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Warning: major spoilers below! Do not read until you have watched Game of Thrones season five episode 3, "High Sparrow."
Be careful what you wish for. That's the lesson Arya is learning the hard way this week as she begins her tough apprenticeship in the House of Black and White. Meanwhile, Tyrion's journey to Mereen takes an abrupt turn, Sansa makes a terrible, terrible choice (seriously it's so bad) and we take a break from Daenerys' struggles with her people while Jon Snow earns the respect of his in this week's exposition-heavy Game of Thrones. Cue the music, and let's get on with this recap!
Let's just agree on one thing first: the House of Black and White does not look like a fun time. Not. At. All. And here we were, super excited for the return of Jagen H'ghar, but what a letdown! Ever since she arrived, all Arya's been doing is chores, everyone is speaking in hushed tones, there's hardly any light in the dank and dirty dungeons...and it turns out, all she's been doing is sweep floors. Literally, that's it. But as Jaqen tells her, all men must serve, faceless men most of all. "A girl must become no one in order to serve the many-faced god."
Another young girl later challenges Arya, and Jaqen breaks up their fight before Needle comes out to play. His first lesson: he makes Arya see that she can't truly be "no one" if she's wearing Arya Stark's clothes, wielding Arya Stark's weapon, and is surrounded by Arya Stark's things. She ties a rock to her old clothes and belongings and sinks them in the water, gone for good. But she couldn't bring herself to sink Needle, though, and instead, she buried it in the rocks so it could be found again. That seemed to be the right move, sort of, since Jaqen then leads Arya to her next chore: washing the dead body of the man who died before her eyes earlier. Yeesh, becoming no one kind of sucks!
In King's Landing, it's Tommen and Margaery's wedding, and while these two unlikely spouses are excited, Cersei is…less-than-thrilled. Especially since all of King's Landing prefers Margaery to her. And yes, Margaery and Tommen consummate their marriage that very night (and Tommen is quite enthusiastic about it, might we add). They didn't waste any time!
And Margaery doesn't waste any time manipulating Tommen into thinking he doesn't need his mother stunting his growth as the King in King's Landing. She does it all while keeping it sounding like she's happy and complimenting Cersei, and we're reminded of how dang smart this woman truly is. When Cersei tries to do the same the next day to Tommen, talking about Margaery, she realizes that fact too. The new Queen's damage is already done, and Tommen pushes for Cersei to return to Casterly Rock. The ensuing passive-aggressive face-off between the two formidable women is truly a sight to behold. And by the way: Cersei loses. Miserably. The Queen Mother's grasp at power is slipping!
Our first glimpse at Winterfell this season is like a nightmare come true. Reek is still Reek, and can you blame him after everything he's been through at the hands of Ramsay Bolton? Meanwhile, Roose tries to explain to his sadistic son that the greatest way to keep their hold on the North is not through peeling men's skin off (as he's been doing, because he's Ramsay), but through marriage. Roose even says that he has the perfect woman for Ramsay to marry. And the camera quickly cuts to show Sansa Stark riding a horse...DOES HE MEAN SANSA? No. NO. THAT IS NOT OKAY.
Oh. My. God. It's true. We're heading towards another horrific wedding, aren't we? Littlefinger has been going along with Roose's plan this whole time! That…lying, backstabbing, sadistic monster! He tries to manipulate Sansa into making the choice on her own, telling her to avenge her family instead of mourning them by taking back their home, but she won't agree to marry Ramsay, right?! She can't! Noooo! Sansa, don't do it! Anything that makes Littlefinger smile like that is not a good idea. At least Brienne and Pod are still following them. They finally start to bond, and Brienne makes her ultimate mission clear: she wants revenge on Stannis for the death of Renly.
At Castle Black, the new Lord Commander Jon Snow officially refuses Stannis' offer to publically decree him Jon Stark, all in light of his new responsibilities to the Nights Watch. That's a true Nights Watchman for you! Putting the cause before his own personal gain! Stannis is not pleased, but he plans to leave Castle Black soon to march on Winterfell anyway, and Davos tries to persuade Jon to join the fight against the Lannisters and Boltons. When someone challenges Jon's rule during a meeting, he shows his leadership in a powerful way—by cutting off his head! Ned's lessons are still ringing true, and Jon's threats work, as the man begs forgiveness and pledges his loyalty before Jon makes his killing blow. Jon is kicking off his rule with a fair but firm sword. Good for him!
Meanwhile, in one of Littlefinger's brothels, the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven, who was basically making a porn parody of his own religion, is forced to walk naked through the streets by a group of Sparrows to pay for his sins. He asks Cersei to seek justice on the High Sparrow, the leader, for his humiliation. The High Sparrow turns out to be an old man who gives everything he has to charity (what a great guy, actually), to help others in need. Cersei surprises us all by agreeing with the High Sparrow over the High Septon, and tells him the High Septon now resides in the Red Keep dungeons for his hypocrisy. Who saw that coming?!
Of course, Cersei isn't all of a sudden a good person, and she gives Qyburn a letter to send to Littlefinger, which requires something from him "immediately." Uh oh. She then asks for an update on Qyburn's "work." He says it's moving forward, but that's pretty troubling to hear since he's working on a living person. What is he planning?!
After making her choice (which is the wrong one, have we mentioned that yet?), Sansa arrives to meet her new husband, and watching her bow to Roose and have Ramsay kiss her hand is just sickening. This. Is. So. Wrong. Reek keeps avoiding her, implying that some memories of his life as Theon still remain. Interestinggg. Ramsay later promises Littlefinger he'll never hurt Sansa, but that promise is probably not going to last. Because, duh. He's Ramsay. Later, Roose and Littlefinger discuss their new alliance, and Roose gives Littlefinger the letter he received from Cersei, all while Littlefinger pledges his loyalty to the Boltons over the Lannisters. What did the letter say?!
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Meanwhile, the world's worst road trip continues for Varys and Tyrion, as their long journey to Mereen starts to get the best of the latter. Tyrion gets a bad case of cabin fever, and shows off the Westeros version of "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" It's not flattering. But Varys pleads with him to stay in hiding so they aren't caught. Remember: Cersei put out a bounty on Tyrion's head, and dwarves everywhere are paying that price. But they briefly stop in Volantis so Tyrion can get a breath of fresh air, while covering his face, natch. In the town, he comes across a Red Priestess, preaching about the Lord of Light, and she seems to recognize him for a moment.
Ducking out her sight, the two men head to a brothel, where coincidence of all coincidences, the twice-disgraced Jorah Mormont is there as well! Side note: we may not have gotten any sight of Dany this episode, but hey, at least there was a hooker that looked like her! (Yeah, we know it's not the same. Jorah feels the same way.) Tyrion tries to sleep with one of the sassier hookers, but realizes he can't. Are his emotions catching up to him? He seems as shocked as we are. But before he can figure it out for himself, Jorah kidnaps him and says he's going to bring him to the queen! S--t!
We hope Tyrion's little detour was worth it, because it's landed him in some very hot water. Is Jorah hoping to gain favor with at least one side of the fight by bringing Tyrion in to Cersei for the bounty? Or is he going to bring him straight to Dany, to curry favor with the woman he loves but was spying on? Which queen does he mean?! The latter would obviously be better, since that was Tyrion's final destination anyway. But what about Varys?
What did you think of "High Sparrow," Game of Thrones fans? Hit the comments section below to weigh in!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.