Game of Thrones 5.3 – High Sparrow

Previously! Can I just say that from a writing/story-telling perspective, this season just might be the tightest? The flawless transitions from character to country and back again, moving all around the globe to tell a cohesive, forward-moving narrative is outstanding. And again, I’m not a book reader, this ain’t the place for book talk, so from an “I only know what I see onscreen each week” perspective, I’m seriously loving season five. (Reminder I’m Unsullied, please please leave book talk to other websites please and thank you and forehead kisses.)

Arya sweeping House of Black and White

Our little Cinder earning her keep.

And my hat’s off to the set designers, both physical and CGI because damn. We lead off with a beautiful opening shot of a dank room lined with statues of the old kings? The old sigils? Was that a lion’s head? A drowned man, oh, I recognize the weirwood god… And a fire burns within a stone heart. (Same. That would be my House’s sigil. Ha, I’m kidding, it would be a hand grasping for a mostly empty wine bottle, obv.)


Arya’s here, cleaning inside this chamber, watching as A Man offers a drink to a poor wayfaring man of grief. Arya’s a bit sick of waxing Mr. Miyagi’s cars, though. She came to learn karate, okay? She’s going to destroy her enemies’ Dojo, and it would be nice if A Man would show her some of his sweet ninja moves, ahem.

Well, A Girl must learn how to serve others instead of her own needs. And A Man says there is only one god, and she knows His name. (Uh, care to share? …is it Death?) She finds the poor wayfaring man laying on his back, dead? In a coma? We don’t know. But I know this: don’t drink from the well inside the House of Black and White if you have shit to do that day, because that stuff will lay you out.

In King’s Landing, the wedding between Tommen and Margaery is under way, and the people LOVE her. Cersei, naturally, is pissed. The two kiss, no one dies, and please note that Margaery’s dress is not adorned in thorns this time. And in the bedchamber, it seems that finally one of her husbands is able to follow through. Pardon me while I vomit at the thought of banging a 12 year old boy.

Tommen: Gosh! I say! My word! It all happened so fast!
Margaery: …yes. [sigh]
Tommen: So how soon can we do this again? Because I’d like to do this all the time! That was splendid, heavens!
Margaery: Well, how about we snuggle for a spell, allowing me to get all sorts of dirt, er, info about you?
Tommen: Ha, how crazy that my brother died and I ended up here with you, me a mere lad still wet behind the ears?
Margaery: Mm, insane, yes. Ha. Quite! Say, does your mother fancy living anywhere other than here?
Tommen: I think she might. And I’m a man now, so I can tell her where to go, can’t I?
Margaery: Gosh, you are a man, aren’t you? So… brave and powerful. [shoves Ser Pounce away and shushses her husband when he whines for his Kittums] And such a good mummy you have, darling husband who isn’t too young to be away from her, not at all! Of course you realize that she’ll always see you as her ickle baby bunny, won’t she?
Tommen: Excellent point, my beautiful bride, hee, bride! Er …how can I get my dingle sucked with Mum helicoptering?
Margaery: [smiles] You can’t.
Tommen: Well… rats. [ponders] OH.

CUT TO: Tommen and Cersei chatting, where Tommen hints that maybe Mummy needs to get back to Casterly Rock. Cersei barges in on Margaery catting it up with her ladies in waiting.

Margaery Tyrell Cersei Lannister

Margaery: Oh my gosh, girls, doesn’t the Dowager Queen—or is it just Queen Grandmother?—look amazing for her age? I hope I look so well pickled at seventy-three.
Cersei: Margaery, did your ladies in waiting help sweep out the Lady Box dust bunnies before your wedding night? You must be so happy to finally have a husband get it up for you!
Margaery: …you do get one of them was your son who was poisoned at his own wedding, right? Oh, so sorry we don’t have any wine for you, GeeMom-Mom but we don’t usually drink at 9am.
Cersei: Good lord, you don’t brunch in Bitch Island or wherever you’re from?
Margaery: I’d sit down to chat more, but… Tommen is both a lion and a stag, ha! [limps away]

Cersei spits enamel dust into the face of the Kingsguard as she stalks off.

Cersei Lannister confronts Margaery

If you look closely you can see the blood dripping from Cersei’s hands.

BOLTON SIGHTING! We hit Moat Cailin Winterfell* where Reek—oh, poor fucking Reek—staggers along, confronted with two newly flayed men hanged, and a spare waiting underneath. Well, what’s a Bolton hold without some old, familiar decorations, eh? Roose and Ramsay chat over food about how those bodies were Lord Cerwyn, his wife and son. And the new Lord will probably pay his taxes with less lip.

