Sansa Ramsey Wedding Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones 5.06 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” Review

WHEN YOU SPOIL THE GAME OF THRONES, YOU DIE.

And you thought there wasn’t any character in Game of Thrones you could hate more than Joffrey.

We pick up with Arya in the House of Black and White, still scrubbing away at the bodies of those the Faceless men gift with death. Again Arya wonders what becomes of the corpses once they are washed. And again, the older girl is strict and enigmatic with her guidance. Arya grows impatient and asks her about her past and why she joined the faceless men.

The girl tells of her life as the only daughter of a lord in Westeros, a widower, who remarried a jealous woman who has her own daughter by him. Her stepmother didn’t want her new husband’s prior daughter in the picture, so she tried to have the girl poisoned. The Faceless men intervened. Arya is clearly impressed and sympathetic to that story.

Then the girl walks coldly right up to Arya.

“Was that true, or a lie?”

“…..wut?”

“Did you believe every word I said?”

The Game of Faces. Arya is still enveloped in all the trappings of herself and her life. She tries to make her family’s history sound nobler and less embarrassing, but Jaqen H’ghar smacks her with every lie he detects. Man, watching Jaqen give Arya a bloody lip was tough. With a place as ominous as the House of Black and White, I couldn’t expect their initiation to be easy.

So Arya continues cleaning the floors and the bodies. One day a man comes into the hall of many gods carrying his ailing daughter. Arya is the only attendant. The father wants to end his daughter’s suffering.

Then inspiration strikes. Arya sees to the anguished girl by the pool and tells her a comforting lie about how her father once helped her when she was very sick. (It struck me rewatching how similar Arya’s story is to Shireen Baratheon’s story. Likely just coincidence, but still thematically resonant.) She gives the girl the gift of death from the black pool. As she cleans the body that she personally brought death to, Jaqen appears and leaves the door open.

The Hall of Faces. All men must die. Then, all men must serve. Both Arya and Jaqen H’ghar know that Arya isn’t ready to become no one. But perhaps, first, she can become someone else.

Tyrion and Jorah have no luck finding shelter. And despite Tyrion not being bound and gagged anymore, the two aren’t getting along.

“You’re a terrible travelling companion. The least charming man I’ve ever met.”

“Do you ever shut up?”

These two are hysterical.

Tyrion eventually tells of his murderous escape from King’s Landing, and mentions that at least Mormont had a better father than he did. Tyrion accidentally reveals that Jeor Mormont was murdered. The Noble Jeor Mormont, stabbed in the back by his own men for being too Lawful-Neutral.

Jorah, being the strong, silent type, says next to nothing and let’s his sad eyes teeter on the edge of manly tears. Then insists that they continue their way.

Tyrion is still cynically skeptical of Daenerys. Even when Jorah recounts his life changing moment of watching Daenerys climb, unburnt, from a funeral pyre with 3 baby dragons doesn’t faze Tyrion much. Let us not forget that the Targaryens are famous for inbreeding and abuse of power, and that the Mad King burnt people alive for his amusement.

Tyrion’s musings are interrupted by slavers who take them both prisoner. Jorah is at least strong enough for a deck hand but apparently a dwarf is more profitable in pieces. It’s not the best quick talking Tyrion has ever pulled but it does save his and Jorah’s life and gets them headed in the right direction. For Meereen’s fighting pits.

“It will be a dwarf sized cock.”

“You’d be surprised!”

Littlefinger’s not happy to be back in King’s Landing. And even less happy to have his way blocked by the faith militant. Lancel conveys the faith’s dislike of Baelish as a whoremonger, but Littlefinger is still witty enough for a sharp comeback.

“We both peddle fantasies, brother Lancel. Mine just happen to be entertaining.”

Getting right down to business with Cersei. These two have spent enough of their lives bullshitting that Cersei’s concern for Loras and Littlefinger’s mourning of Lysa Arryn is swiftly seen-through by the other.

“If war comes to Westeros will the knights of the Vale fight for their King?” Cersei asks abruptly.

Littlefinger assures her that Robin Arryn will heed his council for Loyalty to the Iron Throne. Cersei seems satisfied, but Littlefinger has some more disturbing news.

Littlefinger never managed to find the slippery Arya Stark on Cersei’s orders, but he has found Sansa, alive, well, and returned home, betrothed to Roose Bolton’s son. Cersei is outraged. Littlefinger councils Cersei to let the Boltons and the Baratheons fight each other, then to let the loyal knights of the Vale claim Winterfell from whichever traitor still lives. Since Kevan and Jaime are unavailable, and Winterfell is still a thousand miles away, Cersei can’t send a Lannister Army to punish the traitors, so she accepts Littlefinger’s offer. He will be Warden of the North, if he brings Cersei Sansa’s head and flies the golden lion over the turrets of Winterfell.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. What happened to Sansa being the Wardeness of the North after the Baratheons steamroll the Boltons? While every experience we have of Littlefinger tells us that he’s a social climbing rat without an empathetic fiber in his being, I suspect that here, it’s Cersei he’s deceiving, the most.

Right off the bat, he’s the one that feeds Cersei the lie about the how Sansa returned to Winterfell and betrothed Ramsay. Cersei didn’t ask him about Sansa. Littlefinger has so far accomplished his biggest schemes with an ally and he picks his alley’s carefully. Where he is now, the Boltons, or perhaps even the Baratheons would be more useful allies than the self-absorbed Cersei a thousand miles away in King’s Landing. Also, Roose has had plenty experience backstabbing, and knew to watch Littlefinger as closely as possible. The recap for this episode reminded us of the exchange where Littlefinger reminded Roose of the triumphant previous alliance between the Vale and the North. Also I don’t think Littlefinger is about to give up Sansa to Cersei now. Not after smuggling her away from King’s Landing, mentoring her to manipulate people and installing her back in Winterfell to gain a hopefully powerful ally.

