‘Game of Thrones’ 5.06 Recap: “Let’s Not Do Something Stupid”

Weddings in the ‘Game of Thrones’ universe are such guaranteed miserable occasions, it’s a wonder that anyone would ever consent to get married.

Yes, it’s time for another awful Westeros marriage ceremony. While this one may not feature any impalings or poisonings, it’s still pretty unpleasant.

Here’s the rundown on what happens in episode ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’:


As if she hadn’t been clued in enough already that her betrothed Ramsay Bolton is a bastard in multiple senses of the term, Sansa is forced to accept a bath from his jealous girlfriend Myranda, who delights in telling her all about Ramsay’s former lovers and what he did when he got bored with them. For a moment, Sansa develops a little backbone and tells the girl off, warning her that Winterfell is her rightful home and she cannot be scared away. Good for her.

That night, Sansa’s wedding to Ramsay is a chilly affair, and not just because it takes place outside in the snow. Ramsay insists that, as the ward of her father Ned Stark and thus the closest she has to a living relative, Theon must be the one to give Sansa away. She is not happy about this and refuses to take Theon’s arm when walking down the aisle.

After the ceremony, Ramsay brings Sansa up to his chambers and questions her adamantly to confirm her virginity. He then orders Theon to stay in the room and watch as they consummate the marriage, which appears to be pretty brutal and uncomfortable. Unlike her encounter with Myranda, Sansa reverts to being a weak-willed victim and simply allows Ramsay to treat her as badly as he wants.


Arya continues her dreary assignment of scrubbing dead bodies and preparing them for something she isn’t allowed to know more about. She receives a lesson from another girl in the temple about why she shouldn’t trust anything told to her and how easily she can be fooled. To teach her how to lie, Jaqen hits her with a belt anytime he can tell she’s not telling the truth. He even knows what’s in her heart when she doesn’t, such as her insistence that she hated the Hound.

A father brings a sickly child to the temple in hopes of curing her. Arya tells a very convincing story about how the same thing happened to her, and talks the child into drinking from the poisoned fountain. With her lie a success and the child dead, Jaqen allows Arya to follow him down into the depths of the temple, into a ceremonial chamber with walls covered in the sculptures of countless faces. Arya is drawn to one particular face. Jaqen tells her that she’s still not yet ready to become no one, but she may be ready to become someone else.


As they walk in search of new transportation, Tyrion informs Jorah that he killed his father Tywin. Jorah was obviously not aware that Tywin is dead. Also a surprise is Tyrion’s inadvertent blurting out that Jorah’s own father, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, was killed during a mutiny by his own men.

The two are then captured by a band of slavers, who plan to sell Jorah and kill Tyrion. They also announce that they’ll cut off Tyrion’s genitals, because “A dwarf’s cock has magic powers.” (I came very close to making that quote the headline of this recap.) Tyrion thinks quickly and convinces the slavers that they’ll need to keep him alive in order to prove to the buyer that the cock actually came from a dwarf – because that part of his body isn’t in proportion to the rest. I rather expected the slavers to verify that fact for themselves, but they take his word for it.

When the head slaver mentions that Queen Daenerys has reopened the fighting pits, Tyrion also plays up Jorah’s reputation as a great fighter and talks them into going to Meereen to sell Jorah there.

King’s Landing

Baelish arrives back at the capital and is promptly accosted by Lancel and his Sparrow psycho cultists. He talks his way past them and meets with Cersei, as he was bidden to do. They have a very blunt chat about their current situations and their motives, as each sees the other. Baelish informs Cersei that Sansa Stark is in Winterfell and is set to marry the Bolton heir – though he leaves out the part about how he smuggled her there and arranged the marriage.

Baelish explains that Stannis Baratheon is currently marching towards Winterfell, and suggests that it would be in Cersei’s interest to wait until the battle is over, then send in another army to mop up whichever side happens to be the victor, thus reclaiming Winterfell for herself. Unfortunately, Cersei has no army currently available to do that. Baelish helpfully offers to command the Knights of the Vale himself, in exchange for the king naming him Warden of the North. Baelish never fails to have some new scheme brewing.

Also back in King’s Landing is Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), who is pissed. She demands that Cersei release her grandson Loras from prison immediately and, as always, doesn’t mince any words even when talking to the Queen Mother. Cersei continues to insist that she had nothing to do with the arrest, and has no authority over the church. Olenna will just need to take it up with the High Sparrow. Cersei remains coldly unfazed even when Olenna threatens to withdraw her family’s funding that’s currently paying off the Lannister debts.

