Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 2 “The House of Black and White” Written Recap Roundup

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Welcome to the second written recap round-up of season 5! From Braavos to Dorne, to Faceless men and Dragons, this week’s episode was an exciting jolt to the premiere. This week also features the first episode with “off the books” material and critics both Sullied and Unsullied are left buzzing with questions and comments.

And don’t forget to check out WotW’s own Sullied and Unsullied reviews!

SULLIED – BOOK READERS

Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

Todd VanDerWerff, Vox

Laura Hudson, Wired

Myles McNutt, A.V. Club

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone

Charlie Jane Anders, io9

James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly

Sarah Hughes, The Guardian

Neil Miller, Film School Rejects

James Poniewozik, Time

Elio Garcia, Westeros.org

Scott Meslow, The Week

David Crow, Den of Geek

 

UNSULLIED NON-ASOIAF READERS

Andy Greenwald, Grantland

Laura Stone, Hey, Don’t Judge Me

Alan Sepinwall, Hitfix

Erik Adams, A.V. Club

Nina Shen Rastogi, Vulture

David Malitz, Washington Post

Libby Hill, Salon

Thank you for reading! Leave us a comment letting us know which critics you thought nailed it and feel free to leave suggestions for reviewers!

Stay tuned for our video recap round-up of “The House of Black and White”!

59 responses

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    1. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      No. Are you ready to admit being a D&D shill?

      If you want to watch it, go for it. If you don’t, don’t. No need to claim that “nobody cares”, especially when we all know that you did.

        Quote  Reply

    2. Yung Wolf,

      You should be in Westeros.org, you know? That’s a pretty nice place for hatewatchers and irrational book purists, you will feel like home there!

        Quote  Reply

    3. Yung Wolf,

      A shill? Really? So if one enjoys the show, they are a shill now? The video you linked shows an insufferable cynical nerd. I couldn’t get past him going on and on about lemons and a red door. If that is who you want to side with, go ahead. But don’t expect it to go over well on a fan site.

        Quote  Reply

    4. Yung Wolf,

      Cut it out with the name-calling, now.

      Anzah,

      She’s mentioned the books/book content in previous reviews. Whether or not she’s really read them, I can’t say, but that’s why she wound up on the sullied list.

        Quote  Reply

    5. Yung Wolf,

      Whenever I wonder about inconsistencies or historical/contextual relevance with any GoT or ASoI&F topic, I seek out PJ. He’s done some solid research and deep dives into the world-building aspect of ASoI&F. Like Elio and several others, he is there to point out the ever-widening gap between show and text, for better or worse. As Greenjones pointed out above, his talent is in researching wacky ASoI&F theories from a historical perspective. He isn’t the sunniest bloke on the block, but I don’t mind him. He’s quick and to the point. He’s not for everyone but he does provide unique perspective.

        Quote  Reply

    6. Hodor’s Bastard: Like Elio and several others, he is there to point out the ever-widening gap between show and text, for better or worse.

      What widening gap? The difference between the show and the books are in trivial details. As trivial details count for nothing in stories, X units vs. Y units adds up to zero in the end! The stories remain the same and the primary plots are the same, and those are what are important.

      (And, yes, it’s a small sample size: but so far the first two episodes have been orders of magnitude better TV than Crows was a book, and every bit as good if not better than Dragons was a book. Of course, being better TV than Crows was a book is not exactly much of a challenge, but I don’t mean this as a back-handed compliment either.)

        Quote  Reply

    7. Yung Wolf,

      I did like his pointing out that Cersei must have carefully put the presentation of the box back together just so Jaime could open it again.

      Wimsey,

      I think Sansa, in particular, would disagree about “trivial details”.

        Quote  Reply

    8. Sue the Fury: She’s mentioned the books/book content in previous reviews. Whether or not she’s really read them, I can’t say, but that’s why she wound up on the sullied list.

      If she has read them, then she probably has read them only once, and they probably are among hundreds of books that she has read over the years. Most book readers do that: read a book once, and then read other things. For a series like Thrones or Harry Potter, they might read the prior books again right before they read the “new” one: but that would be about it.

      The “fans” that read books more than once are a small, small minority of the readership for any book. And what that means is that Guardian reviewer probably has a much more “typical” sullied perspective than do any of the fans.

        Quote  Reply

    9. Sean C.: I think Sansa, in particular, would disagree about “trivial details”.

      Actually, Sansa has learned first hand that the trivial details of the stories that she so loves are not that important to what the tale actually was telling. At any rate, somehow I don’t get the impression that Sansa liked tales for the “story” part of it!

