Previously on recapping Game of Thrones: BOLD PREDICTIONS were made. Will they come true??? This week…
Season 5, Episode 3: High Sparrow
Game of Thrones earns its TV-MA rating. Nothing delivers a combination of graphic violence and nudity, on a more consistent week-to-week basis, quite like show. But, strip all of that away. Take out all the graphic beheading, the grotesquely flayed bodies, and the uncomfortable sexual relationships between a 14-year old boy and an adult woman. What are we left with then? People throwing shade at each other.
Merriam-Webster’s Urban Dictionary defines Throw Shade as, “to talk trash about a friend or acquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect.” And in no week is that theme more apparent (even with the graphic beheading, grotesquely flayed bodies, and uncomfortable sexual relationships between a 14-year old boy and an adult woman!) than in this week, the third episode of the fifth season of Game of Thrones.
Right off the bat, my BOLD Prediction regarding Arya’s arc for this season was immediately proven wrong. For we see Arya Stark, in The House of Black & White, dwarfed by statues of crying gods, sweeping the floor. Yes, even in training to become a deadly assassin, there is a hierarchy. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it! They’re the Faceless Men, no one ever said they don’t track dust into the house! Still, it must be alarming for Arya, fully expecting to jump right into becoming “No One,” to be given what specialists in the field of professional development call “The Miyagi Run-Around.” (Show me, “sweep the floor!”) Arya has no idea what any of this has to do with anything, and it’s not helping that everyone is being such a jerk to her! The other little girl in the House (whom we only as “the C-word”, at the moment) smacks Arya around with a stick and harasses Arya over her fast track status coin, which she did not actually earn, and does not respect the value of. It probably doesn’t help that Jaqen H’ghar deliberately gave it back to her, hence why she’s still holding on to it. Are you trying to tell me he just did that for dramatic effect? Making matters worse is that even Jaqen gets in on tossing some shade. Arya desperately wants to start being “No One” but, “How can a girl be no one if she still has Arya Stark’s clothes, things, and coin I deliberately gave back to her.”—Oh wait, so he did just do that for dramatic effect?—So, Arya casts all her belongings into the sea, except for her sword, Needle, which she hides in a conveniently sword-length deep hole in some rocks. Finally, she is able to start her training, beginning with…undressing and washing the corpse of one of the guys that dies while praying to that scary, crying statue (or, whatever is happening to them. The House of Black and White turned out to be very philiosophical.) Well, no one said explicitly said it wasn’t going to be a weird experience. Show me, “Wash the corpse!”
Next we have Sansa Stark. God, poor Sansa! I’ve probably said it before, but it bears repeating: Will this girl ever catch a break? Just when it seems that she’s finally safe with Little Finger, the world at large continues to heap piles of shade upon her. Ever the scheming schemer, that Carcetti has her signed off to marry none other Ramsay Bolton, newly legitimate son of Roose Bolton, the man that betrayed her family and personally stabbed her brother Robb to death at his own wedding. Even more pressing, because marrying a psychopath who has VERY likely tasted human flesh (and enjoyed it) is more pressing than him being the son of the man that helped murder your family, RAMSAY BOLTON IS A PSYCHOPATH WHO HAS VERY LIKELY TASTED HUMAN FLESH (AND ENJOYED IT.) Is it possible that this is the one thing that Little Finger doesn’t know about? I mean, JE-sus, how is this going to keep her safe? (He doesn’t even have time to make sure she settles in okay, having been called away on what seems like very urgent Raven business.) Let’s not ignore Ramsay Bolton’s gaggle of side-girls either. They look pissed that Sansa is moving in on their turf. Sure, The North remembers, but how much of The North. HOW MUCH? Pray 4 Sansa.
Becoming Lord Commander of The Night’s Watch has certainly given Jon Snow the tools to hurl as much shade at his fellow brothers as he wants. Ser Janos the Cowers in Closets with Women and Babies learns this the hard way. He challenges Jon’s orders to be sent to what sounds like the worst castle along The Wall to be stationed at, and just straight up says some very hurtful things to him. It’s the chopping block for him, and at long last, the triumphant return of Jon Snow: Ace Attorney! Judge, Jury and Executioner Edition. Also, it’s the debut of a new, recurring (god willing) segment: Game of Thrones/Chopped Fan Fiction Theater—“Chef Janos: You have repeatedly proven yourself to be a man of terrible character who does not respect his command, nor his oath. You’ve disobeyed a direct order, and said some things to me that were just really not cool, man. For these reasons, we have to chop you.” *Jon cuts Janos’ head clean off* SCENE.—Even Stannis gets the gift of some subtle Jon Snow, Lord Commander shade. When Stannis re-proposes his offer to make Jon into Jon Stark the Lord of the North, Jon refuses, citing his commitment to his oath. Stannis also urges Jon to send Alliser to a different castle along The Wall, assuring him that the person who said to keep your enemies close didn’t have many enemies. Jon’s never heard that version of that saying though, and rather decides to make Alliser First Ranger. In the end, Stannis seems to respect Jon anyway (mostly for the beheading, I assume; old Stan has always seemed to enjoy a nice execution.) The most important thing to come out of Jon’s scenes this week however, is the confirmation, which I mark at approximately 28 minutes into the episode, that yes, WINTER IS STILL COMING! It’s still coming, you guys! You thought they forgot about it, but rest assured, Winter is coming! Four more years! Four more years!
