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'Game of Thrones' recap: 'Sons of the Harpy'

We finally meet the Sand Snakes, while a warrior meets an untimely fate

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Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Game of Thrones

TV Show
Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
run date:
D.B. Weiss
Current Status:
In Season

Chat, chat, stab-stab, chat, chat, stab-stab. This week’s episode of Game of Thrones was largely a series of intimate, well-written character-driven discussions between two wounded souls in conflict—then fun stabby action scenes. And one of those fights resulted in the loss of a character who has been with the series since season 1 (AND is still alive in the books, because that’s just how Thrones rolls now). 

So let’s row, row, row our boats gently down this week’s episode, which is titled “Sons of the Harpy” (since calling it “Ser Barristan Gets Brutally Murdered in the Street” would have been too much of a giveaway).

King’s Landing: The Iron Bank wants 10 percent of their money back, but the crown can’t afford it. Not good. Cersei dispatches Mace Tyrell—Margaery’s dad—to negotiate better terms. She’s also sending her kingsguard henchman Ser Meryn with him. From Cersei’s ultra-narrow perspective, this moves a key Tyrell player out of town plus puts her thug at his throat should she need to keep any other Tyrells in line (like, Margaery).  

Later, Cersei meets the High Sparrow. He says all the right things so she decides to arm his group. It’s an excellent idea, because if history has taught us anything, it’s that nothing bad can come from giving religious fanatics weapons. She has them raid Littlefinger’s brothel and they arrest Margaery’s brother, Ser Loras, for being gay. 

Margaery does not take her brother being thrown in prison very well. She wants her husband, King Tommen, to free Loras and refuses to give him any more sexy time until he does. No amount of cake and pomegranate juice can make this better. So Tommen goes to his mom, she says if he wants Ser Loras released, he should ask the High Sparrow yourself. 

So Tommen goes down to the streets of Flea Bottom, and members of the Sparrows won’t let him pass. He could order his Kingsguard to kill them, but that makes him scared of starting a riot. So King Tommen slinks back to the Red Keep with his tail between his legs like Ser Pounce. 

There are so many bad decisions being made in this whole sequence I almost don’t even know where to begin:

Cersei is a disaster as a leader, even worse than I imagined. She’s stripping her inner circle of experienced advisers. She’s empowering creeps. She’s sending away her most loyal warriors. She could have gotten her son killed by sending him into Flea Bottom. She just managed to undermine her son’s authority in public—bad enough Tommen’s so young, now he looks weak, too. And all this because of a catty power play with Horny Miss Smirk-Boobs? It’s like somebody became U.S. president, then sent Navy Seals after their high school bullies and gave nuclear weapons to PETA. Worse, really. 

NEXT: Cold as a witch’s Kit