        Quote  Reply

    10. Wimsey,

      [sigh] Some folks, as you have pointed out in the past, thrive on the details. Nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t call PJ a “story” guy, And yes, the thread gap is widening. We may end up at some similar state of mind (in your dreams), but the journey is getting creatively spliced.

        Quote  Reply

    11. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Well, it looks like they are doing “Kill the boy (girl), become the man (woman)” to me! I do not care how they tell that, just as long as they tell that. Moreover, neverminding my contempt for Crows, I do think that this is a case where different details are absolutely necessary if B&W are going to succeed in telling this story. I would argue that excess details drowned the story and some of the plots in Crows, and that was a book: audiences will not hold their figurative breath anywhere near as long for TV or cinema!

      But this is something that someone like PJ needs to understand: the art of adaptation is to reformulate the details to tell the same story. Adaptations that reformulate or lose the story in order to preserve the details (see the first two Harry Potter films!) are not remembered favorably.

      Or, as I like to but it, a shark on land by any other name soon smells like rotting fish…..

      EDIT: I will agree that there is no “wrong” reason to like a book/show/film/whatever. However, the point that people have to remember that the part of a book that someone adapting it to TV or film likes is the story: and if they are good at their jobs, then they’ll sacrifice a lot of the other aspects of the tale to communicate that story. And that means that if you aren’t into the story sensu stricto, then you might not like the adaptation no matter how much the world likes it. Hordes of Tolkien fans who still cannot understand why Lord of the Rings got so much popular and critical acclaim are a testament to that! Equally, the hordes of Harry Potter fans who cannot understand why the critics and the public diss the first two Harry Potter films are a testament to the same thing in the opposite direction.

        Quote  Reply

    12. Sean C.:
      Yung Wolf,

      I did like his pointing out that Cersei must have carefully put the presentation of the box back together just so Jaime could open it again.

      The left side of my brain had the exact thought while watching! But that is just one instance where suspension of disbelief comes into play. Sometimes ya just gotta stop thinking and be entertained. And this obviously has nothing to with an adaptation problem, it is merely a directorial decision that needs to be overlooked for enjoyment to ensue. There are some things like this in every episode, and if I gave a shit about these things I would never enjoy watching anything.

      That said, I didn’t watch his review. And I agree with your take on Sansa and her minor details- but I’m excited to see what happens next!

      Will she kill Ramsay or Roose???

        Quote  Reply

    13. Sean C.:
      Yung Wolf,

      I did like his pointing out that Cersei must have carefully put the presentation of the box back together just so Jaime could open it again.

      I imagine, from a production standpoint the box would have had to be relatively easy to put back together to accommodate the requisite multiple takes they’d need to do. In-universe, I’m not sure whether or not Cersei really would put it together again, of course, even if it wasn’t difficult to do…but it made the scene more dramatic, so whatevs.

      I liked that scene and that storyline so far, so I’m not one to complain on this particular.

      Hodor’s Bastard:
      Wimsey,

      I wouldn’t call PJ a “story” guy

      Nor would I. He thinks Dany is Rhaegar’s daughter.

        Quote  Reply

    14. Wimsey:

      Well, it looks like they are doing “Kill the boy (girl), become the man (woman)” to me! I do not care how they tell that, just as long as they tell that.

      Yes…and I am quite enthused by the “kill the cell, become the zygote” tenet as well. I am greatly anticipating the upcoming “Kill the Boy” episode…and I shall raise a glass of Mad Dog 20/20 in your honor as the episode unfolds. Hopefully, it will be a great meta-statement about Act II of GoT and ASoI&F.

      However, I am not as bitter about AFfC as you. As I’ve said before, the wonderful-but-alarming link between the prologue and the last Sam chapter in AFfC is one of the great “tier 2” arcs in the series. Brienne’s personal tour of Dante’s hell, Asha’s view of the Kingsmoot….among others. Yeah, yeah, yeah….I cannot disagree with you that it is a tome of interesting details but with little movement in the primary ASoI&F story. In turn, S5 seems to be focusing on ADwD, leaving much of AFfC to our imagination.

        Quote  Reply

    15. I love PJ and his channel but he is really PJSalt over the show, even if it’s hard to tell if he is acting sarcastic. A lot of the nitpicking gets tiresome and way overdone.

      For instance, who cares if show bronn has it better than book bronn? Show bronn kicks the shit out of book bronn to begin with.

