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Recap

Game of Thrones Recap: The Climb


Overall I thought this episode, while good, wasn’t quite so great as the two that came before it. But there were some highlights. And one really, really glaring lowlight.

It starts with a bit o’ cuteness: Sam and Gilly are chilling (see, because it’s cold…) in the woods, the latter schooling the former on how to make a proper fire. The face Sam makes when Gilly says she knew he was a highborn guy who’d never had to make his own fires is so adorable it made me want to curl up into a ball and squeal. Then, to ramp up the fuzzy feelings, Sam shows Gilly a pretty-but-useless trinket he found (an obsidian dagger, [book spoiler] yay for foreshadowing!), tells her about how great Castle Black is, and sings a song to her and her infant son about how the Westerosi gods look after little kids. I’ve read the books, but I still half-expected a White Walker to pop out and attack them, just to ruin the mood.

From there it’s to Bran, who breaks up a squabbling Osha and Meera Reed. Somebody make a buddy comedy trailer for these two. I want to see them as partners from different sides of the tracks who have to learn to accept their differences and work together to achieve a common cause. Though their banter was fun, I didn’t quite get the point of it, or this whole scene, really. Meera runs to help a sleeping Jojen, who has a fit brought about by a prophetic dream of Jon beyond the wall, surrounded by enemies. And the next scene is Jon, beyond the wall, surrounded by Wildlings. Could we not just have cut to that from the Sam and Gilly scene?

That said, this scene did give us a brief shot of Rickon, and he even had a line! So that’s good.

As Jon, Ygritte, Tormund, and Orell prepare to climb the Wall, Ygritte tells Jon that she knows he isn’t completely loyal to the Wildlings, and that she won’t tell anyone, but he’d better damn well be loyal to her. If he betrays her, she says, “I’ll cut your cock off.” There’s also a bit of banter about how Jon’s magically good at oral sex, which was a fun little factoid introduced during last episode’s cave scene. C’mon, Game of Thrones. It was funny when it was just Pod, but having two virgins revealed as sex prodigies in the span of four episodes is just weird.

Meanwhile, back below the Wall, Arya’s getting some archery lessons from one of the Brotherhood when who should show up but Melisandre. She, Thoros of Myr, and Beric Dondarrion have a little chat about the red god, who, as it turns out, needs Gendry for some sure-to-be-nefarious (because Melisandre) reason. Gendry, nooooo! Arya objects to her taking him, but he’s wheeled away in a cart under the watchful eye of Melisandre’s guards anyway.

Yet again in this bit Arya shows how completely awesome she is. Shortly after Melisandre shows up Arya says she doesn’t like her, and when Anguy responds that that must be because she’s a girl (a catfight joke, how original), Arya shoots back with “What does that have to do with anything”? You tell ‘em, girl. Arya doesn’t like Melisandre because Melisandre is creepy as hell. And a few minutes later she takes Gendry. So. You gonna apologize, Anguy?

Back to Theon, who’s being tortured by that-guy-whose-name-hasn’t-been-said-yet-in-the-show-so-I-can’t-say-it. As a placeholder name, I’m gonna go with Barry. Barry challenges Theon to guess where he is, who Barry is, and why Barry’s torturing him. If he guesses wrong he’s going to do some seriously awful stuff involving a knife and Theon’s little finger. I’m tensing up just writing this. Theon guesses that Barry is one of Rickard Karstark’s sons and is therefore loyal to the Starks (Theon’s not up on current events—Rickard Karstark is the guy beheaded for treason last episode), so he’s torturing him for betraying Robb. Barry says ding ding ding!, you’ve guessed correctly, bringing Theon’s hopes up, only to crush them mere seconds later when he says no, you actually guessed wrong, I’m just playing with you. He then flays some skin off Theon’s little finger until Theon begs for Barry to cut it off. The show’s doing a really good job making Barry a sadistic bastard [book spoiler] (pun not intended), I’ve gotta say.

Back to Riverrun, where Robb is meeting with two of Walder Frey’s sons to find out how he can make amends for having broken his promise to marry one of Frey’s daughters. If Robb wants an alliance his uncle Edmure will have to marry Frey’s daughter Roslin. Edmure objects, not because he doesn’t want to be forced into a marriage, which is a reasonable objection, but because he wants to be able to pick the prettiest wife. Edmure, you knob. A combination of the Blackfish threatening to punch him and Robb reminding him of his military screw-up earlier in the season compels Edmure to agree to the wedding. [book spoilers] Don’t mind me, just taking a quick pause to sob my eyes out.

Jaime and Brienne are having an uncomfortable meeting of their own, this one at Harrenhal with Roose Bolton, who says he’ll send Jaime back to King’s Landing as long as he promises to tell his dad the Boltons had nothing to do with his maiming. It’s a pretty sweet deal, so Jaime accepts. Brienne can’t go with him, though—she abetted Catelyn Stark’s treason, after all. Jaime tries to insist that Brienne accompany him, but Roose refuses; he doesn’t say what’s going to happen to her, but it’s pretty clear it won’t be good.

Back in King’s Landing Tywin and Olenna are having a friendly chat about Cersei’s mariage to Loras, which Olenna objects to because Cersei’s no longer a spring chicken and won’t be able to bear children for many more years. Tywin brings up the matter of Loras’ sexual preferences, saying he should be grateful to marry Cersei and remove the “stain” from his name. Olenna’s response had my cheering at my computer. She asks if Tywin never participated in a bit of guy-on-guy action, and when he accuses the Tyrells of being morally depraved, she counters with “Yeah, well even we think incest is screwed up.” BOOM!

They come to an agreement: Instead of marrying Cersei, Loras will join the Kingsguard. Cersei’s an easy character to hate, but I felt so happy for her in this scene, knowing she wouldn’t be forced into another arranged marriage after her panicked reaction to the prospect last episode. [Edit: Apparently I read this wrong and the marriage is still on? Or they didn't come to a firm agreement, and things are still up in the air? Hey, I was a little tired when I watched it, what're you gonna do?]

Speaking of arranged marriages, Loras and Sansa are chatting about their upcoming marriage, not knowing that it’s been called off. Sansa talks about how happy she’ll be. Loras talks about the dress she’ll wear and how pretty the wedding will be. It’s painfully awkward for both of them, though less so for Sansa, who seems to be willing herself into thinking marrying Loras will be a wonderful thing that will fix all her problems. (Speaking of awkward, Loras in this scene was weird for me, in a “oh, of course the pretty gay guy is obsessed with clothes” sort of way. The stereotype bugged me. Anyone else?)

Sansa and Loras are being watched by Tyrion and Cersei, who proceed to have a chat about their shared misfortune. (Cersei doesn’t know she’s lucked out yet.) Tyrion jokes that Cersei doesn’t have it that bad, since when Jaime gets back he’ll just kill Loras for her. There’s also some discussion over who ordered the attack on Tyrion at the Battle of Blackwater. All in all it’s a rather nice sibling bonding scene, the sort I don’t ever remember them getting in the books. I love how it establishes how similar Tyrion and Cersei are in their dedication to helping their family. Plus it contributes to Cersei’s character: When things are going well for her, like at the beginning of the season, she’s high on power, developing plots and threatening to kill people. But when something bad happens, as now, she’s defeated, almost nice (for her). [book five spoilers] It makes me think of the effect being laid low in A Dance with Dragons has on her. Congrats on your character development, show.

Tyrion goes to tell Sansa she’ll be marrying him, not Loras, and as it turns out he has to tell her while his secret girlfriend/Sansa’s servant Shae is in the room, too. Did I say the conversation between Sansa and Loras was awkward? I take it back. I’m so glad they cut before Tyrion told them, because I’m not sure I could have handled that particular conversation. Poor Sansa.

Then we come to the thing that really, really didn’t work for me this episode. Littlefinger and Varys are in the throne room, talking about how Littlefinger foiled Varys’ plan to marry Loras to Sansa. My informer did a great job, Littlefinger says, but the person you had spy on me didn’t fare so well. RIP, Ros. Littlefinger found out she was smuggling secrets to Varys and gave her to Joffrey (Littlefinger: “I have a friend who wanted to try something new” *shudder*), whom we see standing in front of Ros’ corpse, tied to his bed, her dressed ripped, riddled with arrows.

I get why they have to kill Ros. She’s been part of  [book spoiler] Littlefinger and Sansa-related happenings in King’s Landing, and both of them will leave King’s Landing soon. She was created for the show, and her purpose is that she can interact with different people, tying storylines together and moving the plot along, but as characters scatter to different cities I can see how she may have come to the end of her usefulness.

And I get why they had Joffrey, Westeros’ resident evil jerkbag, kill her. If Littlefinger had done it it would’ve changed something about his character. He’s sneaky, but he’s not violent—he has other people do his dirty work for him. But we already know Joffrey is a sadistic SOB. You need a random bit o’ death dealt out in King’s Landing, the writers can have him do it. No problems there.

But it’s the way he killed her, the sexual element to it, that doesn’t sit well with me, especially given how filled the show already is with threats of sexual violence toward women. We already knew Joffrey’s taste for torture extends to the rape-y, so Ros having her clothes ripped apart and getting tied to his bed before being killed doesn’t add anything to his character or to the plot. It was just there to be shocking, and presenting sexual violence in that way isn’t OK. They could’ve kept her clothed. They could’ve had her not in his bedroom. As it was, the whole thing was kind of torture porn-y.

After a quick detour in the Land of Sadness and Lost Hopes–we see Sansa watching the ship that could have taken her away from King’s Landing, crying—the episode ends with Jon and Ygritte, atop the wall, looking at the land South of the wall and sharing a picturesque (and somewhat cheesy, I thought) kiss.

I can only assume that seconds after the credits rolled they started to worry about the climb down.

Miscellaneous notes for the book readers: (highlight for spoilers)

So, the rumors were correct: Gendry replaces Edric Storm as Melisandre’s sacrifice-to-be. I love all the foreshadowing in her scenes, like how shocked she was that Beric’s been brought back to life six times, which shouldn’t be possible. Magic’s getting stronger and less predictable, which is nicely creepy and plays into the increase of magic in the later books. Also: Melisandre referencing Arya’s future as an assassin in training when she says she sees all the eyes that Arya will shut forever. I’m intrigued by Melisandre saying she and Arya will meet again, too. They haven’t met at all yet in the books, and with Arya going to Riverrun and Melisandre (presumably) Dragonstone, I can’t imagine during what part of the story GRRM’s written so far they’d conceivably run into one another. So could this be a reference to events in book six or seven? The Game of Thrones showrunners were told the basics of them in case the show catches up to the books, after all. What does it mean?!

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  • http://twitter.com/RobinPierce Robin

    For the record, I read that scene between Olenna and Tywin completely differently, and I wasn’t the only one. I read it as her snapping the quill to stop Tywin writing the notice to make Loras a kingsguard, inferring that Olenna gave ‘way to him marrying Cersei.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Huh. I assumed the piece of paper was the marriage contract.

  • http://twitter.com/thebouncingbird Kate

    Dammit, I liked Ros. Very unhappy with how last night ended, moreso because it was nice having an original addition to the show. Also she was cool. Dammit.

  • Laszlo

    I thought the conclusion Olenna and Tywin reached was that Loras will indeed marry Cersei. I mean, she broke the pen right when he was about to write the order to put him in the Kingsguard.

