Of all the motives being depicted in this season of Game of Thrones, it seems that Margaery Tyrell's motives are the murkiest. Her storyline in Season 7 has been deeply entwined with the show's depiction of the rising influence of religion on the people of King's Landing. The High Sparrow's decrees shocked us last season when it resulted in Cersei's walk of shame in the streets. This season, we see him strong-arming Margaery — and by extension, her young husband Tommen — into accepting and aligning with the Faith. With the apparent union between church and state, many of the onlooking characters are wondering what the heck is actually happening. In the wake of religious fanaticism gripping the Crown, major plays like Jamie and Lady Olenna are openly voice their concerns are the severe repercussions if The High Sparrow is allowed to control the state.
While we all wonder what exactly could be the outcome if The High Sparrow does indeed live to see an eighth season, what's most pressing question is, "Why, Margaery? Why?" Honestly, I think I speak for all of us when I say her actions are befuddling. It's true that Margaery has been one of the most beguiling women on GoT. She's been married off, in succession, to three Baratheon kings. She's been seen publicly, playing Princess Diana among the poor. She's been traded off, from family to family, as simply a pawn to be counciled. She's beguiled her peers and viewers alike with her charm. Now, it seems we may not know Margaery at all with her ready submission to the Faith.
But is she willingly submitting? In a pivotal conversation with her grandmother, Margaery urges her to return to the family home, Highgarden. While Lady Olenna protests, Margaery seizes upon the moment to pass along a note, which is simply a drawing of a rose. It stands to reason the flower references both Highgarden as well as the currently-imprisoned Loras Tyrell, Knight of the Flowers. If so, Margaery is reassuring Lady Olenna that she is still loyal to House Tyrell and that she's playing a long con to do away with the High Sparrow and his insidious religion. At least, that's the common line of thought.
Given Margaery's historically close and devoted relationship to her brother, looking for any way to save him from any further harm is a natural motive. If that means playing by the rules of The High Sparrow, so be it. We should also remember the function of flowers not only as they relate symbolically but also as they relate directly to House Tyrell. Symbolically, roses, while beautiful to behold, have thorns. How many times have we seen depicted a character reach out to grab a rose, entrance by its beauty, only to recoil when pricked by a thorn? Is Margaery a rose looking to covertly bring down The High Sparrow and the Faith in this way?
As for House Tyrell, their sigil is a golden rose and their motto? "Growing Strong." The Tyrells have grown exponentially since they were introduced in Season 2. Margaery has managed to find herself, constantly, is a position of comfort and power. We've also seen that she's rather good at telling others —especially the men in her life—exactly what they want to hear, luring them into a sense of security. As such, she's grown strong in her position by playing the game. She could certainly grow stronger yet if she manages to continue the coup her grandmother had planned by letting others believe she is a converted woman.
Whatever her true motives, I contend that Margaery's storyline is one of the most enigmatic to watch unfold. I only hope she is legitimately planning to overthrow The High Sparrow's stronghold and she isn't actually a converted woman.
Image: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy