Game of Thrones

GAME OF THRONES Book Club | Spoiler Discussion of ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’

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Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Terri Schwartz (@terri_schwartz) return with week six of their GAME OF THRONES BOOK CLUB season five coverage, talking about all the major events of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Josh and Terri talk about the fallout of Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton’s shocking scene, the closer look at the House of Black and White, the changes to Cersei and Margaery’s story, and the changes to the Dorne story — and more!

SPOILER WARNING: The GAME OF THRONES BOOK CLUB podcasts are meant for people who have read George R.R. Martin’s novels that HBO takes its cues from. Proceed with caution!

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  • Innessa Sarah

    Just listened to the Book club podcast and I gotta say I disagree with your assessment of the Sansa scene. Yes its terrible but this is part of her character development. Much like kill the boy, this is kill the girl. After this her gloves will come off and she will become truly vindictive. She is not running away to the Wall with Theon. She came to Winterfell to fight for her home and this was part of her battle. I think, what will happen is Theon will “awaken” and him and Sansa will come up with a plan to kill Ramsey. They’ll probably light a candle in the highest tower, have Breanne come and kill Ramsey’s dad while they go after Ramsey.

    • Chlsea_1905

      Thank you! One more open-minded listener.

    • Josh Wigler

      Thanks Innessa! No argument that we’re going to get a more “vindictive” Sansa, that she’ll play a key role in taking down Ramsay, and that it will be pretty awesome when it goes down. It’s an interesting point about “kill the girl,” but for me, I feel she’d already had that moment and then some.

      • Innessa Sarah

        Yea I see your point. You are a sansa-fansa after all!! But I think this will be her breaking point. It may have been necessary for something truly horrible to happen to her (and end the episode that way) for her to transform on the show into a new type of Sansa. She felt her lowest low and survived and now she will act more empowered and start to manipulate Ramsey – like Little finger taught her (she wont be “boring”). She will fight for her home and by the time Little finger comes back she will be in charge and the Boltons dead. However, I must say, if I am wrong and Sansa continues to be the show’s punching bag and they fail to develop her as a strong manipulative character than that would be very disappointing and this whole ordeal would have been useless.

        • Josh Wigler

          Yep, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out! Right now, I think it reeks. In the future, it could… Theon?


        • RadaRada

          I agree, how I feel about this will largely depend on the next four episodes. Will they portray Sansa as a complex person who happened to be raped, or will they just portray her as a victim? Time will tell.

      • Terri Schwartz

        Josh took the words out of my mouth. The “kill the girl” read is definitely interesting and something I hadn’t thought of, but in my mind we already did that, and this avenging Sansa is her “woman” version.

    • HomerBrannon1

      One of the best explanations of the episode I’ve read so far.

    • Rory

      So she relies on Theon or Brienne to kill Ramsay and save her? That’s not exactly brilliant character growth.

      • Innessa Sarah

        … To help her kill them and reclaim her rightful place as Wardoness of the north … She doesn’t exactly have sordsman or house of black and white training but she can be the one that comes up with the master plan.

        • Rory

          Maybe. Now that this is done I expect we’ll see Sansa kill Ramsay with her own hands and Theon help her escape during Stannis’ seige. The Brienne candle thing seems unlikely to end well, given that Brienne is about as stealthy as Obara Sand. Either way I don’t think Sansa will take nearly as much power back as she should.

          • Pink Pearl

            And she’ll manifest that reclamation of power differently, too. One of the coolest things about her character in the books is how the strength and savvy she achieves is so different from the strength and savvy of her siblings, and it’s never implied that it’s a lesser form of it. In the books, Sansa’s getting good at the game in a way that is completely different from anybody else in the series. The latest Winds of Winter chapter was a perfect example of this, and it has made me more excited than ever for the next book to come out.

  • Laws

    Josh, you’re just adding fuel to the “rape” fire by making it a huge deal on both of these podcasts. There will always be people who are offended and upset by something on this show. You don’t have to pander to them.

    Sansa’s the new Jeyne Pool. That’s how this fictional story goes.

    It’s a realistic medieval fantasy; watch it in that context or watch something else.

    • GeekFurious

      Nothing wrong with adding fuel to that discussion.

      • Laws

        I disagree, it get’s to a point where you’re no longer talking about the show, but whether or not a scene like this should be on tv. It turns into a debate about censorship and a tool for people why want to say that GoT is a misogynist show. Josh and Terri are just adding to “This is TOO much!!” drama.

        Martin wrote a story set in a fictional medieval society where people are murdered, raped, etc. and that is OK. HBO decided to make a tv series out of that story and it is OK for them to show those things. People need to calm down.

        • GeekFurious

          Any time you want to suppress a discussion it is about you, not the discussion. Thankfully, you can just skip it.

    • swift00001

      Yes!!!! Someone else actually shares the same opinion that i have!!! I really thought i was the only 1 thinking that josh is beating a dead horse with this sansa topic. My thoughts exactly, this is medieval fantasy, we have seen stuff on the show way worse than this. I really am not wrapping my brain around what the big deal is, and i was starting to feel like a POS person bc of it, like whats wrong with me? Why am i not connecting with everyone else? Thank u my dude

    • Terri Schwartz

      I believe we did talk about it. Jeyne Poole’s sole purpose in the books is to highlight what a monster Ramsay is and to instigate Reek’s transition back to Theon. If that’s all Sansa’s going to be doing now, it seems to be a massive waste of her character and worth being upset about.

      • Laws

        And in the tv story, “Jeyne Poole’s” purpose is different. You and Josh have been so supportive of every change so far, saying that this is Benioff and Weisses’ version of events – why is this any different?

        Josh just keeps going on and on about how awful and horrible and uncomfortable it was in way that, to me and many other listeners, blows it out of proportion, implies that (morally) it shouldn’t have been on the show, and lights a fire under people who are looking for another chance to scream about rape on Game of Thrones because they think it’s a misogynist show.

        She’s marrying Ramsey Bolton. In what world would he NOT have sex with her, whether she was willing or not. If you marry Sansa to Ramsey, this is the logical conclusion.

      • Laws

        P.S. Love you Terri, think you’re really smart and do a great job on all your various media outlets. It’s just that a lot of us are still sensitive and irritated after the Cersei incident.

        P.P.S. As someone who loved Dorne in the books, you’re right. It is so damned cheesy and out of place on the show.

  • swift00001

    Josh is coming off like a half a b!tch with the sansa scene

    • Rory

      Is half a bitch better or worse than a full bitch?

      • Terri Schwartz

        Don’t worry, this will be discussed in the next Book Club! We’re intrigued.

  • swift00001

    And how come there was no outcry in se1 when dany gets “raped” by drogo? That sc3ne was way more explicit and dicy than this

    • Chlsea_1905

      again, EMOTIONAL reactions. No one had 5 years to attach themselves to the characters yet so they didn’t care about that rape.

      • Brian Hough

        plus I think that this is a pattern that GOT developed, like the fact they keep going to the ‘rape’ well over and over again, in completely unnecessary scenes that makes it feel exploitative and gross, like they can’t of anything to do with a female character other than rape her

        • Laws

          That is absolutely unfair and I think that if you took five seconds to think about that last sentence you’d agree.

          Really? There are no strong female characters on this show? Really? You’re watching a medieval fantasy where women get married for power to men they don’t love and have to have sex with them.

      • swift00001

        So what youre telling me is that if u dont personally know someone and dont have an emotional connection 2them, and they have had something horrible done 2 them, then it is less significant of an issue

        • Chlsea_1905

          Sure, we are discussing fiction are we not? It allows for discussions but I’m not going to stress out over a fictional situation. ;p

  • Chlsea_1905

    Am I weird for being able to separate reality from fiction. I really like Sansa and was so pumped with all the growth her character has shown. I don’t feel that just because Sansa seems to have overcome so much that she can’t be brought back down. Characters can have high points and low points. This will just show her resilience. Seems to me that too many people are letting their emotions get the best of them with this episode.

    • Terri Schwartz

      I sometimes wonder how I would respond to these (and other shows) if I wasn’t so embedded covering it. I find writing about it weekly, interviewing the actors and discussing it on the show causes me to think (maybe too) deeply about it and get very attached. To me it currently feels like it was done for shock value over plot significance — and if its only significance was to further Theon’s story, that seems sloppy. Also, as I said in the show, it just feels repetitive. We did this with Sansa for seasons; is there really nothing ELSE to do with her character?

      • Rubicon

        I think it’s effected people who don’t cover the show the same way it’s effected you. Which I think was the intention, and D & D would most likely consider it a success.

        I think part of the reason it’s triggered such a reaction has to do with the climate of OUR culture. The very vocal war being waged over the treatment of women in a our culture is very much in the Zeitgeist. So if you take a young female character on the most popular show on the planet and have her raped by a psychopath, you gonna illicit a wide range of reactions.

        Which if you’re a writer, you’d have to deem a success. It means you’re relevant, and you’re connecting and arguing with you’re audience.

      • gabriel caswell

        I don’t think we know yet why it was done…and we should hold off on firm opinions about why it was done until we see how the whole thing plays out. There have been many empowering stories about rape victims and justice. I find it difficult to shoot something down as gratuitous and unnecessary when we have seen literally nothing after the event in question. Let the story develop.

        • swift00001


  • Dont get me wrong rape is rape an its bad, but I feel like you guys are blowing this way out of proportion. Dident Danni get more or less raped for like half the first season and noone really batted an eye? And those were like full on rape scenes and this was more or less a PG rape scene, There have been more graph rape scenes on basic cable.

    • Brian Hough

      yeah but I think the problem is that its become a pattern. If this was the first time it happened, it might be an overreaction but this is the third time that the producers have diverged from the books in order to go out of the way to add rapes that aren’t there, and that happen with zero consequences. Its the fact the producers are making the completely unnecessary choice to do so.

      • I feel like people are overreacting a little bit because of 2 reasons, 1 The events that happen did not happen in the books, and that makes book people upset because it is a HUGE change from the books. 2 The rape happen to one of the fan favorite characters that a lot of fans see as almost a little sister, where the rape of danni was in the books and it happen so early on the show that people dident have that emotional attachment to her yet so they dident react in such outrage.

    • Terri Schwartz

      To be fair, there was no Book Club for Dany’s rape! Who knows how we would have responded there? I also feel (at the time) I was colored by the book’s depiction where, in my mind, their first time was consensual. When I saw the show my first thought as far as I can remember was “they did a bad job translating that” rather than “wow Khal Drogo just raped Dany.”

      Also, not as an argument either way but as an observation, the show wanted us to feel significantly more horrified by the Sansa rape than it did about Dany’s, or Cersei’s (which I still stand by being sloppy editing).

