In the latest Game of Thrones recap, Jorah and Tyrion run into trouble, Littlefinger plays another hand and Sansa meets her new husband at the alter…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Contrary to popular belief — and I certainly don’t mean to take aim directly at religious folks — but marriage never started out as love between a man and woman. It didn’t start out as love between man and man or woman and woman either. The origins of marriage in most historical contexts had to do with power, families forging together and many times land ownership. Love was, generally speaking, the last thing anyone was thinking about when a wedding took place.
Marriage is also a central point of focus during almost every season of ‘Game of Thrones’ as families routinely join together to forge alliances that will often times help to stop wars or in other cases start them.
Robert Baratheon was promised to Lyanna Stark once upon a time and her kidnapping by Rhaegar Targaryen, who was already married to Elia Martell, helped to start a rebellion that ended with the greatest dynasty in the history of Westeros to come crumbling down. When King Robert traveled to Winterfell to ask his old friend Ned to become the new Hand of the King, part of his ‘offer’ was marrying his son Joffrey to Sansa Stark, thus joining two of the most powerful families in all of Westeros together.
Even across the world where Daenerys Targaryen tries to institute an end to slavery while attempting to bridge the gap in the class war, she realizes that it would be easier to marry into a royal family from the area she wants to rule than to spill a never ending stream of blood in the streets while trying to conquer her new home.
Marriage is a hallmark of ‘Game of Thrones’ but rarely is there a happy ending and even fewer times do both parties consenting to the partnership actually have interest in something as silly as love.
We saw two differing cases of marriage on Sunday night’s episode titled ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’ as we learned that Trystane Martell and his bride-to-be Myrcella Baratheon found a way to love each other long after they were already betrothed while Ramsay Snow instituted a new level of torment on his new wife, Sansa Stark, who is apparently made to suffer more than any other person in the history of Westeros. One started as a way to forge a much needed alliance during an uprising and the other was meant to potentially start a new war.
Just like it was always intended.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’:
The Face of the Faceless Men
Inside the House of Black and White, Arya Stark has spent the last few weeks cleaning corpses that continue to flow through the front doors as she awaits her real training to become a Faceless Man to begin. She learns her first real lesson when the girl she was working with a few weeks ago tells her the story about how she ended up at the House of Black and White. She explains that she was also a daughter of a Lord, but her mother died. When her father remarried and got his new wife pregnant, her stepmother declared that this new child was the one who would one day receive the honors of being princess so the girl found a Faceless Man and now her father is a widower again.
Arya believes it, but the girl quickly turns the tables and asks if this story was true or false?
Later in the day, Jaqen H’ghar shows up and begins to ask Arya questions and she tries to lie, but each time she does, he smacks her with a stick. He can tell each and every time she fibs, even when she says emphatically that she hated ‘The Hound’ Sandor Clegane when it’s clear despite their odd partnership that began as a kidnapping that she felt something for him before he died.
But Arya finally passes a test when she helps a young girl stricken and suffering from a deadly illness pass at her father’s behest by drinking from the fountain inside the House of Black and White. Much like the first person we saw at the beginning of the season, think of this as assisted suicide. Although to calm the young girl’s fears, Arya has to tell her a lie and when the sick girl drinks, her training moves the next phase of the house.
Arya is introduced to the columns of faces that live in the basement of the House of Black and White. She’s been wondering what happens to all the dead people she’s been cleaning for the past few weeks — they come here where the Faceless Men can use them to assume new identities to carry out their assassinations. Arya is clearly intrigued and while she’s not ready for the next step in actually becoming a Faceless Man, it appears she is prepared for a new test.
“No, the girl is not ready to become no one. But she’s ready to become someone else.”
~ Jaqen H’ghar
The Long Con
‘Littlefinger’ arrives back in the capital this week where he’s greeted by The Faith Militant and Brother Lancel (Lannister), who passes along the message that brothels will no longer be tolerated while the religious rule the streets. As strenuous as the news might be to Baelish, who made his way in the world by whoring his way to prominence, the reality is a religious uprising and moral cleansing are the least of his concerns right now.
Instead, Baelish takes an audience with the Queen mother, Cersei, who called him to this audience to ensure that his new war Robin Arryn would definitely be pledging his loyalty to the throne. Of course, Littlefinger complies but before he goes he has to share one bit of news with Cersei.
While he failed in his mission to find Arya Stark and bring her back to King’s Landing, Baelish reveals that he did find Sansa Stark and she’s returned to Winterfell about to be married to Roose Bolton’s recently legitimized son Ramsay Bolton to forge a new alliance with the North. Cersei nearly loses her shit hearing that Sansa — who she truly believes was a part of her son’s murder — is now marrying back into power in the North. To make matters worse, the Boltons have once again betrayed their king just like what happened when they helped orchestrate ‘The Red Wedding’.
Baelish offers her a solution — Stannis Baratheon is currently marching on Winterfell so allow his army to clash with the Boltons and when they are done fighting, the Knights of the Vale will swoop in and conquer whatever is left of the victor, essentially destroying both factions with minimal bloodshed. Oh and Baelish just wants one more thing.
“Name me Warden of the North. I will not rest until the lion flies over Winterfell.”
~ Petyr Baelish
Littlefinger’s plan is really starting to come together now and if you think about it, he’s rather brilliant. He’s already been made the Lord of Harrenhal and he’s currently the Warden of the Vale until Robin Arryn comes of age (assuming he’s still alive by then) and now he’s positioned himself to potentially become the new Warden of the North. Lest we forget, Littlefinger was born into poverty and didn’t have a family sigil, much less any kind of power. Now in just a matter of years he’s about to assimilate a third kingdom to his growing power base.
Cersei’s mistake was allowing anger to cloud her judgment when the words Sansa Stark were mentioned. She also made the cardinal error of looking at Littlefinger as nothing more than a penny pincher and whoremonger. Trusting Baelish is a dangerous enough proposition, but underestimating him is like sticking your head in a bee’s nest and wondering if you might get stung.
What are Baelish’s true intentions? Would he ever allow Sansa to be hurt or does he hope once he’s Warden of the North that he will personally welcome a Stark into his bed instead?
In Dorne we find that Trystane Martell and Myrcella Baratheon have moved from being promised to each other back in season two to the point where the teenagers have actually fallen in love. Trystane is ready to skip the whole ‘wedding night’ ritual because he’s 16 and everybody knows how quickly a teenager’s engine gets started. Myrcella would rather wait until the wedding. Little do they know that pre-marital sex will be the least of their worries when this day is over.
Jamie and Bronn arrives in the water gardens to ‘rescue’ Myrcella except there’s one major problem — she doesn’t want to leave. When Trystane gets ballsy, Bronn has to knock him on his ass and then a whole new set of problems arrives in the form of the Sand Snakes.
They’ve come to snatch Myrcella as well and a battle ensues between three of Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters and Bronn and Jamie. Before the fight can get bloody or Myrcella is actually kidnapped, Prince Doran’s guards arrive to break things up and capture everybody involved. Areo Hotah is particually interested to meet Jamie Lannister, who he believes would have been a fun match against his longaxe back when he still had two hands.
The prince’s forces also capture Ellaria Sand so now for all the sitting that Doran has appeared to be doing it seems he’s been rather busy keeping an eye on everything from his chair while ruling Dorne. In one fell swoop he captured the Sand Snakes, Ellaria and two would be kidnappers from King’s Landing — one of whom is the ‘King Slayer’ Jamie Lannister. Not a bad day’s work.
The Penitent Man
Back in King’s Landing, Lady Olenna has arrived to see about getting her grandson Loras freed from the clutches of the Faith Militant, who put him in chains under suspicion that he was laying with another man. ‘The Queen of Thorns’ has no problem going one on one with Cersei Lannister, but she isn’t quite prepared for what it’s like to face the High Sparrow, who sits up high when he’s judging the rest of the world.
The Sparrows are holding an inquiry this week to prove whether or not Loras is actually laying with men or these are all just rumors. Loras testifies that it’s all false and his sister Margaery does the same. It appears the case is closed until the High Sparrow calls one more witness — the blonde-boy who works in Littlefinger’s brothel who joined Oberyn and Ellaria for a jump in the hay last season and has most recently been bedding down with Loras. He testifies that he has been with Loras on several occasions and even describes a birthmark high up on the heir to Highgarden’s thigh in a place no one would see unless clothes were removed.
Loras freaks and tries to attack him, but the High Sparrow has his restrained. He also has all the evidence he needs to put Loras on trial for crimes against the Faith for his lifestyle choices. Oh and one more thing…
“The Faith is satisfied there is enough evidence to bring a formal trial for Ser Loras and Queen Margaery. Bearing false witness before the gods is as great a sin as any. Take her.”
~ High Sparrow
Needless to say Lady Olenna is not pleased at all to see her grandson and granddaughter hauled off to prison while King Tommen sits in his chair doing absolutely nothing. Cersei just sneers back at Lady Olenna while quietly smiling on the inside because in a matter of just a few moves she’s sent Mace Tyrell to Braavos, where he may not return, and she’s put the queen and the heir to the Tyrell throne in jail.
It’s unfortunate that Tommen’s spine is made of taffy because he watched his wife and queen get put in shackles rather than have his Kingsguard take out the religious masses who now apparently run the city.
