Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

By Nick Bristow on

About Nick Bristow

Founder and co-host of Cast of Thrones. Say hello on twitter. @rbristow

 

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6

Episode 6 is a real turning point for this season. While we’ve had fun in fantasy off book land, this episode may have gone too far, but lets focus on the positive. We have great time with the buddy cops of Jaimie and Bronne, Tyrion’s tongue is as sharp as ever, and Arya once again has the best time with dead bodies. If you’re looking for a reaction to the last scene, we save it all for the end.

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26 comments

  1. On the subject of Tommen during the trial, I believe that I remember him actually raising a hand to stop the guards from moving forward. I need to double-check again, but I remember thinking “Why the heck would he stop his guards?!” There’s a very good chance I’m mis-remembering, but I think he was actively stopping them from acting. Thoughts?

  2. (A pre listening to the pod thought)

    D and D have said in the past that there is no downtime between seasons. This combined with the added pressure to go beyond the (wall) books on certain storylines must be the reason for all the poor decisions (the sand snake scenes feel a bit like they used the first take regardless of how good it was, for example) and errors (‘Dorne’ on the map)

    Definitely a turning point for the show in general. Can a task as big as running this show be done in a year?

  3. Just a comment about the Sansa stuff. You guys were complaining that the last scene has runined her arc of being bad ass little finger 2.0. I disagree. Up until now, she’s learning but IMO faking it. The rape scene to me was awful but I think that it will be the turning point for both her and Reek. Speaking as a woman who was raped in my mid 20’s it took a while but god damn no one is going to mess with me now. I hope that this is what happens to Sansa. Also, keep in mind this was her FIRST sexual experience. How many of us were so confident at this time. Especially if it was someone you didn’t know. As for Reek. Sansa is kind of like family. I hope that this is what finally breaks him, and Reek will slowly die and let Theon be set free. I predict Sansa and Theon will work together and take Ramsey down. Got to see how this one plays out but I don’t think this scene was for nothing.

  4. Hey guys, good show. Regarding Littlefinger’s long game, my thoughts are that he ultimately wants to be the Warden of the North with Sansa as his bride. Sansa marrying Ramsey first legitimises her – & ultimately his – claim to power up there. Marrying his way to power is the same trick that he pulled at the Eyrie.

  5. What’s worse the Sansa Stark rape scene? Or that it was told from Theon’s perspective?

    Rape is not a plot device to advance male characters.

    Then again, how else was that night supposed to go. Fuck. I hated that scene.

  6. I should preface this with, I’ve been wrong before and will surely be wrong again. Regarding Sansa’s arc, i feel this rape scene was used well. Many have believed Sansa to be “playing the game” this year. I’m not convinced she can see past the goal in front of her. She’s been a pawn of the Baratheons, Lannisters, Tyrells, Baelish, and now the Boltons. This scene is set up with her in the bath telling Myranda that Winterfell is her home. She can’t be frightened. Sansa is confident and looks in control for just a moment. She tells Myranda to leave. She refuses Theon’s arm. Things are going the way she dictates them. Soon after, she is placed in a similar position as that of her servant, Myranda, the episode before. We see Sansa is now just as powerless as everyone else under Bolton’s rule.

  7. I wasn’t happy with what happened to Sansa, but I REALLY think that D&D are using this event to build up a bunch of animosity for Ramsay inside of Sansa, so that when she turns on him it makes sense from a personal level, and gives viewers the cathartic sense of revenge. I am sure you remember all the talk before this season started of Sansa finally becoming a player and a manipulator. This scene looks to set her back to square one, it makes no sense. However, they MUST be referring to events that take place in the last 4 episodes. I don’t think they are using Sansa’s rape to advance a male story line. We already know all about the Boltons. They are using it to Advance Sansa, as senseless as it seems right now.

    If that scene never happened, and then Sansa strangles or stabs him to death, how would that make sense from Sansa’s perspective?

  8. Down to really important matters – Dunkin Donuts is better than Krispy Kreme, which is overrated with donuts that are too small and overly-sweet. Further, the fillings aren’t even close to being as good.

  9. People don’t like rape, and the scene was upsetting. It was supposed to be. Yet people seem to be misdirecting their emotions into presuming things that the show runners are trying to achieve, without even watching the following episodes to see the narrative fallout of that scene!

    Fan-fic is often a derogatory term used for adaptations of stories that don’t follow the original content in the way a critic would like. It’s fair to criticize an adaptation that make changes to the story that betrays the intentions and themes of the source material. However, we should also avoid “crit-fic”, where we make assumptions on why a creator did something and base our criticisms off of those assumptions.

    Did D&D make these changes just because they love rape? I doubt they’d admit that. Ultimately though, we won’t even have a fair chance of answering that and judging the necessity of the scene (well, the whole Sansa in Winterfell subplot, seeing as the rape was a necessary result of that) without seeing where the story goes from here.

    After all, we could argue Ned’s death was just something Jar Jar came up with for shock value…we COULD argue that, if we didn’t read on and see how that death propelled the narrative in interesting and compelling directions. As such, we would be wrong.

