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article imageReview: Game of Thrones Episode 3: Headless men, faceless men

By Brian Booker     Apr 27, 2015 in Entertainment
Another week, and another stunning tour through Westeros. While the first two episodes had the distinct feel of a slow but needed hang over from last season, episode 3 starts to lay the groundwork for what promises to be exciting plot threads this season.
Arya is busy trying to sweep her way into becoming “no one” in the House of Black and White, but she's still every bit as impatient and hell bent on revenge as she ever was. “Jaqen H'ghar” urges Arya to stop being Arya, but while she puts up a solid effort, there are some things she's not quite ready to let go of.
In King's Landing, there's a new Queen, and her name is Margaery. It's finally official with Tommen and Margaery married before the gods. Unlike some other weddings in the series, this one gets consummated, over and over again by the sounds of it. If anything, it's refreshing to see Tommen happy as he's the only innocent and caring king to sit the Iron Throne in quite some time.
Afterwards, the new queen meets with the old queen, and while everything is all smiles and blushes on the surface, underneath the facade both appear to be plotting to remove, or at least control or minimize one another.
Meanwhile, Littlefinger and Sansa Stark continue their journey across Westeros, and Baelish's plan finally comes into clear view when Moat Cailin emerges on the horizon. Little Finger plans to send Sansa home to Winterfell in a proposed marriage with Ramsay Bolton. Sansa begins to protest, but as usual Baelish uses clever words to get his way. When Sansa does return to Winterfell, it's clear from the first few moments that she's no longer the innocent and naive young girl who left her childhood home behind all those years ago.
Brienne of Tarth is still hot on Sansa's trail, with Podrick trailing at her heels. We find out more of Pod's background, and just how far a name can go in Westeros. His surname “Payne” once got him out of a noose, and pressed into service for House Lannister. We also find out why Brienne was so loyal in her service to the late King Renly. While many of the major turning points in her life start with a clash of swords, her loyalty started with a dance.
Back in King's Landing, a new force is taking the city by storm, the so-called Sparrows. As we found out, Cersei's meek cousin Lancel has metamorphosed into an intimidating fanatic, and something tells me that he won't be getting pushed around by Tyrion, Bronn, Cersei or anyone else for that matter. Now, he answers only to the so-called High Sparrow. The High Septon himself learns of the Sparrows' uncompromising dedication to the Faith, and finds himself quite literally exposed by their fanaticism after being paid a visit while at a whorehouse.
Speaking of the episode's namesake, we get to meet the High Sparrow himself. While his followers may be brutal and fanatical, the High Sparrow himself appears to be a calm, collected, and humble man. Cersei pays him a visit at a sort of makeshift soup kitchen, and appears to be quite taken by the mysterious, barefooted man. Given the Sparrow's dedication to ideals, not personal benefit, however, Cersei may be wading into the midst of a storm she can't control.
Up at the Wall, Jon Snow refuses the offer he can't refuse from King Stannis and declines to take up the Stark name and cause. The Watch is Jon's family now. Jon Snow also faces his first challenge to leadership, though it comes from the cowardly Janos Slynt, not the hated but tough-as-nails Alliser Thorne. Despite not having the courage to fight during the Wildling attack on the wall, Slynt brazenly denies Snow's command to man and repair the derelict Grey Guard fort. Ignoring Snow's warning that he's giving a command, not an offer, Slynt ends up losing his head and tells Snow to stick the order up his “bastard ass,” though not quite in that order.
Meanwhile, after years of pulling the strings behind the scenes in Westeros, Varys is finding himself confronted with a force he can't control: Tyrion's boredom. After being cooped up for too long on the road, Tyrion insists on some freedom upon reaching the city of Volantis, and to no one's surprise he ends up in a whorehouse. As we found out earlier, however, whorehouses are becoming dangerous places in the Ice and Fire universe.
The pacing in this episode was deliberate but tight, the action well-paced, and the characters stuck to their character, without being too predictable. While the episode was not as frantic and didn't provide an edge of your seat thrill like episodes of the past, it helped cultivate a deeper emotional bond with the cast, as they begin to move on from the fallout of last season.
It would have been nice to get some updates on Daenerys, but with the exception of a whorehouse surprise appearance, we're left in the dark on the Mother of Dragons.
Final Score: 9.5/10 (excellent)
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