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The Mary Sue Roundtable: Game of Thrones, Season Six


Last year, The Mary Sue made the decision as a site to stop promoting HBO’s Game of Thrones based on several problematic elements, particularly those involving the unnecessary brutalization of female characters on the show. And so, as a site, TMS no longer receives promotional materials from HBO for this show, nor do we do recaps, post photos, or do anything else in the realm of “promotion.” Up until now, we’ve covered GoT castmates in relation to their other projects, but that’s about it.

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However, the decision to not promote Game of Thrones always came with one stipulation, “The newsworthiness of other items will be discussed by the editorial team on a case by case basis.” Some individual members of the The Mary Sue staff continued watching the show. Others stopped watching, then returned. Either way, we thought we would be remiss in our duties as feminist pop culture enthusiasts if we didn’t in some way address the most female-heavy season in the show’s history.

Weekend Editor Carly Lane, and Assistant Editors Jessica Lachenal and I got together for a chat about our feelings surrounding last season of Game of Thrones, and the recently-ended Season Six. **SPOILERS ABOUND – SCROLL PAST THIS PHOTO AT YOUR OWN RISK**

Teresa: Before we get into stuff, I guess I wanna talk a little about why you each kept watching after last season?

Jessica: To be honest, I stopped a little before we stopped covering it. I lost interest a while before “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” and when that all went down, I felt like my decision to quit was confirmed. But I picked it back up only a few weeks ago, at the behest of a reader who commented that this season was “one of the most feminist seasons ever!” So, I caught back up to see what was up with this season.

Carly: I actually stopped watching midway through Season 5 – I took a break from the show after “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Turns out I wasn’t the only one; several of my friends elected to stop watching after that episode, and I wasn’t with TMS yet, but I remember thinking that it really only reinforced my decision if I wasn’t alone in that. Once Season 6 started back up again, friends on Twitter reached out to me saying that this season was a big improvement in terms of the way it was treating its female characters and so I cautiously spent some time picking back up where I’d left off until I was caught up halfway through season 6.

Teresa: I actually never stopped watching, but I totally understand why many people did. For me, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” was the LEAST of what was going down, and Sansa being raped by Ramsay was one of the few times when something like that actually made character-sense and story-sense. What’s more, it was handled visually as gently as something like that could be handled. I know a lot of people objected to the focus being on Theon’s face, but I personally would rather that than watching Sansa be raped.

I feel like I need to make it clear that I’ve never read the books. So I’m reacting purely to the show, and not to “what did or didn’t actually happen in the source material.” I wonder if that has an impact on how certain things are received?

Like, do you think people who’ve read the books react more strongly to the violent fate of certain characters based on what’s in the books?

Oh, and by the way, when I say Sansa was “the least” of what was going down, I mean visually and viscerally – not in terms of actual emotional impact for the character. What happened to her was STILL TOTALLY HORRIBLE.

Carly: I am a book reader, and so for me I think that episode was the tipping point after a series of creative decisions the show had made to depict certain scenes as much more non-consensual than they were in the books. In the books, Sansa isn’t the character who is raped. In A Dance With Dragons, it’s a character named Jeyne Poole who suffers at the hands of Ramsay. But, for me, it wasn’t the first time that the show had reinterpreted a scene in a way that simply wasn’t necessary.

The first example I can think of is Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding nightwhich, in the books, is a much more tender and consensual scene between the two characters. In the show, it’s very clearly portrayed as something that Daenerys is not into; she’s crying, he’s forcibly uncovering her, etc. Changing the tone of that scene completely affects the narrative arc of their relationship, too; while Daenerys eventually falls in some kind of love with Drogo, it’s entirely different than it would have been if she had fallen for this supposedly brutish man who is actually very kind and considerate and checking in with her throughout the way that he does in the book.

