A Song of Nice and Fire: Hodor puts his body into it (recap).

"Game of Thrones" can often feel like a neverending parade of injustice, stabbings, sadness, stabbings, the vengeance of cruel and indifferent gods, and more stabbings.

"Oh really? Do tell." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.


That's why it's important to highlight the rare moments where the characters do nice things for each other. The gold coins in the haystack. The diamonds in the rough. The regular peas in a pile of dark, angry, murder peas.

Here are the top five from this week's episode, including the mother of all of them (you know the one).

*THE MOST OBVIOUS SPOILER ALERT IN THE UNIVERSE*

5. Sansa stands up for herself — and shows Littlefinger mercy.

Ugh, fine. You may live. Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

As satisfying as it would have been to see Brienne slice Littlefinger in half — fourths? eighths? thirty-sevenths? — for casually handing Sansa over to the Boltons last season, it turns out it's more satisfying to watch him try to squirm his way out of having to describe Ramsay's abuse back to the eldest Stark girl in an effort to avoid said slicing.

Whether because of his creepy uncle crush or simply because Sansa is the one with the sword-wielding bodyguard, it doesn't really matter. For perhaps the first time, Sansa Stark not only stands up for herself, but she manages to outplay the player.

After toying with Littlefinger until he's good 'n' sputtery, the rightful-ish heir to Winterfell shows she's still got some Stark left in her and lets him off with a (not at all deserved) warning. Which is fine, as nothing bad ever resulted from someone not killing Littlefinger when they had the chance.

4. Jorah leaves Dany — of his own volition.

"K byeeeee!" Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

For years now, Jorah Mormont's relationship to Daenerys Targaryen has been like that of a car dealership AirDancer in a light summer breeze. She kicks him to the curb, he pops back up — no one really is amused.

This time, however, he decides to leave her on his own, so that he doesn't accidentally infect her with greyscale (in case they, you know, wind up cuddling at some point, not that he's suggesting that, only if she wants to 'cause, you know, she seems tense, but he's totally cool with whatever).

And as an added bonus, on his way out, he finally straight up tells her he loves her! Not in a weaselly, subtle-not-subtle, "I would die for you, my queen" way, but outright! Like, in words!

Considering he's been m'lady-ing her for the past five-and-a-half seasons, this is more gonads than he's ever displayed. Yay honesty! Yay Jorah! Sorry you're doomed, buddy.

3. Theon steps aside for Yara.

Over on the Iron Islands, things at the Kingsmoot get off to a predictably sexist start as a sizable portion of Pykers (Pyke-ites? Pykians? Pykeganders?) refuse to consider Yara for queen when Balon Greyjoy's male heir is alive. (Seriously? There are still people clamoring for King Theon at this point? Who are you and what are your names?)

Thankfully, Theon is available to step up to make the obviously true point that his sister would make a much better ruler — marking the first time a dude on "Game of Thrones" has said, "Hey, I actually don't care to be king."

Yes, for a brief shining moment — before Euron arrives to go full Trump and promise to make the Iron Islands great again — we nearly mooted ourselves a queen.

What could have been.

2. Arya doesn't want to kill a nice lady.

"Next Tuesday, we're finally getting the pool table installed." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

Ever since Queen Cersei posted up Ned Stark's head for Joffrey to dunk it off his body, Arya has dreamed of sticking a Needle in the queen's eye. For now, however, it's looking like she'll have to settle for killing the actor who plays Cersei in a dramatic reenactment of said events (at the behest of another actor in the show, no less — pretty light as far as backstage drama goes). Not ideal, perhaps, but all in a day's work for a Faceless Man of Braavos.

There's only one problem: The lady seems talented and has a nice boyfriend.

While Arya does ultimately agree to poison her, she really doesn't seem to want to, and hey! That's not nothing for "Game of Thrones."

1. Hodor ho'ds the dor.

This isn't going to end well. Photo by HBO.

Sure, he wasn't exactly acting of his own free will when he sacrificed himself to allow Bran and Meera to escape the White Walkers. But considering that his mind was stolen by a time-traveling psychic lordling when he was a teenager, to then turn around and save that same lordling by throwing his massive body at a door to prevent an army of the undead from breaking through is a baller move — even if the whole thing was pre-ordained a few decades ago.

Farewell, Hodor. Your death made us even sadder than the death of a dog like two minutes earlier. And that's saying something.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Those of us raising teenagers now didn't grow up with social media. Heck, the vast majority of us didn't even grow up with the internet. But we know how ubiquitous social media, with all of its psychological pitfalls, has become in our own lives, so it's not a big stretch to imagine the incredible impact it can have on our kids during their most self-conscious phase.

Sharing our lives on social media often means sharing the highlights. That's not bad in and of itself, but when all people are seeing is everyone else's highlight reels, it's easy to fall into unhealthy comparisons. As parents, we need to remind our teens not to do that—but we also need to remind them that other people will do that, which is why kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness are so important.

Writer and mother of three teen daughters, Whitney Fleming, shared a beautiful post on Facebook explaining what we need to teach our teenagers about empathy in the age of social media, and how we ourselves can serve as an example.

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