The next morning, the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) holds an inquest on the matter of the charges against Loras. Under questioning, Loras asserts that he’s innocent of all accusations of sodomy and fornication. To prove that no one is above the law, the High Sparrow even calls Queen Margaery to testify. She says that she has no knowledge of her brother engaging in such activity. Obviously, the High Sparrow isn’t going to let the matter rest there. He next calls the squire that Loras had taken as a lover, who says that he can identify a birthmark on Loras’ thigh and that Margaery saw them in bed together (which we know to be true). Loras and Margaery call him a liar, but the High Sparrow rules that he has sufficient evidence to hold a full trial – not just for Loras, but for Margaery as well on the charge of lying under oath. He has the Queen hauled off to the dungeon while Tommen sits by helplessly, unsure what to do.

Cersei is of course delighted, but I expect this plan to backfire in her face. She may think that the High Sparrow is under her thumb, but I have no doubt that he’ll turn against her and likewise put Cersei on trial for her incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime.


Speaking of Jaime, he and Bronn don the uniforms of Dornish soldiers and sneak into the Water Gardens to rescue Myrcella. What Jaime doesn’t realize is that Myrcella is actually in love with her betrothed, the Martell prince Trystane, and doesn’t want to leave. As Jaime tries to get a word alone with her, three of the warrior women known as the Sand Snakes (the daughters of slain prince Oberyn) launch an attack to murder Myrcella, under direction of Oberyn’s widow Ellaria. Jaime and Bronn fend them off, but one grabs Myrcella and attempts to run.

They don’t get too far. The Dornish royal guard, led by a big guy named Areo Hotah, sweep in and round everyone up, Jaime, Bronn and even Ellaria included.

As soon as this episode ended, my wife commented that she’s getting tired of how “rapey” the series is. Frankly, I agree. Whether it’s the fault of the show’s writers or original author George R.R. Martin, ‘Game of Thrones’ uses rape for shock value too often.

Yes, you can argue that Ramsay’s abuse of Sansa isn’t technically rape because she consented to let him do it to her, or that rape is simply a sad fact of life for characters in this fictional society, where human life holds much less value than in our real world. Similar arguments were made when Jaime raped Cersei in Season 4. Nevertheless, this show is made to be viewed by an audience in the real world, and the writers are fully aware of how uncomfortably these scenes will play.

I just think it’s a cheap plot device, especially considering how inconsistently the Sansa character is written. One moment, she seems to be developing some strength and force of will, then the next she’s a sniveling victim again. As Ramsay ordered her to take off her clothes, I expected Sansa to stand up to him and demand that Theon leave. That she doesn’t even try is very disappointing.

I find it interesting how this scene contrasts to the way Daenerys immediately took charge and used sex to tame her brutish husband Khal Drogo back in Season 1. Is Sansa’s inability to do something like that a deliberate decision to show how much stronger Daenerys is than Sansa, or is this just an unfortunate backslide in the way the series depicts women? Even Daenerys is losing control of her own destiny this season.


  1. I felt like Sansa standing up to Ramsey’s girl-slave was just a front since immediately after she left Sansa seemed to revert back to the scared little girl. A lot of people are upset with the “rape” scene simply because it was supposed to happen to Sansa’s friend, not Sansa. It’s frustrating because her purity is a big part of her and to have it taken away in such a brutal manner is just manipulative on the show writers’ part.
    My favorite scene of this episode and quite possible the whole season so far was with Tyrion and Jorah. Jorah is more of a meat-head in the books and hard to really care about. The scene where he first hears about his father’s death was beautifully acted. It gave a lot more depth to Jorah which the books never did. What a great addition!

  2. T.J. Kats

    To “rapey” in general I’ll agree with but I put that a little more on Martin than the show writers because it happens all over the books.

    Two personal opinions on the Sansa scene specifically .

    1. People being upset solely because it happens to Sansa and not Jeyne like in the books are getting upset over nothing because the scene happens to Ramsey’s wife on both scenarios it’s just that the wife has been changed.

    2. From a context point of view I think what people are missing/overlooking (to me anyways) is the the final scene is all about Theon. Showing how he wanted to help but is so broken that he can’t do anything about it. Could this be handled in a different way sure but that is the character, to me anyways, that the scene is really about.

