Well bros, that’s one more episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ in the books, and what an episode ‘High Sparrow’ was! Last week we left off with the return of Jaqen H’Ghar, Jon Snow being named the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, and Drogon the dragon returning to Daenerys Targaryen. So who were the biggest ‘Winners and Losers’ of ‘Game of Thrones‘ Season 5, Episode 3’s ‘High Sparrow’? Let’s jump right into it!
WINNER: Arya Stark
If you’ve been reading my previous Game of Thrones recaps then by now I might sound like a bit of a broken record when it comes to ol’ horsefaced Arya Stark, but the fact of the matter remains: she is the best character Game of Thrones has to offer. Season 5, Episode 3’s ‘High Sparrow’ opens up to Arya finally with a roof over her head after spending that past few seasons bumbling through the woods with The Hound, or stuck in a haunted castle (Harrenhal), or losing her way on the past to the Wall in the North. So what if the roof over her head is the eponymous temple from last week’s ‘House of Black and White’, and it’s some sort of temple that appears to be for assisted suicide and is also a mortuary… Actually that’s all pretty dark for a girl who’s still a tween.
At least she’s been reunited with Jaqen H’Ghar , a man who from what we’ve is the most deadly assassin in all of the seven kingdoms. So her future’s looking pretty bright: she has a home, and a murderous mentor (albeit a lonely home, and a lonely life). What else could a young girl need in the world, am I right?! She’s an apprentice on her way to becoming a ‘Faceless Man’, which in my heart of hearts means she’ll be able to return to Westeros in the future as the Stark that bring vengeance upon anyone whoever stepped out of line. But based on how most of our favorite characters on this show seem to meet untimely deaths, chances are we’ll see some sort of shakeup in Arya’s path over the next few seasons.
WINNERS: Tommen Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell
Without a doubt that was the most anticlimactic wedding in the entire Game of Thrones series. We’ve been accustomed to weddings making for HUGE scenes: murders, public shame, family strife. But Tommen ‘The Boy King’ Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell’s wedding went off without a hitch. So that alone qualifies them as winners. Toss in the fact that she immediately waxed that pole to solidify herself as Queen, Margaery finally got the throne she’s been pining for in her lady loins. So she might be the biggest winner of this week’s episode. But on the other hand Tommen’s just gotten his first lesson in carnal knowledge.
“This is what I want to do all day, every day, for the rest of my life.” — Me and Tommen Baratheon
He’s sown his wild oats AND he’s King, things really couldn’t get much better for Tommen at the moment. #PowerCouple If it wasn’t so painfully obvious that Margaery’s just in it for the power, I’d say that they make the perfect ruling couple. But Tommen’s an incestuous abomination, so it’s obvious that something wicked will befall him in the near future. As Margaery’s trying to push Cersei out of the picture we can expect Newton’s Third Law of Motion to come into effect: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
Each week we see Cersei’s grip on power slip more and more. This week we see the Boy King talk about wanting to send Cersei back to Casterly Rock, the birthright castle of the Lannisters. When Season 5 opened up to the first flashback in the Game of Thrones series, we knew from the woods witches’ prophecy that Cersei would lose it all one day, and with each passing scene it looks like that day is sooner rather than later.
After Tommen speaks with his mother about sending her back to Casterly Rock, Cersei goes to visit Margaery. It takes all of 10 seconds before Margaery makes a joke about Cersei being an alcoholic, after which she takes jabs at Cersei’s new title ‘Queen Mother or Dowager Queen’. The latter being used to refer to a widow, but both titles being used to strip down Cersei’s appearance of power in front of Margaery’s friends.
LOSER: Sansa Stark
I suppose you could claim that Sansa’s a slight ‘winner’ here, because she is returning to her home in Winterfell. But she’s only returning under the expectation that she’ll marry Ramsay Bolton, Roose Bolton’s now legitimized bastard son who’s famous for chopping off Reek’s dong (Theon Greyjoy). Even with all this ‘The North Remembers’ mumbo jumbo, I cannot foresee a future in which Sansa Stark is happy with Ramsay. Ramsay’s quite possibly the most psychotic character in the entire Game of Thrones series. His presence in any scene means there’s a chance that at any point all hell may break loose.