[Hannibal-look into the distance] So would the old Lord. [noms on lip satay]

*Note: I didn’t pick up that we’d moved on to Winterfell, given the dankness of the courtyard and the opening shots of the Moat, so thanks to Eagle Eyed viewers/book readers who clued A Girl in!

Roose wants his son to marry up. SANSA!!!!! Baelish, you dirty mother fucker. When he said a marriage proposal was agreed to, we all thought it was for him! He was securing SANSA’S marriage to RAMSAY BOLTON, oh my dear sweet little eight pound baby Jesus, fly up and smite these wicked sinners, oh my GOD. She’s figured it out as they stand on a hill looking down at the swampy shithole that is to be her new home, I guess, disgust and anger written all over her face. ME TOO.

Baelish says he won’t force her to marry–

Ron Burgundy calling out lies

–but says, “isn’t it better than running and being a bystander?” Maybe infiltrate? Is that his game?

“There’s no justice in the world. Not unless we make it.” Yeah, but you don’t get to make it for other people, and holy crap, if I didn’t hate (love to hate, don’t misunderstand!) Baelish before this, I sure do now. BAELISH YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALMOST ALL OF HER HARDSHIP AND PAIN.

Sansa and Petyr Baelish at Moat Cailin

Sansa you don’t have QUITE enough disgust and disbelief in your expression.

Sansa, you in danger, gorl.

I think we all know that Ramsay isn’t someone to be trifled with; she’s not going to be able to easily get the upper hand here, even with her new dark makeover. Ramsay’s not Joffrey. But fortunately we see Brienne and Pod watching over all of this, and that makes me feel a bit better. Brienne is my patronus, you guys. I love her.

Pod, meanwhile, explains how he is still a squire at the ripe age of forty-three (or however old is too old): he used to squire for a dude who drunkenly stole a ham, was hanged the next day and just as Pod was next on the block, the Lannisters saved him from the noose after learning he was a Payne (in the neck, am I right?! High five! [slinks off in shame]). And in a moment that put a lump in my throat, he tells her that he doesn’t think she’s a nasty, awful person. In fact, he thinks she’s the best fighter he’s ever seen and he’s proud to squire for her and I have a tree or branch or something in my eye GO ON WITHOUT ME AND LEAVE ME HERE TO CRY OKAY.

I mean, guys. GUYS. He loves that she snaps at him because it makes him better. [pounds chest with my fist] She promises to start training him to be a knight the next day. If you’re not Team Brienne and Pod, you’re living life in an incorrect manner. (And bonus points to Pod for using a flint and steel to start a lovely fire.) We also get:

The Tale of  Brienne Joining the Kingsguard

Once upon a time, Brienne of Tarth’s father decided to hold a ball for his darling girl for all the eligible men of the Seven Kingdoms to bear witness to her beauty and cunning and loveliness for he was the best sort of doting father, if a bit blind to his daughter’s outward appearance. The boys all arrived, vied for her attention, fought one another for her dance card and called her “Brienne the beauty,” even going so far as to challenge one another to duel for the opportunity to hand her a cup of punch.

But as the clock struck midnight, the spell broke, leaving her to see them all laughing at her, mocking her height, her boorishness, her clumsy lack of lady wiles, and she was devastated. Before she could run off to cry herself sick about being the ugliest girl alive, a handsome boy stood before her, smiling gently, knuckling away her tears.

Softly he told her, “Those boys are the ugliest shits in the land.” As she giggled through her sobs, he told her the greatest truth known to man:

Brienne of Tarth speaking of Renly

And from that day until his last day, she was devoted to the kind boy who saved her. Even though he could not love her, she loved him. But in the end, she could not save him, and it is the darkest corner of her heart to have watched a man she loved murdered by the shadow of his own brother. Make no mistake, the oafish girl of before has become the greatest fighter in all of Westeros in order to avenge that beautiful boy.

