Oh man. Remember when we wanted the fifth season of Game of Thrones to make us feel something? Well, I’m feeling lots of somethings.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Arya is back, and she’s still washing corpses in the House of Black and White. Oh, and she also gets whipped by an adult man. Pretty gross. Anyway, my guess on what happens to the bodies was pretty spot on (I said “it’s going to be a rolodex of faces!” old-fashioned but close enough). Apparently the House of Black and White is a place where people come to be euthanized and then have their faces used in the face archive for the faceless folks. Or something. Anyway Arya apparently is not ready to become no one, but she can “become someone else”, which I guess means put on a different face. I have to say I still don’t really care about this and I’m feeling too much of a Bran vibe. How does this relate to the rest of the world?
Tyrion and Jorah meet some slavers and it’s not a pleasant encounter. Tyrion almost has his throat slit but manages to sweet-talk his way out of it and convince their captors to take them to Mereen, so that Jorah can make the slavers money by fighting in the fighting pits. I hope that means that Daenerys will save them once they get there because for a minute they really had me thinking that maybe this is how Tyrion dies, on a random shore by same random slavers. He deserves better.
In this episode we also get a proper dosage of King’s Landing drama, after some of us missed it in the last episode (just kidding, it was actually quite relaxing not having to think about that). First of all, Baelish tells Cersei all about how Sansa is going to marry Ramsay and take over the North, and then offers to use the knights of the Vale to fight against them for the Lannisters. What are you playing at? How sneaky can a person be? Hopefully he sincerely has Sansa’s best interest in mind and he’s still scheming against Cersei.
The good news in King’s Landing is that grandma Olenna is back in town, and she’s not going to let Cersei get away with imprisoning her grandkid. As you might remember, House Tyrell is providing the cash needed to run this kingdom, so they’re pretty important. But when Olenna threatens Cersei with cutting them off, Cersei gives her some silly excuse (saying that finally there’s some peace in the area and they shouldn’t jeopardize that) and Olenna seems to accept that for some reason. What.
Cersei also tells Olenna that they’re just going to have a little pre-trial hearin for Loras and once it’s proven that he’s not really gay everything will blow over. Obviously it doesn’t happen that way and once Margaery is called to testify we know something (well, something more) is up. Loras and Margaery obviously both lie, under oath, (there was something so sad and powerful about him swearing that he’s not gay), but then a squire who slept with Loras says that he knows of an intimate birth mark on Loras’ body, and therefore can prove that he’s gay. I mean, can’t you say he walked in on you getting dressed? Anyway, Loras and Margaery are both taken away to face a real trial, as Tommen just sits there, completely confused and useless. THIS IS YOUR QUEEN, DAMMIT! I don’t know if Tommen is every going to step up and actually do something, but if so, now would be the time. Also, Olenna: cut the Lannisters off already. Who cares about peace?
Meanwhile in Dorne, the storylines collide into one really anticlimactic scene. Just as Jaime and Bronn grab Myrcella, Ellaria’s gang of badass bastard ladies also arrives, trying to take Myrcella for themselves. What great timing. While these two groups are fighting, the city’s guard shows up and arrests everyone. I was really nervous thinking that one of the girls will just kill Myrcella before anyone has a chance to stop her, but that didn’t happen. They just got arrested. A little disappointing and honestly I have no idea where they’re going with this.
Okay. We’ve arrived at the end of the episode. I’m actually not quite sure what to think about Sansa’s and Ramsay’s wedding and “wedding night”. I know a lot of people have been writing about this, about the difference from the books, and about using rape as a way to move the plot forward (and how problematic that is). I will say I only read the first book and I look at the show as a separate thing that stands on its own. I also, like many people, am often very uncomfortable with how Game of Thrones treats women (I wrote a detailed post about it on my blog after the third season), and feel that it often conflicts with the great storylines that they get to lead.
On the one hand, it really made sense. Ramsay is probably the most messed up character in this show and did we really expect him to respect Sansa with compassion and grace? I was just hoping that he won’t express any interest in Sansa and will keep focusing on Myranda, but instead he rapes Sansa while making Theon watch. I was literally screaming at the screen “SNAP OUT OF IT!”, hoping that this would be the moment when “Reek” finally remembers that he’s Theon and kills Ramsay. But that would be too easy, and it’s obvious that the creators knew that that’s exactly what we’d be hoping for, so it can’t happen.
The main thing I think we can hope for at this point is for Sansa to finally get her revenge, kill Ramsay and his family, and become the rightful ruler of Winterfell. At this point it feels a bit like GoT’s creators just want to make Sansa the most miserable character in the world, and aren’t willing to let her go and gain any power or happiness for herself. She did have a moment where we got to see her power and resilience, when she told Myranda: “I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can’t frighten me.” But then the creators still felt the need to harm her more. I really hope they realize that this is getting both old and awful and let Sansa, with some help from Brienne and the loyal people of the North, take Winterfell back and get her revenge.