Series Issues: Game of Thrones 5×3 – High Sparrow

(Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

(Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

Beware because the night is dark and full of spoilers.

We’re starting to pick up speed on Game of Thrones 5×3: High Sparrow, and not in a familiar direction. The announced disparity from the books could result in revealing the destiny of a few characters beyond the books. As I am fond of saying, the better the episode, the less I want to say about it. However, this is a good a time as any as to remind my devote readers that this is by no means an exhaustive recap.

Arya, the soon-to-be Faceless Kid, is inside the House of White and Black and doing more housework that learning about the Many-Faced God. It’s all an apparent test a la Karate Kid. A hard test comes to her when she’s asked to leave her past behind – and her possessions. Arya is to become no one. She can’t depart with Needle, so she hides it inside a hollow rock. I really hope that’s a good hideout.

The High Septon gets caught with his pants down, literally, by the sparrows. They make him march naked, whipping his sorry butt and insulting him. He demands veng- I mean, justice in the name of his holy office to the Small Council. Cersei takes it upon herself to meet this High Sparrow. The fact that it’s played by Jonathan Pryce is no accident, that’s a major player that we just met.

The huge deviation from the books, which kind of left me with my mouth open, is that Littlefinger has negotiating Sansa’s wedding to… (deep breath) … Ramsay Bolton. YES, the sadistic bastard son or Lord Roose Bolton. No relation to Michael Bolton, shocker. Is he going to be good on his promise not to hurt Sansa? Is this wedding actually going to happen? The fact that suddenly we do get a Stark back in Winterfell is huge, but the cost is too damn high.

Back at the Wall, newly elected Lord Commander Jon Snow names Ser Alliser Thorne First Ranger. That might win him some points. Then he tries to send Janos Slynt, aka Chickenshit, to restore one of the distant castle. Janos disrespects him and rejects the order with hatred (and a some whining). Jon clearly states this is an order. Janos insults him in front of everyone. Janos Slynt is carried outside and Jon beheads him with one swift, brutal and amazingly cathartic slash of his sword, Longclaw.

Oh, and Tyrion gets captured. Go watch the damn episode.

Highs:

  • Brienne and Podrick finally open and up and talk to each other. Brienne knows where Littlefinger and Sansa are going. Podrick has learned to light a fire.
  • Stannis gets two in a row. First, he tells Jon Snow that he’s as honorable as his father. That’s not a compliment. “His honor got him killed,” he reminds Jon. The second win is when he tells him to send Ser Allison Thorne away. Jon replies he’s keeping his enemies closer. “Whoever said that,” quips Stannis, “didn’t have too many enemies.”
  • Jon Snow sees value in Ser Allison Thorne. I have to agree. Jon Snow takes off Janos Slynt’s head. Now he’s learning to lead a ragtag band of outcasts.
  • We know that we are getting a lot of disparities from the books, but does anybody else feel they’ll amount to a similar outcome? I can’t help but feel that we’re being led astray just to rejoin the same storyline later on.
  • Margaery Tyrell is finally Queen of Westeros.

Lows:

  • I expected Sansa to remain and learn from Littlefinger for a while longer. Instead, a brutal marriage awaits. In everyone’s presence Ramsay seems taken by Sansa, but he’s quite a manipulator and has too much of a taste for violence.
  • Cersei is losing her influence, and has to quickly gain a foothold on more power. I see desperation in her attempt to gain the favor of the High Sparrow.
  • Tyrion is slowly fading in the background. Of course, the finale might prove this only temporary and new challenges may lie ahead.

That will do for now.

Coming soon:

(Source: HBO)

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