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REVIEW: Game of Thrones 5×03 “High Sparrow”

Written by Grace Davis

And so we see inside the House of Black and White… and we do not understand much of it. At least I didn’t. Game of Thrones is one of those shows that sometimes makes me wonder whether something is meant to be a mystery or if I’m just being slow and have missed something. Book readers are probably nodding sagely at the sight of the gloomy halls, a passed-out man being casually carried away on a stretcher and later washed by Arya and another girl but personally I am mystified. Which I expect is how Arya is feeling. Despite her eagerness, Arya is clearly not ready to be a Faceless Man, I foresee a lot of training in her future. I really like Arya but I wish I liked this storyline more, there’s little in it that is gripping me so far. And while I understand the need for her to cast off her old life, both symbolically and literally, I was so glad to see her squirrel Needle away safely!

Perhaps the most stunning thing to happen in this episode was a wedding with no bloodshed, no fighting, just a standard old-fashioned marriage. Amusingly, this was the shortest wedding scene so far, like the writers were saying ‘Look, nothing happened at this wedding. It was boring. We’re only showing you because we have to.’

It was third time lucky for Margaery: she has finally managed a consummated marriage. Pretty gross that it happened with a 15 year old boy – although he didn’t seem to think so! Ick. My favourite part of this scene was Tommen asking if ‘Queen Margaery’ sounded strange to her and Margaery asserting that it really did! Hah, sure Marg, sure.

Margaery really is on top form this season: she is unbelievably calculating and poor, trusting Tommen is an extremely easy target. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen the genuine, unguarded Margaery – and perhaps we never will. I very much enjoyed her and Cersei’s barbed exchange, it lead to tonight’s favourite quote ‘I wish we had some wine for you, it’s a bit early in the day for us.’ Cersei seemed not to have a revenge plan in mind – which possibly makes her even more dangerous. Knowing her, she’ll flail around desperately and then just do the first nasty thing that pops into her head.

One of the saddest things this episode was seeing Winterfell in the hands of the odious Boltons – and now Sansa has arrived to join them! Poor girl. She has now been betrothed to two of the worst people in Westeros. How do you get that kind of bad luck? At the moment I’m just thankful that Ramsey and Joffrey never met – worst team-up ever! It was also rather pitiful to see the broken shell that was Theon, though his sneaked glances towards Sansa showed that clearly there is some glimmer left of the person he was.

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Something I really liked was hearing a bit of Brienne’s past – Pod’s was fine and worked well as a lead-in but Brienne was where it got interested. It was nice to hear about Renly again, it’s been so long! Brienne’s genuine love for, and acceptance of, her King was quite touching. I had pretty much forgotten her hatred of Stannis, it was interesting to see that her desire for revenge still burns so strongly!

Speaking of Stannis, it’s still weird seeing him hanging out up at the Wall. If I were Jon I would have been very tempted by Stannis’ offer to make him an official Stark although I’m not sure I would ever really trust Stannis. Rightful King or not, he is such a hard, cold man, so certain about everything. Perhaps that is a good quality for a king but I’m scared of his lack of mercifulness!

Davos, however, made a very good point about the purpose of the Night’s Watch being to protect the realm and sitting in a frozen castle is maybe not always the best way to achieve this! The North is in a frighteningly bad shape at the moment and I’m anxious to see what Jon will do.

I think Jon made a great choice tonight in his treatment of Thorne – giving him a highly respected position definitely shows that Jon doesn’t bear grudges and is willing to make the best choice for the Night’s Watch as a whole. I’m just hoping that Thorne is intelligent enough to go along with this!

… Unlike his buddy who was a complete idiot. Having been ordered to take up residence in Greyguard, Janos Slynt made the worst (and last) decision of his life by refusing! I really didn’t know how this was going to play out – Jon is normally big fan of mercy but showing that in that case could have ended up costing him his command of the Night’s Watch. Stannis’ look of approval was no surprise here!

Now, I’d just like to say: public figures engaged in religious sex games never go down well. That’s important life advice and something the High Septon would have done well to remember. Sadly for him, he did not and he felt the wrath of the increasingly-strange Sparrows (the group which little Lancel Lannister recently joined). Cersei’s reaction was amusing, especially her side-eye at Pycelle when he vehemently remarked that a man’s private business should stay private! I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about the Sparrows and their leader (yay Jonathan Price!)

Last but not least: good grief Tyrion, Varys told you to stay in that box and you wouldn’t and now you’ve been kidnapped by Ser Jorah who is taking you SOMEWHERE YOU WERE GOING ANYWAY!

Extra thoughts:

  • Mace Tyrell merrily bumbling his way through the Small Council is oddly endearing. I would probably watch a show that was just about that. It would be very relaxing.
  • Oh hell yeah to that lady who hissed ‘The North remembers’. Yeah it does! In your face Boltons.
  • Jon is looking a lot older suddenly. Being in charge must really be taking its toll (that or starring in the terrible Pompeii took years off Kit Harington’s life).
  • Ser Jorah: I couldn’t tell if you wanted to fight that fake-Daenerys prostitute or… do something else with her. Either way, that is literally the closest you will ever get to Daenerys. Sorry.

About the author

Grace Davis