      • I agree 100% with everything you said, All i am saying is people are blowing it out of proportion specifically the people that are making a big deal about it by saying there not gonna watch the show anymore. Like George said “its a fictional character “, and its not like they were pushing the line of decency or even showing the actual act like they did in season one. And as far as the Cersei an Jamie scene last season i dident see that as rape an im like 99% sure the show people came out an said its was not ment to be a rape scene, thats why i dident even mention it.

  • I’m trying to be sensitive in how I’m approaching this comment, because it was sure a terrible thing to have happen to a character…but…why in particular is this issue getting so much outcry and reaction when this sort of thing is rampant in the fictionalized world of Planetos and has been shown before and worse?

    I seem to remember when Theon got his penis removed Rob & Josh were joking about it at the end of season 3, Theon in general has been brutally tortured without much of a heavy discussion about it, there’s been light-hearted discussions on which character has had the goriest death on these podcasts, we’ve had mass baby killings without this sort of outcry, Rhaegar Targaryen is one of the most beloved ‘legends’ of Westeros and he’s had this stigma of rapist attached to him through all 5 books and 5 series of the show. Why is this worse than those?

    • RadaRada

      I agree, and I believe what happened to Theon is one of the most horrifying, if not the most horrifying thing that has happened in this series, and like you said Rob & Josh were making jokes about that. Not anything against Rob & Josh, but plenty of worse things have happened on this show and I just don’t feel this scene warrants the level of outcry it is receiving. I mean people have said that they will quit watching the show because of this scene and that just makes me go “Really? This is the straw that breaks the camels back for you?” I don’t get it.

  • Lii

    What the actual fuck is wrong with you people??????

  • John Davis

    Well done, Josh. I like that you are willing to be critical and objective.

  • Sophia

    I’m surprised Josh and Terri were being so negative about the Sansa scene since I usually agree with their visions and opinions. Don’t get me wrong, the scene was awful and horrible but I don’t think it was unnecessary to have it happen and I think it will be important for character development.

    I think one of the key factors here is that Sansa chose to come to Winterfell to get her revenge. I’m sure she didn’t fully know what to expect and certainly wasn’t expecting a wedding night as bad as the one she had, but she knew she wouldn’t be going for a pleasant experience when she decided to go there, she would be facing people that betrayed and murdered her family. And I think that, even if she was the victim of something horrible again, her reaction will be completely different this time. She’s a stronger character now than what she was when Joffrey was around and that will show on the way she acts after this episode. And like it was mentioned, I also think this will provide some sort of bond with Theon (that will start breaking from Reek after this), she had gotten clues of how bad Ramsay is, now she suffered some of it and will probably be able to sympathise more with Theon after this.

    And just a general comment on the comments people have been doing all over the internet, I really don’t get how this is so much worse than other things that have happened in the show. In the very first episode of GoT, a kid is thrown out of a window and Daenarys is raped in a similar way than Sansa was. Throughout the show, babies were murdered, Talissa got a knife through her pregnant belly, rape was all over the place in Craster’s Keep (Craster that had sex and impregnated his daughters all the time), Theon was tortured for so long… I mean, the scene was hard to watch but it’s not like GoT has been hearts and flowers all the time but now so I don’t really see how this puts people over the edge and makes them want to stop watching now.

  • Josh Wigler

    Thanks for all the comments, folks. Like I said on the show, I’m fascinated by the wide range of reactions to the scene, and appreciate that many of you feel differently than I do about it. (Not so sure I appreciate the “coming off half b!tch” types of comments, but I guess it’s good for a future hashtag?)

    Likewise, I hope you appreciate that Terri and I are going to deliver podcasts where we give you our no-BS take on an episode, even (and especially) when we have problems with how something’s depicted. We spent a lot of time on the Sansa issue this week because (A) it’s important to us and (B) it’s a conversation that directly involves what’s included, excluded and altered from the books. Believe me, I’m hoping more than anybody that all we have to yap about next week is Barristan Selmy coming back from the dead as Lordy Boldheart, or some other similar nonsense. That’s just not the tone of the big headline for us this week.

    Salon has a roundup of critic reactions that speaks to a lot of how I’m feeling, probably better than I articulated on the podcast, and certainly better than I can articulate in writing right now. It addresses a lot of what I’m seeing here (why no outcry for Dany, why this type of violence sickens me more than other GOT violence, etc.). Give it a read if you’re interested:

    • Thanks for your take on it Josh. One thing I will be taking away from this season as a whole that I think Terri mentioned is GRRM should have now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a far superior writer than anyone on this show. It’s always the scenes and story lines that D&D and Cogman go their own way that come under the biggest scrutinizing.

      • David Smith

        I completely disagree with Terri’s whole rant on GRRM being superior to Dan and David. I hope they continue to make changes because the last two books of ASOAIF were steaming piles of dog poo that were not worth the decade long wait.

        AFFC and ADWD are the ‘Crossroads of Twilight’ point for ASOAIF. Those books were plagued by awful new characters, fake deaths, cheap cliffhangers, pointless food descriptions, lacked plot, and were poorly edited. I have my doubts the books will return to form or even being completed honestly.

        I don’t agree with everything the show does (cough, cough Dorne) but at least the worst part of this story will be over this season. I more care about Hardhome and the newer stuff we will be seeing.

        • Yeah I mean I agree with you that there’s some areas of the book that the show should be moving through quickly. Dany’s Meereen PoV’s are the only thing I think the show is doing better than the books. Brienne’s PoV’s are the only other part of Feast and Dance I wasn’t fully into, and that hasn’t improved in the show.

          Apart from those two instances I’d have to disagree that Feast and Dance were steaming piles of poo, I enjoyed them and the majority of the new characters.