        Quote  Reply

    16. Cersei and box thing seemed odd to me as well but then I thought she wanted Jaime to have the same shock and put the box together or made her handmaidens do it.

        Quote  Reply

    17. dragonreborn,

      Exactly. That’s what I thought when watching.

      Point is, if you’re looking to find fault with something, you will. Some folks are taking this wayyyyy to seriously.

        Quote  Reply

    18. Yung Wolf,

      THE BOOK WANKER TEARS IN THIS VIDEO ARE SO TASTY. I really hope they spoil main plot points from the winds of winter this season, more tears to lick off the sycophants muahahah.

        Quote  Reply

    19. Yung Wolf,

      First things first: I couldn’t watch the whole thing, there is a certain amount of nit-picking that’s just too much for me (and I say that as someone who likes to nit-pick from time to time myself).
      But it wasn’t even the nit-picking so much that made me stop watching, it was the effort to find “faults” in the episode were really there were none.
      Just one example: “Shouldn’t Pod know how to ride a horse at this point?” Yes. And he does. He rides way better than when we first see him do it in the show. That doesn’t mean he can’t lose control of his horse. To ride a horse while it is under stress and galloping is not easy. A horse is not a bicycle. Every one of them has it’s own personality and handeling it in every situation takes a lot of practice.

        Quote  Reply

    20. Oh my… not this discussion again. I wonder how the staff from this website can keep faith. Both the show and the book are very good stuff. You have the right to love both you know.

      So that’s true, book purists who do not accept any change have quite a narrow mind. But we can say the same for people that continuously insult the writing of GRRM (in particular AFFC and ADWD). OK you didn’t understand these books, we get it, but without them there would be no show at all.

      Instead of fighting, go read that and enjoy : https://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/untangling-the-meereenese-knot-part-i-who-poisoned-the-locusts/

        Quote  Reply

    21. dragonreborn,

      Cersei would never strain herself to put together the box. She probably went “bitch no.1 put this together, bitch no.2 get me a glass of wine, bitch no.3 summon jaime”

        Quote  Reply

    22. Interesting to read some of the comments online about this show. Between the book purists hating everything since Season 1…. and the typical “the show is too popular so now I will hate on it” internet crowd…. This season is getting a little more hate then usual.

      This is the internet after all, where no matter how great something is, many people will hate on it.

      I have watched all 4 episodes so far, and I really like where they are going with the series. Books 4 and 5 were impossible to show on screen without a lot of editing. D&D made some great choice.

        Quote  Reply

    23. The Bastard,

      but the critical reviews are better than ever.

      JonSnow21:
      Yung Wolf,
      Go nutthug the fat slob and continue to worship the failures that are AFFC and ADWD,you and the rest of book purists are mad that they are able to make a much better and cohesive story than what Martin did in those books .

      Ur just as bad as the purists
      AFFC and ADWD are not failures by any stretch of the imagination and they are still the groundwork for everything this season

        Quote  Reply

    24. Just read a few reviews and… am I the only person who thought that Bronn telling Lollys “one thing I’ve learnt is that meanness comes around” wasn’t him showing a surprisingly optimistic streak, or soothing Lollys by saying that her hated older sister wasn’t always going to have it better than her, but some very comical foreshadowing of the elder sister’s (who inherits that nice, fat castle) future demise at his own hands, so he can get them on the inheritance through his bride?

        Quote  Reply

    25. Having read the books and watched the show. I honestly haven’t minded most of the changes so far. They made sense in a show context…. except for Sansa and Baelish…

      Why is a girl who is wanted for regicide wandering the country? Too many people know who she is at this point for that story arc to make sense.
      Anyone in that inn could get word of those events to Cersei.

      So too does Baelish’s claim of holding the Vale not make sense. He is Lord of Harrenhal, Lord of the Riverlands, but the moment he left Robin Arryn with the Royces he lost the Vale.

      And why does Sansa keep calling him her uncle? He was her uncle by marriage for what? A month? She does have an uncle, Edmure, who is still a prisoner somewhere. And great uncle Brynden… But I guess the show doesn’t care about that since they disappeared at the RW? Even with no screen time its not so hard to show dialogue discussing them and their disposition.

      Arya’s intro to the House of Black and White was shaky, but not as mind boggling. I don’t know why they let her into the temple after watching the episode, and guess we never will. Did the FM have a meeting and the one who had been Jacquen was like “yeah let her her in, much potential”??

      Otherwise the episode was good and its changes made sense.

