Game of Thrones Recap: Season 5, Episode 3 — “High Sparrow”
After two weeks of honestly boring episodes to kick off Game of ThronesSeason 5, we think things are back on track with Season 5, Episode 3 ("High Sparrow") — though this episode also bring a major departure from the books that we know some fans will hate. This was a busy episode with a lot of twists, so let's just jump into it!
The House of Black and White: A Girl Must Serve
Arya's (Maisie Williams) now fully moved into the House of Black and White and, surprise, surprise, her job is not as fun as she thought it would be. So far, she mostly seems stuck sweeping the floor while Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) kills random sick people. Arya, having grown up in a pre-movie era and therefore having never experienced a training movie like The Karate Kid is both surprised and impatient, and thinks she should get to do the cool stuff right now.
Jaqen eventually explains to her that "all men must serve, Faceless Men most of all," and he calls Arya out for wanting to serve herself , not the Many Faced God the Faceless Men serve, who is also death.
Later, the theme of Arya being too caught up in her own identity is revisited, with Jaqen pointing out that Arya still clings to all her own belongings. Arya gets the message, and reluctantly ditches her stuff into the ocean... except Needle. Her sword she hides, instead, completely missing the point of this exercise.
Still, her show of good(ish) faith is rewarded, and Arya ends the episode descending into the depths of the House of Black and white, where she gets to... help clean dead bodies. OK, it's still not assasination training, but it's a step up from sweeping floors, right?
Kings Landing: A Deal With the Holy Man
Over in King's Landing, Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman) finally tie the knot, and the people seem pretty psyched about having Marg as queen, probably because she's like the one noble person in the history of Westeros to the have heard of the concept of community service. Their marriage is quick and uneventful, for literally the only time in this show's history.
Later, they totally bang. This is disturbing to book readers because in the books, Tommen is a child. And even on the show he is at most a young teen, and there's even a joke about how it was all over so fast. Um, no thanks. It's all working out for Margaery, though, who totally has her new man wrapped around her finger — something Cersei realizes and does not approve of, especially when it becomes clear that Margaery is trying to influence Tommen against his mother.
An opportunity falls into Cersei's lap after the current High Septon is caught engaging in some very sacrilegious sex games by the Sparrows. This stringent religious order doesn't care that this is the nominal head of their faith; he is a sinner, so they parade him through the streets, naked, while beating him. These guys don't play.
The High Septon turns to the council for justice, but things don't work out in his favor. Cersei has him locked up, and instead seeks out the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), the man in charge of the Sparrows, who turns out to be just as unadorned as the rest of his people, and is busy giving out soup to the needy. Cersei wants this guy on her side, and while on paper it seems like a good move, we're not convinced she knows what she really got herself into. Sure, the High Sparrow seems sincere in his faith, but he's also a force to be reckoned with, and we have a feeling Cersei isn't exactly blameless in the eyes of the Seven herself. Just sayin'...
Winterfell: Well, That's Not How the Book Did It
Oh, you thought the show had changed things from the book before? That's nothing compared to what they've done with Sansa's (Sophie Turner) plot. See, it turns out Littlefinger's (Aidan Gillen) marriage proposal that was mentioned last week was not for himself, but for Sansa. She's to wed Winterfell's resident sadist, Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) — a plot that has nothing to do with her in the books. But hey, variety is the spice of life, right?
Before Sansa she shows up at Winterfell, we're treated to a delightful scene of Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) trying to teach Ramsay that there's more to ruling than killing people. Like Tywin, Roose is someone we have to grudgingly respect, even if we hate him. The man may have no moral compass, but at least he has more than his fair share of common sense, unlike his sociopathic son or, if we're being honest, most of the cast. We also learn an important detail: Roose's pact was with Tywin, and now that Tywin is dead, he doesn't seem to trust the Lannisters. That's where the Sansa marriage comes in. He wants Ramsay to marry Sansa, therefore bringing a Stark into the equation, which would, theoretically, solidify the Bolton hold in the north.
Now, Littlefinger and Sansa have other ideas, as we learn when Littlefinger shares his plans with his protege. Sansa is super not digging the idea of marrying a Bolton, but Littlefinger convinces her this is the best path to revenge. It's time for her to take control of her own life! That's awesome. Less awesome is the part where he gets all creepy-touchey and kisses her forehead.
