Pop open a Coke and listen to the Small Council of Wendy, Jesse, Shannon, Christine and Lou discuss all the smiles, unicorns and rainbows at another Westeros wedding in Game of Thrones episode 506 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.”

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Read on for links and images.

HBO Inside episode 506 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
HBO Inside the Hall of Faces
History and Lore of the Targaryen dynasty; History of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen  – these are old, but relevant to recent events
Producers discuss Sansa’s Wedding Night
Sophie Turner (Sansa) interview
Iwan Rheon (Ramsay) Interview
Slate discusses the Sansa scene
GRRM weighs in on deviations from the books
Lexicon Valley Podcast talks to man who invented GoT languages
GRRM explains the Faceless Men
Iain Glenn (Jorah) discusses a Father’s Death
HBO Viewer’s Guide to episode 506

Hosted by Wendy Hembrock. Recorded on 5/18/2015. Edited by Brent Barrett.

Music by Break of Reality used with permission.

3 thoughts on “Small Council Matters – Season 5 #6”
  1. I loved the way the Small Council handled all the Sansa rape controversy. Lots of other GOT podcasts were so negative about the scene that i couldn’t enjoy them. While watching the Sansa scene was tough I took it for what it was,part of the story. Great job!!

  2. And then there’s Sansa.

    The problem is that it was a perfect storm, a combo of various elements, each alone is sensitive on their own, but in combination, well, you end up with a senator commenting publicly on it:

    * Rape
    Rape is worse than murder. Actors brag about and compete to play murderers. Murder mysteries is its own subgenre, and has been “family entertainment” for decades (eg, MURDER, SHE WROTE; FATHER DOWLING MYSTERIES, Sherlock stories). That same reaction is not made about rape or rapists. So even tho the show lots of murders, that’s not viewed the same–especially in America. You can paint the screen red with violence but sex is far more controversial.

    * Women in refrigerators
    About a decade ago, a comic book series had a supervillain kill the girlfriend of a superhero and stuff her body in said superhero’s refrigerator. The same thing happened months later. There was a huge backlash because as the phrase came to refer to the killing (or attacking or raping) of a woman as merely as a way of motivating / affecting a male character. What made it worse was people noticing it was a trend outside of comics but also in tv, films and novels. So depicting the rape so it focused on Theon’s suffering made matters worse.

    * Not in the book
    Ramsey raping Sansa, Jamie raping Cersei (that the show makers couldn’t agree on whether it was a rape scene is was extreme troubling), Khal Drogo raping Dany, Gilly travelling to a place where random women are being raped–where there was a “rape-osition” scene where some guy from TORCHWOOD was talking while some random woman in the background was being raped. It’s okay to deviate from the books–if you do it better. However these extra rapes that were not in the books seem “odd” at best and very disturbing for many viewers. Why are TPTB (The Powers That Be) of the show including these scenes?

    * Storywise
    How did the Sansa rape scene advance the story, or develop the characters? Sansa already hated Ramsey. Theon already hated Ramsey. Audiences already knew Ramsey was a monster. Maybe it’s so Sansa and Theon could bond over having shared enduring a horrific event, but if that, why didn’t it show Sansa and Theon BOTH crying during the ordeal?

    * Seeing is believing
    As Christine pondered, the medium of video is different than of print. For most people, seeing something has far more impact than hearing someone tell you about it. “Seeing is believing” is a truism because of that. It’s why Tyrion merely has a scar instead of his whole nose chopped off like in the books because TPTB on the show did not want to viewers to see Peter Dinklage’s mutilated for the rest of the series. It’s why Bran has the whole season off because his visions of the future were far more revealing onscreen than on the page. A picture is worth a thousand words and video is 60 pictures each second.

    * Smile and you’re dead
    As Wendy’s “Tuner Minute”, from … another … show she does, observed, there’s a trend in tv series, not just genre series, where characters are shown finally being happy, just before being killed off. A variant is to have said character suffer severely. Just as Sansa shows some agency, stands up for herself against the stablegirl by declaring she won’t be scared off from her home, after years of suffering from her family being betrayed and killed off, her father executed on false crimes, being captured, tortured and betrothed to the boy-king who had her father killed, being on the run for allegedly conspiring to kill said boy-king, being saved by a most untrustworthy man who was obsessed with her mother, after all of that, Sansa’s reward is to be brutally raped, in front of the man whom was like her own brother, the man who betrayed herself and started her travails.

    * No one’s being forced to watch
    Jesse raised a salient point. It’s brutal show. No one’s forcing you to watch (unlike Theon). Yet that it was many people, including the politician, was saying, less to the show and more to HBO, that they indeed were going to stop watching. We’ll see after this week’s episode if the viewership drops (or if perversely it shot up).

    * What’s the alternative?
    Lou asks the question of the night. What else could they have done? Change the story, or not … and leave Sansa back at the veil, much like they’ve left Varys at a brothel searching high and low for Tyrion. Or if they go through with Sansa marrying Ramsey, then change the wedding night. They’ve already deviated significantly from the source material. No one forced them to depict Sansa being raped. They could have had Sansa stabbed, punched, kicked, poisoned Ramsey and retained her agency. If not, if they insisted on events staying the same, then they could have changed how it was shown. The episode could have ended with Ramsey ordering Theon to stay and watch Sansa become a woman and Theon freezing up, then hesitantly, slowly closing the bedroom door with a sickening thud, with the “deed” happening off-camera. The point is there were plenty of options. TPTB of the show simply chose one of, if not the, worst of the options.

    In the Game of Thrones, you win or die. For TPTB of the show, this was most definitely NOT a winning move.

  3. Oh, to play the Game of Thrones at the Littlefinger level, you have to think how he benefits if Sansa dies–or not. Or more to the point, how he could exploit EITHER outcome:

    * Sansa killed by Ramsey before Stannis invades.

    “Your grace, my associates managed to infiltrate Winterfell and dispatch of the traitorous Sansa, who killed your beloved son, Joffrey. Reward, please.”

    * Sansa killed as Stannis invades Winterfell.

    “Your grace, my associates used the chaos caused by the War in the North to slip into Winterfell and dispatch Sansa. They await the end of the war to conquer the survivor. Ready my reward, please.”

    * Sansa is not killed.

    “Lady Sansa, Ser Baelish sent me to escort you out of Winterfell to a secure location until Stannis’ forces conquers and Ser Baelish can arrive personally to secure your rulership in Winterfell.”

    “People of Winterfell! I am but a humble neighbor from the Veil. Lady Sansa had destroyed the monster, Ramsey Bolton, and sought refuge with me to rout the invaders, the Boltons and Greyjoys, and restore your liberty. To keep the invading forces of the Lannisters out of Winterfell, I have agreed to be declared Warden of the North, in title only, while Lady Stansa reclaims her rightful throne as Queen of the North. I bid you all farewell as I return to my home in the Veil. I leave my forces at Lady Stansa’s command to help protect your kingdom.”

    “Hello, young maiden, yes, has anyone told you how much you look like Lady Sansa of the House of Stark? Yes, the resembleance is uncanny.”

    “Here you are, your grace, the Boltons destroyed, the Greyjoys routed and Sansa Stark’s head on a pike. Moreover, Winterfell is secured. It turns out most people in Winterfell haven’t seen Sansa Stark, or it’s been ages since they have so couldn’t dispute the pretty puppet I arranged to take her throne in the North, while I returned to the Veil.”

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