    • Brendan Fitzpatrick

      I think you guys handled it really, really well both on this, and the regular recap pod. It’s an important discussion for a variety of reasons, not just because of the specific subject matter, but how it’s going to effect things in the future. Keep up the good work.

    • Squidgemom

      Thanks Josh. Having a much ingrained “bra burning” sensibility, my first reaction to the rape scene was, “Aw no, do we really need another woman raped on this show?” I am always concerned when any show uses gratuitous sexual violence against women for shock value, or as a way to further a plot, or even to educate the audience on the issue. I still do have strong feelings about this scene for many of the reasons already stated here and elsewhere. However as much as I was angry, sad and disappointed in the decision to take this path, to my horror I realized I have been equally apathetic to all the sexual violence the men are subjected to. We have Theon which is mentioned in several posts I’ve read, but also the unsullied, Varys, and now I guess some very unfortunate dwarves! Bottom line — George and the show have done an excellent job depicting sexual violence as violence regardless of gender.

      As an aside, I am looking forward to seeing where the show and books take these characters. Particularly, one of my favorites: Petyr Baelish. Littlefinger has implemented or been involved in a great deal of what has happened in Westeros so far and has come out of it virtually unscathed. Will Sansa’s rape be the catalyst for whatever Baelish does moving forward on the show? Will the ‘Sansa in Winterfell’ twist ultimately make it quicker/easier for the show runners to communicate and the audience to understand George’s often complicated and nuanced character motivations?

  • Pink Pearl

    Whyyyyyy did I read the comments on this? (You guys handled this perfectly, by the way.)

    • Show me 1 comment apart from 1 person who didn’t want to discuss this through like an adult and look at it from all possible angles, and that hasn’t held Josh & Terri in the highest regard.

      We have the right to talk through our feelings on a subject just the same as podcasters get to talk through theirs.

      • Pink Pearl

        It IS a nuanced issue (and for what it’s worth, I totally agree that GRRM’s take on this arc, while arguably much more upsetting, does demonstrate a defter hand with storytelling), but I was hoping the PSR audience was a little bit above trying to excuse yet another rape scene as “it’s just how things are in this universe” or “it’s necessary to the character arc” or “this is really not a big deal and I don’t know why we have to discuss it”.

        • What I’ve gained over the last 2 days is an appreciation in the difference between shocking moments that are essential to the story and shocking moments for shock value. The Red Wedding was a truly awful thing to read/watch but it’s hints that it was coming and the way it changed the landscape of the whole series puts it into the pantheon of great tv moments. Sansa does just seem to be the shows punching bag at this point, and there lies the problem.

          Definitely though, please don’t be put off coming here discussing it with us. Like Terri said the aim is to get people talking and this IMO has been one of the best conversations PSR has ever had. You have great insights that are welcomed any time 🙂 (didn’t even know you had read the books – that’s awesome)

          • Pink Pearl

            YES YES YES. A thousand times yes. Especially compared with how she’s developing in the books. (I just commented to that effect below, but have you read the latest Winds of Winter chapter featuring Sansa? I daresay it’ll make a fan-sa out of anybody.)

            And yeah, I’ve read the books about 4 times over! (In fact, I may or may not be on deck to fill in on Book Club later this season.)

          • I sure have and that’s the Sansa that the show was seemingly building up to towards the end of season 4. Which really actually makes it even more curious why D&D thought copy & pasting Sansa into Jeyne’s role would work at all.

  • Paul

    I don’t understand why people are ok with rape in the books but not on the show. Is it just because one of their beloved characters are involved?

    I don’t disagree that this probably wasn’t necessary for Sansa’s character development. But why don’t we wait and see the aftermath before making these proclamations.

  • Ash

    I think the Sansa scene was necessary for the development of Theon’s story. If we are going to believe that he is going to snap out of being Reek to help Sansa, something horrifying needs to happen – something more horrifying than everything that Ramsy has already done to him.

    • Pink Pearl

      That’s very true, but that to me is one of the worst things about the scene: it said far more about Theon than it did about Sansa. In other words, the show’s making Sansa a secondary character in the story of her own rape. In the books, the victim really WAS a secondary character, and the story was told from the point of view of Theon, but Sansa’s a POV character in her own right and turning this pivotal scene about a brutal attack on a woman into a means of furthering a man’s story feels like a bit of a downgrade.

      • Ash

        Good point. No question that it is disturbing and the fact that it’s function further’s Theon’s story and not Sansa’s makes it more difficult to swallow. But I still believe that it’s not completely gratuitous and that I can understand why the show runners decided to do it the way they did.

        • Ash

          Let’s hope the scene also propels Sansa’s story and she get’s to have sweet revenge.

  • Terri Schwartz

    Hi everyone. Seconding Josh in thanking everyone for the thoughtful comments; our goal is to start a discussion, and we definitely did that! As we mentioned in the podcast yesterday, we were still processing how to feel about the scene and what it means for the show (in fact, I still am). I’ve seen a lot of people bring up previous Game of Thrones situations where the show didn’t come under similar scrutiny, and coincidentally I wrote something in reaction to that yesterday before seeing all these comments. If anyone’s interested, it’s here — figure that’s easier than responding to every post individually:

    Again, agree or disagree with Josh and I, we always respect polite discourse. This was an episode that everyone involved knew would get people talking, and I appreciate the chance to get to discuss it with you all.

