It’s unfortunate tonight’s disturbing “Game of Thrones” episode coincides with the “Mad Men” series finale, because not since season three’s “Red Wedding” episode has there been such a cringe-inducing matrimonial ending that’s worthy of “did you see that?” discussions at work on Monday. It’s a heartbreaking scene that highlights the often chauvinistic side of the show, while also setting up the revenge-fueled gory battles “Game of Thrones” is known for.
Yes, Sansa finally marries Sata-I mean Ramsay. Not even Joffrey was as cruel to Sansa as Ramsay is in this episode. But more on that later. Speaking of Lannisters, Cersei manages to bargain with the Sparrows to get a few Tyrell’s off her hands AND we finally get a glimpse of how the Sand Snakes do battle.
The episode begins with Arya, still in the house of black and white, washing corpses. She’s been there for weeks now, she claims to Jaqen. She wants to know where the bodies go when she’s done scrubbing them, but Jaqen won’t say. The other girl that’s been showing Arya the ropes won’t answer her questions either. After recounting a possibly fabricated story on her childhood about a father who was a Lord and a step-mother who tried to poison her, Arya doesn’t know what to believe, but she no longer wants to play the Game of Faces, as they say, she asserts that she is Arya Stark and not “no one” as she did in earlier episodes. Jaqen beats her with a stick until she bleeds for her “lies.”
Meanwhile, Jorah and Tyrion are still traveling companions. Jorah continues to keep his greyscale secret from Tyrion. He’s still very much on his mission to bring Tyrion to Meereen to see Dany. They end up learning a little more about each other. Tyrion reveals that he murdered Tywin and how his father was sleeping with his girlfriend. Tyrion also accidentally breaks it to Jorah that his father died, not knowing Jorah was unaware his father had died. Jorah doesn’t show much emotion, less to do with not caring and more to do with the fact that he’s got bigger things to worry about, such as a group of men traveling on a slave ship to Volantis who beat him up. Tyrion manages to strike a deal after narrowly dodging vital dismemberment, “dwarf cocks have magic powers,” one of the men states, and lies about Jorah being a veteran of 100 battles. They end up hitching a ride to Slaver’s Bay, which is pretty much a free ride to Meereen, to enter Jorah in the slave pits.
Arya, still scrubbing bodies, is finally shown where those bodies go when she’s done with them. But first, she meets a man who brings in his daughter, a few years younger than Arya, who looks deathly wan. She lies to the girl, telling her her father brought her there when she was sick and felt better after she drank the water, sealing the little girl’s fate, because after drinking said water, the little girl ends up on Arya’s washing table. Jaqen decides to take Arya to the place where the bodies go, it’s a cavernous room, with many walls laden with heads. No sign of the bodies, just their heads. He tells Arya, she’s not ready to become no one, but she is ready to become someone else. The Game of Faces continues.
In King’s Landing, Littlefinger pays Cersei a visit. He tells her he found Sansa in Winterfell and that she is betrothed to Ramsay. Cersei is upset at the Bolton’s betrayal, believing Sansa had something to do with Joffrey’s death – she fled with Petyr not a second after the King died. Petyr offers his advice to the Queen Mother, telling her that the Bolton’s and Stannis will soon do battle and slaughter each other. After they’re done killing each other, the Lannisters should attack whoever takes Winterfell. Cersei doesn’t like that idea. She’s unwilling to send her men to fight or waste money on the battle. Littlefinger offers his own men of the Veil – hopefully Robin stays behind – and asks to be named Warden of the North as remuneration. Cersei says she won’t make a deal until he brings her Sansa’s head.
In Dorne, Trystane and Myrcella make plans to get married. Those plans are interrupted, though, when Jaime and Bronn, undercover in guard attire, find the two in an intimate embrace in the Water Gardens. Bronn punches Trystane to the ground, leaving Jaime to almost make a run with Myrcella until the Snakes arrive. Obara, Nymeria and Tyene battle with the two men, putting up decent fights, one even manages to nick Bronn, until real Dorne guards arrive. They drag all five away and also take Ellaria, knowing she was behind it.
Back in King’s Landing, Margaery’s grandmother, Lady Olenna, speaks with Cersei about the release of her grandson, Loras, who was arrested by the Sparrows for homosexuality with a man named Olyvar. Both Margaery and Olenna know Loras is gay, but they also know Cersei is behind this in an attempt to cleave the Tyrell’s power to the throne. Cersei claims she has no idea why Loras is jailed and hopes his trial sets him free. At Sparrow court, the High Sparrow questions Loras about his homosexuality. Loras denies all claims. The High Sparrow then makes an unconventional move and makes Margaery take the stand. She refuses at first, but the High Sparrow says they answer to the gods, kings and queens are no exceptions. She also denies his brother’s involvement with other men. Then, he brings out Olyvar, who confesses to having sexual relations with Loras, saying Margaery knew because she walked in on them and he could prove it by describing the specific shape of a birthmark on Loras’ thigh. The Sparrow guards drag off both Loras and Margaery, who pleads with Tommen to do something. If doing something meant looking stupidly confused and doing nothing, then he did plenty.
In Winterfell, Sansa is getting ready for her wedding day. Myranda, the girl who showed her Theon’s living quarters in the dog kennel in the last episode, arrives at her door to give her a bath. She tells Sansa about all the girls Ramsay has killed because he was bored with them. Sansa correctly surmises that Myranda is jealous that she’s marrying Ramsay and asserts who she is, “This is my home and you can’t frighten me,” she tells her. Upset, Myranda leaves only to see her again outside during the ceremony. It’s a beautiful winter wedding display, a snowy evening illuminated by candlelight with a surreal red-leafed curvy tree in the background that is harshly juxtaposed with a nightmarish wedding night. Theon escorts Sansa back to their room. There Ramsay tells Sansa to undress and asks Theon to stay and watch. Knowing there will be “punishment” if he disobeys, Theon watches with a heavy heart the girl he watched grow up in King’s Landing, sister to his then-best friend Robb Stark, daughter of the man he was a ward to, get raped by the man he now serves. If only Brienne was there to intercede this time.