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Game of Thrones



Episode 3 - High Sparrow

30 April 2015

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Jon deals with a rebellious Janos Slynt. Sansa agrees to go to Winterfell to marry Ramsay. Roose Bolton deals suspiciously with Little Finger. Brienne and Pod follow. Margaery marries Tommen as Cersei looks on unhappily. When the Sparrows humiliate the High Septon, Cersei sympathises with their cause. Arya throws away her clothes as she begins to become a person with no name but hides Needle. Tyrion insists that Varys let him out in Volantis and heads to a brothel. He can't bring himself to engage one and is then captured by Ser Jorah Mormont.

The Good: Another really enjoyable episode with solid character development wherever you look.

Jon's slightly surprising decision to behead Janos Slynt suggests he really does understand the responsibilities that go with his new position. He knew that Janos was testing him and would most likely beg forgiveness and buckle under. But by then it was too late. To show him mercy would have undermined his position. As Lord Commander he is now responsible for the safety of Westeros. How can he convince the Nights Watch of the awesome importance of their task if he allows them to refuse orders? He couldn't. He needs them to follow him unblinkingly. Stannis would certainly approve and thanks to Ser Davos there is a chance that Jon will step in and aid the Baratheon cause by striking a deal with the Wildlings.

But lest we think that this new alliance represents the side of good Brienne reminds us that Stannis still has to answer for Renly's murder (amongst other things). I enjoyed hearing about the origins of her love for Renly and the general fleshing out of her decision to become a Knight and wipe the smiles off mocking faces. Pod too begins to become more than comic relief and it seems like Sansa may one day turn to them for help.

Several plots moved very quickly toward new scenarios here (which is exciting). Initially I couldn't imagine Sansa agreeing to go to Winterfell to marry Ramsay (see The Bad). But Little Finger's logic was darkly brilliant. He is asking a huge amount of Sansa but he lets her think that this is somehow an empowering move. She will be at the heart of the Bolton court and in a position to betray them down the line. I could see Baelish wanting revenge himself for the murder of Catelyn as well as causing further chaos and collapse. This should add even more pathos to poor Theon's story as he tries to hide his pathetic appearence from his former sort-of-sister.

Into this intriguing mix of personalities I was reminded of the excellent work that Michael McElhatton is doing as Roose Bolton. I mean I hate Roose Bolton. I do. But at the same time I really like him. McElhatton plays him as utterly sensible and dispassionate and I really appreciated his attitude to Baelish. Unmoved by his sugary words he calmly explains that if they are to enter into an alliance then he will be reading all of Little Finger's letters from now on.

The North seems set for a wonderfully impactful showdown. Events in Volantis had a similar resonance as Ser Jorah found Tyrion in a compromising position. The journey from Pentos to Volantis was skipped over, again speeding up the story in a pleasing way. And the wrinkle that Tyrion feels he can no longer be easily intimate with a prostitute was a nice development from his heartbreaking affair with Shae.

Finally in King's Landing Margaery and Tommen wed, again quicker than I expected, making it clear that the real struggle is between the two women in the King's life. Margaery has learnt nothing from Cersei's reputation and foolishly pokes her. Cersei it would seem sees something in the Sparrows that can help her cause. Does she plan on using religious zealots as a constituency of her own to counter Margaery's popularity with the crowds? I wonder how they feel about incest?

I thought there were two really creative uses of prostitutes in this episode which helped with world building. The High Septon's sex-game with the ladies dressed as each of the Seven Gods was a lovely touch. In our world he would be the Archbishop with some Nuns. Meanwhile over in Volantis the slaves are whispering about Daenerys and hoping she will come save them too. So naturally the local brothel features a Dany-like blonde as a gimmick to collect more coins. Clever stuff.

The House of Black and White was suitably creepy / mysterious. And there was genuine emotion in seeing Arya cry once more for her departed family as she tossed her clothes into the water. She couldn't quite let go of Needle, her last connection to them and part of the skillset she won't want to lose as a faceless person.

The Bad: I think we needed more time with Sansa thinking through her options. If this episode had seen her make camp outside Moat Cailin and debated things with Baelish then I would have bought it more easily. I think she would have needed some kind of promise from him about how he would one day help her get vengeance.

The Unknown: Another mention of Greyscale and its deadly effects (from Tyrion this time). Something's brewing there. Did this Red Priestess really sense something about Varys and Tyrion? Jorah carefully says "The Queen" rather than reveal if it's Dany or Cersei he plans on taking Tyrion to. I assume it's Dany and he hopes this will win him favour with her.

Best Moment: I have to say I'm a big fan of Roose Bolton taking no crap from Baelish and demanding to read his reply to Cersei. That kind of no nonsense behaviour earns my respect. But Arya in tears was the most emotional moment.

Conclusion: I really liked this. The plots are all coming together very nicely and we got some great character moments with multiple people. Should I be worried. It's usually about now that people get butchered.



