Yes, I missed last week's blog. Not because I didn't try. My computer kept eating every entry I tried to make, so alas, it was not to be. But that's kind of okay -- last week's episode was a little boring, if very tense. The question that seemed to hang over the entire hour was, "What could Ramsay do? What is he capable of?" And that question was answered this week.
Rape has been used in the past on Game of Thrones for nothing but shock value, as has sexual violence. So it's no wonder that many are crying foul at the rape of Sansa Stark, a long-time favorite and one of a few true heroines of the show. The show altered her plot so that she'd end up in with Ramsay, a move that was shocking and terrifying and remains that way in the wake of their wedding. It was something that everyone should have seen coming, given the source material they are adapting and the sheer cruelty of Ramsay Bolton. In fact, I was actually surprised that it was a non-visual scene, cutting to a tight shot of Theon. It's small consolation, yes, but if the actors in the scene consider that the worst to come for Sansa, hopefully a shift in her narrative is coming.
Because let's be honest -- Sansa has been nothing but a victim. She's been passed from person to person with little agency of her own, waiting to be saved without much say in the process herself. Yes, she's become much stronger and yes, she's capable of playing the nuanced game of survival much better than other characters on the show, but she's still been unable to break free by her own means.
Same goes for Theon, for whom that scene takes place in the books although with a different, faux Stark girl. Could the trauma of seeing Sansa in that way finally start to break the spell Ramsay has over him? Based on the preview, it does seem that Sansa begins to see him as an ally against Ramsay. In the books, it's Theon who begins plotting and scheming an escape, but it looks like Sansa might have a more active role in putting the pieces together and finding ways to subvert Ramsay's control.
That's where I want to see the story go. I find it hard to believe Sansa is at rock-bottom right now. Ramsay almost certainly wants to think he's broken her with one fast, unexpected moment of complete cruelty. But Sansa has survived everything thrown at her, and come out stronger. This could be the moment when she finally decides that no one can ensure her safety but herself, and that she needs to step up to the plate. If she doesn't, then the scene was just another Game of Thrones moment of sexual violence.
The rest of the episode was rich and weak by turns. Olenna back in King's Landing and the subsequent arrest of Loras and Margaery is a high point, and Littlefinger has me scratching my head at what his end game might be. The fight between the Sand Snakes, Jaime and Bronn was perhaps some of the weakest sauce I have ever seen in my entire life, although that nick Bronn got sure looks like it might hurt. Based on that fight, I have a hard time believing the episode's title and the House Martell words -- "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" -- are in reference to the Sand Snakes. Margaery and Sansa -- two who women who have suddenly found themselves in situations they never imagined -- are more apt.
Bridey is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
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