  3. William Henley

    Awww, man, I just saw the picture before I read the headline, and was like “Is that Teal’c? Sweet! Stargate Reunion!”

    I have only seen the first episode of this show, and have decided not to watch any more until I finish the books. Sadly I am a slow reader (started the first book around January, and am about a quarter of the way through), but by the time I get ready to watch the show, maybe it will finally be up on Amazon! Currently finishing Big Love, have Rome, Band of Brothers and Soppranos in my To Do list.

  4. cardpetree

    What is the point of the Theon Greyjoy character? He’s freaking pitiful and adds nothing to the show. Unless they have him rise up and whoop Ramsay’s ass or something, then he just seems like a worthless character.

  5. Michael Scott

    Your memory of Daenerys and Drogo’s early sex life is flawed, Josh–she did not “immediately take charge and use sex to tame her brutish husband” and the first few times that they show her having sex it’s pretty crude. Though a little less pointedly cruel, the sex that they have on their wedding night is not otherwise different from Sansa’s experience with Ramsey.

    She eventually gets some tips from her handmaiden (former Lysini pleasure slave Doreah) and turns that around (literally :)).

    • Josh Zyber

      It happened very quickly, at the very least. Daenerys had taken charge of her sex life and stopped being a victim by literally the second episode of the series. Sansa, meanwhile, has been victimized over and over and over again for five seasons now. Every time it seems like she might be developing some inner strength, she just wilts again.

      • Clemery

        Didn’t Sansa start this snowball by supporting and lying for Joffrey after the altercation with the Butcher’s Boy in the early episodes? She was a spoilt little bitch back then and she has remains a weak-willed sourpuss ever since, never once displaying any form of backbone. If she’s never going to stand up for herself, then how am I (as a viewer) meant to root for her. She is one of the least interesting characters that remain on the show, and I fail to see what makes her so popular.

      • Timcharger

        “Daenerys had taken charge of her sex life and stopped being a victim by literally the second episode of the series.”

        That second episode wasn’t 1 hour later. It
        tooks months for Dany to learn to be “on top”
        in bed.

        So by that measure, Josh, you should give
        Sansa more time. It really is just her
        wedding night.

  6. Ryan

    I just don’t understand the controversy here. It’s a show…bad things happen in this world. Hell, worse things happen in the real world,

    I’m not even really responding to your review….just the stupid media outrage in general.

    A girl was abused by her husband on her wedding night on a fictional show…..WHO CARES!!!!!!!? It’s a show, it didn’t really happen! Feel bad for the character (as I do)….but to go further than that….sorry, you need to learn the ability to deal with things a bit better.

    • Josh Zyber

      I don’t find this attitude productive. Who cares, you ask? I care. Lots of people care. The point of watching a show like this is to become invested in the characters’ stories and what happens to them. Yes, it’s fiction. It didn’t “really happen.” Are you incapable of feeling empathy for fictional characters? Good fiction holds a mirror up to our real world.

      This show has a history of using rape as a plot device for shock value. I have defended some instances of that in the past, but it’s getting really tired now. What point does the scene serve in this episode? To show us that Ramsay is a monster? We already knew that. That’s been amply demonstrated for us a thousand times over. To show Sansa being victimized yet again? Why do we need to go through that again? What does it say about the writers that they would create the character of Sansa to be nothing more than a punching bag for men to abuse? What kind of terrible, misogynistic writing is that?

      This show can do better than that. It needs to do better than that.

      • Clemery

        I agree with your stance on the over-reliance on rape in GoT as a cheap shock device, however to me this scene just doesn’t qualify. I gotta admit that the “controversy” surrounding the scene is really puzzling. People say things like “brutal” or “goes too far”, yet there was never anything on screen, and she made no real attempt to resist at all. As far as the episode goes, there didn’t seem to be anything brutal about it (even audibly). Was he bashing her also? The book may reveal more details about the event (I’m not a reader), and to my understanding the scene in the book was with another person… but in the context of the episode/series (noting this this is a series that has depicted the repeated stabbing of an unborn baby, murdering the mother, VISIBLE incestuous rape, countless horrible deaths), there was nothing in the scene that should be provoking this level of reaction.

      • Timcharger

        Josh, that was well written. And I do
        care. Care way too much for these fictional characters.

