Hello. AsimovLives here and I’m a regular sci-fi contributor to this website. But I also love Game of Thrones! So this is my series of recap articles about the episodes of the season 5 of HBO’s television series Game of Thrones, for your pleasure.
Game of Info:
Series: Game of Thrones
Created by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Based on the fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice by author George R.R. Martin
Episode title: High Sparrow
Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Directed by Mark Mylod
Original Air Date: April 26 2015
Game of Synopsis:
Beware, spoilers ahead
The episode opens with the Dyson sphere globe of the world of Westeros showing the locations of King’s Landing, Moat Cailin, Winterfell, The Wall, Braavos and Meereen (passing for Volantis), where the action takes place.
In the House of Black and White, Arya sweeps floors. She witnesses an old man is given a drink by A Man and dies. Fed up, she angrily confronts A Man, who retorts “Valar Dohaeris”, all men must serve, The Faceless Men more than anybody, but Arya only wants to serve herself. Asked about the all the gods depicted in the hall, A Man replies there is only one god with many faces, implying him to be The Stranger, the god of death. The dead man is silently removed from the room.
Arya has to prove she is ready to be made an apprentice by throwing away all her belongings to the canal, but hides her dagger “Needle”.
It’s King Tommen and Margaery’s wedding day. At night, after a good rumple, Margaery manipulates the besotted young king to distance him from his domineering mother Cercei. Tommen makes a blunt attempt to convince his mother to return to the family’s ancestral home of Casterly Rock. Cercei sees immediately who is behind this and visits Margaery. Margaery throws at Cercei a full barrage of stealth insults and put-downs under the guise of polite conversation, which Cercei is all too aware of.
When The High Septon was visiting the brothel, he is taken away to the streets by the Sparrows, led by Lancel, and beaten and publicly humiliated. Enraged, he goes to Cercei to demand retribution. Instead, Cercei has him arrested. She visits the High Sparrow, the all but in name leader of the Sparrows, at the city’s most squalid quarters. He’s a man who makes a show of humility and earthly abnegation, which Cercei says are the very requisites for him to be appointed as the new High Septon.
Back at the Red Keep, she orders Qyburn to write a letter to Littlefinger to call him back to the capital.
The Boltons are busy rebuilding Winterfell, but their sense of aesthetics doesn’t make it look much better than when it was burned down. The many flayed men around doesn’t cherry the place up much either. Theon, now Reek, serves the Boltons and listen to them as they debate the state of affairs at the North: Terror will not be enough to rule the land; they need to consolidate their station through a strategic marriage.
Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at the sight of Moat Cailin, the gate to the North. Here, Littlefinger lays bare his plan: to marry Sansa into the Bolton family. Sansa is terrorized by the prospect, but Littlefinger convinces her that if she wants to bring justice and revenge her family, she will have to do it herself, for there will be nothing else, no men or gods, to do it for her. After some hesitation, Littlefinger’s words sink in and she accepts the situation and rides north toward Winterfell.
Afar, Brienne and Podrick witness the event and the former guesses Sansa’s destination and head towards there too.
Brienne and Podrick bond over the campfire and a friendship grows, with Brienne promising to train Podrick to be a knight. She tells a tale of how once Renly showed her a kindness nobody else had shown her before. And for Renly and the role he had in her former lord’s death, she vows to kill Stannis.
Sansa arrives at her former family’s house, and manages to appear courteous to the Boltons. Her husband to be, Ramsay, is quite smitten by Sansa’s beauty. Taken to a room, an old maid whispers to Sansa she knows who she is and that “The North Remembers”.
Roose Bolton gives Littlefinger the missive from Cercei, which he opened and read beforehand, demanding to read his answer before being sent to the capital. As he puts it, with Tywin dead, his position in the North is precarious and he needs to know his footing in the present political situation. Littlefinger tries to smooth Roose’s apprehension by reminding him the last time the Eyrie and the North allied, they brought down the greatest dynasty that ever seated on the throne of Westeros.
