Game of Thrones Memory Lane 506: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Sansa

What is there left to say about a Game of Thrones episode that had everyone, from your neighbors to friends you never realized watch the show to a U.S. Senator, throwing in their two cents? There’s no need to rehash all the gory details of the controversy that followed “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” when the debates still rage to this day, and no point in reminiscing about the shocked reactions on social media when we still have Axechucker’s Twitter recap of the episode handy for review.

Last May, the sixth episode of season five, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” aired for the first time. Since then discussions of the episode have fixated on the closing scene, but it’s worth looking back today, for our Memory Lane, at all the scenes that structured this polarizing chapter of Game of Thrones.

Arya Jaqen

Though the later half of the episode focuses on Sansa, the first half of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” is largely centered around Arya’s next phase of training. It’s no accident either, I suspect. Both Stark sisters are entrenched in dark worlds, trying to find their way forward, and relying on dangerous mentors with unclear intentions.

Having earned her way into body-washing duties (a promotion in the eyes of the Faceless Men), Arya is learning reverence for death and the dead. Cleansing bodies, there is respect, and peaceful silence in the ritual. This is a significant change for Arya whose encounters with corpses up until now have mostly involved seeing dead bodies created as a side effect of vengeance and cruelty. It’s an extension of the lesson the Hound taught her about relieving the dying man’s agony in “Mockingbird;” she’s still learning that death can be a gift to people.

Part of her next stage of training is the Game of Faces, a very aggressive version of Two Truths and A Lie. She plays with the Waif, and later with a stick-wielding Jaqen who is similarly dissatisfied with her progress. In the game, Arya is forced to admit she doesn’t really hate the Hound.

Arya’s finally inspired to step up her lying game by another girl’s pain. Offering comfort to the dying girl Ghita, Arya crafts a beautiful lie and wins entrance deeper into the House of Black and White. For the first time, Arya -and we the audience- behold the eerie Hall of Faces, the overwhelmingly large library of human faces kept by the Faceless Men.

(Remember the sheer wonder of the Hall of Faces, before the season 6 marketing campaign beat the image to death with a stick?)

Jaqen wisely realizes Arya isn’t ready to become No One, but gives her a chance to become someone else- the next phase in Faceless training, as we’ll see.


Jorah scene

The Jorah and Tyrion Road Show is another highlight of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” with Iain Glen turning in some of his finest moments using hardly any words.

The two men aren’t having a great trip so far, having lost their boat, been kidnapped (Tyrion) and contracted greyscale (Jorah). Tyrion has kept Jorah on his toes up until this point, annoying Mormont with his chattering, cutting observations and jokes. It’s in one of Tyrion’s frequent passing comments that Jorah is informed of his father’s death.

The array of expressions that flow over Iain Glen’s face in just a few moments, conveying Jorah’s shocked realization, his contained grief, his digesting of the information Tyrion offers, and finally the painful pushing aside of his emotions. It makes you wonder what Jorah has been thinking all these years- has he been hoping to see his father again someday, if he won a pardon? When did they last speak? It’s a beautifully filmed scene, and it’s a reminder that skillful dialogue can only take you so far. In the end, you need actors like Iain Glen.

After the devastating news is handled with a pragmatic The-Road-Show-Must-Go-On attitude, the men have a fantastic conversation about Daenerys and ruling. Tyrion brings up questions that fans have discussed many times. Sure, Daenerys has dragons, but why does that mean she’ll be a great queen? Why is she entitled to reign, simply because her father did? Why is anyone entitled to rule? Shouldn’t more people in the kingdoms be asking these questions? The dreamers and idealists of any cause need to be balanced out with practicality. Jorah used to be the more realistic of Dany’s advisors, but it seems that being exiled from her side has made his heart-eyes stronger and his common sense weaker. She needs Tyrion more than she knows.

And then the cock-merchant-talking slavers show up, and it all goes to hell. No wait- it works out fantastically, because thanks to Tyrion’s quick tongue, the men have a ship ride to Meereen. Tyrion is at his best when his survival is threatened; he fights for what’s his, as his father Tywin once said. I can’t imagine what Tyrion would fight for harder than his cock. I mean this is Tyrion, after all.


Bronn Tyene

In terms of simple pleasures on Game of Thrones, nothing really beats Jerome Flynn belting out a tune. Bronn treats us to “The Dornishman’s Wife” as he and Jaime head off to smuggle Myrcella out of Dorne. And then we’re smacked over the head with the ridiculous beauty of the Alcaz- sorry, I mean the Water Gardens.

Myrcella isn’t keen on leaving Dorne, where Everything is Awesome and her boyfriend has pouty lips. The Sand Snakes make their move just when Jaime and Bronn do, and I’ll excuse that timing because Jaime and Bronn were seen coming into Dorne so everyone was pretty much waiting for them to show up, and eh, I’m being nice okay?

The Dorne segment of this episode was much maligned after it aired. Some of it justly, and I think some of the criticism was over the top. I will say that Ellaria’s plan is bad. I mean what is this plan? It makes no sense. Jaime’s isn’t much better, but then Jaime is a hothead. I don’t think Ellaria is a great strategist either. This is a demonstration of what happens when hotheads try to plan things.

The real crime is how underused Alexander Siddig is, in all of this. The perfect Doran Martell, only a minute of screen time.

My overall feeling about this scene in retrospect is that with tighter editing, it could’ve come across a lot better.


Cersei

In King’s Landing, Littlefinger makes a major move in this episode. It’s always been unclear how much loyalty he feels toward Sansa, despite her being the daughter of Catelyn whom he supposedly loved. Heading back to the capital, Littlefinger meets with Cersei, and exposes the truth that Sansa is alive and set to marry Ramsay, the Bolton heir. Of course, he leaves out his role in the marriage.

But it’s a ploy, naturally. Cersei is steaming mad but on Baelish’s advice, agrees to let the Boltons and Stannis’s army have it out before acting, and let one of them take out the other. After that, Littlefinger’s Vale knights can swoop in and take over and he will become the Warden of the North.

Nice maneuver, Littlefinger. Very nice. I mean you’re a prick, but that was well done.

Another of Cersei’s meetings goes well- for her anyway. The Queen of Thorns is testy that her grandson Loras has been arrested for general gayness. It’s a sparkling duel of wits, but ultimately, and shockingly, Olenna Tyrell loses this round. The older woman is left shuffling out of the room, with Cersei still in control.

At the inquest for his charges, Loras denies any wrongdoing and his sister Margaery vouches for him. Unfortunately, his occasional bedmate Olyvar takes the stand. As many have pointed out, Olyvar was a squire in his first appearance on the show when he met Loras. It wouldn’t be strange for him to have seen Loras naked and to be able to identify a birthmark- but Loras flips out immediately, and it looks very bad. That guilty-seeming reaction is probably a factor, and also this is an inquest to determine if charges are going forward, not the full trial. He and Margaery are both taken into custody, pending the trial.


Sansa Ramsay

Sansa’s scenes toward the end of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” incited controversy, and as I said, I feel no need to rehash that; people have already made up their minds. But I think it’s worth acknowledging episode writer Bryan Cogman’s comments regarding the wedding night scene that explained how a few writing and directing choices were made.

The main reason we cut away at the end, frankly, is that this was Sophie’s first scene of this nature, and we didn’t want to show the attack. And so we cut to Theon to hear the attack. I understand why many people reacted to that, [thinking] we were making this scene about Theon and not Sansa. I’m sorry it was viewed that way. All I can say is it’s certainly not my intention when I wrote it or when we were producing it … We could have stayed on her face of the entirety of the attack, that would have been a perfectly valid choice. To me it was about being respectful to Sophie.

I appreciate the thought that went into the process of creating the scene. My own choice, were I the director or writer, would have been to have the camera finish on Turner’s face in close-up. That would have made the moment about her while still not showing the act of rape happening. But you know, I’m not the writer or the director. I’m the viewer. I can’t rewrite what happened, I can only interpret it and choose whether or not I want to factor in any input from directors or writers. I can watch an episode in its entirety and share my thoughts on it. That’s what I can do, as a fan.

There is no value in actively silencing the feelings and opinions of people who take issue with the depiction of rape in Game of Thrones or any other program. For fans who are at peace with the show’s depiction of sexual abuse or women, or both issues, they are also entitled to their opinions. For fans whose feelings lie somewhere in between, the same applies.

Ultimately, we all have our own take on these controversial moments. All we can do when confronted with art that incites a powerful reaction is share our thoughts with respect.


Stray Thoughts from My Actual Notes:

“Still not feeling Faye Marsay’s performance as the Waif”

“This is a shitty plan, Ellaria. Superbad.”

“I’m still waiting for the full recorded Flynn version of ‘The Dornishman’s Wife'”

“I like seeing Trystane get punched. It feels right.”

“LF slightly less impressed by the Faith Militant than others. Bullies hold no power over him- he’s gotten that his whole life.”

“How can N. Ireland look so warm?”

“Pretty wedding. Too bad.”


Introductions:  The incredible Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje guest stars as the slaver Malko.

The dying girl Ghita (Hattie Gotobed) will surprisingly resurface- her face will, anyway- in the season finale, when Arya goes to confront Meryn Trant.

Deaths: Ghita, who becomes the first face Arya wears from the Hall of Faces.


Beautiful Death: For the gift of death administered in the House of Black and White in this episode:

bd

130 responses

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    1. The scene when Jorah learns of his father’s death was brilliantly played by two talented actors. Few words were needed; it was all said in their expressions.

      In the end, you need actors like Iain Glen.

      Of course we do…for so many reasons…we need Iain Glen.

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    2. I’ve never really liked LF but the scene with him and the sparrows were nice and I enjoyed LF basicly telling em to piss off.

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    3. Among other things in the episode, I like how Iain said “Do you ever stop talking”. I think it is one of the rare instances Jorah sounded annoyed.

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    4. Honestly, the cock-merchant scene was dumb, especially after such a well-written and well-acted scene where Jorah found out about his father.

      The fight with the Sand Snakes never stops being funny. It looks like something straight out of Power Rangers. I half expected Rita Repulsa to come out.

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    5. a new set of interviews (with french subtitles :/ )

      Alfie Allen & Daniel Portman:

      Hannah Murray & John Bradley:

      Iwan Rheon & Michael McElhatton

      Liam Cunningham & Carice van Houten:

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    6. Easily the best part of this entire episode is between Jorah and Tyrion, when Jorah found out that his father died was really sad.

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    7. For an episode titled “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” there are a lot of characters that are bent, bowed and broken in this episode lmao.

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    8. Flayed Potatoes:
      Honestly, the cock-merchant scene was dumb, especially after such a well-written and well-acted scene where Jorah found out about his father.

      The fight with the Sand Snakes never stops being funny. It looks like something straight out of Power Rangers. I half expected Rita Repulsa to come out.

      But the “cock merchant” is now one of the memorable parts of this series together among other things, Joffrey being slapped, drunk Cersei in Blackwater and chicken line of the Hound. So cannot complain

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    9. as much as i agree with most of the criticisms of the winterfell and dorne plotlines in this episode, I realized on a season five rewatch i did recently just how much those scenes overshadowed how great the rest of the episode was. Arya’s scenes, the Tyrion-Jorah scenes, and the King’s Landing scenes were all fantastic imo.

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    10. Regarding the birth mark, it was located on the inside of Loras’s thigh, so it would have been more difficult to see. Plus, your typical squire wouldn’t be able to identify the exact shape and location of their master’s birth mark. None of this would be sufficient evidence to convict Loras, but it was enough evidence to proceed to trial. Also, Loras’s reaction certainly didn’t help.

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    11. I think the scene where Arya successfully plays the “game of faces” is my favourite Arya scene of the season. Very well done.

      As far as all the Dornish scenes go, my favourite parody of this whole plotline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VTkL62YnTA

      I don’t think the way the show revised Cersei’s plot against Margaery especially works. The frameup is so manufactured that the Tyrells look like morons for stumbling into it, and the charge hinges on such slight evidence that Loras should easily have been able to deny it. There’s also the question of why Loras, who is supposedly one of Westeros’ greatest knights, doesn’t simply demand a trial by combat to settle this matter, which he would easily win.

      As far as the episode’s final scenes go, many, many of the defences of this plot revolve around asserting that obviously Ramsay would rape her in this scenario…which is true. This is the logical outcome of Sansa agreeing to this stupid plan. I’m not especially bothered by the filming choice, either. This storyline, to me, fails on a conceptual level; I don’t believe any of the things that had to happen to put Sansa in this position, nor do I believe it makes any sense in terms of developing the character.

