All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
5.6 Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
Unfortunately for us, the title is a direct reference to the words of House Martell, which we never hear House Martell utter- we hear the bastards of the third heir to Sunspear repeat it all the time though. I guess this was, like, the indicator that we were going to get House Martell in all its glory, which… never… happens…
We start off in the House of Black and White with more body washing via Arya. It’s a slow and meticulous process and once the body has been scrubbed, she covers it with a sheet. Two men come in to take the body through the next door and Arya tries her darndest to peek through. She’s getting restless again. When she tries to get through the door, the Waif tells her to get back to work and Arya goes back to pissing and moaning about the chores she’s been given. Washing the bodies has a point to it- I imagine to teach her patience, as well as desensitize her to the eventual killing that she’ll be doing. It doesn’t seem to be working. Arya’s an impatient little shit. She attempts to play the Game of Faces again- and the Waif is really good at it. She has a “backstory” that’s eerily similar to Ramsay’s Domeric- she was the only daughter of a lord and was in line to inherit everything until he remarried, had another daughter, and was poisoned by the stepmother. Except in this tale, Domeric/The Waif is the winner as the Waif survived and left to learn some tricks, went back, and… then the stepmother and halfsister mysteriously died.
Jaqan wakes Arya up to play the Game of Faces and he slaps her every time she lies- that Ned died in battle, that she stabbed a stable boy in the back, that she was kidnapped by Polliver and not the Hound- and that she wanted the Hound to die. She insists that she hated him several times and he slaps her over and over… IN-TER-ES-TING. See, I’ve also never bought that Arya didn’t care for the Hound when she left him. Even if it were Stockhold Syndrome or whatever, there were good aspects to him that she was a direct recipient of. And even if it wasn’t stated, I think she took him off her list. When she’s done playing the game (because Arya has yet to learn DISCIPLINE and RESPONSIBILTY), Jaqan tells her they play it at every minute for every day in every week.
Jorah takes over as Tyrion’s roadtrip buddy and he’s not exactly the friendliest or charming fellow. In fact, he’s kind of a party pooper. A party pooper with the bluest balls you’ve ever seen. He’s so focused on getting back to Dany that he hasn’t even asked Tyrion what he was doing all the way over in Pentos. A simple conversation might have saved them both a lot of trouble and added Varys to the mix. Varys would have been totally useless against the Stone Men through… so maybe for the best? Tyrion breaks the news that he killed Tywin Lannister- the man who sent over that last pardon- and says Jorah had a much better father who actually cared about the men he looked over. Jorah has no idea that Jeor was killed by mutineers and there’s perhaps an envy that Tyrion saw Jeor more recently and before his death.
Back at the HOBAW, Aryas back to scrubbing the floors when she spots a young girl who seems to be on her last few breaths. Arya spins the girl a tale about how she herself was healed at the HOBAW by drinking the fountain water, the same fountain water Jaqan used to kill someone in a previous episode. She feeds some water to the girl and Jaqan comes forward, hands over +100 EXP, and promotes Arya to the next level. He leads her through the Hall of Faces aka Dwarrowdelf with faces on the pillars and she reaches out to touch one of an old woman- she’s not ready to become No One, but she might be ready to wear a face!
Jorah tells Tyrion that he didn’t believe in a higher power until he saw Dany step into the flames and come out unburnt with three dragons. Tyrion says the moment doesn’t mean she’d be a great ruler (YUP) and asks if she knows what to do after conquering (she doesn’t), not to mention Targaryens are “famously insane.” Tyrion points out that Dany’s never spent a day in Westeros is supposed to rule it and how is that supposed to represent justice? It’s clear that Tyrion doesn’t think much of the Targaryen reign or Dany’s supposed right to the throne, which was taken by conquering and not due to right. In fact, Tyrion doesn’t think much of inherited rights as it is, considering that he was never set to receive much of anything from his own family even though he was the most-worthy. These are all great points. Tyrion and Jorah are then taken by pirates, which is also convenient because they mention Dany has reopened the fighting pits and Jorah happens to be a great fighter.
In King’s Landing, Lancel approaches Littlefinger and tells him that his brothel is to be put out of commission. Meanwhile, Cersei pretends to play neutral and absolves herself from Loras’ arrest (no, no, that was the Faith Militant), arming the faith (no, no, that was per Tommen’s command), her engagement to Loras (he did it to himself!)- and when Littlefinger says that companionship is a curious choice people make, she lightly implies that she knew Lysa’s death was not an accident. Littlefinger assures her that he will counsel Robin to support the throne and then tells her that Sansa is back in Winterfell and that Roose the Warden plans to marry her to his son.
