Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 6 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Braavos: Arya washes more dead people in the House of Black and White, doing her best “wax on, wax off” routine in the hopes of actually getting some of the combat training she came here for. But she’s too much like Ralph Macchio and impatiently asks an older girl what happens to the bodies. The older girl says she’s not ready to know yet. Then she proceeds to tell Arya a story, of how she came to be here in the House, coming from a family torn apart by tragedy, a story with echoes of Arya’s own. Arya is sympathetic, but then the girl asks her, “Did you believe what I just told you?” and walks off.

Jaqen shows up and asks Arya who she is. Arya tells her story, but Jaqen interrupts several times, telling her she’s lying and hitting her with a thin stick. Arya looks like she’s just about to snap, but she keeps her seething bottled up inside. Jaqen says she’s not only lying to him, but to herself. Honestly, I don’t get this mystical Obi-Wan Kenobi crap or why Arya’s putting up with it. I feel like I want her to snap and throw Jaqen to the ground and start punching his face and start yelling, “Just get on with it already!!”

Later, A man comes in with a sick young daughter, telling Arya that this is his last hope – none of the other temples could heal his daughter. She lies in pain on the floor. Arya makes a decision, and goes to the girl, telling her everything will be okay, and to drink the water from the well in the floor – which is poison. She drinks. Next scene, we see Arya washing the dead girl’s body. Jaqen appears and leads Arya down some stairs into a huge chamber that looks a bit like the Hall of Dworin, except the pillars have hundreds of life size clay faces on them. Possibly the faces of all the people who have become Faceless Men? Do they actually rip the faces off? It all seems a bit weird, but suitably mystical and spooky. Jaqen tells Arya she’s not yet ready to become no one, but she is ready to become someone else.

Okay, more cryptic* rubbish. Seriously, I would have lost patience with Jaqen’s schtick long before this. I guess I’m not cut out to be a Faceless Man. I wish he’d just get on with it and tell Arya something straight for once.

* Ha ha!!

Dorne: Jaime and Bronn have taken clothes and horses from the Dornish guards they defeated, looking to use them as a disguise to sneak into the city, and presumably somehow the palace. They don’t seem to have a plan of any sort, as indicated when Bronn asks what the plan is and Jaime says he’s just making it up as he goes. Ah, the good old Indiana Jones method. It worked because Indy was a true hero, unlike Jaime or Bronn. These two should know better and try to come up with a plan before walking into an enemy base. I mean seriously.

Meanwhile, Myrcella is making friends with a young Dornish prince. She doesn’t seem to need much rescuing, as they embrace and start talkgin about getting married. Jaime and Bronn burst into the gardens, to Myrcella’s cry of “Uncle Jaime!” They knock the prince off her and grab her, but then the Bitter Woman and her three daughters appear and start fighting. They have a comical Batman-TV-show-style battle in which nobody gets hurt, but they make a lot of noise, prompting me to wonder why the sounds of battle in the royal palace gardens doesn’t instantly bring a battalion of guards to investigate.

Eventually the guards arrive and surround everyone, forcing them to drop their weapons. The guards take Jaime, Bronn, and the Bitter Woman and her daughters into custody. Well, it serves Jaime right for going in with such a great plan… oh wait. Well, I guess they’ll meet with the ruling Prince and have some discussion over what’s going on. He doesn’t want a war with the Lannisters, so it’ll be interesting to see how he reacts to this, and if he starts to listen to the Bitter Woman.

King’s Landing: Petyr Baelish has arrived and goes to meet Cersei, but he’s stopped in the streets by a group of the High Sparrows religious heavies, including the young Lannister cousin, Lancel. Oh, I forgot to mention an episode or two ago he had a rune carved into his forehead, which now marks all of these religious fanatics. They threaten Petry over his immoral business activities, but he brushes them aside, saying he has business with the Queen Mother, leaving unsaid the implication that she’d be very unhappy if he didn’t make his meeting.

Cersei is unhappy anyway, demanding to know what Petyr’s up to. He says that Sansa Stark is alive in Winterfell, with the Boltons, which just upsets her even more. But it’s okay, says Petyr, because he’s planned everything out. Stannis is about to attack Winterfell, and the two enemies of the Lannisters (the Baratheons and Boltons) can wipe each other out, and then Petyr can lead a force to mop up whatever’s left and secure the North for Cersei. And all he wants in return is to be named Warden of the North. Cersei gives him a sharp look, but agrees.

Honestly, I never know what Petyr’s up to. He genuinely seemed to be concerned for Sansa, but now he’s thrown her to the wolves. He seems so unassuming, and friendly, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that he only ever looks out for himself. He’s the Palpatine of Westeros. I’d bet that when he gets what he wants from Cersei, he’ll stab her in the back too.

Margaery’s grandmother Olenna Tyrell arrives in King’s Landing, having been summoned from Highgarden by Margaery an episode or two ago after Loras was arrested by the Faith Militant. There is a pre-trial hearing, with the High Sparrow leading proceedings. Loras denies all charges of homosexuality. The High Sparrow says okay, and calls Margaery to the stand. There’s a brief moment of confusion as she protests, after all, she’s the Queen, but the High Sparrow says nobody is above the Gods. He asks Margaery about the charges against Loras, and she also denies them. High Sparrow says thank you, you can go. Margaery gets up and says, “Okay, I guess we’re done here then.”