Sansa doesn't seem to be all that thrilled to be home when she arrives at Winterfell, but she manages to be polite. You know who else manages to be polite? Ramsay, for once. Less happy is Ramsay's sadistic girlfriend, who we have a feeling could cause trouble down the line.
Ramsay keeps up the "I'm totally normal, not a sociopath at all" act when chatting with Littlefinger about his bride to be. "I'll never hurt her, you have my word," he says. This plot does not exist in the books, but we still feel 100% confident that is not true.
Roose jumps into the convo to steal Littlefinger away. See, Westeros' most notorious plotter has been summoned back to Winterfell by Cersei, and Roose is smart enough to be suspicious of his motives. Littlefinger seems to convince him he does genuinely want to team up against the Lannisters, but it's clear Roose is still wary, as he should be. We told you this guy is smart.
Meanwhile, Pod (Daniel Portman) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) are still following Sansa, but they have to take the long way around Moat Cailin. We're treated to a cute scene where Brienne opens up to Pod about why Renly meant so much to her — short version: he was nice to her once, and her life was so sad that was a huge deal — and reminds us all she still totally wants to kill Stannis in revenge for his shadow killing her kind. So, expect that to pay off way down the line. Maybe.
At the Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) formally turns down Stannis' (Stephen Dillane) offer to make him a Stark, because honor, Night's Watch vows, blah blah. Stannis calls him as stubborn and honorable as his father, and adds that's not a compliment, because honor got Ned killed. Accurate, Stannis. Very accurate. Still, he accepts Jon's decision, but gets a little snipy when Jon implies he wants Stannis and his men out. But then Stannis admits he's marching on Winterfell within the fortnight, anyways, and he's leaving the Wildlings' fate to Jon. Your problem now, bro.
Stannis also gives Jon some last advice: he should send Alliser Thorne elsewhere. "I heard it was best to keep your enemies close," Jon replies. "Whoever said that didn't have many enemies." We love you, Stannis. Davos sticks around to tell Jon that Stannis likes him, secretly. He also tries to suggest maybe the best way to protect the realm is not to hang at the Wall, but to fight. "Just one man's opinion." Maybe that food for thought will pay off down the line, too, who knows.
Finally, we get to see Jon in action in his new job as Lord Commander. He starts his meeting charming and funny, assigning someone to latrine digging duty in a way that makes everyone, even that guy, laugh. Then he declares Alliser First Ranger — going against Stannis' advice and proving that he can be noble even to his enemies. In the other hand, he decides to put Janos Slynt in control of Greyguard, an abandoned castle Janos has no interest in restoring.
When Janos refuses, Jon proves exactly how tough he can be: "You mistake me... that was a command, not an offer." When Janos still refuses Jon freaking kills him. Straight up cuts off his head. God. Damn.
On the Road to Volantis: But Which Queen?
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is still bored, so he forces Varys (Conleth Hill) to let him out, which goes about as well as you'd expect. They hang out in Volentis, watch a priestess for the Red God, who calls Dany the savior, interestingly, and then head to a whorehouse, where Tyrion realizes he's not actually up for sex. While there, he's spotted by none other than our old friend Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), who, um, kidnaps him. Yep. Jorah is taking Tyrion to "the queen." But here's the question: Does he mean Cersei, for the money, or Dany, the woman he considers queen? Tune in next week!
Stray Thoughts and Observations:
Maester Aemon is not feeling well. We hope he's OK, but we're gonna guess he's not.
There is literally a flayed person at Winterfell, and it is horrific. Good job, makeup department.
"You're not marrying Roose Bolton. You'll be marrying his son and heir, Ramsay." Littlefinger presents this like it's a good thing, but Sansa, honey, no. Roose may have stabbed your brother to death, but he'd still make a better husband than his son.
Olly is Jon's steward now. Because it's totally normal to take the kid who killed your one true love under your wing.
Qyburn is still cooking up some sort of FrankenMountain, or so it would seem.
Greyscale is brought up again. Interesting.
Tyrion line of the week: "It's even better luck to suck a dwarf's cock."
"Welcome home, Lady Stark. The North Remembers." That it does.
Theon spots Sansa at Winterfell, but turns his head. We can't wait to see if they interact.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments below!
Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!