Tyrion is still in his fancy box on wheels, just opening and closing the window. Opening and closing the window. Opening and closing the window. “I need to get out of this wheelhouse.” He just straight up tells Varys he doesn’t want to look at his face anymore, even though it really is a perfectly good face. Way to not mask your shade at all, Tyrion. Watch where you throw that stuff, you might break something that cannot be repaired. Like, I don’t know, FRIENDSHIP. Ever hear of it? Seriously Varys, don’t let him get you down, he’s just been through a lot. Your face is fine. But, Tyrion so much so doesn’t want to see Varys’ face that he ends up caught with his literal pants down, and gets himself captured by Jorah Mormont, who really seems like he’s not over Daenerys. He’s resorted to climbing in your windows, snatching your bodies up, and presenting them to the would-be Queen, just to get back in her good graces. You know, after that whole betrayal thing. Presumably, this will be a much…rougher introduction for Tyrion, than if he just stuck it out with Varys’ perfectly good face.
Then, we have the Main Event. For the World Heavyweight Shade Throwing Championship, it’s Cersei Lannister, the reigning champ, versus Margaery Tyrell, the upstart challenger. Margaery comes out hot out of the gate, going right for the jugular with a devastating series of maneuvers. She straight up becomes actual queen by completing a no muss, no fuss wedding to Tommen “New King Baby” Baratheon in record time. She then proceeds to give Tommen exactly what every young teenage boy wants, night-long sex with a beautiful woman, while leveraging this advantage to slowly poison Tommen against Cersei, his mother. Her onslaught continues via Tommen the next morning as the now sex-obsessed teen tries to convince his mother that, “Hey, Casterly Rock doesn’t sound so bad. Why not like, go back there or something?” Cersei regains some ground with a few quality complisults, including “She’s very pretty. Do you think she’s intelligent? I can’t tell!” Once she goes to speak with Margaery however, it’s all over. As soon as Cersei walks in, she gets hit with a Rock Bottom of “I wish we had some wine for you; it’s a bit early in the day for us.” Cersei’s down on the mat! Then it’s a running leg drop to the throat of telling Cersei that she’s tired from the night-long sex session with Tommen. Cersei’s trying to get out of there, but she looks out of it! Margaery is climbing the turnbuckle! Here it comes! A Top Rope Elbow Drop of, “What do I call you now? Queen Mother? Dowager Queen? Your Irrelevancy?” BAH GAWD! STOP THE DAMN MATCH! SHE HAS A FAMILY! Here comes the pin! 1! 2! 3! *Ding ding ding* Margaery’s music plays. The crowd goes wild. All hail the Winner, and NEW Shade Throwing Queen of Game of Thrones: Margaery Tyrell.
Spare Thoughts in which I actually address the title of the episode:
-Boy, that High Sparrow sure seems like a nice guy, huh? I like saying “High Sparrow” to the tune of Buffalo Springfield’s “Kind Woman.’ Methinks that Cersei is going to finagle this new religious angle into throwing one final piece of shade at Margaery Tyrell. Honestly, I really see no way in which Cersei doesn’t contribute to Margarey’s death by season’s end (Realistic BOLD Prediction alert!) After that shade throwing squash match, you best believe Cersei is poised for a bounce-back performance in the weeks to come.
-Not so much in the way of shade getting tossed around in this week’s episode of M’Lady-Ser. Just a whole lot of that character growth and relationship building between Brienne and Pod that we here at the network love to see a (hypothetical) show develop. She’s going to teach him how to fight, you guys. SHE’S GOING TO TEACH HIM HOW TO FIGHT.
-Theon/Reek looks TERRIBLE. Respect to Alfie Allen. You’d have to imagine that him existing in the same general space as Sansa is going to pay off sooner rather than later.
-Shout outs to Brian, the new Latrine Captain, as well as The Mountain, who is now living under a sheet
down by the river in Qyburn’s laboratory.
-With Brienne headed to Winterfell for Sansa, Stannis and maybe Jon also headed there, Brienne wanting revenge on Stannis, and Sansa having previously creeped out by Brienne in last week’s diner scene, I can’t imagine all these people are going to play nice once they meet, which 😦
-Why can’t Arya let go of Needle? Because family. Vin Diesel sees you, Arya Stark. Vin Diesel sees you.