This post assumes you've seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Just in case you were wondering if the Sansa storyline for this season couldn't get any lazier or uglier, this episode we learn she spends her days locked in a room and her evenings sexually abused by Ramsay.
Well, that's certainly one of the best ways the writers could remove any and all momentum from that character's journey. Ramsay also gets to flay someone else, which proves once again that he's a monster. Winterfell exists to repeatedly tell us things we already knew at the moment, and it continues to be the weakest part of the show at the moment, even if Sansa gets in a few jabs by reminding Ramsay of how precarious his situations truly is.
And then we have Dorne, a subplot that once again looks like it was given about $15.93 in budget. This episode gives us nudity and poison in equal measures, and by the end of these scenes it was hard not to join the rest of the Sand Snakes in rolling the eyes.
So what worked? The High Sparrow. And whoa boy is he turning into an interesting character this season.
The horrors of faith
"For me, it's the knees," the High Sparrow tells Lady Olenna. They share the aches and pains of growing old, and he turns down her bribe with a chuckle. "I imagine this is strange for you. Everyone you meet has a hidden motive and you pride yourself on sniffing it out. But I'm telling you a simple truth: I serve the gods. The gods demand justice."
Watching Olenna crash against the seemingly immovable walls of the High Sparrow is fun. He's not interested in money, and he doesn't react to threats. He's not interested in power, at least not in the way we're used to from the show.
He seems to be who he claims to be; someone who wants to punish the unjust by the rules of his religion. He's a true believer, and that makes him one of the most interesting characters on the show. We're so used to power plays and feints from those at King's Landing that someone stating what they want plainly and then sticking to it is a rare thing indeed.
He also locks up Cersei in one of the most satisfying moments of this season. Her eyes dart around the room as the High Sparrow begins his speech about hearing of Cersei's many crimes against both the gods and basic decency, and it takes her a bit too long to realize the danger she's in. Her smirk at seeing Margaery brought low is short-lived.
With no Margaery and no Cersei, Tommen is now alone, drifting by with no real knowledge of how to use his power for good or ill. The throne has never been more meaningless to the one who sits upon it.
The High Sparrow is a man who appeared to be doing Cersei's bidding, and now it's clear he's on no one's side but his own, and everything around him may pay the price for assuming a man of the cloth could be so easily manipulated.
Odds and ends
- Stannis is learning the reality of marching on Winterfell and, while his daughter has done much to humanize the character this season, the idea that she must be sacrificed for his rule to come to pass is an interesting way to make him choose between power and family.
- Tyrion Lannister, meet Daenerys Targaryen. The moment was as electric as one would expect.
- Sam may have "won" that confrontation with the help of a very pissed off dire wolf, but what about next time, and the time after that? His friends are gone, and he's going to be continually tested until they return.
- Sansa has a weapon now. The gun has been placed on the mantle in the most boring manner possible.