This recap obviously contains spoilers from season 5 episode 6, so don’t read it unless you are weird and want to be spoiled before watching it.
This is going to be difficult to write so I apologize if it does not read like my usual silly recaps.
Its a little weird seeing Arya so clean and her hair so tidy but I guess she has to clean herself if she’s going to be cleaning dead bodies? And that’s what she’s busy doing – cleaning bodies. She seems to be pretty used to it now; she has a routine going. But she still doesn’t know what happens to the bodies after they are carried off. When they carry off the woman’s body after she finishes cleaning, she sees that they have left the door slightly ajar. You can see her contemplating sneaking after them to find out what they do with the bodies but the waif is there to stop her, of course. Arya asks her what they do with the bodies but the waif tells her she will know when she’s ready, but not before that. When Arya asks her who she is, the waif tells a story about being a lord’s daughter, how her stepmother tried to poison her, which led her to employ the help of the Faceless Men to kill her stepmother and that she’s been serving them ever since then. But is this story the truth or a lie? Arya does not know and it is clear that she has failed this challenge.
Arya is sleeping in her room when she hears Jaqen asking her who she is. When she wakes up, she sees Jaqen in her room, like a creeper. She answers him with mostly the truth but tries to slip in little lies, telling him that she stabbed a stable boy in the back, when actually she stabbed him in the belly, etc. Jaqen picks up on every one, and keeps whipping her and calling her a liar. Finally, after having fallen to the floor, she tells him that she doesn’t want to play the game anymore. Jaqen leaves her on the floor with some parting words: they never stop playing.
Later, while she is sweeping, a man walks in carrying a child. He sets the child down by the fountain, walks over to Arya, and tells her that he has done everything he can to try and cure his daughter but nothing has worked and he just wants her to not be in pain anymore. Arya sits beside the girl and makes up a story about her being very sick and dying, how her father brought her there and prayed to the Many Faced God, and that she drank the water from the fountain and it healed her, so that she’s not in pain anymore. She gives the girl some of the poisoned water from the fountain which she drinks. Jaqen is watching all of this from the shadows, like a creeper. While she is washing the little girl’s body, Jaqen enters the room, again like a creeper. He takes her beyond the door through which they take the cleaned and covered bodies. They walk down to a HUGE room that is full of faces hung on columns and walls. He asks her if she’s ready to give up everything that makes her who she is, forever but also tells her that she’s not ready to become no one. However, she is ready to become someone else.
Side note: I like those pots of fire.
Tyrion and Jorah have not come across any fishing villages like they had hoped and Tyrion is so hungry. He just can’t live on berries and roots like Jorah. Apparently Jorah is also a terrible traveling companion. Jorah finally asks Tyrion what he was doing in Volantis and he tells Jorah that he killed his father for punishing him for a crime he did not commit and sleeping with the woman he loved. He also tells Jorah that he met Lord Commander Mormont and he seemed like a stand up guy. Turns out, Jorah didn’t know his dad was dead, and definitely did not know that he was murdered by his own men. He seems a little shaken but doesn’t really react to this news, other than to say that they should keep moving. He still has the greyscale and he still hasn’t told Tyrion.
As they keep walking, Tyrion asks Jorah “why Dany”, especially since the Mormonts fought against the Targaryens during Robert’s Rebellion. Jorah says that he was a skeptic till he saw Dany step into a fire with 3 stone eggs and emerge the next morning with 3 baby dragons, unscathed. Tyrion is still skeptical; being the mother of dragons doesn’t mean she will make a great queen and he reminds Jorah that the Targaryens are famously crazy. Tyrion also questions Jorah about what makes Dany the “rightful heir” – because her father was king?
But they are unable to continue their discussion because they run into slavers. The slavers decide to keep Jorah alive but kill Tyrion and sell his cock because everyone knows dwarf cock has magical powers. Duh. But Tyrion has a good point: how will they know its a dwarf cock if they don’t see the dwarf? One slaver tries to say because of the size and Tyrion says “guess again.” Well, ahem. The main slaver is swayed by Tyrion’s argument and delivers one of the best lines from this episode (and this season?): The dwarf lives till they find a cock merchant. That would be a very weird career.
