Welcome back to StAR’s weekly recap/review of Game of Thrones, where Rukma and Dylan discuss who lives, who dies, and who knows nothing on this week’s episode.
Dylan: The only thing that really did it for me this episode was Cersei and Margaery’s face off, which was extremely entertaining (then again, my favorite television genre is Rich Women Being Mean to Each Other). I’m looking forward to seeing how long Cersei can keep it together (my bet is three or four more episodes) and whether or not Margaery will use her newly acquired power for good or evil. Other than that, Jon Snow (of all people) took an interesting turn this episode; I still don’t like him, but I don’t like him less than before. More terrible things are happening to Sansa, which sucks because I adore her despite her being the least popular character on the show. You know what though, if you’d been through everything Sansa has, you’d be whiny and annoying, too. Meanwhile, neither Arya nor Tyrion had anything particularly interesting happen to them, and Jaime and Daenerys didn’t even show up. However, while this episode isn’t especially engaging, according to Rukma there are several moments of foreshadowing, so that’s fun!
Rukma: Pre-spoiler alert for today’s review, I’m going to talk fan theories. I definitely don’t frequent fansites of dubious repute, all my information is from somewhere else. (In the same vein, I definitely don’t read any Sansa/Margaery fanfiction, and have never shipped them, or declared them to be my OTP.) Theory #1 is usually called R+L=J and bequeaths Jon Snow’s disputed parentage to Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Quick history of Robert’s Rebellion: Robert was engaged to Lyanna, who was ‘kidnapped’ by Prince Rhaegar. Aerys the Mad King beheaded Rickard and Brandon Stark when they asked that Rhaegar return Lyanna. Cue Robert’s Rebellion and the death of Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident. Lyanna ‘mysteriously’ dies during battle in the Tower of Joy where she was kept. Robert never makes it to said tower, since he’s too busy murdering Rhaegar. The only people who see Lyanna in her last moments are Ned Stark (painfully honorable Ned stark) and Howland Reed (Bran’s boyfriend’s dad). Ned returns to the North with a child he insists is his own. But it’s far more likely Jon is Lyanna’s. Theory #2, which is referenced in this episode, has to do with the Second Coming of Azor Ahai, a legendary hero who wielded a flaming sword called Lightbringer and defeated the Others. Unsurprisingly the bet’s on Jon Snow for this one too. Most fans seem to think that Jon will get burnt at some point (potentially after he’s presumed dead), and his Targaryen blood will prevent him from being burnt whereupon he will rise from the flames with a burning sword and vanquish the Others. I know. It’s a lot. But it could happen.
SPOILER ALERT: The rest of this review contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Season Five, Episode Three, “High Sparrow.”
This episode begins in Braavos, where Arya is the new maid at the House of Black and White.
Dylan: It’s like they took this creepy background music directly from a Disney Channel Halloween special.
Back in King’s Landing, Tommen and Margaery get married, then proceed to have sex even though Tommen is like, twelve. That said, this is probably the least violent sex scene ever on Game of Thrones.
Dylan: Aww, Tommen is so nice!
Rukma: Yes, but I’m conflicted. Is he actually nice, or just stupid nice?
Margaery then manipulates Tommen into sending Cersei back to Casterly Rock. Later, Cersei confronts Margaery in what is perhaps the most significant betch fight in Game of Thrones history.
Margaery: I wish we had some wine for you! It’s a bit early in the day for us.
Dylan: OMFG THE SHADE.
Margaery: What should I call you now, Queen Mother or Dowager Queen?
Dylan: Margaery 1, Cersei 0.
The Boltons (Roose, who killed Robb Stark, and Ramsay, who is dangerously insane) have taken in residence in Winterfell with Reek, a.k.a. Theon. Roose tells Ramsay that he’s going to marry him off.
Rukma: Oh, it’s the marriage plot!
Dylan: Like, a Jane Austen marriage plot?
Dylan: Who is he marrying?
Littlefinger and Sansa gallop into the next scene.
Dylan: No. NO. Not Sansa! She has been through enough!
Littlefinger badgers Sansa into marrying Ramsay Bolton a.k.a. the most violent and unstable person on the show, which is saying something. Sansa reluctantly agrees.
Rukma: Fuck Littlefinger.
Dylan: No, don’t fuck Littlefinger!
Rukma: Well, I guess Sansa will be the only Stark in Winterfell.
Dylan: What about Bran? Nevermind, I don’t want him to come back.
Not knowing how to take a hint, Brienne and Podrick have followed Littlefinger and Sansa north. Brienne opens up to Podrick about her past, telling him how everyone except for Renly Baratheon made fun of her for being the ugliest woman alive (yeah right, Gwendoline Christie is stunning). Then, she offers to teach him how to sword fight.
Rukma: Can Brienne teach me how to sword fight?
Dylan: Is sword fighting a euphemism…?
Rukma: Maybe. Yes.
Dylan: You sword fight with Brienne, I’ll sword fight with Podrick.
Rukma: But she likes gay men, remember Renly? She might prefer you.
Further north at the Wall, Stannis and Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow, have an important meeting.
Dylan: “Lord Commander,” what a FUCKING JOKE.
Rukma: Why does Jon Snow always wear peplums? Everyone else has blah tunics but his costumes are always so fit and flare.
Stannis propositions Jon Snow again, who refuses again because *reasons*.
Dylan: Does Jon Snow care about Sansa?
Rukma: Jon Snow cares about everything and everyone.
Dylan: True, he does have a lot of feelings. He and you have that in common!
Rukma: Yeah, but like, I wish I could work a peplum as well as Jon Snow.
Jon Snow: Winter is coming.
Dylan: What do they say when winter gets here? “Told you so?”
Rukma: Who’s more boring, Stannis or Jon Snow?