Fight to Survive
Joran and Tyrion are still walking in hopes of finding a fishing village after losing their boat in Valyria, but so far there’s been no sign of anybody else much less people trying to catch fish. Along the road, Tyrion virtually demands some banter out of Jorah because he spent a month locked inside a crate while crossing the Narrow Sea and he couldn’t talk to anybody. Now that he’s free (for now) he wants some goddamn conversation.
First things first, Tyrion has to explain why he was inside that crate in the first place — he murdered his father Tywin, who was trying to have him killed for a crime he didn’t commit, while also buggering the woman he loved. He then mentions to Jorah the time that he met his father Jeor Mormont during his trip to The Wall oh so many seasons ago. In the midst of his conversation, Tyrion happens to mention that the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch is no longer with us and it’s clear that Jorah had no idea his father was dead.
One thing to always remember when talking about Westeros (or the lands nearby) — news doesn’t travel very fast and when it does, it’s usually only going between two parties who need to know the information being passed. Jorah has been living a world away from where his father was in command of the Night’s Watch not to mention the way he left his family in disgrace after being caught selling slaves before Ned Stark wanted him beheaded.
Jorah’s sadness is only compounded when he finds out that his father was murdered after being betrayed by his own men while traveling north of The Wall. He doesn’t have to speak a word — the look on his face tells the entire story how Jorah was devastated to hear his father was not only dead but how he was murdered.
Things only go from bad to worse when Jorah and Tyrion run into a slave boat that came ashore to get some water. The slavers quickly capture Jorah and Tyrion and quickly decide that the imp can die right now, but only after they cut off his Johnson. It seems a dwarf’s cock has some kind of magical value. As for Jorah, he’ll do well working in the salt mines.
Just before the slavers kill Tyrion he uses his greatest weapon to save his life — his brain. Tyrion reveals that while his hands and feet are small, his arms and legs shorter, there’s one part of him that doesn’t quite match the others. How will a merchant know that they are selling him a dwarf cock if they don’t see the dwarf it’s attached to? So Tyrion is safe for now.
As for Jorah, they try to play the hand that Queen Daenerys has outlawed slavery, but these men aren’t going back to Meereen. They are headed for Volantis and even if Daenerys did get rid of slavery, she’s opening up the fighting pits and none of these slavers know a single free man who ever volunteered to engage in that kind of hand to hand combat willingly. Thankfully, Tyrion thinks quick and reveals that Jorah is a great warrior. One that would do very well in the fighting pits. Jorah even claims to have killed a Dothraki bloodrider in one-on-one combat.
“Take me to Slaver’s Bay, put a sword in my hand, I’ll prove my worth”
~ Jorah Mormont
It looks like the once wandering pair are headed towards Meereen and the fighting pits and while it’s certainly not how they hoped to gain an audience with Queen Daenerys, this is one way to get back in her line of sight even if it means a gladiatorial challenge that may cost Jorah his life. And Tyrion his cock!
The White Wedding
A short engagement has led to the day Sansa Stark will get married (for a second time) as she is set to wed Ramsay Bolton to officially seal the union between the two powerful families from the North.
Before she puts on her wedding gown, Sansa receives a bath from her new handmaiden, who just happens to be Meranda, the Harley Quinn to Ramsay’s Joker. She tells Sansa about Ramsay’s proclivity towards all things bizarre and cruel and how she even joined him on a hunt one time when a plaything they both enjoyed for a while ended up as kibble for the hounds. It’s clear Meranda is trying to put a fright into Sansa, but the future Wardeness of the North isn’t having it.
“And how long have you loved him, Meranda? Did you imagine he would be with you forever, is that it? And I came along and ruined it. I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home and you can’t frighten me.”
~ Sansa Stark
Maybe Sansa should have taken Meranda’s stories to heart after she marries Ramsay later that evening.
The two are joined in the woods in front of the old gods, Roose Bolton and Theon Greyjoy, who gives away Sansa to her new husband. Following the wedding, Sansa returns to her chambers where she engages her new husband and finds out just what kind of sick twist Ramsay really is.
He first quizzes Sansa to ensure that she’s still a virgin before demanding that she remove her clothes. No foreplay with this crazy bastard.
When Theon tries to leave, Ramsay has other ideas. He wants the former Stark ward to stay in the room and watch as he violates Sansa in the most vile of ways.
“You stay here Reek. You watch. You’ve known Sansa since she was a girl. Now watch her become a woman.”
~ Ramsay Bolton
Ramsay rips her dress off, pushes her on the bed and the rest of the scene plays out in a series of awful sounds and tortured faces as Sansa finds out first hand the kind of monster she just married. The monster she now calls her husband. The monster, who by marriage and law, is now the future King in the North.
‘Game of Thrones’ returns next week with only four episodes to go in season five as Stannis begins his march on Winterfell, Sansa speaks to Theon, and the High Sparrow demands justice from the Tyrells.