Game of Thrones S05 E03
"High Sparrow" by Nikole Gunn
Game of Thrones loves a ‘good’ wedding. We’ve had the infamous ‘Red Wedding’ and the much anticipated ‘purple wedding’, spelling the end of Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon.
In episode three of season five, we have another wedding in the works. This time Sansa Stark looks set to get hitched (again), but the question is, will she survive this marital nightmare?
This is a major diversion from the books and it would appear the show runners are taking another’s story line and giving it to Sansa. She’s pretty much MIA in the books at this point, but as she’s a popular figure, Sansa can’t be shunted into season six like Bran, Hodor and Rickon.
So, we see Sansa and Petry Baelish heading north, where Littlefinger tells her she can no longer be a bystander to tragedy. She is to marry into the family of Roose Bolton: a one-time Stark bannerman, who betrayed her mother and brother at the Red Wedding.
Her groom is none other than his psychopathic son Ramsay. Yes Ramsay, who enjoys torment, hunting, flaying or gelding people (hello Theon, nice to see you). But she takes Petry’s advice that she’d be in the perfect position to avenging her family.
Meantime in Braavos, the youngest Stark girl is settling down to life in the House of Black and White, where she aches to be taught the ways of the Faceless Men. It means casting aside all that makes her Arya: her clothes, her money, her name and her sword.
She happily makes the sacrifice, but hesitates at throwing Needle into the water as an ‘offering’ to the many faced God. Jon Snow gave her Needle and that’s a sacrifice she can’t yet make.
Jon, in the meantime, is settling into his job as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He’s turned down an offer from Stannis to become Lord of the North and avenge his family.
He chooses his vows over vengeance, but is reminded that those same vows state that the Night’s Watch must ‘be the shield of the realm’. He’s warned the realm will never be safe with Roose Bolton as Warden of the North.
Jon may choose the Night’s Watch; he’s still very much his father’s son. Faced with a rebellion among the followers of Ser Alliser Thorne, he acts with ruthless precision.
It’s Jon who swings the sword to dispatch Ser Janos Slynt. As his father taught him, he who passes judgement must carry out the punishment.
But episode three is not just about the remaining Stark children; we spend time in King’s Landing, where King Tommen has married Margaery Tyrell. She and Cersei are now locked in an undeclared war over Tommen. Both seek to manipulate the boy king for their own gain.
A rising religious movement known as the “Sparrows” also confronts Cersei. They find the High Septon in a brothel and publicly humiliate him. Rather than crushing the Sparrows, Cersei comes to an arrangement along the lines of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’
The episode closes with Tyrion and Varys in a brothel in Volantis, where they run into Ser Jorah Mormont. Still dealing with his murder of Shae, Tyrion is unable to take up an offer from one of brothel workers.
He wonders off, where he’s abducted by Ser Jorah, who’s looking to worm his way back into Daenerys’ good books.
Vengeance figures heavily in episode three and perhaps points to how the season will play out.
Arya is no longer reciting her ‘hit-list but is learning the ways of the assassin, Sansa looks to avenge her family, while Brienne reveals to Podrick than Stannis is to blame for the death of King Renly and she will avenge him.
The show has moved away from the books, but allows the characters more room to move. The question is will the producers be able to avoid the temptation of taking it too far off track?
Note to producers: there has been a distinct lack of direwolves so far this season. Please rectify.