Game of Thrones Recap: 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken'
The episode’s title is “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Those are the words of House Martell. But I’m thinking the showrunners mean for us to think about those words while we process that final scene with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner).
A few thoughts on the episode to get the conversation started …
– We finally saw Sand Snakes in full action. Are they working for you?
– Arya (Maisie Williams) is back. Good to see her advance beyond witch-broom floor-sweeping and corpse sponge-bath duties.
– We had some incredibly fun manipulation in King’s Landing this week. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) was at the top of his game playing Cersei (Lena Headey), while Cersei expertly played the Tyrells. Olenna (Diana Rigg) and Cersei were like two verbal warships lined up side by side, ports open, firing their cannons, each trying to sink the other. And with Cersei taking out Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones), Thrones flexed its storytelling cleverness. Remember how last week when we realized that Stannis’ (Stephen Dillane) reminiscence about Shireen’s (Kerry Ingram) greyscale wasn’t only a sweetly touching character-building scene, but also set up the big reveal of Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) getting greyscale? Now we realize that a seeming throwaway scene from the season premiere – when Margaery walked in on Loras and Olyvar (Will Tudor) – was actually crucial set-up for tonight’s twist. It’s like this season of Thrones is built like a narrative Jenga tower, where even scenes you think were not that important are turning out to be critical later on.
– Sansa’s wedding night. I have a lot of thoughts about this. I’m thinking about something legendary music producer Rick Rubin said to Tim Ferris on the latter’s recent podcast: “The best art divides the audience.” I’m also thinking about how, on shows like Thrones, the relationship between fans and a serialized drama’s writers is like a mutually agreed-upon abusive relationship. We actually want a show like Thrones or The Walking Dead or The Sopranos to hurt us and for the characters to struggle and suffer but how much is too much? What is going too far?
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Game of Thrones airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on HBO.