  • Anonymous

    You know how cheerful a show is when you’re sad a girl can’t marry a gay dude like she wanted…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1657422582 Robert Callbeck

    I don’t think Cersi is off the hook. Olenna breaks Tywin’s quill to prevent him from writing the order to make Loras a king’s guard, so I assume she has acquiesced to the marriage.

  • http://twitter.com/juliannacondor Julianna Condor

    That’s how I read it, too. Olenna doesn’t want Highgarden going to Margaery and Joffrey’s (theoretical) kids, even if the alternative is Cersei. Plus, hey, you can always whack her later and marry him to someone else. Kingsguard is forever.

  • Anonymous

    Robin is correct, Tywin won that scene and Loras is to marry Cersei.

  • LizbethAnne

    Yeah, I got the same feeling. It made sense to me–she’d rather have a slim chance of Loras’s kids inheriting than putting all their eggs in the Joffery basket.
    I mean, not to be morbid but away from King’s Landing a lot of horrible things could happen to Cersi, and childbirth probably isn’t safe in Westeros to begin with, let alone for an older woman. Easiest to agree to the marriage and make a plan to fix things later, as opposed to signing away the male heir (and leaving him in the Lannister’s grips).

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No, I can’t see them changing from the book that much. Just showing Tywin what she things about that other “pen” he has that gives him power, in her mind.

  • http://twitter.com/MaliceDaFirenze Alice Ruppert

    My interpretation was yet another: I thought by snapping the quill Olenna was saying that Tywin didn’t have power over her, thus refusing both options at once….

  • http://twitter.com/SailorTellychan Debbie

    Well that pretty much sums up my feelings nicely! The episode was good, but not as good as 4 and 5, but on the other hand it does feel as if they are setting up for another 3 AMAZING MIND-BLOWING episodes. So that’s hopeful!

    But man, I couldn’t even watch the skin-flaying scene, I hid behind my husband. ^^; I can understand why they are doing what they are doing with Gendry, but I’m angry that they didn’t give him and Arya even a line of goodbye, even if it was just some kind of angry, miserable shouting. But oh well! I look forward to the rest of the season very much, they definitely picked up their game after the snore-fest that was season 2!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m PISSED PISSED PISSED about Ros.

    Take the one woman character who gets any agency, and have her killed. In a way reminiscent of the warning LF gave her after Robert’s bastards were killed. It just smacks too much of putting her in her place, that I’m disgusted.

  • Guest

    I have a number of issues with this recap, perhaps I read the scenes wrong, but two things stood out to me.

    1) I didn’t interpret the joke about Arya disliking Melisandre as a cat-fight joke, but as a “you clearly just don’t think she’s hot” joke

    2) Didn’t Olenna stop Tywin from signing the order that would have put Loras on the kingsguard because she admitted that having the Tyrell line end with Loras would be unfortunate? My understanding was that even though she totally won the battle of wits by playing the incest card, she didn’t have enough political power to really get what she wanted out of the situation, and a shitty marriage is better than nothing.

    And as a comment on Ros’s murder, I think that it was appropriate given how they’ve developed the relationship between Joff and Margaery. His sexual attraction to her is clearly feeding into his creepy murder-power fantasies, and she’s leading him in that direction. I haven’t read the books, so I can’t say if this is out of character for the story as a whole, but it made all-too-perfect sense to me

  • Laszlo

    I don’t really like that Joffrey is sadistic in a sexual manner here. In the books, it was more like that his only role models ever were Robert and the Hound, and he acts the way he does because he thinks this is what they would be proud of.

  • Ouikka

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that is bugged by the way they are handling Loras this season. He’s a sword swallower, get over it. Homosexuality doesn’t count as character development. When the whole point of every single scene/mention of your one queer character is sexual orientation, you’re doing it wrong.

    I missed my Khaleesi this week, but it seems we’ll get to see her next Sunday. I hope this means more Grey Worm as well.

  • http://twitter.com/Darth_Cliche Carl Jackson

    In a nutshell, I think you pointed out the flaw in this episode the second you mentioned the Pod – Jon Snow parallel. This episode was about repeating things we’ve already seen.

    What we saw about Joffrey (regardless of the specific content) told us nothing new because they’ve built that characterization without showing it. We knew he was a violent, misogynistic, psychopath. If/when bad things happen to him, I don’t see that scene adding or subtracting anything. The audience already has their opinion. The Varys and Littlefinger conversation had the same character as their previous chats. Cersei has a heart to heart with a family member that she doesn’t necessarily like. Tyrion has to do uncomfortable things. Sansa is sad about her experience. Arya is angry about hers.

    Oh yea, and Olenna gets her verbal pound of flesh as she has in every episode. Actually, that scene felt forced to me in the sense that maybe I forgot it from the books, but the idea that Tywin would care about Loras sexuality past simply seeing the political benefit just doesn’t seem to fit him. And why she would bring up Jaimie and Cersei in response when frankly her family’s wagon is already hitched to that horse doesn’t make sense for her. Honestly? That entire conversation felt more like a cynical attempt to get the audience to raise their fists than anything Olenna or Tywin would actually choose to say to each other. But that’s a YMMV. That scene played very poorly when I watched it.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    Sorry, you think Ros was the only lady with any agency? We’re ignoring Dany, Olenna, Margery, Arya, Ygritte, Melisandre, Brienne, Cat, and so many more?

    Ros was cool and all but saying she’s the only lady with agency is just incorrect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozmikPariah Ryan Colson

    …But Loras’ stereotype is statistically validated.. right? lol

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Alice, that’s the way I read it as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507132290 Rachael Klinger

    Your fun highlighted book spoiler sections, don’t show up at all on smartphones. : (

  • Anonymous

    Question: How do you read whats behind the spoiler coverups? Ive tried scrolling over and highlighting, but they just look like blank yellow spaces. Im using a tablet, does that make a difference? Thanks!!!

  • Mochabean

    Loras’ dream wedding (its not a pin, its a brooch) struck me as a bit too much of a winking stereotype as well. I pointed out elsewhere how important clothes in in ASOIAF, and GRRM spends as much time in the books talking about clothes (for men and women) as he does about food, but in the show men caring about clothes is either humorous (Loras) or sinister (Joff). Plus, in the books Loras is much more confident and a much more developed character, he is a true bad ass in tournament and an icon of chivalry — he would never have been that awkward with Sansa, would he? Book Loras is a pretty interesting character, but show Loras seems to missing that in favor of showing us that the writers know he’s gay. We get it, time to move on.

  • http://twitter.com/Proi_RS Robin S

    That’s the way I read it, too. Tywin had the quill out, ready to order Loras into the King’s Guard. When Olenna snapped it, she was consenting to the match between Loras and Cersei.

  • http://twitter.com/Proi_RS Robin S

    Haha, calling Iwan Rheon’s character, “Barry.” So instead of “Save me, Barry!” it’s “Save me from Barry!”

  • http://twitter.com/Brooke_Surname Brooke Michelle

    I took it to mean that he Cersei Loras pairing was on, because otherwise Highgarden would have no heir? Am I wrong there?

  • http://twitter.com/Darth_Cliche Carl Jackson

    I agree. If anything, maybe it just allows the writers to have someone that people can hate without pesky conflicting feelings.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I did leave out Olenna and Margaery, but they are being given agency beyond anything they had in the books. It’s Margaery’s father who would be having these scenes with Tywin and Tyrion if he hadn’t been cut.

    Arya, has absolutely no control over anything, cannot make decisions.

    Brienne, doing exactly what someone else told her to, not exactly exercising agency. You could say the moment where she chose to pledge herself to Cat showed some agency, but at the same time, what else was she going to do but get under the good graces of another king, after she’s accused of killing Renly?

    Cat- had agency, doesn’t anymore, and worse she never believed she ever had agency. She viewed herself as obligated to make those decisions, not an active participant in making them. Not exactly exercising agency.

    Ygritte, no opportunities = no agency, IMO. She has more freedom north of the wall than she would south, but agency is more than just freedom to make choices, it’s the education to make informed choices, Ygritte doesn’t have that.

    Mel-Religious fanatacism=/=agency. Sure she gets to do what she wants, but again agency is more than just freedom.

    Dany is the most restricted of them all. She has an army, an ideal and a goal. But WHY is she doing any of it? Because she feels bound to do so because of her bloodline. Again, not exactly exercising agency.

    Cersei- the show is doing a wonderful job in showing how little agency Cersei actually had. All that power she flaunted wasn’t hers, it was her father’s, and that power has fallen away, because she never sought her own.

    Ros, made the informed decision to go to KL, pressured to stay with LF, but makes the decision to work for Varys with the information she has. The only woman character who didn’t have what she wanted(without feeling automatically entitled to it, like Dany and Cersei) and made decisions to reach her to that goal.

  • Anonymous

    I liked the sword swallower joke, and pretty much everything else Olenna said but I did cringe at a few of the constant “Yes Loras is a fancy man” jokes for the audience. I do appreciate that the show put the Loras/Renly relationship front and center instead of the way it was only insinuated in the books but I do wonder if all the “Loras likes pretty things” jokes don’t get in the way of the fact that Loras is one of the best sword fighters in King’s Landing.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Exactly, she broke the pen that was to sign the marriage contract.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507132290 Rachael Klinger

    I didn’t mind it as much. While there are gay guys that are less stereotypical (even in Westeros like Renly Barratheon and Jon Connington), I do know many gay guys IRL that are. Kinda fun to see the Westerosi fantasy counterpart to that. XD

    Besides, brooches and gowns aren’t all Loras cares about. He has great love for Renly, his family, High Garden, and is a damn formidable fighter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507132290 Rachael Klinger

    Where are my queer ladies at?

    Does Dany’s occasional slumber parties with her handmaidens count? Just not sure.

    Alas.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    I feel that you’re confusing motive and goals with having no agency.

  • http://twitter.com/MaryKateClark Marykate Clark

    All I can say after last night is… Damn, that Joffrey is cold.
    He’s an evil little worm, isn’t he?
    (Can’t wait til Sunday rolls around again.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001588468594 Peter Hale

    Note 1: I think you totally misread the Tywin/Olenna conclusion – she conceded – Loras will marry Cersei.

    Note 2: I agree with you about the Joffrey/Ros scene but for a different reason. In the books, Joffrey never actually kills anyone – he prefers to have others do his dirty work. I don’t think he’d have the guts to get his hands dirty.

  • http://twitter.com/RobinPierce Robin

    Oh my lord. Before I raise my eyebrows to the high heavens, can you explain how you’re defining agency?

  • Cliff Hebner

    Nope. The parchment was blank and Tywin’s comment when reaching for the pen was something along the lines of, “do we have a deal [meaning Cersei and Loras will wed] or do I draw up the order [the order to make Loras part of the Kingsguard]?” Tywin won, which also explains Oleanna’s last line in the scene – “Finally, a man who lives up to his reputation” – and the bittersweet way in which it was delivered.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Usually you highlight it, but I’m not sure how/if it’s done on a tablet. I’ll ask around.

  • http://twitter.com/thebouncingbird Kate

    I’m glad his role has been expanded, but yeah it wouldn’t hurt for them to dial back on the stereotypes. It was already hilarious to watch him grimace through conversation with Sansa. They didn’t need anything else. “Mmm yes. A wedding. I’m sooo excited. Yes. Marriage. Greeeeat.”

