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GAME OF THRONES Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"

Ellen Zacarias

Trystane Martel in GAME OF THRONES Season 5, Episode 6

“The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.”

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” ended with such a downer that left me bummed out for half an hour afterward. Then I realized I was in great need of Gay of Thrones therapy. As of Tuesday, the Gay of Thrones recap of this depressing episode hasn’t happened yet, but a trip through their older content on YouTube cheered me up somewhat.  

This was the worst episode in the entire series of Game of Thrones.

Once again, I must point to the SPOILERS ALERT sign. However, if you’re reading this recap of Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, you’ve either seen it or are willing to find out through another person’s eyes. So I will proceed with no stains to my conscience. If you haven’t seen this episode but plan to, get your butt to the episode already.  

Arya and What Lies Beneath the House of Black and White 

The scenes with Arya in the temple of the Faceless God fuse the mysteriously dark and bare set (except for the bowl torches that line the pathways) with eerie music. The setting is so engrossing that sometimes I have to consciously pull myself out of the scene and marvel at how creepy and mysterious it all feels despite the superficially stark appearance of the rooms. Some credit goes to the fact that there is always a cracked door tempting Arya to peek at what lies beyond.  

The last scene with Arya gazing at the pillars filled with faces from the dead folks should have been the final scene. All those faces filling up the pillars, the flickering lights, and the eerie music conveys the alien experience of looking at dead, disembodied faces. Part of me was half-expecting a face to suddenly open its eyes a la Mountain and attack Arya. 

I can’t wait to find out what happens to Arya after discovering the under-temple. I look forward to it.  

Jaime and Bronn vs. Sand Snakes 

Cersei’s daughter Myrcella is a teenager stricken with puppy love for the purty-boy Trystane Martel, the youngest son of the Prince of Dorne. The Prince approves of their romance and beckons his guard to protect the young couple. This looks good for Dorne-Westeros relations, but Jaime and the Sand Snakes are rushing to ruin it…at the same time. 

I almost expected Jaime to take the entire fifth season Game of Thrones to reach his daughter–erm, “niece”. But that escalated quickly. However, the Dornish Prince’s guards quickly take over, capturing Jaime, Bronn, the Sand Snakes, and Ellaria, who had been pacing around in her little lair.   

I would have liked the brawny Michelle Rodriguez to be cast as one of the Sand Snakes, perhaps Obara Sand. But I also like Keisha Castle-Hughes as the eldest daughter of Oberyn.  

Tyrion Would Like to Keep His Cock, Thank You Very Much 

Tyrion and Jorah are captured by slavers, who at first intend to cut off and sell Tyrion’s cock to a “cock merchant” for its magical dwarf properties. Tyrion points out that one cannot tell the difference between a dwarf cock and a non-dwarf cock, and persuades the slavers to wait until they can confirm to the cock merchant that he is indeed a dwarf before cutting off his cock.  

Jorah, on the other hand, is considered for use in the salt mines or as a worker on the ship. However, Tyrion uses his powers of persuasion to convince the slavers to use Jorah, despite his age, as a champion in the gladiator rings, which is ironic because Queen Daenerys had ordered the rings to be reopened only for “free men”.  

Littlefinger Meets with Queen Cersei… 

Ever the double-spy, Littlefinger meets with Queen Cersei and informs her that Sansa Stark is about to marry Ramsay Bolton, which would secure their claim to the North. Cersei is outraged because she blames Sansa for the murder of her son and wishes her dead. Littlefinger persuades Cersei to let him lead the Knights of the Vale to defeat both the Boltons and the Stannis. 


In return, Littlefinger wants to be named the Warden of the North. Cersei agrees, but only if he brings her Sansa’s head on a pike.  

It looks like Littlefinger is just out for himself. But I always feel like he’s planning something else, and that his motives aren’t simply what he states they are. They change depending on who he’s talking to. So what does he really want? 

