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7 HIGHLIGHTS FROM GAME OF THRONES THIS YEAR

We’re at about the half-way point between seasons of Game of Thrones, which means we’ve had plenty of time to both digest what happened this year and prepare ourselves for next year. So here’s a recap of the 7 highlights that stood out most to me this year.

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7. WAS I THE ONLY ONE BOTHERED BY HOW MUCH OF A MURDERER YGRITTE WAS?

Wow we sure love “strong female characters”! Nothing’s more important for a female character than that she’s “strong”! In fact let’s make them so “strong” that they actually become murderers that people don’t like anymore!

Wow we sure love “strong female characters”! Nothing’s more important for a female character than that she’s “strong”! In fact let’s make them so “strong” that they actually become murderers that people don’t like anymore!

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Aw who am I kidding, we still love you

After two wonderful seasons, the whole Ygritte business just fell apart this year. I mean, Ygritte's a Wildling, sure, but making her run around and just violently murder every one robbed her of any sympathy or fondness. If I were Jon, I wouldn't wistfully say, "We should have stayed in that cave …" I would say, "YOU KILLED MY BROTHERS, YOU EVIL @#*@!!!"

Also it's pretty clear that she becomes this violent psychopath because Jon Snow dumped her … meaning she's actually a negative (or – gasp – weak!) female stereotype, just a notch above Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction."

People, there's a difference between this:

They should have just killed her off at the end of season 3.
Pixar

They should have just killed her off at the end of season 3.

6. PEDRO PASCAL SHOULD BE DR. STRANGE

After blowing us away with his perfectly cromulent performance as the Red Viper, Pedro Pascal needs a solid movie gig. The best option? Dr. Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After blowing us away with his perfectly cromulent performance as the Red Viper, Pedro Pascal needs a solid movie gig. The best option? Dr. Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Pascal is “impossibly charming,” he’d add some much-needed diversity to the MCU line up, and the guy really understands social media.

Pascal is “impossibly charming,” he’d add some much-needed diversity to the MCU line up, and the guy really understands social media.

He could be our champion ... sorcerer supreme.

6. MAKING THE NIGHT’S WATCH HEROES

One of the running themes of Game of Thrones is flipping heroic motifs on their head: things that are supposed to be good are actually bad. The quintessential example is Sansa, who fantasizes knights rescuing her from monsters, learning that the knights are the monsters. Nowhere is this cynicism stronger than with the Night’s Watch, which is populated by criminals and a-holes. But in somewhat maligned “The Watchers on the Walls,” we see that motif flipped on its head.

One of the running themes of Game of Thrones is flipping heroic motifs on their head: things that are supposed to be good are actually bad. The quintessential example is Sansa, who fantasizes knights rescuing her from monsters, learning that the knights are the monsters.

Nowhere is this cynicism stronger than with the Night’s Watch, which is populated by criminals and a-holes. But in somewhat maligned “The Watchers on the Walls,” we see that motif flipped on its head.

When crisis comes, the Night’s Watch rises to the occasion and shows that yes, they are the shield that guards the realms of men. Even Ser Alliser, who’s been nothing but a dirtbag, shows he’s the hero the Night’s Watch needs. The stand-out scene is Grenn inspiring his brothers by quoting their vows, vows which Sam had been basically making fun of earlier in the episode.

When crisis comes, the Night’s Watch rises to the occasion and shows that yes, they are the shield that guards the realms of men. Even Ser Alliser, who’s been nothing but a dirtbag, shows he’s the hero the Night’s Watch needs.

The stand-out scene is Grenn inspiring his brothers by quoting their vows, vows which Sam had been basically making fun of earlier in the episode.

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4. WHY IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE ONLY BAD WHEN THE VICTIM IS A WOMAN?

Did you notice the furor over the rapey scenes this year? There was quite a bit of it – because depiction of sexual violence in media is always exploitative and bad. It reminded me of all the stink made last year when Theon Greyjoy was the victim of much worse sexual violence.

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Oh wait – nobody made a stink at all. And in fact it was played off for laughs. Because sexual violence is only bad when the victim is a woman.

3. HOW THE CRAP COULD JORAH NOT HAVE COME UP WITH AN ALIBI BY NOW?

Any book reader knew that our days of making jokes about Jorah being in the Friendzone were numbered. We knew that the news of his royal pardon, like winter, would be coming. AND he should have seen it too. Now, if I were writing talking points for Ser Jorah, I would have suggested he rehearse saying:“Yes, I accepted a royal pardon to spy on your brother, Viserys, because he was crazy and I did not want to see him sit the Iron Throne. But when he died and I learned of your character, I stopped spying and chose to give my life to support your claim.”

Any book reader knew that our days of making jokes about Jorah being in the Friendzone were numbered. We knew that the news of his royal pardon, like winter, would be coming. AND he should have seen it too. Now, if I were writing talking points for Ser Jorah, I would have suggested he rehearse saying:

“Yes, I accepted a royal pardon to spy on your brother, Viserys, because he was crazy and I did not want to see him sit the Iron Throne. But when he died and I learned of your character, I stopped spying and chose to give my life to support your claim.”

Seems like Dany would have heard that and said, “Oh yeah. My brother was crazy. He tried to kill my baby. Good call, Ser Jorah!”

Seems like Dany would have heard that and said, “Oh yeah. My brother was crazy. He tried to kill my baby. Good call, Ser Jorah!”

2. CRASTOR LOOKED A LITTLE TOO MUCH LIKE X-MEN SCRIBE CHRIS CLAREMONT

One of the cleverest innovations of this year was the Night’s Watchmen striking back at the mutineers at Crastor’s Keep. It made sense strategically, let them be heroes when they rescued those women, and it built some momentum for their storyline. But I never liked the guy they cast for Crastor. He’s a creepy polygamist-pedophile, so when I read the books, I always imagined him as looking like this:
Photograph: Colin E. Braley / AP Colin E. Braley

One of the cleverest innovations of this year was the Night’s Watchmen striking back at the mutineers at Crastor’s Keep. It made sense strategically, let them be heroes when they rescued those women, and it built some momentum for their storyline.

But I never liked the guy they cast for Crastor. He’s a creepy polygamist-pedophile, so when I read the books, I always imagined him as looking like this:

Instead, they gave us this guy:

Instead, they gave us this guy:

Who was a fine enough actor, but he bears a disturbing resemblance to legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont (who cameoed in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” alongside Peter Dinklage this summer).

Who was a fine enough actor, but he bears a disturbing resemblance to legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont (who cameoed in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” alongside Peter Dinklage this summer).

HONORABLE MENTION: THAT SHOT OF THE TARGARYEN SIGIL WAS UNEXPECTEDLY AWESOME

One of the best visuals of the series. But the winner is ...

One of the best visuals of the series.

But the winner is ...

1. SOPHIE TURNER IS TOTALLY 18 NOW

Which means she can now legally rent a car (with some restrictions). Happy driving, Sophie!

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