Pledging her to Ramsay Bolton, Littlefinger left the young woman in their care as he departed to Winterfell – where we saw him begin to connive and scheme again as he appeared for Cersei Lannister this week in the hope of further securing favour and the North for himself in the event of a Northern uprising – and she has dutifully towed the line. Sansa is slowly starting to develop in a character who has proven that she can endure through the worst of calamities and come out stronger.
Unfortunately, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken showcased a monstrous event that threatens to undermine everything the Stark woman has been through. Her rape at the hands of her new husband, the foul Ramsey Bolton (played with wild-eyed menace by Iwan Rheon) was shocking to say the least and further adds to the controversy Game of Thrones seems to relish courting with its portrayal of women. Sansa seemed to be one of the few characters who could turn the tragedy of her family around and her rise, Phoenix-like, was certainly something I’m sure we were all looking forward to. However, I have a suspicion that the whole scenario will prove to play to the redemption of Theon Greyjoy and it worries me that the subjugation and deformation of a female character would be used to reach such a conclusion.
The show needs to analyze which extreme it wants and logically adjust. While Brienne of Tarth and the Sand Snakes may be the Amazon figure to aspire to, does a woman really need to leap to a call to arms if she wants to respected? It’s a slightly archaic view point that should be challenged in a modern era of storytelling – especially when looking deeper into the allegorical themes of modern society Game of Thrones regularly touches upon.
Further South, far away from these horrific events, Cersei plays her hand smartly in her bid to keep Tommen close to her and away from the machinations of Margaery Tyrell and her family. Using The Faith Militant to meet out their own justice seems to be working – until her inevitable loss of control (it’s quite clearly coming) – as they try Ser Loras for various affronts to the Gods including buggery. Margaery runs afoul of this, lying to the Faith, and being discovered. The brother and sister now look to face a more formal trial, one that gifts the worst of punishments if found guilty.
Tyrion and Jorah also seem to be running out of luck faster than the Imp can consume wine as Slavers take them hostage and threaten to sell their manhood to Cock Merchants (yep, they went there!). Obviously, they seem to outwit their kidnappers, convincing them to take them to the Fighting Pits of Mereen where I’m assuming we may bump into a familiar Targaryen…
We also get to check in with another Lannister this episode, as Jaime and Bronn make their play to rescue his ‘niece’ (ahem) Myrcella from the Dornes. An awesome battle scene ensues as the pair has their first meeting with the children of Oberyn Martell, the Sand Snakes. Whips and swords abound in a fantastically choreographed brawl which ends in both sides being arrested as Jaime’s diplomacy skills fall ever so slightly flat… Turns out, Myrcella wasn’t really that bothered about leaving anyway…
Returning to the Starks, far away in Braavos, the true nature of the House of Black and White is revealed. Arya has a beautiful scene with a dying girl who she puts at ease before offering the waters which will put her to rest. It’s wonderfully scripted and Maisie Williams adds great compassion and feeling to role while in turn proving that Arya has what it takes to become No One. She is taken to the cellars of the temple which house columns containing hundreds upon hundreds of heads – faces of the dead which the disciples of the house seem to able to adopt and become someone else.
Maybe I was being over-sensitive regarding the treatment of Sansa Stark and I hope I’m not justified in my conviction. If it is Sansa that gets revenge, then I will applaud. If my suspicions are realized though, I’ll be extremely disappointed if Game of Thrones falls to an all too familiar story-telling trope.
(YouTube clip courtesy of GameofThrones)