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Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!

George R. R. Martin is often accused of nihilism for his brutal treatment of his characters, without any discernible purpose or “moral” to the story. I say: not every author puts a moral in his story, but that doesn’t have to stop a thoughtful reader from finding one anyway. Now that season three of Game of Thrones is over and we have our Sunday nights back, it’ll probably take all summer just to recover from the trauma of this season and prepare for the next. Here’s my half-silly, half-serious attempt to put the “sense” in “senseless graphic violence.”

Sansa Stark: This is going to sound like bad advice, but it’s time to do something stupid.

Sansa is paralyzed by doing what’s right: sitting still and obedient in King’s Landing and playing the good little hostage. But her good behavior isn’t rewarded — in fact, it’s punished. Sometimes, despite all the morality tales we read as kids about how good behavior always leads to peace and happiness, life puts you in a situation where you’ve done all the right things and still find yourself trapped in an unbearable situation. In cases like those, it’s time to think the unthinkable — it’s time to make the seemingly “incorrect” decision. For Sansa, that would be running away. From the outside, show fans are cheering for her to do it — but from her vantage point, it’s the unconventional and wrong thing to do. My impression has always been that she shies away from it not only because it’s dangerous, but because it’s frowned upon. So when you feel like a hostage to your own circumstances, take a step back and ask yourself: what is my complete docket of options? Are there any obvious ones I’m ignoring because they come with some risk or they might provoke someone’s disapproval? Don’t be a Sansa. There are no castle guards holding you back. Take control of your own life.

Gendry: This is actually going to sound like great advice, but don’t accept oral sex from strangers.

Seriously. Leeches.

THE LESSON IS OBVIOUS HERE, PEOPLE.

Often people feel that way after meaningless sex.

Often people feel that way after meaningless sex.

Tyrion Lannister: This is going to sound like bad advice, but it’s time to put your parent(s) in their place.

Tyrion is a strategic genius, on the battlefield and in the account books. He can defend a city and then help rebuild it and get its budget back on track. He’d be a great president, combining strong skills in both domestic policy and national security. But he’s the continual underdog. What’s holding him back? His fear of his father. Fear, and a desperate need for approval that he tries very hard to hide behind his bluster and his superficially rebellious behavior (the drinking, the whoring). At the end of the day, though, he won’t do the one thing that really would rebel against his domineering, unloving father: go forth and live his own life without seeking his father’s approval.

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Respect for your parents, their guidance, and their wishes is an important part of childhood that should last (in an edited form) through your entire life. But in adulthood it’s rivaled, and eventually superseded, by mutual respect and independent decision-making. So yes, seeking the love and approval of your parents is good. But so is recognizing your own goals and desires and being assertive about working toward them responsibly, despite whatever your parents might think.

Arya Stark: Believe in the power of therapy.

Really. This girl needs to talk it out.

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Ser Jorah Mormont: This is going to sound like bad advice, but you’re not going to get your dream girl — it’s time to move on.

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Ser Jorah is one of my favorite characters: steadfast, capable, and heartbreakingly in (unreciprocated) love with his queen, Daenerys. He’s in the same boat as so many of my friends who keep chasing the dream that maybe that guy or girl who — in very plain terms — friend-zoned them will come around and finally, fully appreciate everything they have to offer. The truth is, if the person you’re besotted with won’t even give you the time of day — or, if she’ll be your friend but makes it clear she has no interest in being your lover — that person is not actually your dream girlYour dream girl (or boy) is not only someone that you love, but someone who loves and appreciates you. Space is important when you’re getting over the disappointment of unreciprocated love, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for you to some time, in the future, once again be friends (or her sworn sword). Then again, after a little space and a little bit of playing the field, you might find you don’t really miss storming castles for her.

 Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!