‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Episode 3 Recap – “High Sparrow”

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 3 Recap
Dean-Charles Chapman and Lena Headey in ‘Game of Thrones’ (Photo: Macall B. Polay / HBO)

We open Game of Thrones season five’s third episode inside a dark and sinister-looking temple where we see statues of what we can only assume are gods. Arya (Maisie Williams) must earn her keep here in the House of Black and White, and is sweeping the floors and resenting it. She sees Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha), aka No One, give someone a drink of water. Arya takes this as her cue to complain to Jaqen about the slow progress of her training, “slow” as in it’s not happening at all yet. Jaqen, doing his Yoda/Mr. Miyagi impression, isn’t having it. He tells her that she needs to strip away the vestiges of her old life before she can become someone else, because there’s only one god and his name is Death. Life of the party, that Jaqen. Oh and by the way, the guy he gave a drink to is now dead.

Dissolve to the brightly lit streets of King’s Landing where Cersei (Lena Headey) is inside some sort of conveyance as it processes through the streets and listening as the people scream their adoration for Margaery (Natalie Dormer). Cersei looks a little green around the gills, and the torture is only just beginning. Huzzah! It’s the wedding of Margaery and Tommen the First of his Name! *blink* That was over quick. They’ve probably learned their lesson about prolonged receptions. Cut to the wedding night…hey Margaery is really a Queen now that she’s finally consummated one of her marriages! Never mind that her King probably doesn’t shave yet. Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) has a lot to learn, but at least he seems like an eager student and even likes his bride. Poor thing. He is putty in her hands. First order of business, get Cersei the hell out of King’s Landing.

Tommen is fast becoming a mouse for these two sharp-clawed cats to bat back and forth. Cersei sees right through him and tries to take it to Margaery. Margaery, of course, is expecting her and ready for battle. You’ve never seen Cersei out-Cersei’d like this before. Long live Queen Margaery! For her part since Cersei had NO comeback for the strumpet humping her son (a point QM was fully prepared to get graphic to make), I have to wonder if she’s ill. She’s seriously off her game.


North to Winterfell where there ain’t no sunshine since Ned’s been gone, and who do we see but Reek, aka Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) whose life is still a waking nightmare. But wait, WTF happened here? Has Ramsey just been allowed to run amok? Just Ramsay being Ramsey (Iwan Rheon). He’s flayed a recalcitrant Northern lord and half his family while the other half watched. Daddy Roose (Michael McElhatton), who just hides his brand of crazy a little better than his offspring, feels this would be a good time to tell his son he’s found him a wife to help him hold the North…

I KNEW IT!!!

Apparently Sansa (Sophie Turner) did too. Maybe not the particulars, but she knew Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) was up to something. Her first reaction is the sane one – to freak out at the prospect of going back to Winterfell where the mad man that betrayed her mother, her brother, his wife and her unborn niece or nephew, is holding court. All Baelish can counter with is that she’s a Stark and there must be a Stark in Winterfell. Dark Sansa now has dark hair and dark clothes to match her mood. But while black may be the color of mourning, but it’s also the color of strength and Sansa is about to start showing us how much she’s got.

Meanwhile, Brienne (Gwendolyn Christie) and Pod (Daniel Portman) are still on their trail. They have to go around Moat Cailin, though. Taking a break, they have a moment. Pod says he’s proud to be her squire. B apologizes for “always snapping” at him and promises to teach him how to fight properly. This is the first time we get a peek at their back stories where we learn how each was set upon the path that led them to where they are now. Especially touching is Brienne’s tale of how she ended up in the service of Renly Baratheon. He was kind to her when others were not and made her feel proud and beautiful instead of like a freak. She’s also sure that Stannis was behind the “shadow with a face” that killed Renly, so she’s gunning for Stannis.

Speaking of whom, back up at The Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), of course, turns down Stannis
the Mean and Miserable (Stephan Dillane), who is, as per usual, not happy about it. When he stomps off, Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) stays behind to tell Jon that Grumpy really respects him. He also makes some pretty good points about it might be in the best interest of the Night’s Watch to help Stannis fight Roose Bolton, because his kind of crazy is in no one’s best interest. Plus the Watch will probably turn against Jon eventually and he might want to get in front of that. Jon Snow, who famously knows nothing, appears to disregard this warning. He tells Stannis that the gravy train is over and he can’t afford to keep feeding his army so it’s time to hit the road.

Arya is throwing away her old clothes and her money, even the magic coin (which will probably come back again), all of her material possessions, so she can be no one. Well, almost all. She hesitates when it comes to Needle, her sword, a present from her brother, Jon Snow. It may be the one thing still tying her to her old life, but it’s also kept her alive. Instead of tossing it off the dock like the rest of her things, she just hides it under a pile of rocks. (Which means she’ll probably need it again at some point.) The next step in her training involves preparing a corpse, presumably for burial but who knows, perhaps they use them as dummies for knife practice.

