Every week, the ladies of Fusion.net will join together to discuss the most recent episode of HBO's Game of Thrones. This week, political reporter Katie McDonough and culture reporters Tahirah Hairston and Kelsey McKinney tackle the season six premiere, "The Red Woman."
In this week's episode (SPOILERS): Jon Snow is dead on a table. Melisandre is an old witch woman. Arya is blind. Sansa is almost killed. The women of Dorne continue to be badass, and Daenerys is taken captive.
Katie: Jon Snow? Still dead.
Kelsey: At the beginning of the episode, it seems like he’s pretty dead.
Katie: End of the episode? Still pretty dead.
Kelsey: No one is buying this ruse Game of Thrones is trying to pull. Jon Snow, a dead man, literally got more airtime than Arya in this episode. No way this boy stays dead for long.
Tahirah: No way he's dead. Especially if you read the books and learn how important he, Tyrion, and Khaleesi are to the plot.
Kelsey: Tahirah, have you read the books? I have not. Please explain.
Tahirah: I have read Reddit accounts of the books because I got bored and needed to know more!
Kelsey: Wow, okay! Well, I think that still counts. So even though this season is moving “past the books,” you two think that Jon Snow is too important, book-wise, to be dead? I personally think that this show spent too much time showing boring-ass shots of Kit Harrington moping in season three for him to ever die.
Tahirah: They still have his body laying on the table like they are planning to do something with it.
Katie: So we agree that Jon is going to be resurrected. Which the episode hinted at pretty strongly with all of Davos' plotting and Melisandre's, uh, unveiling.
Kelsey: Yes! Everyone I know who has read the books has been whining for what feels like a decade that Melisandre’s power hasn’t been shown enough on the show, and it seemed like last night’s amulet removal/transformation into an old lady was trying to do that.
Tahirah: Yes! Those were the two best clues. HBO, we are onto you.
Katie: But is that an every-night ritual for Melisandre or just a one-time special for dead Jon Snow? She is not shuffling into bed like that in her tent out on the front with Stannis, you know? Is she revealing her true self because she needs to load up on some serious Lord of Light shit to bring Jon back? I think it's the latter.
Kelsey: That is something I truly do not understand. If you had the ability to be young and hot all the time, why would you choose to wake up every morning old and creaky?
Katie: Also, if I were in grad school, I would want to write an essay on how Melisandre's power is all rooted in her body, and usually framed as horrific, grotesque twists on motherhood: Like when she gave birth to a smoke demon that murdered Renly Baratheon, or when she led Team Let's Burn Shireen Baratheon Alive.
Tahirah: Also, I thought it was cool that her necklace had all the power, because accessories are important.
Katie: Agree, Tahirah!
Kelsey: Jon Snow is just like a beacon for pity. Should we move on, then, and talk about the kickass ladies instead of dead Jon Snow?
Katie: Yes. Let's move on from this dead man.
Tahirah: Yes, nothing we can do now. It will probably go on like this for five episodes.
Katie: So I think the real star of the episode was Brienne! Back at it again! This time fulfilling her oath to save Sansa!
Kelsey: Every time Brienne is on the screen, to be honest, I start cackling! I love her so much. I love watching her stab men in the throat!
Katie: Yes, it is very satisfying to watch her clean up. I also like that we aren't stuck with Sansa and Theon this entire season. I was worried that we were signing up for the worst buddy road trip ever. I also cackled at Theon's lame-ass attempt to save them: I will walk five feet away from you and these hounds will never know you're here in this bush!
Tahirah: Same. Like, once the hounds got to her, I was like, will Sansa ever be happy? Girl has had the worst time.
Katie: Yes, this show's cruelty to Sansa is one of its most consistent elements. Season by season, they're just like: How can we fuck with Sansa?
Tahirah: But [actress Sophie Turner] did say in a Vulture interview that this is going to be a good year for Sansa, so I'm excited to see what happens. I love how strong she is. She's really grown up.
Kelsey: I have decided that Sansa is the one I want on the Iron Throne. Something happened to me last season, probably after the rape scene, where I just decided I want Sansa on the throne.