Dylan: WOW, that’s tough. Um. I’ll get back to you, wow.
Rukma: I’m gonna go with Jon Snow, at least Stannis has interesting friends like the Onion Knight and Melisandre.
Back to Braavos! Arya almost gets into a fight with another girl at the HoBaW then dumps all of her belongings into the harbor, except for Needle (her sword), which she hides under some rocks.
Dylan: Do Arya and this girl end up having a lesbian love affair?
Rukma: Unfortunately not. Also, she’s totally a minor.
Dylan: But like, we also just saw Tommen and Margaery have sex.
Back at the Wall, Jon Snow orders the men of the Night’s Watch to build a new latrine (ew).
Rukma: Damn, Jon Snow, you’re so pretty.
Dylan: It occurs to me that you only like characters to whom you’re sexually attracted.
Rukma: I mean, yes.
Janos Slynt talks back to him. Jon Snow, not to be disrespected, personally beheads him then and there.
Rukma: Finally, Jon Snow gets interesting!
Dylan: Damn! Total Dany move, Jon.
In King’s Landing, the High Septon (a.k.a. the Pope) is paraded around town naked by “the masses” as an act of repentance because he frequents brothels and is, I don’t know, probably corrupt or something. He’s understandably mad about it, but instead of doing anything about it Cersei imprisons him and cozies up to the High Sparrow (a.k.a. Mother Teresa) whom she clearly hates.
Rukma: Sound political decision on Cersei’s part, unlike fucking Daenerys Tagarensyenf. (sorry, Dylan is transcribing and has no idea how to spell her last name)
Dylan: Doesn’t Cersei end up being totally fucked over though?
Rukma: Yeah but it’s like not her fault. It’s because she’s a woman.
Back in Winterfell, Sansa almost meets Theon again. Ramsay Bolton is creepy as fuck. Littlefinger and Roose discuss boring shit, NEXT. Somewhere in Essos, Tyrion’s still in a box, not guzzling wine for the first time this season.
Tyrion: I can’t remember the last face I saw that wasn’t yours
Varys: It’s a perfectly good face.
The dynamic duo stop for drinks and sex in one of the only free cities that hasn’t been taken over by Daenerys yet.
Varys: The whores here are tattooed with tears.
Dylan: That’s horrifying.
Varys and Tyrion encounter a red priestess (what Melisandre is). Interestingly, this red priestess thinks Daenerys is Azor Ahai (the mythical hero prophesied to return and save the world), unlike Melisandre, who inexplicably thinks it’s Stannis. Then, they visit a brothel, and even though Tyrion is attracted to one of the girls he can’t seem to get it up? Confusing.
Tyrion: I hope this passes. What will I do in my spare time?
Tyrion relieves himself over a balcony, frat boy style. Suddenly, Jorah Mormont (who?) kidnaps him to take him to Daenerys so that she’ll forgive him and possibly return his unrequited love (as if).
Rukma: Literally no one handles rejection worse than Jorah Mormont.
Dylan: Varys and Tyrion were going to Daenerys anyway!
Rukma: I’m so annoyed with the episode! There wasn’t any Jaime.
Dylan: Okay, you listed one reason.
Rukma: There was a disturbing lack of leather-clad Lannisters in the episode, but I guess the Cersei-Margaery duel was worth it. Everything in the HoBaW was super creepy, including Arya robotically washing the dead guy’s arms. Jaquen H’ghar’s Yoda-act would be much less cool if it wasn’t for his wonderful accent. Can Jaquen please say “Ah-ya Stahk” five times every episode? While Arya sponge-bathes corpses in Braavos, her sister journeys north to her mysterious assignation, who turns out to be the erstwhile Bastard of Bolton. This is a REALLY SIGNIFICANT divergence from the books. This season has been full of those, but this seems like the biggest plot intervention by Benioff and Weiss. Sansa, my ex-least favourite character, gets Jeyne Poole’s marriage plot storyline. While the books have Ramsay torture Jeyne (who pretends to be Arya), I doubt the show will make Sansa go through that. Instead, the show seems to be molding Sansa into a vengeful Queen in the North. The visuals in her scene above Moat Cailin reinforce this “new season, new Sansa” theme as she goes from literally being whipped in every direction by the strong winds to completely still and statuesque on her horse after Littlefinger tells her that life sucks and she can choose to either whine or do something about it. Sophie Turner accomplishes immense character development purely through her micro-reactions. Think of the way she walked up to Roose Bolton, smiling like Cersei herself with a vendetta, or that little tremor of emotion when she’s greeted as Lady Stark and welcomed home to Winterfell. Signing off with a book-reader’s warning: the High Sparrow is not as wondrous as you think he is.
Dylan: Here I was thinking we’d seen the last of Jorah Mormont, but no, he’s somehow at the EXACT SAME BROTHEL as Tyrion and Varys in a city I don’t even remember the name of. Like, is there only one brothel? It’s as coincidental as Brienne and Podrick sitting literally a booth away from Sansa and Littlefinger last episode. I thought Westeros was supposed to be HUGE, and Essos even bigger? Also, how did Jorah even recognize Tyrion? I don’t remember them ever meeting. Oh well. Since that irritates me, I’ll just rave about how newly minted Queen Margaery (well, I guess this is the second time she’s been the queen… does anyone else find that weird?) destroyed Cersei and Cersei just stood there and smiled like the badass she is. Watch the fuck out, Margaery, because Cersei is coming for you and I am here for it. Did anyone else see Margaery as Cady Heron and Cersei as Regina George in that scene? No? Just me? Alright then. Sorry, Mean Girls references are my primary method of communication. Anyway, the Internet tells us that next week’s episode will be even better, but of course Rukma and I will be the judges of that.
Photos courtesy of here, here, here, here, and here