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Sorry. :( I asked our web guy re: tablet support for spoiler tags, he’s looking into it.

  • jdhovland

    If you highlight and then copy and paste into your tablet’s text editor, it should work.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I don’t mean to spoil, but there is no way that they are going to deviate from the books that much.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    They’re expanding his screen time but simplifying his character. He’s kind of been turned into a superficial bubblehead. (Also in S2 they played up his scheming, with him encouraging Renly to fight for the throne, but that fits in with what they’ve done with the Tyrells in general, and I quite like that.)

  • Lapin

    I didn’t read that Loras-Sansa scene as Loras meaning he actually liked fancy clothes and weddings and stuff (he’s only interested in knightly things, really). He’s just saying whatever he thinks will please Sansa. A little theory– Renly really did love fashion and fancy things, so Loras could’ve been channeling things he’d inadvertently learned from his boyfriend there. And Loras really, really would not want to marry Sansa, so I thought the awkwardness was at least appropriate. But yeah, overall, they’ve changed Loras’ character a lot from the books (in which he would be SO ANGRY if his family tried to marry him off, and he’s still majorly grieving Renly), and I don’t like it at all. They’re reducing his personality to fit in to whatever plot lines they’ve added. :-/

    I haven’t really liked any of the show’s changes this season. They feel really divorced from what Martin wrote, but in a weird and stereotypical way instead of being interesting. The part with Ros was just gross and unnecessary.

    On the other hand, I’m still pleased with how they’re handling Jon and Ygritte at least. They’re super adorable together. I hope the writers don’t screw with their plot line too much.

  • jdhovland

    No heir but Margery, and property goes to the husband of the female heir. If I recall correctly, it’s also why they want Sansa wed to Tyrion, believing that Bran and Rickon are dead, the defeat/death of Robb would give Winterfell to Tyrion.

  • Anonymous

    I have to disagree with most of your readings. The one character you list who seems not to have any agency at all is Arya. However, every other woman you list there has made choices and been subject to the choices of others. They also all have their own motivations.

    Brienne chose to align herself with Catelyn Stark, and agreed to escort Jaime back to King’s Landing despite the dangers involved. Catelyn chose to free Jaime Lannister in a bid to win her daughters’ freedom despite the risk of being named a traitor. Ygritte is a wildling with the freedom to do as she pleases, and though she doesn’t have the “education” of a noble she is far from unlearned. Melisandre is in Westeros and aligned with Stannis either by her own choice or by that of the leaders of her religious order, which she freely follows. Her discussion with Thoros illustrates how he decided to turn away from the order at one point by his own will, and she always has the power to do the same. Dany’s entire journey is exactly about gaining agency and being able to act on your own desires and motivations and not being subject to someone else’s. It’s the reason she freed the Unsullied and gave them the choice to follow her as freed men or strike out on their own. Cersei has as much agency as a former queen, current queen regent, and member of the wealthiest family in Westeros could be expected to have, which is more than most. Too bad she spent much of it making poor decisions (like banging her brother). Ros made the decision to leave Winterfell for King’s Landing and to take up with Littlefinger.

    Just because there are consequences to your actions – and those consequences are sometimes undesired – doesn’t mean you don’t have agency.

  • Laszlo

    This sounds kinda bullshit to me. So women should only ever make the right decisions for the right reasons if they are to have agency? If a male character is loyal to his lord or his family, he’s heroic, if he makes wrong decisions all the time, he’s a complex anti-hero, but if a woman does the same it just means she doesn’t have enough agency?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Independent capacity to enact one’s will. But it’s not just that simple. You have to have knowledge to have agency. Most of these people don’t have knowledge.

    Dany doesn’t even have the knowledge why her family was deposed, but we are supposed to accept her agency in deciding to retake Westeros?

    Agency is not just acting. It’s acting, with knowledge, to enact one’s will. Dany wants to take Westeros, but WHY? An action without a clearly thought out motive, isn’t agency, it’s reacting. Dany is only reacting to her family’s deposition, not acting to ensure a future of peace and prosperity to Westeros.

    Brienne doesn’t have enough knowledge about anything to make a decision about anything, at this time, she is only reacting.

    Cersei never had any agency, because the power that gave her the capacity to enact her will, wasn’t hers. It was illusory agency.

    Catelyn denied ever having any agency, she claimed to have been driven by maternal imperatives for all her decisions.

    Arya and Sansa have been captives, with no agency. They’ve been able to make small decisions within the confines of their captivity, but again, it’s all reacting, with no action aforethought.

  • jdhovland

    I replied with a work around, but it looks like you should be able to use jquery to pop modal the contents of that span on mobile tablets, I think that means spoilers, to look best popped modal should be <255 characters a spoiler, especially on phones.

  • jdhovland

    f you highlight and then copy and paste into your tablet’s text editor, it should work.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Coupled with her comments about Tywin living up to his reputation it seemed pretty clear that she was acquiescing to Tywin’s demand.

    I’d also add that I didn’t find Ros’s end to be purely for shock value. We already know that Joffrey has a penchant for sexual sadism, and this scene demonstrates that his taste for inflicting pain has escalated to the next logical step (for a sociopath at least.) I found myself fearing for Margaery’s safety even more after this scene. Sure she has a handle on the royal douchebag now, but how long is she going to be able to deflect Joffery’s sadistic inclinations?

    I don’t know. I’m sad to see Ros go, even though she’s been a punching bag for the duration of her stint in the series, but I saw the manner of her death as, besides being tragic, advancing the development of Joffrey’s character. He was an asshole before, a particularly cruel asshole at that. But now he’s clearly well on his way to following in the footsteps of Mad King Aerys, and he’s only what? 16, 17 years old? Yipes!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    My BF watched those scenes, and was like, “Funny he doesn’t seem very threatening”.

    Blackfish’s homosexuality been completely ignored, so I guess they are overdoing it with Loras to make up for it.

    I liked the joke from Lady Olenna, it also confirms that the whole family is aware of what Loras does, like in the books. And the awkwardness made the point, we didn’t also need the whole, “OOH PRETTY FLOWERS” part too.

  • Anonymous

    All Tywin cares about is gaining the allegiance of Highgarden, the second most wealthy of the seven Kingdoms. He has no need of Cersei bearing another child. Joffrey sits the throne and has a younger brother, Tommen (who would inherit the throne if Joffrey died). There is no need for a child from Cersei so Loras’ sexuality is of no consequence to Tywin, only what money and power a marriage between the two can bring.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I can agree that the scene with Olenna & Tywin was ambiguous for show watchers, but not so much with the book readers.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think the writers are trying to position Jon as some sort of sexual wunderkind. I just think Ygritte has never had anyone perform oral sex on her. It was a new experience for her judging by her comments afterward, not necessarily a world-shaking one (he could have been terrible, for all we know).

    Someone below mentioned this, and I agree. I don’t think the Brotherhood was insinuating cattiiness between Arya and Melisandre, just making the observation that they, as men, were very attracted to her, despite her creepiness (see: Stannis).

    I can’t be mad at Edmure’s anger at being forced to pay for Robb’s impulsive decision to marry for love and forsake his vow to the Freys. Robb taking him to task for it would be the pot calling the kettle black.

    Joffrey killing Ros is completely consistent with the character that the show writers had established. Ugly act, but served to show how dangerous both Joffrey and Littlefinger are, especially given that Ros was Littlefinger’s confidant. Evil characters don’t stop being evil once we witness their first despicable act. She wasn’t the first and she won’t be the last.

  • Vio H

    Please tell me that the barry joke was a reference to Iwan Rheon’s Misfits character. “Save me Barry!” is very ironic in the GOT context.

  • Vio H

    Please tell me that the barry joke was a reference to Iwan Rheon’s Misfits character. “Save me Barry!” is very ironic in the GOT context.

  • Anonymous

    I really liked the interaction between Varys and Littlefinger this episode, it didn’t seem at all repetitive to me. For the first time we get an actual accounting of both of their worldviews. Varys who says he does what he does for the good of the kingdom is a stark contrast to Littlefinger who views chaos “as a ladder”. It’s the classic serving selflessly vs. being entirely self-serving. I should add that I actually believe Varys, but I don’t necessarily believe that his idea of the “good of the kingdom” is as obvious as we’re meant to believe it is.

    The other elements you mention didn’t seem particularly repetitious in my reading of the episode. The developments with John/Ygritte, Tywin/Olenna, Joffrey/Ros seemed to me to be not more of the same, but rather a continued trajectory of their character arcs.

  • Anonymous

    I really liked the interaction between Varys and Littlefinger this episode, it didn’t seem at all repetitive to me. For the first time we get an actual accounting of both of their worldviews. Varys who says he does what he does for the good of the kingdom is a stark contrast to Littlefinger who views chaos “as a ladder”. It’s the classic serving selflessly vs. being entirely self-serving. I should add that I actually believe Varys, but I don’t necessarily believe that his idea of the “good of the kingdom” is as obvious as we’re meant to believe it is.

    The other elements you mention didn’t seem particularly repetitious in my reading of the episode. The developments with John/Ygritte, Tywin/Olenna, Joffrey/Ros seemed to me to be not more of the same, but rather a continued trajectory of their character arcs.

  • Anonymous

    I really liked the interaction between Varys and Littlefinger this episode, it didn’t seem at all repetitive to me. For the first time we get an actual accounting of both of their worldviews. Varys who says he does what he does for the good of the kingdom is a stark contrast to Littlefinger who views chaos “as a ladder”. It’s the classic serving selflessly vs. being entirely self-serving. I should add that I actually believe Varys, but I don’t necessarily believe that his idea of the “good of the kingdom” is as obvious as we’re meant to believe it is.

    The other elements you mention didn’t seem particularly repetitious in my reading of the episode. The developments with John/Ygritte, Tywin/Olenna, Joffrey/Ros seemed to me to be not more of the same, but rather a continued trajectory of their character arcs.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    I feel also that you’re ignoring the part where Dany threw aside the lot cast for her, that of being a dead horselord’s trophy wife, and seized her chance to take control. She could have easily not followed her bloodline and died in the desert. She knows what she wants and she knows how she plans to take it. If that’s not making a concious choice, I don’t know what is.

    Worth noting that by your definition, few of the male characters have agency also.

  • Ouikka

    Exactly. I really feel like they went backwards with his character, because back in season one, we had a smart Master of Laws and a talented Knight of Flowers, both charismatic and ambitious, that just happened to love each other. They still made some not so necessary puns about it, but overall we had two pretty cool queer characters.

    I don’t mind that Loras cares about the difference between a brooch and a pin. But could we please not forget that he’s a highly skilled knight that brought his whole family to war because he wanted to see his lover become king ? Stop making him so boring. He’s not. I think Olenna is getting tired of it as well.

    The scene between Sansa and Loras, as fun as it was, was pretty painful to watch for me because of the way they chose to portray two characters that I love in a way that made no sense to me, just to get a cheap laugh out of it. Everyone knows Loras’ preferences, yet Sansa has no clue (Dear show. Please stop making Sansa stupid. Thanks) and Loras still believes it to be the biggest secret ever (with Olenna as his grandmother, I don’t really see how that’s possible). I wished their wedding arrangement would have been about them trying to make the best of a bad situation together. They already have two of the smartest and coolest women of this show on their side.

