“High Sparrow” is the third episode in season 5 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” In it, a religious sect threatens King’s Landing while Sansa returns to Winterfell.
1. Arya Wants to Become Faceless
The episode begins with Arya Stark sweeping inside the House of Black and White. She approaches Jaqen H’ghar and tells him that she’s been sweeping the floor for days, asking why he hasn’t made her his apprentice yet and begun to teach her how to be a Faceless Man. Jaqen H’ghar rebuffs her.
Later, a young woman goes to visit Arya in her chambers at the House. She begins to assault Arya, and Arya goes for her sword. But Jaqen H’ghar interrupts the fight. He tells Arya to become no one, a term for the Faceless Men, she needs to get rid of Arya Stark’s things. Arya then goes to the water outside the building and tosses all her belongings into it… except her sword, Needle, given to her by her bastard brother, Jon Snow. She hides it in nearby rocks instead.
Back inside the House of Black and White, Arya is sweeping again. Jaqen H’ghar comes to her and brings her down a winding stairwell lit by fire. They enter a room where the girl who had assaulted Arya presides over the corpse of a man. They undress the corpse and wash it.
2. Royal Trouble at King’s Landing
At King’s Landing, Cersei is shown riding a palanquin to her son Tommen’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell. She is not pleased with their union but puts on a happy face. Later that night, Tommen and Margaery consummate their union as King Tommen and Queen Margaery. Margaery does some post-coital digging into Tommen’s relationship with his mother, Cersei, then does some idea-planting into the impressionable young king’s head.
The next morning Cersei is shown walking with Tommen across the castle grounds. Tommen suggests sending her back to Casterly Rock. Cersei immediately goes to see Margaery, but seems more submissive than aggressive in the conversation… until she leaves Margaery with fire in her eyes.
She goes to send a message to Littlefinger via raven.
Meanwhile, a new extremist sect of religion called Sparrows has emerged. According to the Game of Thrones Wikipedia:
The Sparrows are a religious movement that arose within the ranks of the Faith of the Seven. It is mostly composed of the lowest and humblest of the Holy Faith, and was formed in response to the suffering inflicted on the smallfolk of Westeros during the War of the Five Kings.
They are led by the so-called “High Sparrow”, a travelling Septon.
The High Septon was caught by the sparrows in a brothel owned by Little Finger. The High Septon reports to Cersei and tells her he wants the traveling High Septon of the sparrows executed. Cersei goes to meet him. She finds him serving food to the poor.
3. Back at Winterfell
Elsewhere, Theon Greyjoy, now known as Reek, is found walking the grounds of his captor Ramsay Snow “Bolton” at Winterfell. Reek serves Ramsay a meal as Ramsay discusses the dangers currently facing the North with his father, Lord Roose Bolton. Lord Bolton informs Ramsay that they lack the manpower to hold the North if other houses rise up against them now that Tywin Lannister is dead. Lord Bolton tells Ramsay it’s time for him to get married to help hold the North together. It’s Sansa Stark.
Petyr Baelish, AKA “Littlefinger”, is tasked with delivering Sansa to Ramsay. Sansa doesn’t want to marry Ramsay, but Littlefinger tells her that if she rejects Ramsay she will be running all her life and suggests she make the smarter decision.
Unbeknownst to the duo, Brienne and Podrick are in hot pursuit.
Later, Sansa is presented before Ramsay and Lord Roose Bolton at Winterfell. Sansa is shown to her quarters.
Littlefinger receives his message from Cersei’s raven.
4. Commander Jon Snow Beheads Janos
At the Wall, Jon Snow is in a meeting with Stannis Baratheon, who had offered to make him Jon Stark. But Jon declines Stannis’s offer because of his oath to the Night’s Watch, especially now that he was voted Commander. Jon then informs Stannis that his army is no longer welcome at Castle Black. Stannis says his men will march within a fortnight.
Later, Jon Snow is forced to behead Lord Janos Slynt after he defies an order. Stannis watches from afar.
5. Tyrion Gets Captured
In the last bit of the episode, Tyrion stops at a whorehouse with Varys in Volantis on their way to Meera.
While there, Ser Jorah Mormont spies Tyrion and kidnaps him.