Welcome to “A Song of Nice and Fire” Upworthy’s weekly series recapping one of the most brutal shows on TV. Since brutality is not really in our wheelhouse, Eric March has taken it upon himself to dig deep, twist and turn, and squint really hard to see if he can find the light of kindness in all the darkness. He may not always succeed, but by gosh if he won’t try his best.

Here’s what he found on this week’s “Game of Thrones.”

Welp. Image via HBO.

All nice things must end. True to form, this season of “Game of Thrones” concluded as all seasons must — with kindness, empathy, and respect.

Also, one hilariously brutal murder. But that’s not why we’re here!

Let’s get to it.

1. The King’s Landing grounds crew does a great job installing the chuppahs for the big meeting.  

“We could get married under one of these things behind me. Just saying.” Image by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

With basically all the surviving main characters in town for a powwow, it’s important to set up the right outdoor decor. What could be better than a series of traditional Jewish wedding canopies clearly stolen from the Rosenstein-Kaplowitz ceremony down the block?

It is a marriage of sorts, after all — in this case, a marriage of a few dozen people who really, really hate each other.

Luckily for the fate of humanity, what begins with a series of tense reunions (Bronn and Tyrion! The Hound and Brienne! Pod’s penis and jokes!) eventually climaxes with a predictably distressing main event: the releasing of a zombie that sends Euron screwing off back to the Iron Islands (so it seems anyway, more on that later), Cersei into a terrified bout of conscience (so it seems anyway, more on that later), and Jon into his best Ned Stark impression, and then ends in a shockingly composed alliance of formerly bitter enemies.

Through it all, the discussion remains remarkably civil! And the participants deserve lots of credit for not slicing each others’ throats.

But more importantly, big ups to the staff for setting the mood for all of our favorites to make a home together. Mazel tov!

2. Littlefinger teaches Sansa a fun game!

Winterfell takes playtime seriously. Two weeks ago, Arya and Littlefinger challenged each other to an epic round of hide-and-go-seek. This week, it was Littlefinger’s turn to teach Sansa his favorite game: Always Assume the Worst in People and See How Their Actions Match That Assumption!

Honestly, it sounded kind of boring at first, but when they finally got to play, it was really exciting! “What’s the worst reason you have for turning me against my sister?” Sansa asks Littlefinger to kick things off. Considering all the things Littlefinger did over the last seven seasons, the newly minted Lady Stark determines that, whatever his reason was, it’s not good!

Oh, and you die if you lose, apparently. Sorry, Littlefinger.

Game, set, match. Image via HBO.

I’d say get ’em next time, but there will be no next time. Them’s the breaks.

Meanwhile, it’s become something of a begrudging love-fest between Stark sisters, who have found something like respect for one another amidst the secret multi-episode plotting to murder their enemies. “I was never going to be as good a lady as you,” Arya admits. “You’re the strongest person I know,” Sansa replies. Yeah, she still calls Arya annoying and strange, but sisters.

Speaking of…

3. None of the Lannister siblings can bring themselves to kill each other.

Image by Helen Sloan/HBO.

After talking a big game about offing Tyrion for the past three seasons, Cersei hesitates when the opportunity finally presents itself (his apologizing to her for the deaths of her kids and pouring her a glass of red wine probably didn’t hurt). Later, she refuses to sever Jaime’s head from his body, despite his defying a direct order to stay and help her re-re-re-re-conquer the continent. Family first!

Honorable mention to Ser Gregor for ominously pulling out his sword a couple of times but failing to use it. That guy is mercy incarnate.

4. Theon kinda, sorta, totally wins a fight thanks to none other than Ramsay Bolton (RIP).

Miss u buddy. Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

Fresh off a get-right-with-yourself pep talk from Jon, Pyke’s large adult son actually stumbles into something resembling a win, beating the crap out of a burly Ironborn dude to convince a bunch of other burly Ironborn dudes to sail after his sister — all thanks to “Game of Thrones” reigning MVP of kindness and excellent source of nutrition for dogs, Ramsay Bolton.

For a while, the brawl appears pretty one-sided, particularly when the random reaver starts viciously kneeing Theon between his thighs. Thankfully, Ramsay had the foresight to cut off anything in that general area that could be injured. Sure, Theon didn’t much appreciate it at the time, but sometimes we don’t realize the gifts our friends have given us until it’s too late and we’re punching a beardy sailor to death on the beach.

5. Cersei does what’s best for the realm for … 37 minutes.

Image by Helen Sloan/HBO.

Near the end of DragonPitCon 2017, Cersei surprises everyone by announcing that Team Lannister is on board with the plan to nail the Army of the Dead to the wall before dealing with the thorny question of who should sit on the Iron Throne.

It’s surprising, in part, because it’s a total and obvious (to everyone but Jaime) lie. As usual, instead of helping save humanity, Cersei is secretly scheming to bring 20,000 heavily armed mercenaries across the Narrow Sea to retake the rest of the Seven Kingdoms while the rest of the living and dead are busy tearing each other to pieces.