    You know, kind of like Renly/Margaery’s relationship might have been like. I’ll stop ranting now because this is giving me Renly feels.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That’s a misreading of my statement.

    I never denied that they acted, but IMO, they aren’t really acting with any agency, and the few that do(like Catelyn) have it taken from them.

    Brienne didn’t have agency, she lived by a code and she was following that code. It’s when she has to make the decisions her code doesn’t allow for, then she’ll demonstrate agency.

    Mel has the capacity for agency, but doesn’t exercise it, instead choosing to do what R’hllor(the flames) tell her to.

    Cersei, while holding power, doesn’t have agency, because the power she used wasn’t hers, and the goals she was working towards weren’t hers. When the capacity for agency is something you have because others ALLOW it, that’s not really agency.

    I agree that’s what Dany story is about and that she gave others agency, but I feel she is still denied it herself. She won’t have agency until she learns the truth about why her family was deposed, and that Westeros is not eagerly awaiting her return and figures out WHY she wants the throne so badly.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No, it’s not about the correct motivations or the correct decisions. It’s about whether they have the capacity of agency.

    Dany doesn’t have it because she doesn’t truly understand her motives. If you don’t know why you are acting, you don’t have agency.

    Brienne doesn’t have it because she lets her code of honor make her decisions for her(like the guy who recognized Jaime she wouldn’t kill. There was no consideration, just no, b/c her code says so).

    Catelyn does have it, but denies it under maternal obligation. She feels she doesn’t have a choice, which prevents her from using her agency.

    Cersei doesn’t have it, because that capacity was given to her by others which means she didn’t actually have it(like now in this sitch with Loras, she had power until her father showed up, which means she never had it at all).

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Yep, it’s intentional. :)

  • Anonymous

    I guess we can add “Barry” to the list of nicknames that Iwan Rheon’s character hates.

    “Whatever you do… don’t call him a Barry!”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Sure, but many still do. Typically noble born men like Jaime or hell even Ned kept his agency in prison.

    Another one is Littlefinger, which is why I had high hopes for Ros, I saw her as like the Anti-Littlefinger.

    In RE Dany, she’s making a conscious choice to go after the very same thing her brother wanted. What does Dany want? She doesn’t know and neither do you. When she does, her decisions will have agency, until then they are only obligation.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Arya was not creeped out by Mel b/c she was beautiful, which is what Anguy was implying.

    The show wasn’t painting Arya’s dislike as catty, but Anguy was implying that it was.

  • http://twitter.com/rmccoy3 Robert McCoy

    What? Blackfish is gay? I completely missed that in the books. I also didn’t pick up on Renly/Loras either, so maybe my gaydar isn’t that great.

  • Cliff Hebner

    As opposed to all the other ways they’ve already deviated from the books…?
    I disagree with your assessment of why Tywin was reaching for the pen – his comments right before laying finger on quill referenced the order to have Loras join the Kingsguard, not the marriage contract (reaching for the quill was an implicit threat to Oleanna), and Oleanna’s snapping of the quill and closing comments in the scene seem to support my interpretation. But we have another five episodes this season to see how it plays out, and the other half of Storm of Swords (with some of Feast for Crows mixed in) next season, so there’s plenty of time for more swerves.

    ETA: Another thought – when Cersei and Tyrion were watching Sansa and Loras, both of them (Cersei and Tyrion) seemed very sure they were about to be wed off. Tyrion’s line about “which of the four of us got the worst of it” seems another strong indicator that Tywin got his way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alissa-Knyazeva/100000197242034 Alissa Knyazeva

    Maybe that’s their intent? They have one “flamboyant” (for lack of a better term) gay character, all the bigots are like haha, look at the stereotypical homo, who’s not manly unlike the awesome totally straight Blackfish. And then, after Blackfish’s awesome and undeniable manliness is all propped up and pretty they just go oh yeah by the way, that guy who’s your hero/spirit animal of ~manliness~? Yeah, he’s gay. There’s a chair behind you, don’t trip. (I hope that’s the case anyways. I haven’t read the books though, so I dunno how it gets introduced in the books…)

  • Cliff Hebner

    Except Tywin is the King’s Hand. While he can’t afford to break the alliance with the Tyrells, ordering Loras into the Kingsguard is entirely within his power – and it’s considered enough of an honor that Loras, flower of chivalry that he is, would be all but unable to refuse.

  • Anonymous

    Anguy was implying that Arya’s reaction to Mel was different from theirs due to her being a young girl as opposed to an older man. I didn’t read Anguy as implying that Arya was creeped out by Melisandre’s beauty, but by the fact that she was creepy as hell – something the guys were willing to look past because they were in lust with Mel. He was basically saying “Arya, you’re looking at Melisandre with your eyes, we’re (the guys) looking at her with our privates.”

  • Anonymous

    I have to disagree. I think you are completely misinterpreting what “agency” is. For instance, even if a character does not completely understand their desires or actions they still have agency if they are the ones driving those actions…

    From Wikipedia:

    In philosophy and sociology, agency is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general, or soul-consciousness in religion) to act in a world. The capacity to act does not at first
    imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act, and moral agency is therefore a distinct concept. In sociology, an agent is an individual engaging with the social structure. Notably, though, the primacy of social structure vs. individual capacity with regard to persons’ actions is debated within sociology. This debate concerns, at least partly, the level of reflexivity an agent may possess.[citation needed]
    Agency may either be classified as unconscious, involuntary behavior, or purposeful, goal directed activity (intentional action). An agent typically has some sort of immediate awareness of his physical activity
    and the goals that the activity is aimed at realizing. In ‘goal directed action’ an agent implements a kind of direct control or guidance over their own behavior.

    Brienne’s chooses to act in an honorable way. Cat chooses to put family over the kingdom. Melisandre chooses to follow the will of R’hllor (Thoros himself chose not to for a while, which demonstrated that Red Priests are not compelled by force to follow R’hllor’s teachings). Cersei’s power was hers as much as any King or Lord’s power is theirs; Robert’s power came from his army and the symbol of the iron throne, not from some supernatural force or written decree, and Cersei’s came from her status as Queen. And just because you are sometimes subject to the whims of others doesn’t mean you don’t have agency. Robb is King in the North, but can’t win the war without bowing to Walder Frey’s demand that he marry one of his daughters. By exercising his agency and breaking that promise, Robb also brings about dire consequences when his allies start to question him. Agency doesn’t mean you never have to cede control.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563223409 Vic Horsham

    That’s not what agency is, though. It isn’t defined or granted based on someone having enough knowledge of a situation, it’s the capacity of an agent to act in the world. It’s about making choices. There’s a need for awareness of the activity and the activity being performed in order to realise a goal, but none of that requires any sort of special knowledge of things. And outside influences can reduce the agency a person has, but I haven’t seen any totally passive characters in GOT. Not even Sansa.

    Brienne doesn’t have knowledge, and therefore lacks agency? Brienne chose of her own free will to pursue a life that is utterly at odds with societal expectations, in the face of immense social pressure and threats of punishment. She chose of her own free will to pledge herself to Catelyn. She chose to accept the mission to steal Jamie away. She’s reacting to situations because right now the plot is putting her in vulnerable positions, but reacting alone doesn’t negate agency. How we react reflects our choices. She’s far from passive/reactive.

    Arya and Sansa are captives and therefore lack agency? Sansa betrayed her own father in season 1, and her outwardly passive behaviour is a survival choice – it’s armour that so far has helped limit the amount of harm she’s come to under Joffrey. It’s a choice she’s made, and she has made others. Agreeing to leave with Littlefinger, changing her mind and telling him when a better opportunity came along, attempting to hide the evidence of her period. As for Arya, she’s rebelled against her life from the very start. From refusing to sit and embroider, to convincing her father to let her learn sword fighting, helping the boys survive after their escape from… was it Harrenhall? She is a small child in an extremely hostile world, and yet she has the courage to shout down her captors when they do things she thinks are wrong. She escapes. She finds allies. She plans.

    As for Dany lacking agency simply because the truth of her family has been hidden from her… what? If that’s the case then every real human on the planet has zero agency because I guarantee you the information you’ve been taught about your family – which gave you your sense of self and influenced your choices – has been sanitised. Even if I accepted your requirement for knowledge, you can’t also require that the knowledge be objectively true for it to count. A person who makes choices and acts based on false information still made choices and acted.

  • http://twitter.com/cherienb Cherie Braun

    I don’t see Joffrey as sadistic in a sexual manner; he is much more interested in torture and killing than in sex. I see the killings as a substitute for sex, which really doesn’t much interest him. I think the scene with Ros raised his status a “the character I’ve most hoped will get his just desserts” ever.

  • RC_cola

    “If Littlefinger had done it it would’ve changed something about his character. He’s sneaky, but he’s not violent—he has other people do his dirty work for him.”

    …I think Lysa Arryn would disagree with you.

  • Hannah Wilson

    Not really a SPOILER, but you might skip if you want to be safe.

    ***************
    I think having Little Finger kill Ros would be completely IN character for him. But the way that we learn of that part of his character will have way more impact if you have to wait for the way it happens in the book.

  • Lily

    Joffrey shot some peasants who were begging for food with his crossbow. It is ironic that he chooses the crossbow, something Jaime considers to be a cowardly weapon.

  • Lily

    The skinning rabbits was a parallel to Theon being skinned. Meera and Osha were flaying an animal to feed themselves and showcasing a necessary skill to survive in the wild. He-who-has-not-been-named was flaying Theon for pure enjoyment and maliciousness.

    I also thought it was interesting that Joffrey’s bolts hit Ros in the same areas as Arya’s arrows hit the straw-man. A frightening parallel between a much-despised and much-loved character was illuminated in a simple scene.

  • andrew semkow

    How about “Flay me Barry”

  • http://www.facebook.com/X23sexy Wong Chia Chi

    Mmm. I must have missed it if the Blackfish is gay. I think people jumped to that assumption because the whole reason he’s The Blackfish is because he turned down a marriage. But that in and of itself doesn’t make him gay. Not in the least.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julie.mccord1 Julie McCord

    Huh. See, I didn’t take Loras in that scene as “oh darling our wedding will be FABULOUS” stereotype. I took him as a nice boy flailing wildly for a way to sound enthusiastic about marrying the nice girl and keep himself from panicking over the fact that she’s going to come with ladybits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/X23sexy Wong Chia Chi

    Book Loras was pretty awkward with Sansa though. In the few times they interacted. And he’s not described as interacting with many women, besides the ones in his family.

  • http://www.facebook.com/X23sexy Wong Chia Chi

    Back to Theon, who’s being tortured by that-guy-whose-name-hasn’t-been-said-yet-in-the-show-so-I-can’t-say-it. As a placeholder name, I’m gonna go with Barry.

    LMAO!

  • Drone

    BARRY! Nice one.

  • http://twitter.com/AMJusticeWrites AM Justice

    Regarding the meeting between Melisandre and Arya: On the show they seem to have conflated the “One God” with the God of Many Faces. Last season Jaqen H’ghar said he followed the One God. I think we’re to infer that Melisandre is connected to the Faceless Men, and since she sees many deaths in Arya’s future, she also expects to meet her again.

  • http://twitter.com/AMJusticeWrites AM Justice

    I agree with all of you: the end result of that scene is that Cersei is going to marry Loras.

