Well, it turns out we may have been right last week when we pointed out that you should absolutely, under no circumstances, trust Littlefinger. Sansa may not have full realised the implications of her proposed marriage to Ramsay Bolton (she wrongly – possibly fatally – sees his father Roose as the real danger), but judging by the loaded stares of Ramsay’s now out-of-work concubines, Winterfell is definitely no longer the safe haven for her that it once was, no matter how many times people tell her “The North remembers”.
While we’re at it, having slightly better luck is the newly thrones (and wed) Tommen Baratheon, who seems all too willing to allow Margaery to wrap him around her little finger.
Essentially, King’s Landing has now become the site of a powerplay between Margaery and Cersei – who the winner will be remains unclear, but again, we suspect that Margaery may come to rue openly mocking Cersei.
Indeed, it appears that Cersei may have found another Qyburn-esque tool. This episode sees the first appearance of the ‘High Sparrow’ (Jonathan Pryce), a man who actually practices what he preaches – unlike the High Septon, who receives one of the more memorable methods of humiliation in the show’s history.
Essentially, these three plot strands represent the game being played, with this particular mode being the ‘playing with fire’ stage. Sansa, Littlefinger, Margaery and Cersei are all fiddling with forces that they may or may not be able to control, and more than one of them will get burnt.
Elsewhere, this episode takes a great stride in furthering Jon Snow’s character, what with his not only officially refusing Stannis’s offer, but executing Janos Slynt after the latter openly defies his orders.
It’s a pivotal moment: having begged for mercy, you suspect his father Ned or brother Robb may have let him live. Jon, however, has no such room for sentimentality – hence why he’s still alive.
The first couple of episodes got the necessary planning out of the way, but ‘High Sparrow’ is the first time we see any real forward movement, and is a welcome relief because of that. Coupled with a last-minute reveal – in which things look very bad for Tyrion indeed, if they weren’t already – the stakes continue to be raised.