Cersei’s alliance with the High Sparrow is at a tipping point (Game of Thrones season 5, episode 4)
Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was a rollercoaster of action and plot developments. The series is finally picking up momentum with uprisings in King’s Landing and across the sea in Meereen. While Daenerys’ servant leadership style worked well in the beginning, those who disagree with her management style have finally begun to rise up. The episode had a religious-extremism quality to it, with the Sons of the Harpy avenging the toppling of their idol in Essos and the High Sparrow commanding his followers to begin to stir up the status quo in Westeros. It was an emotional finale, finally confirming that this series has divorced itself from the books and killing off two important characters. Poor Grey Worm. Daenerys is going to be left with little leverage to refuse Jorah when he returns. The unsullied are dwindling in numbers. (Sidenote: we really liked Jorah’s skirt; it takes a real man to pull off such an outfit when at sea!)
So back to King’s Landing where Cersei seems to have sold her soul, quite literally, to religious extremists. It’s one thing to want to take revenge against the daughter-in-law from hell, but it’s quite another to make a deal with the devil (ahem, the High Sparrow) in an effort to assert one’s superiority over the King’s Court. Now that the numbers of the Small Council have fallen to just two (and what influence does doddering Grand Maester Pycelle really have?) Cersei is running the Court of the King with an iron fist. Now that Sir Loras has been imprisoned, Margery is compromised and Cersei has the upper hand.
However, the danger of making a deal with one as powerful as the High Sparrow is that alliances of convenience can turn on you just as quickly. Unless you hold the power, you are at the mercy of your alliance. The followers of the High Sparrow, weird monk-like extremists, are the unsullied of Westeros, willing to maim themselves for their master. Even the King is powerless before them. Though the alliance was convenient for Cersei in the beginning, this is a dangerous coalition as Cersei is now alone in the court. With Jaime gone and her father dead, her list of allies is very small indeed. What would the High Sparrow make of the (true) rumours about her and Jaime? Will Cersei survive this season? With only a week left of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition of 2010, and the political parties of the UK gearing up for polling day, it would seem that coalitions are forming everywhere. David Cameron was outed as having confessed that he did not believe that his party would again win the election outright. If we’ve learnt anything from the last coalition, it’s that it was a marriage of convenience, much like Cersei and Robert Baratheon. Eventually cracks will begin to show if you cannot work alongside your ally. Cersei’s latest partnership could prove to be more destructive than the last.
Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: Cersei is about to pay for having too much power for far too long.