But this is Littlefinger after all. Will this be the season that he finally makes an overt power play and commits his now considerable strength to one claimant or another?

Olenna! Thank the Gods she’s back! She’ll be able to handle Cersei right? If by handle you mean call Cersei a tart to her face, sure! That gets Cersei’s attention. Olenna gives the blunter posturing in this conversation, but Cersei’s phony insistence that she didn’t arrest Loras and that House Lannister has no real rivals makes her intent perfectly clear to Olenna.

Much like Tyrion’s trial, Cersei masterfully manipulates this holy inquest. With the undoubtedly bribed and blackmailed help of Olyvar, Cersei leads the faith to catch Loras and Margaery in their lies. The faith arrest Loras and Margaery right in front of Tommen. The King sits and watches helplessly as his wife begs him to act. Cersei can’t even hide her smug smile from Olenna.

What was it that Littlefinger once threatened Cersei with, through in futility at the time? “Knowledge is power.” Wouldn’t Olenna like a little knowledge to wield against Cersei right now?

In the Water Gardens of Dorne, Myrcella Baratheon and Trystane Martell seem blissfully unaware of the political maelstrom that brews because of their engagement. But Doran is much shrewder.

THE DORNISHMAN’s WIFE! How perfect that Bronn be the one to introduce the third song in Westeros that everybody knows. He and Jaime reach the Water Gardens disguised as the cavalry they had to kill in previous episode. In the shadows, Ellaria bids the Sand Snakes fight well as they plan to make their own move against Myrcella. Sure, masks is a good idea, but they’re all still wielding their signature weapons and their figures are easy to make out. You think Doran won’t know who kidnapped Myrcella?

Bronn and Jaime come across the making-out Trystane and Myrcella. Awkward. Trystane is sharp enough to notice the blood stains on Bronn and Jaime’s disguises but Bronn is too quick. Classic whip on the wrist. The Ensuing 3 on 2 fight is quite fun, the Sand Snakes ferociously harass Jaime and Bronn giving Nymeria an opening to make a break for it with Myrcella. But Areo Hotah arrives with a strong host and commands that all the fighters drop their weapons.

Obara tries to play the family card an appeal to Areo’s honor but that’s not flying with him. He does feign a killing blow to Jaime’s neck but laments that he’s never gotten the chance to fight Jaime when he was whole. Bronn easily riles Tyene and Areo also takes Ellaria into custody.

So, crisis averted? Maybe? For Now? Can Doran talk some sense into everybody?

Back at Winterfell, Sansa prepares for her wedding to Ramsay Bolton. She’s visited awkwardly again by Myranda, who wants to draw her up a bath. Only to regale Sansa with disturbing tales of all the other female playthings Ramsay has had, including Tansay, whom Myranda hunted down right alongside Ramsay.

Sansa figures her out pretty quick. She tells Myranda flatly that she can’t scare her off, even though she’s ruined Myranda’s dreams of being with Ramsay forever. Sharp, Sasna, but, you’ll be hoping Ramsay wants to marry Myranda before long.

It’s getting cold at Winterfell. Sansa spelling out that she doesn’t care what Ramsay does to Theon is pretty cold for one thing. Theon more follows Sansa to the Godswood than escorts her. Roose and Ramsay and Walda stand at the base of the weirwood, Myranda sulks in the procession, Theon stutters over his old identity for the ceremony and Sansa barely manages to speak her part.

The tension in the bedchamber is horrible. Can somebody PLEASE smack that fucking grin off Ramsay’s face? Ramsay puts on a thinly veiled show of concern for Sansa’s comfort and for honestly, before going full depraved monster. Seeing Sansa delay taking off her dress as much as possible is excruciating. Ramsay forces Theon to watch and humiliates Sansa before ripping the back of her dress and raping her. As much as the action in the scene abhorrent, letting the audience watch Theon’s horrified tears while hearing Ramsay and Sansa was probably the most effective way to show the horrific emotional turning point without visually showing Ramsay raping Sansa.

Alfie Allen and Sophie Turner warned us this was coming. But nothing really prepares you for Game of Thrones feels. The internet is blowing up already. Was this the best way to show this scene? Was it necessary at all? What did it accomplish? All fair questions that I don’t know if I have a definitive answer to. One thing I think the scene accomplished was to make it perfectly clear to Sansa that Ramsay is a monster. Neither Littlefinger nor Sansa knew the extent of Ramsay’s depravity before this moment. This will certainly get her to reach out for allies. But then, there goes Game of Thrones using rape as plot device again.

Would it have been realistic for Sansa to have the cunning and guts to rebuff Ramsay at this point? Was there too much focus on Theon’s reactions and arc? I don’t know.

Ugh. Joffrey was bad enough.

Is it time for Brienne to kill a fool? I think it’s time for Brienne to KILL A FOOL! For once, for once! Can we have a protagonist get the karmic revenge on a bad guy that they deserve to? Let Sansa kill Ramsay please!

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken are more than just House Martell’s words in this episode. All the characters, from Arya, to Jorah and Tyrion, to the Tyrells to Sansa are pushed to physical and/or emotional breaking points in this episode. The real question is, who will be the last player to stay unbroken?
 
 
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