Katie: Yes, and you know it's going to explode into some beautiful revenge scenes. Sansa is just storing away that rage to unleash at a later date. And the Seven Kingdoms will just be like, whoa.
Tahirah: Exactly. I love that the men underestimate all the womenm on the show. It's a reflection of real life. Like when they captured Khaleesi, and thought she didn't know what they were saying!
Kelsey: That was actually my favorite scene this week: Khaleesi ignoring those men who thought she couldn’t speak Dothraki. They were saying all these rude things, but she just decided to bide her time until she got to someone with power. Those men weren’t worth her energy.
Katie: Yes, Daenerys quietly waiting to be like, "Oh you fucked up" felt similar to how I'd like to see Sansa's eventual revenge play out. So Dany avoided being raped by the Khal, but is now apparently en route to Khal widow purgatory. Which I get that, in terms of her ambitions—she wants that throne!—is not great. But for my purposes, it seems pretty chill. If I were Dany I'd be like: I am tired. Send me to that place.
Tahirah: I'm always waiting for her dragons to come swoop her up from bad situations. And they rarely deliver. At least not on time!
Katie: Yeah, her dragons are a real disappointment, to be honest.
Kelsey: I am hoping that all the other Khal widows are bad bitches like Daenerys and can be used to conquer the world.
Tahirah: They are this:
Katie: We have to talk about Dorne!
Tahirah: We have to.
Katie: It's a misandrist revolution over there! Ellaria Sand and her daughters went on a killing spree against the men they considered weak and too accommodating of the violence of other men! The once-peaceful kingdom of Dorne, under their rule, is definitely on its way to war. Which we knew last season when she gave Myrcella Baratheon/Lannister the kiss of death, but became super clear this episode.
Tahirah: When she said, “There will not ever be another weak man ruling this kingdom,” I almost squealed. She is taking no prisoners. I love her army of women
Katie: Literally. Just killing 'em all.
Kelsey: RIP men of Dorne. And maybe everywhere.
Tahirah: My favorite is her decoy of pretending she cares, then being like, "Well… actually, you let these terrible things happen to women I knew" while she's stabbing [Doran Martell].
Kelsey: There is no room for weak-ass baby men in Dorne and also in my heart.
Katie: And her daughters being like, "We will avenge our father now thank you goodbye."
Tahirah: One more thought, on Sansa! I think for Sansa to be tough and, like, start fighting with a sword is out of character. She still has to be her, and I think the point is to show how she gets stronger by not necessarily changing her M.O. She is learning how terrible people are, and she gets stronger because she's no longer naive.
Katie: It's the Miseducation of Sansa Stark. In a universe so defined by brute violence and force, Sansa's endurance and survival is a pretty radical act. I think she is on a path to showcasing that strength more publicly, but we just aren't there yet.
Katie: I think the clear conclusion of this episode is that the women are what's up. And that women are ~complicated~. Violent, strategic, manipulative, magic. It takes all kinds.
Tahirah: Right, it's really about the women. They are the strongest characters on this show.
Kelsey: I completely agree. At the end of this episode, it seemed like every man was just taking up space. Even the Dothraki Khal was being manipulated by those women at his side.
Tahirah: Also, an important moment for me was when Jamie Lannister says to Cersei: We are the only people in this world who matter. I was like LOL. This is why the Lannisters don't deserve the kingdom.
Katie: If it wasn't already, this episode made it clear that, to borrow from Jenny Holzer: Men don't protect you anymore. Even the illusion of safety that Theon offered Sansa, that Jon Snow would protect her at the Wall. It was like, nah, Jon Snow is dead!
Kelsey: Yes! The more I think about this show, the more I remember how little the throne really matters. That Lannister baby is on the Iron Throne right now, but he wasn’t even in this episode.
Katie: It's always been about the other people pulling the strings! The Iron Throne is like the royal family. Symbolic, not actual, power. The real shit goes down in the back rooms and on the streets.
Join us next week for the second episode, and watch our colleague Taryn Hillin discuss the premiere this afternoon on Facebook Live.