  • Spam

    Ok, this has to stop. I am a feminist, but what’s more I am a HISTORIAN, and I must point out how disappointed I am in all the bitching and moaning about women getting killed. Sexual violence was an intrinsic part of the medieval world, an ACTUAL rape culture, I cannot stress that enough. To say “ooooh, lets take it out because of ma feelings” is the same sort of backward logic that dictates affirmative action in historical films: “let’s have a black legionnaire for no reason”.

    In terms of thematics and structure: if a villain is doing something it’s because it is WRONG, and therefore unacceptable. Real world feminist logic is, more often than not, problematic when applied to works of fiction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563223409 Vic Horsham

    Sexual violence might be historically accurate, but how it is portrayed and when is a modern, current choice made by modern, current TV writers, producers etc.

    The issue (for me at least) isn’t that she was killed. It’s that they felt the need to describe her death in Littlefinger-talk and then show us her corpse, strung up and dressed in a sexual manner, with arrows in her sexy parts. There wasn’t any need for that. Littlefinger already told us she was dead.

    Between that and the fact that she was fridged rather than shown reacting to Littlefinger’s decision or Joffrey’s actions prior to death, made it feel like they were just throwing up a pretty corpse for shock value and titillation.

    Also, worth noting this show isn’t a historical fiction. It’s pure fantasy. What, we can have white walkers and dragons and men coming back from the dead, but we can’t have a woman not getting raped? FWIW, I love the books and the TV series, and I get that it’s a grimdark world, but I am so sick of people claiming historical accuracy for fantasy worlds. It only ever seems to come out as a means of justifying the portrayal of isms.

    There’s a lot of grimdark sexual danger in ASOIAF in the books, but it’s not sexualised. It’s not titillating. The TV people have really ramped up that aspect of it.

  • Spam

    I can understand what you’re saying, I really do, but to disassociate history with fantasy is a bit naive. The two are intrinsically connected, Martin has pointed out his inspirations and parallels repeatedly. Also I’d like to point out that there was no titillating for Roz’ death. All I felt (as a male) was disgust, and I doubt you could find anyone clinically sane that would feel even a twinge of desire at her mutilated corpse. I think we’re jumping at shadows by saying we shouldn’t have seen Roz’ body or the manner of her death, it’s not propagating “rape culture” ideals, it’s actively condemning them.

  • Laszlo

    They wouldn’t need to actually change it. I think Tywin and Olenna agreed to have the wedding, but Loras will still end up joining the Kingsguard, possibly because Cersei convinces him.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It’s never introduced as fact in the books, but neither is Renly/Loras. But there are enough hints dropped about it, and I actively look for gay people in my stories, that I put it together. There are some of Hoster’s deathbed ramblings, a conversation between Cat and Blackfish in the Vale, and in another convo I can’t remember, he’s lumped into a group of people with Loras for no discernable reason.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I saw that scene as following directly from the other, and that they didn’t know about Tywin’s meeting with Olenna.

    I think people are supposed to feel that Olenna acquiesced, only to be shocked when Loras is being inducted into the KG at the start of the ep or something.

    Removing Loras from the KG changes what his character does later in the story. Plus, I’ll miss all the Jaime banter he gets.

    I would imagine that Olenna’s not too concerned about who will inherit Highgarden, based on plans they’ve got.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I have to disagree, you see those characters as choosing to act, I see them as surrendering their agency, to enact the will of another.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I was gonna engage with your argument, but that ignorant “black legionnaire” comment demonstrates that it’s not worth my time. (Hint, black people have always existed, and they were even *gasp* ROMAN CITIZENS, entitled to join the legion)

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    With what happens to Arya in Braavos, I kinda have to agree. It’s been a bit since I’ve read FFC, but I can’t remember anything she learns at the temple that disassociates The God of Many Faces with R’hllor, and actually remember seeing some connections. But, I could be remembering wrong.

  • Spam

    Please engage, but I’d like point out that there is no evidence for Africans joining the legion, or even being citizens. There is evidence for some Arabs and a lot of Gaul and Germans, especially in the late period, but as far as I know, no black African people, maybe as auxiliaries, but not legion.

    But history aside, how does shying away from rape and sexual violence benefit society and equality on a grassroots level? Surely we need to come to terms with it, and especially portray it in the negative. That’s my argument, I honestly believe sexual violence is evil and should be condemned, what better way to get that message across than with television?

  • Anonymous

    Minor correction: “we see Sansa watching the ship that could have taken her away from King’s Landing, crying”

    That’s actually the ship that CAN take her from King’s Landing. It’s moored out there. It’s Littlefinger’s ship (the sail has is bird on it) and it’s the ship he’s been stocking with an extra feather bed and all that a lady would need for a voyage. Littlefinger, by playing nice for Cersei and spying for her as though actually cowed by her threats, is also getting what he wants: Sansa backed into a corner, desperate for a way out of King’s Landing. And she’s thinking in that scene “that ship is my last chance, I have to get out of here”

    Side note: viewers with sharp eyes, even if they haven’t read the books, can figure out who “Barry” really is. Watch the backgrounds (not the backgrounds with Theon) in this, and previous, episodes.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I personally am not saying that there needs to be no depiction of rape or sexual violence on this show, or that these depictions can’t be beneficial to equality. I know many people who inadvertently became feminists after watching Spartacus on Starz. Seeing that much oppression and abuse can do that to a person.

    What I am saying, is that this particular death was a devaluation of Ros’ character, and unnecessary to the narrative and that the writer’s desire to do this, came from unexamined sexist impulses.

    And the ancient Roman empire extended through most of Egypt and across all northern Africa, but no Africans were ever in the legions? Wev. Much like women, people of color have minimized and excluded from much of the historical record, by people who had a vested interest in maintaining the illusion of white male supremacy.

  • Spam

    I’m still confused, a devaluation of Ros’ character? All the characters of Game of Thrones have endured ignoble deaths, I don’t see why Ros’ death should be the subject of analysis. It disturbed me, I had to talk it through with my friends and family, but i don’t see why it’s inappropriate in context, especially because it makes us hate Joffery and despise sexual violence.

    Could you elaborate?

    Ps. I am black mixed race, I have endured forms of racism most don’t even have to consider. Also, auxilia does not equal legion, perhaps the Roman example is problematic as they are a rare example of a culture of assimilation rather than segregation. Regardless, I see no place for affirmative action in historical fiction, should we sacrifice the facts so a few ignorant lobbyists can feel like they’ve made a difference while ethnic cleansing continues across North Africa?
    Sorry, rant, but that’s what I’m getting at with the Roman analogy.

  • http://princessunicornsparkles.tumblr.com platypism

    If we want to argue for historical accuracy, then I’d personally like to know why it is that we don’t see as much male rape or threat of rape. I mean, highly militarized segments of society? Check! Prisoners and prisoners of war? Check! An all-male, militarized group of outcasts made up of criminals who must swear off women? Check! In the real world, these things are often where men suffer the threat of rape, as well.

    I’m not arguing for MOAR RAPE in the show, but if we’re going to point to historical accuracy to excuse the sexual violence in the show, the least we could ask for is actual accuracy.

    Or, more specifically, for the consequences of sexual assault to be explored as more than mere background devices or “character growth.” The abuses and threatened assaults of Cersei, Sansa, Dany and Brienne all served to reveal something about their characters. In the case of Ros, her highly sexualized death happened off screen. Again, not arguing for graphic depictions of rape, but when her death and even the confrontation leading up to it happens off-screen, we are given no chance to see her perspective or empathize with her. When that death further serves to show character development for male characters (which honestly told us nothing new about them — Littlefinger is nefarious! Joffrey is a sadistic fuck!), and her broken body is put on display, breasts and all, for us to observe, she becomes an object and a plot device, not a “real” character.

  • Mochabean

    Theon’s immediate background is a good clue too!

  • http://princessunicornsparkles.tumblr.com platypism

    I agree re: Ygritte and Jon. It’s sort of hilarious that they’re highlighting Jon’s magical prowess, yeah, but I think the point is actually to imply, in a weird TV-GOT way, how Ygritte might find Jon more appealing than wildling men. That is, in the same way that she’s challenging his worldview, he’s challenging hers. Obviously they could have used some other device than his magic tongue to get this point across (lol), but that was still the gist I got.

  • Mochabean

    I think Jaqen said Arya owed the “Red God” three deaths. I’ve always assumed the Red God was R’hllor, but that Jaqen’s conclusion was based on the fact that Arya saved him and the other two Night’s Watch prisoners from death by fire. He saw it as a Balance owed the Red God, (if you will pardon a Liaden reference), even if he was not himself a follower of R’hllor. And this is arguably entirely consistent with the God of Many Faces, I think.

  • http://twitter.com/KatiePunkin Kate Holloway

    There is threat of male rape though.. Theon? Varys mentioning “the things men do to boys…”

  • Mochabean

    I think you are right — it has never been quite clear but I always think of The God of Many Faces as sort of an amalgam respecting aspects of all, but following none.

  • Spam

    Ah yes, this is a VERY good point. We’ve had only one instance of the threat of rape on a male with Theon, and I must admit an argument based on equality makes a lot more sense.
    I think you’ve pinpointed why it disturbed me so much, her character was disregarded structurally. However in terms of character development I don’t think it was entirely wasted, up till this point Joffery had not killed anyone himself, or allowed his creepy sexual violence to take such a severe psychotic turn.

    But I will concede a little, the issue isn’t with the manner of her death, it’s the way it was portrayed, the way it objectified her thematically.
    Is it ok for me to thank you? Because you have made so much more sense for me right now.

  • http://twitter.com/KatiePunkin Kate Holloway

    Part of the reason Martin has included the sexual violence, as well as the misogyny, social inequality, threats of male rape, and violence is to abstractly comment on their existence in our own society.

    Also, Littlefinger told us how she was dead, but he only described a “friend” who wanted to up his game. Showing that it was Joffrey escalating to brutally murdering someone does say something about Joffrey’s character development, but also how MARGEARY is influencing his psychopathy by trying to ingratiate herself with him. Just an episode or two ago, she was encouraging him by asking him if he’d like to watch her kill someone with a crossbow, and now he’s murdered someone with a crossbow in a really sexual manner.

  • Mochabean

    Good point, but guy did have the most beautiful armor in Westeros, no? But in the book, it was a symbol of the beauty of the ideal of chivalry, versus the reality of war and bloodshed and pain. In the show, its a cheap joke to remind us all of what we already know.

  • http://princessunicornsparkles.tumblr.com platypism

    I should clarify that I meant the quantity of threats/actual assaults. That was not intended to diminish that is *has* happened on the show.

  • Mochabean

    I read it a less awkward and more disinterested. But you are right, he keeps to his own.

  • http://princessunicornsparkles.tumblr.com platypism

    I suppose showing Joffrey actually killing someone may display more of his character. And it did suggest that Littlefinger may be getting closer to directly dirtying his own hands. Both are relevant character moments for them, I just wish Ros hadn’t been used to serve that purpose, or had at least been given the dignity of our empathy. I admit the shock/horror really hit me, so it was effective on some level, but I think there are a lot of ways they could have developed into that same scene without reducing her to an object.