    • Chlsea_1905

      Thanks guys. I think in a few weeks when the season is over and we’ve had time to step back and see the big picture we might come to feel a little different about the whole issue. It’s unfortunate that some people can go a little too far in their comments. We should be able to respect other peoples opinions and feelings. It’s possible that because you and Josh both shared the same feelings about the Sansa scene some of us might have felt the arguments were one sided. Thanks and I look forward to the next book club. I do apologize if any of my comments seemed too personal.

    • Nice article Terri. You and Josh have always been really fantastic at responding to people’s comments, tweets, emails etc. I get the impression a lot podcast hosts on this site and others dread coming to the message boards because they think it’s just filled with a bunch of internet trolls that are assholes for the sake of being assholes. So I know a lot of us really appreciate that you and Josh recognize that we just want to be part of the discussion too.

    • gabriel caswell

      I’m not pro-rape, or pro-violence against women…but spousal rape happens. Spousal rape is a problem in the world that we live in, and it has historically been an even larger problem. I don’t see why if it happens in real life, the idea can’t be explored in a fictional reality. That said, people weren’t in an uproar when Jodi Foster was gang raped in The Accused. It was an artistic rendition of what can and has happened in real life. The Accused became an empowering story about justice…that garnered Jodi Foster her first Academy Award. We don’t know where this story with Sansa is going. Everyone have a little patience and some faith in good storytellers. This may turn into a very similar situation. I understand it’s disturbing…it’s supposed to be disturbing. But just because it’s disturbing doesn’t mean it’s gratuitous. The idea that the show “didn’t need to go there” just honestly strikes me a short-sighted way of looking at storytelling. Saying that the rape is hard to “justify” or that it was about transforming Reek back to Theon is an unnecessarily narrow view of what the show runners are doing. How do we know where the story is going? This could turn into something extremely beneficial or powerful.

      • RadaRada

        I agree, plenty of people seem to associate rape with weakness. Like now that Sansa has been raped, it erases the strength she’s recently acquired and turned her back into a weak victim. The show has an opportunity to subvert that idea in the coming episodes and portray Sansa as rising above this and becoming stronger than ever. If the show goes down that route, I ultimately won’t have a problem with what happened this episode.

        • gabriel caswell

          It’s also a narrow view of reality to assume that she’s been violated already and didn’t need to be re-violated. There’s no reason people who have been knocked down in horrible ways can’t be knocked down even more horribly…and still overcome and persevere.

  • Rory

    I agree with Josh and Terri about the Sansa thing. It was a regression for her character arc (much like D&D have done with a lot of Jaime’s stuff) and having a main female character get raped just to propel Theon’s story is a weak move and poor storytelling. HOWEVER, (as the great Dan Foley would say) I’m surprised book readers are so surprised it happened. When Sansa first rocked up at Winterfell and Littlefinger bailed, the logical conclusion was that Sansa either A) is raped (hopefully without Theon and the dogs’ help) or B) takes control and seduces Ramsay in order to manipulate/kill him. Unfortunately it was the former, but I wasn’t surprised in the least.

    To me the scene is one of many screw ups the show has made, and I’ve always been surprised that you guys aren’t harder on D&D for the show’s changes. Ever since the abysmal Season 2 changes (Renly, Loras being a gay caricature, Quorin/Jon, House of the Undying) I lost faith in the show runners. Even the best arcs from this season are riddled with plot holes. (Like apparently you can paddle from Volantis through the burning unapproachable ruins of Valyria in one night) but the Dorne scene from last episode is one of the worst yet. In the books when Areo shows up you think “holy crap how did they know!”. In contrast on the show the sand snakes attempt to kidnap Myrcella while Doran and Hotah are watching from the balcony! Not to mention the horrible dialogue. They’ve taken two books full of intrigue and replaced them with filler. I mean, Aegon (arguably the story backbone of ADWD), Oldtown, Iron Islands are cut for Grey Worm romance and Gilly teaching Shireen how to read! I could rant for ages (sorry) and I get that there are budget/time constraints, but my point is, I think everyone should stop treating D&D with kids gloves…they’re butchering a brilliant story and there are no excuses for it.

  • Phil The-Issues-Guy

    Love you Josh for many reasons but right now simply for the fact you mention one of my favorite character Strong Belwas in almost every book club cast 🙂 THat one still hurts 😛

    • Josh Wigler

      I will not rest until Strong Belwas is avenged.

  • HomerBrannon1

    I’ve gone bleary-eyed reading the endless commentary on this episode and the constant threats of never watching again. This is a show where a pregnant woman was stabbed in the stomach and left to bleed to death, where slaves were crucified to rot alive in the sun. I fail to see how this scene is the breaking point.

    So you thought that Sansa had turned a corner and the worst was behind her? Guess what? It isn’t. And it isn’t for Arya, Tyrion, Dany, or Jon Snow (definitely Jon Snow). Game of Thrones is dark and full of terrors. Maybe the terrors get repetitive sometimes. But they had to change Sansa’s book story, because it was f-ing boring. I’m intrigued by the situation they have in Winterfell, and I’m hoping Brienne can finally keep a vow and save Sansa. But if Brienne is killed by the Boltons, OK, that may be my breaking point.

  • DFletch91

    The episode broke my hurt and reading and discussing with people broke my heart even more. I’ve deconstructed why this is wrong on many levels and I’m just tired of people using the same excuse. Something already worse happened! Why aren’t you talking about that? I’m sorry but that should be evidence AGAINST it. It’s excessive. The shock value works the first time but if you keep repeating it with no change is excessive. I rather watch a show like the Flash where issues of time travel and personal decision are explored rather than falling back unto something obscene. And I’m glad it’s woken me up and makes me wish I didn’t my waste time with this whole series.

