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

game of thrones high sparrow

Arya Stark

Okay, so the inside of the House of Black and White is a lot creepier than expected. All that darkness is sparsely lit by a few flames here and there, which makes watching this scene an exercise in discerning which shadowy lump is Arya and which shadowy lump is Jaqen and which shadowy lump is the broom, but it does force you to focus in on dialogue.

Arya has been in the House for days now, tasked with sweeping the floors. She is impatient to be learning the “real stuff”, when of course the real lesson Jaquen is teaching her is that all men must die, but first they must serve. Arya is bid to throw away her possessions to truly become “No One”. She throws her clothes and money into the sea, then has a bit of a moment staring sadly down at Needle before going to hide the sword behind some rocks. I have a feeling the next time Arya tries to find that sword it’s going to be gone.

Margaery and Cersei

Margaery and Tommen are married and then consummate the marriage (which still freaks me out because isn’t Tommen, like, thirteen?), after which Margaery manipulates Tommen into sending his mother away. Tommen, however, is significantly worse at manipulation than his new Queen; Cersei can see Margaery’s handiwork all over her son’s earnest little face and his “but Mommy are you sure you wouldn’t be happier in Casterly Rock?”

Margaery, bless her, is perhaps a little too smug with rubbing her status in her mother-in-law’s face the next time they meet. “I wish I had some wine for you, it’s a bit early in the day for us,” Margaery coos. Knowing Cersei’s penchant for revenge, I can see this little plan of Margaery’s backfiring real fast.

A possible first step of Cersei’s revenge literally walks through her door when the High Septum asks her to punish the Sparrows after some of its members dragged him out of a brothel and paraded him naked through the streets chanting “sinner, sinner, sinner.” Instead Cersei throws the High Septum in the dungeons and goes looking for the leader of the Sparrows, the High Sparrow, in the city.

The Boltons and Sansa Stark

In order to keep his hold on the North in the wake of Tywin Lannister’s death, Roose Bolton arranges for Ramsay to marry Sansa Stark. When Sansa hears this she’s horrified (as am I) and refuses to go through with it, but Petyr already knows she hasn’t got much choice in the matter.

Sansa and Petyr arrive at Winterfell (the icy stare Sansa gives to Roose before smoothly slipping into her Gracious Lady persona was fantastic) and a servant welcomes Sansa home with, “The North Remembers”.

Brienne of Tarth

Brienne and Pod continue to trail Sansa, bonding on the way there. Pod’s display of respect for Brienne and her skills leads her to promise to teach him how to fight like a knight. Brienne tells Pod about a ball she’d gone to when she was younger, where all the boys laughed at her. “Brienne the Beauty, they called me. Great joke. And I realized I was the ugliest girl alive, a great lumbering beast.” Renly Baratheon had saved her from embarrassment, and Brienne loved him for his kindness and swore to protect him for the rest of their lives. Because she couldn’t do that, she’s going to avenge him… by killing Stannis.

Jon Snow and Stannis Baratheon

Jon turns down Stannis’ proposal. Stannis accepts the refusal, if a bit ungraciously (“You’re as stubborn as your father, and as honorable. I didn’t mean it as praise. Honor got your father killed.”) and makes plans to leave Castle Black for Winterfell in a fortnight. Davos offers a last piece of advice to Jon: as a member of the Night’s Watch, Jon swore to guard the realms of men, and right now Winterfell is suffering without him.

Jon’s first big task as the new Lord Commander involves appointing jobs to the other Night’s Watch members. Rather than taking revenge on Alliser Thorne (like we all know Thorne would if their positions were reversed), Jon makes him First Ranger, then gives Janos Slynt the job of restoring the Greyguard. Janos refuses to follow Jon’s orders, going so far as to insult Jon’s parentage, so Jon is forced to personally execute him — Ned Stark style, because “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword” — to set an example.

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion insists on leaving the carriage to explore the city, Varys in tow. They observe a Red Priestess (played by Rila Fukushima!) spreading the word of Talos R’hllor and praising Daenerys’ name as the Dragon Queen savior sent to them by the Red God. Afterward, Tyrion and Varys go to a brothel, where Tyrion is kidnapped by none other than Jorah Mormont, snarling, “I’m taking you to the Queen.”


  • I love Brienne so much. SO MUCH.
  • Bar some interesting scenes, this was a particularly slow and boring episode.
  • To make up for last week’s lack of naked women, we’re treated to tons and tons of male gaze in “High Sparrow” thanks to — what else — a brothel scene. Not gonna lie, though, Olyvar in a fake beard was amazing, and the High Septum’s fantasy (that’s implied to be something he does a lot) was somehow very predictable and hilariously ridiculous at the same time. Anywho, Nudity Corner:
    Boob Count: 13

    Butt Count: 12
    Chest Count: 4
    Penis Count: Does the High Septum cupping himself count? If so, 1
    Vag Count: 2