For me, Jaime and Cersei’s relationship is another examplewe know their sex scene in the sept next to Joffrey’s body earned some raised eyebrows from critics and fans, and I’d say that in the books that scene is much more of a gray area in terms of Cersei’s initial resistance before her eventual consent. (Then again, George R.R. Martin tends to write their relationship as seriously nebulous in terms of whether Cersei’s even into it at all sometimes, but that’s an entirely separate issue.) So personally, as a book reader, I was already a little uncomfortable with the way the show was adapting certain scenes long before they made the decision to give Sansa that storyline.

Jamie and Cersei

Teresa: It’s weird: the rapeyness that bothered other people was not the rapeyness that bothered me. I was more bothered by the “fuck them til they’re dead” scene last season than I was by what happened to Sansa, or Cersei. I know that Sansa was an amalgam of two characters in the books, which is why I’m a little more ok with that – because blending characters makes sense in adaptations, and in this case, I totally bought that Ramsay Bolton would rape her.

As for Cersei, I saw her consent in Headey’s performance. To me, Cersei’s reluctance was more about being conflicted about the impropriety of the moment. She was like “No, I can’t! Not at my son’s funeral,” but then gave in to her desire, because she wanted comfort from the man she loved. She said “Stop! It’s not right!” as she was continually pulling him in for kisses and clutching him close to her. There was definitely anger and pain in that scene, but it didn’t have anything to do with whether or not Cersei consented to have sex with Jamie. That’s how that scene read to me.

But with Khal Drogo, it made no sense! He raped Daenerys, but she totally goes Patty Hearst and falls in love with him because “rape is cultural?” Or something? That bothered me in large amounts.

Teresa: Jessica, have you read the books?

Jessica: I haven’t. I’ve tried a few times and couldn’t get into it. My reactions are purely based on the show as a standalone creature, which I think is what it’s become given the divergence from the book storyline. I think Carly nailed it on the head, though, talking about how when you take the show in the context of the books, it adds this completely new layer of “why was that even necessary?” It definitely leads me to question why they made the creative decision to do what they did with Daenerys and Drogo’s wedding night or Jaime and Cersei in the sept. So I guess, yeah, in that way, I could see how fans would react much more strongly to what happens to these characters.

Teresa: Definitely. For me, since I haven’t read the books, it’s less about that and more about the sheer RELENTLESSNESS of the sexual objectification of and the brutality against women that bothered me. As someone who writes scripts herself, as well as someone who wants her scripts to contribute positively to the lives of marginalized people, it was just TOO MUCH. Choices like that are much more powerful in small doses, if you’re calling them “creative choices.” But when they’re just one after the other after the other, as they were last season, they feel less like creative choices and more like “this is what The People expect and want to see!”

I think that’s the thing – individually, a case could be made for any one of these. It’s the fact that there’s ALL of it that’s troubling. Like, what happens to Theon Greyjoy is powerful precisely because he’s the ONLY man we watch something like that happen to, despite the fact that there are other eunuchs on the show.

The thing is, I love the storytelling on this show. Like, the brutality of the battle scene in “Battle of the Bastards” – the relentlessness and sheer agony – was PERFECT. I don’t mind intensity in a show, or even brutality. What I mind in this case is the clear unevenness of it.

And like, The Waif killing that actress. That was AMAZING and frightening and perfect and DIDN’T INVOLVE NUDITY, because it was a woman doing the killing. But whenever men brutalize women, it’s always sexual in nature – which is true enough in life without it also needing to be true on a fantasy show.

But then, what I love about fantasy is that it’s a commentary on the real world. So the question becomes, is Game of Thrones holding a light up to society or not?

Carly: Good point.

Teresa: Because personally, I’m not one of those people who’s like “It’s fantasy! So you should create a perfect world! Because you can!” To me, genre fiction only has value insofar as it comments on the real world. Depicting utopia in a story is great, but something HAS to be wrong about it, otherwise what’s the point? Then it’s just 500 pages of perfection. I don’t need to read that.


