The House of Black and White – where Arya has been learning the ways of the Many-Faced God – serves several purposes. It is a place of respite for those seeking to end their lives/suffering. It is the home base of the Faceless Men – an elite group of assassins assisted by magic. And it”s home to a macabre collection of faces used by the order to infiltrate anywhere.
So when Game of Thrones uses the Hall of Faces in their teaser, it could be cause for concern. Unless you take the philosophical approach…
At first, the teaser seems to be playing the Hall of Faces literally. Starting with Ned Stark and working its way through many of the major deaths over the years, each character has their own nook in this representation of the afterlife. But then we get to Jon Snow – whose death may be greatly exaggerated – before zooming in on the disembodied head of Tyrion Lannister. A spoiler? A warning? Probably not, as Tyrion is framed by Sansa and Daenerys on either side. As the camera zooms out, a lot of the very much alive cast is also present. So what does it mean?
Valar morghulis. All men must die.
Though the show hasn”t really gone into it, the House of Black and White is a temple to the God of Death. Inside its halls are statues to over two dozen gods of various faiths. The Stranger, the Weeping Woman, the Merling King. Each one representing death to their respective belief systems. But though it should be a morbid place of worship, instead it is peaceful. Death is part of life, and accepting that is encouraged and embraced by the priests of the Many-Faced god (Death). From this perspective, seeing the Hall of Faces is less ominous spoilers and more shining a light on the futility of the Game.
No matter who wins the thrones, everyone is equal in the end.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 24, 2016.