The "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen II was a terrible ruler. Think King John "The Bad" of England. Or Saddam Hussein. Or Pol Pot.

Aerys was insane. He was paranoid. He burned people alive and laughed (insanely).


Daenerys Targaryen, whom is believed to be Aerys' only surviving child, is just starting to learn about her father's infamy.

In "The House of Black and White," the latest episode of HBO's hit "Game of Thrones," Dany is trying to avoid being like daddy dearest. Instead of mercilessly crushing the insurgent group Sons of the Harpy, she promises to give the murderers fair trials. When one of her soldiers takes it upon himself to execute an insurgent, Dany has her soldier executed as well as punishment.

This decision, carried out in public, causes the people of Meereen to begin rising up against her, hissing (yes, actually, hissing like snakes) and throwing rocks.

Later, Dany's missing dragon, Drogon, returns to her side ever so briefly, before flying off again. She's finding her dragon-children just as hard to rule as the public.


We didn't get to see any Arya in last week's Season 5 premiere, but we got a whole lot this week.

Arya arrives at the House of Black and White – a group of the world's most deadly assassins – to learn to train like them. They deny her access. She waits outside for days thinking of all the people she wants to kill. (Can she please kill Cersei already?)

Finally, at the end of the episode, they let her in. (Can she please kill Cersei already?)

King's Landing

Speaking of Cersei, she's terrible as usual. She's now ruling the kingdom until her son Tommen comes of age. And she is having random dwarves' heads cut off in her hatred-fueled rage against little brother Tyrion.

A threat arrives from Dorne about her daughter Myrcella's safety. So, Jaime Lannister and the sellsword Bronn take off for Dorne. Which could end up being a very, very bloody decision.


In Dorne, Ellaria Sand is trying to persuade Prince Doran Martell to strike back over the death of his brother, the Red Viper – the guy who was all smooth at fighting until The Mountain crushed his skull. She suggests chopping off Myrcella's fingers and sending them to the Lannisters.

"Let me send her to Cersei, one finger at a time," Ellaria snarls.


Prince Doran, not really feeling the whole child-murder thing, declines: "We do not mutilate little girls for vengeance."

Doran is supposed to have gout in the books. But there was no evidence of that so far in the show as best I could tell. I also was hoping to see the Sand Snakes on screen this episode, but I guess that will have to wait.

Castle Black

And there was some big news for another fan favorite: Jon Snow. With the leadership of the Night's Watch up for grabs, Jon wins by a single vote when Aemon Targaryen cast the deciding ballot.

Like the first episode of the season, "The House of Black and White" was rather slow at times. But we're starting to see the major plotlines of the show develop. I have to believe Arya's training in Braavos will play a major role in the story. Jon Snow is now in power in the north, and Dany is learning to rule in the east and (A Song of Ice and Fire anyone?).

And, the less Daenerys Targaryen behaves like her father, the better that'll be for everyone.

Grade: B