So I broke down and watched Game of Thrones after the latest gratuitous rape scene in S5E6. The show is, and always has been, well done when the showrunners can concentrate on the macho “when men were men” high fantasy aspect and aren’t distracted with what they find to be the delightful thought of punishing women with rape and/or death.

  • I have been rooting for the White Walkers since, oh, Season 2 or so, to cleanse Westeros of its horrible population that rarely have any redeeming quality. This crapsack world seems to have a hundred wretched Ramsays or Cerseis for every one Jon Snow on its lands. How fun for the undead hordes to finally and truly make their appearance in S5E8! Remember that the finale of season 2 also showed a White Walker army attacking, only for this event to be all-but-forgotten by the premier of season 3. “Eh, we changed our minds, LOL.” Not this time though, oh no… they’re here and they’re pissed. And because they are intelligent and still somewhat mysterious (Why did they let Sam live that one time, anyway?), they are far more engaging than the walkers of a certain AMC show.
  • Speaking of cleansing, it is another mark against Westeros when the greatest evil of our modern world — religious fanaticism — is seen as the least evil force of King’s Landing. It’s hard to root against the Martin Luther stand-in known as the High Sparrow when he’s sticking it to two of the most wicked women of the series, and is also a real and present danger to two more villains in the form of Littlefinger and the Queen of Thorns. Before his plotline, the religion of Westeros had mostly been left vague and only barely relevant, other than the rather hands-on Lord of Light — the only God that has proven his powers so far despite being the least-worshipped deity of the show.
  • Speaking of: People should not have been so shocked at Stannis’ great crime in S5E9. The guy has always had the ol’ good-angel-bad-angel routine going on with Davos on one shoulder, and Melisandre on the other. But this being a dystopia — i.e. Middle Earth as written by George Orwell — there was no chance that Stannis’ good side could have won out at the end. We knew something bad was going to go down when he sent Davos back to the Wall.
  • Perhaps to try and make up for Sansa’s rape, the show is giving some other women a chance to show a little power. Not much, mind you, but a few scraps here and there. We have one of the three female Dornish assassins relishing her power of life-and-death over Bronn, before (in a truly shocking move in this bleak show) allowing him to live. Samwise‘s girlfriend decides to toss him a pity-fuck, and retains complete control over him and the relationship in doing so. And, of course, there is the constant example of Dany, the one female who is so far exempt from the show’s customary brutality and humiliation levied against its women. She’s now enjoying lording it over the character represented by the first-billed actor and got to have a truly badass moment at the end of episode 9. Of course, the Stannis plotline is a reminder of what is the usual fate of innocent women and girls in this show.