    • “presuming things that the show runners are trying to achieve, without even watching the following episodes to see the narrative fallout of that scene!”

      That to me is the point of a show review.

      And I think Sansa could have just drank some wine and say to Ramsey lets get this over with.

  10. Your podcast is usually my favorite BECAUSE of the book spoiler section. But you guys keep forgetting to one every other episode. I love having fellow book readers do comparisons to the show and point out things I missed or forgot from the books. Please try to keep doing that each week. I feel it’s WAY more important than your general feelings of the episodes. In fact if each podcast consisted ONLY of book spoilers I’d be happy.

  11. Hi Guys,
    After being really troubled and pissed by this rape scene for a character I (we) really care about, I’m starting to ask what is it that is at the core of this matter? I think the reason these rape scenes are so troubling is that, like Theon, we are being forced to watch something that we hate. Its interesting that there has been a lot of negativity (all over the internet) at the directors focusing on Theon’s perspective, but whether intentional or not, there may be something there. People hate Theon because he is reminding us of ourselves in that we are being forced to watch this scene. I don’t know if he was planned to provide this perspective, but he is an audience. And then the question is why? Why don’t we turn it off? Why doesn’t he kill Ramsey?
    This gets to the worst part of rape itself which is that something which is otherwise pleasurable (and biologically designed to do so) is being used against a person with malice. This has lots of impacts. Maybe you have all (and many thinkers have) discussed this to death, but this leads to guilt. It is undeserved guilt, but it is there. Could it be that Theon is being used as a mirror to hold up to the viewers to say, “Hey you sick f@#%s, we’re going to do something awful to you, and you are going to hate it, and sadly you won’t be able to look away because you are biologically designed to pay attention to sex, even if it is assault. And then you are going to feel guilty for watching it.
    I think this is really why I and almost everybody is pissed off, because subconsciously or consciously we know this is happening, and what’s worse is that it is being put out there for all the other humans to watch and wonder how they feel after they watch it. And we all know that this is being done in front of the world! So it’s almost as if the family is condoning it!
    I don’t think this kind of scene has been viewed on this kind of scale before (could be wrong). So this may yield a public discussion akin to group therapy for the cable watching portion of the planet. It would be nice if something good could come of it, though I doubt it will.
    In conclusion, It could be that we, as humans, are not objective enough to watch rape scene, or, if we do, they will always have this effect. Thanks for letting me vent.

  12. I don’t understand why the showrunners felt the need to do this.

    I see Sansa’s rape either resulting in development for Theon only (which is incredibly likely due to the fact that they’ve used Sansa to prop up other characters from season three onward) or Sansa has instant character development as a result of rape.

    Instead of actually building up Sansa as a character over the seasons they’re just going to rape her into being a more proactive person.

    I don’t understand what they have done with Sansa this season. She has been encouraged to take revenge, given the means to do so, and the motivation was already in place because of the Red Wedding.

    Why does she need to be raped in order to do anything about the Boltons? Everything was already in place. Sansa’s rape is pointless and it’s sad that people can’t see that.

  13. Hello,

    I have started a forum discussion on the future of the show and the podcast with regards to the Sansa arc. I’m curious to others thoughts.
    Thank you.

  14. Guys – where are the book spoilers section! That’s one of the best parts of the podcast, and you’ve skipped it two weeks in a row now 🙁

    By design? Just forgot about it? I really enjoy the spoiler-qualified speculation you guys have.

  15. I don’t have a real problem with the reaction to the rape scene. I think it’s exaggerated, and I think it starts from the shock felt and then tries to goes backwards in order to find justification for those feelings. And I think that’s okay. Anger is a valuable reaction, and I don’t think anyone should ever be faulted for feeling things, especially not in the business of podcasting. So I don’t have a problem with the emotional reaction that this scene caused all over internet.

    I do, however, find it somewhat telling that Oberyn’s treatment in season 4 wouldn’t elicit a similar reaction. Cause his whole storyline was completely gratuitous, and his death was there completely for shock value. In the book, Oberyn’s storyline is a discussion on the idea of revenge, whether it’s a good motivator or not for a character, whether it helps the character or hinders them. In the show, there is no discussion of revenge, we root for Oberyn all the way through, because he’s the good guy, because he’s cool, because he’s always doing the right thing, his cause is just and revenge is awesome. Oberyn Martell is basically a copy-paste of Inigo Montoya that just happens to lose at the end, when book Oberyn was basically a mirrored opposite of Inigo Montoya. What remains is the cool fight and the gore. And that time, at the crucial moment, the camera didn’t shy away from it, so there was the added factor of titillation. But that all went flyingly amidst the audience… Why? Mostly because, apparently, we don’t feel anger when we are confronted to gratuitous television violence, or when a storyline makes little sense just so that it can culminate in violence. We’re used to that… Maybe we even search for it? And we’re all ready to justify it, because violence is “realistic”, as if realistic portrayals was what we wanted to see. Watching the reaction to this scene, it appears realism isn’t really a concern. So maybe graphic violence was? Maybe it “titillates” us a little more than we care to admit.