    I studied English and one presentation I did was on Feminist Literary theory that delved into how limited female characters were limited in literature. One series I applied to with the theory was Harry Potter, as I deconstructed that Harry was put into the series so the audience can have a male character that is tied with the conflict with the antagonist, even though Hermione was the one JK Rowling partly based and was the one who usually solved the issues.

    Sansa had character development in the Vale that was very cleverly subtle and could of been explored more in the show as the Vale is the area in the story that is most politically ambiguity. It seemed like Season 4 was setting up for that. But no, we fall back on the same note for Sansa. It bothered me last season when Meera was in peril but this was much worse on so many levels. Anyway, I’m glad I could compose myself after being very jaded for the last 48 + hours.

    • Rory

      Well… you really can’t compare a show like this to The Flash. Apples and oranges. As for strong female characters, this series does better than most, including The Flash.

      • DFletch91

        Did you even read any of the other points I made?

        • Rory

          Yes but I’m not sure what point you were trying to make. I’m not arguing for the show’s version of events by any means (see my comment below) but I’m not sure what the relevance of your HP/Flash comparison is. Especially when the women in The Flash are basically all damsel cliche’s.

  • Lisbon

    Worst book club ever. The fact that you two think you need to talk about the rape scene for 30 MINUTES STRAIGHT. I just don’t understand.

    Very different side of josh that is just annoying as shit to listen through. And terri’s always kinda been annoying to listen too, so not much different this week.

    Josh you really are the best though, and you know I love you boo.

    • Terri Schwartz

      Glad I stay consistent!

  • gabriel caswell

    It’s strange to me how I can have so completely opposite a reaction to Terri and Josh. I’m not pro-rape, or pro-violence against women…but spousal rape happens. Spousal rape is a problem in the world that we live in, and it has historically been an even larger problem. I don’t see why if it happens in real life, the idea can’t be explored in a fictional reality. That said, people weren’t in an uproar when Jodi Foster was gang raped in The Accused. It was an artistic rendition of what can and has happened in real life. The Accused became an empowering story about justice…that garnered Jodi Foster her first Academy Award. We don’t know where this story with Sansa is going. Everyone have a little patience and some faith in good storytellers. This may turn into a very similar situation. I understand it’s disturbing…it’s supposed to be disturbing. But just because it’s disturbing doesn’t mean it’s gratuitous.

  • gabriel caswell

    I’m not pro-rape, or pro-violence against women…but spousal rape happens. Spousal rape is a problem in the world that we live in, and it has historically been an even larger problem. I don’t see why if it happens in real life, the idea can’t be explored in a fictional reality. That said, people weren’t in an uproar when Jodi Foster was gang raped in The Accused. It was an artistic rendition of what can and has happened in real life. The Accused became an empowering story about justice…that garnered Jodi Foster her first Academy Award. We don’t know where this story with Sansa is going. Everyone have a little patience and some faith in good storytellers. This may turn into a very similar situation. I understand it’s disturbing…it’s supposed to be disturbing. But just because it’s disturbing doesn’t mean it’s gratuitous.

  • Meren Roberts

    Thanks for the prompt book club this week.

  • Austin

    What was the point of the rape scene? uh let’s see it got a huge reaction out of people and got people talking about the show. Basically for the ratings. Also as far as story goes it sets up Theon’s redemption. That’s why it switched to his face. Game of thrones is notorious for switching bad guys to good guys. I think Theon is going to be a likable character before the story is over.

  • PHug

    If Sansa’s rape was so horrible and you are threatening to leave the show PLEASE go.
    The last thing I need are hypocrites and fools ruining the best show to come along in years.

    1. Rape is horrible but murder is way worse. People are murdered on GOT, children are murdered on GOT… you’re still here.

    2. Danni was raped REPEATEDLY in season one, some how you made it all the way to season 5

    3. I recall Drogo’s Bloodriders raping an ENTIRE VILLAGE… you still watched.

    4. Guess it was all good when Craster raped all of his daughters and then the Night’s Watch came in and raped them all some more.

    So like I said If Sansa’s rape was too much for you go watch something else.

  • Aldrick

    I am in agreement with Terri and Josh. I like that Sansa has been taken back to Winterfell in the show as Josh said, but as Terri said this event forever changes Sansa’s story. No matter what else happens going forward in the show, Sansa will forever be a victim of rape. It doesn’t matter if she kills Ramsey. What bothers me the most about it is that I believe it was done to further Theon’s development at the expense of Sansa’s development. This seems to have been all about turning Reek back into Theon.

    That’s what bothers me, not the rape itself. We’ve had rape on this show before, and we’ll likely have rape happening again in the future. That’s just the world of a Game of Thrones. A more problematic rape scene is the one with Khal Drogo and Danny–someone being raped, and then falling in love with their rapist. Especially a young girl. That’s more problematic, because it downplays the horror of rape, and makes it appear as if it is no big thing.

