Editor’s Note: This recap contains spoilers for this and previous episodes in the Game of Thrones series.
Still working toward taking control of the city, Cersei sends Mace Tyrell to Braavos, leaving her with one fewer person on the Small Council to question her practices. She also meets with the High Sparrow from last episode and gives him permission to arm his followers in the name of the King, essentially militarizing the religious fanatical group. The High Sparrow warns her that all sinners are equal in the eyes of the gods. However, Cersei pays his warning little heed.
Almost immediately, the Sparrows begin enacting their own brand of justice on the streets of King’s Landing, harming or outright killing anyone who violates their religious teachings. As homosexuality is considered a sin in the eyes of the Seven, they arrest Margaery’s brother Loras Tyrell, and lock him in a holding cell.
Margaery is understandably bitter about her brother’s imprisonment, and goes to her husband Tommen, who has no knowledge of his mother’s plans. His attempts to get Cersei to release Loras and then to speak with the High Sparrow, who is now the High Septon, end in vain. To make matters worse, the citizens of King Landing’s call him a ‘bastard’ and an ‘abomination.’ Margaery is left furious with his incompetence.
Since Stannis does not have the number of soldiers he needs to take Winterfell and Jon refuses to get the Brothers of the Night’s Watch involved in the politics of the kingdom, the two find themselves at an uneasy standstill.
Stannis has an adorable moment with his daughter where we learn it was his refusal to give up on her when she got grayscale that saved her life, even though everyone else told him she would die. However, it seems this same persistence is getting him nowhere with Jon.
Melisandre, the Lord of Light worshipping priestess allied with Stannis, attempts to get Jon to join their side using more carnal methods. However, as he is still in love with his late wildling lover Ygritte, he refuses her advances. As Melisandre claims to sense a great power within Jon, it is doubtful she will give up on him any time soon.
In the crypts of her ancestral home, Sansa observes the stature of her late aunt Lyanna Stark. Littlefinger tells the story of how Rhaegar choosing Lyanna over his own wife was the catalyst for the first war. Sansa believes Rhaegar kidnapped and raped her aunt, but a look on Littlefinger’s face shows he may believe otherwise.
On their way out of the crypts, Littlefinger reveals his plan to her. He says he will return to King’s Landing to meet with Cersei while Sansa stays in Winterfell with the Boltons. Sansa is against this plan, but Littlefinger assures her she is more powerful than she realizes. This would have been quite the touching moment had it not ended with a parting kiss that leaves the viewers with a sour taste in their mouth.
Bronn and Jaime have finally arrived in Dorne, and Bronn is beginning to question their mission. At this point, Cersei and Jaime’s relationship and their children are an open secret that few acknowledge, but Jaime is still adamant in calling Myrcella his “niece.” Bronn seems skeptical of Jaime’s answers, but doesn’t push the matter.
Their stealth mission is ruined only a day later when four men on horseback spot them. Their attempts to talk their way out of the confrontation fail, and less than 48 hours into their “stealth mission” four are dead and their cover is nearly blown.
Meanwhile, in another part of Dorne, the audience is introduced to the Sand Snakes, Oberyn’s bastard daughters. Though their uncle Prince Doran of Dorne has no desire to go to war to avenge his brother’s death, Oberyn’s lover and children clearly do. The captain of the ship that brought Jaime and Bronn to Dorne has told the Sand Snakes of the men’s arrival, making things even more dangerous for them.
Outside of the city, Tyrion finds out his captor, Jorah Mormont, is taking him to Daenerys, not Cersei. Tyrion tries to wheedle Jorah’s intentions out of him, but a few of his remarks hit a bit too close to home and Tyrion earns himself a punch in the face.
Things are just as bad in Meereen as they’ve always been. Ser Barristan tells Dany stories of her brother Rhaegar. This peace lasts only a moment before she must adamantly refuses requests to reopen the fighting pits.
Down in the city, the Sons of the Harpy launch a full on assault. With the help of some citizens they set a trap for the Unsullied, Dany’s personal army. The ensuing battles ends with staggering casualties for Dany’s side and quite possibly the loss Barristan Selmy but Grey Worm, one of Dany’s personal and military advisors.
Nearly halfway through the season, and we are finally getting the ball rolling. This episode was the perfect mix of plot setup and actual plot progression.
The series seems to be setting up for some sort of big reveal with Rhaegar, based upon the two lengthy conversations on him.
Honestly, I’m skeptical about how easily the Unsullied were ambushed by the Sons of the Harpy. The Unsullied are supposed to be the best group of fighters money can buy, yet they were slaughtered in less than ten minutes. True we did get to see Barristan Selmy in action because of it, but it still felt too much senseless violence.
All that aside, I am glad the season is finally taking off. Hopefully, the next episodes will keep up the momentum going.
Here’s the link to last week’s recap in case you missed it!
Have a theory about Rhaegar Targaryen you just have to share? Think you know a way for Cersei or Dany to get themselves out of this miss? Tell us in the comments!
Rosie Brown is a sophomore prospective journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.