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Before you stop me if you’ve heard this one before, let me stop you first: Despite what many of Game of Thrones’s legions of devotees like to argue, it is not, in fact, a “medieval story.” It is not received wisdom from another age. Though it has the trappings of an earlier Earth, it is actually a contemporary story and should be considered as one. And as such, I fail to see what the horrific immolation of a teenage girl added to the narrative in any way, shape, or form. … Terrible things can and should happen on Game of Thrones, just as they should in all adult drama. But the more Benioff and Weiss hammer the same chords, the less they sound like musicians and the more they remind me of Cousin Orson, another one of their inventions who, in retrospect, seems like one more clever, meta way to shrug off criticism.

Burning girls alive, raping them, or, like Meryn Trant in the Braavosi whorehouse, buying their bodies like ground meat in a butcher shop, all to demonstrate the evil that men do, seems like a lot of repetitive effort to reinforce an obvious, ugly point. It’s been 49 hours now. I think everyone gets the picture. We can laugh it off or make excuses or point and squee at the giants, but this stuff adds up. It’s bad for the soul. It hardens the heart. What does it say about Game of Thrones that it can make time for the touching reunion between a blonde queen and a CGI dragon but it can’t find a way to illustrate basic human-to-human love?

— Andy Greenwald, Grantland (via stannisbaratheon)

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