        For this scene, it’s Ramsay forcing Theon to watch that
        is what goes against Sansa’s will. Sansa doesn’t want
        Theon there. But Sansa goes into her bedroom on her
        wedding night knowing what’s to happen. And while
        she may prefer Tyrion’s choice of non-action, I think
        she accepts what Ramsay will be doing.

        Like Sansa was clued in to what a monster Ramsay is.
        The audience is clued in too. Did we expect Ramsay
        to use wine, roses, and song to ease Sansa into her
        wedding night?

        Having Theon there, forcing that against her will,
        that’s what is “rapey” about that scene. Viewed in
        that way, Theon is also forced against his will, to be

        And it lingered a little too long. The edit could have
        been cut shorter.


        Josh: “What point does the scene serve in this episode?…That’s been amply demonstrated for us a thousand times over. To show Sansa being victimized yet again? Why do we need to go through that again? What does it say about the writers that they would create the character of Sansa to be nothing more than a punching bag for men to abuse?”

        But arguably, the real cause of Sansa being
        victimized is Littlefinger. Baelish arranges
        this marriage. While he’s not responsible
        for the Theon-watching part, this act on a
        wedding night occurs in nearly all arranged
        marriages. The bride doesn’t have choice.
        The bride’s will is not in consideration.

        So you asked, why would the writers write
        such a scene?

        Like you said, Josh: “Good fiction holds a mirror up to our real world.”

        In our real world, arranged marriages are rapey.
        Arranged marriages are a commonplace in
        many parts of our real world.

  7. itjustWoRX

    This is the first season that I’ve found myself becoming less interested with each episode. Sure, there are good scenes or decent dialogue here or there…but something’s just off this season. This particular episode really did leave a bad taste in mouth. Admittedly, the ending didn’t help.

    Normally I avoid any “news” or articles about GoT, especially since it’s become the “it” show in pop culture. But there was one titled something along the lines of “Has Game of Thrones Peaked?” And it’s funny, because only after watching the sixth episode did I go back and read that article. It made a lot of valid points, mostly to do with the fact that GRRM himself sort of hit a wall with his 4th and 5th books (which take place during the same time frame). Boring the readers with 1800 pages of meandering plot lines…what do you expect the TV guys to do?

    Well, they’re trying to mash two bloated novels into one season and they’re not doing the best job.

  8. Charles M

    “…Sansa reverts to being a weak-willed victim…”

    That’s completely insulting to victims of rape. Rape victimes have to act like a superhero otherwise you have no respect for them? And the comparison to Dany doesn’t work because she didn’t take manipulate things till much later, plus Drogo is a far different kind of person to Ramsay.

    This show has a history of using all kinds of things as a plot device but you’re okay with child murders, beheadings, mutilations but this is too much? It wouldn’t have been realistic for her to not have something like that happen to her in that situation.

    • Josh Zyber

      Sansa is written as a perpetual victim. This rape is just the latest indignity she’s been made to suffer at the hands of the writers, who seem to take endless delight in watching her suffer.

      Daenerys’ turn was not “much later.” It was Season 1, Episode 2 of the series, practically right after we first met her. I will give you that Drogo was a different kind of person than Ramsay, but the way Ramsay bends Sansa over and forces himself upon her is an obvious parallel to the way Drogo treated Daenerys initially. Do you think Sansa will ever become as strong a character as Daenerys? I seriously doubt it.

      I don’t buy the “realistic” argument, because the situation was entirely contrived by the writers. They could have put Sansa in a different situation that would have had a different “realistic” outcome. Instead, they chose to make Ramsay rape her. To what point?

      • Charles M

        Sansa is still a victim. But I mean, as long as she’s still a captive by someone, LF or whoever, she’s still a victim. Nothing really has to happen physically for that to change. We’ve got other characters who don’t suffer as much. And we’ve still got 2 more seasons of this show, enough time to see her circumstances change.

        Maybe your right about Dany. I’m thinkng of the time she talked to that girl into teaching her how to seduce Drogo. I’m certain it happened much later. Doesn’t matter. But then, Dany is a different character from Sansa. Remember, she’d already had a life with Viserys, something Sansa never had. Sure her time with Joffrey is sort of similar but she spent less time Joff.

        But, why do you expect Sansa’s story to be anyway? Like I said, as long as she’s captive with LF she’s still a victim and not in control of her life. Does she have to be strong as Dany? Why is that what you want? Why can’t she be the sort of the Lysa of the Stark children?

