TV Review: "Game of Thrones" 05x03: "High Sparrow"


Hot dang.

I've been trying to stay away from any book reader discussion regarding the fifth season of Game of Thrones because I feel like I'd get unreasonably mad. The A Song of Ice & Fire fandom, for many reasons I intend to explore in another post, is the kind of fandom that is ruining the material for me (like Batman fans), and their apparent dislike towards the re-structuring of the previous and entirely imperfect books, which is working so well for me, irritates me.

You see, the massive horrible Sansa twist in this last episode was very different in the books; in the books, it's this ultra convoluted plot that made me go "Oh okay, this is an acceptable and clever plotline". Getting Sansa involved in the same situation in the adaptation made me go "Oh fuck no!" And not even because (I think) I know what's going to happen to her next episode, but because it's a fundamentally shocking thing, even though I totally called it months ago. It's funny how even the audience keeps forgetting about the one rule of Westeros: "Don't trust Littlefinger".

But Sansa's fate was only one of several great new developments for the other main characters. Jon Snow finally had what was one of my favorite scenes in the books, and the moment when you can tell he's finally grown some hair on his balls (eventhough show Jon has been a little badass for a while). The scene played out remarkably well, and with a lot of tension, even if Janos' performance was a bit too cheesy, especially at the end.

Side note: at this point, I think it's strange that they keep changing beloved lines from the books. As with "Only Cat", I can't think of any reason why they changed "Fetch me a block."

Do I see Myra Forrester?

I want to quickly address the scene that apparently caused some ruckus: Tommen and Margaery's wedding night (hey! a chill wedding, guys!). It was relevant to the story, and not even a little explicit. You people need to stop trying to find ways to brand Game of Thrones as controversial when it's not. It's worse than Jaime and Cersei's scene last season.

My favorite scene though was probably Cersei paying a little visit to the new Queen Margaery. Holy shit things had never been so tense and awkward between these two. I was shocked to see Margy being so vicious towards Cersei (the wine joke made me laugh out loud), to the point that she might have been acting out of character. Still, it's a great way to set up the huge tensions that will be integral parts of their stories this season.

I didn't much care for the introduction of the High Sparrow character (whom I found to be awesome himself) because it felt a bit blunt. I loved the scene between him and Cersei, but everything leading up to it, with the High Septon on the brothel, didn't work as well for me. The whole thing had the subtlety of a jack-hammer to the face; it reminded me of the lame Thenns from last season.

Last review I mentioned my concern over the character of Brienne, but finally it's looking like she has a story. Congratulations on her scene; they turned a scene that could've been pure filler into a great character moment. Brienne is becoming more and more likeable, and it was great to hear some of her backstory with Renly. Pod is awesome as hell, as always.

"Here's a Littlefinger. I need to trust it."
I was glad that three episodes in there was finally some development for Tyrion's character and story. I was looking forward to the scene in Volantis, and it's awesome that they didn't skip it (even if they skipped a bunch of stuff leading up to it, and I'm okay with that). I hope the relationship between Jorah and Tyrion is awesome as it promises to be.

As far as Arya's story goes, it's progressing really well, and she's being given enough time to develop (she only had a handful of chapters in the book). The set design of the House of Black & White was amazing, and true to the book. I'm really enjoying the more fleshed out training she's getting (and Maisie yelling "Cunt!" was hilarious). I cannot wait to certain upcoming scenes. Oh, and how about that scene when she needs to rid herself of her belongings? That was shockingly emotional, and beautifully shot.

Hey guys. Where the hell is Jaime and Bronn? Please don't turn that into a minor plot thread this season because I sure as hell want to see lots of it. Few characters work as well together as those two.

There really isn't much more to say about this episode. "High Sparrow" was classic Thrones storytelling; it was dynamic and clever, with a badass cliffhanger ending and some great scenes of intra-character tension.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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