Westeros celebrated another Royal Wedding this week, but Cersei quickly realized her influence is waning.
The High Sparrow was introduced on Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 3, and the Queen Mother sought him out as an ally in order to maintain some level of control in King's Landing. Elsewhere, Littlefinger made a twisted alliance of his own.
Below, TV Fanatics Doug Wolfe, Jim Garner, Amanda Wolf, Lindsay MacDonald and Hank Otero discuss the High Sparrow, Cersei's plans, Tyrion's abduction and plenty more in this week's Round Table...
What were your thoughts on the mysterious High Sparrow? Is he going to be a major player?
Doug: The High Sparrow is a lot more canny than many of his followers. Cersei can see that he wields a lot of influence with his religious gang, which I think is the only reason she approached him in the first place.
Jim: Given that they cast a strong talent like Jonathan Pryce to play the High Sparrow, I suspect he will become a major player, well as much as any character in the show can be. As we've all learned, there are no guarantees on who will live to see the next episode.
Amanda: He is definitely going to be a major player. He already took down the High Septon for his less than holy acts. I loved all of the council's faces when he was complaining about how he was treated. What if he found about Cersei and Jamie's secret?
Lindsay: I agree with Jim, the second I see a big name actor, I know that their character is going to be significant. He seems sincere so far, but Cersei likes to twist people. We'll just have to see if he's able to twist her right back. It would be a thrill to see him flip the script if Cersei starts to trust him.
Hank: That was my first thought as well Jim. They would never hire someone like Jonathan Pryce for a minor role. Though I'm not sure where this story arc is going, it's obvious Cersei is building a new support system around her. I'm curious to learn how all the players fit into place.
Cersei is clearly making moves. How do you think she's planning to use the High Sparrow to further her cause?
Doug: It was interesting to see the slight panic in her eyes as she realized her power was diminishing in the face of the royal wedding. I think her quest now is to quietly amass her own power, quite apart from that of the throne. Thus her search for natural leaders who already have a decent following.
Jim: I think Cersei is feeling a bit lost right now. Her father gone, brother off on a mission, son now growing into his own power and being influenced by his new wife. I'm not sure if she is making a move as much as trying to define where she fits now.
Amanda: Tywin dying was probably the worst thing to happen to Cersei. He was better at manipulation than Cersei and was the man with power Cersei wishes she could be. I think she will plan to use the High Sparrow to get rid of he person she fears the most right now: Margaery.
Lindsay: Power plays never seem to go well for Cersei, but maybe this time she'll play it smarter? I just hope she leaves Margaery out of it. No matter how much she hates the girl, I can't help but see the similarities in how those two manipulate the people around them.
Hank: I'm with Doug, it appears Cersei is reaching out to leaders with their own following. She is well aware Margaery is influencing the young king, and she needs to stand on her own apart from the throne. As I mentioned above, I'm not sure how all the pieces fit yet but I'm excited to find out.
Littlefinger's plan finally came to light. Were you surprised the marriage he arranged was for Sansa?
Doug: I was totally surprised. Like Sansa, I thought he wanted her to marry him, not the horrific Ramsay Bolton. The self-satisifed smirk on his face when she caved to his plan was interesting.
Jim: At first I was shocked, but then when he told her to play the game and avenge her family I realized it is all part of his plan for power. Restablishing Sansa in the North will solidify his power when they take out the Boltons.
Amanda: His plan makes sense, but it also bolsters the Bolton's position. The North definitely remembers when times were good and the Starks were in charge. I just shudder to think all the ways that Bolton could force Sansa to do his bidding in the North. He is one of the craziest people on the show.
Lindsay: As an avid Sansa-lover, I'm terrified that my favorite character is set to marry that sociopath. But we saw a desperate side to Ramsay last year, and I think Sansa could use that to her advantage if she's smart enough. The North remembers her, not Ramsay Bolton.
Hank: I was definitely shocked the plan was for Sansa to marry that psycho. However, once Littlefinger talked of vengeance and not being a victim I think she understood what has to happen. Like Lindsay, I'm hoping Sansa is able to manipulate Ramsay and possibly have Reek (or Brienne) kill Roose Bolton. Those Bolton's have to go, it's long overdue.
Gwendoline Christie gave another powerful performance this week. How did you feel learning more of Brienne's story?
Doug: It explained her penchant for loyalty to her various patrons, didn’t it? She knows the value of their regard. I think her telling of that story reminded her of Pod’s unswerving loyalty as well, which is why she decided to train him. The whole scene was heartwarming.
Jim: I'm thrilled she is finally giving Podrick a chance and will actually start training him. She's still determined to help Sansa, but she realized that she has a greater responsibility to her squire too.
Amanda: Brienne has a great story that is just way to ahead of the times in the Game of Thrones era. Her story is sad, but it made me understand her a lot more.
Lindsay: Any peek into Brienne's head is a treat, and this one was really very touching. The world of Game of Thrones is so harsh and unforgiving, it's sometimes hard to remember that nice little moments like that exist.
Hank: I agree with what everyone said. It was such a touching moment and I finally felt I understood Brienne's motivations better. Her story also made me miss Renly Baratheon, who I don't think we got to know very well at all. Pod's finally going to get the training he deserves!
Did you expect Jorah Mormont to resurface? Will Dany be pleased to see him and how will she react to his gift?
Doug: I thought we’d seen the last of him. The question I have now is: will Tyrion be able to convince Dany that his plan was to go to her all along?
Jim: As soon as they showed him in the "previously on" I expected him to turn up. The part I'm confused on is what is the difference between Tyrion being taken to Dany by Jorah or by the The Spider... neither are in her good graces (that I know of). However, given she told Jorah that she would have him beheaded if he turned back up, I'm not sure this is going to turn out the way he hopes.
Amanda: I think Dany will be interested to see the dwarf, but I still don't think she will forgive Jorah completely. He is devoted to her and I believe that he would never betray her again, but there really is no way for Dany to be sure of that. I also can't see Dany beheading Tyrion. She is just too compassionate, and her conscience is probably killing her after the recent beheading of the slave.
Lindsay: I didn't expect to see Jorah again, but I was always hoping for it! I think Tyrion might be just was Dany needs right now, but I'm not sure she'll appreciate Jorah's "gift" given how she exiled him.
Hank: I also wonder if Tyrion will manage to convince Daenerys he was heading her way all along. Will Jorah bringing Tyrion to her be a worse option that Varys? I've said it a ton, I can't wait to finally see Tyrion and Dany interacting. It's going to be very exciting stuff.
Here's a peek at Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4, which airs this Sunday, May 3.