*BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD*
“Nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the ones you love,”
I remember musing last week that revenge, more than anything else, is the purest and most potent form of human emotion. It makes people do things that is not expected or even hoped of them, and makes them cruel (As the latest Dawn of Justice trailer aptly puts it), in the pursuit of what they believe is just.
But, what is justice in the angry, chaotic world of Westeros? Is mere punishment of a sinner, as young Lancel so well demonstrates, justice enough? Or, is the murder of the guilty the end of justice? Or, is there no justice in the world, as Littlefinger tells Sansa. Not unless we make it? And to what lengths will a person go to achieve this end?
That is the question in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, ‘High Sparrow.’
IN THE NORTH
In the terminology of stock market indices, the biggest mover this week was Sansa, of the House Stark who finally found her role in Littlefinger’s grand scheme: The soon to-be wife of Ramsey Bolton, heir to the Dreadfort. Now, that is by far the biggest change from the books in the show (Something I rightly predicted last week.
Yes, I’m proud of it), and considering the fact that avenging her dead family has only strengthened her resolve, it’ll be pretty interesting to watch Sansa tackle the skin-peeling, sport-hunting son of Roose Bolton. Not to mention, her inevitable meeting with Theon would perhaps work well for the show which will in that case, not only vary exponentially from the books, but will also be very similar to the books because, they might then get a shot at Theon’s attempt to rescue the ‘Fake Arya.’
Plus, it still bugs me that I can’t yet make out what Sneaky guy wants (A question never fully addressed in the books as well).
Speaking of revenge, Brienne finally opens up to Pod, a conversation I once hoped for her to have with Jaime. It doesn’t add much to the story, or her arc, for that matter, but it surely addresses what motivates her, and what drives her to fight and kill.
Further north, another Stark (by blood, at the very least) finds his resolve tested when in his first week as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow is faced with the choice with executing or sparing the life of a disobedient, cowardly and obnoxious Ser Janos Slynt (Once Lord of Harrenhall, sent to the Wall at the Imp’s orders).
What follows, is perhaps the best scene of the season yet, and lends that much needed layer of credence and gravitas to Snow (Apparently, Jon Snow does know something) and an opportunity to show that he means business (Something that also earned the grudging respect of Stannis Baratheon).
With the way the arc here is proceeding, I think I’m pretty sure it’ll follow that books in most respects and end, where Dance of Dragons does (P.S: I’d only be guessing but, keep an eye out for Olly, Jon Snow’s steward).
Down south, Queen Mother/Dowager Queen Cersei (Yes, a major burn, courtesy Margery Tyrell) finds herself unhinged by the day, especially after the wedding of Tommen to Margery. I like the fact that unlike in the books where most of Cersei’s chapters are a sounding board, the show has gone out of its way to put flesh and bone around the characters she’s so afraid of.
Which is why, Margery comes off just as manipulative (if not paranoid) as Cersei and not just a figment of fear.
In other news, we also had our first scene with the High Sparrow (A terrific Jonathan Pryce), a seemingly pious man, with somewhat aggressive followers. And although the scene was too short for any clues as to his future on the show, the fact that Cersei felt confident in her feigned empathy, even empowered, had me smiling of the events that were about to come.
ACROSS THE NARROW SEA
Arya resumes her ‘training’ as one of the Faceless Men. Now, unlike most characters in Martin’s books, Arya Stark is one of those rare TV show creations, I prefer over her literary counterpart (Maisie Williams, of course).
Which is why, I’m curious as to what the show producers will do with Arya this season, considering that in the books, she has always been far from any revenge, and has, to put it simply, seemed bored.
Close by, Varys and Tyrion have finally reached Volantis, where dragon fever is running high among priests and whores alike. Ser Jorah Mormont kidnapping Tyrion was a ‘twist’ I knew was coming at the end of the episode and yet, it was so nicely done that the prospect of the Imp eventually meeting the ‘Queen’ had me giddy.
Speaking of dragon fever, no Dany this week (Unless you count the whore who was dressed like her). No Jaime, Bronn or anyone or anything to do with Dorne too (Can we have the Sand Snakes already!). Yes, there was a wedding and yes, Margery did finally consummate her marriage but no sixty-course meals nor any deaths this time around.
Another great episode this week on Game of Thrones. With the prospect of multiple storylines progressing, and some even intersecting, the show is no doubt setting up a mouth-watering second half of Season 5. Above all, and I say this on a personal note, I look forward, most of all, to what’s in store for Sansa (Who would’ve thought I’d say that) in Winterfell. The North remembers Sansa, the North remembers.
Until next week, Hodor!