Weddings are a dime a dozen in Game Of Thrones, but a wedding where no one dies and the bride and groom make it through the night? Sirs, you had my curiosity, now you have my attention.
It’s rather anti-climactic really. Tommen and Margery are married, and the next thing we know we’re seeing the couple partake in pillow talk. King Tommen is smitten, and Margery is presumably relieved that she isn’t walking on eggshells like she was when Joffrey was her original intended. Cersei is predictably unhappy about this, though Margery does make one too many not-so-subtle jabs at her, it’s a wonder that Cersei is able to keep her composure.
Having said that, Cersei meets with the High Sparrow (played by the formidable Jonathan Pryce). Having heard what the High Sparrows followers have been up to, it’s very likely that Cersei has a plan in mind, suggesting an alliance between the Crown and the Sept, indicating that they both need each other or risk falling together.
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In Braavos, Arya’s training involes mundane things like sweeping up, in fact it’s pretty much all sweeping up. Jaqen rightly points out that Arya would use the skills of a Faceless Man for her own ends, which is not the aim of the game. Arya is faced with a tough choice of giving up the identity of Arya Stark entirely. Even as she throws away most of her possessions, Arya cannot bring herself to get rid of Needle. She hides it, a not so subtle symbolic burial that will be there when she needs it.
Speaking of giving up who you are (or want to be), Jon Snow ultimately refuses Stannis’ offer of becoming Jon Stark. It might seem like honour before reason, but it makes sense in that Jon has only just been elected Lord Commander. Indeed, he faces his first opposition in the form of Janos Slynt, who openly mocks him and declines to follow a direct order. Jon has to put his money where his mouth is or he may wind up being a short lived leader of the Night’s Watch. The scenes here are incredibly well done, indeed they are the highlights of the episode to an extent.
At least part of Littlefinger’s plan is revealed: wedding Sansa to Ramsay Bolton. The prospect becomes even more terrifying when Littlefinger talks with Ramsay and reveals that he knows very little about Roose Bolton’s recently legitimized heir. It also doesn’t help that Myranda is already giving Sansa the evils (recall in season 4 that she helped him hunt down another girl because of jealousy). As a side-note, the Winterfell set is wonderful. While it’s still being rebuilt, we’re seeing more of the Stark Home than we’ve seen before, and hopefully there’s more to come.
Brienne and Podrick have what could be their first real interaction. This is a breath of fresh air, it gives Brienne character. Whereas before she’s spent most of the series walking people from one place to another and getting into fights, here we see her vulnerable. Having her admit that she knows Renly could never have loved her is rather heartbreaking in of itself, it may well be that these quests of protection are all that she has. Of course, she still intends to kill Stannis, which may or may not come up later.
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Finally, we arrive in Volantis. Tyrion is getting carriage fever and drags Varys off to a brothel. Turns out out local brothels are into cosplaying, as a Daenerys look-alike is the focus of many eyes. Tyrion himself is shocked to find that his interests in prostitutes is apparently gone. There’s a quiet few moments where he has a simple conversation with a prostitute before Jorah Mormont swoops in and say he’s taking him to the queen.
For better or for worse, having more dead or absent characters is giving Game Of Thrones room to breathe. While I’m fairly certain we’re still in the setup episodes (we still haven’t had Dorne in the opening credits), this season is so far proving enjoyable despite the ever-growing chance that radical changes from the books are fast approaching.
Do you think the High Sparrow is wise to Cersei’s game? Is Sansa in trouble? Let us know what you think in the comments below…