To be perfectly truthful, I’ve had a hard time making myself sit down and write this particular recap. I came away from last night’s episode so upset, I’ve needed to fill my mind with other stories and other thoughts before I could fathom tackling this.
With that in mind – proceed with caution: spoilers, potential triggers, and this author’s feelers ahead.
The episode opens in the House of Black and White, where Arya, as a part of her training, is caring for the bodies of the dead. While showing all due respect to the bodies in front of her, Arya’s curiosity about what becomes of them after they leave her table is insatiable. Having been told multiple times that she is not ready for that information, she continues, however discontentedly, to carrying on about her work in the temple. Caught as the lone attendant in the temple, she is implored by a father to end the long suffering of his daughter; skillfully telling the daughter reassuring lies, Arya gives the girl the poison from the fountain. Upon witnessing this, Jaqen H’gar determines that Arya is ready and shows her the catacombs below the temple; though he states that Arya is not yet ready to become no one, she is ready to become someone else.
Next we catch up with Tyrion and Jorah – each very surly in their own ways – still traveling along the coastline of Essos on foot, having not yet found a village from which to commandeer a more expedient means of transportation. Tyrion explains to Jorah why he fled Westeros and, under a glare that seemed equal parts bafflement and disapproval, explains why he killed Tywin and insists that Jorah had a much better father than Tyrion had. Then Tyrion, thinking Jorah had already known, honors Lord Commander Mormont with the words the Night’s Watch speak as they lay a fallen comrade to rest. Realizing his mistake, Tyrion apologizes and Jorah insist they keep moving. And then slavers capture them! Slavers who want to send Jorah to the salt mine and kill Tyrion and sell his dismembered member to traders. Some creative maneuvering on Tyrion’s part keeps his head on his shoulders and gets the two of them headed in the direction of Meereen, buying them some time.
In King’s Landing, Cersei’s personal vendetta against the Tyrells is plowing full-steam ahead. After a holy inquisition into the private bedroom life of Ser Loras, both Loras and Queen Margaery are arrested and slated for a formal trial: Loras on the existing charges surrounding his sexuality, Margaery for bearing false witness. Grandma Olenna is pissed. Super pissed. Not content to only rid herself of the Tyrells, Cersei – upon hearing that Roose Bolton is marrying his son to Sansa (though, conveniently, NOT hearing that Baelish is the one who brokered the deal) authorizes Littlefinger to march his knights of the Vale to Winterfell to depose whoever is left standing after Stannis clashes with the Boltons. …and insists on a specific show of loyalty: Sansa’s head on a spike. As always, Baelish is playing all sides here and is definitely up to something. That is how the Littlefinger do.
In Dorne, Jaime and Bronn make their way to the Water Gardens, sights set on rescuing Princess Myrcella, only to find that she doesn’t much feel the need to be rescued, having actually fallen in love with Trystane, her intended. It’s at this pretty awkward moment that the Sand Snakes choose to attack, hoping to abscond with Myrcella. After a few minutes of well-choreographed fighting, Prince Doran’s personal guard, Areo Hotah, breaks up the party and sees each of the combatants taken into custody.
…and here’s the section I’ve been putting off addressing because it just makes me angry: Winterfell. UUUUGH! So, this is the one where Sansa gets married. Prior to the ceremony, Myranda – Ramsay’s lover – insists on helping bathe and groom Sansa for the wedding. In the process, she tries to intimidate Sansa by telling her what Ramsay has done with previous lovers who had bored him. Sansa listens for a bit and then decides she’ll listen to exactly no more of that and tells Myranda, in not so many words, to shut up and take several seats. Then Theon escorts Sansa to the Godswood – to the discomfort of everyone, except Ramsay – and gives her away to be married. And then the show creators thought the perfect way to end the episode was have viewers aurally witness marital rape. We get to watch Theon witness the rape, because – of course –Ramsay ordered him to watch. Roll credits. *flips table*
What Could Have Been Better
I want to know why Benioff and Weiss – the show’s creators – are so hell-bent on including rape. Sansa’s storyline is so far off from where it is in the books, they have a pretty wide berth to do what they want with her story and THAT is what they decide to do? The scene a few seasons ago, north of The Wall, after the mutiny that cost Lord Commander Mormont his life…? That wasn’t in the source material either; the creators just added it …because? They are starting to be pretty habitual in their use of rape as a convenient plot device or, hell, just as background noise and it makes me really uncomfortable. It’s one thing to acknowledge that rape happens, it’s another to use it as shorthand for “oh, these are bad people.” It insensitively discounts the experiences of a very large number of their viewers – it is hurtful. It also indicates that the writers are lazy or just aren’t as creative as they think they are.
What I Loved
- I actually really enjoyed the scene between Tyrion and Jorah, when Tyrion awkwardly breaks the news to Jorah that his father is dead. It was good to see Jorah express something outwardly that wasn’t about that gigantic chip on his shoulder. Iain Glenn did a wonderful job with that scene.
- Tyrion’s quick wit and maneuvering to strike a deal with the slavers
- Sansa’s shutting Myranda down
- Lady Olenna – that woman is just absolutely fierce
- Seeing, however briefly, Hotah and his ax in action (DAT AX, THOUGH!)
What I am Looking Forward to
I am certainly looking forward to Sansa getting the hell away from Ramsay Bolton, that’s for sure. I am anxious to see what Arya’s next step will be, now that she is “ready to become someone else.” I really want to see Cersei’s war against the Tyrells turn around and bite her. Hard. I’m sure Lady Olenna will help make that happen.
“A girl is not ready to become no one. But she is ready to become someone else.” – Jaqen H’gar
“The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.” – the leader of the slavers
“And the famous tart, Queen Cersei.” – Lady Olenna
“I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can’t frighten me.” – Sansa