Jon Snow rejects Stannis’ offer to be the Lord of The North, much to the latter’s displeasure. Jon counters he has to stay steadfast to his vow to the Night’s Guard, his honor all he has to live for. After a disgruntled Stannis leaves, Davos goes for a more subtle approach: asking to have the Night’s Watch vow recited, he does a creative interpretation of one of the stanzas that “To be the shield of Men” is also to protect the North from usurpers very much like Stannis is doing in his campaign. These words seem to make an impact on Jon.
As his first act as Lord Commander, Jon distributes appointments and names Ser Allister to the prestigious position of First Ranger. Janos rudely protests his appointment to a ruined keep far from Castle Black, which he takes as a way to send him far away, which it is. Janos’ insubordination earns him the death penalty, which Jon personally executes as befitting his education as a Stark. Janos tries to call out to Jon’s mercy by saying he has always been afraid all his life, but Jon takes those as Janos’s last words and executes him with a fell swoop of his sword. Stannis nods his approval.
Reaching the end of his tether, Tyrion leaves the carriage he had been travelling with Varys and goes tourist sightseeing on the streets of Volantis. The city is completely dedicated to the business of slavery, where each slave is organized into a specific role. Tyrion watches a priestess of the god R’hllor preaching that Daenerys is the promised champion of the God of Light (in contrast to fellow priestess Melisandre’s claim of Stannis). When he catches the priestess’s attention, Tyrion is spooked and leaves.
True to himself, Tyrion goes to the first brothel he can find. Inside he notices a whore dressed as Daenerys is the top attraction of the place, as many clients want to “fuck the queen of dragons”. One man who is obsessively looking at her but not partaking in the enjoyment is none other than Ser Jorah Mormont, the disgraced former mentor and adviser to Daenerys, now reduced to drown his sorrows on drink. But he notices a familiar visage visiting the establishment.
Tyrion gets emotional by the touch of a whore, this small touch of human contact unexpectedly intense after spending days isolated in the carriage. This experience makes him lose all appetite for what he came for. Preparing to leave, as he takes a leak, Tyrion is captured by Jorah.
Game of Opinion:
Religion is really the major theme this season and this episode made it more than apparent.
Funny how in Volantis the local Lord Of Light priestess is naming somebody else as the promised one, their god’s agent on Earth. Melisandre believes him to be Stannis, but the local priestess names Daenerys instead. Makes me think the religion of R’hllor is not organized, with different interpretations of their faith, like the Protestants when compared to the Faith of The Seven’s fantasy version of Catholicism.
And speaking of the Faith of the Seven, this religion also has its fair share of fanatics. Lancel, the once butt-monkey of the realm, after finding religion he seems to have also found his badassry. That a put upon idiot got caught up in the clutches of a fundamentalist movement and became a dangerous enthusiastic is an all too depressing realistic aspect of this story.
People like the High Sparrow give me the creeps. They’re all seemingly devoted people, so hardworking at charity. They seem so determined to bring betterment to their fellow man. But one has to be reminded that their motivation is not humanistic but a devotion of a “higher” transcendental ideal. Their motivation is actually not their fellow man but to please a deity through their interpretation. The High Sparrow reminds of the actions and mind of a famous saint, Francis of Assisi, the creator of the monastic order of the Franciscans. Many see him as a saintly figure of devotion and charity. Few know he was also a participant of a crusade.
This High Sparrow is up to no good. And there are hints that he is truly eager to have power. If history is anything to go by, all should tremble when power is given to the pious. And Game of Thrones hits all too close to how history plays out.
Game of Predictions:
- One day Sansa will learn of Lord Baelish’s hand in her father’s death and schemes to get him killed.
- Brienne will never get to kill Stannis. Podrick will, in her honor.
Game of Final Thoughts:
How many different ways can I say I love this show? I’m yet to see a weak episode, or even a lesser good one. They are all aces and this one is no exception.
As always, thank you for reading. See you at next week’s episode The Sons of the Harpy.
This is AsimovLives, signing off. Have a better one.