    I’m glad it made sense to you, but I can’t take too much credit. I’ve read a lot of feminists’ complaints about the sexual assault on the show, and while some of them are (fairly, I think) about the existence of sexual assault in general, many are about the way the show handles it. I was put off by some scenes in the books I’ve read so far, but never got the sense that it was presented for titillation. Unfortunately, it often appears to be so in the show.

  • Cliff Hebner

    I do see how you came to that interpretation of the scene, but I still don’t agree – it doesn’t fit the order of events and the accompanying dialogue (how else do you explain Oleanna’s final line in the scene between her and Tywin? Tywin’s reputation isn’t for not getting what he wants). I *do* agree that Loras will end up in the Kingsguard, but I think they’re going to take a different route to get him there.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I can kinda see that, but I already thought Daisy(the prostitute he ordered Ros to abuse) was dead, so this is adding nothing for me. We’ve already seen him use the crossbow to force others to abuse people sexually, this isn’t that different. I don’t think Margaery has anything to do with this “development”(which I don’t think it is).

    I could have accepted this scene if it had been someone other than Joff, or a scene with Joff forcing Marg to do it or watch him do it, that would have worked better. But this, as it stands, tells us nothing about Joffrey we didn’t already know.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    See I think the death you are referring to, and him killing Ros himself, were TWO VERY different things, and I don’t necessarily follow that LF is sadistic enough for that. When he kills that person, while he may have planned for their eventual death in a manner unconnected to him, that’s as close to passionate as you see LF get. I don’t think he would have gotten that worked up over what Ros did to him, to do it like he does later. Instead, he calmly and coolly decides to profit off it, which is very different that flinging someone to their death when they are a threat to the one thing he does care about.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    But that’s a moment of passion. He killed Lysa b/c she was threatening Sansa. I think he intended for Lysa to die eventually, but in a manner that wouldn’t be connected to him. Doing what he did to Lysa, risks implicating him, and worse Sansa, which just isn’t the LF way.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Tywin’s reputation is that he WILL DO ANYTHING to get what he wants. And her acquiescing to Loras’ assignment to the KG acknowledges that. But it could happen differently, SPOILERS, that after Tywin dies, Cersei stops the wedding to Loras and assigns him to the KG. But that won’t happen for at least another season(I assume S4 ends with Tyrion’s escape) and that’s a long time for the story to drag out their engagement, especially as the clock’s ticking on Cersei ability to bear children.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    LF is leaving KL to marry Lysa Arryn. That’s why he and Varys were chatting away in front of the throne, it’s to be the last time they meet, as LF’s not supposed to come back, AFATK.

    My guess is that we will NOW get introduced to Dontos(or a stand in) who will offer to help Sansa escape, not knowing he’s working for LF. It’ll only be as they are approaching the same ship whose departure she cried over, will she(and the show only audience) realize who was behind it.

    This is likely the moment where the new escape attempt, involving the hairnet is finalized. I imagine LF paid his respects to the Tyrells before leaving town.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Together, Theon’s background, and some people’s banners in the background, are the clue. The fact that its upside down on the banners might hurt not help though.

  • Hannah Wilson

    I think in that moment in the books we saw who LF really was. We saw all the things he hides behind his small smiles and his wit. He is a very sadistic man who would take great pleasure from personally killing quite a lot of people.
    Though I do agree that at that moment we are seeing him finally do something he’s wanted to do for many years – he is just smart enough to wait until the right time to act on his desires, and though they drive him, they do not control him. So I think he very much would enjoy killing Ros himself, but you might be right that being able to profit from it would be even better, as it is proof to himself that he can have what he wants without dirtying his own hands.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t get the impression the ship had left yet–it was sitting in the same spot it was before when Littlefinger was looking at it earlier in the season. Regardless, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve cut Dontos out entirely. If I recall correctly, LF never asks Sansa directly to leave with him in the books, as he does in the show. Since it’s already out on the table, the only need for a Dantos character that might come up is for someone who’s physically smuggling her out, and they could play that several ways (a Tyrell? That’d be an interesting change) My money was on Ros being our Dantos stand in, I think that would have been neat. :-/

  • Cliff Hebner

    We agree on his reputation, but again – is Oleanna acquiescing to Loras joining the Kingsguard (meaning that the heirs to Highgarden would be the theoretical children of Joffrey and Margaery), or is she acquiescing to a marriage that keeps Highgarden in the hands of House Tyrell? We’re reading that scene in very different ways.
    I agree – S3 will end with the Red Wedding, and Tyrion’s escape/Tywin’s death will probably be at or near the end of S4 (depends on how much of Feast for Crows gets pulled into S4), at which point Cersei will use her position as Queen Regent to get out of the arranged marriage. It’s a long build, but they’ve spent a good long time setting up other plot points, so I wouldn’t put it past them to make that one a slow burn.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Now, I’m sad.

  • RC_cola

    Is that not the mark of a violent person? That they can’t control themselves and end up hurting others, even if they do not initially intend to? I do agree that murdering Lysa is not Littlefinger’s typical modus operandi, but that incident does go to show that he is a violent and unstable person.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I make a distinction between violent, sadistic, and calculating. LF’s never been one to use violence. I don’t believe he is sadistic, like Joffrey, to want to hurt and torture Ros as revenge. He likes others to do his dirtywork.

    I consider myself a “violent” person, I like fighting, am aggressive and bombastic. But I don’t inflict injuries on people, or terrorize them. So I have a broader definition of violent person. LF doesn’t revel in violence of violence’s sake, like Sandor and Gregor Clegane. It can be a useful tool, but it’s limiting if it’s your only tool.

    So I don’t think the LF is violent, he’s worse. Lysa’s death is an abberation in his behavior, prompted only by his fear for Sansa. If LF acted more like that impassioned person who made a bad decision, Westeros would be the better for it.

  • Lady Viridis

    Joffrey’s killing of Ros was definitely messed up… but I’m pretty sure there’s reference in the later books to him killing various prostitutes in increasingly violent ways (including with a crossbow) so I wasn’t surprised to see it. Much like how Theon’s torture doesn’t show up in the books until Dance with Dragons, but we’re seeing it now, I assumed it was just some shuffled around continuity. it was a narratively convenient way to get rid of that character while emphasizing Joffrey’s increasing cruelty, so we hate him even more.

    We as an audience also feel much worse about Ros’ death than we would for some random prostitute. It’s the same effect with Gendry– it’s better to have a character we know and care for taken away by Melisandre, rather than introducing another character without much to do, even if it does seem a little implausible that Melisandre would travel that far to find “kings’s blood.” (Robert did have a LOT of bastards, after all.)

  • Lady Viridis

    I’ve been very impressed with how perfectly Margaery is playing Joffrey, so I think she’ll be fine around him for a little while… and it also seems quite clear that the Tyrells are full of schemes, one of which is almost certainly to get Joffrey out of the way as soon as possible after the wedding. The scene in the garden seems pretty clear– Sansa tells them that Joffrey is a monster, and Olenna’s response is “Oh, well, that’s a pity.” I feel like the unspoken end of the sentence is “guess we better start with our assassination plans asap.”

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I don’t recall Joffrey killing anyone in the books.

  • Katy

    While I see the point about Ros being killed in a torture porn way, and while I’m sad she has been killed I actually thought Weiss and Benioff handled the scene very well. Yes, Ros was bound in Joffrey’s room, riddled with crossbow bolts, and her dress was torn. That definitely has aspects of torture porn. However, Ros was clothed (although partially) and Weiss and Benioff didn’t show the actual torture. Based on other episodes, they COULD have shown the torture and death of Ros, but they didn’t. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it could have been way worse on the torture porn part.

  • Spam

    Your argument is unconvincing, however I think it’s just your wording, or the way you’ve focused on certain points of semantics rather than my actual question. BUT, another user, Platypism, answered more directly, and I think she/he makes a lot of sense: the event was not without merit, Joffery up till this point had not killed someone with his own hands, nor had Littlefinger done something so sadistic without attempting to gain from the act. That said the cinematic structure they used was problematic, Ros’ death was not given enough TIME to give it the emotion impact we desired, thus it was jarring in a way that didn’t have as much shock value as Ned or Drogo’s deaths. That in a way reduced her character.
    Because I simply do not see any way the scene can be read in a titillating sexual manner, I do not see the need for this to be a primarily feminist argument, for me it’s more of a failing of storytelling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/X23sexy Wong Chia Chi

    Right disinterested too. But that can come across as awkward in certain situations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/X23sexy Wong Chia Chi

    So do I! LOL There are plenty of hints for Renly/Loras, doesn’t Jaime say to Loras ” I’ll stick that sword places even Renly never found, if you lie to me.” Or something like that?

    I just don’t feel like there’s enough evidence. Like no lover or anything like that is hinted at even. Perhaps in the later books, there will be more hints. But I took Blackfish as someone who really just didn’t want the responsibility of having a family of his own, even though he loves his nieces and nephews and who just wanted to to fight and have the simple life of a knight/soldier, hence his refusal to marry.

    There are tons of people out there like that for whatever reason. I know because I’m one of them and people question my sexuality constantly…lol so maybe I’m reading into it.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It’s not how she’s killed that got me pissed off(though I keep having to answer to that too, IDKY) it’s that she was a valuable POV and it’s gone, for no narrative purpose that I can see.

    I’d have an easier time of it, if I felt it served a better narrative purpose, for example if Tywin did it, or if Joff forced Marg to do it. As it stands, it shows us nothing new.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I don’t either.

  • Katy

    Okay, I understand now and see your point. However, I feel this does show us something new. It shows the further development of Joffrey’s sadism as he went from watching women being beaten on his orders to actually harming and killing a woman. It reinforces Varys’s comment about Littlefinger’s character (“He would burn the world to be king of the ashes”) and it could serve a narrative purpose as now Varys (and by extension the Tyrells) need a new spy. Considering what’s coming down the road between Joffrey and the Tyrells, Ros’s death could act as further rising action (or even an inciting incident). I’m being vague because I don’t want to give away book spoilers. I do hope Ros’s death has more of a lasting impact though.

  • Spam

    The level of discussion that is starting to appear across the internet, especially to do with Game of Thrones, really is fantastic. I can honestly say I’ve really enjoyed debating this.

    But I’d just say that, from a marketing point of view, it makes sense that we’re seeing the sexualisation (not objectification) of female bodies more so than male ones, considering the gender disparity in the fanbase. Though it’s starting to get more equal, if it were just the sexualisation of female bodies I don’t think people would be able to identify with the narrative. I mean, if the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra can have such massive success with strong female heroes then we’ve got to be doing something right.
    Just a thought.

  • Anonymous

    Im running the Dolphin browser on my Samsung Galaxy, if that makes any difference. I havent tried my standard browser yet.

  • TheGoktor

    My 2p-worth… could be long!

    WARNING: Could be spoilery but I’ll try to not be wherever possible.

    CAVEAT: I’ve read books 1,2,3, and am two-thirds of the way through 4, so I’m just basing my musings on what I know from the books and the show so far – I have no idea what happens later on, so could be completely wrong!

    1. I’ve never seen Ros as anything more than a narrative device – certainly not as a real character in her own right – so I don’t have a problem with her being killed off now there is no further use for her.