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    12. This is one of my favorite episodes of season 5. The Arya stuff is awesome. Jorah and Tyrion is great. The black wedding is tragically beautiful and brilliantly shot and scored by Podeswa and Ramen. The King’s Landing stuff is good too.

      I personally thought the Sand Snakes fight was awesome. For starters, the silhouette shot of the Sand Snakes running out of the tunnel was great. Nym with the whip added a different dimension to the fight and hearing it crack on top of Ramen’s score just added a cool feel to the fight.

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    13. I’ve just watched this episode… And each time I watch it the Dorne scenes just get worse, I swear to the old Gods and the new. They make my teeth itch. Not one good performance – not even from Siddig (sorry but it’s true- a stint on DS9 does not make for an Oscar worthy performance).

      In contrast to Sues point I’m actually amazed how goddamn cold and cloudy Dorne looks. It’s meant to be blazing hot yet all we see are cloudy skies. I mean they shot the Dorne beach scenes in PortStewart! Couldn’t they just have flown NCW and JF out to Spain or Morroco to do a few scenes?

      As for the end scene. This always brings tears to my eyes, as it’s so powerful in many ways. I really don’t agree that the scene was made to be all about Theon. When I watch it, all my thoughts are on Sansa and what she is enduring. Very few people actually acknowledge just how strong Sansa is here, and I think this is such an important a point to emphasise. Her courage, strength, dignity and composure throughout this scene is simply incredible. Especially (God) when she bends over knowing what she is about to be subjected to gets me every time. I know many (most) won’t agree with me but that’s my thoughts on it anyway.

      A final point- I remember last year the point blank refusal by most, to acknowledge that Sansa would be in Winterfell and possibly may take Jeyne Pooles role, even though from the trailer it was clear she was in WF. So the naysayers on LSH, Benjen, whatever have to try and keep an open mind this season- we really don’t know what’s coming in many aspects.

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    14. ACK!!! *Drinks* THIS *bleeping* episode. ?

      Before I go off on a tangent about why it sucks (because I don’t actually think I’ve ever said why I don’t like it), can I just start shit by saying that I hate the insinuation that people are “hypocrites” because they weren’t similarly “outraged” when Daenerys was raped or when Theon got his parts cut off. It’s a ridiculous argument that ignores context for the sake of trying to prove people the “hypocrite”. ?

      Daenerys was raped in episode 1 of season 1, and by the end of the very NEXT episode, she has learned to use sex to her advantage. She did not stay a “vicitm” for any significant amount of time *cough* 5 seasons *cough*, and considering her rape occurred in the first episode, no one (outside of book readers) knew what to expect from this show to be outraged by that event.

      Secondly, I recall a lot of people being outraged or at least disturbed by Theon’s season long torture and subsequent castration, so the hypocrite label doesn’t universally apply in that situation. But going back to the “context” argument: Theon was a bad guy. He betrayed Robb, took over Winterfell (and killed Rodrick in the process), killed two innocent farmboys, etc, etc. I don’t know about anyone else, but when something bad happens to a “bad guy”, I’m not particularly outraged. Especially not a bad guy who betrayed my beloved House. So, excuse me that I don’t shed a tear for Theon’s cock. In the words of Jaime: “It felt like justice.”

      Anywho, my point is that context matters. And people can’t compare two similar events and call them equal because both the context and the characters involved makes them different.

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    15. Sean C.,

      I agree wholeheartedly on the Cersei plot for the reasons you note … I know others have criticized the convoluted nature of the book plot, and it was, but it made sense given the facts (Tommen was too young to consummate the marriage) and Cersei knew that Margaery would likely not be considered a virgin due to her horseback riding. I mean trumping up adultery charges has worked for generations (we won’t know who needed the moon tea until TWOW)… there should have been something less convoluted, but more substantive …

      And I agree on Sansa … the whole “marry Ramsey and make your own justice” plot never had a chance for working for Sansa, it worked well enough for LF … so if you are of the “all’s well that ends well” school, Sansa will probably end up Wardeness of the North, with a few bumps along the way. If anyone expected any better, they hadn’t been paying attention to Ramsey’s arc.

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    16. Sean C.:
      There’s also the question of why Loras, who is supposedly one of Westeros’ greatest knights, doesn’t simply demand a trial by combat to settle this matter, which he would easily win.

      As seen with Oberyn, even the best fighters can fall victim to trials by combat. I’m sure Loras will choose trial by combat if his trial seems to be going poorly, like Tyrion did, but only as a last resort.

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    17. Young Dragon,

      Considering that squires sometimes helped people get their pants on and off, he definitely could have seen a birthmark on Loras’ inner thigh. Squires see pretty much everything. If Loras had just kept his cool, he would have been fine.

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    18. RosanaZugey,

      I think the best approach is to not be defensive about your view. As You say the context is different. It meant to be more impactful. I don’t think any one is a hypocrite for their view, but the fact that Dany is naked during her rapes does make her situation more fetishizable ( if you will permit me to make up this word) it makes sense that we feel more for Sansa bcuz we knew her when she was a prepubescent child girl. And because she suffers. But as I said before, I think it’s kind of cool that Sansa isn’t cookie cutter GOT type. Not a seductress. She isn’t Dany and she isn’t Margorie. She is her mothers daughter and she is a terrible liar. She chooses not to seduce Ramsay. Doesn’t even try. And that’s not a bad thing. Though it does change how we view the rape.

      Just some thoughts. I have a lot more that I’ve expressed before. I just find the whole debate fascinating.

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    19. Darkrobin,

      I preferred Cersei’s plot in the show. In the books, it was convoluted, as you said, and there were so many pieces in motion that I knew that there was no way Cersei wouldn’t be caught. I liked how they made Cersei smarter in the show, manipulating Margarey into committing a real crime, rather than framing her for a fake one.

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    20. I contest that this was actually rape, despite popular opinion dictating otherwise. (This is not to say that what happened wasn’t, least to say, horrible for Sansa.) At no point during their encounter THAT NIGHT–I must stress that I’m referring to ONLY the night of their consummation–did Ramsay intimidate Sansa. There’s that line where he says and I’m paraphrasing,”do I have to ask twice? I don’t like to ask twice,” which would have had a scarce impact on Sansa. She had a limited appreciation of what he was capable of–for had she known before the fact, there would be no reason why she would enter that room with him. He doesn’t initiate contact forcibly–he rips the back of dress, but she had already began to disrobe at that point. He bends her over, but not aggressively, and proceeds to penetrate her. Before that, we see no physical resistance from Sansa nor do we hear any verbal objections. She’s in pain during, but that doesn’t by necessity mean she was raped. It only took a turn for the worst, so to speak, when Ramsay ordered Reek to watch.

      But what about the power he has over her as the effective male heir to the North? She’s is the last known scion of House Stark, the principal house of the North. He’s the bastard son of a Stark vassal. (You do the math.) I don’t put it beyond Ramsay to rape Sansa. In fact, after episode seven, I’m convinced that he has raped her several times. But if we’re referring to just the end of episode six, then no, I wouldn’t say that she was raped.

      As for the last shot focusing on Theon, I don’t think that there’s a problem with this. There’s a clear attachment between Sansa and Theon. From Theon’s perspective, she’s his late best friend’s sister and the daughter of the man who treated him like a son. For all intents and purposes, Sansa is a sister to him. So when he watches his “sister” in that situation, helpless to stop Ramsay, it’s heartbreaking to see his reaction. Oh… why not focus on her POV? I don’t object to this at all, at least from an artistic point of view. But I think of that last shot with Theon in the same way I think of Catelyn’s POV during the Red Wedding. The fact that she claws into her face as she watches Robb die gives it at nice external aesthetic–and what I appreciate in the show’s adaptation is we hear that Robb’s last words are “mother!” much like a plea resembling that from a young boy to his mom, and not the King of the North to a former prisoner. Why did we not get Robb’s POV in that scene? And would it have provided more or less impact? I like Theon’s inclusion in that scene, because in many ways he represents us. For years we’ve been tortured by Ramsay; for years we’ve had to tolerate his atrocities and psychopathic tendencies. That scene wasn’t meant to be just about Sansa–and that’s O.K. That scene forced us, much like Theon, to watch a loved one go through a mortifying experience. Well those are my controversial sentiments. I do kind of resent that Cogman has backpedaled on his explanation of this scene, but I also understand. It’s backpedal or be crucified.

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    21. I think “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” is a much, much better than it’s often given credit for being. The more I watch it, and the further we get from the boiling controversy that erupted after it initial airing, the more I appreciate the artistry involved in this hour. Game of Thrones is a show that rewards careful rewatches and reconsiderations, and this episode does so more than most. Scenes that admittedly bothered me at the time no longer do. Scenes that I liked the first time through I now absolutely adore.

      That’s not to say that the episode doesn’t have some rough patches. It does, in a few storylines. I hold Season 5 in higher esteem than some seem to (it’s my third favorite season overall), and I would consider this hour to be my least favorite episode of Season 5. It does not fall lower on my sliding scale, however, for the final scenes that caused it to become such a lightning rod for many.

      I’ve said this before, but I actually think that the scenes in Winterfell are the very best part of the hour. I love the confident, almost haughty attitude that Sansa puts on when Myranda comes to bathe her and the kennelmaster’s daughter indulges in a shallow attempt tries to frighten the highborn young woman with the stories about how Ramsay discarded the women who bored or displeased him – Kyra, Violet, Tansy. Like any sadistic bully, Myranda was expecting easy prey – a timid little girl. But Sansa is timid no longer. That’s clearly apparent from the way she turns the tables on her would-be rival: “I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home, and you can’t frighten me.”

      When Myranda leaves departs, however, Sansa exhales and puts her face in her hands. Despite her outward show of strength, she’s scared. She has good reason to be. But there is no shame in that.

      It reminds me of what Robb said back in Season 2, when he recalled what Ned once told him. “How can a man be brave when he’s afraid? That is the only time a man can be brave.” That goes for a woman, as well. Sansa is Ned Stark’s child every bit as much as Robb was. She is every bit as brave. She is every bit as strong, if not more so.

      When Reek comes to collect her, take a moment to appreciate the costumes. Sansa’s wedding dress is one of the very best the show has done. It’s beautiful. Brilliant work from Michelle Clapton during her final season. And it’s since been confirmed that Theon is wearing Robb’s old clothes, which is perfect, since Robb was the man who Theon spent most of his time at Winterfell wishing he could be. Now, after all the mistakes he has made and the tortures he has endured, the best he can be is a shadow of what he once was and hoped to be – a broken man who wishes he could die, wearing a dead man’s clothes.

      In a better time, a happier time, Robb might have been the one who gave Sansa away at her wedding (or better yet, Ned). But they’re gone. Winterfell has become a place of ghosts, be they living or dead. Theon is one. Sansa carries many with her. And beneath the once-sacred trees of the godswood, there are monsters as well.

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    22. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      This is one of my favorite episodes of season 5. The Arya stuff is awesome. Jorah and Tyrion is great. The black wedding is tragically beautiful and brilliantly shot and scored by Podeswa and Ramen. The King’s Landing stuff is good too.

      I personally thought the Sand Snakes fight was awesome. For starters, the silhouette shot of the Sand Snakes running out of the tunnel was great. Nym with the whip added a different dimension to the fight and hearing it crack on top of Ramen’s score just added a cool feel to the fight.

      Agreed. I liked the Dorne fight and thought the cinematography for the wedding was beautiful.

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    23. All in all, Sansa’s wedding night was a masterful exercise in slowly escalating horror. From the moment that the wedding in the Godswood began, that sense of dread was building. Many people have said this eerily beautiful sequence seems like it was transported out of some gothic fairytale. That’s exactly right, in my view. Ramin Djawdi’s music “Before the Old Gods” sets that tone – it’s an understated piece, but it’s haunting, ethereally beautiful, and one of my favorites from the Season 5 soundtrack. And Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen’s performances powerfully anchor us in the moment. God, they’re amazing (and so are Iwan Rheon and Michael McElhatton, for that matter).

      Watch Alfie Allen when Ramsay looks at Theon and asks who comes to give Sansa away. Watch him. “Theon of the House Greyjoy. Who was …” he pauses. His voice trembles as he remembers “Who was her father’s ward.” The was in that sentence is key. Superficially, it applies to the ward portion of the statement, but everyone knows that it’s Theon who was, and now is no longer. At least, so the man himself believes. For now.

      But as great as Allen is, let’s not overlook Sophie Turner. How could we ever?. I’m in awe of how she carries herself throughout the entirety of that entire procession through the snow. When Roose turns to Sansa and asks if she will take Ramsay. Sansa hesitates, then prepares herself. Her skin goes from porcelain to ivory to steel, all in that one moment. Then she steps forward. “I take this man.” She meets her new husband’s gaze. The way Ramsay smiles after she does so is the most disturbing moment in the hour so far – though it will soon be eclipsed, of course.