Still, for a little more than half an hour, she remained outwardly committed to doing the right thing.

For Cersei, that’s got to be some kind of record.

6. Sam and Bran idiot-proof this (and last) season’s biggest revelations about Jon Snow’s true parentage.

“Hey, Sam, thanks for helping me get to the other side of the Wall so my friends could die and I could learn to be a sullen psychic wizard. By the way, did you know Jon is actually the bastard son of dead Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and my aunt Lyanna Stark, which I am now telling you even though I have already showed you?”

“No, actually, I didn’t, Bran. But I recently discovered that Rhaegar and Lyanna were secretly married. Actually, Gilly discovered that and I ignored her at the time, but somehow I know that now and am not giving her any credit for it because that’s what men have done throughout history and also do in fiction.”

Get it? Geeeeetttttt ittttt???? Image by Helen Sloan/HBO.

“Right on. So everything the audience thinks they know about all this is double super mega confirmed, Robert’s Rebellion was based on a lie and Jon is actually the true heir to the Iron Throne and has been this whole time.”

“Seems like it. But what about the Dragon Queen?”

“She is his aunt. Right now they are having sex on a boat.”

“Weird.”

“Yeah. Oh, Jon’s name is actually Aegon Targaryen.”

“Wow, thanks. That actually is a new piece of information.”

“Cool! Good talk. Thanks, bud.”

“Same! Good luck conveniently knowing everything at all times.”

7. The ice dragon generously proves that walls don’t work.

Image via HBO.

Obviously peeved by the current state of the immigration debate, Viserion provides a real-life simulation of what people from China to Berlin to El Paso have known for years: A wall might intimidate some, but if someone is determined enough to get to the other side, they will — whether by scaling it, flying over it, or with knocking it down with magical fire-ice breath.

Of course, immigrants are people seeking a better life for themselves and their families and the white walkers are ruthless godlike monsters who want to see all Westerosi life extinguished, but hey, it’s complicated. Thanks to Viserion for urging us to start a conversation.

We might have to wait two freaking years ’til next season after all.

Random Acts of Niceness

  • Everybody respects Brienne! Even the people (cf. the Hound) she’s tried to kill respect her. At least we’ve got that.
  • Some comedy club in King’s Landing clearly gave Euron some time at an open mic to work on his material. It’s still not really there, but with practice, who knows?
  • George R.R. Martin does British history nerds a solid by setting up a pretty clear parallel between Jon and Dany’s quest to take back the Iron Throne and the Glorious Revolution of 1689. See, it’s all about Aegons and Williams. If the first Aegon Targaryen — Aegon the Conqueror — is William the Conqueror, who sailed from Normandy to become King of England in 1066, then Aegon/Jon has gotta be William of Orange who, along with his Queen Mary, invaded Britain from the Netherlands and initiated some democratic reforms, passing a Bill of Rights that greatly curtailed the Crown’s power! Obviously, that’s what he’s going for, right? It’s not just me, right? Hello? Anyone still there?

That’s a wrap, folks! See you next season when, presumably, Tormund and Beric totally survived that fall, Jon and Dany learn that genetic sexual attraction makes their union completely healthy and normal, and the Night King learns that offering free ice dragon rides to local kids can be an invaluable tool of soft power.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/7-shockingly-nice-moments-from-the-season-finale-of-game-of-thrones-yet

Patience is a virtue that is suggested to everyone. But if you are in an interracial relationship in 2016, patience is a necessary skill. A sense of humor will take you a long way too, but you won’t make it out the front door without patience.

I consider myself a biracial woman, although, based on societal stipulations, I am classified as a black woman. I would classify myself the same if my mind worked solely on a binary scale. I date an Irish-Indian-Scottish man who is, you guessed it, a white man.

Why is this important? I’m not really sure. I’m still trying to figure it out.

Being a black woman has always been my truth, and something I embrace proudly. I love everything about my heritage, culture, skin and hair. #BlackGirlMagic, if you will.

By identifying as a black woman, I often get placed into stereotypes that contradict my personality, beliefs or perspectives. This is never more present to me than when I am out with my boyfriend and get stared at like a unicorn on a busy street corner.

Here are some facts about us:

Our lifestyles aren’t different. We grew up with similar surroundings, experiences and upbringings.Our values aren’t different, seeing as we both believe in and strive for the same qualities in life and as humans.Our respective religions, political views and overall life outlooks are remarkably similar.

But our skin tones are vastly different shades, thus inviting a slew of ignorant questions and assumptions to be placed on our relationship that normally wouldn’t be there.

At first, I believed it to be a Southern habit because living in the deep south can be hard for anyone deemed “different.” Then it started happening on our travels out of state at the hands ofpeople who have never stepped a foot over the Mason Dixon line.

It has always baffled me as to why people care about the lives of others, when that person literally does nothing to influence your own life.

It’s the amount of attention that makes you want to scream, “HI. HELLO. I SEE YOU.” But, that’s not very polite, is it?

Oftentimes, it gets to a point where you just want to carry around a bunch of cards stating things via “Love Actually,” with answers like, “No, neither of us are having problem identifying with our respective cultures.”

Actually, we haven’t talked about kids yet but I’m sure they will identify as “human.”

No, his mom actually loves and adores me.

Yes, we both speak proper English and are natural-born citizens of the US.

No, I don’t feel like I’ve betrayed my race by dating him. But thanks for caring.

According to this report by Pew Research Center, 12 percent of newlyweds in 2013 married someone of a different race. And beyond that, 6.3 percent of all marriages in 2013 were interracial.

That’s a lot of people who are living, breathing and loving someone of a different race. So why is it such a spectacle?

I’ve never understood why seeing an interracial couple walking down the street can elicit the same reactions as seeing a giraffe graze peacefully in your suburban yard like it’s not supposed to be there, but you still can’t pull your eyes and judgements away from it.

At times, I chalk it up to my insecurities as to why this person keeps looking at us across the restaurant, or why that man is shaking his head seemingly in our direction.

But other times more specifically, when a black man asks me the question, How can you support black men/black lives when you date a white man? I think to myself, “What the actual fuck?”

That question is completely ridiculous and I normally refuse to answer it, but for the sake of this article, here’s what I will say.

There is absolutely no correlation between those two things. I hate the double standard presented to women of color when they date outside of their race, and it’s about time it was halted.

Also, according to this same report from the Pew Research Center, black men are much more likely than women to marry someone of a different race. Only 12 percent of black women married outside of their race in 2013, as opposed to the nearly full quarter of black men who married outside of theirs.

I’ve always been shocked by the amount of attention America pays to the color of someone’s skin, and sadly, I have been subjected to it for the better part of my life.

From the dreaded What are you? to the never-ending, Well, you’re not like normal black people” it’s rare I get away with not being questioned about my race.

But the question of interracial dating is something that never ceases to amaze me. It can come from literally anyone, even your more level-headed and liberal friend.

If we continue to objectify people by their race, we’ll never get rid of the systemic racism that flows through our society.

To give in to the hatred of the world is to let people’s ignorance win. It’s giving people the power to influence and change YOUR life when they play no pivotal role in it.

There’s not a person alive who should allow this negativity to dictate theirlives, yet sadly, there are quite a bit who do.

An Elite Daily writer wrote about her experience with interracial dating, and the personal insecurities that grew from her negative experience with it. That broke my heart, because love is love.

I’ll even hashtag it so it means a bit more. #LoveIsLove.

We shout this from the rooftops, but barely show it to one another. It’s about time we walk the walk because I, for one, am getting sick of this shit.

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/dating/interracial-relationship-racism/1579007/

Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The Golden State Warriors went through all of the celebratory traditions after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to become this year’s league champions: They relished in falling confetti, took photos with their beaming families, promptly donned their new “NBA champions” hats, and raised their shiny new trophy into the air as one.

But there’s a very big tradition the Warriors may not be partaking in this year: meeting the president.

According to some unconfirmed reports that surfaced in the hours after the game, the Golden State Warriors may not be visiting the White House to meet President Trump.

Pro teams often get White House invites after bringing home the gold in their sport. But, according to an unsubstantiated tweet from CNBC analyst Josh Brown, the Golden State Warriors voted to opt out of the event just hours after beating the Cavaliers.

Brown’s tweet quickly took off, with people both praising and critiquing the team’s “unanimous” decision.

In response, the team released a statement on the matter, contradicting Brown’s Tweet.

“Today is all about celebrating our championship,” the statement read. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”

If the Warriors do end up deciding against a trip to D.C., though, it won’t be all that surprising to many Golden State fans.

Many Warriors players have been critical of Trump over the past several months.

In February, star player Steph Curry was asked if he agreed with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s comments referring to Trump as a “real asset.”

“I agree with that description if you remove the ‘et’ [from ‘asset’],” Curry shot back.

Steph Curry. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr whose father was killed by terrorism in Lebanon in 1984 also slammed Trump’s proposed travel ban targeting Muslims in January:

“As someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, and having lost my father: If were trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, [were] really going against the principles of what our country is about, and creating fear. Its the wrong way to go about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror.”

Coach Steve Kerr. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.

Golden State guard Shaun Livingston said months ago that, should his team win the championship, he “definitely wouldn’t go” to the White House. After Trump’s inauguration, player David West claimed Trump voters “responded to some of the most infantile, non-decent language that you could expect coming from a [presidential] candidate.”

The Warriors’ big NBA win comes after many New England Patriots skipped out on their White House visit following their Super Bowl victory. Defensive tackle Alan Branch was one of the players who sat on the sidelines for the event, citing the “disgusting” way Donald Trump talks about women as the main reason he couldn’t follow through.

The attitudes of many Warriors and Patriots illustrate why each team and every player should make their own decisions when it comes to a White House visit.

After all, very little about this presidency is normal.

In years past, pro sports teams and their players have put politics aside regardless of who’s in office and accepted the honor. But an abnormal president calls for bucking normal traditions.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/why-sports-teams-and-players-shouldnt-be-obligated-to-meet-the-president