Littlefinger’s got something up his sleeve here, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I want to believe that he’s doing all of this with some grand plan to get vengeance for the death of his one true love: Catelyn Stark. But I really wouldn’t put it past him at all to have set up this marriage strictly as a power play for himself. By joining Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton, Littlefinger gains the loyalty of the North. As it stands Littlefinger’s the ruler of The Vale, so this is a pretty strategic alliance for him if it all comes to fruition.
Meanwhile we’ve got Sancho Panza and Don Quixote following after Sansa, still somehow believing that they can rescue her. I guess if there’s any time that Sansa Stark needed rescuing it’s in the coming days when she’ll be wed to the boy known for flaying skin off of live people as a form of public punishment.
We get a little back story on Podric, Brienne’s squire, as well as Brienne herself. This seems like a completely forgettable scene that was used as filler, because Brienne and Pod are the most insufferable and inept characters in Game of Thrones, and unless HBO is into cruel and unusual punishment we’ll see these two killed off in the near future. Please, PLEASE HBO: Kill off Brienne of Tarth and Podrick. There’s absolutely NO chance that she ever successfully kills Stannis Baratheon, as his her plan, so quit dragging them along!
Stannis has offered to make Jon Snow a true stark, and thus giving him claim to Winterfell. Stannis has given Jon Snow the chance to avenge all of his slain family members, and to rule over the castle he once walked the halls of us a bastard. Stannis has offered Jon Snow EVERYTHING. Yet Jon Snow tells him no. Jon believes his place is on the wall as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, and there’s nothing Stannis can do to sway him.
After throwing back all of Stannis’ offerings, Jon Snow then tells Stannis that they need to get to the gettin’, because the Night’s Watch don’t have enough food in store to continue feeding everyone. Thankfully for Jon, Stannis didn’t take too much offense to hearing that they need to bounce, instead he told Jon of his plan to march on Winterfell in 14 days. Which is pretty interesting timing, because I assume that’s about when Sansa will be shacking up with Ramsay Bolton, though it’s pretty hard to keep track of days and dates in this show. Stannis does give Jon Snow a sage piece of advice: send Ser Alliser Thorne off to ‘Eastwatch by the Sea’, a castle similar to Castle Black, but which sits on the water and is primarily used as a trade outpost. Without Jon Snow’s biggest enemy in Castle Black it’ll free up his ability to rule, so good on Stannis for throwing this advice Jon’s way.
What really tugs at my ass here is that neither Stannis nor his Hand, Davos Seaworth, seem to grasp the fact that if Jon Snow were to renounce his vows and leave the wall then he’d be tracked down and have his head cut off. That’s what happens to deserters in Game of Thrones, think back to the very first scene of the very first episode in the series: a man getting his head chopped off by Ned Stark for deserting.
WINNER: Arya Stark
With the introduction of another character at the ‘House of Black and White’ temple, it appears Arya’s learning/training has finally begun. So what if she took a whippin’ from a switch for it to begin, she’s at least begun whatever it might be. The other girl’s obviously resentful of the fact that Arya just strolled into the ‘House of Black and White’ with that coin, and hasn’t gone through whatever rigorous application process she went through. Also, who is this chick? It’s obvious she also works and lives in the temple, but can we get a little more detail than just ‘girl with a switch who wants to hit Arya’?!
Sadly for Arya she learns that in order to truly begin her training she must rid herself of all her worldly possessions, which includes the sword given to her by her favorite half-brother Jon Snow. She tosses her cash, coin, and clothes into the river, but just as I suspected she hid her sword for safe keeping. Jaqen H’Ghar doesn’t know her story in full, he wasn’t there to see Jon give her that sword before he was sent off to the wall, and he wasn’t there when each of her family members were murdered. He shouldn’t force her to rid herself of all her worldly possessions, but I guess that’s part of the game if you want to be a faceless man.
So immediately after appearing to toss away all of her possessions we then get a glimpse at just what it is Arya will be doing in the ‘House of Black and White’….and it’s sponge bathing dead bodies? Wait, wut? She’s not learning to kill, she’s learning to care for the death? There’s DEFINITELY more coming, I know it. Don’t let me down on this one HBO!