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The Game of Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 3, The High Sparrow

The Game of Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 3, The High Sparrow


Yassss, actual Queen

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Helen Sloan/courtesy HBO

As each week passes here in the Game of Game of Thrones, the number of total points scored continues to dwindle, and we here running the numbers are beginning to wonder how this season will rank in the overall legacy of the most entertaining show on television. Perhaps all those disparaging things I said last week about Daenerys' garbage season really just apply to the show as a whole this year, but I'm not ready to throw such strong words around quite yet. It's possible Season Four spoiled us last year, when the top-10 insanity of The Purple Wedding left us gagging all of two episodes in. (It also might be the case that watching this show while numerically quantifying its entertainment value can skew one's perspective — possibly!) But if you go back and track where the series' Tentpole Shockers have landed prior to that (we're talking Smoke Babies, Astapor-torchings, and of course, Red Weddings), we're not even close to behind schedule.

And hey, last night wasn't without its thrills: we had the return of Jorah Mormont and his waste-no-time kidnapping of Tyrion (+10), as well as the kind-of comeback of Gregor "Abomination Zombie Mountain" Clegane — surely a bit of vindication for their owners. We even got another beheading last night — that of Janos Slynt by Lord Commander Jon Snow (+20). Still, it so closely echoed last week's beheading in both method and possible ramifications for the beheader that it felt a little too familiar to be shocking, except perhaps for all you hardcore Slyntheads out there. (He was born in 260 AC to a butcher. He died in 300 AC by beheading. He was an asshole.)

But why are we talking about a piddly little 20-point slaying when Margaery Baratheon née Tyrell just slayed this entire episode's face?

Game of Thrones

Margaery Baratheon just slayed this entire episode's face

Let's put this in a bit of context. There were 256 total points scored last night. Seventy-six of those were for the Marge. That's nearly one-third of last night's points. The next highest single-week score is Tyrion in week one with 56 points, mostly due to a 40-point sea-crossing. What do you say we break down this career-making game?

First, uh, she became the queen (+25). Sure, it was via a marriage to human used-Kleenex Tommen Baratheon, but at least it'll be a while before he figures out how to do sex —

Oh, wait, she totally banged Tommen Baratheon (+30 to each). This was something I did not need to see at all, which of course meant it was destined to be a scene on Game of Thrones. Tommen also picks up a little extra pointage from this interaction just from pure enthusiasm ("This is all I want to do, all day, every day for the rest of my life!" +5). I have to say, as much as Margaery racks up points by just going there on a regular basis, the girl has just about the worst luck in guys — Renly (gay), Joffrey (hellspawn), and now Tommen (tiny boy). I guess being queen means making some sacrifices.

It does sweeten the deal a little to be in a position where you can just torment the living daylights out of your mother-in-law, which is exactly how Margaery finished out this GOAT performance. You kind of had to wonder how many of these lines she'd been saving up to deploy once she safely outranked Cersei; the shutout was that brutal. Honestly, there was so much shade I could barely even see my keyboard clearly enough to keep score ("I wish we had some wine for you, it's a bit early in the day for us," DAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG. +10). But let's at least honor the best of Margaery's marathon dunk sesh ("Whats the proper way to address you? Queen mother or dowager queen?" OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT. +10).

So much shade I could barely see clearly enough to keep score

Cersei had no choice but to grin and take it, though she did get a cute little jab in during a stroll with Tommen ("Do you think she's intelligent? I can't quite tell." +5). Still, it's a little sad when your only sounding board for shit-talking is your 14-year-old son. Cersei then spent the rest of the episode getting to know the leader of the religious extremist group the Sparrows (who were back this week, along with Lancel Lannister — look at you, buddy, still hanging in there, publicly shaming the High Septon and earning +10!), but something tells me it's not because she's been born again in the flames of Margaery's roasting.

Margaery's performance is proof that you can still win the Game of Game of Thrones without shedding a single drop of blood — and sometimes, it's even more fun that way. By contrast, Daenerys and her gang weren't even in this episode (though she still gets +5 for being influential enough to inspire Volantian prostitute cosplay).

And the House of Black and White has so far proven to be a kind of formless, vaguely Lynchian allegory labyrinth. Which is okay, for now — who doesn't love a good allegory labyrinth! I should say, there's been some debate at GoGoT HQ about pointage assignment for the Faceless Men vs. noted Faceless Man Jaqen H'ghar, and for now we're going to default to Jaqen for all acts performed by the man Tom Wlaschiha. So that's +10 to Jaqen for poisoning that guy for reasons I'm not fully convinced we'll ever understand. Arya, meanwhile, changes up her look, rocking a dress for the first time since season one (+10), and scores a +5 just for her surprise deployment of the c-word, which somehow still managed to be adorable.

We didn't get too much of our favorite wacky road show Brienne 'n' Pod after last week's lil' rampage, but they each get +5 this week — Brienne for her actually very moving story about the kindness of Renly Baratheon (seriously, RIP, still the most missed character) and Pod for starting a fire like, really, really fast!

Game of Thrones

-100 to HBO for showing us those flayed bodies

I think somewhere up there I said Margaery had the worst luck with men, but I'm now realizing that is extremely incorrect: Sansa Stark is by far the most cursed in the matrimonial bliss department. This week we learned Littlefinger has been taking her to grody ol' Moat Cailin this whole time to meet her new fiancé, grody ol' Ramsay Bolton (who wins an off-screen +20 for flaying that random northern lord and lady who refused to bend the knee to the new Bolton regime. Also, HBO loses 100 points for deciding we needed to see the bodies. Guys. Chill out. We still think you're edgy, don't worry). The Boltons are nasty, but not a fun kind of nasty. There's nothing identifiably human about them, so there's no reason to care about their drama. Anyway, there's no pointage for this engagement for either Sansa or Ramsay, because the latter is probably going to get murdered in his sleep by the former, and the former has to marry Ramsay Bolton. If anything, Littlefinger gets +10 for continuing to Littlefinger around. In the Game of Game of Thrones, scheming for the sake of scheming definitely keeps you on the board.

The Jorah Mormont pop-up performance in tonight's finale was a good sign — a good solid "hey, that guy!" twist that didn't rely on graphic adult content, just a longstanding investment in this wonderful little show about dragons and butts. Pretty much everyone has a game plan now, whether for vengeance or for just getting rid of their in-laws — now it's time to see some of those plans get thwarted in unexpected ways. Just please let Sansa murder Ramsay. Please. Or at least get the folks on Bear Island to write him a strongly worded letter. We'll take just about anything at this point.

This week's top scoring characters (calculated from this total b.s. point guide)
  1. Margaery Baratheon (76)
  2. Tommen Baratheon (36)
  3. Jon Snow (21)
  4. Ramsay Bolton (21)
  5. Arya Stark (16)
  6. Tyrion Lannister (11)
  7. Jorah Mormont (11)
  8. Jaqen H'ghar (11)
  9. Petyr Baelish (11)
  10. Lancel Lannister (11)

This week's league rankings
  1. Casey Newton (64, 178 total)
  2. Liz Lopatto (82, 152 total)
  3. Chris Plante (18, 114 total)
  4. Kwame Opam (18, 112 total)
  5. Adi Robertson (27, 109 total)
  6. Dieter Bohn (12, 76 total)
  7. Bryan Bishop (7, 59 total)
  8. Ross Miller (32, 48 total)
  9. Arielle Duhaime-Ross (1, 37 total)