Game of Thrones Review: "High Sparrow"

Monday, April 27, 2015

I structured things a bit differently this week. Normally I include all of the scenes at one setting in the same group, but because Sansa and Littlefinger traveled throughout multiple areas that also saw other characters, I grouped them all separately, in the order in which they occurred.



Opening title sequence: King's Landing, Moat Cailin, Winterfell, The Wall, Braavos, Meereen

Braavos Part 1

-The House of Black and White is filled with a bunch of creepy statues.

-Arya has taken up janitorial work, and she's not happy about it. She questions Jaqen, but he reminds her that all men must serve, and that she has to become no one and serve the Many-Faced God.

Best quote: "There is only one god. A girl knows his name, and all men know his gift" - Jaqen

King's Landing Part 1

-Cersei is irritated to hear the people cheering for "Queen Margaery" on the way to Tommen and Margaery's wedding.

-We skip the boring stuff and head straight to the final vow of the wedding ceremony, and what I can only assume is Tommen's first kiss.

-Cersei wants to smack the smug smirk of Margaery's face, and for once, I kind of want to too.

-Since all the kids have been aged up for the show, they apparently decided it wasn't necessary for Margaery to be "thrice wedded, never bedded", because we cut to their wedding night, where sweet Tommen is concerned he may have hurt his bride, which Margaery seems to find amusing. This also kind of reaffirms the popular "Marg is definitely not a virgin" theory.

-Like most teenage boys, Tommen just wants to have sex all the time.

-Tommen feels weird that he doesn't feel guilty about getting his new life because Joffrey died, but really, I think Cersei (and maaaaybe Jaime) is the only one who cares that he's dead.

-Margaery, master manipulator, cons Tommen into wanting to get rid of Cersei so that he can have some space without her helicopter parenting.

-While on a walk with Cersei (who gives off some very Regina George vibes with all the "She's certainly very pretty, isn't she?"), Tommen tries to convince Cersei to go home to Casterly Rock. Cersei's Margaery senses start tingling.

-Margaery brags about all the sex she and Tommen had to Cersei and rubs her face in the fact that she's the queen now, because their cat fight will never stop.

Best quote: "What's the proper way to address you now? Queen Mother, or Dowager Queen?" - Margaery

Winterfell Part 1

-Reek/Theon looks at the flayed men (and women) being hung around Winterfell and looks pained.

-Roose is concerned about keeping a hold on the North. Ramsay brags about flaying a lord (Lord Cerwyn, it sounded like), his wife, and his brother alive while his son watched because they refused to pay taxes to anyone but a Stark.

-Roose is worried about the other houses of the North rising up against them, because with Tywin dead, they only have their own men at their disposal. Roose impresses the idea of becoming a great house through political savvy (like marriage) and not through flaying people. He has found a bride for Ramsay that he thinks will set everyone straight.

The Neck

-Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Moat Cailin, and Sansa is immediately on alert.

-She deduces that Littlefinger's proposal wasn't for him, but for her, and that he means to marry her to Ramsay, despite the fact that the Boltons killed her family.

-Sansa refuses to go, and threatens to make herself die from anorexia if he tries to make her go.

-Littlefinger gets a little pervy with her (as he is wont to do) as he implores her to stop running from her past and avenge her family.

-Sansa considers this, and is the first to get on her horse and head for Winterfell, but unbeknownst to the Baelish party, Brienne and Pod are watching from above, and Brienne can tell where they're going.

-Brienne asks Pod about how he came to be Tyrion's squire. Pod had squired for a man who, in a drunken stupor, had "borrowed" a ham and fallen asleep with the bone in his hand. He was hanged, and Pod was going to be too, but Tywin pardoned him and sent him to be Tyrion's squire, hoping to punish them both.

-Brienne notes that all of Pod's previous masters have been kind to him except her, but he tells her he's proud to be her squire. This moves Brienne, and she apologizes for snapping at him and agrees to begin training him as a knight.

-Feeling very into the story time theme of the evening, Pod asks how Brienne came to be in Renly's Kinsguard.

-When she was younger, Brienne's father had gone all Cinderella and thrown a ball to help her find a suitor, much to her dismay. She had been enjoying the evening because the boys had treated her nicely, but she later realized it had all been a joke, and they began calling her Brienne the Beauty, because they found her to be anything but. When she tried to run off, Renly held her and told her that the boys weren't worth crying over, and he danced with her.

-Pod tries (and fails) to subtly ask if Renly was gay. Brienne pointed out that Renly danced with her because he was kind, and he saved her from being a joke. She swears to avenge Renly by killing Stannis.

