Jessica Ellis
May 30, 2016 8:50 am
HBO

There was an awful lot of talk about acting on Game of Thrones last night, and it wasn’t just limited to Arya’s adventures with the players. “Blood of my Blood,” the episode just-over-the-halfway mark of Season 6 also gave us Gilly acting like a northern girl, Benjen Stark finishing a role as “presumed dead” that he’s been playing for five years now, and, most intriguingly, Queen Margaery Tyrell acting like the newest disciple of the High Sparrow.

Margaery, played by the exquisitely poker-faced Natalie Dormer, seemed to be in a totally different place then when we last saw her, dirty and bedraggled on the floor of her broken brother’s cell.

HBO

The three-time wife and master manipulator had traded in her dirty locks for a clean, simple look, and seemed eager to talk to her child-hubby, Tommen, in what was obviously one enormous trap. But the question is, who is pulling the strings here? Did Margaery truly convert, like so many others, to the Sparrow’s message? Or is this another ploy by the queen in a desperate attempt to prevent her walk of shame and save her brother? Let’s look at the two options closely.

HBO

If we assume Margaery really did convert and switch sides to join the High Sparrow, it does serve a few purposes. First, we know Margaery is a mimic; she picks up the beliefs of anyone around her, from Renly, to Tommen, even going as far as erotically shooting crossbows with Joffrey. But it’s never been clear if that’s just pure survival instinct or if Margaery actually believes her job is to support whatever man is in charge of her.  If it’s the latter, it’s possible the Sparrow is just the latest dude Queen M sacrifices her own beliefs for out of duty.

The second reason she might have switched is that the High Sparrow supposedly has an uncanny ability to get converts, but we’ve really never seen this occur with a main character. Tommen has a notably gullible streak, so converting him isn’t impressive, but in terms of story, it’d be fascinating if the Sparrow had some really sneaky magic or trick or power hidden under his wing to convert even an incredibly stealthy manipulator like Margaery. Could this be the first sign there’s more to the Sparrow than meets the eye?

ON THE OTHER HAND, if we assume that Margaery is who she appears to be — one of Westeros’ many ladies who will do whatever it takes to survive — a false conversion makes way more sense. This version of Margaery knows that her husband is about as smart as a Tootsie Roll, and that her walk of shame and her brother’s continued torture won’t be stopped by any gallant husband action (maybe if the Sparrow had taken Ser Pounce?) Trapped in prison, Margaery has no idea her grandmother and even her longstanding rival Cersei are trying to rescue her, and it only makes sense that the crafty queen would assume she’s in charge of getting herself out.

If so, Margaery is playing an exceptionally dangerous game by deciding to play the ultimate player, the High Sparrow. She’s assuming she’s not only going to be able to keep up her “conversion,” but that she’ll be able to keep the Sparrow from gaining so much power she loses all sway over Tommen. While it seems more likely that she’d rely on her powers of diplomacy (or sneakiness) than that she’s really converted, we’ve got to wonder if this time the manipulator/survivor of multiple kings has taken on too big a bird to handle.

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