The slaver also mentions that the fighting pits in Meereen are now reopened and Tyrion pushes for them to be taken there instead so that Jorah can fight. The slaver doesn’t seem convinced about Jorah’s prowess because jousting is a “fancy game for fancy lads” but Jorah tells him that he killed a Dothraki bloodrider in single combat and that he will prove his worth at Slaver’s Bay.
Petyr is back in King’s Landing, where he meets crazy-ass Lancel, who tells Petyr that he has abandoned his family. He also threatens Petyr about this flesh-dealings and Petyr rebuts saying they both peddle fantasy, but his fantasy is just entertaining. During his meeting with Cersei, Petyr questions the wisdom behind arresting the heir to Highgarden. Cersei is sticking to the whole “I didn’t arrest him, the faith did” story and everyone clearly sees through it. When Cersei questions the loyalty of House Arryn, Petyr assures her that he always counsels loyalty to the throne. He then tells her that he has found Sansa and she’s living in Winterfell with the Boltons. He also tells her that it is Roose’s plan to wed Sansa to his son, Ramsay. He makes the whole thing seem like Roose’s plan. When Cersei rages about wanting to bring down the Bolton traitors, he advises they wait till Stannis and Roose battle each other and then attack the winner while he is still “licking his wounds”. He even volunteers the knights of the Vale and if he succeeds, he wants to be named the Warden of the North. Always wheelin’ and dealin’.
Guess who is back in King’s Landing? Everyone’s favorite spitfire grandma, Olenna! She is not happy to be back because you can smell the shit from 5 miles away. Stinky, stinky King’s Landing. Margaery and Olenna walk and talk about Loras – everyone knew that Renly liked dudes but nobody cared. They know that Cersei is just trying to drag their name through the mud and Olenna will deal with Cersei.
She goes to meet with Cersei, who is acting like she has mad stuff to write. Olenna gets fed up and just straight up tells Cersei to stop pretending and put the pen down. Cersei is playing the “I didn’t arrest Loras” thing but Olenna knows better. She asks if the Crown still wants the troops, gold, and wheat that they receive from Highgarden. Cersei tries to say that the Crown is with the Tyrells and veiled threats were not necessary, to which Olenna says “what veil?” Oooo girl, spit that fire. Olenna tells Cersei that she didn’t like Tywin but she respected him because he knew that sometimes you have to work with your rivals. When Cersei says House Lannister doesn’t have any rivals, Olenna rolls her eyes and gives her the “girl please” look.
The High Sparrow is conducting an inquest over the allegations about Loras. Loras obviously denies everything, including his relationship with Renly, saying they were only friends and he was Loras’ King. The High Sparrow counters by saying Joffrey was his King also but he wasn’t as distraught over his death. Loras denies charges of fornication, buggery, blasphemy, and says he’s never laid with another man. Then the High Sparrow calls Margaery for questions. She also denies all charges against her brother and she swears to it by the gods. After Margaery steps down from being questioned, they bring in one of the dudes Loras has been with and dude totally rats on Loras. Cersei acts like she’s on the Tyrell’s side, saying why should they trust dude against Margaery and Loras. To prove that he’s telling the truth, dude mentions the birthmark on Loras’ thigh. The High Sparrow decides that there is enough evidence to bring a trial against Margaery and Loras. (Really though…a birthmark is enough evidence? Dude said he was Loras’ squire so couldn’t he have just seen the birthmark whilst helping Loras dress/undress? I mean WE know that they boned but using the birthmark as THE evidence wasn’t very convincing.) They take Margaery as she yells Tommen’s name and he just sits there looking flabbergasted.
In Dorne, Trystane and Myrcella are falling deeper in love. They want to marry as soon as possible. Ah, young love. Prince Doran comments about them not knowing how dangerous their union is and they need to do everything in their power to protect them.
Bronn is using his real life popstar pipes to sing a song about the Dornish and Jaime wants him to stop so he doesn’t give them away. They make it to the Water Gardens and look around for Myrcella. Around the same time, the Sand Snakes meet with Ellaria, make their vow (unbowed, unbent, unbroken) for Oberyn and set off to seek Myrcella. Jaime sees Myrcella kissing Trystane and interrupts them (how rude). Trystane notices the blood on Bronn’s clothes and, despite Bronn’s warning, tries to draw his sword. Bronn knocks him out and Jaime tries to get Myrcella to come with them. The Sand Snakes strike and a fight ensues.