      For as much flack as this episode takes, I thought Jeremy Podeswa earned his Emmy nomination for the Winterfell scenes alone, and that wedding scene in particular. People seemed shocked when this scene made the nomination list for the best dramatic scene of Season 5 at the WOTW Awards. They shouldn’t have been … at least on merit. The scene is brilliant. Part of me wishes I could strip the scene off context – both what happens next in the show and the ugly furor that poisoned the discussion around it. If I could, I could watch it over and over. I think it’s that good.

      But of course, the context is what gives that scene its power. This scene, powerful as it is, is but a prelude to the rape. The attack itself is shot with care – at least as much as such a horrific event can be. I do wonder if they had shown nothing – just had Ramsay or Theon close the door, and ended the episode there, leaving the rest to people’s imaginations – if the response would have been more or less heated. I appreciate that Sue included Bryan Cogman’s commentary about the scene in the post above. Go read or listen to the full commentary track, when you get the chance. I don’t understand how anyone could paint him or anyone involved with the show as a callous monster after that.

      But I won’t attempt to question or devalue anyone’s reaction. Everyone had their own. This was mine, and I personally think that to cut away would have been a disservice. Once Sansa enters this pact, there is no escape, for her or for us. To bear witness to this was horrible and brutal, but it was necessary.

      Yes, I’ll use the word necessary. People can debate whether it was necessary to send Sansa to Winterfell, to have her marry Ramsay, to have her suffer in this way. Whether it was necessary to deviate from the novels to this end. I’ve had that discussion before, but I’m not particularly interested in having it here and now. I support it, even if I don’t “like” it at all. Once this specific adaptation choice was made, this was the moment we were headed for. Having made that decision, I would have been angrier if the show had shied away from such consequences.

      And the novels have no claim to any sort of moral authority, in my view. I will not neglect the fact the scene, horrifying and excruciating though it is, is extremely toned down from its literary counterpart, which made me feel physically sick. I did not need to read what happened to Jeyne Poole – a girl we barely knew – which included Theon being forced to participate. I wish I never had. I had even less interest in seeing that happened to Sansa. I’m glad the show spared us that specific level of depravity.

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    24. Jared:
      I think “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” is a much, much better than it’s often given credit for being. The more I watch it, and the further we get from the boiling controversy that erupted after it initial airing, the more I appreciate the artistry involved in this hour. Game of Thrones is a show that rewards careful rewatches and reconsiderations, and this episode does so more than most. Scenes that admittedly bothered me at the time no longer do. Scenes that I liked the first time through I now absolutely adore.

      That’s not to say that the episode doesn’t have some rough patches. It does, in a few storylines. I hold Season 5 in higher esteem than some seem to (it’s my third favorite season overall), and I would consider this hour to be my least favorite episode of Season 5. It does not fall lower on my sliding scale, however, for the final scenes that caused it to become such a lightning rod for many.

      I’ve said this before, but I actually think that the scenes in Winterfell are the very best part of the hour. I love the confident, almost haughty attitude that Sansa puts on when Myranda comes to bathe her and the kennelmaster’s daughter indulges in a shallow attempt tries to frighten the highborn young woman with the stories about how Ramsay discarded the women who bored or displeased him – Kyra, Violet, Tansy. Like any sadistic bully, Myranda was expecting easy prey – a timid little girl. But Sansa is timid no longer. That’s clearly apparent from the way she turns the tables on her would-be rival: “I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home, and you can’t frighten me.”

      When Myranda leaves departs, however, Sansa exhales and puts her face in her hands. Despite her outward show of strength, she’s scared. She has good reason to be. But there is no shame in that.

      It reminds me of what Robb said back in Season 2, when he recalled what Ned once told him. “How can a man be brave when he’s afraid? That is the only time a man can be brave.” That goes for a woman, as well. Sansa is Ned Stark’s child every bit as much as Robb was. She is every bit as brave. She is every bit as strong, if not more so.

      When Reek comes to collect her, take a moment to appreciate the costumes. Sansa’s wedding dress is one of the very best the show has done. It’s beautiful. Brilliant work from Michelle Clapton during her final season. And it’s since been confirmed that Theon is wearing Robb’s old clothes, which is perfect, since Robb was the man who Theon spent most of his time at Winterfell wishing he could be. Now, after all the mistakes he has made and the tortures he has endured, the best he can be is a shadow of what he once was and hoped to be – a broken man who wishes he could die, wearing a dead man’s clothes.

      In a better time, a happier time, Robb might have been the one who gave Sansa away at her wedding (or better yet, Ned). But they’re gone. Winterfell has become a place of ghosts, be they living or dead. Theon is one. Sansa carries many with her. And beneath the once-sacred trees of the godswood, there are monsters as well.

      I must say that I really enjoyed this response. I think there are times where I get so caught up defending the end of that episode, that I’ve forgotten to appreciate the scenes that came before and led to it. And so as to not take away from anything you’ve said, I’ll just say that I agree, completely.

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    25. On to happier things. Well, mildly happier, anyway.

      God, I love the scene where Tyrion tells Jorah about his father’s death … only Jorah didn’t know that Jeor had been murdered. As Sue notes in her post, Iain Glen does absolutely brilliant work there, almost entirely in silence. The conversation that they have about Daenerys and whether she has the right qualifications to rule – or even any right to – is wonderful as well, particularly in light of what Dany did in “Kill the Boy”, and the discussion that was spawned from it. “Have you ever heard baby dragons singing?” “No.” “It’s hard to be a cynic after that.” Indeed it is, and for me, the dragons are fictional!

      I’ll admit that after my first viewing of the episode, I didn’t love the scene where Tyrion and Jorah get captured by Malko and his band of slavers. The execution struck me as somewhat clumsy and abrupt, even though its speed was a necessary feature. A similar development happens in ADWD, but it’s far more drawn out. I’ve made my substantial distaste for Tyrion’s long, morose journey across Essos in ADWD abundantly clear. Anything was better than that.

      I was thrilled to see Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, as I loved his work on Lost (RIP, Mr. Eko). I was, however, somewhat disappointed that his role wasn’t a more important one (He probably didn’t have time for anything more substantive, to be fair). It’s fair to say that whatever role I thought he might play when we first heard he was cast, a slaver who believes in the magical properties of dwarf cocks was not it.

      Honestly, part of my admittedly silly criticism of the scene was that the whole concept of a “cock merchant” was a little ridiculous for my taste – though I fully believe that such a profession actually does exist in this world, and is lucrative enough for someone to make it a full-time career. God, Westeros and Essos are just horrible places, aren’t they? Remind me again why I love this damn series so much?

      But even if the character of Malko didn’t exactly provide AAA with room to show off his substantial range, he made full use of his talents within those confines. He’s grown on me, as has Tyrion’s lightning-quick talking to extract him and Jorah from the situation. It’s an odd scene for Game of Thrones, but it’s a fun one, especially in retrospect.

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    26. Seth,

      While I agree that Reek is us, and for the record I don’t think pulling back to him makes the scene about Theon (because he’s not Theon), I respectfully disagree about it not being a rape. It’s a medieval setting, but the larger setting is 2015. In that context, it is a rape because she is being forced. And while it isn’t terribly violent, that doesn’t matter much. She consents only in a sort of medieval sense of the word consent. She was forced to marry him and makes it clear. I think that the creators /writers made it clear that they view and portray this as a sort of rape. That’s why Tyrion says he won’t rape Sansa. This show is between time periods. Vastly different time periods. And I think it’s even more obvious because it’s a fantasy show and not a historical piece.

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    27. This episode was kind of a mixbag for me when I first saw it, specially after it had ended and the Internet outrage started. But after a lot of rewatches and thought, I feel this is a great episode, not amazing, but great.

      Arya’s scenes were great for me; watching her advance in her training and playing the Game of Faces, specially when Jaqen pushes her to admit she didn’t hate the Hound was really interesting and revealing to see. Maisie’s acting showing how Arya still believes that she hated the Hound when she actually respected and cared for him is amazing.

      The Road Show with Jorah and Tyrion is fascinating to see since Peter and Ian have incredible chemistry and are really incredible actors aswell. Their scenes together are so entertaining and watching them get into trouble and getting out of it are fun to watch.

      The Dorne fight for me was good, but not amazing and the acting (or probably the writing) for the Sand Snakes is sometimes ok, but mostly cheesy. So many negatives have been said about Dorne and I won’t deny that it was such a waste of opportunity for the show; but we got that; and although it may be cheesy and underdeveloped there are actually some pretty well written scenes in future episodes that really made me like it more than what we’d seen up ’till then.

      King’s Landing is always a delight. Watching the brilliant Diana Rigg in GoT is something I’ll never get tired of; and watching LF’s plan unfold is pretty intriguing. I actually believe LF is more to him than what is revealed in the show. Yeah, leaving Sansa in WF alone with the Boltons doesn’t make that much sense; but I’m expecting (just specualting here) a scene in S6 where Sansa and him meet again and he reveals he used her and although is her loved one’s daughter, she’s still a pawn to him (of course in a more subtle way).

      And now, onto the last scene. I thought it was actually really well executed and, though traumatizing, is really effective and not as grotesque as people said it was. Everyone has their own view of the rape scene and as Sue said, everyone is entitled to their own thoughts on it.

      All in all, as I’ve said, a great episode that’s sadly overshadowed by its last scene and the Dorne fight.

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    28. This is a very good write up. Upon reading this and re-watching the episode, I have come to appreciate it more. You’re right that the last scene overshadows some really great moments in the episode, like Jorah’s reaction to “and we shall never see his like again.”

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    29. “We both peddle fantasies, Brother Lancel. Mine just happen to be entertaining.” Great line. Eugene Simon has talked about how he’s gotten to play two different characters on this show, and while Lancel 2.0 isn’t exactly an upgrade from a charm perspective, Simon has certainly made more of an impression in this new incarnation. He does such a great job playing a smug, sanctimonious, fanatic. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy in real life, however. Actors who play such characters so well usually are.

      I enjoy the scene between Cersei and Littlefinger where he reveals that Sansa has returned North. His plan, such as it is, comes into focus here. Seeing Cersei’s spitting anger at the Boltons’ betrayal is fun, and Lena Headey plays it well. “I will skin him and his bastard, like that wretch on their bloody sigil!” Would you? Would you please?

      The scene between Olenna Tyrell and Cersei is fan-freaking-tastic. Cersei is doing her best Tywin impression, sitting behind a desk and scratching out letters, but the Queen of Thorns isn’t fooled. “Put the pen down, dear. We both know you’re not writing anything.” Awesome. So, so good. I’m very glad that Lady Olenna and Dame Diana remain a part of the show long after her counterpart in the novels has retreated to Highgarden, and out of the story.

      I think that confrontation is my favorite scene in the episode that doesn’t take place in Winterfell. “As for your veiled threats …” “What veil?” That being said, Cersei does get the better of Olenna here. It’s honestly shocking to see.

      The one down note in the hour’s King’s Landing arc is Loras’s inquest. It’s probably the weakest scene of the episode for me. It feels rushed, though Cersei maneuvering Margaery into committing a “legitimate” crime is an interesting twist. Even if it seems like a tame offense, so does almost everything the Faith despises. I’m not going to question whether a bunch of religious fanatics have anything resembling a proper perspective.

      Sue makes a good point about Loras’s birthmark, and how he might have saved himself if he kept better control of his emotions. I do appreciate how they tied it back in, however. So many people after the premiere were complaining that scene was pointless. Turns out, it wasn’t, even if the payoff wasn’t all that great.

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    30. The wedding scene had some of the best cinematography I have seen in the show…it was masterfully shot…the music…lighting and atmosphere were perfect…my only gripe with this episode is the Sand Snake fight due to poor editing…other than that I LOVE this episode…it is heart breaking.

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    31. I’ve heard some criticism that Arya’s storyline in this part of the season moves slow, which I understand. But I think it feels slow because she didn’t appear for several episodes. I don’t hold with the complaints that we spent half the season watching her wash bodies and clip nails. I’ve run a timer on those scenes. Across two episodes, they run less than three minutes, combined. Hopefully our collective attention spans haven’t frayed to that degree.

      I enjoy the scene where the Waif tells her ambiguously true story, although like Sue, I’ve never been all that crazy about Faye Marsay’s performance. It’s one of the very few casting decisions this show has made that I’m not unequivocally positive about. I seem to recall that in the initial casting call, they were looking for an actress of East Asian descent for the part. Clearly the plan changed, and I’m fine with that. But so far I haven’t seen what it is about Marsay that caused them to turn away from that plan.

