Political Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 4, on Salon.com!

It’s another Monday, so I have another essay up at Salon.com – this time, analyzing the role of religious faith and its interactions with secular power.



18 thoughts on “Political Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 4, on Salon.com!

  1. Brett says:

    Good stuff. Poor Tommen got himself in a situation where all the options were bad – lose face by retreating back to the Keep, risk being torn apart by a mob if they tried to force their way to the High Septon, and risk (also) being torn apart by a mob if they stayed and waited.

    • Fourten says:

      Cersei, almost certainly unknowingly, threw her special little boy to the wolves a bit there, didn’t she?

      Funny to think that in an attempt to rid herself of one part of her prophesy, Cersei could have enabled another third of the other.

      • Winnie says:

        That’s how prophesy works a lot of the time. Yeah, I think once of the Sand Snakes gets in with the Faith, that helps bring about the end of poor Tommen’s reign.

        And she’s definitely targeting the Wrong Queen.

      • That was the more surprising move. I guess the idea for Cersei is that Cersei thinks she controls the Faith Militant, ergo she’s gaining power at the expense of her son, but it’s surprising.

    • Thanks! Yeah, it was definitely a bad situation.

  2. winnie says:

    Great analysis as always Steve. Even the Unsullied called it that Cersei’s arming the Faith was gonna come back to bite her in the ass. And everyone is worried about Shireen especially given that great bonding scene with her dad.

    Also (not related to the essay but relevant) the Unsullied also registered the anvils about R+L=J. I think the Big Reveal is coming soon….

    • Thanks!

      I think the “anvils” were pretty necessary, as we haven’t heard anything about R+L=J since season 1.

      • winnie says:

        My sentiments exactly….and why I think they will do the Reveal this season since there’s no point in dropping anvils that even the Unsullied catch only to have everyone waiting around 10 months for confirmation in Season 6. Chekhov’s gun you know.

  3. illrede says:

    I wonder what a Seven proper-sized prince-bishopric would look like. I don’t see the Lords Paramount allowing them without war, whatever the Throne does or however it has been pressured- at least once they’re run out of Crownlands territory. Although you could probably get a quasi-Teutonic Order deal going in the North if you dusted off Baelor’s northern plans.

    • It doesn’t seem like that had been the Faith’s MO – they clearly have manors attached to septs to provide support, but towns like Stony Sept seem the fiefdom of a landed knight rather than being ruled by the Faith proper.

      Judging from the Warrior’s Sons, it seems like they prefer to coopt faithful lords and knights, rather than try to rule directly.

  4. Benjamin Holm says:

    Is it difficult to write an analysis like this where you utilize the show only? Seems like it’d be tough not to slip up, like forgetting that in the show Loras is the Tyrell heir.

    Also I thought Littlefinger recounting the tourney at Harrenhall was a nice touch. I think a lot of people had given up on some of the backstory that we’re being given this season.

    • It’s tough. It helps that I’m not recapping all of the scenes, but rather picking a theme and sticking to it.

    • Winnie says:

      On the topic of Rhaegar backstory, I think D&D are giving it all this season, for the Big Reveal….they didn’t wanna do it before because they didn’t want viewers waiting through interminable season after season before FINALLY having their suspicions confirmed but not that they’re ready, we’re getting the whole set-up.

    • Hmm, it was implied that the punishment for homosexuality by the fanatics is castration. I hadn’t thought of those implications with Loras being the sole male Tyrell heir.

      • Son of Fire says:

        Doesn’t Loras have a trump card as a knight via trial by combat or trial by the faith?
        If cersei gets LF to make olyvar testify against him then its just his word against loras’s,no real proof!
        Loras is good enough to beat anybody the faith can throw at him,i hope the writer’s don’t shoe horn ser robert strong in somehow.

        • We’ve seen images of Loras at what looks like a trial in trailers, but yes I think Loras could invoke the right to trial by combat. The High Sparrow might insist on a trial of seven, but I don’t think he could deny him that right – it’s too baked into the religion.

  5. haplo6 says:

    Nice work SA, knowing how meticulous your analysis can be, using only the show as source must be a strain. Even on your episode-covering pod cast, you seem to be able to compartmentalize the show from the books, something I’m not that good at and I’ve only moderately nerded out on Martin’s work. It certainly can’t be easy to keep from declaring that Season 5 is at risk for being called the “Jumped the Shark” season of GoT.

    It seems like the producers are pushing too hard to simplify the number of characters but in the process making the motivations seem pretty dumb, which is the brilliance of the original story – all the fucked up stuff people do actually makes sense given their position, motivation, and the current circumstances.

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