Long-time Game of Thrones fans had a violent reaction to Sansa's rape at the hands of Ramsay Bolton this week, as several popular blogs even dropped their coverage of the show after this installment.
Sansa's constant victimization is just one of the topics our panelists are here to discuss, as they also touch on Queen Margaery's arrest, Littlefinger's plan to become Warden of the North and Jaime's attempt to rescue his "niece."
Join TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Lindsay MacDonald, Doug Wolfe, Amanda Steinmetz and Hank Otero as they discuss all these topics and more in our Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6 Round Table...
What did you make of the Hall of Faces?
Jim: Mechanically, the scene was so dark we had to turn off every light in the room to even see the details. However, once we saw the details they were impressive. As for Arya becoming someone else, I'm not sure who she will be.
Lindsay: Honestly, it's my least favorite subplot at the moment. I know, shock horror! I don't enjoy the beloved Arya. But she seems to be headed nowhere fast. Maybe her story will get some energy now that's she about to become someone else (the little girl who just died?) but I'm quickly losing interest.
Doug: Interesting place. I kind of expected one of those faces – especially the one Arya was touching – to open their eyes and shout “BOO!”. I have no idea who she’ll choose to be, but we can be sure it’ll be someone who gives her the freedom to carry out her revenge list.
Amanda: I don't know who she'll choose, and I honestly don't know where this plot is going with Arya. I really like her character, but I'm so bored with her story right now.
Hank: I tend to agree with Lindsay and Amanda. Love Arya, but I find myself bored and confused by her current story arc. As far as the hall itself, I'm assuming those faces of the dead are the ones the Faceless Men use when they take on a new identity.
Did you expect Littlefinger's plan led to him becoming Warden of the North? Can he trust Cersei to fulfill her end of the deal?
Jim: Littlefinger is playing both sides against each other. It doesn't matter if Cersei will keep her bargin as he has no plans to it ever getting that far, he just needed the proclamation from the king.
Lindsay: Trust Cersei? Yeah right! I think Littlefinger's plan has probably been heading towards this for a while, so it's nice to see his endgame. It makes me wonder less about what he'll do next.
Doug: Littlefinger trusts no one but himself. He also is looking out for no one but himself. He has no interest in furthering Cersei’s scheme and for sure I believe he’s abandoned Sansa as well. He’ll do whatever he wants to gain power, and he’ll use whoever he can to get there as well. If it suits his higher purpose to bend the knee to Cersei you can be sure he’s going to lop off Sansa’s head as per her wishes. He’ll be an interesting one to watch.
Amanda: It's not surprising this was his plan. Littlefinger has been power hungry from the start. Of course he can't trust Cersei, and he knows that. Littlefinger is probably the most aware of everything going on around him. He knows how to play all sides.
Hank: While I never thought Littlefinger wanted to become Warden of the North, it makes sense. That position is just another step toward the ultimate goal of ruling King's Landing. I agree with everyone, he doesn't trust Cersei as far as he can throw her. He's all about himself.
Queen Margaery was arrested along with her brother. Did you see this coming and were you surprised Lady Olenna trusted Cersei?
Jim: Honestly, this entire story line feels like the writers went "Everyone loves Cersei as a powerful bitch, how can we do that again?" At no point in the previous seasons has Game of Thrones shown that the King or Queen was subject to religious callings. In fact, in MANY cases, they've done things that would go against the church(es) without any regard or worry or reprisal.
Now, with the Head Sparrow, suddenly the King and Queen are subject to being arrested by the Church??? REALLY because I feel certain the Church would have arrested Joffrey for being the offspring of Brother and Sister incest with that info went out.
Lindsay: I kind of want to punch both Tommen and Cersei in the face. Mostly Tommen. He could disarm the High Sparrow and his cohorts pretty quickly, but he's sitting on his hands because his mommy told him to. He's turning out to be a pretty terrible king. I just hope Margaery and Loras make it out of this thing alive.
Doug: Since the Red Wedding I don’t invest too much warmth in any of the characters. I was hoping Tommen and Margaery would at least have a go at it – since they’re about the least offensive of the lot – but….I’m resigned now to seeing Margaery lose her head. Cersei has bided her time until now, but you know she’s all about the power. She’d better be careful: that religious sword she has at hand in the High Sparrow can and will cut both ways.
