Game of Thrones season 5 is now well underway but episode three is still laying foundations for what is to come.
If you haven’t seen tonight’s episode yet of Game of Thrones and want to avoid spoilers then please stop reading now. If you are up-to-date and want to relive the action, or just don’t mind spoilers, then please keep on reading.
High Sparrow was written by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss with Mark Mylod taking to the director’s chair for the first time.
The episode began at the mysterious House of Black and White where we left Arya Stark (Maisie Willams) last episode. After her epic journey to reunite with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) it’s understandable that Arya finds herself rather impatient. She was hoping for much more of a welcoming from Jaqen and was expecting to be trained. Instead she finds herself sweeping floors and doing chores. She puts her frustrations to Jaqen but he simply tells her that ‘All men must serve’. It all feels a bit Karate Kid.
In King’s Landing it was wedding time and knowing how well the occasions go we were nervous. However in a surprise twist the marriage of Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) goes without bloodshed. It’s all rather lovely and everyone is smiling and happy. Well everyone but the new King’s mother Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey).
It’s looks like Tommen and Margaery are very much in love as they share a kiss at the ceremony and then a bed for their first night. Tommen is obviously smitten but it’s clear that Margaery has him round her little finger. She’s ambitious and as manipulative as Cersei and quickly gets to work on him. Tommen should know better as Cersei has taught him to trust no one. However Margaery is cunning and while pretending to like his mother she drops plenty of hints at how she will protect and control him forever.
In the very next scene as Cersei quizzes Tommen he suggests maybe she would be happier living back at Casterly Rock. You can tell Cersei is furious on the inside. We sure there are fireworks ahead and wonder if Cersei has finally met her match in Margaery.
Cersei heads straight to Margaery who is sat chatting and laughing with her handmaidens. They try to outdo each other in an apparent who is the nicest contest. It’s hilarious to see Margaery refer to Cersei as ‘Mother’ and she gets under her skin further hinting at her first night with Tommen and that she might soon be a grandmother. Cersei keeps it together and offers to help with anything she needs but it seem she might be in control after all.
The episode then heads back to the North where we see the Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) and son Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) at Winterfell. Reek/Theon (Alfie Allen) is close by and looks as broken as ever as the skinned corpses of Ramsay’s last conquest are hung up around the walls. After wanting Theon to suffer so much we can’t help but feel sorry for him these days.
Roose tells Ramsay that they don’t have enough men to hold the North. He proposes that a marriage is the best way to strengthen their position. While wondering who he might marry the scene switches to Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). It soon becomes clear that it’s Littlefinger’s plan to marry Sansa to Ramsay. Poor Sansa doesn’t have much luck does she?
You might say that Sansa isn’t too keen on the idea but the scheming Littlefinger knows all the right things to say to change her mind. With talk of her family and how she must avenge them it leaves Sansa with little choice.
From a safe distance Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod (Daniel Portman) are keeping an eye on Sansa. In a nice scene we got to learn some back story about both of them. In particular we hear about how Brienne came to serve Lord Renly and also that she plans to avenge his death by killing Stannis (Stephen Dillane). She also offers to train Pod to he can become a knight.
At Castle Black Stannis goes to see the new Lord Commander – Jon Snow (Kit Harrington). He turns down the offer to become Jon Stark and to help retake Winterfell. Stannis respects his decision and suggests Jon be wary of his enemies at Castle Black. Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) pushes Jon in a different way to try and get him to help and we think he may have got through to him. Will Jon give them Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and the Wildlings?
Back with Arya she finds herself on the receiving end of taunts and a whipping from one of the girls there. Before Arya can teach her a lesson Jaqen steps in and suggests that she isn’t ready. It seems to progress she must leave herself behind and that means disposing of her possessions. Arya throws her clothes away but cannot bear to let go of Needle, her sword. Instead she hides in nearby in a wall.
She goes back to the House and resumes her chores before Jaqen beckons her to him. She follows and joins the girl who fought with her and they undress and wash a seemingly dead man. We’re not sure what’s going on here yet but are intrigued and sure more will be revealed soon.
Back in the North Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Winterfell to meet with the Boltons. It seems Sansa has changed her tune. As she settles in a servant welcomes her back home and tells her that the North remembers.
Returning to Castle Black we see Jon Snow announce to his men the need to dig a new latrine. Ser Alliser (Owen Teale) looks the likely candidate but Jon is too nice and gives the job to someone else. Instead he makes Ser Alliser First Ranger and then announces that Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) will be sent away to Greyguard.
Janos has a cowardly tantrum and refuses. Jon gives him another chance then orders that he be taken outside. Jon follows and grabs his sword. With his head on the block Janos realises he was wrong to disobey and pleads for mercy and his life. We expect Jon to give in but then remember that this is Game of Thrones and Janos is beheaded with a swift stroke from his blade. Stannis is revealed to be watching from the sidelines.
At a brothel, in King’s Landing, Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon) and the Sparrows find the High Septon (Paul Bentley) picking out a couple of girls. They take him outside and parade him through the streets naked to humiliate him then give him a beating. He heads to see Cersei and demands the High Sparrow be executed. Cersei seeks out the High Sparrow (Jonathan Price) and finds him helping the poor. She explains that the High Septon has been thrown into the Red Keep for his behaviour and hints at an alliance with the Sparrows.
We also see Cersei return to speak with Qyburn (Anton Lesser). He’s busy going about his experiments and behind him is a table with what looks like a large body covered with a sheet. We wonder it it’s the Mountain as last season he was ordered to do whatever it takes to keep the Mountain alive after the battle with Oberyn. After she leaves it’s clear that whatever is under there is indeed still alive and we wonder what horror awaits.
Finally we head across the Narrow Sea to see how Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) are getting on. They arrive in Volantis and Tyrion decides he needs to get out of their carriage before he loses his mind. They wander the streets and come across a red priestess who is preaching to a crowd. She seems to spot Tyrion so he suggests hiding out in a brothel.
There we see that the most popular prostitute is dressed to look like Daenerys Targaryen. While Tyrion speaks with a different prostitute we spot the exiled Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) looking rough and getting drunk in the background. As Tyrion relieves himself on the peasants below Jorah pops up and kidnaps him. He says that he will take him to the queen. We presume he means Dany and not Cersei?
Another good episode with plenty going on as always. Again this was more set up than anything but we’re sure that most of the pieces for this season must now be in place and look forward to seeing what happens.
Let us know your thoughts on High Sparrow in the comments below as well as your hopes for the rest of the season.
Game of Thrones season five continues at 9/8c Sundays on HBO in the US and at 2am (simulcast) and 9pm Mondays on Sky Atlantic in the UK.