    2. I also don’t have a problem with the manner of her death. I didn’t see it as gratuitous, nor out of keeping with what we know about Joffrey’s penchant for gross sadism. The one issue I *do* have, however, was that it didn’t actually make me loathe Joffrey even more (!), so I’m not sure why that scene was done the way it was; if it was gauged to shock, or to increase our hatred of Joff, then I feel it failed somewhat. Conversely, I’m glad they only showed the aftermath – I suspect that anything else would definitely have been gratuitous, so kudos to the show for showing restraint (no puns intended).

    3. What no one else seems to have considered (or if they have, have not voiced it) is the possibility that Margaery killed Ros willingly. Show!Margaery seems to be up for doing anything which will gain Joffrey’s trust and affection, and is expert at playing him (as others have already noted). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we find out later on that it was M, and not J, who fired those bolts. Or maybe even both of them took turns…. with M firing the killing bolt as a way of both ending R’s torture, and of sating J’s sadistic lust.

    Furthermore, ever since that scene with M and Renly discussing consummating their marriage, I’ve felt that there would be no lengths that Show!Margaery would not go to get what she wanted. Whereas Tywin does what he does for House Lannister, I feel that Margaery is all about Margaery. I don’t think she is driven by the need or desire to elevate her House… but I do think she is easily as ruthless as Tywin.

    4. Olenna/Tywin: Given what book readers know about the hairnet, it would seem odd that Olenna would agree to Loras being assigned to the Kingsguard. However, since so much of that arc has been changed for the show, I wouldn’t be too surprised to discover later events, and their perpetrators, being changed too.

    5. Show!Loras: Just, why? I get why the show feels the need to spell out his proclivities but I don’t like it; I prefer the subtlety of the books. I also don’t like how, after establishing him as a force to be reckoned with in the tourney (S1), they’ve now turned him into a bit of a fop. And what’s going on with his hair?!

    And while I understand why they’ve omitted Willas, I don’t like that they’ve integrated the two characters… but I suppose it makes sense, since Sansa is known to be attracted to Loras.

    6. Sansa: Awwww…. I feel so sad for her. She’s grown so much as a character, shown how much inner strength she has, endured everything that’s happened to her, and yet still manages to remain human enough to shed tears when yet another thing goes wrong. I really like Book!Sansa – or should I say, *A*? ;-) – and I’m hoping that Show!Sansa becomes more like her.

    In some ways, I feel she is the other side of Cersei – both have been used by the men in their families, as chattels to further the cause of their Houses and political power; both have tried to love the men they were betrothed to, only to discover that there was nothing to love; both have happiness snatched away from them at every turn; both use their experiences and learned knowledge for self preservation. But where Cersei uses that hurt and disappointment to fuel her ambition, Sansa seems to just want to be left alone to be happy. I think Sansa wants what she saw her parents had, whereas Cersei wants to *be* her father…. but will never be because they are both motivated by different things. And because Tywin is far more mentally stable than Cersei!

    7. Gendry: Again, I get why the show didn’t want to introduce yet another character, and frankly, I don’t care enough about him one way or the other to be at all bothered about what happens to him… but how does Melisandre know about him being Robert’s bastard? Did she see it in the flames? Did she hear a rumour? Is it wibbly-wobbly, magical, mystical stuff? I don’t recall Stannis knowing about him, and I can’t see the Lannisters letting on to anyone – for obvious reasons.

    8. Brienne…. did *not* look ridiculous in that gown!

    9. Jaime/Brienne: When he stayed her hand at the table…. did I imagine gentleness, nay, tenderness there?! I really wish we’d get more J/B – I love how their mutual respect and friendship develops in the books.

    10. Theon/He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (no, not Voldy!): I can see the sense in the show tightening up the continuity but even so, this whole arc makes no sense right now IMO (especially given that Reek didn’t arrive in Winterfell in S2).

    What I do like is ‘Barry’ – or rather the way he’s played. And I do like that I couldn’t watch the whole finger thing (I too, made use of a manly chest, upon which to hide my eyes!)… it was very well done, even though I sort of knew what was coming.

    However, I’m not sure how those who haven’t read the books are going to guess from the clues who ‘Barry’ actually is (clues which are most definitely there – I agree with the other posters!). Has he ever been mentioned in passing, other than his paternity? I don’t recall anything in the show being about him, even briefly… although it may be that I’ve just forgotten.

    Anyhow, apologies for the long post – thanks to everyone for this great discussion… I’m really enjoying reading viewpoints I don’t agree with – food for thought indeed!

  • TheGoktor

    I’ve not got any hints that Blackfish is gay either! And TBH, if I hadn’t seen S1 before I read any of the books, I’m not sure I’d have necessarily picked up on R/L being more than close friends. :-)

  • Lady Viridis

    Hmm. I’m trying to remember. It’s possible that I was misremembering what happens in Clash of Kings, where Tyrion sends some prostitutes to Joffrey and Joffrey has them beat each other for his amusement. But he did also fire a crossbow at random peasants (probably killing some), and cut open a cat to see the kittens it had inside. There’s also the multiple cruel and unusual punishments we see him deliver (asking the singer “your hand or your tongue?”). Joffrey’s killing of Ros in the show is an escalation of that kind of cruelty, but not really out of character.

  • http://twitter.com/captainsharmie sharmylae

    i interpreted john’s oral skill as ygritte not having received oral much before… since i assume she’s used to less giving partners. also, major points for use of the placeholder name barry!

  • unak78

    I actually think that it’s Jaime who will convince Loras much as Cersei did with him.

  • unak78

    Also the marriage can’t possible go through bc it changes alot of what Cersei does as Regent in book 4. This whole thing isn’t a problem in the books bc Loras has two older brothers. I honestly don’t know where they’re going with this. Even if he joins the Kingsguard the Tyrells lose their only heir now.

  • unak78

    I think the show missed out on a bit of Loras’ character development by overemphasizing his sexual preference and underemphasizing his prowess as a warrior. For instance, I would have liked them showing how he killed the entire Kingsguard after Renly’s death in rage. That alone would have shown that there’s another side to his character.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m guessing Olenna doesn’t have a problem with Margaery’s kids inherting.

  • unak78

    I can understand Sansa being in the dark because I assume that “NOONE TALKS TO SANSA” is posted in big letters on her bedroom door. She under constant guard, and everyone in Joffrey’s court understands that she’s the “King’s property”.

    Margaery seemed so interesting to her bc she’s probably the first person, other than Littlefinger or Shae, who’ve talked to her in over a year. So the few people who have the courage to engage her in conversation have no interest or time to disabuse her of her illusions by whispering gossip to her.

    So, in other words, she’s living in a vacuum. She realizes that and part of her misery is that she’s always alone and left in the dark about everything. Even something so simple as court gossip.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    See that’s a change that bugs me. In the books, she instructs him, I do believe(it’s been awhile) and asks him if they do that down south, which is when Jon admits he’s “a maid”. So it seems like they changed it, just so the could keep up the virgin dynamo throughline they’ve got going this year.

  • unak78

    I agree with this. Littlefinger is calculating, but not violent. He’s willing to do violence if there are no other options, but he avoids it if at all possible. He likes to keep his hands clean.

    Even the way he describes what he has done to Ros insinuates that he is absolved of the result of his actions. He didn’t say he gave her to someone to have her killed, he said that he gave her to a friend who would “try something new”. As if whatever happens to her is not his fault or his concern anymore.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I really don’t know if I buy that there is this huge gender disparity in the fan base. The ONLY people I know who watch the show are women, aside from my BF who watches with me. I’d have to see the numbers. I think it’s more of the belief that men are the biggest audience, and that they must be catered to, is still the default assumption, and the fact that most of the people involved in the production of GoT are men.

    But if anything, the success of a show like Spartacus amongst a distinct male fan base, that still included a LOT of male nudity(more than the women for the first few seasons), demonstrates that catering to the female gaze isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a male fan base. And part of the difference comes, in a show like Spartacus, from the fact that the creators are feminist minded people, who wanted to explore marginalization, oppression, and slavery. That is not the case with GoT.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Again, I’m not arguing that her death was sexualized, I am saying it was a sexist move by the writers.

    Gendry disappears after these scenes in the books, for the most part, but the writers created a way to keep him in the story.

    Theon disappears for two novels, but they find a way to keep him in the show.

    And I’m not complaining that this was done, I adore Gendry and looking forward to him m’lady-ing with Shireen. Alfie Allen has been phenomenal(oh, dearie me!) and I’m glad to see more of him.

    But this one woman character, who served a vital NARRATIVE function* has been killed off to serve no narrative function whatsoever(in my opinion, some people say it shows Joffrey escalating, which is valid, but I don’t feel that was important enough).

    *What’s Theon’s story telling us about other people? Not much, yet, that does get better when Barry’s ID is revealed. And we already knew Theon was a contemptible worm. What about Gendry? Not much yet, those who’ve read the books know what purpose Mel wants him to serve. They are plot devices, not narrative functions, which is a big diff to me, IMO. Ros provided a badly needed perspective in the story, one that’s even MORE vital now that LF’s left KL, how else are we going to know what’s happening in the brothel’s now?

  • unak78

    I often have a problem with the fantasy argument when trying to criticize the show for it’s choices in aspects of characterization. I’m black and I had the same problem when people complained about the racial roles given in the series. The “why can’t blacks live in King’s Landing” type of arguments.

    When arguing the “fantasy” aspect you have to realize one thing; the fact that it’s a fantasy is more about setting than characterization. There’s a difference. One of the things that George RR Martin set out to do with this series was to highlight that. Do people’s emotions and personalities, especially the worse aspects of those, truly change because dragons happen to exist? This is like saying that racism, sadism, greed and sexism suddenly wouldn’t have existed had the dodo bird not gone extinct some 350 years ago.

    George’s biggest problem is that fiction writers, especially fantasy fiction writers used the excuse of “fantasy” to idealize the characterization of the human soul. Because it’s a fantasy, everyone on the planet suddenly falls into two-dimensional characterizations of “good or evil”. And even the aspects of evil are simple yet never falling into the category of depraved and sadistic. It was PG evil. None of them had to act like real people do simply because dragons happen to exist.

    Understand this, ASoIaF is GRRM’s pursuit of true humanity that happens to exist in a fictional world inspired wholey on his studies of our own past. This was the strongest point that he wanted to prove in this series, and so to pick and choose which bits of that often unsavory history would fall short of doing justice to his ultimate endeavor. Once again, the dragons and magic is setting, why should this change characterization?

    It’s like saying that all we needed in our world is a few cool creatures and a magic show and suddenly all of the crappy things that really happen to people in our world wouldn’t exist. Or that taking humanity and dropping them in Westeros, would magically wipe away the worst aspects of our nature. Do you really think that any amount of magic is really strong enough to make humanity better as a whole. In the end, only time can do that.

  • unak78

    It show’s the dangers inherent in what Ros tried to do with her life. Littlefinger’s narrative hit on it at the exact point that we saw what had happened to Ros. Ros was juxtaposed across from Sansa. She was the one who tried to climb the ladder of chaos in order to improve the lot she was dealt at birth and she failed in a very horrific manner. It shows what risks the lower classes, especially women, take when they strive to take a hand in their own destiny. It’s truly a risk, but a risk Ros likely took knowing what might happen to her if she failed. Littlefinger had told her as much in season 2. Sansa took no such risks and thus still remains alive but a prisoner. And she was born with advantages that Ros could only dream of.