Frankly, I expected this fight scene to be better because of how bad ass the Sand Snakes are supposed to be but it was a little on the “meh” side. Bronn gets cut by a Sand Snake blade, which is likely poisoned (see The Mountain). Nymeria almost gets out with Myrcella but they are all stopped by the palace guards. Obarra tries to get them on her side saying she’s Oberyn’s daughter and asking them who they fight for but no dice. Bronn gets Tyene super angry as she is being led away, by telling her she fights well for a little girl. Bronn, I wouldn’t be talking shit yet. You got cut by a poison blade. The guards also take Ellaria away.
Sansa is pondering again when there is a knock at the door. Its Myranda and she’s been sent by Ramsay to draw her a bath. Sansa has to be clean and fresh for her new husband. While Sansa is in the bath and Myranda is helping her wash up, she tells Sansa that she needs to keep Ramsay entertained so that he doesn’t get bored and she doesn’t end up “like the others”. She then proceeds to tell Sansa about the other girls that met their untimely demise. Sansa sees what Myranda is trying to do and puts a stop to it real quick. She says “I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home and you can’t frighten me.” She dismisses Myranda and thinks things over by her lonesome. Also, she has her Tully red hair back.
It is her wedding day and she has a really pretty dress on. It looks pretty warm too. Theon is at her door to take her to the God’s Wood but she refuses to take his arm, telling him she does not care what Ramsay does to him. The wedding itself is very pretty; its snow covered and the lanterns light their path to the altar. This is the second time Sansa has had to marry someone she does not want to. They go through the formalities of the wedding (who comes before the God’s Wood, who gives her away, and who is there to claim her). She seems like she will not say she takes Ramsay as her husband but she makes herself say the words.
I will not recap the bedding scene. I usually don’t write about my opinions about the show but I will make an exception here, so please bear with me.
I do not agree with the show runners’ choice in doing this scene. It was a choice. They chose to include this terrible assault. They cannot hide behind the “it happens in the book” excuse, especially since they also chose to change so many other things from the book. Just like those changes, they could’ve chosen to not do this scene. They could’ve chosen to do a scene that empowered Sansa, which seems more in line with her story arc, rather than a scene that savaged and humiliated her. What was the point of showing Sansa grow stronger if they were only going to cut her down in this fashion? Was her rape the only way to show some kind of catalyst for her and Theon to become stronger and retaliate against the Boltons? Definitely not. Sansa has gone through a lot and she does not need the “push” of rape to give her a reason to want to seek revenge against the Boltons. And using her rape to give Theon a reason to rise up against the Boltons is just cheap and lazy. Even the way they chose to shoot that scene, focusing the camera mostly on Theon, makes it seem like he’s the victim of the assault and not Sansa. Bryan Cogman, who wrote this episode, had this to say about the scene: “This isn’t a timid little girl walking into a wedding night with Joffrey. This is a hardened woman making a choice and she sees this as the way to get back her homeland.” I’m sorry but no. This isn’t the “use what you got” advice Cersei gave to Sansa a couple of seasons ago. Being sexually assaulted was not a “choice” Sansa made. She is not using sexual assault to “wrap Ramsay around her finger”. Using sexual assault as a plot point was a choice the showrunners continue to make and, sadly, I don’t see them stopping anytime soon.
Next episode: The Gift
I couldn’t agree with you more! The whole scene was really messed up and really undermined all of the character development they have done with Sansa. I still have bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing
Yes! I am still angry about it. They could have gone a different route that would’ve still shocked us but not in this terrible way. What a lost chance. Ugh.
Also: by focusing on ramsay’s psychotic brutality and theon continuing to break through his own trauma as reek, Sansa’s own experience was literally off screen.
So not only was this a choice they made for the story and character, the manner in which the assault was directed made It a vehicle to develop reek and Ramsay.
The lazy, slapdash, tone deaf, and just clearly sexist writing and direction therefore didn’t just undermine Sansa’s budding independence and confidence, but used her body to prop up the male characters. Doubly, possibly triply (if that’s a word) offensive.
Last: they knew there would be a backlash. Hello, s4 “altar scene”, background rape (craster), etc. this was planned provocation. Disappointment or disgust, Hype is hype. Fans were/are talking.
Thank you for your comment. I completely agree. I guess they’re in the “any press is good press camp”. No thanks.