Nightmare of Bookreaders Realized in Final Scene
I never thought the producers would do it. Ramsey raping Sansa just didn’t seem to fit the direction they were taking the character and I assumed something would happen to prevent it. Maybe Brienne or Stannis would arrive and save her right before it happened. Or maybe Myranda, who I am sure by the end of this season will have done enough for Ramsey to be fed up with her, would be placed into the scene instead of Lady Stark. Sansa’s story is one of survival where she keeps finding herself in positions with no power as all her family members die around her only to bite her tongue just long enough and make it out of that situation. How could being raped by the sickest bastard in Westeros further this story?
Bookreaders feared for Sansa the moment she was paired with Ramsey. And not just because he’s a demented freak, but because their is a rape scene from the text involving Ramsey’s arranged bride. That one was a fake Arya who is forced into a threeway situation with Ramsey and Theon/Reek participating. But I never expected Sansa to be the one to replace fake Arya in that scene. And at least if wasn’t a forced three-way (though Reek watching and doing nothing is pretty despicable for his character). Up until that final scene, episode 6 was mostly political rambling in the spirit of “Phantom Menace” with people talking about things that should’ve been developed over the first five episodes instead of one 25 minute word jumble while not acting on any of those things they are talking about (except in Dorne, where we act with little explanation of what the purpose of it all is). But I could think of none of that when the credits hit and the most tragic deviation from the books so far was completed.
House of Black and White
We return to find Arya doing the same things she was the last time we saw her (which has been awhile), cleaning dead body after dead body. When she tries to find out where the bodies, she is denied by her roommate and a series of “Who are you” questions begin where Arya is slapped each time she answers wrong. Of course, it becomes very hard to tell how Arya is supposed to answer when she gets slapped for saying both “Nobody” and “Arya of House Stark.” I guess Jaqen and company don’t care much for flip-flopping.
Things do take a turn for the better when a father brings his sick daughter into the House. He says she’s been sick for so long and they have no other options. So Arya goes to comfort the girl, encouraging her to drink the Kool-Aid…I mean water from the pool in the house. It turns out that water is some poison that gives the dying a peaceful death as we next see the girl dead on that same table from earlier. But Jaqen opens the door and allows Arya to enter, where she sees thousands of creepy dead faces. This is where all those bodies go!!! We end Arya’s story for the night with a clear direction from Jaqen: Arya is not ready to be “Nobody,” but is ready to be “Somebody.” That clears things up now doesn’t it.
Near Slaver’s Bay
Nice touch by the show here pointing out a shared circumstance between Jorah and Tyrion as both men have father’s who are now dead. Unfortunately, Jorah is hearing about the death of the Old Bear for the first time. Tyrion speaks very highly of Jorah’s father, recapping his experience at the Wall back in season one. Jorah keeps the nostalgia train has he discusses why he has chosen Daenarys, recalling the end of season one when she stepped out of the fire with her dragons.
Another round of conversation between the men involves the plan for when Daenarys actually (if she actually does) take the throne in Westeros. And there really is no better time to discuss this as it’s pretty important and the two men have nothing but time to talk on this long journey. But the post revolution plan discussion is put on hold when the men run into slavers (and that head slaver is Mr. Eko for all you “Lost” fans out there). Jorah points out that slavery is now illegal in Slaver’s Bay, but the slavers mean to take Jorah with them to Volantis. Being dwarf, however, makes Tyrion is worthless (except for his cock because a dwarf’s cock is lucky), so they mean to kill him. Remember back in Season one when Tyrion seemed to be facing certain death on a weekly basis. Well, just like those situations, Tyrion thinks on his feet and talks his way out of it, convincing the slavers that Jorah would make a great pit fighter in Merreen. So good to see that brilliant dwarf mind at work again as he both avoids certain death and gets the two men pointed towards their intended destination.
Baelish has returned to King’s Landing and his allegiances are as murky as ever. First, he has a confrontation of words with Lancel in the streets. I guess Littlefinger knows he can do little to fight the Faith Militant, but I find it interesting he does little to nothing in response to the closing of his primary source of income in King’s Landing. Littlefinger also meets with Cersei and explains the situation in the Vale and in Winterfell, including the fact that Sansa is there (that secret sure didn’t last very long). Now try to follow the logic here. Littlefinger wants Cersei to doubt the loyalties of the current Warden of the North, Roose Bolton, by making it appear that he is the only one harboring Sansa (and Littlefinger had nothing to do with it, wink wink). Littlefinger wants Cersei to allow Stannis to fight Roose Bolton and then take the men of the Vale to take out the winner, who should be worn out from fighting. When the men of the Vale win, Littlefinger wants to be declared Warden of the North. Cersei will only accept Littlefinger’s claim if he brings her Sansa’s head. That was a lot of political maneuvering in that one five minute conversation. And Littlefinger officially has hand in every cookie jar in Westeros.
