Way to go, Jon Snow! And uh-oh, Daenerys.
The saddest man in the Seven Kingdoms had a really terrific week in the latest installment of Game of Thrones, for a change, as his comrades finally recognized him as a natural leader. By contrast, Daenerys Targaryen might have bitten off more than she can chew as the conquering ruler of a foreign city whose dynamics she doesn't quite understand. Elsewhere, Brienne finally gets a second shot at oath-keeping when she meets up with Sansa Stark.
Here's how the power struggles played out in Westeros this week.
Yes, It’s an Arya Episode
After failing to make an appearance during the premiere, Arya (Maisie Williams) is finally getting some screen time. In the bustling harbor city of Braavos, she heads for a strange building known as The House of Black and White. But when she gets there, her journey dead-ends: The old man who answers the door denies her entry, leaving her with no choice but to sit on the docks, hungry and homeless, rattling off all the names of the people she intends to kill. (Come on, like you didn't spend your tweenage years exactly the same way.)
Eventually Arya takes to the streets, where she's ready to test her swordplay skills against a group of arrogant young Braavosi bros. But she misses the chance to satisfy her bloodlust when the hooded man from the House of Black and White appears again, and her assailants scatter in terror. Arya follows the man back to the docks, demanding to know who he is, and BAM! Turns out, it's Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) himself, doing his nifty glamour trick with a totally different face. He just needed to remind Arya how cool he is before leading her into the House of Black and White, where unknown destiny awaits.
Brienne's Second Chance
Meanwhile, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is despondent about having failed once already at fulfilling her promise to Catelyn Stark, but she's about to get another chance at oath-keeping — with Catelyn's other daughter. Through pure blind luck, she and Podrick end up in the same tavern as Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), allowing Brienne to introduce herself to the elder Stark girl. Littlefinger is openly contemptuous of Brienne, and Sansa is wary and guarded. There will be no satisfaction for Brienne here, unless you count the satisfaction of besting five of Littlefinger's henchmen at once, saving Podrick's life twice over, and resuming her quest to watch over Sansa having barely broken a sweat. Sorry, Sansa: You're getting protected by Brienne of Tarth whether you like it or not.
From the Castle to the Water Gardens
Meanwhile, back at King's Landing, Cersei is having a miserable time of it. Her last shred of control over the small council is slipping away, and she's just received a package from Dorne that doesn't explicitly say “We're going to cut your daughter into tiny pieces in retribution for Oberyn Martell's death,” but it doesn't exactly not say it, either. In the interest of getting the Princess back intact, Jaime Lannister absconds with Bronn — who is clearly relieved to leave behind his dimwitted bride for a bit of adventure — and heads off to rescue her. This is probably a wise move, because across the sea in Dorne, Ellaria Sand has a new haircut and a serious axe to grind against the family who killed her lover. And while her boss, Prince Martell, has a pesky personal policy of not mutilating little girls, he also looks like he could croak at any time and leave Myrcella at Ellaria's mercy.
Daenerys' men have captured one of the murderous Sons of the Harpy, but now that she's got him, she's not sure how to deal with him. Selmy gives Dany some good advice about not fomenting rebellion by killing everyone who crosses her (i.e. like her crazy king dad did), and she agrees that the Harpy will have a trial — but before that can happen, a loyal former slave decides to do Daenerys a favor by killing the man himself.
Oh, the bitter irony! The one time Daenerys opts not to mercilessly slaughter her enemies, and the guy still ends up dead! And worse, she has to make an example of the man who took the law into his own hands. The execution causes utter chaos, as former slaves and masters attack each other and turn on Daenerys, who flees back to her tower hideout. And who's waiting for her there? Drogon the Dragon, who shows up just long enough to remind us all that he still exists before soaring away to do some dragon business.
I'm the King of the Wall
When did Jon Snow suddenly become the HBIC of all things Northern? Not only is Stannis Baratheon trying to convince him to unite the “Winter is coming” crowd behind Stannis' bid for the throne — and bribing Jon with the legitimacy of the Stark name, to boot — but Jon emerges out of nowhere as a dark horse candidate in the vote to elect a new Lord Commander at the Wall. After Samwell Tarly makes a stirring speech praising Jon's bravery and leadership (and revealing that Janos Slynt's battle strategy involved hiding, crying, and weeing his pants), the votes are cast and it's Jon Snow, by a nose. All hail Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch!
Tell Us: What was the most exciting revelation to come out of Westeros this week?