    The problem is the narrative decisions being made, and having Sansa’s development undermined to further Theon’s development. I think a lot of the outrage out there has more to do with the fact that it was Sansa getting raped, and people were rooting for Sansa, rather than about the actual rape itself. After all, the overwhelming bulk of those same people watched Danny be raped by Khal Drogo, and yet had no negative feelings toward him as a character. (Danny is crying and everything, tries to cover her naked body, and Drogo pulls her arms back away from her body. Hell Drogo even takes her from behind like Ramsey did Sansa.) People shrug that off as, ‘Well, it’s their wedding and he has to consummate the marriage. What do you expect?’ Well, the same deal applies here to Sansa, what did people really expect to happen once we knew she was going to Winterfell to marry Ramsey? Sansa actually had more agency in the matter than Danny, because Sansa was given a choice to refuse to go to Winterfell by Littlefinger. (Whether or not he would have accepted such a refusal is another matter all together, but also a moot point since she didn’t refuse.) Danny was literally sold to Khal Drogo so that her brother could gain an army.

    I think this is necessary to point out for perspective. Sansa knew what she was getting into when she agreed to go to Winterfell to marry Ramsey. That doesn’t make it not rape, of course, because Sansa still didn’t want to have sex with him. Further, she likely wasn’t anticipating the type of person he’d be once she got there. What happened was undeniably rape, and it was meant to be seen and felt that way by both Sansa and the audience unlike what took place between Jamie and Cersei on the show. It is necessary to compare what happened to Sansa and what happened to Danny with Khal Drogo, because the scenes and situations are almost identical, right down to both of them losing their virginity from behind and crying while it happened. The primary difference is that Sansa had more agency over the situation than Danny, because Sansa chose to go to Winterfell.

    The REAL problem here is the narrative direction they’ve taken Sansa. After watching Sansa endure something as horrific as what happened, it is difficult to imagine her bouncing back from that, and it would be out of character for her. However, if she doesn’t bounce back quickly It harms her character development. So, it’s pretty obvious, since this was done for Theon’s development, that the writers are going to have Sansa bounce back from this rather quickly–cheapening what happened to her. ….and what happens if she ends up pregnant with Ramsey’s baby?

    I would have handled this completely differently, and would have delayed it until episode eight. In this episode, I would have set the stage for the rise of Sansa. It was time for her to spread her wings. Have her have an interaction with Walda Frey, Roose Bolton’s wife. Have Walda show some genuine empathy for what happened to her family, but have Sansa dismiss her. Then have a scene with Sansa, Reek, and Ramsey–just the three of them. Say, at a brunch or something. Have Ramsey interested in talking about the wedding and what not, but then have Sansa find a way to get under Ramsey’s skin. Have Sansa straight up playing the game with Ramsey, playing up the fact that Walda is pregnant, basically goading Ramsey into killing her… which he does by the end of the episode by pushing her down the stairs or something. Sansa does this as an act of vengeance against the Freys, and to stall and buy time so she does not have to marry Ramsey.

    Episode Seven. Walda’ Frey’s death is discussed briefly, and Sansa shows her remorse by telling Roose that the wedding must wait, as it would be bad luck to get married until after the funeral. This reveals Sansa’s intent. Shortly after this interaction, it is revealed that Stannis is nearly at their gates, and plans are being made to defend Winterfell by the Boltons.

    Episode Eight. Stannis arrives at Winterfell. Sansa thinks she is going to be saved, but Stannis loses. Sansa’s plans and hopes of rescue are dashed. Stannis is executed. However, a large number of Stannis and his men, including Melisandre and Davos manage to escape, and retreat back toward the Wall.

    Episode Nine. Sansa’s wedding to Ramsey. Everything is the same, including Ramsey ripping off her dress. She is forced on the bed, naked. Then Ramsey, twisted as he is, turns to Theon and tells him–as he does in the books with Jeyne Poole–to ‘get Sansa ready’ for him. We are convinced at this moment, that horrible things are going to happen to Sansa, and that Theon is going to go through with it. However, Theon once in position starts to cry. He can’t seem to do it. Ramsey starts to get angry. He threatens him. He tells Ramsey, ‘No. I can’t. I won’t.’ Then Ramsey is all like, ‘What did you say?’ Theon refuses again, and then Ramsey absolutely loses it. Sansa is terrified. Theon is terrified, but tells her to run. Sansa runs, gets to the Tower, lights the candle. A rebellion starts in Winterfell as the people rise up shouting how “the North Remembers!” Brienne shows up to rescue Sansa. There is a shot where things are clear, and it is obvious that they can get away to safety… but then there are shrieks and screams from Theon. Horrific shrieks and screams. Sansa is faced with a choice. Sansa orders Brienne and Pod to help her save Theon, ‘I can’t leave him. Not with that monster. Not even after all he has done.’ They find Ramsey flaying Theon alive, and a fight breaks out between Brienne and Ramsey. Brienne is obviously on the losing end, and Ramsey is about to kill her, Sansa yells at Pod, ‘Do something!’ Then Pod reacts by running into Ramsey, knocking him out of the window. Cut to a scene of Ramsey laying next to a wagon full of hay, motionless, appearing dead. Sansa rushes over to Theon, who is obviously dying. Sansa is all like, ‘We have to find a way to get you out of here.’ And Theon objects, because he wants to die after everything he’s suffered. However, before he dies, he tells Sansa that he couldn’t do it… that her brothers are still alive. He dies. At that moment, Roose Bolton arrives in the room, after having put down the rebellion. He’s all like ‘Drop your weapon’ to Brienne. Which she does. He orders them arrested for questioning. Cut to scene with Ramsey opening his eyes.

    Episode Ten. Nothing will be shown from Winterfell in this episode. Last episode is where things end for Sansa this season. In this episode we are focused on Littlefinger in the Eyrie marching toward Winterfell. We end the episode with Jon getting the Red Letter, learning of Stannis’ defeat, and getting betrayed. Our final shot of the season is Jon getting stabbed to death. That’s how it ends.

