Monday 23 April 2018

Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: It enters implausible realms even by its own crazy standards

Sophie Turner and Aidan Gillen in Game of Thrones

Ellen E Jones

Tywin Lannister got what was coming to him, but Game of Thrones undoubtedly lost something when actor Charles Dance exited in series four.

Stepping in now to supply that missing thespian gravitas is Jonathan Pryce. His character, the Christ-like High Sparrow, has been heavily foreshadowed and in last night’s plot-twist-packed episode he finally turned up, bringing with him humbling lessons for all on the denial of the ego.

In Braavos, Arya had finally embarked on her Karate Kid-style assassins’ training, but found she must relinquish all possessions in order to become “faceless” - and was that Fresh Meat’s Faye Marsay playing her fellow apprentice? Cersei may remain top of Arya’s kill list, but the queen mum was slipping down the rankings elsewhere, thanks to Margaery’s manipulation of new King Tommen.

Then again Margaery did have to — shudder — actually consummate her marriage to the boy king, so perhaps she’s earned that influence. Only Jon Snow is going up in the world. He cemented his power as new Lord Commander of the Watch by beheading the baldy ranger who dared give him lip, as Stannis Baratheon looked on approvingly in the background.

So Snow won’t be riding on Winterfell anytime soon, but the old Stark seat has more unexpected saviour in the form of Goth Sansa, persuaded implausibly by Lord Baelish to marry Ramsay Bolton, despite her natural distaste for the clan that murdered her brother and mother.

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Sansa has some experience with Westeros-style matchmaking, but Ramsay Bolton, the man who cheerfully chopped off Theon Greyjoy’s knackers, makes King Joffrey look a dream hubby.

Luckily, father-in-law-to-be Roose Bolton had some counsel for his son: “The best way to forge a lasting alliance isn’t by peeling a man’s skin off, the best way is by marriage.” Kudos to actor Iwan Rheon for responding with the perfect “Doh! Now you tell me” expression.

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