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!
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?
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!
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!