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Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6 Recap: 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken'

by Photo of Jason Hernandez

You never stop playing the game.

The sixth episode of Game of Thrones was one of reminiscence as several characters recounted their past lives in juxtaposition to their current trials. Grim deals afoot, it was made terribly clear this Sunday that Westeros is in for a rough ride as long as the families in power remain strong.


Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6 Recap: 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken'

The episode opens with Arya continuing her internship at the morgue within the House of Black & White. She's gone through a visible transformation, siliently and meticulously cleaning a dead woman. However, it becomes apparent that Arya still remains as her curiosity gets the best of her, moving Arya to attempt entering the backroom that the Faceless Men constantly exit through with the cleaned bodies.

Arya is quickly stopped by her fellow apprentice, who decides to share with Arya how she came to meet the Faceless Men and move to Braavos. Shortly after retelling her life story, the girl asks Arya if what she says is the truth; turns out the tale was a test. To become No One and play the game, Arya will have to become a master of lies and deceit, both in telling them and perceiving ones told to her. In the middle of night, Jaqen H'ghar enters Arya's room and asks who she is. Retelling her journey to Braavos, Arya is met with vicious whips across the arm as Jaqen proclaims that what she tells him is lies. Finishing her account, Jaqen asks if she truly wishes to be no one. Defiantly saying yes, Arya is swiftly struck down by a whip across the face. Once again, Arya was being dealt a test, as Jaqen explains that the true lie was her intention to become no one.

The following day, a father comes to the chamber and places his sickly daughter down by the pool. He wishes to help end her suffering. Arya approaches the girl and lies to her, telling her the tale of how Ned brought her to the pool to drink the water and was instantly healed. This allows Arya to pour some of the water for the young girl, poisoning her and ending her pain. Cleaning the body, Arya notices Jaqen watching over them. He leaves the door to the inner sanctum open, allowing Arya to once again follow him deeper into the rabbit hole.

When they arrive at the bottom of the stairway, the room opens up to an expanse filled with pillars encasing the faces of the dead. Finally realizing what the Faceless Men do with the bodies and how they change faces, Arya looks at each one with awe. Jaqen simply watches her curious eyes as she finally reaches the face of an older woman and softly remarks "that girl is not ready to become No One, but she is ready to become someone else.”

Across the sea, Tyrion and Jorah try to figure out their next move. Amidst the bickering, Tyrion shares the details of his escape from King's Landing. Slightly moved by the dwarf's troubles, Jorah doesn't truly care until Tyrions gives away the bad news of Jeor Mormont's death beyond the Wall. This leaves Jorah speechless as he contemplates the state of his family, a nice moment for Jorah since his return to the action.

Tyrion questions Jorah’s commitment to Daenarys to snap him out of his slump. Jorah recounts the moment he decided to follow Dany after witnessing her appearance from out of the flames with three baby dragons. Concerned, Tyrion asks why that vision made her a worthy Queen. As they argue over who truly belonged on the throne, they're ambushed by pirates.

As they prepare to kill Tyrion and chop off his best feature, Tyrion convinces them to reconsider, noting that the merchant they wanted to sell to would require verification that the merchandise belonged to a dwarf. Sparing him, the pirates' leader eventually mentions Dany's reopening of the pits, giving Tyrion a brilliant idea. He offers Jorah's service to the pirate in exchange for their continued breathing. Although the pirate is at first indifferent about the offer, Jorah's victory over a Dothraki bloodrider in one-on-one combat catches the pirate's attention. It would appear that Tyrion has secured passage into Meereen. 

In Dorne, Myrcella Lannister is swooning hard in the presence of Tyrstane Martell as he asks for her hand in marriage. Watching over, his father and Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell, remarks to the Guard Captain Areo Hotah that they require protection at all times.