But no! The High Saprrow pulls a Matlock and calls a surprise witness! It’s one of Loras’s many male lovers, and he spills all the beans. I’m not sure why he blabs – presumably there’s something in it for him – like being promised not to be executed or something, though honestly I wouldn’t put much faith in such a promise in King’s Landing. Not only does he implicate Loras, he says Margaery knew about their affair, having witnessed them together. As proof, he cites knowing about a birthmark Loras has in an intimate place. Loras leaps from his chair to attack the guy, and the Faith Militant guards gram him and the High Sparrow also orders them to take Margaery on charges of giving false testimony. Margaery screams to Tommen to do something, but he’s too stunned and sits there as they drag her and Loras away.

Well well. Very well played, Cersei. I don’t see any way out of this for Loras and Margaery, unless Olenna can pull something out of her wimple. Tommen is too much under Cersei’s thumb now, afraid of the High Sparrow. Although… he really dotes o Margaery. Maybe this will cause something in him to snap and he’ll start standing up to Cersei and really exercise his power as king. That might be something to see. And also if Olenna can do something, that’d be cool too. It looks like fun times ahead in King’s Landing.

Near Valyris: Jorah and Tyrion continue trudging along the coast. Tyrion sarcastically asks where these fishing villages are. Jorah is still hiding his greyscale infection – stupid, stupid. Tyrion says he’s running from Westeros after killing his father. And he tells Jorah that his father, the previous Lord Commander of Castle Black, is dead, which Jorah didn’t know. While chatting, they run into some slave traders. They’re going to take them to Volantis to sell them, planning on cutting off Tyrion’s manhood to sell as an aphrodisiac when they get there. Tyrion says why not take them to Mereen? The slavers say Daenerys has outlawed slavery in Mereen. But she’s reopened the fighting pits. Aha says Tyrion, take us there because Jorah is a great fighter and they can make a lot of money from him. The slavers look sceptical.

All of this just seems like a plot device to slow their journey to Mereen. We know they’ll get there, it’s just a matter of when, and on whose ship. Maybe Jorah will infect a bunch of slavers before they get there though.

Winterfell: Myranda, the kennel-keeper’s daughter, helps Sansa bathe before her wedding to Ramsay. Myranda tells her awful stories about Ramsay setting the hunting dogs on former mistresses. This would be bad enough if they were lies, but it’s no doubt all true. Sansa tells her to get out, she can finish by herself. She dresses in a heavy winter gown for the ceremony, which is held outdoors at night, in the softly falling snow, by a weirwood tree, still with its red leaves. Theon performs the function of giving her away, but twitches as his brainwashed guise of Reek cracks further. Indeed, when the celebrant asks who gives Sansa away, Theon replis “Theon Greyjoy”, not “Reek”. Ramsay doesn’t seem worried by this, but I don’t know if it’s because he instructed Reek to “pretend” to be Theon again, or if he didn’t notice because he was caught up in the ceremony. I hope it’s the latter. The celebrant asks Sansa if she accepts Ramsay as her husband. I’m begging her to say no, and to make a run for it or something, but no, she meekly accepts.

Later, Reek takes Ramsay and Sansa to their matrimonial bedroom, and prepares to leave. Ramsay orders him to stay. And watch. He then orders Sansa to remove her dress. Now I’m really hoping Sansa has concealed a dagger in her sleeve and is about to pull it out and stab Ramsay through the heart. But no. She starts removing her dress, but Ramsay is impatient and rips it and proceeds to force himself on her, with Theon watching.

Ugh. Yuk. Gross. This is awful. I really wanted Sansa to turn a corner and start fighting for herself. But now there’s nothing I want to see more than Ramsay get his comeuppance.

Ugh, what a horrible, horrible episode. Pass the brain bleach, please.

2 Responses to “Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 6 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken””

  1. Glen says:

    “I never know what Petyr’s up to”. Back in season 3, (in one of their many arch conversations in the Great Hall of the Red Keep, before the iron throne), Petyr told Varys “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” … this seems to be Petyr describing his *modus operandi*.

    [I think this conversation was at the time Petyr delivered Ros – who was spying for Varys – over to Joffrey’s twisted attentions, so presumably this is happens during what you describe as Petyr having a “brief meeting with Varys” in your writeup of Season 3 episode 6.]

    At the time, I thought that in the above scene between Petyr and Cersei, Petyr was perhaps giving away too much to Cersei – after all, he could use the same kind of reasoning again with whatever was left of any Lannister force after an attack into the North against whichever side was the victor between Stannis and the Boltons, and presumably Cersei could as easily reason the same way and expect him to betray her as well.

  2. Lauri T. says:

    As shocking GoT episodes go, this one is not as famous as “The Rains of Castamere” or as gruesome as “The Mountain and the Viper”, but I believe it’s by far the most controversial to date. When it first aired, the rape scene caused something of an uproar and led some viewers to start a boycott, so you’re definitely not the only one to have looked for the brain bleach after watching it. It’s pretty mind-blowing to realise that out of all the various matches made for Sansa over the course of the story, Joffrey wasn’t even the worst.

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