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Two Game Of Thrones Fans Take On The Latest Episode: What’s With The Mother Of Dragons?

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By Rohini Banerjee and Rachit:


Love it, hate it, but you can’t avoid it—that’s Game Of Thrones for you. Every Monday morning for the past few weeks, the Internet has been turning into a veritable minefield, and all because of this show. Those who watch the show decry the abundant spoilers, while those who don’t get frustrated wondering what the hue and cry is all about, and why this show is such a big deal anyway. So, YKA’s two resident pop culture enthusiasts decided to unite and pick apart this week’s episode (s06e06) —and even though it didn’t deliver much in terms of shocking climaxes, we had a lot of feelings. We gushed over certain characters, facepalm-ed over others, and discussed plot details of GoT past, present and future.

Rohini: So let’s begin this discussion by talking about Samwell Tarly, who in this episode proved yet again that he’s a beautiful, precious national treasure who not just questions harmful class hierarchy but also the patriarchy! Not only did he did refuse to abide by his father’s discrimination against Gilly due to her being a Wilding, by defying his father, escaping with Gilly and little Sam and most importantly, stealing the family sword, he totally stuck it to the man! I think this whole bit with Sam is an insightful commentary on the toxic concept of masculinity that exists in Westeros.

Rachit: Yup, I agree with what you said about Sam. In that scene at the dinner table where his father begins verbally abusing him, calling him a ‘lesser man’ just because he chose not to fight, and Sam sits in silence—it’s clear how deep the conditioning goes. His father has shut all doors, what kind of hatred is that?

In contrast to his father’s hatred, it’s so heartwarming to see Gilly and Sam come together. The courage with which he protected her and let himself be protected by her was truly beautiful and shows how wrong his father is about him. That little child is really lucky, he has a mother who is not afraid of owning who she is and a father who is willing to see things through the perspective of love.

Rohini: Aw yes! The bond between Sam and Gilly was always such a beautiful and pure one! I loved how Sam tried to the right thing at first by trying to keep Gilly and Little Sam under the protection of his family, but then when he realises that Gilly will actually get zero respect here, he’s all ‘screw it, let’s run away’

Rachit: I know, where do you find such men? Too good to be true!

Rohini: Okay, now let’s discuss the three major things that went down in this episode which will potentially create a stir in the course of events-
a) Tommen and Margaery have gone over to the side of the High Sparrow and The Faith (i.e. the dark side)
c) Arya refuses to kill the actress and the consequences of this seem dim

Rachit: Oh yeah, things are about to shake up!

Rohini: I thought Tommen was the only innocent and somewhat decent guy in King’s Landing, but now, no longer. I guess you can’t remain innocent too long in a place where everyone’s scheming and furthering their own personal or political agendas (and using him for it). For Margaery, however, I feel this is yet another bid to gain power and influence.

Rachit: I think Margaery has got it all together, she wasn’t just going to rely on her lazy father to do anything.

Rohini: She’s very good at knowing who’s calling the shots, and now that she’s realised that it’s the High Sparrow who wields the most power in King’s Landing, she’s aligning herself with him.

Rachit: She planned it, thought about it and knew that this is the only way she will be loved both by the masses and the High Sparrow.

Rohini: She is one clever, scheming cookie.

Rachit: But it also seems like these women—Margaery and even Sansa, have become wiser at this game. They know how to be honest with those who are honest with them, and for others, they first calculate what they can get out of them and then decide if they to align with them or not—exactly like the men around them. In a sense, they’re treating men in the way they’ve been treated by men.

Rohini: Okay, wow. That makes so much sense it blew my mind a little. Especially when it comes to Sansa, who is now playing a very politically manipulated game.

Rachit: Yep, the women are running this show now.

Rohini: Let’s move a little bit up North. Benjen is back and has apparently escaped a whitewalker attack! I have so many questions though. How did he know Bran was the Three-Eyed Raven? How did he know where to find them?!

Rachit: I know, this was kind of surprising, even though he had to come back sooner or later, considering that the entire family (or what remains of it) is coming back together. The Starks who were fewer, are now in majority.

Rohini: Yes! We already had the emotional reunion between Sansa and Jon, and now with Bran and Benjen reuniting as well, it seems like that hope is not entirely lost for the Stark family to be together again.

Rachit: Only, Arya has to come back to the North now.

Rohini: Speaking of Arya, I kinda saw that coming. She never really could be ‘No One’, however tantalising the prospect was to her. Becoming ‘No One’ would essentially mean a divesting of identity and of the self, but Arya has too distinct a sense of self for her to abandon it completely. While she is fuelled by rage and a desire for revenge, there is also an innate compassion within her (a result of her upbringing) and you see that in her conversation with Lady Crane.

Rachit: However, did you think that in the moment she was looking at Lady Crane play Cersei, Arya had a brief moment of identifying with her loss? Despite the fact that Cersei’s on her ‘kill list’.

Rohini: Yes, there was definitely empathy there, because Arya knows the loss of family only too well, so she relates to that feeling. Actually, that’s what makes her character so complex, because despite her rage and a desire to shed her identity (by becoming ‘no one’), there is always empathy and compassion within her. That’s also the reason why she didn’t (couldn’t?) kill The Hound.

Rachit: I forgot about how she ultimately didn’t kill The Hound! Do you think she wouldn’t kill Cersei as well? Or will Cersei kill Arya first? Only time will tell.

But, finally, we have to talk about our ‘conqueror’ Khaleesi.

Rohini: Ah, she’s at it with the white Imperialism again and I am so frustrated!

Rachit: And she makes people do things out of fear, which of course everyone on Thrones is doing—but she literally makes people kneel in front of her and worship her.

Rohini: I know, right? And now she’ll make the ‘conquered’ Dothraki do her bidding and travel to a country far far away from their homeland to fight a war for her?

Rachit: Exactly.

Rohini: And what’s with this constant use of dragons as an intimidation tactic? So. Messed. Up.

Rachit: We know you have dragons, you can probably kill everyone, but do you really want to kill everyone?

Rohini: I almost want her to go back to Westeros…atleast she’ll stop trying to ‘conquer’ PoC cultures and try ‘conquering’ white people instead.

Rachit: I agree!

Rohini: We’ve mostly covered everything that went down this episode, so it’s time for parting comments. What did you think of the episode, overall, and what do you think will happen next?

Rachit: I think it was one of the decent episodes this season, except the Daenerys bit. Her storyline is only visually exciting, and she is missing DEPTH! I like the Sam-Gilly story—the only couple who haven’t been torn apart yet. I don’t know what to expect in the next episode, but it seems like it will all end with Stark parivar coming together for a ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ style reunion.

Rohini: Yes, mostly agree with what you said. I think this episode was important in terms of the politics of it—because it sets into motion a number of set pieces. The King’s Landing events, which lead to Margaery being back on top of things, and Braavos, where Arya is about to make the crucial decision of leaving The House of Many Faces. Oh, and not to mention, Benjen’s return, which is going to shake things up in the North. I’m intrigued to see what happens next. To be honest, I want to see Daenerys falter and fail again, and for her to realise (like in parts of the previous season) that she cannot command major changes in a whole culture different from her own and expect everything to go smoothly. I want her white imperialist power to be challenged. But most of all, I’m looking forward to the battle that’s going to happen in Winterfell soon. I sorely crave to see Ramsay Bolton’s ass kicked.

Rachit: Yup, that a great note to end on—Ramsay must die!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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