Game of Thrones · NIU · Scholars of the Throne

Cerseiously?

This Week’s Blog covers:

S5 Ep 3: “High Sparrow”

S5 Ep 4: “Sons of the Harpy”

S5 Ep 5: “Kill the Boy”

S5 Ep 6: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

This Week’s Highlight(s):

Jon Snow is featured again as the highlight of the week. He is now the Lord Commander and is faced with some very difficult decisions. In “High Sparrow,” he must overcome his hesitation and execute Janos Slynt for treason. Although Janos is unarmed and pleading for mercy, Jon Snow must make the decision to behead Janos. If Jon would have let Janos live, he would continue to undermine his authority and also cause more dissonance between the Night’s Watch. He is really coming into his own and his position. Check out this behind the scenes featurette below on the scene.

Jon’s leadership continues to grow as Lord Commander. He holds his oath to the Night’s Watch, despite being offered the Stark last name and Warden of the North from Stannis. Jon is very much like his father, Ned, in regards to their honor and duty. In “Kill the Boy,” Jon has a great conversation with Maester Aemon about his new position as Lord Commander. Aemon states,

“You will find little joy in your command, but with luck you will the strength to do what needs to be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy, and let the man be born”

Jon’s decision to unite the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch will be a decision with many consequences, but Jon Snow knows what must be done. It will not be the easiest thing, but he realizes that just because you were born on the wrong side of the wall, doesn’t mean you should be condemned to die.

This Week’s Lowlife(s):

Obviously Ramsay Bolton is the lowlife of the week. We have already seen examples of his sickness through Theon and the men he flayed after promising safety. He truly does not care about anyone but himself and the opinion of his father Roose. He breaks the lowlife meter when he rapes Sansa. It is an absolutely shocking and painful scene. Check out the WatchersontheWall.com collection of recaps and reactions to this horrific scene. I really hope Sansa can take back Winterfell and avenge what has been taken from her.

Thought Provoking Theme(s):

Fear

Undoubtedly, fear is an emotion that runs rampant throughout the Known World. Those who live in this universe face so many terrifying humans, creatures, and obstacles, but that fear is rarely expressed. In this set of episodes, fear becomes a major theme. In “Kill the Boy” we see Hizdhar bravely face Dany’s dragons declaring Valar Morghulis, just to find out that he only said that so he wouldn’t die a coward. Dany commends his courage in admitting fear, spares his life, and even chooses to marry him to establish power in Meereen.

A different kind of fear comes from Grey Worm in “Kill the Boy.” Grey Worm’s journey has been about personhood and self-value, despite being Unsullied. Missandei has been a very important part of this journey. Recovering from the Sons of the Harpy attack, Grey Worm wakes and admits that he was ashamed by the fear he felt during the fight. This fear, however, was not due to his life being at risk, it was because he feared he would never see Missandei again. It’s really refreshing to see a character regain humanity, rather than lose it.

Religion

The theme of religion resurges to the forefront of the Game of Thrones narrative in these latest episodes. R’hllor burns brightly in Volantis, the Many-Faced God mystifies in Braavos, and the Faith of the Seven wreaks havoc in King’s Landing. From what I can tell, the Faceless Men are part-assassin, part-mystical religious order. They worship the Many-Faced God, the God of Death. The Faceless Men believe they are servants of death. I am not sure where this storyline is going, but I am definitely interested.

In order to divide House Tyrell from their tightening grip on King Tommen, as well as secure support from the High Sparrow, Cersei reestablishes the Faith Militant.

Cerseiously

This group enforces the words of the Seven Pointed Star by force of arms. They begin to impose their puritanical views all across King’s Landing by carrying out attacks on blasphemous people and establishments like liquor vendors and brothels, including Petyr Baelish’s. The High Sparrow and the Faith Militant grow stronger each day. Even King Tommen is restricted from accessing the High Sparrow when he goes to demand Loras’ release. For being a religious group, they know no mercy. If I were Cersei, I would watch my back. These do not seem like the allies that I would want.

westerosbaptistchurch

Eugene Simon, who plays Lancel Lannister, reacts to his character’s developments in this Vulture.com article. Eugene explains that after Lancel was severely injured, he meets the High Sparrow who offers “an answer that became the answer to everything, because that’s what totalitarian religion does. It’s sort of pure and righteous, but righteous is the most dangerous word in the English dictionary.” While I would enjoy seeing what the High Sparrow would do to Petyr Baelish, the Faith Militant show exactly what is so terrifying within abuse of religion.

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8 thoughts on “Cerseiously?

  1. Regarding the abuse of religion, it’s been mentioned elsewhere that the Sparrows come across as a bunch of power-hungry thugs. Truth. There is a definite line between true humility intended to hold people accountable and a sick desire to violently punish offenders that have been judged by humans. That judgment is so incredibly dangerous and contrary to the heart and doctrinal teachings of most religions.

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  2. Hmm, Kit Harington is certainly more articulate talking about his character than the guy playing Lancel–guess it’s a Lannister thing. Actually, I preferred that critique from Harrington to what the showrunners do on “Inside the Episode.” He was getting into parallels through out the series and all sorts of thematic material the showrunners who’s touch. I guess Jon Snow knows something, Ygritte.

    So I am not really satisfied with the explanation that the High Sparrow is some sort of powerful manipulative type. It would be cooler if we had a sense that the appeal of “The Faith” was based more substantively in the social inequality that the Lannister regime is fostering in King’s Landing. How many religious cults have bad add looking rangers, fully armed, outside their Temple?

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  3. I think that many have pointed out the similarities in the Dany/Jon Snow story-lines and I think that Jon’s execution of Janos was similar in it’s complexity to Dany’s choice to execute Mossador earlier in the season. Both of these executions are an exercise in power and attempting to secure loyalty. Unfortunately, I think that each of them tends to miscalculate the efficacy of some of their moves.

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  4. I do think that fear is a strong emotion that is shown throughout the series. It gives characters the strength they need to being people closer to them, but it also gives them crippling fears that inhibit them from free thinking. The show is doing well at showing just how fear impacts the people of Westeros.

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  5. My knock on the Faith Militant is their absence of moral relativity. It scares me that victim-less crimes result in insane forms of retribution. Live and let live works just fine for me and I really do connect with those characters more than ones who are driven by a desire to do right by their God or savior.

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  6. I laughed a lot at the Westeros baptist church meme that you put on your blog. Religion has been a big factor of these episodes. Also, I did not consider fear for these episodes but can see how this would affect Jorah, and Janos Slynt. I believe fear will be a big topic moving forward with the season especially with the white walkers becoming more prevalent.

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  7. Yeah those Sparrows seem too high and mighty to be judging everyone all the while pretending they are all humble and stuff. Oh, look at us with our ragged robes and bare feet, we’re so humble…..yeah….keep telling yourself that.

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  8. Ha! Great title! I agree that if Jon failed to assisinate Slynt that he would have continued to undermine his authority. However, I don’t think this was the best move – he’s already losing friends at castle black, particularly the older generals who voted for Thorne. I love that Jon almost always does whats right (again, he is his father’s son) but I can’t help but feel that he’s digging himself a hole.

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