      I love the moment when Arya is playing the game of faces with Jaqen, and repeatedly insists that she hates the Hound, and Jaqen keeps striking her for it. Arya … the truth is obvious to everyone but you.

      Arya giving mercy to Ghita is another great scene. Maisie Williams nails that speech, and the look on her face after she gets Ghita to drink is unsettling.

      (Remember the sheer wonder of the Hall of Faces, before the season 6 marketing campaign beat the image to death with a stick?)

      That I do. The Hall of Faces is an amazing design, and it was awe-inspiring to see it for the first time. I am sympathetic to those who think that it’s too darkly lit, although I’ve never personally had that issue.

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    32. Demon Monkey:
      Seth,

      While I agree that Reek is us, and for the record I don’t think pulling back to him makes the scene about Theon (because he’s not Theon), I respectfully disagree about it not being a rape. It’s a medieval setting, but the larger setting is 2015. In that context, it is a rape because she is being forced. And while it isn’t terribly violent, that doesn’t matter much. She consents only in a sort of medieval sense of the word consent. She was forced to marry him and makes it clear. I think that the creators /writers made it clear that they view and portray this as a sort of rape. That’s why Tyrion says he won’t rape Sansa. This show is between time periods. Vastly different time periods. And I think it’s even more obvious because it’s a fantasy show and not a historical piece.

      Sansa wasn’t forced into marrying Ramsay. She was manipulated by Littlefinger into accepting the marriage proposal. And Sansa wasn’t oblivious to medieval custom. She knew that marriage came with the expectation of consummation, especially given her previous marriage to Tyrion. In medieval marriages, neither husbands nor wives could refuse the other because sex was conjugal right between man and wife. Now if you want to look at these arrangements and make a retrospective judgement, claiming rape for all of these arrangements, then you must make sure that it conforms to modern definition. And no, I don’t mean “yes means yes” and “no means no.” (I believe the purview of communication contains nuances that expand beyond mere verbal affirmatives and negatives.) Rape is coerced sex, meaning it’s the use of force, threat, or intimidation in instigating sexual contact. Does he force her? Where? Does he intimidate her? Where? Does he threaten her? Where? Had Sansa initiated sexual contact, it would seem as though she had raped him, because there was no standard to which she was subjected that he wasn’t, as well. However, it was obvious that she didn’t want to. But she resolved herself to tolerate this experience with Ramsay given the expression on her face as bent her over. This doesn’t mean that he raped her. For him to rape her, whether it be 2015 or a 15th century inspiration, he would have to elide her objections and or force/threaten/intimidate her. Ramsay does none of this. I think the scene was purposely meant to flirt with a variety of nuances, and entertain a bit of a dark aesthetic. And I’m pretty sure that some will agree that Ramsay is being set-up to be Joffrey-esque. That means when he dies, which he will, Ramsay’s demise will provide a greater catharsis. I mean, if we’re left with the atrocities he made against Theon/Reek, it would be… meh. But if he dies after raping a beloved character, which I concede happened after episode six, and that character reclaims the North in either her own name, or family’s name, well… imagine that.

      Thanks for respectfully disagreeing. These discussions can go sour really quick.

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    33. Alan, the one-hundreth of His Name,

      I love when The Queen of Thorns calls Cersei a tart.

      I feel like Cersei came off as stupid this season. Like she couldn’t see how all of her plans were bad. Arming the faith militant for example. Or trying to get rid of the Tyrells. Short sighted to say the least.

      LIttlefinger on the other hand…I’m not sure he didn’t know the truth about Ramsey. And I am not sure he really loved Cat, much less Sansa. As you say, she is a tool to him. I suppose he might die this season, but only if he finally gets himself out of his depth. He takes risks. But he has a plan. I would be disappointed if he didn’t.

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    34. I’ll close with Dorne. It’s unfortunate that this episode is named after the Dornish storyline, because this is admittedly not its finest hour. I think part of the reason that I was unimpressed by the duel between Jaime, Bronn, and the Sand Snakes was because my expectations for it were far too high. We first heard about it long before the season started, and the idea of the Kingslayer and the sellsword-turned-knight tangling with Oberyn’s daughters sounded awesome. What we got didn’t live up to what I had pictured, though the reasons why have since been well-documented. This is why expectations can be dangerous.

      Once again, however, time has softened my opinion. On the totem pole of amazing and illustrious fight scenes that Game of Thrones has blessed us with, this one definitely ranks near the bottom. But it’s not that bad. Moving it outside of the Alcazar would have helped. They would have lost the gorgeous backdrop, but could have spent more time on the choreography, and not worried about damaging a UNESCO World Heritage site with a stray swing. Perhaps the Sand Snakes could have successfully taken Myrcella out of the gardens. Jaime and Bronn could’ve intercepted them outside the walls when they tried to flee with their hostage. That would have alleviated the concerns about how easily Jaime and Bronn waltz into the Water Gardens as well.

      With apologies to Toby Sebastian, Trystane does have a very punchable face. I’m not wild about that casting either.

      In the land of First-World Problems, I remained disgruntled that we didn’t get a complete version of Jerome Flynn singing “The Dornishman’s Wife” on the Season 5 soundtrack. At least let him sing the full song in the show if you’re not going to do that! Someone at HBO dropped the ball there, and it cost them money that I would have gladly given them.

      I do appreciate that they at least let him sing the final verse in the next episode, however. As Bronn says “This song really is all about the ending.”

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    35. Seth: Does he intimidate her?

      However, it was obvious that she didn’t want to.

      I agree with a great deal of what u are saying. Especially about the use of this scene to build towards an eventual catharsis. But also about medieval marriages. There’s no rape in the medieval context. I’m well aware.

      The above is where our disagreement lies. From my point of view he did intimidate her with his comment of I don’t want to ask again. Reek is proof to her that he is a sick bastard and he has given her clues himself, at dinner. Then there was what Myranda told her. She has plenty of reason to be intimidated at this point.

      And the fact that she obviously doesn’t want to do it. That does conform to a modern (maybe postmodern?) definition of rape. I refer you to the awesome tea tutorial on consent.

      Also glad we are having a respectful discussion. ?

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    36. I’m so glad you showered Iain Glen with praise. He displayed a palpable sense of grief, sadness, regret and shame with no words. We tend to take masterful actors like him for granted after a while because they make it seem so effortless. I hope he survives the season.

      Now I’m going to carefully back out of this comment thread …

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    37. Demon Monkey,

      I understand the difficulty. I think that things got a bit rushed. They had to get Cersei from Point A to Point B (The Walk of Shame). They compressed a storyline that took most of AFFC. So I understand fully the need to change the complicated plot Cersei had against Margaery. They cut (for now) most of Brienne and Pod’s wanderings through the Riverlands. I think they could have had a scene or two to introduce the Sparrows outside of KL (though Ayra and the Hound in Season 4). They could have made the Sparrow bring up the need for the Faith to have troops to defend the septas and silent sisters much like in the books and have it not have been totally her idea. Also, the fact that she got them to forgive 3 million crowns of debt in the books made it seem to her that she had driven quite the bargain. As far as to how to trap Loras, it would have seemed an easy thing to catch him in the act … he wasn’t exactly using any discretion … then it would not have been he said/he said. But that would have left Margaery …

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    38. There are times when it feels like the writers are taking things from fan forums and not from actual book..

      And this scene with tyrion about dany is one scene like that …

      That question can be asked about anyone in the series …tyrion can stand in front of mirror and ask himself why should he get Casterly rock because his father had it …
      There is a scene in the books where tyrion mentions how much dany as achieved and her struggles so far and her strengths to YG and how she is Argon the conqueror with tits..would it have hurt to have this scene instead of what we got …

      I would have liked Jorah’s response to tyrion is what Tyrion says to YG …but instead we get dragons singing …I do not like this approach making everything about dany is about her dragons…she is more than her dragons ..

      And it doesn’t matter if tyrion became a believer in episode 9 because no one remember that scene compared to this scene

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    39. Demon Monkey,

      IT IS MOST DEFINITELY A RAPE & to suggest otherwise is either woefully naive or incredibly insensitive. I was glad to read your comment. How could anyone think that Sansa WANTED that? THAT is what consent is…even if you aren’t really enjoying it you can still want it…to please your partner for example or to get pregnant. Sansa has very quickly discovered the trouble she is in & that Reek is forced to be there too makes it even worse for her. Ramsey ORDERS her,without a shred of humanity AND rips her dress,her own dear handiwork.She would be wishing to do anything or be anywhere else right then.It is CLEARLY rape and Ramsay delights it the fact that he can do it without a fight. Jeez I wonder at the empathy levels of some…

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    40. Darkrobin,

      Yes – that was my main complaint with S5; that it was too rushed. I do like it better on rewatch but think certain storylines (esp Dorne) suffered quite a bit from this.

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    41. Jared,

      Lately when I run into a post that is well thought out and considered, I look to see who wrote it, and usually its you. Maybe its because you manage to take all my jumbled feelings about the issue and put it all into a logical and reasonable manner. Then I can just point and say, there, thats what I meant,and no longer pressured to post and read everything else written at my leisure. (thank you )

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    42. Seth,

      Not surprising really when its of such a subject as rape.It is a VERY emotive subject …quite understandably wouldn’t you say? I completely disagree with you without any regard to respect.It was rape.Clearly. Not “he’s my husband now so I’ll let him ” More “Christ! I’ve married a psychopath! If I’d don’t do what he says my life is in danger!”…Ripping a dress is violent,even if its in a consensual situation. Sansa WOULD HAVE STOPPED IT if she could have…. so that, my dear, is rape.

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    43. Demon Monkey: I agree with a great deal of what u are saying. Especially about the use of this scene to build towards an eventual catharsis. But also about medieval marriages. There’s no rape in the medieval context. I’m well aware.

      The above is where our disagreement lies. From my point of view he did intimidate her with his comment of I don’t want to ask again. Reek is proof to her that he is a sick bastard and he has given her clues himself, at dinner. Then there was what Myranda told her. She has plenty of reason to be intimidated at this point.

      And the fact that she obviously doesn’t want to do it. That does conform to a modern (maybe postmodern?) definition of rape. I refer you to the awesome tea tutorial on consent.

      Also glad we are having a respectful discussion.

      I don’t think we disagree on Ramsay’s capacity for violence and its exemplifcation through Reek and Myranda. But if she was given clues by both Myranda and Reek, then why did she proceed? I’ll allude to Jared’s statement about Stark bravery. She’s clearly apprehensive after her encounter with Myranda, but maybe she’s being brave. Maybe she sees her marriage to Ramsay as the only means to reclaim her homeland, as Bryan Cogman’s initial statements delineated. And therefore, she resolves herself to endure her situation with the Boltons. She could’ve insisted that she leave with Littlefinger, but she didn’t. She could’ve lit that candle and placed it on the windowsill of the broken tower, but she didn’t. When she’s in the Godswood marrying Ramsay, the show is careful to show that the scene ends with Sansa’s laboring on the decision to follow through or not. (It emphasized that she’s making the decision to do this.)

      As for the “do I have to ask twice” line, what exactly was Ramsay threatening? Was he going to take her out for a “hunt”? I’m sure that Roose would have some words with him. Was he going to flay her? It’s possible. After all, it happened with Jeyne Poole in the books. But Jeyne wasn’t a noble woman. Was he going to impale her with a weapon? There were no visible weapons on him. We know what he meant because we’ve had front row seats to Ramsay’s evil machinations. But could Sansa really appreciate what Ramsay could do without having experienced it herself? There’s no way to tell how she took that line other than his reasserting that she take off her clothes. The only feasible options under that supposed threat would be: I’m going to rape you or I’m going to rape you.

      I’m not saying that it was lovey-dovey–far from it actually. I think it was an experience she resolved herself to endure. And desire doesn’t inform consent; agreement does. She doesn’t have to want it. She only has to agree to it. And everything in that episode leads me to believe that she agreed to it, albeit halfheartedly. There’s a stark difference–pun intended–between her countenance in episode six and episode seven, despite her situation marginally changing. It’s only until episode seven that she may have realized that she was in over her head and plots to escape. It’s only until episode seven that she, first hand, experiences Ramsay’s atrocities and can appreciate Ramsay for who he really is. I think calling what went on in episode six rape unduly conflates it with the violence taken against her, both visibly and by her description, in episode seven, undermining the meaning of rape.

      Lola Twinkle:
      Seth,

      Not surprising really when its of such a subject as rape.It is a VERY emotive subject …quite understandably wouldn’t you say? I completely disagree with you without any regard to respect.It was rape.Clearly. Not “he’s my husband now so I’ll let him ” More “Christ! I’ve married a psychopath! If I’d don’t do what he says my life is in danger!”…Ripping a dress is violent,even if its in a consensual situation. Sansa WOULD HAVE STOPPED IT if she could have…. so that, my dear, is rape.