  16. I am really surprised that everyone is so shocked the rape scene happened. GOT does tend NOT to ‘rescue’ its protagonists from horrible stuff (Ned’s head etc). I for one found the scenes at Crastor’s Keep far more disturbing because the rape was cinematically decorative and totally incidental to the plot. You could clearly see horrible shit happening to the women in the background – but as they were just anonymous wenches, that’s OK? It seems people care way more when it is a character they like (also see Cersei and Jamie).
    Secondly, we should see how this plays out: Sansa is not dead, Sansa is a survivor. I think we need to stop culturally seeing rape as the end of someone, rather than a harsh horrible reality of our (and Westeros’s) patriarchal society. I hope Sansa survives and proves to be as strong as the numerous women I know who have prevailed when faced with this.

  17. Long post but I have a couple points that haven’t been discussed. I don’t think there are any spoilers because Sansa’s TV story arc is completely different in the books.

    I think the main thing that needs to be understood is that the TV show is written as a complete season arc, so trying to judge Sansa’s rape scene in this episode would be like trying to review a GOT Book after only reading half the book or half of a POV character’s chapters. I think once the whole season is done the scene will be shown as needed for Sansa’s story arc.

    Once again, what happened was RAPE and I’m not justifying that it wasn’t, but to me this show is so much better than 99.9% of what is on TV because terrible things can happen to characters we LOVE, like Ned, Rob, Catelyn, Barristan, etc. Having read the books I know this isn’t what happened, but in the books it was 10x worse and NEVER could have been filmed, so I disagree that it didn’t need to happen to finally have Reek finally become Theon once again.

    Theon has been VERY conflicted for several seasons, but has continued to be Reek even after his sister came to rescue him. Also, he stayed as Reek after watching two dogs tear Tansy apart alive, seeing the Ironborn at MC slaughtered and flayed after surrendering, and when told that Rob Stark and family were killed he STILL stays as Reek while holding a razor to Ramsey’s neck!

    He hadn’t changed, nor would Sansa believe he had changed if he had told her since before being raped Sansa wouldn’t even take Theon’s arm! I don’t think she would trust him even if he decided to tell her Bran & Rickon were alive. I could more see Sansa asking that Ramsey FLAY & KILL Theon as a wedding gift to her than ever TRUST Theon before this scene?

    Another big reason I think D&D filmed it this way is because the main actors are currently only under contract through 7 Seasons, so they don’t have time to introduce new characters like Jayne Poole, who Sansa took the place of.

    It also would have been too cliche as I’ve heard people say for Sansa to pull a knife out of her dress and kill Ramsey and then make some ‘Cliche Action-Movie Escape’ from Winterfell with the help of Brienne or Stannis. I think Theon would have alerted the guards and Sansa would have been killed.

    What happened to Jayne Poole (aka fake Arya) on her wedding night in the books was 10X worse and could NEVER be filmed, but was the thing that FINALLY caused Theon to return and turn against Ramsey. I also think the D&D’s know that they need to keep some of GRRM book plot in the show to keep him from being upset that they are changing too many things

    Finally, to remain authentic ‘GOT on HBO’ and the ‘GRRM Books’ have both shown that BAD, TERRIBLE & OFFENSIVE things happen to GOOD PEOPLE (Ned, Rob, Catelyn). Even worse things happened in our Medieval Past (which the show is based on), or continue to this day, like what the Nazi’s, ISIS or other psychopathic terrorists groups are doing (child rape, burning people alive, beheadings). Heck, less than 50y ago in many conservative States in the USA, what Ramsey did wouldn’t have been called rape by the Police or a Court!

    Once again, I’m not justifying RAPE, but I think the scene was truthful to what GOT is…”Authentic & Amazing’, and often hard to watch! If it wasn’t it would be like almost everything else on TV where nothing monstrously BAD happens to the MAIN characters we love, and something like this scene or Ned Stark’s death (S1:E9), or the Red Wedding would have never been filmed!

    Thanks for the Podcast!

  18. I agree about the Sansa and Theon development. As a man who was raped in his teens, I know a thing or two about how the experience can hone one’s inner strength. As he watched her whimper about, you could almost see Theon’s resolve setting. He, like myself, won’t rest until justice is served. I’ll wager he has already shed Reek and is biding his time.

    Anyways, I’ll spare you the eye rape of a wall of commentary. If being raped has taught me anything, it is that no good comes of discussing the act; It is the attention drawn that is important. I was raped. Ergo listen.

  19. I personally have a huge problem with the direction of the series.
    On one side, im really just thinking of quiting the show altogether, but here is my problem…i love your podcast too freaking much, and i feel that if im listeing to your podcast i should at least watch the GoT show. So umm yeah ill keep enduring the GoT show, just to keep listening your podcast.

    Love from Chile!!!

  20. Despite this being the worst GoT episode of all time, y’all still manage to brighten up my life. The whole thing with Triscuit and Myrcella in the Dorish hand job nook still gets my goat.

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