    The Red Letter in the show would be different, made of human skin, written in blood, and obviously from Ramsey. He will claim that it is Sansa’s skin that he has flayed. He is angry at Jon because he knows that Stannis’ remaining forces are retreating to the Wall. He demands that Jon capture and execute them, or he’s going to continue to flay his sister. Obviously, this leads to Jon doing what he does in the books, breaking his oath (which is what causes the mutiny). He tells everyone that he is going to take the remnants of Stannis army, return to Winterfell and save Sansa, and that anyone who wants to follow him can do so. Cue mutiny. Cue Melisandre and Davos riding at full speed through the gates of Castle Black. Cue Jon being stabbed to death. End season.

    I start next season off with Littlefinger retaking Winterfell, Roose Bolton’s death, and the capture of Ramsey. Sansa, Brienne, and Pod are set free. It is obvious that Pod and Brienne have been tortured. It is clear that part of Brienne’s face is missing–clearly flayed. It becomes clear that is where Ramsey got the flesh to write the letter–from Brienne “the Beauty”–who is now horribly disfigured. We also learn, through inference, that Ramsey raped Sansa. We see her take agency in the matter, ‘I knew the consequences of going back.’ However, shortly after we learn this, Sansa is asked by Littlefinger what should be done with Ramsey. She passes her judgement, ‘I want him flayed alive. Starting with his cock.’ We get scenes of Sansa drinking Moon Tea, trying to end a pregnancy, and her playing the game with Littlefinger and having sex with him. Littlefinger and Sansa getting married, but Littlefinger dying EXACTLY the way Joffery died, this time poisoned by Sansa. She kills him, because, as she tells him as he chokes to death, ‘You taught me how to be a queen. Not a pawn.’ She takes on story line elements from Stoneheart and Littlefinger. She marries Robert “Little Robin” Arryn, shortly thereafter, uniting the North and the Eyrie under her control. She finds Rickon who gets named Warden of the North. However, Sansa essentially rules both the North and the Eyrie. She gives birth, and passes the child off as an Arryn, but she knows it is not his child. She wants to believe that it is a Baelish, but it can’t be ruled out that the Moon Tea didn’t work… so it might be a Bolton. Only Brienne and Pod know the possibility that it is not an Arryn. She tells Brienne that she intends to raise the son as a Stark, and calls him Eddard in honor of her father. Before the end, she has Little Robin murdered as well as he grows harder to manage, which would happen sometime after her child is born, in the final season.

    That’s how I would have handled the Sansa story line. It ends with her effectively leading the North and the Eyrie, and being on the right side of whoever sits on the Iron Throne.

    Is this how things happen in the books? No. However, we’ve already established that we are going off book, and this condenses story lines. At this point, we’ve already accepted massive deviations, and I think it is better if the show just tries to go its own direction. Even bringing things to an end where they might not end in the books. This saves those of us who are book readers from being spoiled by the show. Do we really want to know how things are going to end? Do we really want all the stuff spoiled before we read about it?

    I’ve decided that I don’t. I would rather the show go its own way, and build off what Martin has already written. They could potentially incorporate some elements from the next book, as it should (hopefully) be out before the next season. However, the show is going to be over before we see all the remaining books. Martin’s story is expanding not shrinking.

    I just hope we can quickly put this poor element of the story behind us, the same as the whole Sand Snake plot. Seriously, what is happening with the Sand Snakes is so horribly bad… it’s not worthy of a Game of Thrones. I would have preferred to see the entire Dorne story line cut than have it play out this badly.

  • HomerBrannon1

    I want to defend the show’s decision to focus on Theon during the rape scene. They made the right choice, because this is all about Theon. He created this disaster. Because of him, Catelyn Stark makes the terrible decision to release the Kingslayer. Because of him, Rob has to make a Hail Mary pass (football reference, sorry Josh) to win back the Freys. And now he is witnessing first hand the horror he produced. It’s one thing to suffer on your own, it’s another to see others suffer because of you..

    To fully understand this scene, we really need to see where they go from here. I’m sure it will be worth revisiting after the season. I just hope by then Brienne has cut Ramsay stem to stern.

  • swift00001

    Where is the feedback show for episode 6, going on the previous ones it shouldve been released no later than yesterday. Cmon we need that

  • I’m catching up on listening to this podcast, and this article came across my FB feed.

  • swift00001

    Oh well its friday and no feedback show thats a bummer

  • hint

    Just finished this book club. Haven’t been around the online community of this series for a while now, so this is first I’m hearing how controversial the episode was and how many people were mad. Not really sure what else they expected, this was coming for few weeks now. And with changes, given what a mess books 4 and 5 were, TV show was always going to start taking major shortcuts once there for there to actually be a story to put on TV screens.

  • What happened to Sansa made total sense in the story that they are telling. She married a psychopath, on the wedding night he wasn’t going to be kind, like Tyrion. This is a story point where Sansa has to overcome another terrible point in her life, just like Arya who had her father killed in front of her only to escape to the scene of her brother and mother’s murder.

    I like stories where not everything is done for narrative reasons. I don’t agree with the Chekov’s Gun line of thinking, because it’s SO PREDICTABLE. Things happen in life that nobody wanted or predicted and GoT is good at mimicking that.

    One narrative point that MAY have been accomplished in that scene though is the breaking point of Reek. We might be coming to a point where Reek is pushed too far and Theon emerges again.

  • jewsco