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GAME OF THRONES Recap: A Sparrow in the Hand is Worth Two in the Keep

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS, Game of Thrones-iacs. Why? Because this is a recap — that’s why. So if you’ve yet to watch Sunday night’s episode, “High Sparrow,” we’d much prefer you didn’t read this, unless you’re totally cool with learning things about what happened that will take a lot of the fun and surprise out of it. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya!

A wedding where nobody died? What the heck, Game of Thrones? Have ya gone soft on us? Who has happy nuptials anymore? Apparently Queen Margaery and King Tommen do — a nice change of pace from the deadly weddings of years past. But still — a momentary bit of bliss doesn’t mean everything’s hunky dory in the Realm. Quite the opposite in fact. But the ladies are still making moves and trying to gain control in a world that would rather forget them.

Over in the Red Keep

Because what happens when people stop caring? You lose power, control, and security. You either become a pawn or die and nobody wants that. Especially not Cersei Lannister, who’s worked her entire life to try and be one of the boys, even if her own skill set falls short of the men she’s most admired. No matter! She will move forward with haste, attempting to gain favor with the latest buncha nutbags to bring their particular brand of crazy to King’s Landing — the Sparrows. A group of religious extremists and purists from the Faith of the Seven (a/k/a the New Gods) led by a humble-seeming man called the High Sparrow.

It is by aligning herself with this pack of weirdos that she hopes to stave off some of the power she’s lost now that Margaery wears the crown. Yes, that’s right” our former Tyrell rose has grown stronger and more manipulative than ever with Tommen under her finger (and by her side as husband). A wedding with no death: who would’ve thunk it, eh? Now our Queen Margaery can throw shade from new heights! And oh is it delicious: dressing exactly like Cersei, “suggesting” to Tommen that his mother — do we call you Queen Regent now or Dowager Queen? — return to Casterly Rock, and plotting all the while.

Margaery’s PR campaign game has always been strong; the people of King’s Landing love her and see anyone that does not approve of her as an enemy. But even Cersei knows there’s no getting into Marg’s good graces — she’s an obstacle that must be removed from the equation, ultimately, so the best she can hope for us holding on for dear life. Which is why she ends up aligning herself with the High Sparrow: it’s a chance to look righteous and holy while hopefully maintaining some form of control over what happens in the capitol.

Something tells us, though, that the Sparrows’ extreme goodwill and equal judgement won’t be able to hold them for long. And, I mean, doesn’t Cersei remember who she is? The rumors of her own sins and misdeeds are plenty, who’s to say those Sparrows won’t turn on you, girl? Just because you boinked your cousin Lancel (who is now himself a Sparrow) doesn’t mean you’re protected. Blood only goes so far and alliances are a gamble, girl. You should know this more than anyone.

Up in Moat Cailin (and Winterfell)

Like the alliance of Sansa Stark and the Boltons. It’s an ingenious move on Littlefinger’s part — to wed Ramsay “Psychodick” Bolton to one of the North’s favorite last names — but it’s a bit disconcerting for Sansa considering, well, Ramsay’s penchant for exacting extreme pain on anyone (or thing) that’s living. You all saw those flayed men!

And poor Theon/Reek’s R.I.Penis. You know how this game works! Although we’re curious to know — since Theon’s been all mind-controlled by Ramsay, whether or not he’s on Team Stark or not, deep down. All that hiding from Sansa made us think maybe he is, but who knows, you know? I think at this point all Theon wants to do is stay alive.

Thankfully, the North Remembers the Starks and hoo boy if those grudged-up memories of theirs aren’t all about Team Stark. Which is exactly why now is the time for Sansa to use every new tool that Littlefinger’s taught her to try and run this ish herself. Go Sansa, go! Be strong! “Stop being a bystander, stop running, go home.”

Though they’re not the only ones looking out for Sansa still: Pod and Brienne proved loyal even when it wasn’t wanted, staying on Littlefinger and Sansa’s tails as they made their way north. It also provided a deeper look at our two favorite wanderers, expanding on Pod’s positive outlook and why Brienne’s so loyal to Renly and so armored up, metaphorically speaking.

We feel ya, Bri: teen boys are sometimes truly the worst for an odd duck girl and the only comfort is a gay best friend like Renly. OUTSIDERS UNITE!

Upon The Wall

Even farther North, though, Lord Commander Snow (whatta sexy title) has proven himself to be a chip off the ol’ Stark block, demanding justice and being the hand of it. Even though Stannis and Ser Davos are super on Snow to head to Winterfell and claim it in the name of Stark under King Baratheon, Jonny boy here prefers to honor his Nights Watch words as best he can. Lord Commander. Stannis still wants to make him Jon Stark, but he refuses. He will work with the Wildlings and command the Watchers on the Wall, but he will not bother himself with the fights of the kingdom. That’s not what these boys do, y’all!

Of course his rule isn’t so heartily accepted outright, with Douchebag McGee begrudgingly taking the position of First Ranger and Entitled McWhinerstein getting his head chopped off for not obeying the mission put in front of him by the Lord Commander. Jon Snow is a regal eagle and he DOES NOT PLAY. There will be no mercy tonight!

Across the Sea in Braavos

There’s also very little mercy happening in Braavos, where everyone’s favorite serial murderperson, Arya Stark, is losing herself. Literally/on purpose.

It was an interesting insight into the Faceless Men and what they stand for, considering all the gods of the Seven Kingdoms were represented in their house. Because, as Jaqen tells us, there is only one god (death), and he has many faces with many followers who believe they know the Right Way. But there is only one way: to serve no one, to have no identity, to be no one. So Arya must no longer be the girl she was and is — she must lose her possessions and throw away the things that identify her as such.

And she does all that — well, except for the part where she hid Needle rather than throwing the sword away (THANK GOODNESS). Because as much as Arya will be no one, she’ll ultimately always still stick ‘em with the pointy end for forever.

Clearly there is many a mystery still yet to be divulged over there.

Ways Away in Volantis

As for Tyrion, well: homeboy’s going stircrazy. Because of this he insists they stop in Volantis for a light bit o’ brotheling, but not before weaving his way through the city’s beautiful chaos and happening upon another Red Priestess (like Melissandre but less egomaniacal it seems) preaching to the poor and enslaved on this bridge of a city (literal or otherwise).

Before we could learn why this Priestess was so intrigued by Tyrion though, he was swept up and captured by — TWIST! —Ser Jorah Mormont. Which was obviously a set up, right? Ser Jorah and Varys were in cahoots before, so they clearly must’ve worked this plan out together. I mean Why else would Varys allow them to stop even though he kept saying over and over again that they shouldn’t and he would get caught. Why would he do that if not to see the hold Dany has on most of Essos, in a land where Ser Jorah just-so-happens to be? “Someone who inspires both priest and whore is worth paying attention to,” Varys explained and — well! — he’s not wrong, we’ll give him that.

Now all we need is for Dany and Tyrion to actually meet. LET THE EPIC TEAM-UP BEGIN PLEASE. Get him to Meereen on time, Ser Jorah! Tout de suite and tut tut, etc.

Stuff and Things and Other Loose Ends:
– We’re very glad the High Septon is gone because EUGH THAT GUY’S THE WORST.
– Creepmaester Creep is totally Frankenstein-ing The Mountain and we are NOT OKAY WITH IT.
– Like seriously what the shit is happening there?
– Littlefinger: “There’s no justice in the world, not unless we make it.”
– Anything I say about Tommen will automatically be patronizing but AWW, Tommen. So adorably clueless.
– Do we think Sansa has what it takes to manipulate herself to the top?
– I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: I really hope it gets better for Theon.
– Imagine Margaery’s Burn Book JUST IMAGINE IT.

What did you think of the episode? Let us hear it in the comments.

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