One of the better deviations from the book is having the Queen of Thornes return to King’s Landing!!! In the book, it was Margaeary and Loras’s father, Mace (nicknamed Lord Oaf) who took up his daughter’s cause. But Lady Oleanna is a much better choice to defend House Tyrell as she has it out with Cersei over Loras’s capture. Cersei insists it was the Faith Militant who was responsible for the capture of Loras Tyrell, but Oleanna is not buying it. She also questions the logic of Cersei having the heir of house Tyrell, the Lannister’s most powerful ally, thrown in jail (as am I, Lady Oleanna, as am I).
The inquisition of Loras was one of the episode’s better scenes. Note that this is not the trial. The High Sparrow questions Loras and Queen Margaeary about his actions with the purpose here to determine if a trial should take place. Both deny that any “unholy” acts were committed by Loras or that Margaeary had any knowledge of any acts. But a third witness comes in, the man with whom Loras did commit those “unholy” acts with. He claims he did sleep with Loras and that Margaeary walked in and saw what they were doing (referencing back to episode one of the season). He also claims to know of a birthmark on Ser Loras that looks like Dorne (once again, another reference to that first episode, and a brilliant one at that). The High Sparrow determines that there is enough here to have a trial, taking both Loras and Margaery (for lying at the inquisition) into custody.
There has been nothing more disappointing this season than Dorne. All the preseason hype, casting additions, released photos, everything pointed to the importance of Dorne. And yet here is Dorne for the third time total this season with once again, just a few minutes spent to develop and uncertain story. Trystane and Myrcella (finally) get speaking parts. They are simply young lovers who know nothing of all the politics around them. Doran Martell appears yet again with only a few minutes of dialogue (the freaking Prince of Dorne and he’s talking for less than five minutes????). I am not going to give the blow by blow of the fight that ensued here because nothing before or during the fight told us anything that was going on or why any of the characters were doing what they were doing. Instead I will present a summary of what each of the involved party’s mission was in the altercation:
Jamie and Bronn- To rescue Myrcella from Dorne. It was a pretty dimwitted plot by the Kingslayer, but at least his purpose was clearly established a few episodes go.
Ellaria and the Sand Snakes- To capture Myrcella. We never actually hear them plot to do this, but Ellaria has mentioned her dislike of Myrcella before and Myrcella clearly didn’t want to go when a vicious Nymeria tries to take her away.
Areo Hotah- His orders were to protect Trystane and Myrcella, so he shows up while the previously mentioned parties are fighting and apprehends them all.
Trystane and Myrcella- Just want to make out
I hope I’ve cleared up any confusion of what everyone was up to in this convergence scene with all the parties in Dorne since so little was done to build up to it.
Myranda is sent to Sansa’s room to give her bath. As she washes her hair, we see the black coloring fall out of it (which didn’t serve much of a purpose anyway since so little time was spent actually hiding Sansa’s identity). Her intentions have been clear since last week; scare Sansa into abandoning her courtship with Ramsey. She tries to scare Lady Stark with recollections of previous girls Ramsey “bored” of, but Sansa firmly informs her she will not be scared. I really liked seeing the bold Sansa speak up for herself these last two weeks, which makes the last scene of the episode even more heartbreaking.
Reek/Theon shows up to escort Sansa down to the godswood, honoring Northern marital traditions. The two are married in the snow, with Roose Bolton leading the proceedings and Sansa is escorted down to the bedchambers Ramsey has set up for her. Candles are lit everywhere and Ramsey appears to be setting a romantic mood. He speaks gently at first before asking Sansa to take off her clothes. Theon/Reek prepares to leave, but Ramsey wants him to stay and watch. When Sansa pace does meet his expectations, he rips off the back of Sansa’s dress and proceeds to rape her while Theon/Reek looks on crying.
-Jorah Mormont’s father, Jeor Mormont, was the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch from seasons 1 to 3. He gave Jon Snow his sword and was killed by betrayers of the Night’s Watch at Craster’s Keep. A nice touch in the “previously” segment showing the Old Bear’s interactions with Tyrion from back in the first season.
-If I wasn’t before, I am all aboard with Team Stannis for the North after seeing Littlefinger playing his games in King’s Landing, leaving Sansa at the mercy of Ramsey.
-Tommen appeared tonight at Margeary’s trial, and he was just as useless as ever.
-Reflecting on the final scene again, I do think it is consistent with both character arcs. Ramsey is twisted and evil and Sansa will do whatever she needs to to survive. So when she doesn’t put up a fight on her “wedding night,” it stays consistent with her character for the whole series so far. It doesn’t make the conclusion of the show any less upsetting, but at least thinking of it this way gives hope that her head will not be out of the game because of it.
-Will Sansa be able to keep her head in the game after tonight’s traumatic events?
-Does Littlefinger still have (if he ever did) her best interests in mind? Or is Sansa truly just a pawn he is using to acquire the North?
-Will Tommen start acting like a king and take back control of his city from the Faith Militant?
-What will being “somebody” look like for Arya?
-Can we please give Dorne proper screen time and actually develop the fight sequences occurring there?
I don’t expect anything as tough to endure next week as this week’s final scene was. But the producers have surprised us before this season, so I won’t hold my breath on it.