In just one sentence, Littlefinger has thrown our man under the bus. Just like that! He also unravels the brilliance of his negotiation- by promising Sansa to Ramsay, Littlefinger has made Roose’s claim as Warden somewhat legitimate as she’s the very last Stark (supposedly). Cersei just doesn’t know that Littlefinger was behind most of it. And Cersei, insulted that someone who was gifted their position by Tywin, falls for it without even asking how Sansa got to Winterfell. Littefinger urges her to wait for the Bolton army and Stannis’ men to wipe each other out and then sending the Lannister army to kill off anyone who is left. Conveniently, there is no Lannister army so Littlefinger, as Robin’s father figure, generously offers the knights of the Vale as an option and if successful- in exchange for being named Warden of the North. Oh, I see what you did there, Littlefinger.
Down in the Water Gardens of Dorne Sunspear, hormones run amok as Myrcella and Trystane spit teenage love at each other and… slightly barfing. How much more fun would it have been if there was no Myrcella scene and Jaime just poofed in and we never got to see if she was happy or not? And then… in the… pipe room, I don’t know I GUESS, Ellaria’s Sand Snake fly from their nest and then there’s a big pile of mumbo-jumbo in the gardens as the Sand Snakes and Jaime each try to take Myrcella away and both cancel each other out in a very anticlimactic and surprisingly slow fight scene. There’s a lot of swinging but nothing is actually happening. It’s like watching people try and reenact one of the better fight scenes. It’s very puzzling. We’ve seen Bronn do better, the Sand Snakes are rumored to be better…
Anyway, it takes way too long for all the clanging to attract the guards of the supposedly very safe, very fierce, and very well protected Water Gardens. Obara makes a dumb speech about “I fight for Dorne, who do you fight for?” I mean, it’s Dorne. Obviously. It’s just not petty bullshit. It’s diplomacy. I swear, half of the piss in this story is because of the accents and the meaningless posturing. Dorne is supposed to be fierce? I’m not impressed with your performance. Anyway, both parties get taken prisoner and. No one cares.
Olenna’s back in King’s Landing so it gets infinitely better. She goes to negotiate with Cersei, who is no Tywin and ignores her enemy instead of engaging her. Cersei again plays dumb when accused of being behind Loras’ arrest and Olenna threatens to take away the resources and military aid of House Tyrell.
At Loras’ trial, he denies his relationship with Renly and any other man, and Margaery supports her brother while she is under oath. However, Olyvar is called in and identifies a birthmark- the one shaped like Dorne- on his upper thigh, which is proof enough for the faith that he was intimate with Loras- and also calls out Margaery as a liar. Loras and Margaery are both arrested as Olenna watches helplessly, Cersei smirks, and Tommen just watches. He’s looking around wildly for help but the fact that he doesn’t immediately leap up and take action speaks volumes- he’s absolutely unfit to lead.
Up in Winterfell, Myranda helps Sansa get ready for her wedding and- was she actually sent or did she just show up? I think the latter. Myranda advises Sansa to keep Ramsay entertaining so he doesn’t get “bored” and then find ways to entertain himself- by torture of course! Myranda checks off all the girls Ramsay had, how they bored him- and how they hunted them down together after he got bored. This is just silly. Sansa knows that she is Ramsay and Roose’s key to the North and if they want the North, there’s not much they can do to her. Myranda’s just being petty.
Sansa makes her way down to the godswood, escorted by Theon, where she and Ramsay take her vows under the tree where Ned spent so much time. Roose performs the ceremony himself (Universal Life Church!?) and it’s actually a lovely ceremony. There are lanterns, her gorgeous sweater dress, fresh snow, the flayed man sigil, a slowed down and somewhat ominous version of I am Hers, She is Mine plays in the background- how could this not be beautiful?
We should know by this point that when that song plays, the lovey-dovey stuff isn’t going to end well. It’s like when the Rains of Castamere plays at any point of the show and we know the Lannisters are up to no good.
It’s not what Sansa really wants to do and she has her reservations and I think she’s more nervous since Littlefinger isn’t there to bulk up her confidence. Anyway, Ramsay takes her to consummate the marriage and he begins to show his true colors. It’s clear that as sweet as he seemingly is with her, there’s something about him that makes her quite uneasy. And this is confirmed when he tells Theon to stay behind, so he can watch Sansa become a woman. Yeck.
As Ramsay forces himself on his wife (yup, still rape!), the camera turns to Theon’s reactions. I remember quite a bit of hullabaloo when this aired, as a lot of viewers felt Sansa’s pain and moment was shifted in favor of Theon’s (and somewhat making her scene his moment) and I get what D&D were trying to do here- Theon’s reactions are reflective of ours as we understand what’s taking place in the room. It’s well-intentioned and poorly done. The show has never handled rape all that well. I mean, at least they tried here?
Anything beats that Cersei/Jamie/Dead Body scene.
Up next: 5.7 The Gift