Regarding the coming battle between the Boltons and the Stannis, I don’t want to see Stannis’s daughter die. Not after Episode 3, where she asked her father if he was ashamed of her, and he gave her that beautiful speech and returned her hug. That was a well-earned aww moment.  

Cersei Gets Rid of the Tyrells 

As we saw earlier this season, Cersei teams up with the High Sparrow, the leader of a religious cult within the city. She arms them for a “purge” of the sinful people of the city, particularly Loras Tyrell. 

Olenna visits Cersei and threatens to stop the import of Tyrell grain and other resources into the city if Cersei harms her grandson, Loras.  

Later, Olenna and Margaery are summoned to a cell for questioning by the High Sparrow. They deny having witnessed any of Loras’ homosexual acts. 

However, the High Sparrow brings in Olyvar, who testifies against Loras. As a result, Loras is set for trial, and Margaery is taken to prison. She screams at her King-husband, Tommen, to stop the guards from taking her. Tommen, being the momma’s boy that he is, looks distressed but does nothing.  

Sansa’s Red Wedding Night 

Myranda gives Sansa a bath to prepare for the wedding and tries to intimidate Sansa about Ramsay Bolton and the terrible things that he has done to his ex-lovers that “bored him”. At one point, Sansa interrupts Myranda and asks her how long she’s been in love with Ramsay, and asserts that she is Sansa Stark, and Winterfell is her home, and she will not be frightened. Defeated, Myranda leaves.  

Myranda is as big of a sicko as Ramsay, and I thirst for her comeuppance. However, comeuppances are not guaranteed in Game of Thrones.

Ramsay forces Reek to watch as he rapes Sansa on their wedding night. Reek cries; he looks awfully distressed…but ultimately, he does nothing.  


Overall, Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 6 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” was frustrating to watch, and is my least favorite episode in this series thus far. The scene with Arya discovering the creepy faces in those pillars in the House of Black and White would have been a preferable ending to this Game of Thrones episode because it piqued my curiosity.  

The ability of Game of Thrones to manipulate and elicit such a visceral reaction in the audience deserves some praise but this episode left me feeling frustrated.  

The strengths of this episode include the beautiful sets, sound effects, and music used in the Arya’s scenes in the House of Black and White. The sound of scrubbing on the floor. The hollow and empty sound of Arya’s steps as she moves around the House. I can’t wait to see where this arc will lead. 

  • +100 The amazing set used for the House of Black and White. Bare but holds so many secrets beneath the surface.  
  • +2 Wait, so do they cut off these faces? How do they preserve them–magic?  
  • -10 Reek and Tommen exhibit a frustrating pattern of showing distress but not doing anything. Yes, they are relatively powerless characters, as Tommen answers to his Queen-Mother, and Reek answers to Ramsay Bolton. I yearn for them to do something, anything, to prevent their loved ones from getting hurt. Maybe this time he’ll step up and slit Ramsay’s throat! But each time, I am disappointed. Granted, every world has its share of heroes and its share of cowards. This show of helplessness and passivity is an ongoing pattern, and I hope it ultimately leads to a moment of redemption (or ultimate condemnation) for either Reek or Tommen.   
  • +1 I couldn’t help but pity Reek as he watched the terrible consummation of Ramsa or Sansay. The helplessness and torment was completely and brutally captured on that wretched face.  
  • -1,000,000 Ending the episode with the rape of Sansa. That was terrible and cast a gloom over my view of the entire episode. 
  • +3 Trystane Martel’s opulent robe. WHY SO BEAUTIFUL. THOSE TEXTURES. I need a jewelry bag cut from the cloth of his robes. That would sell.  
  • +1 Trystane Martel’s dark curls. Okay, I think I’m in love. 
  • +3 Sansa: “…I take this man.” Cue creepy smile on Ramsay’s evil-Frodo face. Kudos to Iwan Rheon, he has made Ramsay utterly repulsive, as in I’ll-take-the-next-bus repulsive.  

Game of Thrones Season 5 Critical Reception by Episode:

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