gorgeous. Anyway, Arya finally makes it to the House of Black and White, the headquarters of the Faceless Men (Jaqen H'ghar). She does not receive a very warm welcome. After spending a sleepless night in front of the temple, she throws the coin Jaqen gave her into the water.

A bunch of thugs harass her as she leaves the temple, but the old man she sees from the temple interrupts their fight. He gives her back her coin, then changes his face to ... Jaqen H'ghar. Seems that "no one" may be the new "You know nothin', Jon Snow," as Arya begins her training at the temple. (Though did any book readers really long to see Arya poke that worm from the old ugly man's eye socket? Such an iconic, hilarious yet disgusting moment from her.)

Brienne and Podrick stop to eat where Petyr and Sansa happen to be as well. Podrick looks right at them and even recognizes Sansa! This is quite a difference from the books, as Brienne has yet to find Sansa in the novels. Petyr immediately questions who she is and the circumstances surrounding Renly Baratheon's death. He reminds her that he is Sansa's uncle, therefore family, and Sansa remembers seeing Brienne bowing to Joffrey. Brienne and Podrick flee while Petyr's guards chase after them. Let's hope Podrick can keep up ... nope, Podrick of course manages to lose his horse, but Brienne, warrior as always, saves his life. And stubborn as always, she and Podrick follow Sansa and Petyr, refusing to see her vow as fulfilled; she's found both Stark girls and both have refused to join her. Poor Brienne. 

Cersei receives a threat from Dorne, who wants justice for Oberyn's death. Jaime reminds Cersei that they cannot keep calling Myrcella "their daughter." But Jaime in the end promises to go to Dorne and take Myrcella back.

He's not going alone, so cut to ... Bronn! Tyrion's once loyal soldier and the king of one-liners. If you recall, he was going to marry Lollys and thus into the wealthy House Stokeworth and did not want to be Tyrion's champion. But Jaime puts an end to that, promising him a better girl and a better castle, if Bronn accompanies him to Dorne.

In Dorne, Ellaria Sand demands for vengeance from Oberyn's brother, Doran, the head of House Martell, the Prince of Dorne, and the Lord of Sunspear. Ellaria wants Myrcella to suffer, yet Doran puts an end to that quickly.

At Meereen, Daario and Grey Worm look for the man who assassinated the Unsullied soldier last week. Daario questioned the Son of the Harpy, who wants to bring back slavery. When Daenerys puts an end to the council abruptly, Barristan reminds her of her father and tells her about how mad the Mad King really was. She tells Barristan that she won't kill the Son of the Harpy until he's had a fair trial, no matter how difficult that might be.

The Son of the Harpy is executed anyway by an Unsullied adviser, Mossador. He thinks he's doing his queen a favor and makes an impassioned plea for why he did it, but she has him taken away regardless to be executed. She makes an example of him while he pleads for mercy. When his head's chopped off, the crowd starts hissing at her, even throwing rocks at her. That certainly didn't go well. But then she gets a peek at Drogon who's returned to her. Luckily he does not bite her hand off, but he flies off instead. It would probably be much easier for her to rule Meereen riding on one of those!

Tyrion and Varys are on the way to meet said Targaryen on the road to Volantis. Tyrion continues to get wasted. Varys is being super-nice to Tyrion, complimenting him on his ruling ability. Tyrion asks if Cersei's going to kill all dwarfs, and it seems they're on their way to doing so.

Cersei leads her own council after confirming that the dwarf who was killed was not her brother, gleefully sitting at the head of the table. Lord Tyrell asks to be Hand, and she shuts him down immediately, appointing him Master of Coin instead. Qyburn is named the new Master of Whisperers, much to Grand Maester Pycelle's astonishment. She asks her Uncle Kevan to serve as Master of War. Kevan sees right through Cersei's true intentions. 

Up on the Wall, Shireen is teaching Gilly how to read, with Samwell looking on. It's amazing how two parents such as the Baratheons managed to raise such a sweet girl. They discuss Shireen's greyscale and how Gilly's sisters were taken by it. Lady Selyse Florent tells her to stay away from Gilly because, well, she's a wildling, and that's that.

Jon Snow reminds Stannis Baratheon that the free folk will only follow one of their own. The Night's Watch is going to choose a new Lord Commander, and they think Alliser Thorne will win, who believes Snow is a traitor. Stannis wants Jon to give him the North, and Stannis will take away the name Snow and give him Stark to do so. Jon tells Sam he will refuse Stannis, as his duty is to the Night's Watch.

Of course fans' immediate reaction to all this is: Jon should be the new Lord Commander! And Samwell reads all our minds and finds the guts to nominate his friend. Even Maester Aemon gets a chuckle from Sam's joke about Lord Janos hiding with the women and babies during the battle at the Wall. Immediately his loyalty is questioned, even his affair with poor Ygritte. But it's not enough, as Snow is elected the new Lord Commander, thanks to Aemon's deciding vote. 

Jaime has Bronn, Daenerys (hopefully) has Drogon and perhaps even Tyrion, Arya has found a new teacher in "no one," and Jon is the new Lord Commander. Has this been one of the most optimistic episodes of Game of Thrones yet? Of course something else has to go wrong ... right? Guess we'll have to wait until next week to find out!

What did you think of episode 2?

 

Image via HBO

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