        Quote  Reply

    26. Wimsey,

      Though the episode was great I wouldn’t consider the changes “trivial”. There are major changes by necessity. The show would not survive by allowing it to remain too similar to AFFC and ADWD. I agree with Sue that Ellaria’s path is a major change. Going from peace loving to avenge seeking. However, it’s understandable why they made this decision.

      I also think Jaime going to Dorne is a major change, but one that will be better for it.

      Brienne is having the most change (thank the gods). She will not be running into tertiary characters that no one cares about. And I’m interested in seeing where they take her since we know there will be no LSH or Brotherhood this season.

        Quote  Reply

    27. I thought most of the changes we’re nessecory , the arya kissing the worm out of a skeleton was cool to read but how would that look on tv. Overall I give the episode an A , I thought that this episode was the best dany episode since 3-4 , the way ” the artist formally known as Jaquan hageur, pealed his face off was done proper it didn’t look stupid . This episode would rank in my top ten for episodes . Everything tied together very smoothly . Book purists make me sick . Most book readers now a days started watching the show first . Ellio Garcia looks like one of them Alaskin bush people , I think hes one of them
      Guys with thousands of people who know his name but noone will take his calls. Most of the people who do reviews for game of thrones piss me off I like preston Jacobs videos but he’s a hermit in somebody else’s closet to . I’m
      Almost about to
      Boycot all these fan sites untill this season is done . Once the season starts everything’s negative . Can’t anyone just admit it was entertaining , that it deff was , that the story made sense the changes that we’re made helped tell the story with less distraction. It was a great episode all together , entertaining compelling , told
      Good back story ? What more does everyone want

        Quote  Reply

    28. Greenjones: Nor would I. He thinks Dany is Rhaegar’s daughter.

      Whoa…really? That would be a detail I would never expect him to miss. Sure he wasn’t joking? Oh well, I made too much of his minority opinion anyway.

        Quote  Reply

    29. I wonder if there are people out there who still claim that the show makes Dany into a saint who does no wrong and is loved by all.
      This episode was one of the best in showing a lot of dimension to Dany, specifically how insecure and scared she looked throughout the entire beheading.
      And the ending w/ Drogon was amazing and gave her a glimmer of hope, while still showing her lack of control.

        Quote  Reply

    30. Ludo: So that’s true, book purists who do not accept any change have quite a narrow mind.

      Book purists who do not accept any change are figments of your imagination. Literally no one believes such a thing, or anything even remotely approximating it.

      Criticizing poor choices made by D&D et al is a perfectly normal thing to do if you love both the series and the books.

      Most of the time, they get their adapting right. They have to trim a lot of material in order to squeeze a 1000+ pages into 600 minutes. Sometimes, they flub it, and sometimes they do things so inexplicable I just can’t figure out what they were thinking.

        Quote  Reply

    31. Chad Brick,

      But I honestly think this season they’ve done it really well.

      I loved Season 4, but they did make some dumb mistakes… some not their fault
      I completely blame the Yaara situation on the director. In fact, the audio commentary mentioned that the script was much longer, and the scene got cut short due to running out of time filming.

      They just have so many more restrictions than GRRM. They churn their scripts out fast, and when they are done, they are set in stone (unlike GRRM who rewrites 1000s of times)… Then they turn it over to writers, actors, producers, set designers, editors… there is just so many more ways for messups to happen, and when they do, they can’t go back and fix it once its done.. sure they can edit stuff, but they can’t just erase and rewrite… its a TOTALLY different ballgame.

        Quote  Reply

    32. bluegoldrose,

      I haven’t read the books, so I may lack some of your knowledge, but:

      Sansa isn’t roaming the countryside. Alayne is. Noone but the few lords and ladies) of the Vale and Littlefinger knew that. Of course only until Brienne blows the cover in the inn.

      What’s Littlefinger reaction to that? He wants everyone killed and immediately leaves with Sansa/Alayne to keep staying undercover.

      As for Sansa’s living relatives, she has no clue there’s any of them still alive. As far as she knows, all of Tullys with Catelyn and Robb were killed at the Twins, Arya probably died in the wilderness and Bran was incinerated with Rickon by Theon. She’d only know (hope/believe) that Jon snow is still alive up there at the Wall.
      Petyr became her uncle by marriage and keeps being one.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Chad Brick,

      Book purists don’t criticize the show they just bash the writers. I thought the star wars fanboys were dickheads but ASOIAF book readers are the worst. why do book purists even watch the show? do you guys hold a whip and hit yourselves while watching for sullying the written words each episode.

