Well, that was disturbing, even for the most devout Game of Thrones fans. While we’ve become somewhat conditioned to endure a hefty dose of violence in every episode over the years, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” took the story line into some of its darkest territory yet.
Of course, we’re referring to Sansa Stark’s wedding night in which she endured a sadistic rape at the hands of her new groom. Based on Ramsay Bolton’s past, no one who has followed the series should have been particularly surprised by what happened to the virginal bride, but it was perhaps a bit shocking how much of the graphic scene (which veered far from the course of the books) played out on-screen.
Yes, plenty of other things—including several serious power plays—happened in Westeros and beyond in episode 6, but to be honest they all paled in comparison to what befell poor Sansa (Sophie Turner). And though we hope things take a turn for the better for Eddard Stark’s oldest daughter, based on what we saw tonight, we can only expect the worst.
Sansa Suffers a Degrading Sexual Assault on Her Wedding Night
In the books, Sansa is spared this trauma because Ramsay marries someone else entirely—a girl posing as Arya Stark. In this episode, however, Sansa was not so lucky. Last week, it was hard to watch Ramsay (Iwah Rheon) announce that Theon Greyjoy, aka Reek, (Alfie Allen) would be forced to walk Sansa down the aisle. This week, after their marital vows were complete, Ramsay uses Theon as a weird sort of sexual surrogate before he jumps in to rape his new wife himself while Theon watches.
While only so much of the scene was pictured on-camera, the missing shots forced viewers to fill in for themselves exactly what atrocities Sansa was suffering. It’s safe to say those images probably stuck in many people’s heads long after final credits rolled.
Arya Gets One Step Closer to Losing Her Face
Meanwhile, things didn’t go too well for Sansa’s sister, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), either. After spending even more time scrubbing dead bodies for no apparent reason, she loses yet another round of the Game of Faces to Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha) when she admits her passionate hatred for the Hound. Her failure to conceal her feelings for the dead man (which obviously include some strange affection that Jaqen could see, even if Arya couldn’t) earns her several whacks with what appeared to be some sort of switch.
Later in the episode, however, Arya seemed to make some forward progress toward her ultimate goal when she ministers to a sick girl whose father brought her to the House of Black and White as a last resort. “A girl is not ready to become no one,” Jaqen mused before adding, “But she is ready to become someone else.” And with that, he leads his protégé down to a cavernous, underground room packed to the brim with dead people’s faces. Somehow, though, not even an entire football-stadium-sized cave full of the dead could hold a candle to the horrors of Sansa’s wedding night.
The Queen Becomes a Prisoner
The battle between the king’s wife and mother heated up as well when Margarery (Natalie Dormer) is called to testify in her brother’s trial. (As a refresher, Margaery’s brother, Loras, was arrested by that extremist religious group called The Sparrows for being gay.) Being the good sister that she is, Margaery defends her sibling, only to have her testimony undercut by Olyvar (Will Tudor), who swiftly convinced everyone in the room (excluding Margaery’s grandmother), that he did, in fact, sleep with Loras and that the ruling queen knew, making her an accomplice to her brother’s “crimes” who must be punished accordingly. And, just like that, Margaery falls from being one of the most powerful people in Westeros, to being a prisoner.
Naturally, she calls out to her husband to come to her rescue, but even though Tommen is the king, he’s also 15, and so he does what pretty much any 15-year-old boy would do: absolutely nothing.
But Margaery isn’t the only elite captured. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Ser Jorah (Iain Glenn) are taken prisoner by pirates as well. Tyrion manages to save their lives, for the time being at least, but that could change shortly.
Princess Mycela’s Rescue Doesn’t Go as Planned
Trying to make good on his promise to Cersei, Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his sidekick Bronn (Jerome Flynn) attempt to rescue Mycella. The first hurdle, however, is that Mycella (Nell Tiger Free) is actually kind of into Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian), her bethrothed, and clearly doesn’t want to be rescued at all. Dramatically, the Sand Snake warriors show up to capture Mycella at the same moment and a fight ensues. After a lot of whip and sword swinging, everyone is captured by the guards of House Martell. Oops.
Littlefinger Double-Crosses Sansa
Fresh off his trip to deliver Sansa to her groom in Winterfell, Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) shows up in King’s Landing to tell Cersei (Lena Headey) of their wedding—only, he leaves out the part about how he orchestrated it and instead positions it as a back-stabbing move by the Boltons. He also assures her that the Vale soldiers now under his command will fight for King Tommen if war comes. In exchange for his support (which, to be clear, he also promised to Roose Bolton) he wants a guarantee from Cersei that she will make him the new Warden of the North, regardless of how things go down after the battle for Winterfell. As usual, Littlefinger gets what he came for.
“I’ll know you’re a man of your word when I see Sansa Stark’s head on a spike,” Cersei notes. Compared to the life she will likely lead married to Ramsay, however, that actually might be a better fate.
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