With so many book-to-show changes, and the fact that many plots are caught up with George R.R. Martin’s text, we’re only doing one Game of Thrones recap this season… this one. Please try to talk about last night’s episode, not plot points half a season away (context from the books will be provided as needed, though nothing will be spoiled). Also, each week’s recap will be broken down into (Faith of the) seven questions that need answering, beginning with…
1. Who is the girl in the House of Black and White with Arya?
That would be the blind Waif. She looks Arya’s age, maybe a little older, but she’s actually in her 30s, the result of her stepmother once trying to poison her. Little else is known about the Waif, but she’s likely to play a major part in Arya’s development at the House of Black and White. As for the underground faces, well, they’re pretty much what you think they are: the world’s best collection of Mrs. Doubtfire masks.
2. Who has worse daddy issues, Jorah or Tyrion?
Let’s see. Before being murdered by his own men, Jeor Mormont hadn’t spoken to his son in years. The last time they communicated at all was when Jorah sent his trusted sword, Longclaw, back to his father after going into exile. The elder Mormont in turn gave it to Jon Snow after he killed a wight. Jorah didn’t even know his dad had died until Tyrion told him. Meanwhile, Tywin Lannister’s son shot him with an arrow on the toilet. I’m gonna give this one to Tyrion.
3. Who captured Tyrion and Jorah?
His name’s Malko. He owns a slaving ship and he and his motley crew are heading toward Volantis with one Lannister and one Mormont as their booty. The pirates were all ready to slit the dwarf’s throat, but some quick thinking by Tyrion, and also the phrase “cock merchant,” convinced his capturers that Jorah is a sword-fighting legend, and he’ll win them glory and money at the fighting pits. Suddenly, this scene from the trailers makes sense.
4. How bad was everything in Dorne?
Very! A scene at the end of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” is receiving the most negative attention, but don’t forget how terrible the Sand Snakes stuff was (again) because hoo boy, was it terrible. There’s no momentum, just one static location, the Water Gardens, and Oberyn’s bastard daughters remain one-dimensional characters. Game of Thrones has always done a great job of giving even its most vile creations a rich back story; so far, the Sand Snakes have given a bunch of grand proclamations, and that’s about it. Their fight scene with Jaime and Bronn, who figured they could walk out of enemy territory with a princess undetected (???), was decently filmed, but there was no urgency to anything. It was a rescue mission for one character we don’t really care about, and the sense of danger was never palpable, despite the Sand Snakes’ intentions. Hopefully Jaime and Bronn being taken into custody raises the tension.
5. Is Bronn doomed?
Oberyn Martell was known as the Red Viper because a bite from his blade came with a lethal dose of poison. This tradition was passed down from daddy to daughters (actress Rosabell Laurenti Sellers: “One of her weapons is double daggers and her other weapon is poison”), and guess who got cut from one of the Sand Snakes’ swords. Yup, our dear Bronn.
He may have sung his last song.
6. Did Cersei go too far?
The Queen Mother’s plan is going swimmingly. By giving the High Sparrow more power, which is to say, all the power, she’s cleaned the streets of wine and prostitution and had Loras Tyrell thrown in jail. His sister, Queen Margaery, has joined him, for committing the ultimate evil of lying about him having sex with a dude. Yet Cersei should watch herself. The Queen of Thorns is waiting to draw blood. It’s something that the tart-tongued Olenna said in her tense one-on-one chat with Cersei that I keep coming back to: “I didn’t trust your father [Tywin]. I didn’t particularly like him. But I respected him. He was no fool. He understood that sometimes you must work with your rivals rather than destroy them.” Cersei has the ultimate us-versus-them mentality, and she’s pissing on peaceful alliances not for the king, but for herself. Eventually, she might reach a point where she’s standing in one corner, and the rest of Westeros, including her son, is in another.
7. Was that the “super traumatic” scene Sophie Turner hinted at in December?
That bastard Ramsay, in every sense of the word, tortured both Sansa and Theon on his wedding day by having sex with her without consent and making him watch. It’s as uncomfortable as it sounds, though not a total surprise: Sophie Turner made reference to a “traumatic” scene that was “horrible for everyone to be on set and watch it” last year while teasing Season 5. I’m assuming this was the trauma she was referring to, unless something even worse happens to Sansa later on, which, may god may have mercy on all. The sad thing is, something even more appalling could happen. As you’ve probably heard by now, it’s not Sansa who marries Ramsay in the books (those three magical words); it’s her friend, Jeyne Poole, and while I won’t describe the traumas that happen to her, and how Theon/Reek is involved, it’s heavily insinuated in A Dance with Dragons that she was forced to have sex with Ramsay’s dogs. So… yeah.
EW spoke to producer Bryan Cogman about the scene. He should have remained quiet.
My first question to Cogman was what would he say to fans who ask: “How could you do this to Sansa?”
Cogman seemed to take this question very seriously and took a moment to consider his response. “This is Game of Thrones,” he said soberly. “This isn’t a timid little girl walking into a wedding night with Joffrey. This is a hardened woman making a choice and she sees this as the way to get back her homeland. Sansa has a wedding night in the sense she never thought she would with one of the monsters of the show. It’s pretty intense and awful and the character will have to deal with it.”
I also asked whether the scene would be as sadistic as the version in George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, where Ramsay’s bride is played by a different character who is not in the show. In Martin’s novel, Ramsay forces Theon to sexually interact with his bride. Cogman looked somewhat horrified at that idea. “No!” he said. “Lord no. No-no-no-no-no. No. It’s still a shared form of abuse that they have to endure, Sansa and Theon. But it’s not the extreme torture and humiliation that scene in the book is.” (Via)
“This is a hardened woman making a choice.” “But it’s not the extreme torture and humiliation that scene in the book is.” Yeah, no, it’s still a woman getting raped. There aren’t levels of humiliation when it comes to sexual violations. Horrible weddings have become a Game of Thrones staple, and one this season already went off without a hitch, so it was a good bet that something terrible was coming. But Cogman’s explanation didn’t do the show any favors. Neither did the director, who kept the camera on Theon, as if framing him as the sufferer, not Sansa, who, after making incredible strides this season and last, was reduced to a victim again. It was wholly unnecessary. We already know Ramsay is an evil creep; Sansa having to marry the son of the man who killed her family should have been enough, a call to action to take Winterfell back. But nope, rape.
I hope Sansa kills everyone, and flies off into the sunset with the Queen of Thorns.