Hola, Thrones fans. After the death of Hodor, we needed a period of respectful mourning so this week’s we have a bit to catch up on.
The trauma of ‘The Door’ a couple of weeks ago has given way to more familiar intrigues and scheming that make the show’s set piece bloodlettings so compellingly watchable.
The High Sparrow, that devilishly cunning, yet outwardly unassuming power usurper continues to run rings around the Lannisters and the Tyrells. Having lured King Tommen up onto his perch with assurances that he will be reunited with his wife Margaery – after her atonement – he had another surprise in store for the former powerbrokers of King’s Landing, by out manoeuvring an attempt to retake the city and claiming the popular support of the people.
That High Sparrow is such a shrewd operator. See how high he flies. He has said in the past he does not fear death, and in GoT terms that is probably a good thing because his end will be assuredly bloody and brutal when it comes.
Isolated and disgraced Jaime Lannister, who doesn’t have too many friends among the Faith Militant is banished to the provinces, where he assumes command of the siege of Riverrun, but finds a belligerent Blackfish in no mood to surrender his fortress. Still he is reunited with his surly Northern BFF, Bron (Jerome Flynn) and with a force of 8000 Lannister soldiers at his disposal he must find a way to entreat the Tullys to come out or sit down for a miserable couple of years of siege that will prevent him from pursuing his grudge against the Faith Militant and the everyone’s favourite religious extremist, the High Sparrow.
Two old stagers have returned to the fold (in separate plot lines) over the past couple of weeks: Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) stepped out of the frozen north to rescue catatonic Bran and the sled-dragging Meera from certain death as they are chased down by wights; and Sandor Clegane, the late King Joffrey’s sledgehammer (played by Rory McCann), turns up alive and well in the care of Septon Ray and his peace-loving religious commune. Having been nursed back to health, Clegane remains driven by anger and hatred and if ever he bumps into that head-cracking man slayer, Brienne of Tarth, there will be a rumpus.
Being in the employ of the Faceless Men has had its ups and downs for Arya Stark and she would readily admit that losing her eyes for a few weeks while being mercilessly beaten with a stick by The Waif was a pretty low point. But having got back into the good books of Jaqen H’ghar, she promptly undoes all her hard work by warning Lady Crane of a plot to kill her. What a silly girl!
It is not the easiest thing in the world to avoid an assassin who can assume the face of anyone, so Arya rolls the dice and takes her chance. Someone really should explain to her though that gambling is a mug’s game as she obliviously bumps into The Waif (masquerading as an old woman) and finds herself on the receiving end of an assassin’s dagger. This girl really knows how to make life hard for herself; now critically injured and penniless this could be the end for her.
Jon Snow and Sansa continue their tour of the Northern houses trying to muster support against the Boltons and the Night King’s army of the dead. But it isn’t going too well, so far they have gathered a handful of men from House Mormont, led by the precociously slappable Lady Lyanna.
Though they can rely on the Wildlings and WunWun, whose giant physique is always good value when there is violence to be done, Sansa knows they need more men and more time and as the episode closes she writes a note to be carried by a raven. To whom and to where the bird flies, who knows?
With three episodes to go, you could say this is bubbling along nicely. Maybe next week we’ll introduce a sweepstake to see who is still breathing when the final credits roll on 28 June.
Game of Thrones is broadcast on Mondays at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic.