Ok, I didn’t want to do this, but we have to. Let’s talk Game of Thrones. Particularly after last week’s awful, awful, bad thing that the writers put in unnecessarily, because why not have another rape scene disempowering  a central character, in a show that’s supposedly all about powerful women. Oh yeah, if you haven’t figured it out already, SPOILERS. All of the spoilers.

Game of Thrones cast
George R. R. Martin with the Game of Thrones cast in 2013. Let's play a game of "count the survivors".

So, a week  after we had to watch the gruesome, cringe-inducing scene between Ramsay and Sansa, we find lady Stark (soon to be Bolton) in even more dire straits, if that’s even possible. Weeks after she was promised to Ramsay – in an attempt by herself and Littlefinger to win back some power and avenge her family – we find Sansa locked in her room when Reek brings her food. Bruises cover her arms. She begs the man who was once Theon to help her, makes him promise to light a candle in the tower so that someone will come to save her.

But instead he goes to his master, Ramsay.

As a metaphor for the horrors of marital abuse, the episode actually works. It’s awful, inescapable, seemingly hopeless. But if any viewers decided not to watch after last week’s episode – instead of relishing the opportunity  to use ANOTHER pop culture show as ANOTHER opportunity to talk about domestic abuse – that’s perfectly understandable too.

More: Game of Thrones: New Winds of Winter Released Online

Meanwhile, up north, Jon Snow heads off to find the Wildlings so that he can bring them south of the Wall to help fight the army of the dead and repel the White Walkers when (and if?) they actually come. This leaves Sam alone with Gilly, a dying Aemon. On his deathbed, Aemon observe’s Gilly’s baby, likens him to his own little brother “Egg.” This is Aegon, who would become king when Aemon refused the Iron Throne. It’s adorable, if  you don’t consider all the history behind it. In the meantime, this leaves Daenerys the only surviving Targaryen and, as we already know (from Aemon himself) “a Targaryen alone in the world is a dangerous thing.”

Oh, and Gilly and Sam finally get it on, which is cute. It’s a funny reversal of roles, in a way. She’s on top, asks him if it hurts, and so forth. So much for those vows... oh well, nobody was following them anyway.