      Well… I still respectfully disagree with you.

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    44. Who cares… 4 days, which means that I will probably die in a car crash this Sunday evening, or that world-ending meteor will hit…

      Mods, swear, swear on your honour and the blades and laughter of your unborn children, that if by Tuesday (well, ok, Wednesday) I don’t post in the new episode thread, you will burn my username and block my IP. Because afterwards it won’t be me that comes back…. but something dark and terrible, like Winter.

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    45. Liam says that what we think is going to happen, won’t happen. And what we don’t think is going to happen, may happen. The question is, just what does Liam think we think is going to happen that he can say for sure that it won’t happen? Lol. I believe he’s one who is pretty in tune with the fandom guys, so him saying that kind of scares me a little.

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    46. The dying girl Ghita (Hattie Gotobed) will surprisingly resurface- her face will, anyway- in the season finale, when Arya goes to confront Meryn Trant.

      Never actually realised that before now, thanks for pointing it out!

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    47. While there are no bad GoT episodes, this one is one of the worst for me. Not because of the ending, which is ironicaly the best part of it.
      The pacing of this episode is so far off, there is absolutely no flow between scenes. We start with a long bit about Arya, cut shortly to Tyrion, then back to Arya for another long scenee, the back to Tyrion again and then we lose them both for the rest of the episode…Then we go to the infamouse Dorne scene where nothing flows right (though the fight isn’t as bad as I remembered. It’s fine. Just Obara’s “I’m am the daughter off”-shut up at the end is sooo annoying). The Olanna goes to kings landing whrer they transition very awkwardly from her scene with Margaery to her scene scene with Cersi by overlaying the last bit of dialogue over the Cersei scne. It’s fine to do this with a few words, but they do it with more than a whole sentence, which makes it seem like they cut out of the previous scene earlier than planed and didn’t know how. After that it’s of to Winterfell.
      There is no connection between almost none of these scenes. It’s a clipshow episode with zero rythem. Almost anytime we change location, there is no motivation to go to that specific new place.
      A lot of the scenes are fine or even great (Jorah learning abou his father is beautiful and touching), but it never feels like a whole episode. It’s just a clipshow. And I don’t know who to blame since the directing is mostly great. Especialy the wedding and end scene at Winterful are very well handled. I suspect that a couple of scenes got rearangend with 505 and 507 and that messed up the narative so much.

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    48. Worst episode of season 5. >.< Errrk, Dorne. Hopefully GRRM had an angry phone call with D&D after the botched attempt at the Dornish storyline.

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    49. One of my favourite episode of the season.

      I thought everything was a A+ and dorne around a C-.

      To go a bit more in detail.

      I loved Tyrion and Jorah. Him finding about his father was a strong moment. I also enjoyed their talk about Dany. And of course the Cock merchant, who has become a iconic line.

      LF scene with Lancel was great:”we both paddle fantasies, mine are just entertaining”
      Then his scene with Cersei was great as well. All my friends thought he was a genius when he basically was given the North by Cersei.

      Arya was great. One complain I have about her story is that we didn’t get enough Jaqen!!

      Okay, the end.

      Kidding…

      First, Dorne. The more I watch it, the more I think people are exagerating. If I would have to give it a score, it would be around 7-7.5, but no where near the abomination some make it out to be. I loved Bronn singing and thought the fight served the same purpose it did in the books. A very poor thought out plan, that falls flat on its face.
      Some may complain about the coincidences, I understand those, but I never shared them, not only for GOT but for every movie ever, coincidences never bothered me.

      And now the Sansa scene.
      This is all I will say.
      I thought her story was among the best last season. If not for Pryce, who made me love KL’s story, it would have easlly take the 2nd spot, just after the Wall.
      Her story is, after Jon’s, my most anticipated story in S6.
      I thought the wedding was beautifully shot.
      And I have to disagree, that they made the moment about Theon. I thought it was a very good choice to show us the horror of that moment trough his eyes and damn if Alfie didn’t nailed it.

      I’ll say no more. I have no intention of people yelling at me again that I ”enjoy rape”.

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    50. Jared,

      Jared, I just wanted to thank you for writting all of this.
      I was really considering not even to open this thread but then I remembered how much I enjoy your comments on the episodes!

      So, thank you!!

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    51. Eh, never understood why people got quite so exercised about the “cock merchant”. Well, I do understand, it’s the internet, Jake.

      But my reading of it is not that there is a well-known section of Essosi society that sell dried penises, rather that the slaver was reaching for the right words – “the dwarf stays until we find, I dunno, a … cock merchant or something”. At the end of the day it’s no less stupid than making a business out of rhino horn.

      I also, in my own head canon, would like to think the Tyrion was responsible for starting the idea of lucky dwarf cocks back in 503, when in response to the brothel bouncer telling him that “it’s good luck to rub a dwarf’s head” he replies that “it’s even better luck to suck a dwarf’s cock”. And thus the rumour of lucky dwarf cocks spread like wildfire across Essos!

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    52. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      No. There you are. I am not alone. It is possible that we are many who liked the WG scene. I thought it was hilarious in its buffoonish execution a moment of true entertainment before the darkness. One of the best episodes in the show and slightly under The Climb in my ratings when it comes to episodes number 6. Podeswa is a great director and I am looking forward to his contribution in season 6. This episode has one of the funniest and one of the cruelest scenes of the whole show. It has some of the best performances in an episode overall and an excellent combination of arcs. It is a showcase of how diverse, complex and visual stunning this show is. Just great!

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    53. I don’t want to go over the “should they or shouldn’t they” in regard to changing certain subplots from the books – with regard to Sansa there is a forum thread but few people seem to use it. GRRM didn’t exactly help by not having written anything about Sansa for circa 11 years (if what people say about the WoW Sansa chapter being one that was pushed back from ADWD is true). There’s a history blog I sometimes visit about Edward II (of England). The lady who maintains the blog does not write about GoT but this link is to an article about the real-life abduction and forced marriage of a wealthy heiress (nothing about wedding night shenanigans – it’s a factual history blog http://edwardthesecond.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-abduction-of-margaret-audley-1336.html

      I appreciate that doesn’t relate directly to the episode but does show that some medieval weddings weren’t exactly tea-cakes and buns.

      As Sansa was screaming at the end of the episode I think it can be considered as a marital rape.

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    54. Redxgod,
      Is that some sort of a drink, I wonder…..? Hmm….?

      Btw, hey, Oz and other techies: I was one of those people who reported some issues in some of the previous threads. I no longer need to clear the cache to see new versions of pages, but I do need to wait until the page loads and then reload – it’s maybe as if page updates don’t enter into/ replace the cache. I’m on an Android device using Chrome, regularly updated.

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    55. This episode although uncomfortable to watch in the end was very important for the Sansa arc. It was her ‘kill the girl’ moment and you felt this low and no more for her. She trusted too many men to make decisions in her life and now in S6 there will hopefully be payback for them all! Including baelish.

      The only person outside of her family to ever treat her with any respect has been Tyrion.

      PS. About that clip above. I thought the Starks were all about the ‘ice’ but Sansa is complaining about cold water?

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    56. After long time thinking about it, I must admit that my main problem with Dorne is not so much the storyline or the fight scene, it’s the accent. While it worked wonderful with Pedro, I just feel that the other actors are inhibited by it somehow or constrained. I can basically see them struggle with it on screen. In hindsight, it would have probably been much better not to have any accents (e.g. people of Qarth over in Essos didn’t need accents either). It’s a teeny bit like Americans trying to do a fake German accent, it always comes off as slightly offensive and it makes me cringe to no ends.

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    57. Ygritte,

      He probably means it’s not Mel who’s responsible for, you know…What 99.99999998% of us are hoping. God, what is it with me and made up percentages? Anyway, I’m surprised WOW haven’t published the article where D&D talk about pupillary sphincters. It’s probably caused a fanboy riot of hatred on IMDb, where I’m not exactly sure if they even like the show.

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    58. Ygritte,

      Ygritte, I heard somebody surmising that Davos might bring Jon back rather than Melisandre. How they would work it I’m not sure.

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    59. Jared:

      With apologies to Toby Sebastian, Trystane does have a very punchable face. I’m not wild about that casting either.

      I’m not wild about it either. Probably the only one in the entire cast. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for him this season.

      Also, thanks for adding your commentary about this “controversial” episode. Your posts are always insightful and yet respectful of others’ opinions.

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    60. Jared,

      Agreed on all your points…very well put!

      “I think that confrontation is my favorite scene in the episode that doesn’t take place in Winterfell. “As for your veiled threats …” “What veil?” That being said, Cersei does get the better of Olenna here. It’s honestly shocking to see.”

      Shocking and disappointing. But then the QOT gets her revenge on Cersei by revealing Lancel (or at least her knowledge of Cersei/ Lancels shenanigans) to the High Sparrow (albeit offscreen). It was also disappointing to see her absent from the Walk of Shame though. Seeing her and Cersei come face to face, removing the veil so to speak, would have been fantastic.

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    61. Jared:

      I enjoy the scene where the Waif tells her ambiguously true story, although like Sue, I’ve never been all that crazy about Faye Marsay’s performance. It’s one of the very few casting decisions this show has made that I’m not unequivocally positive about. I seem to recall that in the initial casting call, they were looking for an actress of East Asian descent for the part. Clearly the plan changed, and I’m fine with that. But so far I haven’t seen what it is about Marsay that caused them to turn away from that plan.

      I seem to recall an interview Faye did (though I cannot find it now) where she said she was basically the only one who showed up and did the audition, so that would be why they changed the ethnicity of the Waif.

      Jared:

      That I do. The Hall of Faces is an amazing design, and it was awe-inspiring to see it for the first time. I am sympathetic to those who think that it’s too darkly lit, although I’ve never personally had that issue.

      I have never had any issues with darkness on the show. Though, when I get a new monitor, the first thing I do is mess with the settings.

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    62. Wait, that actress is called Hattie Gotobed? Lmao, I’m pretty sure that’s just what her parents keep telling her and she somehow thought it was her last name.

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    63. Seth,

      I understand what you are saying. Sansa definitely had decided to endure it in hopes that it would allow her to take revenge. Previously she had not realized how far in over her head she was. And it’s here where it starts to change.

      It’s hard to separate our present day understanding of rape and consent from older ideas in this context. But I would argue that our current feelings on consent clash with arranged or forced marriages, with the result being its another kind of rape. Maybe if she hadn’t have been victimized in the same way afterwards we wouldn’t have viewed it the same way. If she didn’t have bruises and wasn’t locked in a tower. If her situation was more like Danys. Dany was “consenting” after her wedding night too, but even that is viewed by the postmodern audience as “rapey” if not just plain rape.

      I stand by my earlier opinion. That in the twenty-first century forced marriage (or arranged if you prefer) is viewed as rape. If you cannot choose your partner, you can’t really consent. And I would add that the violence of the situation and the aftermath (paying more attention to what we as viewers know than to what Sansas character knew going in) underscore that it is represented as a rape. If he had been kind maybe it would have been different, but I think even if it had been Tyrion it would have been seen as a rape. He just would have been forced as well.

      In the end, it’s all about perspective and the viewers’ perspective matters. And we know that many saw it that way.

      I think we have to agree to disagree. And maybe let the debate over whether or not you and I view it as rape lie. Because obviously we aren’t making headway. But I appreciate the respect in the conversation.

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    64. andriakenas,

      Well, now that would be a daunting list lol. Off the top of my head I will say I would not expect the dragons to start dancing, the White walkers to arrive and hand out candy, Sansa proclaiming undying love to Lord Robin, and Jon being revealed as the son of Old Nan and Ser Rodrick.

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    65. On the perspective issue for GoT I have heard people complain that the shows producers are glamorizing the wearing of Furs! In a period piece set in a medieval environment?

      Also JFK would now be consider a sexual predator by modern standards just 65 year later. Time and society moves on and you can not keep everyone happy.

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    66. dragonmcmx:
      Wait, that actress is called Hattie Gotobed? Lmao, I’m pretty sure that’s just what her parents keep telling her and she somehow thought it was her last name.

      It’s a real and rare surname. Theory is that it is derived from the early English form of “son of Godbert”.

      And here she is posing with Maisie

      http://www.hattiegotobed.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GOT-MH-e1446654362264.png

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    67. Kit Hairyton,

      Man that place had become a joke. The posters on there made it sort of become all about them. At least the GOT forum. Although every once in awhile there will be a thread with someone claiming to have seen an episode or know the script and I like to see how creative they can be. I have absolutely no clue what that Pupillary thing is, well at least the first word is puzzling lol.
      Dame of Mercia,

      Hmm that’s what people are saying but it’s not the context I picked up on, I don’t know why. Anyways, if he’s alluding to just the “way” things happen is not what we might expect what could it be? The something astonishing that Mel does at the end which sets up sorcery can’t be something too out there otherwise I don’t see Ser Davos wanting any part in it, and we know that they are on the same team, for awhile at least.

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    68. Apollo,

      To your earlier comment regarding cloudy weather, they actually filmed these dorne scenes at the Alcazar in Seville. I was there in August and it was plus 40 and no clouds. Not sure when they film but weather is out of anyones control and they had very little time at the Alcazar

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    69. Ygritte,

      …and Jon being revealed as the son of Old Nan and Ser Rodrick.

      Bran: “My favourites were the scary stories”
      Old Nan: “Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know of fear? Alright, here’ a scary one, if it’s what the little Lord really wants. It was a bright summer afternoon, and Ser Rodrik and I had met in the Godswood for a bit of outdoor action. Ser Rodrik liked to do it in front of the Weirwood tree so that the Old Gods could watch us at it. He’s into a bit of voyeurism, you see, old Rodrik. We’d start off by…”
      Bran: “Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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    70. Wylie,

      That’s a great point. I remember that Pedro wasn’t required to put on an accent when he auditioned for the role, but he did, and it worked brilliantly for him. It helped him win the role (though he proved to be the perfect choice for many other reasons as well). However, when the decision was made, it seems to have been decided that all the Dornish characters needed to match him. I think the more experienced actors – Indira Varma and Alexander Siddig – hold up well. The younger actors playing the Sand Snakes and Trystane have more trouble. Perhaps if they’d been allowed to speak in something closer to their normal voices, their performances in certain scenes would have been allowed to feel a bit more naturalistic.

      That’s particularly true for Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara. I loved her previous work (she is amazing in Whale Rider, which earned her an Oscar nomination of which she was thoroughly deserving – at 13, no less). I thought she was perfect casting for Obara. But some of the speechifying that the character is required to do doesn’t come across as well when she puts on the Dornish voice.

      I’d actually like to amend what I think is the weakest moment in the episode from Loras’s inquest to the moment when Areo Hotah breaks up the fight and Obara shouts “I am Obara Sand, daughter of Oberyn Martell! I fight for Dorne! Who do you fight for?” I’m more positive on the fight and Dorne in general than many, but that was cringe-worthy. I actually think that line is the worst piece of dialogue in the Dorne storyline, not the “bad pussy” line that’s become Reddit’s favorite punching bag.

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    71. Seth: Sansa wasn’t forced into marrying Ramsay. She was manipulated by Littlefinger into accepting the marriage proposal. And Sansa wasn’t oblivious to medieval custom. She knew that marriage came with the expectation of consummation, especially given her previous marriage to Tyrion.

      That is true. What is NOT the custom of Westeros is for a third party to be present to witness the consummation of the marriage. That is not what Sansa was expecting. As has been pointed out, it’s at the moment that Ramsay orders Reek to stay that things change. Ramsay’s statement about not wanting to ask twice is an implicit threat, and I think we can say it’s at that point that what would have been consensual (if not especially desired) marital sex changes to rape.

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    72. mariamb,

      Thank you! I try. 🙂

      Sebastian isn’t egregious or anything. I’m just usually so in awe about every casting choice the show has made that it’s more noticeable on the very rare occasions when one doesn’t quite click for me. In the six years it has been on the air, Game of Thrones has employed hundreds of actors in substantive, demanding roles, and I love the overwhelming majority of them. There are only a small number of matches between actor and role that I don’t think are absolutely note-perfect, and I can actually count the number of casting choices that I don’t love or like on one hand. Two of those very rare cases just happen to feature prominently in this episode.

      FreeParking,

      I hadn’t heard that about Marsay. That makes sense.

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    73. Mihnea,

      Thank you! Glad you decided to check it out. I shared your concern, so I was ready to come in, guns blazing, to defend the episode. But this has actually been an extremely respectful and reasonable comment thread. See? Such things are possible! 🙂

      ash,

      That’s very kind of you to say, although I hope that you’ll offer your own thoughts at your leisure as well. 🙂

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    74. Khaleesi,

      Thank you! 🙂

      Apollo,

      I agree that it would have been great to see the Queen of Thorns during the Walk of Shame. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but I’m never going to say no to another appearance from Lady Olenna. The Tyrells – and Margaery in particular – have developed an unfortunate habit of disappearing offscreen during the last few episodes of the season (though I guess Mace was in Episode 9 of Season 5). But Olenna will be returning in Season 6, so hopefully we’ll get more scenes of her squaring off with Cersei in the future.

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    75. Demon Monkey:
      Seth,

      I understand what you are saying. Sansa definitely had decided to endure it in hopes that it would allow her to take revenge. Previously she had not realized how far in over her head she was. And it’s here where it starts to change.

      It’s hard to separate our present day understanding of rape and consent from older ideas in this context. But I would argue that our current feelings on consent clash with arranged or forced marriages, with the result being its another kind of rape. Maybe if she hadn’t have been victimized in the same way afterwards we wouldn’t have viewed it the same way. If she didn’t have bruises and wasn’t locked in a tower. If her situation was more like Danys. Dany was “consenting” after her wedding night too, but even that is viewed by the postmodern audience as “rapey” if not just plain rape.

      I stand by my earlier opinion. That in the twenty-first century forced marriage (or arranged if you prefer) is viewed as rape. If you cannot choose your partner, you can’t really consent. And I would add that the violence of the situation and the aftermath (paying more attention to what we as viewers know than to what Sansas character knew going in) underscore that it is represented as a rape. If he had been kind maybe it would have been different, but I think even if it had been Tyrion it would have been seen as a rape. He just would have been forced as well.

      In the end, it’s all about perspective and the viewers’ perspective matters. And we know that many saw it that way.

      I think we have to agree to disagree. And maybe let the debate over whether or not you and I view it as rape lie. Because obviously we aren’t making headway. But I appreciate the respect in the conversation.

      But that’s the thing… in Dany’s case it was an arranged and forced marriage. In Sansa’s case, it was just an arranged marriage. Dany had no choice–her brother threatened her. (In the books, I believe, Khal Drogo doesn’t rape her but waits for her consent.) In the show, Khal Drogo just proceeds to rape her during their wedding night. Sansa, on the other hand, did have a choice, albeit presented to her from a cunning and manipulative man. In that sense, she did choose Ramsay given that her choices were either to proceed onto Winterfell and find a way to avenge her family and reclaim her homeland, or to return to the Vale. (And it’s not like she did not have leverage on Petyr. She could’ve manipulated him using his attraction to her–whether it would be successful remains questionable–or, at least, threatened to reveal the truth about her aunt Lysa.) The exchange between Littlefinger and Sansa went as follows:

      Littlefinger: You’re a Stark. Dying your hair doesn’t change that. You are Sansa Stark, eldest surviving child of Ned and Catelyn Stark. Your place is in the North.

      Sansa: I can’t marry him; you can’t make me. He’s a traitor–a murderer…

      Littlefinger: You’re not marrying Roose Bolton. No, you’ll be marrying his son and heir, Ramsay. One day he’ll be Warden of the North and you…

      Sansa
      : No.

      Littlefinger: Sansa!

      Sansa: No, you can’t make me! I will starve myself! I will die before I have to go there!

      Littlefinger: I won’t force you to do anything. Don’t you know by now how much I care for you? Say the word and we’ll turn the horses around, but listen to me–listen! You’ve been running all your life. Terrible things happened to your family and you weep. You sit alone in a darkened room, mourning their fates. You’ve been a bystander to tragedy from the day they executed your father. Stop being a bystander. Do you hear me? Stop running! There’s no justice in the world unless we make it. You loved your family–avenge them!

      That is some fine manipulation there–hell, I might have been manipulated into marrying Ramsay had he told me that–but he didn’t force her into that marriage. And that’s an essential difference.

      Viserys (to Illyrio): I give [Khal Drogo] a queen and he gives me an army.

      Daenerys: I don’t want to be his queen. I want to go home.

      Viserys: So do I. I want us both to go home, but they took it from us. So tell me, sweet sister, how do we go home?

      Daenerys: I don’t know.

      Viserys: We go home with an army–with Khal Drogo’s Army. I would let his whole tribe fuck you–all 40,000 men and their horses, too–if that’s what it took.

      Episode six of season 5, in many ways focuses on a dreading of the decision Sansa had made. We see her staring at her mirror; there’s her exchange with Myranda, demonstrating her brass balls for lack of a better term, and her reaction afterwards; and don’t forget that suspenseful walk to the Godswood. Most, if not all, of the focus is on her and the significance of the decision she made–i.e. accepting the marriage to Ramsay. Now I have no problem agreeing to disagree on where that turning point is for Sansa. I do understand why that scene is viewed as rape. I don’t deny that it comes off that way. And I know that I’m leading a thread–walking a tight-rope–with my argument. But there’s an essential difference between your application of the rape definition and mine. You’re taking a post-modern definition and determining whether an antiquated context fits. Whereas I am taking the antiquated context and determining whether post-modern definition fits. Yours flirts with moral absolutism whereas mine flirts with moral relativism. I’ve judged the situation based on what I believe her mindset to be and her ability to make a decision in her own environment. And from examining the scene, as well as the scenes that led up to it, I don’t believe that she was forced into that situation. After episode six, namely episode seven, I have no issue conceding that the sexual encounters that followed between Sansa and Ramsay can be characterized as rape.

      Again thanks for this respectful discussion. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I don’t understand where you’re coming from–because I do, despite my disagreement. I hope that in turn that despite your disagreement, you understand how I conceived the premise of my argument. If we both at least acknowledge that, then I believe that we made a lot of headway, in spite of our ongoing disagreement.

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    76. Off Topic – Strange thing?

      I posted a comment to this thread in the early hours of this morning and its since disappeared? I had also linked to a video on You-Tube showing the meeting with Lady Olenna and Cersi with her “You can smell the shit from 5 miles away!” comment. See here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pyy_7AjmgpE

      Is there is still something strange going on since the changeover to a new server? I have never lost a post before and when going to the WotW website, have to often clear the browser cache else I don’t see any new topics posted?

      When I post (UK time) there is a minus 5 hour time difference to that as recorded on the comment.

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    77. Deesensfan:
      Black Raven,

      yeah every single comment I posted earlier this morning was not getting posted.

      Thanks for the confirmation. I thought I was the only guy with problems! I’ve just checked another thread I posted to (asking for readers ideas who we will see in S6) and that’s disappeared also. I’ve had no end of problems since WotW changed servers 🙁

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    78. FictionIsntReal: That is true. What is NOT the custom of Westeros is for a third party to be present to witness the consummation of the marriage. That is not what Sansa was expecting. As has been pointed out, it’s at the moment that Ramsay orders Reek to stay that things change.

      We do not disagree at all, here.

      FictionIsntReal: Ramsay’s statement about not wanting to ask twice is an implicit threat, and I think we can say it’s at that point that what would have been consensual (if not especially desired) marital sex changes to rape.

      Here is where we disagree. As I posed above, what was he implying in that threat? We can reasonably speculate as to what he meant, but we’re far too biased. We were more familiar with Ramsay than Sansa was during that night. It doesn’t matter as much what that line meant to us than what it meant to Sansa. It’s her state of mind and what she’s aware of that matters most. Since she was the one who was supposedly threatened, what did she take that line to mean? We know these sugar-coated statement from Ramsay to be psychological subterfuge, but I don’t think Sansa did. (I don’t think she took him as seriously as she should have.)

      One can argue that Theon’s “press-box seat” changed how comfortable Sansa was, but it didn’t really change her desire to have sex. Because, I argue that she never wanted to have sex with Ramsay. But that’s a moot point. The entirety of Sansa scenes in that episode placed a question on her ability to resign herself to her darkest fate, yet. And yes, it was her ability to resign herself; to find resolve. I’m not blaming her for Ramsay; no one can blame her for that psychopathic prick. But throughout that episode, we see moments of strength–e.g. “I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home and you can’t frighten me”–meshed with moments of apprehension–e.g. the suspenseful walk to the Godswood–demonstrating that it is a very complex issue for her. Sansa didn’t want to just survive. If she did, then she would’ve stayed with Petyr, who as far as she knew, was willing to protect her. She wanted to enter the ring with the Boltons because it would mean avenging her family and taking back Winterfell.

      I don’t deny that the scene with Sansa, Ramsay, and Theon is a grey area as far as far as sexual encounters go. It looks good on paper, with the exception of the last part where Theon watches and she screams, which can be explained by the fact that it was her first time. (I don’t deny the possibility that Ramsay intended to hurt her.) However, we don’t rely on just paper lists. We rely on characters, their contributions, and the environment in which they function. Just as there are those who believe Ramsay’s character offers context to that scene, favoring a characterization of rape, I believe Sansa’s character development offers just as much context–if not more so–to that scene, favoring a characterization of resign and resolve.

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    79. Seth,

      Of course I understand what you are saying. For me the point on rape is that the show is a medievalism. A post medieval representation of the medieval past. As we consider that past we see arranged marriages as rape.

      Sansa has some agency, but she doesn’t have full agency. A good example is how she “chooses” to refuse Briennes service. I think it’s fairly obvious that she does so because she knows it’s what Littlefinger wants. She wants to stay w him and under his protection. The same might be said of her consent for the betrothal. She trusts him. Trusts that he has a plan. She is right that he has a plan, but is wrong to trust him. He has little interest in her wellbeing. I think he figures that whatever happens to her, he can play it to his advantage. He gets the okay to bring his troops to Winterfell and if something happens to her, he has a reason to attack the Boltons (though I do wonder how he will explain it away to the lords of the Vale). It’s complicated. But poor Sansa let herself be used as a pawn without understanding the scope of his plans. She thought he wanted her. I don’t think he really does. Maybe sexually, but he’s been above indulging his lust since season 1. He is all lust for power.

      I think Sansa is done with him. Or at the very least that we will she that 1) she is much wiser now and 2) that she will be coming from a place of power with loyal supporters and will not need his protection anymore. Should be awesome!

      Finally, I’d like to add that we have been manipulated a bit by this rape. I think that it was a very effective way to get us to join team Sansa. Sophie Turner said she’s become more popular w fans. I don’t know that the creators meant for that to happen. I think they saw it as the last victimization that Sansa needed to really come into her own. And it was convenient because she needs to be in the North to gain the support she needs to be Wardeness or Queen in the North.

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    80. My Ranking of Season 6 episodes (worst to best):
      10: The House of Black and White – Failed to have a big-moment-final-scene which most GOT-eps do. Jon’s story was nice though and kudos to Mossadors character.
      9: High Sparrow – A great early episode, intriqing introduction to the sparrows cult and to the High Sparrow especially, Janos Slynt scene was awsome and I really liked the sequence in Volantis (except maybe the way too sassy prostitute). However, season five was still moving quite slow at this point.
      8: The Wars To Come: Excellent premiere, one of the best, we get a nice to-the-point check-in with the important places and it ends with a sequence that beatifully sets the dark mood for season 5.
      7: Kill The Boy – The end sequence in the ruins of Valyria is so beatifull and atomospheric, while also having great suspence and action. The other storylines were more plotting, not quite as eventful. They were well written though and providing of a lot of little pieces of important info, like Maester Aemons advice to Jon, the Valyria-poem reciting, stone men, Rooses story of how ramsay was conceived, Stannis and Sams conversation
      6: The Sons of The Harpy – With rebel factions rising in both Kings Landing, Mereen and Dorne there’s a unifying theme in this episode. We get to see different kinds of resistance, the very personal revenge-lust of the Sandsnakes, the Deep fanatisism of the faith militant and the coldly calculated terror of The Sons of The Harpy. That last scene with the unsullied and Barristan is one of the shows best action sequences. I especially love how barristan gets his hero moment before fact kicks in and he gets killed simply because they are too many and are much younger.
      5: The Gift: Very Solid episode taking us into the endgame of season five. Everything with cercei and the sparrows was really good. All Sam and Gillys story was at the same time brutal and tender, very well executed.
      4: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken: I actually enjoyed the sequence in Dorne in spite of the randomness of the story, the fight was funny like an ode to Xena Amazone Warrior and Areo Hotah was subtly badass. It was a fabolous storyline by any account but the episode also had the awsome Arya plot and the final wedding sequence is one of the shows best in my opinion. I never understood the critism. To me it makes complete sense. Sansa did go from frightened hostage to dark avenger mastermind in less than a season because that would be ludacris. She got tricked by yet another man (LF) and sold to Ramsay, it’s brutal but essential. I think that was her final lesson.
      3: The Dance of Dragons: The Stannis story was sooo devestation and captivating. Stephen Dillane gave perhaps the best performance of any actor in any episode in the burning scene. When he comes out to look at the pyre, his face kills me everytime I rewatch it. The darkest seqence in all of Game of Thrones. The Great Games in Mereen was also very good. Drogon arriving to save his mother is also one of the shows best scenes.
      2: Mothers Mercy: Ian Beatty turned out to be very talented actor in this episodes just before he dies in one of the most brutal scenes in the shows history. The walk of shame was so well executed, pefectly long and very suitably thorough warm-up with cerceis confession and the septas preparing her. The last scene was horrible to Watch but it capped of a brutal season very nicely. I also think the somewhat corny Dorne Storyline redeemed itself when it took me by complete surprize in a heartbreaking scene with Myrcella.
      1: Hardhome: Perhaps the greatest thrones episode ever. The surprise of the attack Works so well, and the Chaos of the massacre is so greatly visualised with people fleeing to the see pushing eachother. The fight itself has many awsome bits, Jon vs White Walker, Wun Wun getting more and more angry and Karsi showing herself as a fierce warrior.

      Al in All I still think season 5 is just as good as the other seasons. The seasons themselves are much harder to rank. They all have a great litterary quality to them.

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    81. It occurs to me I should clarify. Sansa didn’t need to be victimized, but she needed a space to show her growth as a character and set her up for next season. She stood up for herself, failed at it, then manipulated Theon after. So that growth is there and she stays true to herself (by not seducing her enemies) learns from her mistakes (trusting Littlefinger) and gains new agency by manipulating Reek/Theon. That’s how I see it.

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    82. Seth,

      One further aside for future reference. I’ve seen every episode several times. I see them all twice during the season and then I rewatch before the new season. I remember everything that the characters said. So I don’t need a detailed refresher.

      I say this without malice or resentment. Just to save space on the forum. But I’ve enjoyed our discussion. It’s always fun to discuss with ppl who think critically.

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    83. To echo Sue on Dorne and Ellaria’s plan:

      What the hell was her plan? Jaime’s plan also makes no sense – it almost serves as an example of an Idiot Plot, and it’s completely and fairly questioned when Doran a few episodes later says “You could have just knocked on the damned door, yo.”

      But Ellaria’s plan makes no sense at all. Why choose today to kill her? Where were they taking her? Why not just stab her, right then and there, and never mind the Jaime and Bronn nonsense.

      This is a spot where the book’s plot – and restoring the lost character of Adrianne Martell – would have worked more, even if you want to ALSO make Ellaria more vengeful in her spirit. Then, (and as a very quick summary, in the books, Adrianne Martell, daughter of Doran and heir to Dorne, takes Myrcella captive with the aim of crowning her Queen of Westeros. It doesn’t work, and Myrcella is injured by not killed.)

      Alternate way to do this: have it be a plan of Ellaria, with Adrianne and the Sand Snakes to crown her – despite Ellaria’s discomfort with the notion of doing anything for someone named Lannister. Have it go disastrously – and when Doran gets word, he sends the suddenly available Jaime and Bronn with Aero Hotah to bring Myrcella back (which works). Ellaria isn’t part of the actual carrying-out of the plot, so Doran doesn’t imprison her, just his daughter.

      Then pick up where we were – Jaime heads home, Ellaria kisses her. Adrianne is imprisoned by her father at seasons’ end (with the Snakes) and then Myrcella dies en route to King’s Landing. That makes a *little* more sense.

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    84. Wylie: While it worked wonderful with Pedro, I just feel that the other actors are inhibited by it somehow or constrained. I can basically see them struggle with it on screen.

      The reason it worked so well with Pedro is because he said, explicitly, that he decided to make him sound like his father. And when Indira was cast, too, they had to work off each other a bit.

      Jared: I love the confident, almost haughty attitude that Sansa puts on when Myranda comes to bathe her and the kennelmaster’s daughter indulges in a shallow attempt tries to frighten the highborn young woman with the stories about how Ramsay discarded the women who bored or displeased him – Kyra, Violet, Tansy.

      This is a really nice point. Sansa’s haughtiness had been seen before – just that it didn’t carry the weight of experience with it. She was frequently haughty and obnoxious with Septa Mordane, but now she’s older, and has taken some hits in life, and so she doesn’t say those words to Myranda lightly.

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    85. Demon Monkey:
      Seth,

      Of course I understand what you are saying. For me the point on rape is that the show is a medievalism. A post medieval representation of the medieval past. As we consider that past we see arranged marriages as rape.

      Agree to disagree, then.

      Demon Monkey: Sansa has some agency, but she doesn’t have full agency. A good example is how she “chooses” to refuse Briennes service. I think it’s fairly obvious that she does so because she knows it’s what Littlefinger wants.

      I disagree. Littlefinger is not just cunning but he’s also a sly talker. If you watch that scene again, you’d understand why Sansa refused Brienne. Petyr was masterful in casting doubt on her. He made reference to the Lannister sword, which unbeknownst to Sansa was reforged from her father’s; he brings up that Brienne was accused of killing Renly Baratheon; he brings up the fact that she failed in protecting both Renly and Sansa’s mother; he makes Brienne appear to be crazy, with Sansa being unexposed to the magical forces in world, when she has to explain that Renly was killed by a dark shadow with Stannis’s face. And Sansa herself points out that she saw Brienne bowing to Joffrey and Cersei. I would’ve distrusted Brienne, too, if I didn’t know her.

      Demon Monkey: She wants to stay w him and under his protection. The same might be said of her consent for the betrothal. She trusts him. Trusts that he has a plan. She is right that he has a plan, but is wrong to trust him. He has little interest in her wellbeing. I think he figures that whatever happens to her, he can play it to his advantage. He gets the okay to bring his troops to Winterfell and if something happens to her, he has a reason to attack the Boltons (though I do wonder how he will explain it away to the lords of the Vale). It’s complicated. But poor Sansa let herself be used as a pawn without understanding the scope of his plans. She thought he wanted her. I don’t think he really does. Maybe sexually, but he’s been above indulging his lust since season 1. He is all lust for power.

      I absolutely agree. But why does this mean that she doesn’t have full agency? I agree that her sentiments were being manipulated to aid Littlefinger’s goals, but she does have the ability to act. She finds it better, as Littlefinger said, “to gamble on the man [she knows] than the strangers [she doesn’t.]” She does believe she knows what he wants. But just because she’s wrong, it doesn’t she’s deprived of agency.

      Demon Monkey: I think Sansa is done with him. Or at the very least that we will she that 1) she is much wiser now and 2) that she will be coming from a place of power with loyal supporters and will not need his protection anymore. Should be awesome!

      I think so, too.

      Demon Monkey: Finally, I’d like to add that we have been manipulated a bit by this rape. I think that it was a very effective way to get us to join team Sansa. Sophie Turner said she’s become more popular w fans. I don’t know that the creators meant for that to happen. I think they saw it as the last victimization that Sansa needed to really come into her own. And it was convenient because she needs to be in the North to gain the support she needs to be Wardeness or Queen in the North.

      I agree that the scene was meant to make Sansa more sympathetic. It’s a way to gerrymander her story line into the Northern Cause, effectively making her a Robb 2.0. And I definitely believe that she will become the Queen in the North. Martin has this way of giving characters what they want but through very harsh means. Sansa always wanted to be Queen, but in Martin’s sick mind–lol–she first had to have her notions of knighthood, courtship, honor, and romance stripped away from her through a relentless sequence of tragedies. Her development will make her a wiser queen. Hopefully, she finds a way to balance the best qualities from her parents: Catelyn’s political acumen and “family, duty, honor” and Ned’s proclivity for fairness and justice.

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    86. I just had to pop in to say what an amazing place WotW is, truly one of the best corners on the internet.

      I’m impressed by the BTL comments given the controversial nature of this episode. Nearly everybody has conducted themselves with courtesy, reason and respect, even when disagreeing. I love this place.

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    87. Sansa’s story affected me so much on first viewing that I was depressed for a week. This time I went straight from the end credits to the next episode; that helped, but I decided to fast-forward through the attempted rape of Gilly.

      On a lighter note, I enjoyed the Sand Snakes more this time. I just think of them as comic relief. I would have preferred the Arianne storyline with comic relief from Darkstar 🙂

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    88. Seth:
      As I posed above, what was he implying in that threat? We can reasonably speculate as to what he meant, but we’re far too biased. We were more familiar with Ramsay than Sansa was during that night. It doesn’t matter as much what that line meant to us than what it meant to Sansa. It’s her state of mind and what she’s aware of that matters most. Since she was the one who was supposedly threatened, what did she take that line to mean? We know these sugar-coated statement from Ramsay to be psychological subterfuge, but I don’t think Sansa did. (I don’t think she took him as seriously as she should have.)