At that exact moment, Jaime and Bronn infiltrate the inner court wearing the hottest Dornish fashion. As they search for Myrcella, Ellaria releases the Sand Snakes to do exactly the same. Jaime and Bronn manage to find Myrcella first, catching her in the middle of a make-out session. Attempting to take the unwilling Myrcella away from Trystane, they are stopped by the Sand Snakes arrival.

Left with only the option to fight, Bronn manages to fend off the younger sisters with relative ease. However, Jaime continues to struggle with his missing hand, a bad predicament to be in up against Obara, the eldest and strongest Sand Snake. But before anyone can escape or get mortally wounded, Dornish guards appear on scene. Surrounded and outmatched, they're all taken away presumably to be brought in front of Doran for trial later.

Back in King's Landing, Littlefinger is accosted by the Faith Militant as he heads to his meeting with the Queen Mother. Not the bit flustered by this earlier nuisance, Baelish warns Cersei that House Tyrell will not take the capture of Loras sitting down. Scoffing at the threat, she calls out Loras for his sexuality and paints herself as the victim (which Petyr deviously turns around on her by hinting at her past relationships). 

Petyr proceeds to play the game like a champion as he spills it all for Cersei; Sansa’s survival and current housing in Winterfell and Roose Bolton's plans to betray her. Falling completely into his hands, Cersei curses the Boltons for allowing Sansa Stark to live. In response, Petyr offers to take Winterfell back from the Boltons in return for being named Warden of the North. Demanding Sansa’s head on a stake, Cersei is left with Littlefinger's word that “he lives to serve” and will end the rebellion before it even begins.

Cut to Olenna Tyrell arriving to King’s Landing to be the badass that she's known to be. Unfortunately, she is incapable of making any headway in a meeting with Cersei, unable to successfully threaten her with withdrawn support as a reason to back down. Forced to go through with the religious inquest, Loras seems to hold his own under questioning. The High Sparrow then calls Margaery up to the stand as well. Lying for her brother, she claims to have no idea of him sleeping with any men.

However, the High Sparrow has a young man that laid with Loras come in and give testimony of their affair. The young squire also tells them that Margaery was aware of their relationship, having walked in on them once before. Taking the squire's word, the Faith Militant proceed to take Loras away... The High Sparrow also points out that lying in front of the seven gods is as high a sin as any and has Margaery taken away as well. Screaming for Tommen in vain, it becomes crystal clear that Cersei has won this round.

Up at Moat Cailin, Myranda draws Sansa a bath and recounts the tales of Ramsay’s sexual conquests. Thinking Sansa weak and easily messed with, Sansa turns the tables by calling Myranda out on her affection for Ramsay. Standing her ground, she manages to unnerve Miranda and get some peace of mind before the wedding commences.

Theon comes to escort Sansa to the Godswood for the wedding. Understanding that Theon will receive punishment if she does not comply, Sansa expresses her continued hatred for Theon's supposed transgressions and leaves without taking his arm. At the tree, the wedding begins as Theon gives Sansa away, spouting his name for the first time in who knows how long. Although there is hesitation in Theon and Sansa, the wedding proceeds without a hitch and the newly married couple turn in for the night. 

Concerned with her former marriage to Tyrion - who was known for his sexual escapades - Ramsay questions Sansa's virginity. Content with her answer for the time being, he orders Sansa to take off her clothes. Theon attempts to give them some privacy, but Ramsay orders him to stay and watch. Cornered, the both proceed to follow his orders with no recourse in sight. Finally becoming impatient, Ramsay tears her clothes away and has his way with Sansa. The episode ends with Theon watching, shedding tears as he can only witness the horror.


This was a hard episode to watch for a few reasons, the biggest being that ending. Despite the last two episodes being tinged with despair for the more likable denizens of Westeros and abroad, 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken' did an excellent job of spelling out exactly how bleak some of our favorite characters really have it. With the preview for next episode giving a glimpse of the Wall and Jon’s struggle with the Free Men as well as Stannis’ march to Winterfell, expect a similar mood to be explored on their side of the continent.

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