This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Karthik Shankar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Now That You’ve Seen Episode 1 Of Game Of Thrones (Maybe 2, 3 & 4 Too, Naughty You)…

More from Karthik Shankar

By Karthik Shankar:

Readers of the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series have been biting their nails in anticipation; because this is the season that Game of Thrones will finally go off page. After serving us four seasons that made a few cosmetic changes for the screen like discarding extraneous characters, but largely sticking to the books, what lies ahead in season 5 is a mystery for book readers as well.


George R.R Martin’s fourth and fifth books were largely criticised for their self-indulgent length, the introduction of even more characters and a lack of focus. Season 5 tries to do away with this bloat by focussing on the destination, something Martin’s books arguably lost track of. Book readers may be disappointed to know that the grungy Iron islands have been done away with and the sand snakes have been whittled down to three with Ellaria Sand (played by British-Indian beauty) Indira Varma, the paramour of the slain Red Viper taking on the role of Arianne Martell.

So in short, Game of Thrones has very much become its own beast. The season opener picks up where most of the plotlines left off last season. King’s Landing now has a power vacuum with Tywin Lannister dead. Cersei feels all the more threatened by Margaery, who is making the moves on the youngest Lannister while dealing with a new shadowy religious cult that has sprung in the capital. Meanwhile across the Narrow sea, our favourite imp, Tyrion Lannister has landed up at the home of the sly Magister Illyrio Mopatis (who housed the Targaryens in season 1) along with his Hardy, Varys who continues to spout the best one liners. Daenerys continues to unsuccessfully rule Meereen and has lost control of her dragons to boot. Sansa and Littlefinger continue to pose as the creepiest father-daughter pair and make their way to Winterfell. Jon Snow tries to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee to Stannis, who has now propped himself at the Wall along with his fiery fire priestress Melisandre. Brienne polishes her sword while admonishing Podrick (that’s literally all she does!). No sign of Arya sadly, although I expect the second episode will change that.

It’s a whole lot to swallow and any person tuning in to see what all the hype is about would just switch off the television confused. But that’s always been one of the pleasures of Game of Thrones. Find the happenings on the wall boring, no problem. In a couple of minutes, there’ll be a new location and characters. The expansive feel is what makes the show unlike most others on television.

The show’s real world parallels are as interesting as its own plots. The brief fragments of a fanatical religious order rising up in the face of political chaos echoes a lot of what is taking place in countries like Syria and Iraq. The toppling of the statue on top of the pyramid brings to mind similar instances in Egypt after the Arab Spring. Similarly Jon Snow’s dialogue with Mance Rayder brings to mind the idea of people fighting not of their free will but by force from a colonial power. Gender is still prominent on the show. Daenerys is asked to reopen fighting pits, a barbaric cultural relic, in order to win the favour of Meereen’s people. Cersei finally has the man (her father) who slotted her into traditionally feminine roles – wife, mother, queen – dead but she has no idea how to wield it.

There are several promising indicators this season. Lena Headey continues to unpack the layers in her character and this season promises to have even meatier scenes for her. Tyrion and Varys continue to be hoot and give the show some of its most immensely quotable lines (“Any fool with a bit of luck can find himself born into power. But earning it for yourself, that takes work”). Their trek to Meereen should considerably lighten up the Daenerys plots which seem like a bit of slog right now. Kit Harrington also finally seems to have grown into Jon Snow’s shoes. Jon Snow’s principled beliefs always felt like something that was told, not shown, but in this episode he finally proves himself worthy of being called Ned Stark’s son. Ciaran Hinds however walks away as the episode’s MVP. His conversation with Jon where he speaks about dying rather than betraying his principles was a fantastic performance. The episode ends with him burning in Melisandre’s fires but being given the mercy of an early death by one of Jon’s arrows, a fitting ending.

Overall, this was a slow but very promising start. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds and have our first look at Dorne. I’m also holding out hope that someone with a heart of stone will make her appearance this season, even though the creators have repeatedly said it will not happen. We may be played however. If there’s one thing Game of Thrones has proved, it’s that it always has new tricks up its sleeve.

You must be to comment.

More from Karthik Shankar

Similar Posts

By Arun Kr Jaiswal

By Jeet

By Rushil Saini

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below