        Isn’t it contrived to make sure to put her in a situation that nothing bad is going to happen to her? if she’s in no threat than what’s the point of her storyline?

        I don’t know to what point her rape had, yet. We’ll have to see if they do anything with it story wise or character wise. Perhaps her rape is similar to Theon castration or Jaime’s sword hand. Actually, a lot of these characters have lost something they’ve cherished, or something that symbolises them.

          • Timcharger

            After reading your linked articles Josh,
            I thought about Shawshank Redemption. I think
            this is a good example to think about.

          • Timcharger

            Shawshank is a good example because it takes
            the gender issue out. Because often times, it’s
            a male writer, and the scene being written has
            a female victim. So I can see how this criticism
            has a certain appearance.

            But Shawshank doesn’t have this issue.

            So should Shawshank have that rape scene?

          • Timcharger

            And the criteria suggested:
            “Will the book/movie fall apart if that scene isn’t included?”

            I don’t think that’s a fair argument. Of course, Shawshank
            isn’t a crappy movie if the rape scene was taken out. When
            watching the televised, editted version, does Shawshank
            now suck? No of course not.


            But if one is writing a story about the realistic atrocities
            inside prisons, writing that scene is fair.

            And GoT writers are writing about a medieval-like life
            with arranged marriages, and the woman has no free
            will in that situation. I think it’s fair to write it.

      • I think its hard to get how this is to be interpreted. In the world of Game of Thrones, most marriages are instantly consummated that night, Sansa knew this was going to happen, of course she probably didnt want it to happen but what choice did she have, she agreed to take his hand in marriage and probably knew what she was going to have to do, most likely to keep herself alive. The scene focused more on Theon/Reek than anyone else and I think that was the point of all of this. I was so hoping that he was going to come back around and stop Ramsay but that didnt happen, Ramsay has broken him so bad that he cant even respond to something that horrible and I think that also was the point of the scene.

        With Drogo and Daenerys, Drogo and the Dothraki just took their women like that after marriage, Daenerys wanted to make a change on that front and become stronger, she took lessons and implemented those lessons which in turn actually made Drogo love and respect her more, Drogo wasnt a bad character really it was more in the males traditions of how they were with women, but Daenerys made him see otherwise and it changed Drogo for the better…..Ramsay is evil, plain and simple and nothing like Drogo and nothing that has happened with him and now Sansa was anything like Drogo and Daenerys

      • agentalbert

        I’m not sure you can say Drogo is much different from Ramsay. The show didn’t make a point of having us witness Drogo taking pleasure in torture, but they did point out that those Dothracki hoards raped and looted villages regularly. Surely Drogo, the Khal, took part in this. Not in a creepy smiling way like Ramsay, just a Khal, riding free with his hair blowing in the wind, good ‘Ol Dothracki way, I’m sure.

        This selective outrage about Sansa is pretty silly. Theon has suffered far, far worse. And what about the prostitutes that Joffrey had tortured with what appeard to be a giant set of antlers? And then using another as a crossbow pincushin. And didn’t we just a week or two ago see Daenerys have man (not even a guilty one, so far as we know) burnt alive by one of her dragons? But yeah, THIS is a bridge too far, so let’s cry for social justice on twitter.

  9. Timcharger

    Josh: “They also announce that they’ll cut off Tyrion’s genitals, because “A dwarf’s cock has magic powers.” (I came very close to making that quote the headline of this recap.)”

    That was funny. But it made also think about your
    gripe about writers writing things for nothing but
    shock value.

  10. Timcharger

    Josh: “because that part of his body isn’t in proportion to the rest. I rather expected the slavers to verify that fact for themselves, but they take his word for it.”

    You “rather expected”?! I rather not.
    I think most would take Tyrion’s word for it.

  11. Timcharger

    Josh: “Also back in King’s Landing is Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg)…”

    I’m very disappointed in Olenna Tyrell’s
    ineffectiveness. She held her ground and
    sparred with Tyrion. She likely schemed
    and dealt in the death of a King. She’s a
    great character, and now she’s outwitted
    by Cersei/High Sparrow.

    Allowing her daughter Margaery, the
    queen to be forced to testify. It was a
    obvious tactic to have Margaery commit
    perjury. Olenna should have seen some
    kind of scheme coming. Did she expect
    that Loras just needs to lie on the stand,
    and he’ll be coming home safely?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *