‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 3 Recap: High Sparrow, Bye Sparrow

Every Monday, our resident Game of Thrones fanatic E. Spencer Kyte will recap the previous night’s episode. Here’s his take on Season 5, Episode 3 —High Sparrow, Bye Sparrow.

Warning: what follows is a review and analysis of what happened on Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t watched it and don’t want to encounter spoilers, we suggest you go read something else on this site. Consider yourself warned.

Remember last week how it kind of felt like Littlefinger might be up to something and Arya’s entry into The House of Black and White was going to be a big deal? Yep – they’re big deals.

Deconstructing Arya

Now inside The House of Black and White, Arya is continuing her transformation into a “Faceless Person” with Jaqen H’ghar playing the Mr. Miyagi to her Daniel-San. The impatient young Stark wants results right away, but is being told “Wax on. Wax off.”

One of the sticking points is that she’s still surrounded by her possessions, so Arya tosses her clothes and silver into the water. While she’s supposed to ditch her sword, Needle, too, she instead tucks it away for safe keeping. Yes, that’s going to be important in the future.

The Boy King Becomes a Man

Margaery Tyrell has now been married to two inbred Baratheon kids, as Sunday’s episode included her marrying King Tommen, The First of His Name, and consumating said marriage with the energetic, eager-to-please new ruler. She also begins planting the seeds of shuttling Cersei out of town.

The following morning, Tommen inquires about whether his mother misses her childhood home at Casterly Rock and Cersei picks up on the play at hand right away. But rather than getting all vengeful and plotting, she goes to see Margaery and is oddly passive.

Promised Into Marriage

In the North, we learn part of Littlefinger’s plan – he’s promised that Sansa will marry Ramsey Bolton, the crazy, former bastard son of the traitorous man who murdered her brother. She rightfully objects, but Littlefinger raises a good point, telling her that she’s been passive for too long and marrying into the family that killer her family gives her a chance to get revenge from the inside.

Inside the walls of Moat Cailin, Reek/Theon recognizes Sansa and gets a little twitchy; more twitchy than usual that is. It seems that he doesn’t want to be seen; probably not a bad idea given that he was like a brother to her brothers (and Jon Snow) before eventually turning on Rob and landing where he is now, by Ramsey’s side.

While the sadistic Ramsey seems taken, his father, Roose, is skeptical of Littlefinger’s intentions given that he’s receiving messages from Cersei in the night. The elder Bolton is curious to know where Littlefinger’s allegiances rest, given that his previous backer, Tywin Lannister, is no longer.

On the “spying from affair” front, Brienne and Pod get a little closer, sharing stories of how they rose to their respective positions. The newly forged friendship leads to a new idea: Brienne will train Pod to be a knight… and how to ride a horse properly too.

One last thing: the elderly chamber maid Sansa is given when she arrives recognizes her and let’s her know that “The North Remembers,” another bit of foreshadowing that is too obvious to overlook.

Sparrows on the Loose

With the High Septon hanging out in Littlefinger’s brothel, the fanatical Sparrows bust in and lead a naked public shaming and flogging. Embarrassed, the High Septon approaches Cersei and the Small Council to have the Sparrows arrested and their leader, the High Sparrow, executed.

Cersei ventures into Flea Bottom to find the man at the head of the shoeless religious sect and in another uncharacteristic Cersei move, she tries to form an alliance with him, pledging that religion and the royals are what keep the city in good order and that those two factions should work in concert.

It’s Cersei, so you know she’s up to something, but still – the departure from just being the Queen Mother that is drunk on power and wine is an interesting turn.

First Act as Lord Commander

Elected to lead the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow’s first order of business is a meeting with Stannis, who once again tries to get him to join his army and march on Winterfell, but Jon remains dedicated to his duties at The Wall.

After Stannis leaves, Ser Davos sticks around to make it clear to Jon that despite his icy personality, “The One True King” really does like Jon a lot. He also suggests that part of the Night’s Watch oath makes Snow and his men responsible for protecting those in The Realm wherever they may be in danger, even if that means leaving the wall.

Down in the mess hall following his meeting, Jon starts handing out assignments to the men, giving the job of digging a new latrine trench to a ginger and naming Aliser Thorne the new First Ranger. But when he declares that Janos Slynt will be sent out of town to work on repairing an old outpost, the former second-in-command refuses and gets lippy with the new Lord Commander.

Jon takes him outside to be executed, but Slynt starts crying and begs for mercy, declaring he has always been scared. Then Jon chops his head off.

Still On The Road

Tired of being couped up with Varys, Tyrion demands some time amongst other people, primarily whores, and witnesses a red priestest praying to the God of the Light about Dany. Once he gets inside the nearest brothel, he picks out a lady of his liking, but something prevents him from doing what you do with women who work in brothels.

When he sneaks off to empty his bladder, a man approaches and kidnaps him, tying him up with a rope and gagging him. That man is Jorah Mormont, dismissed protector of Dany, who tells Tyrion he’s taking him back to the Queen.

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Jon’s act was a show of power, which undoubtedly will come into play later. Whether it’s trying to rally the men to support Stannis, getting the Wildlings to fight alongside of them or both, the fact that he chopped up Janos Slynt’s head will serve a larger purpose.

Cersei’s playing with fire too – you don’t go trying to forge partnerships with the leader of a radical religious group, no matter how soft and gentle he seems. Leaders of radical religious groups are rarely soft and gentle.

As mentioned earlier, Arya tucking Needle away has to come up again somewhere down the road, there is just no telling where or how, just like the elderly woman’s decree that “The North Remembers” will be important as well.

This was a great “move things forward” episode after two strong foundational episodes to start the season. It should be all kinds of fun from here on out.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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