Speaking of brother shadows, Stannis goes to visit Lord Commander Jon Snow (all my squealing, omg). Stannis wants to know about that whole “becoming a Stark” offer, but Jon refuses due to that whole Night’s Watch thing. He’s a man of honor. Yeah, Stannis reminds Jon that honor got his Pop killed, so don’t get too excited about it. But okay, Stannis will take his army south to Winterfell where they will CRUSH RAMSAY BOLTON AND EAT HIS FLESH BEFORE HIS FATHER WHO WILL THEN BE STRIPPED OF HIS ahem, or rather, Stannis will leave the fate of the Wildlings and Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër (aka Tormund) to Jon. Also, last bit of free advice from Stannis (who seriously, guys? I get it. He’s dry as hell, but he’s good at his job): send Lord Butt Hurt to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

Jon: I thought you were supposed to keep your enemies close?
Stannis: Sounds like something a person without enemies would say.
Davos: [snerk] Also, Jon, you’ve got that certain something in you, and we all like it. But… remember, you vowed to be the shield that guards the realms of men. And the Boltons are destroying the realms of men up here in the North.

Arya gets into it with one of the scullery maids (I think they’re all scullery maids until they become No One) when A Man comes in, reminding them all that A Girl isn’t ready. Oh, but she is! No, A Girl is surrounded by Arya Stark’s things. And then we see A Girl wrapping up Arya Stark’s clothes, coins and sword, tossing them into the bay of Braavos. Well, all but the sword. You weep, and your tears are the orphans of Ned Stark and the swords of bastard brothers. Arya instead buries Needle into a stone wall. I have a feeling A Man will know this, but guys? Jon gave her that sword. It would be a shame to toss it into the sea. A SHAME.

Arya Stark throwing away her things

My hat’s off to Maisie for this painful moment. <3

Back in the hall of statues, she continues her sweeping, our little Cinderella, when A Man leads her down deeper into the House of Black and White where our scullery maid stands watch over the man from the beginning. They undress him, bathe him, and don’t speak.

NO. No this is NOT going to happen to my precious lost broken Sansa no no NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

NO. No this is NOT going to happen to my precious lost broken Sansa no no NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Sansa enters Winterfell; Reek shakes, watching his adopted sister come before the Boltons, knowing the danger before her. As Ramsay kisses Sansa’s hand, the camera pans to all those evil chicks who helped sick dogs on people and SANSA. YOU IN DANGER, GORL. How the hell is this person jumping from pan to fire to bigger fire to freaking inferno?!

As an elderly lady leads Sansa to her chambers, she says to Sansa in a thready yet strong voice, “Welcome home, Lady Stark. The North remembers.” Maybe Sansa isn’t so friendless after all? (Yes she is!! GAH, I LOVE YOU SANSA, OH MY GOD BE SAFE.)

At the Wall, Jon addresses the crowd. While they expect him to humiliate Lord Butt Hurt, he doesn’t, and in fact, names Alliser First Ranger, much to Cap’n Yeah Boss’s happiness. Speaking of Cap’n Yeah Boss, he gets sent off to a ruined Greyguard Fort to, you know, fix it up. Ha! Very smart to separate the bullies and diminish their power, Lord Jon! Cap’n Yeah Boss ain’t going meekly, though, so it’s a challenge to the death, it seems. Oh, not Jon’s death, of course. Olly, Jon’s new steward as Jon was for Lord Mormont, is commanded to bring Jon his Valyrian steel bastard sword with the white wolf handle.

Jon Snow as Lord Commander

Interesting to note: Lord Butt Hurt stands aside, as is usually the way when bullies lose power. Cap’n Yeah Boss is dragged out to the yard and forced to kneel. (Side note, I freaking love the Wall’s set. Such beautiful work.) Stannis watches as Jon takes his sword to this dipshit’s neck, calling back the very first episode. Scarcely have his knees hit the deck when Cap’n Yeah Boss moistens his trousers, begging for release, promising everything under the sun and more, please.

Well, Jon Snow’s there to lead brave men, and he doesn’t see any kneeling before him, so… BEHEADING’D! [If you don’t think I said to myself, “I want my father back, you son of a bitch!” then you don’t know me and I’m now sad.]

Stannis: Mmm, I love a good beheading in the morning. Well done.
Jon: D-daddy? I mean [coughs] I did that on my own, not seeking approval, ahem.

Apparently it’s “shame the mentor” hour as we cut to King’s Landing where some High Septon has a bunch of whores dressed up as the Seven Gods for a bit of pinch and tickle, when Lancel Lannister shows up, mad that religion isn’t being properly respected. The High Septon is dragged outside in all his nakedness, whipped and mocked before his followers. But then we see him before Cersei and the Small Council, claiming an assault on him is an assault on Religion. (Yeah, I grew up Fundamentalist, buddy. I’ve heard this cock and bull story before. You can’t say God wanted you to bang hookers, yo. Well, not your god, although that’s a church I could get behind.) Even though he’s creepy, Qyburn calls bullshit on him.

