Drew: Let’s start with the obvious: the holy ‘ship of Gilly and Sam–seen here parodied on SNL–finally came to pass! They kiss, returning all of Westeros to its former glory (uh, so I guess pre-Targaryen glory days) and it’s summer for ever and Sam turns into the Seth Rogen archetype where everyone is like “Meh, okay, we buy it.”
Vinnie: Well at the very minimum it’s good for the defense of the Wall, since the last time Sam and Gilly kissed Sam leveled up to like 11 and murdered about 25 Thenns. That may be an exaggeration.
You know what, though? Sam’s breaking the crap out of his vows right now, which means Jon technically has chop off his head. I mean, he already did it to Janos Slynt just for being snooty. Fair is fair, Jon!
Drew: JUST KIDDING: the OBVIOUS moments of the show were plentifold. Cersei’s expression of womp-wompiness when she finds out that Governor Weatherby Swann/ Juan Perón/ Sam Lowry (sorry that’s all the Pryce movies I could name) considers turnabout quid pro quo and arrests Queen Mum Cersei as well.
Don’t let his dirty feet fool you (and they look filthy as hell): the high Sparrow essentially just dethroned every member of the royal family except for Tommen (who the Sparrows consider, not unrightly, a bastard born out of incest), and put Baelish in his place. This is why the dogmatic fundamentalist analogies are so much less fun than how the sand snakes do business. Or that moon door at the Veil. Now THAT is how you torture people. Not by, like, taking their wine away and then letting their mother-in-law to make passive-aggressive comments for an hour. That’s just straight cruel.
Vinnie: I know it’s been said before, but poor freakin’ Tommen, man. The dude didn’t even get the chance to come down from losing his virginity six straight times in a row before his wife and mom were thrown into holy jail for cousin buggery.
Drew: Now, I want to focus on last week’s episode for a second, because I didn’t anticipate how big of a reaction the Ramsay-Sansa rape sene was going to be. And while it was intense, I thought it was a really well-done scene: from the close-up on Theon’s face specifically so it wouldn’t be gratuitous T&A or lascivious lingering on the assault itself in a way that could be interpreted as merely intending to provoke. I think Game of Thrones learned its lesson…don’t show boobs and ass for NO reason, and don’t completely deviate from a popular character’s story line by making him a rapist on top of everything else.
Vinnie: (Is “I poisoned you with my dagger and want you to call me pretty” a good enough reason?)
Drew: Unlike in the past seasons, where the justification begins only after the Internet gets angry, I think the points being made this season reflect David Benioff and D. B. Weiss’s struggle to create these strong, autonomous female characters…who still live in this horrific patriarchy. To deny the assault, to not weave it into a horrifically mundane, quid pro quo experience for any woman married to a powerful (or unpowerful man), who might be trying to get power for herself. The commonplace rape and sexual assault on the show are just one way we’re seeing this larger pattern of treating women–no matter how powerful–as “owned” by men who can afford them. It is not a new or particular incendiary concept as it relates to actual history.
Yes, most women were property to their husbands. Yes, as a generalized sexist comment, most women on the show exert their power in politics, not policy, because deep down everyone knows that the day Cersei went from Queen to Queen Regent was the day she lost all her power and became desperate. Even strong Cersei needs to be defined in relationship ot her living male children, despite holding that whole damn city together. Even Dany is being forced into a marriage in order to become Eva Peron of Meereen. The women on the show, in the face of the horrors they must endure simple for being born the wrong sex (Brienne knows what I’m talking about!) would be unforgivable if not fiction. (Even if it’s fiction that resembles the truth way more than we want to admit.)
But just because Sansa–who was gaining all this agency only to lose it in the face of Ramsay’s psychopathy–has taken a beating this episode, we see her calibrating and surveying, like she always does. After her wedding night, Sansa let it slip to Reek (you know, the guys who killed her brothers and burned down her house and is so Stockholme’d now that he doesn’t even have a dick) that she was planning an escape with a group of North Truthers or whatever we’re calling them. She also manages to get under the skin of Ramsay–no small feat–by needling him about his bastard status and Roose’s pregnant wife, the progeny of whom might have a better claim to Winterfell than he. You almost get the sense that Sansa is about to Claire Underwood up-with Ramsay–a show I’d entirely watch, btw,–before it’s revealed that this winter jaunt and talk was only to bring Sansa to the filleted corpse of the Northern washerwoman spy she’d told about to Reek. Goddamn it Reek, this shit is a little 50 Shades of Flayed up in here.
Vinnie: Well said, and I agree, but Theon/Reek/Tattletale McGee actually summed it all up in five words: “It can always be worse.” Which really, if Game of Thrones as a whole had a house motto, that would be it. Oh, you thought it couldn’t possibly get worse for Sansa/Theon/Jaime/Margaery/whoever? Think again. Because this world that Martin and Benioff and Weiss have built and are building is SO AWFUL, and SUCH AWFUL things happen, you need to show how nearly impossible it is to gain any sort of victory, even a personal one, when you live in Westeros. Westeros is terrible. The people who live there are even more terrible. The only thing in the entire kingdom with a good bone in its body is Tommen’s cat Ser Pounce, and we haven’t even seen it since season three, probably because someone beheaded it.
And with that said, moment of silence for my favorite character ever, gone too soon: Crazy Old Winterfell Lady.
Drew: Weirdly, I don’t think Ramsay CARES that much about whether Sansa is truthful with him. I honestly think he LIKES her. And what’s more, he can’t DO anything to her: talk about fucking up your chances of getting an heir when you gut your own wife like a fish? The Bolton-Stark alliance is currently in the Bolton’s best interest, so we know she’s going to be all good. You know, like all the other laid-back, totally chill wives on this show, whose lives aren’t one long nightmare–sandsnakes and forced pregnancy and sexual assault, and a total lack of agency in most arenas that that makes Fury Road look like Vahalla in comparison.
Vinnie: Your point about Ramsay actually liking Sansa is an interesting one, because we’re basically being shown what happens when the craziest kookoo bananas of human beings has a genuine crush. Like, in his mind showing Sansa that flayed woman isn’t 100% sadistic, part of it is how he thinks marriage issues are naturally solved. “Now honey, I don’t want to strip the skin from the living…just don’t go lighting any tower candles, kay? Smooches.”
Drew: What else? Queen Margery is in the dungeon! Arya is off learning how to wear dead people’s faces, and there’s Sand Snakes and the world’s hottest/cray-cray stepmom, Ellaria Sand. (“House motto: Oh, you think YOU’VE seen crazy, ladies? Well, I’m going to tell me daughters that if they don’t fight these allies of our nation and possibly slay a princess, they didn’t love daddy enough. Top THAT, Cersei.)
Vinnie: I love that there was genuinely no reason for Cersei to go to Margaery’s cell at all. She had no intention of even trying to free her or Loras. That’s classic Cersei. That section of her daily itinerary literally just said the word “gloat.”
Drew: I know there was a lot of Wall stuff, Maester Aemon Targaryen bit the big bird in the sky, never answering our questions of whether or not that other line of blondies are all as fucking loonie toons as people say.
Vinnie: Maester Aemon seemed pretty alright. I was a little disappointed that when they lit his funeral pyre he didn’t walk out of it naked with three baby dragons on his shoulder.
Drew: Jon and Tormund must go rally the free folk out at Hardhome to take over Winterfell, which is just an excuse for another buddy road trip. Unfortunately, the only person worse than making small talk than Jorah is probably Jon Snow.
Vinnie: Oh man, what do you even think they would talk about? Small talk is tough north of the Wall. The weather conversation ends at “whelp, I am officially frozen to this horse.”
Drew: A better plan would be to let the White Walkers come farther South—maybe to Winterfell, perhaps?–let those chips fall as they may, and then deal with ice zombie sitch, but with one less opponent in the way. Then Stannis can find a way to make Sansa Wardeness of the North, which is great because we know how much she’s been wanting that promotion ever since she started the series by talking incessantly about how much she hates it there. Well, maybe the burning of her family’s estate and being forced into marriage and rape with the sadists whose family killed your mother and brother probably changed her mind on that, right? Plus, who doesn’t love SNOW.
Vinnie: No, apparently the better plan is to light a little girl on fire, obvs. Remember what I was saying about Westeros being terrible? Stannis’ army is stuck in a snow storm and the best option is “You know maybe, possible, throwing it out there, we could light your daughter on fire?”
And what does it say about me as a viewer that my response is “You know that’s not a terrible idea, Stannis. There’s precedent for that kind of thing.”
Drew: I guess the last thing would be Dany seeing Ser Friendzone in the fighting pit getting all Gladiator’d up. Oh, and now she’s meeting Tyrion, confirming the belief that HBO’s deal with Martin means it’s going to keep moving the story forward, with or without the finished books.
Vinnie: If Jorah had taken off his helmet and said real sullenly “Khaleesi, are you not entertained?” this show would have been deserving of all the Emmys ever.
But seriously, thanks RANDOM SLAVE GUY that helped Tyrion out of his chains. That was weird. And did they ever find that cock merchant? Or did Tyrion just whip it out and it was decided that a cock merchant was definitely not necessary?
I like that Dany just takes at face value that this random little person that Jorah shows up is definitely THE Tyrion Lannister, and her response isn’t “I thought you were…blonder?”
Drew: So….any news on the Bran and Rickon front? No? Okay, as you were.
Vinnie: I’m pretty sure Rickon hopped on the Hogwarts Express like three years ago and never looked back.