Everyone in Westeros was hurtling toward their destinies this week on Game of Thrones, as shifting power dynamics gave rise to new alliances, strange bedfellows, and a very unfortunate betrothal for poor Sansa Stark. Meanwhile, Jon Snow made some tough decisions as Lord Commander, and Tyrion made some dumb mistakes that might cost him dearly.
Here's what happened in the latest episode of Game of Thrones, "High Sparrow."
Arya and the Art of Faceless Manhood
Although Arya (Maisie Williams) has gained entrance to the House of Black and White, it's not what she was hoping for. "I didn't come here to sweep floors," she whines to Jaqen H'ghar. She also didn't come to be smacked around by her fellow House residents, but that's exactly what happens, as another girl slaps Arya and demands to know who she is.
Turns out, it's a trick question: The correct answer is "no one," but she can't become a Faceless Man when she's still surrounded by the trappings of her life as Arya Stark. She ties up and tosses all her belongings into the sea, except for her sword — that, she hides. In return, she gets to see what's behind the House of Black and White's mysterious Door No. 1: She wins an exciting chance to… give a dead body a sponge bath! This isn't quite what we were expecting; from the look on Arya's face, she feels the same way.
After her first marriage ended in a poisonous mishap, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is getting a second shot at queendom with her wedding to Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman — who, thank God, seems to have hit puberty in the off-season and is now taller than his bride, making this whole union substantially less creepy). Meanwhile, Cersei (Lena Headey) realizes, to her dismay, that the people of King's Landing love Margaery — as does Tommen, because marital sexy times. Margaery, seeing a chance to drive the tiniest of wedges between her king and his mother, takes full advantage, and watching Cersei scramble to repair their relationship ("I was totally just joking when I threatened to have you strangled, haha!") is almost enough to make you feel sorry for her. Almost.
Meanwhile, the fundamentalist Sparrows are causing trouble in town, after catching the High Sexton in a compromising position and forcing him to take a naked walk of shame back to the castle. The sexton wants Cersei to execute the man known as the High Sparrow — who, despite being named after a songbird on drugs, is a very polite barefoot man, sort of a Westerosian mash-up of Jesus plus the Dalai Lama. Does Cersei see an opportunity to make an alliance? C'mon, like you even have to ask.
Sansa Getting Married
Last week's biggest mystery: Where are Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) headed? (In the books, they stayed in the Vail!) Now, we know: they're headed for Winterfell, where Littlefinger intends to marry Sansa off to Ramsay "The Psychotic Sadist" Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Sansa's tears earn her a harsh pep talk — enough with the crying, already! Not to mention, as Littlefinger points out, this marriage will put her within striking distance of the man who murdered her entire family.
Fortunately, by the time they arrive at Winterfell, Sansa has her game face on. She's so busy making nice with her betrothed, she doesn't even notice Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), aka Reek, hiding in a pile of garbage nearby. Meanwhile, this engagement is just another power play for Littlefinger, who hopes to ally with House Bolton now that the Lannisters are losing influence… but let's not forget that Roose Bolton murdered the only woman Petyr Baelish ever loved.
Tyrion Gets Out of his Wheelhouse
Tyrion's (Peter Dinklage) journey to Meereen is making him cranky, and a cranky Tyrion is an incautious Tyrion. He starts heckling a Red Priestess (Rila Fukushima) who is preaching the gospel of Daenerys in a public square, then hides in a brothel when he realizes that he's drawing attention to himself.
The brothel is primarily occupied by prostitutes who look like Daenerys Targaryen cosplayers, so it should surprise no one that this is where the exiled, forever friendzoned Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) ended up — or that he recognizes Tyrion and seizes the chance to kidnap him. "I'm taking you to the queen," he says, and Tyrion looks horrified, believing that he's being sent back to Cersei. Keep in mind, however, that Jorah's queen may or may not be the one who resides in King's Landing.
Brienne: The Beauty, the Brave, the Brokenhearted
If you've ever wondered how Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) came to be part of Renly Baratheon's security detail, here's your answer: He saved her from serious social embarrassment, and she hoped to return the favor by saving his life, if the need arose. Needless to say, she's still feeling pretty guilty about failing to make good on that plan, and renews her vow to avenge Renly's death. Keeping in mind that Brienne is basically the best fighter alive in Westeros, Stannis Baratheon had better watch his derriere.
Trouble On the Wall
Speaking of Stannis (Stephen Dillane): Now that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, he has to decline Stannis's offer of legitimacy and lordship. Also, this is awkward, but Jon kind of needs Stannis to leave, as he and his men are a drain on the Wall's already-paltry resources. Stannis reminds Jon that his new position has made him some enemies, but Jon seems to have it all under control. For one, he makes a ginger joke — everyone loves ginger jokes! — and makes the canny move of naming Thorne, his rival, first ranger.
However, Snow runs into trouble when he tries to send Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) to restore Greygard Castle, and Slynt refuses the order. We're not sure what Slynt thought was going to happen, but clearly, he misjudged Jon Snow's willingness to execute treasonous cowards. When he realizes his mistake, he starts sniveling: "I was wrong! Please mercy, mercy, I'm afraid. I've always been afraid."
Nice apology, Slynt, but the Wall is no place for cowards. And Jon, in a move that would've made Ned Stark proud, chops the man's head off in one blow.
Tell Us: Are you surprised by Jon Snow's power play? What do you think of Sansa's betrothed?