About a Girl (A few thoughts on “High Sparrow”) #GameOfThrones
Season 5 Episode 3
“High Sparrow” or “About a Girl”
“How is it that ‘no one’ came to be
surrounded by Arya Stark’s things?”
— A Man, about A Girl
Oh, what brave, new waters you traverse, Game of Thrones…
“High Sparrow” was really and truly terrific. It danced, if you will, between faithful adaptation and whole cloth invention, creating in its sweeping movements one of the finest hours since its inception.
Craftily directed by Mark Mylod off of a Dan & Dave script, “High Sparrow” leaves the first two season five episodes far behind as the shackles of new season introductions are over and we dip our leathery wings into the blood pool season narrative.
There’s not really a miss here, though the gratuitous brothel scene with the High Septa is certainly suspect. Still, we can forgive the scene for what surrounded it.
It’s painfully difficult to discuss this show, primarily because there are so many online doing so. You certainly don’t need a recap from me, and I would, generally, prefer to point toward a particularly favorite character arc or scene. In this instance there is just too much to applaud.
Do I focus on the gripping political intrigue between Sansa, Littlefinger, and the Boltons? Stannis, Jon Snow and the beheading of Janos Slynt? The Brienne and Pod Show? Tyrion’s ‘unfortunate’ run-in with Jorah Mormont in the Volantis Brothel? Our glimpse into Dr. Frankenstein’s, I mean, Qyburn’s laboratory and a certain ‘undead’ mountain of a man under the sheets? What of the High Sparrow himself, the depredation of the High Septa, or the court intrigue with Cersei, Tommen, and Margaery?
All so bloody good, but if backed into a corner, it’s still Arya I’m drawn to most here. I feel her pain. She’s adrift in the world, clinging to the House of Black and White, desperate to make a place for herself there, to become a Faceless Man.
“The is only one god. A girl knows his name. And all men
know his gift.” — A man who is not Jaqen H’ghar
When Arya casts her clothes into the Braavosi waters, falling short of sending Needle to the watery depths with them, you feel her pain, her unwillingness to let go of that one last part of her.
Needle is a connection to Jon and to Syrio Forel, but more than that, it is a symbol of her independence and a tangible embodiment of her quest for vengeance against those on her Death List (whom I believe are now Cersei, Walder Frey, Meryn Trant, Gregor Clegane, and Ilyn Payne).
Arya, being so young and a girl, captures your heart, and has from the start really, with her tomboy swagger and attitude. As a reader/watcher, you wish to see her find some semblance of closure and safety, some glimmer of happiness. But this is Game of Thrones. If you’re expecting a happy ending, you’ve not been paying attention.
But I hold out hope for her, if not for a happy ending, then at least a satisfying one.