Archive for December, 2018

Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 2 “The House of Black and White”

Tuesday, 4 December, 2018

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

The Wall: Stannis’s daughter is teaching Gilly how to read. She hasn’t made much progress, as Gilly struggles to recognise the letter S. Gilly starts asking the girl about the scaly deformity on her face, implying that it’s some sort of known affliction that usually spreads, and wondering how it was stopped. I don’t remember what the answer was. Anyway, the girl’s mother (Stannis’s wife) arrives and breaks up the fun.

Stannis tells Jon off for showing mercy to Mance Rayder, by killing him with an arrow while he was being burnt alive. But then he offers Jon the chance to swear allegiance to him. In return, Stannis will declare him a legitimate son of Ned Stark, thus granting him the title of Lord of Winterfell, and will help him rebuild it and claim rulership of the north – as a vassal to Stannis the King. Jon turns down the offer, saying he’s already sworn his loyalty to the Night’s Watch, and if he’s not good for his word, what good is he as a lord?

That evening, there is a vote to see who will become the new Lord Commander of Castle Black. This is a bit odd – I’d always assumed that Ser Alliser would simply take over, seeing as he seemed ot be the next in the chain of command after the previous commander got killed. And because he’s antagonistic to Jon, so of course making him the commander would provide the maximum drama. But I guess the Night’s Watch is a democracy, not an autocracy!

People get a chance to speak in favour of various candidates. Janos Slynt, the weasely guy who hid in a room with Gilly during the battle, speaks for Ser Alliser, and it seems essentially settled already. Another man talks up another candidate, but you can he’s not going to win. Maester Aemon is about to call the vote, when Sam steps up and makes a speech about Jon, much to Jon’s obvious embarrassment as he tries to wave Sam off. Sam mentions how Jon essentially single-handedly saved the fort from the attack, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Alliser rebuts, saying all that may well be true, but calling into question Jon’s loyalty, as he has spent a lot of time in the company of wildlings.

The vote happens, everyone casting a shaped chip into a jug, which is smashed open to spill the contents, which are placed on wooden spikes through the holes in the middle to tally them. Alliser and Jon are equal first. But Maester Aemons has the deciding vote, and drops his chip on Jon’s tally, making Jon the new Lord Commander! Alliser casts him a black look as Jon manages to break a smile.

Well, as soon as Sam started speaking I knew this would be the result, but prior to that this was completely unexpected. As Commander, Jon has new responsibilities, and Stannis will find it harder to pull him away. But this primes Alliser to do something nasty to get even. He really seems to hate the wildlings, so I doubt he’ll do a full on betrayal, but he may well stab Jon in the back at some point – either figuratively or perhaps literally.

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