Best quotes:

"Stop being a bystander. Stop running." - Littlefinger

"If you didn't snap at me, I wouldn't learn anything." - Pod

"Yes, Pod, he liked men. I'm not an idiot." - Brienne

"Nothing's more hateful than failing to protect the one you love." - Brienne

The Wall Part 1

-Jon made Olly, the kid who killed Ygritte, his steward.

-Stannis is annoyed that Jon is turning down his offer to become Jon Stark, but he places his Night's Watch vows above his own desires.

-Jon is glad to be compared to Ned, though Stannis does not consider Ned's dedication to honor to be a good thing.

-Jon asks how long Stannis will be there, which pisses Stannis off. Jon points out that the Night's Watch can't afford to feed themselves, Stannis's army, and the Wildlings.

-Stannis says Jon can do what he likes with the Wildlings, and suggests that they should kill them. Stannis also suggests sending Ser Alliser to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea (not a terrible idea, in my opinion).

-Davos assures Jon that Stannis sees something in him.

-Jon mentions out that he can't get involved with politics, but Davos points out that the vows Jon took involved him swearing to be "the shield that guards the realms of men", and that maybe the best way to do that is to actually get involved in the realm. He asserts that as long as the Boltons are in power, the North will suffer.

"You're as stubborn as your father, and as honorable" - Stannis

Braavos Part 2

-Later, the Waif comes in to ask Arya who she (Arya) is. She says she is "no one", but the Waif smacks her. This happens several times until Arya is ready to pull Needle on her.

-Jaqen enters, and mentions that if she is No One, that she shouldn't have Arya Stark's things.

-Arya goes and throws her belongings into the sea, including the coin Jaqen had given her. When it comes time to throw Needle in, however, she hesitates, tears welling in her eyes. She can't bring herself to do it, and hides Needle in some rocks.

-Jaqen pulls Arya away from her sweeping to take her downstairs to see a dead body as the Waif stands by it looking all creepy.

-Jaqen leaves, and the Waif makes Arya help her undress and wash the corpse

Winterfell Part 2

none of the Boltons said anything quote-worthy

-Reek/Theon watches as Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at Winterfell.

-Ramsay looks extremely pleased with the match that has been made between him and Sansa, but none of the other women present do.

-Sansa is shown to a room by a maid who welcomes her home, promising that "The North Remembers".

The Wall Part 2

-Jon has called a meeting. Sam lets Jon know that Maester Aemon is sick.

-Jon makes a guy named Brian (Bryan?) head up the latrine digging crew because he's a ginger.

-He then names Ser Alliser First Ranger because of his experience and bravery.

-He gives Ser Janos command of Greyguard, one of the Night's Watch's many ruined forts, in hopes that he will help rebuild it. Ser Janos refuses, but Jon tells him it was a command. He refuses again, and when Jon asks if he's refusing to obey his order, he tells Jon he can "stick [his] order up [his] bastard ass".

-Jon orders the men to take Ser Janos outside and has Olly bring him his sword. For a moment, it looks like Ser Alliser is going to prevent them from taking Ser Janos, but he steps out of the way.

-Ser Janos's last words are pleas and apologies, and as Jon starts to lift his sword, he begs for mercy and admits that he's always been afraid. Jon lops his head off anyway, earning him an approving nod from Stannis, who was watching.

King's Landing Part 2

-Some weird pseudo-religious ceremony is taking place in a brothel, where seven girls representing the Seven circle around the client, the High Septon, who chooses which "god" he wants to serve that day (apparently this happens often, because apparently he always chooses the Maiden, though he also wants to serve the Stranger today). Lots of boobs and butts to be had.

-The Sparrows come in and start attacking Olyvar as they take the High Septon captive. They parade him naked through the street, whipping him and hissing "sinner" as they go.

-The High Septon meets with the Small Council about his assault. Mace Tyrell is gobsmacked to hear that the High Septon was at a brothel.The High Septon tries to pass it off as him helping the prostitutes find faith.

-The High Septon implores that they take the Sparrows prisoner and execute the High Sparrow.

-Cersei goes to see the High Sparrow, who is hanging out in Flea Bottom serving food to the poor.

-He deduces that Cersei has come to arrest him. She informs him that the High Septon wants him dead, but she admits that she feels, like he does, that the High Septon wasn't behaving appropriately, and she has thrown him in the dungeons because that kind of behavior takes away from the faith. She asserts that monarchy and religion are codependent and must protect one another.

-Cersei has Qyburn send a message to Littlefinger that is apparently very urgent. Qyburn's experiment moves on its own.

