Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
(Spoiler Warning) These are the types of episode I love most of all, where I seem to be gasping or swearing in utter disbelief at what I’m bearing witness to. While I expected Sansa’s arc to finally start getting interesting, I didn’t expect this much drama. The writers have pulled off a wonderful stunt in this episode by basically keeping much of what happened in the books, only they’ve applied it to their opposite number. What’s happening to Sansa with Ramsey
Snow Bolton, was meant to occur to Sansa’s stand-in (childhood friend Jeyne Poole), and they’ve done something similar with Cersei and Margaery. Ouch!
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There were three major story points, and a fourth lesser involving Jaime and Bronn in this episode, that individually were quite brilliant. Then there was some touching stuff involving Tyrion and Jorah. Well, it was a touching scene until slavers caught the pair, then it turned into some comic relief, involving Tyrion’s valuable member. According to the slavers that capture him, a “dwarf’s cock has magical powers.” (Watch here) Now, I’m sure at any other time Tyrion would’ve happily agreed with that statement, however that was only when it was still going to remain attached to the rest of his body. Of course, Tyrion being Tyrion, he talks his way out of the terrifying situation they’ve just found themselves in, then goes on to save Jorah from being a galley-slave; one of the worst types of enforced servitude there is. Mind you, we know Jorah only has a limited time before he turns into one of the Stone-Men.
After Cersei realised early on that she was about to be put out to pasture at Casterly Rock, thanks to a bit of conniving by rival Margaery, she started to make her play using the holier-than-thou High Sparrow and his re-armed flock (pun very much intended). No one can ever accuse Cersei of pulling punches, and she certainly landed every blow she threw at House Tyrell. She started by getting the groveling Lord Tyrell out of the way, under the guise of a promotion. Then she carefully set all the pieces up in a row, resulting in Margaery being imprisoned, with “King” Tommen sitting watching it all happen, like a dumbstruck muppet.
What is Petyr Baelish up to? Just when I thought I had him figured out, he goes and does something to change my mind, then he does another 180 again! If (and that’s an “IF” in bold letters) he’s doing what it looks like he’s doing — playing all the great houses against one another — it could be that he really is throwing Sansa under the bus, just to get the ball rolling. But I still have my doubts about his true intentions, even though we just saw Littlefinger give her up to Cersei, with a promise to mount her head on a spike. If he is just taking a calculated risk with Sansa, then Ramsey’s a fly in his ointment. Although, I find it hard to believe that Littlefinger doesn’t already know about rabid Ramsey’s predilection for torture-porn and hunting helpless girls with dogs and a crossbow. During that last horrible scene, where Ramsey makes Theon watch him rape his new wife Sansa Bolton, I thought Theon’s head was about to explode. I remember wondering exactly why Theon was crying. Was it the shame of the situation, because he’d known Sansa since childhood, or was it because he knew he was wholly responsible for Winterfell falling to the Boltons? Whatever it was, that’s the first time I’ve felt sorry for Theon since the first season. It’s like I feel he’s suffered enough at the hands of rabid Ramsey. Will Sansa put that candle in the window now?
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And while poor Sansa is dealing with the least sane family in the show, Arya is starting to make headway with Jaqen H’ghar. It looks as though her training is about to start in earnest, after she persuades a young girl to drink from the deadly water in the House of Black and White. The scene where Arya walks into the huge Hall of Faces (see below) was almost like a scene from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. We also got to see Prince Oberyn’s warrior daughters in action, when Jaime and Bronn arrive just as they’re about to capture Princess Myrcella. During the fight, we see Bronn get cut by a spear, and because we know Oberyn wasn’t called the Red Viper for nothing, it should be safe to assume the former sellsword has been poisoned. At least Bronn’s in the right place to get it tended to.
This episode was simply stunning, containing everything I love about this show, only this had extra excitement thrown in. From the two queens battling it out (or should that be three queens?), to Sansa in mortal danger, or even trying to guess what dirty trick Lord Baelish is going try next, this has been one that almost rivaled The Rains of Castameree AKA The Red Wedding.