        Quote  Reply

    34. Stark Fan,

      They watch it cause there’s nothing else good on cable . And that’s the best part . No matter how much they hate it they have to watch it cause they have NOTHING ELSE TO DO

        Quote  Reply

    35. Ludo:
      So that’s true, book purists who do not accept any change have quite a narrow mind. But we can say the same for people that continuously insult the writing of GRRM (in particular AFFC and ADWD). OK you didn’t understand these books, we get it, but without them there would be no show at all.

      I understood the books pretty well. And they were bad. AFFC (wonderfully written) was a failure in concept and execution, though that is an entirely subjective opinion on my part. ADWD was a shitshow across the board, some of them quantifiable and objective, but many still loved it.

      And, without those two books, there would still be a show. So there.

        Quote  Reply

    36. Hodor’s Bastard: Whoa…really? That would be a detail I would never expect him to miss. Sure he wasn’t joking? Oh well, I made too much of his minority opinion anyway.

      He thinks it COMPLETELY in earnest. He thinks that’s why Ned felt so strongly that Robert shouldn’t kill her. Not for moral reasons influenced by his witnessing the aftermath of the Sack of King’s Landing… PJ’s theory is R+L=D. PJ’s a goofball.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Greenjones,

      Even more reason to enjoy the wackiness! My week would not be complete without the PJ, AngryGoTFan or Elio perspective! We know that the trifecta of disdain actually love the show (if only to spite it!).

        Quote  Reply

    38. Chad Brick,

      Here, Here!

      When people say, “Why do people come here and complain about stuff?” I’m never sure what those people think the comments section should consist of after an episode.

      Just a bunch of comments that say, “Tut, tut, good show old sport!”

      “Quite right, any thoughts..?”

      “No, no, everything was lovely, just going to sit and await the next.”

      “Ah, brilliant.”

      I’m sure that would be loads of fun.

        Quote  Reply

    39. JonSnow21:
      Chad Brick,

      Blah,blah,bla,i have no arguments for my book purism so here it’s me spewing some more of my bullshit .

      As I said, I am not a purist. I cannot be, because no such mythical beast exists. I am just more pure than you, apparently.

      D&D have to change things for any number of reasons. Sometimes they do a good job of this. Sometimes, they muck it up. Generally, I am pretty forgiving of this. At other times, they change things they didn’t need to change, or change much. They almost always muck this up. I am not so forgiving of these cases.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Wow. The new season has certainly brought the wankers here in their droves!

      Take your childish and tiresome show vs book crap elsewhere, please… both sides of it. This isn’t Twilight where you pick a team and attack people with a different opinion like a zealot.

        Quote  Reply

    41. Oh, how exciting. Now this endlessly repetitive squabble has moved to this thread. Joy.

      Anyway, on topic, I’ve always enjoyed Scott Meslow’s television recaps, so I am so pleased you guys linked to his new venue. I had no idea where he went after leaving the Atlantic, and I rather missed him. Thanks, WotW!

        Quote  Reply

    42. A Girl Will Obey:
      Just read a few reviews and… am I the only person who thought that Bronn telling Lollys “one thing I’ve learnt is that meanness comes around” wasn’t him showing a surprisingly optimistic streak, or soothing Lollys by saying that her hated older sister wasn’t always going to have it better than her, but some very comical foreshadowing of the elder sister’s (who inherits that nice, fat castle) future demise at his own hands, so he can get them on the inheritance through his bride?

      I actually believe we may not see too much more of Bronn on screen- and this scene was setting up HIS demise. He says something along the lines of “this must not be good for me” upon meeting Jaime- he’s feeling apprehensive about this mission- just as he’s settling in to his new life…

      All the talk of meanness coming around, Lolly’s sister, etc…. IMO that’s just a nice nod to the books, a nugget for readers, and some “self-fulfilling prophetic foreshadowing”. (unless of course, he lives, and then it all really does happen with the Stokeworths and DnD decide there is more they can have Bronn do so why not keep him around. Not sure his story gets much more in the show though. I think he meets his match, probably in the upcoming confrontation with the sand snakes).

      Wait- maybe he gets it done, and tells Jaime about it on the road to Dorne……….. and then he dies anyway. That could happen

        Quote  Reply

    43. Is it just me or…. whenever I see the picture of Drogon for this article, I envision him talking and sounding like Sean Connery in Dragonheart.

        Quote  Reply

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