Amanda: I really wanted Tommen to stand up for Margaery, but he's a mama's boy just like Joffrey. I hope Lady Olenna has another plan because Cersei will never help anyone but herself.
Hank: I was surprised someone as clever as Lady Olenna didn't fight Cersei a bit more on all this. I can't say I saw Margaery's arrest coming, but the whole point of arming the High Sparrow was for this purpose apparently. I agree with Doug though, Cersei better watch her back because I have no doubt the High Sparrow will be setting his sights on her next.
Now that Jaime, Bronn and the Sand Snakes' plans have failed, what is Prince Doran's next move?
Jim: I'm not sure Jaime's plan has completed failed, the Princess is still alive after all. However, given the very real danger sand snakes present, I feel certain that Doran will be understanding of Jaime wanting to keep her safe.
Lindsay: I think Doran might be more forgiving of Jaime considering what the Sand snakes tried, but he's not just going to let them hop on back to King's Landing. All I know is I want to see more of Myrcella and Trystane. They're the only non-depressing story on the show right now, and I kind of need that to keep my spirits up.
Doug: I’m surprised Doran has put up with Ellaria’s rebellious words until now. There’s steel in his spine, and I now expect him to exercise his power to silence her and her Sand Snakes for good. Or at least banish the lot. His pride may have been pricked now that he knows Myrcella’s life was in danger, and so we can expect that he’ll show Jaime and Bronn some mercy. I’m with Lindsay – this doesn’t mean he’ll let Myrcella go back home.
Amanda: I agree with Lindsay that Jaime and Bronn aren't heading back to King's Landing anytime soon. I really liked the little bit we saw of Myrcella and Trystane. They were pretty darn cute, and I never get to say that on this show. I think Doran will be harder on Ellaria.
Hank: Myrcella is not going anywhere, but I do think after the Sand Snakes attack Prince Doran will forgive Jaime sneaking into Dorne. I think the Prince will work toward an understanding with the Lannisters and possibly move up any Trystane/Myrcella wedding plans. He's not going to be too lenient on Ellaria, though I doubt he will have her killed. Prince Doran definitely needs to put his foot down as a ruler.
Sansa's second wedding was uncomfortable, but that was nothing compared to her wedding night. Were you upset to see her victimized yet again? What are your hopes for the character?
Jim: This is another one of those where the writers went "How can we repeat what everyone was talking about" situations. Roose was very clear to Ramsey about treating Sansa with respect and even if he didn't Sansa's had grown a spine in recent years, except when it comes to abusive husbands apparently. She had JUST gotten through saying she was home and couldn't be scared, yet she didn't brain Ramsey with a candlestick and put him in his place. I'm more annoyed that she is the victim AGAIN more than anything... the show is turning into Game of Yawns!
Lindsay: I'm actually very unhappy with the development. I'm just not comfortable knowing that these writers first instinct is the sexually brutalize their female characters to make them interesting. That's really problematic. It seems like the second Sophie Turner turned 18, they threw a rape scene at her. After building Sansa's strength and cunning, what does raping her do for her story? Besides shock and disgust the audience?
Doug: I hated that scene. The fact that it is consistent with how G.R.R. Martin writes his scenes doesn’t mitigate the ugliness of that development. I suppose it serves as another nail in the coffin for Ramsey, when at some point he’s killed off. Everyone will applaud. Meanwhile, Sansa will live with this nightmare forever.
Amanda: I didn't like this development at all. I'm sick of rape being the show's go-to shock factor. Sansa was becoming this strong character, and I don't want this to derail her growth. I just didn't see the point other than showing once again how awful Ramsey is. We get it, okay? Before I wanted Theon to kill Ramsey, but now I want Sansa to do it... slowly!
Hank: Yeah I also hated that Sansa was being victimized all over again. That said, I'm not surprised Ramsay did what he did... the guy is a monster. I mean, remember he also cut off Theon's penis and sent it to his family in Pyke. As Amanda said, I'm hoping it's Sansa that ultimately kills Ramsey but that she and Theon torture the bastard a bit first.
NOTE: Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 7 is titled “The Gift” and airs on Sunday, May 24.