Sansa arrives in Winterfell and looks like she wants to hurl when she sees what’s become of it, although at least they took down the human pinatas they’d decorated the place with, for her arrival. The sight of Sansa breaks through Reek’s Stockholm Syndrome-fog, and you can tell he’s building to a major meltdown, just not in this episode. So much crazy, so little time. If he had anything left
resembling sense he’d get the hell out of Dodge, since Sansa believes he killed her little brothers.

Poor Sansa. Out of the frying pan into the fire – Joffrey Lannister was a poser compared to Ramsey
Bolton and his capacity for cruelty. The nicer he is to her and the more obsequious he is to Baelish, the more I fear for her. Anyway, Sansa has to put on a happy face and make nice, and the Boltons seem to be meeting her halfway and putting on their happy, non-psychotic faces as well. The brides of Dracula, last seen helping Ramsey cut off pieces of Theon, are throwing some serious shade, however.

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 3 Recap
Sophie Turner and Aidan Gillen in ‘Game of Thrones’ (Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO)

Sansa is shown to what seems to be her old room, which also seems a lot dingier since the last time she saw it. A servant, possibly a holdout from the old days, tells her, “The North remembers.” Hopefully that means “Viva La Starks”, but could just as easily mean “Don’t even think about marrying into that band of serial killers called Bolton or we’ll kill you ourselves”.

Back at the wall, Jon Snow is holding his first staff meeting as Lord Commander. Of course there are some sore losers faithful to Thorne (Owen Teale) ready to make trouble. Someone called Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) refuses a direct order, knowing full well the punishment is death, expecting that his brothers will come to their senses and rise up to protect him and oust Jon. It didn’t happen.

Head on the chopping block, he begs for mercy. It almost appears Jon wants to give it, but we can see him make the decision. He needs to appear strong in front of The Watch, and not-so-coincidentally in front of Stannis, who sees all. Stannis the Austere almost smiled. How the rest of the Night’s Watch will react to all of this will have to wait for another episode. My guess, it’s gonna backfire. Even Sam (John Bradley) looked displeased with him.

Back in King’s Landing, some up close and personal in-your-face nakedness pulls back to find the High Septon (Paul Bentley) role-playing with some prostitutes in one of Littlefinger’s whorehouses, pretending to be the Seven.

Cousin Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon) bursts in with his new posse, the Sparrows, and breaks up the party, forcing the High Septon to walk through the streets naked. Septon goes to the Small Council, who have apparently decided to accept Cersei, for help. The men laugh at him, but Cersei, who has nothing better to do, goes to find the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). Since that was the name of the episode after all, it’s about time we figured out why and why he’s important. I guess that
will have to wait. All we get is the initial meeting.

After her visit among the poor and wretched being ministered to by The High Sparrow, Cersei visits Qyburn (Anton Lesser) to get him to send a raven to Littlefinger. I’m not sure what the hell he’s up to (or what the message was) down there in his La-bor-a-tory, but he appears to be doing some Dr. Frankenstein shit with whatever is under that sheet. Is that The Mountain?

Ramsey Bolton just promised “Lord Baelish” that he will “never hurt” Sansa. HA!

Baelish and Roose Bolton are having a tet-a-tet. One almost expects them to whip them out and slap them on a table. After some back and forth, the combatants back away to their respective corners, but not before Littlefinger asks for a raven to reply to Cersei’s message.

We finally get another edition of the Varys and Tyrion Traveling Road Show. Still in their “wheel house” (the Westeros version of an RV), still getting on each others nerves. When they finally arrive in Volantis, Tyrion throws caution to the wind and goes in search of a brothel. On the way, they stop to watch a gathering where a Red Priestess is intoning the words we’ve heard Melisandre speak so
often, especially that “the night is dark and full of terrors”. She finds Tyrion in the crowd and gives him the evil eye.

In the brothel, the patrons are all clamoring for the affections of a Daenerys Targaryen look-alike. Tyrion finds one who reminds him of Shae but, much to his surprise, he doesn’t want to go play hide the pickle with her.

We spot a familiar face in the crowd. While pissing off a wall, the face comes up behind Tyrion, throws a rope around him and then hoists him over his shoulder and announces he’s taking Tyrion “to the Queen”. Ser Jorah Mormant (Iain Glen) thinks he’s found his way back to Dany, obviously planning
to drop a Lannister gift at her feet. Ironic considering that’s where Tyrion was headed anyway.

And we’re out. No Dany, no Mereen. No Sand Snakes, no Dorne, but there is only an hour. And it looks like we’ll get all that and more in the next installment.

Memorable lines from “High Sparrow”:

“We can’t hold the North with terror alone.”– Roose Bolton

“Nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the one you love.” – Brienne

“As long as the Boltons rule the North, the North will suffer.” – Davos Seaforth

“There’s no justice in the world – not unless we make it. You loved your family…avenge them!” – Littlefinger

“Judging from the King’s…enthusiasm…the Queen Mother will be a Queen Grandmother soon.” – Queen Margaery

“You didn’t tell me we were going to meet The Savior!” – Tyrion Lannister

Come back next week, same bat time, same bat channel for a recap of Season 5, episode 4: “The Sons of the Harpy”.

– Recap by Sheri Young

Here’s a preview:

– A look back: Game of Thrones season 5 episode 2 recap

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