Ben Adams, Jordan Stokes, and Matthew Wrather recap Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.”[audio:http://podone.noxsolutions.com/launchpod/overthinkingitrecap/mp3/oti-recap-got-s05e06.mp3]
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When you guys discussed who is most cynical, you missed the cynicism of Samsa. Of course I feel terrible for her, but not exactly for the reasons you agreed on. I feel terrible that she found it necessary to further her projects by marrying into a family that she intends to destroy. That’s pretty fucking cynical. The whole reason why she’s in Winterfell is to take revenge on the Boltons. She knowingly put herself in that situation, and she had every reason to think that any marriage she agrees to would include sex, whether she wanted it or not. And despite knowing that, she willingly walked into Winterfell, because it’s a part of her honeypot strategy of revenge. Yes, Ramsey is a worse person than she could have possibly imagined, but his horribleness really only helps her project, because he has failed to inspire any true loyalty. So anyway, as far as Samsa is concerned, everything is going exactly according to her plan, isn’t it? What I think is bothering everyone, belatedly, is just how horrifying a project Samsa embarked on.
In how far was her going back to Winterfell her own will, though? LF made that choice for her. Sure she could’ve tried and ditch him at the inn and join Brienne. Her options were quite limited.
Samsa wasn’t LF’s captive, at least not in the show. (I don’t know about the books.) When she was reluctant to go to the Boltons, LF gave her a stirring speech about revenge, which persuaded her. If it hadn’t, I really didn’t have the impression that he would have dropped her there anyway.
For me, the whole thing felt like this: “If you want to take over a castle and its lands, you marry the owner under false pretenses, exploit their weakness, oops – moondoor!, voila you’re in charge. Now it’s your turn, my protege!”
Samsa seems to be working from exactly the same playbook, adjusted for the circumstances of Winterfell. For it to work, she must endure some unspeakable things. The Boltons are in a very weak position: Stanis is coming, winter too, and nobody has any real loyalty to them. Even Reek looked like he might be ready to turn against Ramsay by the end of the episode. It’s Samsa who has everyone’s sympathy and loyalty. Everyone is nostalgic about her dad, understands that she’s suffered enough, and would almost certainly recognize her right of revenge. She holds the winning hand, which is why she walked straight into Winterfell. One swift act of Baelish-like treachery and she’s in charge. At least that’s how I understand the story so far. If this isn’t her plan, then her going to Winterfell makes no sense at all.
Is it just me or is everyone on this show acting without thinking of long term consequences? There’s no way Cersei’s plan to out sinners goes well for her given her repution for inscest. There is no end game for rescuing Marcella. The Boltons are ignoring the political value of their new daughter in law/captive. It’s certainly not in their best interests to treat the wonderchild of the North poorly. Even Littlefinger is walking around with a plan that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
I have seen a lot of people claiming that the reaction to the Sansa rape scene is overboard for various reasons, as on the podcast. There is an element of people not wanting to see Sansa suffer any more, but I think there are two main issues here: 1) viewers gave the show a chance after the Cersei/Jaime rape scene, but the show went on as if it had never happened 2) the scene served no narrative purpose, except perhaps motivating Theon and that makes it much, much worse, like the rape version of fridge-stuffing.
I’m not sure that the reaction is louder than past reactions have been. It’s just that more people are talking about and watching the show. In my neck of the ‘net, people have been criticizing the excessive sexual violence of the show for a while. I’ve been saying it for two or three seasons, at least (everyone thinks I’m crazy). The show was actually doing a good job not including gratuitous rape scenes this season which was a nice change of pace. I almost stopped watching after the icky Craster’s keep business. I don’t take issue with the inclusion of rape in fiction as a general rule (I have seen every episode of Law and Order SVU after all), but IMHO sexual violence needs to be given some serious weight.
What Matt said around the 37 minute mark about Theon and how he has the decency to lower his eyes reminded me of a quote by Michael Haneke about his movie “Funny Games”
“It’s a film you come to if you need to see it. If you don’t need this movie, you will walk out before it’s over.”
At the same time though, when you think about the motivation behind making the movie (and then making a remake!), it gets a little complicated. I mean, if the whole point of this movie’s existence is to be a warning of “maybe you shouldn’t be watching this kind of movie” then what does it say about Haneke that he’s making it not once but twice, and making money from it?
I don’t watch GoT, although I can’t really claim I (don’t) do it for ethical reasons, since I tried once and simply couldn’t stomach it. I’m a fan of different kinds of violence-ridden entertainment, like Tarantino movies and tv shows like The Blacklist, but every time I watched an episode of GoT (I think maybe 4 total) I felt like shit throughout and afterwards. I’ve said this in a comment many many months ago: as a woman, stuff like rape just hits you a lot stronger and it’s harder to “just get over it” when it continuously pops up on what should be entertainment.
I think the conversation this week was great though, and every once in a rare while, I show up here on the comments to complain about a lack of sensitivity towards these same kinds of issues on the OTI podcast and so I feel like I should praise you guys when these subjects are handled well.
Last lil bit, Jordan’s “So I guess that’s progress?” was great, made me laugh, and is exaclty how I feel about that too, btw.
I’ll just leave this here.