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TV Review: Game Of Thrones 5.3 “High Sparrow”
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Game Of Thrones Season 5 Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

Game Of Thrones
Episode 5.3 “High Sparrow”
Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Starring Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Natalie Dormer, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Dean-Charles Chapman, Jonathan Pryce
Air date: Sunday, April 26, 2015, 9pm

Spoilers ahead for Season 5 of Game Of Thrones…

Last week’s Game Of Thrones, Episode 5.2 “The House Of Black and White”, saw Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) arrive to the House Of Black and White in Braavos in hopes of starting her training to become one of the Faceless Men, while her older sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) was traveling with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), but to where she did not know – only that it would be far away from Cersei’s clutches. That also meant away from Brienne of Tarth and her squire Podrick, who’ve come to protect her. Meanwhile, back in Kings Landing, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) promised his sister and one true love Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) that he’d rescue their daughter Myrcella, who is living in Dorne, betrothed to Prince Trystane, nephew to the late Oberyn Martell’s – The Red Viper, who met a horrible end at the hand of The Mountain in Season 4. Over at The Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was voted Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, while Stannis Baratheon (operating as King of Westeros, with his own followers) offered him the thing he’s wanted most — to be legitimized as Ned Stark’s son and become Jon Stark. In Pentos, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and the eunuch Varys (Conleth Hill) planned to join forces with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), who is residing in Meereen where she’s under attack from the Sons of the Harpy who oppose her rule.

While “The House Of Black and White” jumped around a lot between characters and subplots, this week’s episode, 5.3 “High Sparrow,” does the same except with more interconnectivity. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together and the foreshadowing is more prominent this time around. Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) marries her third King and amazingly enough, no one dies! The lady of Highgarden weds the boy King Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman), who she woos so well on their wedding night that while he’s busy enthusiastically planting his seed, his new Queen is planting one of her own about his mother, Cersei. Wouldn’t Cersei be happier back at her childhood home, Casterly Rock, she enquires with a smile, insinuating ever so innocently that Cersei is such a good mother, so protective — just what every teenage boy wants to hear, right? (Sure, if you’re Norman Bates.) Margaery is a clever girl in many ways and she knows that to truly be queen and have control, she needs her formidable mother-in-law out of the way. The next day during a conversation with her afterglow-filled son, Cersei realizes that she might actually be on her way out now that the new queen has her son whipped. The people of the city already love Margaery. Looks like Cersei needs to change things up.

And what does Cersei do? Gets a ride into a stinky part of town to seek out the “High Sparrow” (Jonathan Pryce), whose religious followers — including Cersei’s former boy toy Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon) — drag the High Septon (Paul Bentley) at a brothel and then flog and shame him in the streets. What’s Cersei’s end game here? Hmm… time to go check in on Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and his Frankenstein laboratory (where the reanimated Mountain is seen writhing under a sheet — that was pretty creepy!) and have him send a message to Littlefinger commanding him to do something “immediately.” Ah, there it is, Cersei exerting her control — that’s the Cersei we know and expect.

Speaking of control, up at the Wall, Jon Snow has it now that he’s new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, after turning down Stannis’ tempting offer to be made Jon Stark, ruler of Winterfell. Oh how good would this have been? But, there’s other plans for the North (more on that soon). While the new Lord Commander is doling out new positions and posts, he comes up against his first opposition in Ser Janos Slynt, who dislikes his new orders to man the ruined Greyguard. “You can stick your order up your bastard ass,” Ser Janos he tells Jon Snow, referring to the new leader as “boy.” Now, we all know Jon Snow is no pushover and that you don’t get as far as he has without proving yourself. Janos has run his mouth off many times before, thinking himself special since he served as Commander of the City Watch in King’s Landing, but this time around, he’s gone too far, forcing Jon to make an example of him. Here we see Jon Snow, the man who was raised by the noble Ned Stark. In the end, Stannis gives a slight nod, to show his approval.