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  • Forgot to add, that I like the scene with Brienne and Pod where she was telling him how she met Renly. But I couldn't take her seriously when she was describing how ugly she was, which she was not. I suppose she's "tv ugly" standards.

    Posted by Dave, 30/04/2015 10:12am (3 years ago)

  • It might be that Littlefinger wants to get Sansa married to Ramsay and then have Sansa dispense with the Boltons so that he can then marry her and be lod of Winterfell? But if he does want this, he's going to leave Sansa alone there becuse Cersei clled him back to King's Landing and so there's noone to make sure that Ramsay behaves himself...

    Posted by Beric, 29/04/2015 9:05pm (3 years ago)

  • I don't have sky tv but I've read the books twice.
    I can only say it looks up to the standard of the previous seasons judging what I've seen on the YouTube previews.
    I'll have to wait for 12 months for the dvds to come out.

    I wonder if Robin & Roberto will be reviewing 'The Bastard Executioner' a Welsh historic based medieval romp currently being filmed in Wales by the team who brought you 'Sons of Anarchy'. Check it out on Facebook.
    At least the castles are authentic thanks to the Anglo-Normans war lords.
    Some wise crack on Facebook renamed it 'Game of Boyos'.
    Apparently the 2011 film Ironclad was filmed in the same region.

    Finally, check out Robin's 'History of Byzantium', a real life game of thrones with nasty characters and just as blood thirsty as George RR Martin's GOT world.

    Great work and website thanks!

    Posted by Paul Vaccari, 29/04/2015 5:11pm (3 years ago)

  • Is the Faceless God worship a form of Agnostic Theism? One god with many faces; therefore all religions are just many paths to one true god:

    Posted by Fluids, 29/04/2015 4:02pm (3 years ago)

  • Really enjoyable episode. Margery's jabs at Cersie were hilarious, arya's Mr. Miyagi training was interesting but Jon snow's beheading of Janos was a twofer some Stark revenge for Ned from season 1 and some message sending to the Night's Watch.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Dave , 28/04/2015 11:48pm (3 years ago)

  • What if Little Finger is trying to set up Roose Bolton for murdering King Joffrey by having Sansa be married off to Ramsay? Everyone knows the Starks symbolize the North so anyone who is married to her would control the North. Wouldn't that potentially be motive enough to also absolve both Sansa and Tyrion from any wrong doing to Joffrey? Wouldn't that also cause the Lannisters to war against the Boltons?

    Posted by Fluids, 28/04/2015 11:27pm (3 years ago)

  • In the season premiere Brienne listed everything she's not, not a lady, not a knight, not a leader, not Pod's mother, which of course made me question then who is she? And I felt like that was kind of the point, that she really doesn't have anything else right now besides her mission to save Sansa. So I loved her scene with Pod here and enjoyed hearing the story about her past, giving a little more depth to her character, even though it wasn't wildly new information, and bringing back the idea that she also still wants to avenge Renly and why that is so important to her. I also really like how her relationship with Pod is evolving. Training him can only help everyone involved and is again something else they can work towards.

    Sansa's storyline has great potential and I'm curious to see what happens here. I just really hope they don't make her the victim of a psychopath, yet again.

    Posted by Mareike, 28/04/2015 7:01pm (3 years ago)

  • Does anyone else think the Red Priestess in Volantis was Quaithe? I know it's a stretch. She was last seen far far away in Qarth and she liked Ser Jorah. I suppose it's just a coincidence that Ser Jorah was in the brothel. Perhaps he was lured by the Dany clone inside? :)

    Posted by Fluids, 28/04/2015 6:27pm (3 years ago)

  • Sansa and Bolton? Could we be seeing a red wedding style retribution coming up? "The North remembers" is there a pro-Stark rebellion happening underground?

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Karla, 28/04/2015 1:36pm (3 years ago)

  • Good episode but I had a few problems with it that stopped it from getting a higher score. As book reader, I can say the show is diverting from the books more than before, you would think I would be against that, but so far I'm enjoying this season. Maybe because there's a lot of fat in books 4 and 5 that's need to be trimmed and the episodes are going to show the best things that happened in those books.

    Baelish offering Sansa to Ramsay was odd. If Lord Bolton is smart he would smells there's some betrayal that's going to happen, after all, he was the one who killed Catelyn and Rob.

    I'm surprised you approving Janos Slynt's execution, Robin. Last season you were upset that Tyrion killed Shae, even if was in self-defense. Slynt was disobeying orders but does he deserve death in your eyes? He was begging for mercy, not sure how snivelling like a coward only Janos can, would undermine Jon's position. Who on earth wants to follow that man's lead that way he carries on for only just the moments before he was alive but last season's where he hid during the right? Jon could give him mercy once, but if he does it again, then chop away. Is it because Shae is more likeable in comparison to Slynt? Care to explain?

    The end would have more impact if Jorah was kept hidden till the end. When you saw him, you know he's going to Tyrion one way or another.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by Dave, 28/04/2015 11:57am (3 years ago)

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