Winterfell Part 3

-Reek/Theon sees Sansa heading his way and hides his face so she won't see him.

-Ramsay tells Littlefinger that Sansa is hot (as if Littlefinger didn't already think that himself), and swears that he won't hurt her, because obviously if you can trust anyone to not be a sadistic maniac, it's Ramsay Bolton.

-Littlefinger, the Gretchen Weiners of Westeros, wants to know more about Ramsay, who is pretty much the only member of nobility on the planet he doesn't have a dossier of info on.

-Littlefinger assures Roose that Sansa is a virgin, and offers to let him check himself (eww), but Roose gives zero craps about her vagina and all the craps about the fact that she's a Stark.

-Roose worries about what the Lannisters will do when they learn about the Stark-Bolton union. He gives Littlefinger Cersei's mysterious note, which he has already read because privacy is a right afforded no one in Roose Bolton's Winterfell.

-Roose questions why Littlefinger would gamble his Lannister-give position as one of the Great Lords of Westeros. Littlefinger points out that Roose gambled when he killed Robb, and that worked out pretty well for him.

Best quote: "Every ambitious move is a gamble" - Littlefinger

In Volantis

-Tyrion is going completely stir crazy in the carriage. He goes against Varys's wishes and gets out, pretending he's just another drunk dwarf.

-Varys comes with, and they note how different slaves have different tattoos to denote who they are.

-They stumble across a Red Priestess preaching to a group about Daenerys; Varys thinks they should move along, but Tyrion is intrigued. The Red Priestess and Tyrion make eye contact, and she looks like she wants to kill him.

-They go to a brothel that features a Dany impersonator prostitute, much to Jorah's chagrin (he's lurking in the brothel, being all sad and friendzoned). More boobs and butts (mostly butts).

-Tyrion talks to a prostitute (and mentions that he used to have money, and always pays his debts -- because that's a good idea) who is jealous of the Dany prostitute. Tyrion likes her because she's sarcastic. She offers to let him have sex with her, but he can't bring himself to do it, so he runs outside.

-Jorah comes up behind him and takes him captive, planning to take him to Daenerys as proof of his love and loyalty.

My Thoughts

- The creepy stuff is totally about to start going down at the House of Black and White. I'm sure that the next time an episode has scenes in Braavos, I'll spend half the time cringing.

-This episode was one of those very rare episodes that make me feel sorry for Cersei. While Margaery is obviously crazy devious, I do often admire her wit and her audacity, but she just seemed mean this episode. I mean, yeah, Cersei deserves a taste of her own medicine, but there are ways to do that without a constant stream of humiliation. Maybe. I don't know. I just felt bad for her.

-The guilt Theon feels was very apparent this episode. I think it's a testament to Alfie Allen's acting that the most subtle faces can speak such volumes.

-I wondered how they were going to handle Ramsay's wedding. In the book, Sansa's friend Jeyne Poole, who was not written into the show, is forced to pretend to be Arya. Since she hadn't appeared on the show, I figured they would change it, but I did feel like it was kind of a shame, since the whole false identity thing was (to me) a big part of that plot point. My best friend and I were talking the other day, and she mentioned that she heard Sansa was going to die. When she said that, it suddenly occurred to me that when Littlefinger had mentioned a proposal, that he meant for Sansa, not himself, and I thought they were going ahead with the Harry the Heir storyline. Never did it cross my mind that they would marry her off to Ramsay. That said, I do think it will add a unique spin on the situation, especially if she's got revenge on her mind.

-Poor Pod. He just needs a hug.

-It was very heartwarming to see Brienne open up to Pod, and to acknowledge that he felt proud to serve her.

-Davos makes a good point about the Night's Watch vows.

-I wonder how many of the "Bolton" men and staff are secretly loyal to the Starks. A middle of the night uprising could be fun!

-It's nice to see that ginger-hating knows no boundaries.

-I find the High Sparrow amusing.

-WHAT IS IN CERSEI'S LETTER?!? Inquiring minds want to know (if it appeared in the books, I don't remember it).

-Seriously, poor Theon. I wonder how he's going to handle it once he and Sansa actually interact, because since she's really Sansa and not a fake Stark like in the book, I imagine the interactions might go a little differently. Will she take pity on the boy she once knew, or will she find his station befitting someone who betrayed her family? Something tells me it might be the latter...

-I am EXTREMELY glad that I live in a society where strange men don't have free reign to inspect my lady bits.

-Tyrion needs to learn how to keep his mouth shut. He got himself into this predicament.

-Jorah, I empathize with your plight, having spent all of adolescence and a portion of adulthood as Queen of the Friendzone, but dude, you have to drop it.

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