The House of Black and White is the headquarters of the Faceless Men and a temple for those who worship the Many-Faced God. It is in the Free City of Braavos and caters to anyone willing to pay. Inside the temple are hidden chambers that contain the secrets of the Faceless Men’s magical abilities, and to reach the inner sanctuary, one must go through many trials and tests. Upon reaching the inner chambers, a mission gets assigned to a person, and upon completion, they advance to the next stage of their training.
The House of Black and White is a sanctuary in Braavos. It sits on a hill made from dark-greyish stone and has no windows. Its roof got made from jet-black tiles, and the entrance to the temple is a massive wooden double door measuring twelve feet in height. Each half got carved from a different wood species, with the left being weirwood and the right being ebony.
In the center of the door is a moon, with each half made from the alternate species of the side of the door it is carved on. Besides the door are secret tunnels leading into the temple, and grey stone stairs lead down into the dock area of the temple. To reach the top of the building, one has to access a wooden ladder through a garret which is only reachable by a winding stair.
Inside the temple are stone benches and hard stone beds in shuttered alcoves along the walls. A pool of poisoned water lit by dim red candles is at the center, with the statues of gods littered across the room. The gods featured include the Hooded Wayfarer, the Horse God, the Lion of Night, the Merling King, Bakkalon, the Moon-Pale Maiden, the Weeping Woman, the Black goat of Qohor, and the Stranger. On the first level beneath the main floor are the sleeping cells for the acolytes and priests, and on the second floor are the cells for the servants.
On the third level of the sanctuary is the Holy Sanctum which can only get accessed by priests. Though unknown to others, after passing through a heavy iron door, a canal leads to a chamber where there are hanging faces of people who gave their lives in service of the Many-Faced God; these faces get used as disguises, and there is another even more mysterious passage with steps that descend below the chamber of faces.
Though the House of Black and White is massive, few people live within. The temple houses two priests, the Waif and the Kindly Man, and three acolytes. There are two men and Umma, the cook. Other people that visit the temple include a fat fellow, a squinter, a lordling, a starved man, and a handsome man.
No songs or worship occur in the temple except when the servants pray at dawn. On entering the sanctuary, worshippers can light candles or drink from the dark water to end their suffering. They can also ask to meet a priest and request the gift of death delivered to someone.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
When Robert Baratheon asks for the small council to meet, he discusses Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding to Khal Drogo. Wishing Dany death, he orders them to use any means necessary. When Grand Maester Pycelle suggests using the Faceless Men to assassinate Dany, Lord Petyr Baelish, Littlefinger, remarks that hiring an assassin from the House of Black and White would cost twice as much as hiring an army of sellswords.
A Feast for Crows
After taking a ship to Braavos, Arya arrives at the Free City. The captain’s son Yorko Terys takes her to the House of Black and White. On reaching the temple’s gates, she says: ‘Valar Morghulis,’ and the doors get open. Before entering, she offers the coin given to her by Jaqen H’ghar.
While in the sanctuary, she gives someone a cup of water from the pool in the center and realizes he and others are dying. She then meets a Kindly Man with a hooded cloak, who tells her to kiss his face. When he reveals himself, Arya gets shocked by the hideousness she sees. However, she sees through the illusion, and the Kindly Man allows her to stay.
Arya becomes a serving girl at the House of Black and White. While training at the temple, she gets ordered to discard her belongings and take a new identity, and though she throws everything, she hides Needle, the gift given to her by Jon Snow. She helps the acolytes clean dead bodies and learns about poisons from the Waif. After meeting Sam and killing Dareon of the Night’s Watch, she gets blinded.
A Dance with Dragons
After becoming blind, Arya takes on the alias blind Beth. She remains at the House of Black and White and continues learning under the Waif, who teaches her to lie and detect falsehood. With the help of dream walking inside animals, Arya impresses the Kindly Man, and her sight gets restored.
When a group of priests arrives, Arya follows them and assists during the meeting. After the gathering, a priest with a plague face takes her to the holy sanctum and gives her an ugly girl’s face. She then gets tasked with killing a man. Before leaving for her mission, Arya dreams of the life of the girl whose face she took. Upon completing her task, she becomes an acolyte and gets taken to meet Izembaro.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, the House of Black and White was the headquarters of the Faceless Men. With a heart filled with vengeance, Arya travels to Braavos and reaches the gates of the temple of the Many-Faced God. After waiting outside for many days, she gets let in by Jaqen, who asks her if she can become no one.
Arya begins training in the temple and gets a task to kill an insurance seller. Before completing the mission, she sees Meryn Trant, a man who beats Sansa Stark and attacks Syrio Forel, her teacher. Changing her target to Meryn, Arya takes a face from the Hall of Faces and kills the knight, and for her actions, she gets blinded. After receiving her sight, Arya fights the Waif and kills her. Before leaving the temple, the Jaqen tells Arya she is no one. However, she states she is Arya Stark of Winterfell.
The House of Black and White: The Sanctuary of Death
As the headquarters of the Faceless Men, the House of Black and White was a dreaded place in Braavos. Everyone avoided it except those who wanted to end their suffering. Though it got seen as a place of death, it was a place where those without anything could meet peace or ask for the gift of death on those who have wronged them.
What is the House of Black and White?
The House of Black and White is the temple of the Many-Faced God and the headquarters of the Faceless Men, an assassin order in Braavos. It has a black pool where people who want to end their suffering can drink and die. The temple also houses a chamber where the faces of the dead get kept for use by the Faceless Men.
What happens to Arya at the Temple of the Many-Faced God?
After becoming a servant at the temple, Arya gets taught how to lie and detect falsehood. She gets asked to discard her former identity, but when she sees Dareon, a man of the Night’s Watch, deserting, she kills him and gets blinded as punishment.
Why are the Faceless Men feared?
The Faceless Men has a success rate of 100%. Once a person got marked, they were sure to get killed regardless of who they were; this made them an unstoppable entity.
Did Arya leave the House of Black and White in Game of Thrones?
In the HBO series, Arya leaves the temple of the Many-Faced God after killing the Waif. She exits, stating she is Arya Stark of Winterfell.