Carly: And honestly, we know the statistics, we know how many women are likely to experience violence (sexual or otherwise) in their lifetimes. it’s all too common and pervasive and we should be confronted with that reminder because it’s all too easy to become complacent about the numbers. Which is kind of why the Sansa/Littlefinger scene was important, where she basically forced him to acknowledge it (even though he wormed out of it in his typical way).

And, in context, some of the female nudity was warranted. But it got to the point where it felt like waiting for the ball of sexual assault to drop every time a naked female body was on screen. It shouldn’t be something, as an audience, that we should be steeling ourselves for or even become complacent to if it keeps happening that readily.

And there’s been five seasons of it – rape, violence against women, women’s bodies being used as sexposition, so much male gaze – and it feels exhausting. So while this season has been a refreshing change, should it have taken this long to get to this point? I think the question now is whether the female empowerment this season is a result of the showrunners not being entirely beholden to the source material, or if they’ve finally taken these criticisms to heart after five seasons. Are we supposed to interpret Daenerys literally burning down the Dothraki patriarchy as a response to critics and fans – like, “hey, we’re listening!” The timing of it makes me wonder.

Jessica: It feels very pointed, doesn’t it? I mean their not being beholden to the source material is what led to those same characters meeting those awful fates, so yeah, maybe this is​ some strange way of them finding out that they can actually, y’know, use that creative freedom for good?

It almost feels fanservice-y, in some way. like pandering or placation. This doesn’t make up for a lot of the gross things they’ve done, which far, far​ outnumber these few (but nice!) things from this season. I’m gonna point out a moment from the season finale: when Sam and Gilly make it to the library, and he gets access to the books, the maester or whatever yells “no women, no children” at Gilly. I couldn’t help but snicker and think “yeah, okay, gatekeeper.” Like the books are a sacred dogma or property to be protected from women and children… kind of like how some fans have railed against people’s reactions to the show.

I guess what i’m trying to say is that I could just be cynical, but I’m not buying these gestures or creative choices at face value. That line from the keeper felt like a pointed shot that I’m sure I’m going to be told I read way too much into. but I couldn’t resist the symbolism.

Teresa: Heh, I can see it. Though I do think that was also just a general “women are generally left out of the education loop” thing.

Carly: I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how this season feels very fanservicey, and I have to wonder if part of that is because they know they only have a limited about of time left? But it doesn’t excuse all the garbage choices made up to this point.

Teresa: I disagree – only because that’s not really how TV works. Episodes are written WELL in advance, and storylines are planned out well in advance, too. I think sometimes we fans flatter ourselves thinking that writers are writing to fan response, when it’s just as likely that was where this was headed anyway.

Carly: But seeing as how the show is choosing to respond to theories that book fans have been speculating over for 10 years, it’s interesting that we’re finally getting answers.

Jon Snow’s parentage, for example, still hasn’t been officially confirmed in the books.

Teresa: Right, but George R.R. Martin has talked to them about what he’s planning. They know how this ends.

Carly: Oh, I know. It’s just interesting that a LOT of it is finally seeming to get answered/confirmed this season.

Jessica: On the other end of it, too, they obviously spoke with GRRM about those earlier seasons and those earlier creative choices to do what they did re: sexual violence. So there’s some leeway here for them. they know where they want to go, but there’s moveable bits.

Carly: And they’ve definitely taken alternative paths than the books have in terms of which characters are meeting up where, etc. They might have a general sense of how it will all end but the route looks very different.

Teresa: Before we get to the finale specifically, let’s talk about the season as a whole. Because it was pretty much all about the women of Westeros taking what’s theirs. Which is why we thought it important to talk about this season in particular.

I have to say, I first started getting butterflies in my stomach when Ellaria killed Doran Martell telling him “weak men will never rule Dorne again!” That’s when I was like “Holy shit, women are just taking EVERYTHING this season,” and I was pleased. Even though the Sand Snakes annoy the living bejeezus out of me.


Carly: We definitely got a lot of women taking their power back. Look at where Cersei was at the beginning of the season compared to the end. The Sand Snakes did verge on the side of one-dimensional for me, but that’s likely a result of them getting pushed aside in favor of other plots. If anyone knows how to play the long Game of Thrones, though, it’s Sansa Stark. Her arc has been the one of the best in terms of sheer grit and survival alone.

Teresa: I LOVE SANSA. Which is funny because in the first couple of seasons, I think she was universally hated for being superficial, annoying, and not too bright. But we forget that she’s A CHILD. She’s STILL a child, it’s just now she’s a child who was forced to grow up way too quickly and learn to play a game she had no hand in creating.

Carly: She was a selfish teenager, but that was honestly her greatest crime. As a character she was leagues better than, say, Joffrey who was of a similar age and a complete psychopath. I think she’s adapted to each situation she’s been in and grown so much in her intelligence and discernment. She recognizes the limited power and influence she has in this world as a young girl, but she uses what she can to stay alive.

Teresa: Oh definitely. I think my opinion of Sansa early on was formed even before Joffrey – like, comparing her to Arya, for example. Arya was so much cooler, even though she was younger. And she saw beyond the superficial, whereas Sansa just wanted to be a princess. I agree, that’s not a crime. She was just a teenage girl with her head in the clouds. But her priorities were pretty fucked, as she admitted this season. I’m glad to see her come into her own.

Jessica: I’ll admit, she wasn’t my favorite in Season One. But over time she’s grown on me, and I know that I was wrong about her. I’m glad to see her come into her own and start playing the game. She’s easily risen to be one of my most favorite characters—which, as I’ve learned long ago, is something you should never say out loud because this is Game of Thrones. 

Teresa: Let’s talk about the other Stark girl, Arya – what did you two think of her whole story arc? I thought it was an interesting depiction of what happens when women hate each other and tear each other down instead of helping each other. Basically, they were being pit against each other by the patriarchy. And by “they,” I mean Arya and The Waif.

Jessica: In a show that’s proven time and again how dangerous it is to be a Stark, Arya’s rejection of anonymity freely offered represents one of the strongest moments of this season, to me. She had a chance to ​literally​ blend in, but at the cost of her identity and morals. Becoming a Faceless Woman was something she couldn’t do because she was, well, too good, which is what I’m taking to believe the Stark name implies.

Speaking more generally, Arya’s arc felt like commentary on both the pros and cons of rejecting who you are, which is something that resonated with me personally as a trans woman. She had a chance to be literally nobody and give up this part of herself she thought of as a liability or a weakness. But the cost to do so was too great, so she embraced and accepted that part of herself—that Stark-ness. Granted, she still has the ability to look like anyone, but under whatever mask she’s wearing, she’s still her. I found myself incredibly invested in Arya’s arc in that way, for sure.


Teresa: I agree – I loved her journey. But i’m not entirely sure her intention was EVER to give up her identity. She never would’ve held on to Needle if it were. Seeing how it played out, I don’t think Arya was ever going to give up being a Stark. It feels like she never forgot her List and was doing what she had to do to learn the skills she needed to avenge her family. It was an elaborate continuation of the swordfighting lessons (“dancing lessons”) she took when she was younger.

What disturbs me now, though, is that when she killed Walder Frey she looked really, really happy about it. Like, not just happy to have gotten revenge, but now she’s someone who can slit a throat without hesitation.

Carly: I agree. The fact that she couldn’t bring herself to throw away Needle was a sign that she was holding on to her identity, even in some small way. I never believed that she was going to join the Faceless Men entirely; I think she was taking advantage of the skills being imparted on her in order to postpone her revenge plans. And now we’ve seen that she’s definitely going to apply what she was taught to cross off some more names on her list. She’s not a scared little girl anymore; I was struck by the comparison when they showed her hiding outside then Red Wedding and her expression in the finale. Braavos changed her, but I’m not so sure it was entirely for the better. Then again, we’ve seen that weakness doesn’t help anyone survive in this world.

Teresa: Let’s talk Cersei, because HOLY SHIT THE IDEA OF HER AS QUEEN IS ABSOLUTELY FRIGHTENING. Like, even when Jaime came back and saw what had happened, he had this look on his face like, “Oh, shit.”

Carly: Jaime looked entirely unhappy with what was going on. I read a fan theory on Twitter that Jaime should be the one to kill Cersei before the show is over and I’m kinda here for itlike he might have to put a stop to her, which would be an especially interesting touch of irony given that he was also the one to kill the Mad King all those years ago.

Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne now, Yara is forming an alliance with Daenerys (and the Sand Snakes and the Tyrells). The only thing that bothered me about this season was that Sansa wasn’t named Queen of the Northbecause technically, doesn’t she have more of a right to the title than Jon does, even though people don’t know that he’s born of a different Stark? At the end of the day, though, I wouldn’t mind if this show ends with a matriarchy.

Teresa: Right, but she’s A Girl. And we all know how this world feels about Girls. A male heir, even a bastard, will always have more claim over a female child. And now, Bran knows that Jon has an actual legitimate claim, being a Stark AND a Targaryen.

I need a refresher – did Ned Stark legitimize Jon ever?

Jessica: No, I don’t think so.

Carly: No, he was never legitimizedpartly because I don’t think Catelyn would have ever gone for it.

Teresa: I guess that’s why he was relegated to the kiddie table during feasts.

Getting back to Cersei for a second, what angers me (and fascinates me) so much about her is that her children were always the things that made her the most human. She took Being a Mother very seriously. And yet, she was the WORST MOTHER EVER. All her children died, because she placed Lannister power over their lives. Tommen died because rather than be with her son as his WIFE is being BLOWN UP, she has Zombie Mountain keep him in his room at the Red Keep alone.

Like, did she not think that doing what she did would either 1) endanger her, because young Tommen would become so enraged that his wife is dead that he’d order her death, or 2) exactly what happened with him jumping out a window?

Carly: It’s interesting, especially given that she knew the prophecy that she would outlive all three of her children – “gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds” – and yet she didn’t seem surprised that Tommen had killed himself. Then again, he always felt like a very malleable character and very easily influenced, and I think she knew that if a Lannister was ultimately going to sit on the Iron Throne he wasn’t going to last very long because he wasn’t a strong ruler.

Jessica: I think the moment Tommen turned around and sided with the High Sparrow, Cersei stopped looking at him as her son. She wasn’t a great mother, no, but I think she did value her kids’ lives, at least towards the end. sending Jaime to bring back Myrcella, despite knowing the trouble that would cause… her desperation to see Tommen shortly after everything happened with the shame walk… I think she wanted to hold on to them.

But losing Tommen like that to the Sparrow was too much, I think. and so, without her kids, she might’ve felt… free? To do what she did. That she’d rather see her kids gone than under someone else’s thumb, perhaps. Maybe it was a control thing, that if she couldn’t do it, nobody could. I think she knew exactly what would happen with Tommen when he saw the explosion. and she had the mountain there as backup.

Teresa: “If she couldn’t do it, nobody could.” That’s Cersei Lannister all over.

OK, I need to get downright SUPERFICIAL for a second and talk about Yara flirting with Danerys. Because they are now my OTP in my headcanon

Carly: Is that better or worse than my new guilty pleasure ship of Jon and Sansa? Because, um, they’re cousins now! Which by Lannister and Targaryen standards really isn’t THAT controversial.

Teresa: HA! Oh, man…

On a more serious note – I was watching a YouTube video that talked about the paralells between GoT and The War of the Roses. It seemed to be making the prediction (and the video was from before this season had aired) that Sansa, like Queen Elizabeth I, would be the red-headed, unmarried queen that rules everything. But I’m thinking that Daenerys might also be going that route. She’s talking about marriage, but I don’t see her giving up the throne to any male, which is what would happen if she did marry.

Carly: She’d be allowed to take a consort, right? She wouldn’t necessarily have to concede the Throne to a man, but then again I don’t actually see her getting married again. She was pretty willing to part ways with Daario Naharis.


Teresa: Yeah, when she did that, and said she “felt nothing,” I feel like she’s totally going to go the route of not having anyone in her life that’s anything more than a booty call. ENTER YARA!

I mean, what? Shut up.

OH, we also never talked about the fact that Bran is not only still alive, but is the Three-Eyed Raven – and has more of a claim on Winterfell than Jon OR Sansa. I don’t think he’d WANT to be King of the North, but is he now threatened when he eventually gets home?

Jessica: I don’t think he is. Like you said, he likely doesn’t want to be King in the North, especially given he’s likely got his hands full in his role as Three-Eyed Raven.

Teresa: But also, that power could prove an advantage that makes up for his not being able to use his legs. But yeah, I think that he’d be an adviser if nothing else.

Jessica: Right, yeah, same here.

Carly: He’s still going to be the lens through which we view all that backstory, but I don’t think he wants to lead anyone. (Was I the only one who saw Sansa at the weirwood tree and was hoping she would touch the tree and somehow have a psychic connection to Bran? SIGH, show.) I hope the show can use him for more than mere storytelling, though.

Jessica: Same. Oh, and there’s those (definitely out there​) fantheories that Meera might be Jon’s twin, too. It doesn’t exactly solve Bran’s “I’m a storytelling device” problem, but it’s something he might be able to see later.

So them being travelling companions seems.. convenient.

Teresa: Oh, SO convenient. I would hate that.

OK, so Danerys is on her way to Westeros with the Dothraki, the Unsullied, the Ironborn, Dorne, and the Tyrells (and DRAGONS). Cersei is Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Jon is the King of the North, but Sansa is right by his side (and WTF, LITTLEFINGER?!), Bran has a key piece of info about Jon that could change a bunch of stuff, and Arya’s on a killing spree.

Let’s talk predictions/hopes for next season, and then we’ll do final thoughts about whether this season changes our minds or not about the show.

Carly: Well, we only have two seasons left! According to reports, we may also only have about 13 episodes TOTAL between those two seasons, which means this show is probably going to kick it into high gear in terms of propelling these characters forward and tying everything together. I know everyone’s focused on the big Dany/Cersei showdown but it seems like Jon is the only one who remembers that we have White Walkers to deal with too.

My dream endgame for this show is a Jon and Daenerys alliance in which they team up to take on the White Walkers together – because once the Wall comes down, they’re going to have to band together if they even have a chance of stopping them (and I’m pretty sure Dany’s dragons are going to have a big hand in turning the tide to victory, fingers crossed).


Teresa: I too see a Jon/Danerys partnership against the White Walkers. (and I revel in the thought of the dragons just MELTING them all!) After that, I see Danerys ascending to the throne only to have Sansa somehow take it from her. Perhaps with Arya’s help. I totally see Arya killing Littlefinger for her sister.

Now that I think about it, I really want those two together again more than anything – Sansa and Arya.

Carly: A friend of mine floated the idea of “Sansa and Arya Practical Magicking at Winterfell” and now I need this to happen.

Teresa: SQUEE!

Jessica: I’m not sure what to expect for the next season, to be honest. I don’t know if I can see Sansa on the Iron Throne. And I’m almost expecting Dany to take the throne but slip into some kind of madness just like her father. The whole idea of Dany as conqueror is good for times of war, but she’s proven that she’s not good at keeping the peace. She’s talked about how she felt nothing by saying goodbye to Daario Naharis, and I think she’s slowly losing grip on her humanity in some ways, too. Sure, her values are still geared towards protecting and valuing human life (what with the slavers and all), but I think at her heart, she’s a conqueror, not a ruler.

I’m really expecting her to end up being a shock-death (which sounds awful to say), but yeah. Full circle and all that.

As for who actually takes the throne? I’ve got no freaking clue. I’m almost expecting a dragon’s raid on King’s Landing might trigger the rest of those explode-y barrels, taking down the entire city. Then the Seven Kingdoms would be just that: seven separate kingdoms. (But I also don’t know nearly as much about GoT as the average fan, so this is all total crackpot theorizing).


