King’s Landing: Cersei and Jaime, the Tyrells, the Sparrows
In the Great Sept, High Sparrow continues his unorthodox tutelage of Tommen, whom he has convinced a Walk of Atonement is in her interest. And perfectly safe! (Snort) In his High Sparrow way of seeming magnanimous while playing the game of thrones, he asks Tommen if he would like to see her.
Tommen and Margaery meet and while she remains her grandma’s pupil, it’s clear Loras’ suffering has made her figure out a way out – and that way out lies through Tommen. Natalie Dormer has been underutilized since she became a prisoner of the Faith Militant but this is a good showcase scene for her, as she continues straddling that edge of is-she or isn-t-she manipulating? I genuinely didn’t know Margaery’s motivations in this scene. It’s that ambiguity that makes the character compelling.
Meanwhile, her father Mace, with the Tyrell army at his back, gives a “inspiring” speech that hilariously contrasts with Dany’s at the conclusion (more on that later). Jaime indulges the Lord of Highgarden and interrupts the High Sparrow just as he seems about to announce Margaery’s Walk of Atonement.
While the crowd of King’s Landing, the army and even cousin Lancel watch, Jaime confronts him, demanding the Tyrell siblings. Just as the situation reaches an impasse, just as violence seems inevitable, the High Sparrow relents – because he has already won. Out walks Tommen and it is revealed Magaery’s wooing of Tommen worked in the High Sparrow’s favor. The gathered many of King’s Landing applaud and Olenna Tyrell bitingly cuts at his son “That means he’s won.” Once again the High Sparrow succeeds through guile and public relations.
In the aftermath of the plot, Tommen, now a loyal ally to the Faith, strips Jaime of his command of the Kingsguard and orders him away on a mission to help the Freys take back Riverrun. He laments the situation to Cersei, who is looking quite Maleficent. While he’s worried about leaving her in her time of need (she still has a trial-by-combat to look forward to), Cersei is confident she has the perfect champion in FrankenMountain. Instead, she wants her brother-lover to take advantage of the situation to re-instill Lannister rule, to remind the Seven Kingdoms their Tywin-less house is still to be feared.