Game of Thrones S05E06
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
by Nikole Gunn
You think Game of Thrones is ‘dark’, what with its violence, the Walkers, a Red Wedding and executions? Well, you haven’t seen anything yet. In episode six, we venture down dark corridors that make for disturbed viewing.
Without the maniacal Joffrey as our designated ‘bad guy’, Ramsay Bolton has stepped up to become one of the vilest creatures on TV. Ramsay is on a whole new level of sociopath.
We know he likes to flay his prisoners and enjoys ‘hunting’ the women who’ve bored’ him. Ramsay has also emotionally and psychologically deconstructed Theon, leaving him a wreck of a man called Reek.
And poor Sansa Stark of House Winterfell is in his clutches.
Sansa returned to Winterfell a changed woman. No longer the naïve and romantic girl dreaming of a ‘happy ever after’, she’s toughened up, having survived Joffrey’s antics in King’s Landing.
But it’s clear she’s ill equipped to deal with Ramsay’s brand of cruelty. Unlike Tyrion, who showed her kindness on their wedding night, Ramsay is not cut from the same cloth. Sansa is forced to undress in front of Theon/Reek, who is then forced to watch as she’s raped.
It’s a brutal moment involving one of Game of Throne’s favourite characters. It didn’t happen in the books and I’m not convinced we needed to go there.
We already know Ramsay is unhinged. We didn’t need to see Sansa brutalised on her wedding night to prove that point.
Now married to the depraved Ramsay, Sansa may be hoping Littlefinger will come to her rescue as he did back in King’s Landing. But Petry appears to be running his own race.
Back in King’s Landing, he’s cut a deal with Cersei, revealing the whereabouts of Sansa. In return, he wants to be named Warden of the North and to sweeten the deal, offers the use of his Knights of the Vale to clean up after Stannis and the Boltons battle it out.
Cersei is more than a little happy with herself at the moment, but has she sown the seeds of her own destruction? The Sparrows are on the loose and the Faith Militant is rounding up sinners.
She’s picked off her rivals from the House Tyrell. Ser Loras is languishing in a dungeon and Margaery follows him, accused of baring false witness at the Sparrows’ hearing.
It’s a dangerous game that Cersei is playing and it doesn’t appear to have dawned on her that her own secrets could be revealed. Without Jaime around, you just know that this will not end well.
And why isn’t Jaime in King’s Landing? Oh that’s right, Cersei sent him to Dorne to retrieve their daughter Myrcella. But she might not want to leave at the moment.
She’s ‘in love’ with Prince Trystane and wants to stay with him. She’s also being hunted by the Sand Snakes, who’ve sworn by the family motto “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” to avenge the death of their father, the Red Viper Prince Oberyn.
Just as it looks like she’s fallen into their clutches, the Dorne Guard arrive to save the day, while also arresting Jaime and Bronn.
The other Lannister brother, Tyrion, isn’t faring any better. He and Jorah have escaped the Stonemen, only to run into group of slavers. Some quick thinking on his behalf stops them from lopping off his manhood and selling it for it’s “magical powers’.
He also convinces them that Jorah is also worth keeping around for his battle prowess. Don’t be fooled by his advanced age, boys, Jorah’s killed a Dothraki outrider in battle.
Their capture by the slavers sets them on a path that could lead them to Dany’s doorstep. She’s re-opened the fighting pits of Meereen, where Jorah could prove his value. Watch this space.
As for Arya, she has begun her ‘training’ with Jaqen H’ghar and the Faceless Men in the House of Black and White. She’s tending to the dead and showing them reverence.
Even though she’s been feisty and demanding, Arya recognises what needs to be done when a sick and dying child is brought to the House of Black and White. She spins a story of comfort, urging her to drink from the well that will end her life. Arya is effectively killing her with kindness.
It’s at this point that Jaqen tells her: “Girl is not ready to become no one. But she is ready to become someone else” and he takes her into a vast room with many heads in the wall sconces.
OK, that’s just a little bit trippy. Is this what happens to the bodies of the dead after they’ve been ‘prepared’ by the novices like Arya? What is she being ‘trained’ for?
We’ve still got four more episodes to find out.