Teresa: As for whether or not this season redeemed anything for me – as I said, I never stopped watching the show. While I am all about taking writers to task for the choices they make – and they are all choices that can be made or unmade – I’m also someone who’s a fan of this show, and wants to see how it turns out. That said, I thought this season was a breath of fresh air, and I was thrilled to see all the women coming to the fore. I love where this is headed, and I can’t wait for next season.

Also, Ramsay’s death was damn near orgasmic for me. I don’t know what that says about me as a person, but there you are. I’m not ashamed.


Jessica: I kinda touched on it earlier, and I don’t know that it has redeemed a lot of anything. I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than I did other seasons, but it, alone, doesn’t make up for a lot of the earlier choices. I’ll be curious to see how it turns out, for sure. Here’s hoping we’re not just set up for a big old fall.

And I still feel the need to point out the weird scene with Cersei giving the nun over to zombie mountain. It felt off, somehow, is all. Perhaps a bit squicky.

Teresa: Oh yeah – tell us about your feelings on that. Because honestly that was one of my favorite scenes. Cersei was right in saying that that woman who brutalized her didn’t do it for faith, but because she enjoyed it. I did not mind her getting that right back one bit.

Jessica: I wondered like, “you couldn’t stay away from using rape for one season, could you?” Like they had to sneak it in somehow. I feel like there’s no knowing for sure whether The Mountain actually sexually abused her before killing her or not, but Cersei’s “shame, shame, shame” chant carries that implication. Plus having him take his helmet off kind of half carries that same, too.

Teresa: Oh wow, see, I didn’t think rape at ALL. That was in no way sexual to me at all. I imagine The Mountain just ripping bits off, or pulling bits out.

Jessica: Yeah. It was the shame part that convinced me that was it. And I don’t know why he’d need to remove his helmet to do that. He’s perfectly fine doing it with his helmet on (as demonstrated when he ripped that sparrow’s head off).

Teresa: Hmmm. See, I think that was just a callback on Cersei’s part to make it that much worse for that woman. And I think the helmet off was just to make it that much more horrific, that she’d have to look at that face while being tortured.

Jessica: I wouldn’t put it above her to just use​ it, but Cersei’s also one for poetic justice, too.

Carly: According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lena Headey said the version that wound up in the episode was the “tame version.” Whatever THAT means. But Cersei’s line about her face being the last one that Unella would ever see leads me to wonder if she was going to be blinded and then tortured? But yeah, unfortunately they left that scene up to interpretation which makes it way more squicky.

Jessica: Right. so seeing it as rape would make ​us​ the problem, not them. It’s shady, at best, I suppose, but again, given their history, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

Carly: As a viewer, I’m still cautious. I’m of the firm belief that you shouldn’t subject yourself to a TV viewing experience if it’s not making you happy, and so I don’t feel guilty for taking a much-needed break last year. Having that time away allowed me to come back with the understanding that I knew what I was getting into by deep-diving into Game of Thrones.

While this season did make me happier than past seasons I’m still not sure I should put a ton of faith into the showrunners’ ability to truly absorb and take constructive criticism to heart in terms of the treatment of female characters. So I plan to keep watching, but an entire season of girl power moments doesn’t erase five seasons’ worth of questionable creative choices for me. THE NORTH REMEMBERS.

Jessica: With Carly on that. The North Remembers. Did we talk about Lyanna Mormont tho? Little queen. Who would resent being called little but there it is.

Carly: Forget everyone else; give Lyanna the Iron Throne!

Jessica: THIS.

Teresa: Oh my God, yes. She’s just a little nugget of perfection. There, I said it again.

Carly: That’s it, that’ll save the show.

Jessica: 150% Lyanna4ever.

Carly: #ImWithHer.


There was no way we were getting around to talking about everything! So, what did we leave out that you want to talk about. What female characters on Game of Thrones are you loving right now? What are your predictions for Season 7? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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