GAME OF THRONES – Live-action fantasy-political drama based on the series of novels by George R. R. Martin "A Song of Ice and Fire"; rated TV-MA; airs Sundays on HBO; 60 minutes. Episode 5.3: “High Sparrow” (Aired April 26, 2015). Directed by Mark Mylod; written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (8 out of 10)

What? There was a wedding on this show and no one died? Not even an injury? Tommen and Margaery's wedding is seemingly much less grand than the one where Joffrey met his demise. And then they waste no time getting to the wedding night. Both appear happy with the new arrangement, and Margaery, emboldened by her new status as Queen, stares down Cersei.  They seem sincere on the surface, but there’s an undercurrent of manipulation between the two women. Margaery is already working on Tommen to send his mother away. Check and mate. Cersei knows she’s lost power, and Margaery doesn’t hesitate to remind her, asking if she should refer to her as “Queen Mother” or “Dowager Queen.”

Meanwhile, Arya wants to be an apprentice to Jaqen H’ghar. She wants to become a Faceless Man, but to do that, she must become no one, which means casting off the trappings of Arya Stark. Arya Stark is someone.  But after throwing her clothes in the water, she clutches Needle in her hands. Tears spring to her eyes, and in that moment we’re reminded she’s still a young girl. Away from home. She has lost her family. She’s clinging to the one thing that still connects her to her past, but she knows she needs to forge a future for herself. So instead of tossing it into the water, she buries it beneath the rocks. Hidden but not completely out of reach.

And Littlefinger’s machinations have not ended. To Sansa’s dismay, she discovered he plans to marry her off to Ramsey Bolton. She rejects the idea at first, but then realizes this puts her in a position to take back Winterfell and avenge her family. Little does she realize Joffrey may have been a less twisted husband than Ramsey. Poor Sansa. She just goes from one bad situation to another, but she’s playing her part as the Lady of Winterfell well. Since this part of the story strays pretty far from the books, I have no idea how her story will progress.  

Speaking of taking back Winterfell, Stannis offers Jon the opportunity to reclaim it. But now Jon is the Lord Commander and swears to keep his oath. But with great power comes great responsibility, and he is challenged. And, like Daenerys last week, he pauses to consider issuing punishment or mercy. And like Joffrey and Daenerys, he delivers death. But unlike them, he executes the offender himself. His father once told him that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Does this make him true king material? Will he be the one to eventually sit upon the Iron Throne?

As usual, this episode covered a lot of characters and shifted the story in different directions. Cersei is forging an alliance with the Sparrows, hoping to gain power through religion. And Tyrion runs into trouble in Volantis when Ser Jorah discovers him and says he’s taking him to the Queen. But which Queen? The Queen of his Heart Daenerys? The Queen of the People Margaery? Or does he mean Cersei, the Queen of Evil?

We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see where the chess pieces are placed next.  

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Tags: Game of Thrones