Peter Fenzel, Jordan Stokes and Matthew Wrather recap Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 3, “The High Sparrow.”[audio:http://podone.noxsolutions.com/launchpod/overthinkingitrecap/mp3/oti-recap-got-s05e03.mp3]
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I really wish you would talk more about the show, and do less of your little game of shoehorning events into “themes”. Sometimes it’s valuable, but not when it’s just some sort of college class association exercise. Then it becomes about you, and I don’t care about you. I care about the show. Last week you managed to do a great job, because you went into it with actual ideas. I gained a new appreciation for what at first seemed to me a “meh” episode. This week we had a fine episode, but you guys were baited into thinking that it’s the “religion” episode, so religion is all you get to overthink. Actually, there were also much more interesting themes spilling over from the previous episodes, especially questions of leader legitimacy and political leverage. You missed the obvious parallel bastards theme. And the shocker for me, Samsa in Swamp Castle, betrothed to the worst person in Westeros. Do the Boltons really think she’s so broken that she would join the family who murdered her own? How would this make sense from their perspective? I see how it makes sense to Baylish: He expects Samsa to be the trojan horse that destroys the Boltons, and hopefully gets out alive and returns to him in some way. But how do the Boltons not see this coming?
I dunno, welcome to Overthinkingit.com, I guess?
That’s kind of their thing, they’re not concerned so much with the straight-forward plot and motivation and so on as they’re concerned with the thinking a few levels abstracted from that. When discussion of the narrative, character motivation and speculation of future plot direction does happen, it’s more as a kind of condensation from the cloud of meta-narrative vapour – more a by-product than the main point of the exercise.
Something that I feel like has been an overwhelming theme throughout this season so far (which you’ve brushed past a few times, but never really taken head-on) is fanaticism. If Game of Thrones is primarily a show about the disintegration of a society and its decline into Hobbesian nightmare (and I insist that it is!) then this season has really grappled with the grasping for certainty and security (metaphysically, ethically, ideologically) that comes when the material security fails you.
Sparrows evangelise for their Franciscan cult of poverty and asceticism, the red priestesses of R’hollor preach about the end of days and the saviour who will free them and the slaves come in droves, Danerys gets more certain of her own righteousness in spreading the White Man’s Burden with her totalitarian cult of personality. Even the Faceless Men, for all their post-modern pseudo-pluralism, are fanatical about abandoning identity and death as a gift.
There’s probably a bunch of other examples I’m forgetting right now (and we haven’t seen the Brotherhood Without Banners for a while) but it seems to be a reflection of what seems to happen whenever hard times come in the real world: fanaticism (either political or religious) fills the gap.
Anyone have any thoughts on that?