A heavy sense of transformation came to fruition during last
After seeing Daenerys struggle to control to keep the freefolk of Meereen under control, she is actually absent from tonight’s episode, but just because her physical presence doesn’t appear does not mean that her swelling narrative takes a breather…
The Title: ‘High Sparrow’
What Does It Mean?
As opposed to a phrase or a particular location like in the previous hours, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ third consecutive script gathers its name from a new player in the ever-evolving character dynamic; one in which audiences can expect to see prolonged things from throughout Season 5.
The High Septon of King’s Landing is enjoying a rather theatrical afternoon with the local prostitutes; “Game of Whores” as he so delicately puts. Before he is able to bed several women, the room is stormed by Lancel Lannister and his fellow sparrows who subject him to an extremely embarrassing climax. Onlookers relish in the humility as the High Septon is marched through the cobbled streets in his birthday suit as punishment for his unsavoury sins.
Once the red cheeks fade and the aggression kicks in, the High Septor takes to the Queen Mother Cersei and her small council (Lord Tyrell, Maester Pycelle and Qyburn) in which he demands the sparrows be arrested for their crimes and for the leader to be executed. Despite cold words from Ser Meryn, Cersei decides to locate the group and gather answers.
As she elegantly evades streams of unwashed and sickly residents, she comes before the leader himself – the High Sparrow – a quaint, elderly gentleman draped in rags who is offering services to those suffering by supplying them nourishment. Clearly one of the few living in squalor with an education, the High Sparrow is wisely cautious of her visit and suspects he is under arrest for crimes against the crown, but Cersei reveals she has faith in him and indeed his cause; yet another sign which points to the altering demographic of power throughout these fateful lands. She proclaims that the High Septon has been thrown in the Red Keep’s dungeon and Tommen’s mother bids the old man farewell.
Most Shocking Moment:
Much like The House of Black and White, this third episode is peppered with scenes that quietly mount to a roaring crescendo, but the biggest shock showcased here beautifully closes High Sparrow.
Tyrion and Varys are journeying on their long haul to Meereen and are currently upon the Volantis road. ‘The Imp’ feels he is slowly losing his mind inside their slight carriage and needs to get some fresh air and stretch despite warnings from ‘The Spider’. The duo enter the old Volantis city which is alive with culture, energy and of course debauchery. Their evade through an overcrowded market and bypass a bizarre religious ceremony celebrating the Lord of Light in which a Red Priestess preaches to the masses that Dany – the Mother of Dragons – is the saviour of the world.
As always, it isn’t long before Tyrion wants a cup firmly placed within his mitts so they head to a thriving watering hole where a plethora of sexual mischief is allowed to run riot. We see an extremely popular young woman wooing the rowdy residents who is dressed like the Targaryen Queen herself, but more importantly, a particular drinker is paying attention and he isn’t best pleased. The darkly shadowed figure; dressed with scruffy facial hair and a heavy sense of shame tightly grips his fists as his eyes swallow the antics caused by Whore Khaleesi, and his focus becomes all-the-more pinpointed when he spots Tyrion conversing with another young woman.
After being unable to go through with a sexual ordeal – something he frequently relished in back in King’s Landing – Tyrion heads out onto the balcony for some reflection but he is quickly bound and gagged by the chiseled figure who happens to be none other than Ser Jorah Mormont. With a heavy bounty on his head from Cersei (who has been collecting dwarf heads throughout this season), there is only one place her brother is going to be delivered…
As characters continue to develop and become even more complex with each passing hour, those working up a watertight scheme are becoming more apparent so selecting just one from High Sparrow is seemingly impossible. Tonight audiences get two fantastic examples of just what plans are being cooked.
Firstly in Moat Cailin, the Boltons are preparing for an uphill battle in their efforts to overthrow Winterfell. Now a named member, Ramsay is informed that the only way intimate security in the North is certain is if he marries into the Stark unit; thus relaying the previous bond broken after the passing of Tywin Lannister.
One flagship member of Westeros is famed for going where the loot is and he makes no twisted exception in this case. The journey ‘Littlefinger’ and Lady Sansa have been taking is not a route to her sworn safety, rather his personal gain. As they reach the murky brow of the Neck, he reveals that she will marry Ramsay and together they will cement the future of her house name. The biggest problem is that his father – Roose – is pretty much responsible for the cold-blooded murder of 50% of her family. The Stark name and residency might remain intact, but the likelihood of Sansa herself prevailing looks ever-slight.
Far away from Winterfell, plans are busy hatching in the Capital and they all point to pushing the biggest fish from the pond. Queen Margaery is extremely keen for Cersei to marry her brother Loras which will force her to depart to Casterly Rock, but knowing this is very much an inside job, she must make the decision for Cersei; not the other way around.
The Queen Mother attempts to make amends with her daughter-in-law by visiting her politely on the terrace. She offers pleasantries to the Tyrell beauty and even offers up her own services as well as those founded by the infamous Lannister name. With sweet smiles and doughy eyes, Margaery begins to delicately dismantle the clearly ruptured daughter of Tywin by making an example of her in front of sniggering acquaintances. Whilst no fireworks actually go off, the new Queen is discreetly striking the match right under Cersei’s nose.
Best Overall Moment:
After her arrival in Braavos, Arya found what she desperately sought upon gaining entry to the House of Black and White in which she was reunited with trainer Jaqen H’ghar. Now hard at work as a servant girl inside the water-floating mansion, Arya is getting ever-closer to becoming a Faceless man and one of the protégé Many-Faced Gods.
Her fiery attitude and drive to take the lives of those who have so bitterly wronged the Starks of Winterfell sees Arya prevail through this unwanted labour but soon she demands for action and development. After returning to her chambers, the young Stark is quickly confronted by a fellow resident who begins assaulting Arya after asking her who she is. Quickly tension rises and she snaps; prepped and ready for a fight, but Jaqen defuses the scenario and proclaims that her armour and ‘Needle’ look very much like Arya Stark’s possessions; not a Girl Who Would Be No One.
In a quietly devastating moment, we watch as she truly bids farewell to her life, childhood and identity as she dumps her leathers and coins into the swelling waters of Braavos. Departing with ‘Needle’ is truly the most testing thing; something which she physically cannot bring herself to throw away so she coyly hides her beloved blade amongst some sea rocks. Viewers can almost guarantee that she’ll be returning to collect the sword at a truly pivotal moment as the season continues.
After an outstanding second episode, it seems incredible that High Sparrow managed to better it. Here we see the building blocks truly start to shift into place and further pave routes for those caught inside this treacherous land. You can be sure to see Dany next week, but now with potentially Tyrion and Varys out of the frame, who knows what lies in store for the would-be Queen…