Qyburn: So… this all started in a whorehouse, right?
High Septum: I don’t see what–
Cersei: …it’s more likely than you think. [blows bubbles of laughter into her wine glass]
Qyburn: I didn’t realize services were happening at cunt o’clock?
Cersei: [laughs into her wine glass, turns it into a cough]
Maester Cat Piss: Now, let’s not mock old men trying to get a cock stand, shall we?
High Septum: I think you should murder the High Sparrow!
Cersei: Well, I’m free this afternoon, should be fun!

CUT TO: Cersei staggering with a half-full wine glass into the slums, seeking the High Sparrow amongst the throngs of ill, coughing poor. Please note that she keeps her hands safely tucked away, haha. She finds him, an older man who laughs at the thought of being a leader. He tells people things that they should think on and they elevate him to a position of leadership. Funny, that. Mm, Cersei isn’t so sure it’s as hilarious as he believes. In fact, she takes this all quite seriously, because Cersei was a born ruler, and you need to always remember that.

She’s put the High Septum in the prisons below and wants to protect and elevate the High Sparrow, in fact because Cersei knows a thing or two about making people follow who she wants to have followed, even if she’s occasionally blinded by her own family’s hubris.

She then visits Qyburn, squashing his medical experiments in his fists, because let’s also not forget who he is. (That was the Mountain on a table, right?) She tells him to send a message to Littlefinger wherever he’s landed. OHO. Also, HOLY SHIT THE BODY ON THE TABLE IS SHIFTING AND QYBURN IS ALL SHHHH BUT MOTHER TRUCKER THAT IS A MASSIVE DUDE YOU HAVE THERE COME ON THAT CANNOT BE WISE. If he jumps up and starts tap dancing to “Putting on the Ritz” I’ll settle down. [random reference to folks of a certain age.]

Ramsay tries to win over Littlefinger, promising he’ll never hurt Sansa. I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU, DUDE. Roose turns him loose in order to speak to Baelish in private. Important facts: Sansa is still a virgin (gross), Baelish has delivered everything as promised (double freaking gross), and he wants to be in bed (figuratively speaking?) with Roose with regards to Cersei, the Lannisters, and overthrowing the present power structure. Baelish, you dirty, scheming, faithless jagoff.

Tyrion and Varys are still traveling to Volantis, much toTyrion’s chagrin. He’s going crazy, so he makes them pull over so he can get out and wander Jawa style. First off, massive props to the FX crew for that gorgeous overhead shot of the bridge to Volantis. We learn quickly the face tattoo ID system for slaves—slaves? Daenerys hasn’t overthrown this place?—and hears that the people love the Dragon Queen. (Side note: mentions of Greyscale, the disease afflicting Newt, and I am very excited to one day read the books and learn more about this creepiness.)

Tyrion and Varys Volantis

Tyrion and Varys whorehouse


They slip away into a brothel and I’m guessing they’re going to run into Jorah. YEP. But first, Tyrion finds the canniest whore in the place as is his normal methodology. …or was. After a chat, he realizes he can’t actually fuck whores anymore. He’s upset and missing Shameless Shae, goes for a piss, and runs into Jorah, who hog ties him with the promise of taking him to the Queen. WELL THAT’S WHERE HE WAS HEADED, SEX VOICE.

First, I was very concerned about Tyrion standing on that ledge peeing, because he could have fallen. Second, I was very concerned Jorah was going to push him over that ledge. Third, JORAH! I am going to hear the throatiest “Khaleesi!” in the history of sex voices soon, and this pleases me greatly.

But seriously, am I missing something about Volantis? Wasn’t that the first place Dany overthrew? It’s been a while, so I clearly need to go back and remember the desert lands she took. Shame on me, I know. And part of me suspects that Tyrion won’t mind being taken captive so much as it’s a way for him to have a little intrigue, finally. You know Varys will hear about this ASAP and fix it. He’s not called the Spider for nothing.

Next week! More with the Sons of the Harpy, the Cobra Kai-Sand Snakes I believe are making an appearance (“Sweep the leg, Johnny!”), and a seriously pissed off Cersei. HELL. YEAH.

And for our little Baratheon Incest Baby, here:



Please tell me you guys are feeling this season. I am LOVING it. I have no idea what is going to happen, and I hope you remember A Girl is No One and Knows Nothing. LET’S TALK!

Next week: DORNE! SAND SNAKES! Make with the clickity for 5.4!