      A threat does not have to be specific to constitute a threat. And regarding what Sansa knows, she knew the Boltons had done horrible things to her family (and even before then, their sigil is a flayed man!), and Myranda had warned her specifically about Ramsay. It seems quite obvious to me that Sansa takes it as a threat, which is how Ramsay intended it.

      Seth:
      One can argue that Theon’s “press-box seat” changed how comfortable Sansa was, but it didn’t really change her desire to have sex. Because, I argue that she never wanted to have sex with Ramsay. But that’s a moot point. The entirety of Sansa scenes in that episode placed a question on her ability to resign herself to her darkest fate, yet. And yes, it was her ability to resign herself; to find resolve. I’m not blaming her for Ramsay; no one can blame her for that psychopathic prick. But throughout that episode, we see moments of strength–e.g. “I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home and you can’t frighten me”–meshed with moments of apprehension–e.g. the suspenseful walk to the Godswood–demonstrating that it is a very complex issue for her. Sansa didn’t want to just survive. If she did, then she would’ve stayed with Petyr, who as far as she knew, was willing to protect her. She wanted to enter the ring with the Boltons because it would mean avenging her family and taking back Winterfell.

      One can agree to sex under some circumstances but not others. And including other people is a pretty big deal (my understanding is that it gets even worse in the book). The fact that she made a decision earlier to marry him and is resigned in the face of his threats doesn’t change the fact that this is not what she agreed to and constitutes rape.

      Seth:
      I don’t deny that the scene with Sansa, Ramsay, and Theon is a grey area as far as far as sexual encounters go. It looks good on paper, with the exception of the last part where Theon watches and she screams, which can be explained by the fact that it was her first time. (I don’t deny the possibility that Ramsay intended to hurt her.) However, we don’t rely on just paper lists. We rely on characters, their contributions, and the environment in which they function. Just as there are those who believe Ramsay’s character offers context to that scene, favoring a characterization of rape, I believe Sansa’s character development offers just as much context–if not more so–to that scene, favoring a characterization of resign and resolve.

      We’ve seen other characters have their first time without that reaction. Dany was being raped and whimpered more quietly, because Drogo merely bypassed consent (not even sharing a language with her) whereas Ramsay is deliberately showing her how little he cares for it by making her wedding night a nightmare.

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    89. brown ben romney,

      Yeah, I’ve only re-watched this episode once (I usually average 4-5x an episode), and I stopped it at the wedding. I know there have been more graphic stuff on the show, probably more harrowing, but somehow this one got to me. It’s probably because it’s Sansa, or it’s Sophie. She’s been abused, sure, but there was always a rescuer there – be it Tyrion or The Hound – but I just knew there wasn’t one this time, and it was a gut punch I’d rather not relive.

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    90. Kit Hairyton,

      Ah the eyes. “pupil” ary. I never did see any kind of glimmer in Jon’s eyes there. People grasping at straws, I can understand that 🙂 I did however see a pattern in the blood where it looked kind of like the outline of a wolf howling. But I wasn’t sold on it being purposeful.

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    91. The scenes at the Water gardens were filmed at the Alcazar, but the beachside/desert scenes were all filmed in Northern Ireland. Either way, I don’t get why they couldn’t apply some filtering to those scenes to make it appear brighter, like they did with the Dothraki sea in S1 ( that were also filmed in NI).

      Deesensfan:
      Apollo,

      To your earlier comment regarding cloudy weather, they actually filmed these dorne scenes at the Alcazar in Seville. I was there in August and it was plus 40 and no clouds. Not sure when they film but weather is out of anyones control and they had very little time at the Alcazar

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    92. FictionIsntReal: A threat does not have to be specific to constitute a threat. And regarding what Sansa knows, she knew the Boltons had done horrible things to her family (and even before then, their sigil is a flayed man!), and Myranda had warned her specifically about Ramsay. It seems quite obvious to me that Sansa takes it as a threat, which is how Ramsay intended it.

      No, a threat does not need to be specific. It needs only to reveal an intention to inflict pain or some manner of harm. In Ramsay’s saying, “Do I need to ask as second time? I hate asking a second time?” where does he imply to either harm her or inflict pain? I don’t deny that by having Ramsay say that line, we’re being clued into Ramsay’s mind-games, but it’s because we’ve already cultivated a bias. It looks like a threat because Ramsay’s character informs it. But, once again, it doesn’t matter as much how that line appears to us. It matters more how that line appears to Sansa. I don’t think she made much of it because she had resigned herself to following through. That is informed by her character. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that she wanted Theon there, but she didn’t object. And there’s nothing in that scene that suggests she couldn’t at least object. And I have a problem believing that the young woman who told Fat Walda that “This isn’t a strange place. This is my home. It’s the people who are strange.” in front of Roose and Ramsay, and ruffled Ramsay’s feathers in episode seven by reminding him that he was a bastard, despite being naturalized, couldn’t vocalize at least a concern. And Myranda didn’t warn her. As Sansa had surmised, Myranda was trying to frighten her. (It didn’t mean that Myranda wasn’t telling the truth.) But Sansa didn’t know that. And what she knew before returning to Winterfell, like with the flayed man banners and what the Boltons had done to her family, doesn’t really help your argument. Because she knew that before accepting the marriage proposal. And that’s the point: she resigned herself to possibility of engaging the Boltons when she accepted that marriage proposal. Why? No one forced her to accept that marriage proposal.

      FictionIsntReal: One can agree to sex under some circumstances but not others. And including other people is a pretty big deal (my understanding is that it gets even worse in the book). The fact that she made a decision earlier to marry him and is resigned in the face of his threats doesn’t change the fact that this is not what she agreed to and constitutes rape.

      Consent is void under duress. Describe to me where and how Sansa was put under duress that doesn’t involve quasi implications of Ramsay’s intentions. If there’s no duress to force compliance, there’s no rape. It is MUCH worse in the books. Jeyne Poole–the Arya stand-in–is viciously raped (she didn’t agree to the marriage) by Ramsay. Theon is even coerced into participating.

      FictionIsntReal: We’ve seen other characters have their first time without that reaction. Dany was being raped and whimpered more quietly, because Drogo merely bypassed consent (not even sharing a language with her) whereas Ramsay is deliberately showing her how little he cares for it by making her wedding night a nightmare.

      We actually don’t see any other character’s first time on Game of Thrones. Dany’s first time was never shown. She sobs before Drogo penetrates her, but before we can see, the episode cuts to another scene. In the sex scene that followed that episode, Daenerys can be seen tearing, but she doesn’t scream. Khal Drogo had since penetrated her before the episode. (In the books, Drogo waits for Dany to consent.) But as I argued above, Dany’s situation was different. She had no choice in proceeding with the marriage. Viserys openly threatened her with claims of “waking the dragon,” which Dany understood to be a threat, and the suggestion that he’d let Khal Drogo’s tribe rape her. Sansa’s penetration happens off screen, but can be heard. Not only do I believe that it’s because it’s her first time but the director also wanted us to know that it was happening. (The writers, as mentioned above, had since agreed to show it happening off screen out of respect for Sophie.) Had she been silent, well… maybe we could heard the thrusts and Ramsay’s grunts. But it’s more dramatic to hear her in pain, complimenting Theon’s reaction.

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    93. Just one last comment on the matter (though I will oblige if someone responds to either comment.) Does anyone remember the film, “300”? Well, in that film, King Leonidas and 300 Spartan soldiers go to war with the Persian Army, led by the God-king Xerxes. (The film was inspired by the Battle of Thermopylae.) Queen Gorgo (Lena Heady) requests an audience with the Senate in order to send more men to aid her husband–and Sparta. In order to do this, she has to solicit the aid of one of its members, Theron. Theron in not so flattering terms insinuates that he wants to have sex with her. She acquiesces and removes her top. He turns her around and pushes her up against a pillar and tells her something to the effect of “you will not enjoy this; this will not be over quickly…” If I were to compare Sansa’s scene to any other, it would be to the one I’ve just described. They’re dark scenes involving sex. In Queen Gorgo’s case, she relents because she prioritized the aid of her husband more than she did her own comfort and boundaries. She didn’t want sex with Theron. She accepted sex with Theron as a means to effectuate her goals in spite of his being an insubordinate creep. (She does, later in the movie, impale Theron with a sword in the gut, repeating the line he had told her.) It’s the same with Sansa. She didn’t want sex with Ramsay. She accepted sex with Ramsay because initially her goals were to root out the Boltons and take back Winterfell. Obviously, as of episode seven, Sansa wants to escape by revealing to Theon that Ramsay locks her in the room all day and hurts her. This is conceptually distinct from what happened in the episode prior, giving reason to why I’ve only confined my characterization of “not rape” to the end of episode six.

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    94. LOVED the winterfell scenes – they were beautifully done, sickeningly horrible yet aesthetically very pleasing.
      I just hated the coincidence that Jaime and the sand snakes go for Myrcella at the exact same moment, in broad daylight with no concern for guards all over the place like come on, that scene was never going to make sense. Ellaria is acting like a spiteful child, too.

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    95. I will be brief:

      *The execution of the entire episode, other than Dorne, was rather nice. I greatly enjoyed Tyrion and Jorah and the condensed/invented slaver character Malko, and hope to see more of him in the future (with his little snitch hat!)

      *As the recapper pointed out, the Dorne fight scene drew a lot of criticism and was just embarrassingly bad. The *writing itself* wasn’t awful, it was purely the bad editing and filmwork. DVD commentary later revealed stuff like they wanted to film at night and indoors for tight camerawork and were instead stuck filming outside, in the garden, from a distance. What made it so annoying is that these were easy mistakes like “we just need more editing”. I hope Season 6 can make up for this. And yes, Siddig was horribly underused.

      *As for the Sansa stuff I will also actually be brief: *we are not upset so much about the scene itself or how it was filmed, as the effect on the overall character arc*

      I don’t blame Cogman for defending how it was filmed as some criticized this too (*I* thought it was as tasteful as possible)….but…..that’s just not the point. Even Cogman himself in such interviews like that recent podcast will talk about the scene itself at length, then add on at the end, “but if you’re asking about the general decision to merge Jeyne with Sansa, well that’s a separate question and a decision D&D made, not me, so I can’t really answer it”

      So to date, they’ve just been *avoiding* the question. Somehow I think that if Benioff and Weiss gave open interviewd defending their adaptation choice, we’d be much less upset, possibly even sympathetic. But if you *avoid* explaining your controversial decisions, that makes it look like you’re not proud you made them.

      So what I’m most annoyed about is how they handled the PR around this.

      Otherwise I’m not sure if something like this is going to happen to Sansa in the next book – I’m fairly convinced Littlefinger is going to rape her in the next novel….so my actual response is more of a “wait and see” attitude, until I have another novel to compare it to.

      But overall my biggest complaint is, combination of Sansa and Sand Snakes in this episode…..it seems like Benioff and Weiss are “ignoring” criticism instead of “addressing” it….which is what specifically saved the unaired pilot episode from complete disaster.

      This was a “MASSIVE PROBLEM”, as they say.

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    96. Reading through the comments, there’s one thing I wan to point out:

      While I’ve seen a lot of discussion of the wedding night scene itself, discussion of the *decision* to merge Sansa’s overall plotline merging with Jeyne’s is avoided, even by people who defend the scene — who tend to focus on what I call “the characters emoting” or great camerawork and lighting (and they were great) instead of “overall story structure and writing”.

      Instead, the only thing I’ve really seen about the overall plotline is a sour grapes attitude phrased as, “Well, once the decision was made, it has been made, and we have no choice but to live with it.”

      Possibly. But that isn’t…”praise”.

      At no point have I seen someone outright “defending” this adaptation decision as making a good, coherent story arc. All I see are excuses, or complaints that we have no right to criticize the decision at all.

      But….I mean this quizzically….did *anyone* think that from a structural standpoint this made sense or was a good idea? On the scale of the entire season?

      For Sansa *as a character* — and no, “well, we wanted to give the actress more screentime” isn’t an argument at all. By that logic they would have brought Bran Stark back to be raped by Ramsay. Watching “actors emote”, even good actors….does not equal good writing and good story structure.

      I genuinely would like to hear anyone speak up in comments below if they have some argument for how this was an overall good plotline. Not more excuses about “well it’s too late to change it”.

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    97. I know this comment is very late but… the ideal would simply to cut away not to Theon, but a flayed man sigil.

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