Ok, so, the North. The Boltons are holding it right now, with Roose Bolton as the Warden of the North. But, he doesn’t have the troops to hold the territory, whose citizens “remember” and do not want to bend the knee to — or pay taxes to — the traitors who killed their King, Robb Stark. But, Roose’s newly legitimized son, Ramsay the sadist, is handling the situation by flaying all opposition. Plus, here comes Littlefinger with a bargaining chip, Sansa Stark, the oldest living child of Ned Stark and his wife Catelyn, who he plans to wed to Ramsey, which will steady the Bolton’s hold on the North. Sansa, of course, would rather die than be married into the same family that slaughtered her own family (and at a wedding, no less!), but Littlefinger convinces her that this is her way to finally have control over her own life. Sounds good in theory, but we all know Ramsey. We’ve heard of his exploits, we’ve seen his wickedness, and witnessed what he’s done to Theon Greyjob (aka Reek) — what horrors await the virginal Sansa when she becomes Ramsey’s wife? And let’s not forget Ramsey’s equally vicious girl toy, who, let’s just say, if looks could kill, it’d be bye-bye Sansa already. Thankfully, as we’ve heard before, “The North Remembers,” as the newly returned Lady Stark is told by one of the servants, who welcomes her back to Winterfell. But, if all else fails, let’s hope that Brienne and Pod can come to the rescue.

And bravo to Brienne, who won’t give up on her vow to protect Sansa and Arya, if possible. Brienne and Podrick have tracked Sansa to Moat Caitlin, aka, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and the scene where they are overlooking the ruined property gives us hope. Soon after, the twosome share some pertinent moments from their past — how Podrick came to be a squire at King’s Landing and the tearful event that led to Brienne’s unfaltering allegiance to Renly Baratheon. Brienne and Pod are becoming this season’s Arya and the Hound, except without the fear that they’ll eventually kill each other (or at least try).

What still remains a mystery is Arya Stark and her new life at the House Of Black and White. She’s made to repeatedly, day after day, sweep the stone floor in some kind of Mr. Miyagi-type apprenticeship. She’s frustrated and soon gets picked on by another trainee who thinks her unworthy. Arya still carries the name, clothes, and other possessions of Arya Stark of Winterfell, but to become faceless, she must leave her identity and possessions behind. She tosses everything into the sea, including the boy garb she’s been donning for so long, so this also means we get to see her finally wearing something else (although, nothing exciting yet). But, throwing out the clothes that she wore while hiding and nearly being killed is easy enough, but when she gets to Needle, the tiny sword her brother Jon Snow gave to her, she hesitates. Tossing Needle might be asking too much of her at this point, especially since the weapon has saved her in so many situations thus far. Looks like we’ll have to stash Needle away for the time being — smart move, although, her “master” Jaqen H’ghar seems to know all. Hard to believe he won’t also find out about this.

Lastly, we come to Tyrion and Varys, who are on the road now to Meereen to team up with Daenerys Targaryen — who does not make it into this episode for even a split second. The imp Tyrion doesn’t have much motivation for anything except drinking and complains about having to hide away for the entire journey. I’m not sure why Varys would go for this, but he lets Tyrion convince him to stop in Volantis for some drinking and whoring. But guess who just happens to be there? Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), the exiled knight from Westeros who was further exiled by Daenerys after she discovered that he had actually been a spy for Westeros in exchange for the restoration of his citizenship. But while Jorah might have started out as a spy, we know he falls in love with her and has wild dreams of her loving him in return. Perhaps if he brings his Queen one of the prominent family members of one of her enemies, like, say, Tyrion Lannister, she’ll take him back. Sounds like a plan! Wait, unless…. by Queen he means Cersei, who placed a hefty bounty on her brother’s head. That would mean Jorah could returned to Westeros, reclaim his position, AND make some big bucks. Wow, thankfully, Jorah also always carries enough rope and other supplies to kidnap someone if necessary. Sorry, Tyrion, you should have stayed hidden away in your carriage.


Game of Thrones Season 5: Episode #2 Recap (HBO)

New episodes of Game of Thrones air every Sunday at 9PM, only on HBO.

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