Jon Snow passes on holy coitus, Cersei unleashes the holy warriors, Jaime figures out how to use his hand, and we lose our first main character of the year in Meereen. Like blood? You’re about to get very, very happy.
Up at the Wall, it appears that Jon is fully accepting his responsibility as Lord Commander. He basically gives up his hatred for the Boltons to ask for more men. And then, there’s Melisandre’s subtle-as-a-bonfire sexual overtures. It might appear that he came out ahead by wisely rebuffing her advances. But she’s on to him now. Her final statement shows that she’s in his head. With that one phrase, “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” she shows him that she knows which buttons to push. When it comes to manipulating men, she’s like water on concrete: she finds every crack and crevice. She will find a way to get Jon on her side, mark my words.
They did a nice job of humanizing Stannis, though, which was nice to see. Not only does he clearly love his daughter, but he’s also carrying a tremendous amount of guilt for basically giving his daughter greyscale. Still, he’s a hard man. And he thinks that the Lord of Light will help him beat the snow to Winterfell. I would not be so sure of that. Because Winter is coming (hence, the flurries at the Wall).
While Jaime and Bronn had an exciting battle, it essentially did nothing. They’re on their way, but they still don’t seem to have a plan.
The same could be said for the titular Sons of the Harpy. We lost at least one important character in Ser Barristan Selmy, and Grey Worm is at best severely injured, but what was actually accomplished? That plot needs to move. I felt that way in the novels as well, but it’s more glaring on TV. I’m bored with Meereen until Tyrion gets there. Or Drogon does.
Probably the two most important events in terms of plot development happened early in the episode. First, Cersei named the High Sparrow as the new High Septon. And, she armed the Faith Militant. But Lancel Lannister is one of the Militant, and he was having creepy cousin sex with Cersei back in season one. And they arrested Ser Loras Tyrell, which has King Tommen scrambling to please his queen. Especially since she went full on Lysistrata on him, withholding sex until he gives her what she wants. This is going to blow up in Cersei’s face, and pretty quickly, too. Lots of people are about to die and/or get tortured in holy interrogations, so chaos will come to King’s Landing after all.
Poor Sansa. Poor, doomed Sansa. The show is doing a decent job selling Littlefinger as her least bad option, and he actually may be by default. He has no idea what Ramsay Bolton is capable of. They’ve done a nice bit of costuming by giving her heavy, chain-link jewelry to wear, because she is definitely trapped. Littlefinger thinks he’s using her against two sides in the war to come. Either he’s solidifying his position in the Eyrie through an alliance with the Warden of the North, or he’s giving Stannis a prize for conquering Winterfell. Either way, he’s not making the move for Sansa’s benefit, no matter what he says. But, far more likely, Ramsay will abuse her and Littlefinger will gain nothing from it. Or maybe I’m wrong. I’d be very happy to be wrong.
What is definite, though, is that war will be marching to Winterfell, and the fanatical cleansing is just beginning in King’s Landing.