  • unak78

    What it showed was the risks people took when they tried to do what Ros, a commoner with few connections, did. Even Gendry has little control over his life. Ros took a big risk. In most tv shows, those risks are glossed over for narrative purposes. In real life, spys die. Becoming a spy was a big opportunity for a smart young woman like Ros, but it doesn’t come without risks. She was climbing the ladder of chaos. She made that choice and understood the risks. I would have felt let down had she succeeded for too long with a dangerous man like Littlefinger. She was smart but she was also playing a dangerous game.

  • unak78

    I don’t think so. If they were going to cut out Dontos’ role, they wouldn’t have cast him in the first place and just killed him at the beginning of season 2. It’s like Beric in Season 1, they won’t bring him back until he’s needed. The purpose of putting the LF play for Sansa in here now was soley for the intrigue between he and Varys and providing motivation for the bigger moves that took place this season. Now LF has been forced to leave without Sansa, having been thwarted by Varys, so he will use Dontos as his plan B imo.

  • unak78

    No Jaqen invoked the Red God in the books as well despite truly worshiping the faceless god. I agree with Mochabean and everyone else who’s made the point that Jaqen merely associated R’hllor as being the god owed three deaths stolen from the fire.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes, I get that. But plenty of other characters are also at such a risk, and they aren’t killed off. Contrast with Theon, who did a very similar thing, tried to climb the ladder. Now he is different in that he’s highborn, so that offers him protection. But at the same time, what’s being done to him will eventually explore things that are very good for the narrative, while developing him as a character somewhat. Something similar could have been done with Ros. I wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing her suffer like Theon has and will, but there are always ideas to explore in those situations, especially from her unique perspective as a sex worker. It’s these lost opportunities I’m angry about.

  • unak78

    Joffrey’s also alot younger in the books. He also didn’t order the killings of Robert’s bastards. I like how they’re stepping up Joffrey’s psycho tendancies beyond what was shown in the books. He’s older and so would be further gone from the norm.

  • unak78

    Not if it means the end of the Tyrell line though. The end of their name. Granted Olenna wasn’t born a Tyrell, she was born a Redwyne, but she was a member of one of the noble houses of the Reach. To not have a lord of the Reach carry one of their names, even if they’re blood, would be problematic. I can’t imagine that she would overlook that.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I agree, it’s an interesting corner they’ve painted themselves into making Loras the sole heir. I assume they are confident in Marg’s ability to influence Tommen.

  • unak78

    You said it right there, Theon is a highborn. Not only highborn but from one of the 8 most powerful families in the kingdoms. You have the 4 wardens who are the Westerosi equivalents of dukes. Then you have the 8 families who are the equivalents of earls and countesses. Ros had no family that we knew of and definitely no family in King’s Landing. “Barry”, (I know who he is, but we have to play this game until the show catches up) knows he can’t just kill Theon without answering to whoever he serves. But he can play with him. Just as Locke couldn’t just kill Jaime. Even taking Jaime’s hand pushed the boundaries of what the Bolton’s could get away with.

    No matter how smart she was, it pushed the boundaries for Ros to be able to overcome a skilled player for long. She made a bold move by stealing that shipping manifest, she would have been better off memorizing it. It would have been even more unbelievable for Littlefinger to let her live after finding out. She’s a nobody. She took agency in her own life because she thought that Varys could protect her from Littlefinger. And because she felt that she was doing the right thing in opposing Littlefinger and protecting Sansa. And also because, she was truly taking advantage of an opportunity in her life to do more than what she was born to do.

    That was her victory. That was her win. She did more with her life than alot of people in that world could dream of, as sad as that is to say considering what happened to her.

    I can understand being upset at losing Ros’ unique perspective, I’m possibly one of the few long-time book readers who liked the character. I’m upset at her death too, but I accept the plausibility in both the timing and even the manner of her death considering her place in the world.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I get that, I really do.

    At the same time, what Arya’s doing is risky as hell, but she survives. She survived when everyone thought she was a commoner as a lowly peasant girl with no power. By all rights, she should have died when Raff and Polliver took her captive. But she doesn’t because, in the minds of the author, she has value. It just hurts my heart that Ros had no value to the writers.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    You have a point. That scene was so shocking for me, though, because it was opposite how we’d seen Littlefinger deal with his enemies prior to that point. Having him kill someone now would lessen the impact.

  • unak78

    Arya probably came closer to dying in the books than what’s perceived on the show, so I agree there. There are no nice convos with Tywin, only horror at Harrenhal. But what she has is Jaqen H’ghar. And Arya took only one big risk directly on the show and it’s Jaqen who saves her from the consequences. All that shows is that Jaqen was a much more effective protector than Varys could be. That’s just show-wise.

    Besides, she doesn’t die when she’s taken captive because they had no reason to kill her at that moment. They had plenty of other common captives to kill. Ros was the only person that LF had chosen to trust with his affairs. And we know that LF doesn’t really trust anyone, he told Ned Stark as much in book 1/season1. It makes sense that he had her watched. It makes sense that Ros might have assumed that she had his trust and been mistaken. Polliver isn’t Littlefinger. He was simply a soldier.

    Ros had alot more value to the writers than such a character even had to GRRM. They created her. They gave her a voice. They made many of us care about her. That’s a win enough.

  • unak78

    Yeah, I mean, this is probably the first time I’ve really taken pause with a change. I’m usually nonchalant with them bc they don’t really change the course of the narrative, but this really does and kinda makes me less certain about what will happen with all of this. It intrigues me in some ways but worries me in others. I’ll wait and see…

  • unak78

    I’ll also add that she really only takes one big risk in the books and that’s backed by Jaqen’s help as well. Even though she was backed by Varys, Ros didn’t operate with his active coordination. She was a sitting duck and I feel an intelligent pawn who Varys wasn’t unwilling to sacrifice for the greater good.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Wandering around a war torn nation is a HUGE risk, which is what I’m talking about.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Why capture her though? What purpose was a prepubescent girl going to serve? Arya’s whole storyline should have been a lot more terrible than it was(not that I’m advocating, Lord and Lady no). I’m just using it to point out that when an author wants to, they flout of the laws of risk and reality b/c they want to.

    And the enforce those laws when they want to.

    And yeah, the writers valued her, to an extent. Just not enough, IMO.

  • unak78

    I’ll give you that, but I would still argue that the act of espionage is the greatest risk that can be undertaken in any era of human history. Especially for a commoner in that particular history.

    I would contend that once Varys came to speak to her she had three choices. Varys confirmed to her what she’d suspected already about her employer, he wad dangerous and totally devoid of remorse or empathy.

    So with that knowledge, she first could choose to do what she ended up doing, aid Varys as a spy and take on the risks that that entailed. She could have refused Varys and continued to work as LF’s assistant. Not a desireable job, but she was being taken care of, and likely safer on LF’s side and the subject of his whims. She’d already proven useful to LF and as such was intelligent enough to remain useful to him. However that has risks of it’s own in that LF does not protect his people, even his most useful people, when it serves him. Varys’ offer was therefore tempting. And lastly, she could have chosen to flee; she could have requested that Varys aid her in this, and he likely would have refused. Still, with LF leaving the capitol, she could have seen her opportunity to take whatever money she might have earned in his employ to escape the brothel and seek passage east to Essos. That has risks too. LF may have figured out that she was trying to leave and killed her then.

    Ultimately she had many unsavory choices which all had their benefits and pitfalls. Varys valued her traits, and I’m sure that he was honest in saying that he tries to protect his people, but as a spy she is first and foremost an expendable asset. That’s why the CIA call their informants and associates “assets” and nothing more. As she is now dead, Varys will not be compelled to mourn her or avenge her. She was useful when she lived and he likely regrets being unable to protect her but that is as far as it goes.

    Arya, by contrast, took great risks as well, but no greater than the risks that must be undertaken by the millions living in the war-torn Riverlands. In this respect, she is one of many. Which is why her anonymity was her greatest asset. She was in a bad situation but wasn’t putting herself in a position that was any more perilous than she normally would have been in. Spys die every day. And Ros was a spy.

  • Spam

    Yeah, I couldn’t find the numbers either, I was more going by the marketing, which, I suppose, is basically supposition.
    The fact that we’re having this conversation means there has to be some fan discontent. As a straight male member of the fan base I would love to see more equal levels of nudity, but that is 90% because I would like to see more realism in the show. From a feminist perspective I am a close to content (for the moment) with the strength of the female characters alone, and as a grassroots analysis it’s fantastic to see stronger more realistic women characters without slipping down the rabbit hole of stripping them of their femininity then saying they’re as strong as men because they are no longer female… What?
    Surprisingly what bothers me the most is the lack of characterisation for gay characters, Loras particularly. He sort of represents the bad female writing of the decades past, he is his sex and sexuality first, and a character second. This is pretty unacceptable in a modern television show.
    I really hope the showrunners hear of these complaints before they begin season 4 in earnest.

  • Spam

    The points you’ve made here are important, but someone, it may even have been the writer of this article, made the point that Ros was no longer necessary in terms of tying all the KL storylines together. Honestly I would love for Ros to have lived, but i can understand the removal of her character. As far as I can tell, things are about to get a LOT more complicated in Westeros, they may want to start removing most of the sidestories to free up screen time in a definitive manner (also one that generates fan recognition – perhaps our conversation is a form of circulation the showrunners predicted).
    As for Gendry, now I haven’t read the books yet (read: please don’t spoiler me!), but apparently they’ve combined him with many of the other bastard storylines in order to keep the series a bit less complicated.
    In the end my biggest beef was that Ros was not given a big enough send off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563223409 Vic Horsham

    I don’t recall saying the world had to be perfect, or completely lacking in sexism etc. In fact, I pointed out that there IS a lot of sexual danger in the books, and that the violence itself was NOT what my issue was. I don’t know how I could have been more clear, but my issue was with the sexualised portrayal of it in the TV show, not the violence itself.

    The sexual death of Ros did NOT EXIST in the books. Her character didn’t even exist. The character arc and death was entirely invented for the show.

    You can have all kinds of violence and grimdark nastiness in something. But HOW you choose to portray it makes a big difference. I argue that the narrative choices the TV show writers made in this instance were beyond the pale and were not necessary. Not because Ros was killed. Nor even because she was killed in such a nasty way. But because they fridged her for male character development, not even giving her a single line spoken in the entire episode in which she dies, and then displayed her corpse on-screen strung up with arrows in all her sexy parts.

    It felt a lot like those scenes where the Black Mask tortured Spoiler in the comics. You know, where her broken body was splayed out in sexual positions all over the pages.

    There are ways to portray grim, nasty violence as though it’s supposed to be shocking and horrifying. There are ways to portray it in a way that garners sympathy for the victim. Then there are ways to portray it more through the eyes of the perpetrator.

    My mention of the “historical accuracy” thing was simply because, frankly, it’s not a valid argument for fantasy. Not automatically, anyway. Sure, we can claim that fantasy stories are inspired by our own past, but unless it’s specifically historical fantasy, they take place in unique worlds. My point is I only ever hear “historical accuracy” brought up to defend sexism, racism etc. Even when it’s wrong. Proponents of historical accuracy would, for example, have you convinced that medieval England was some magical land of white people and only white people, when in fact we’ve had trade links with the middle and far east since ancient times, not to mention the Roman garrisons made up of mercenary troops from ALL OVER the world.

  • Anonymous

    Re: Margery…I don’t think she’s that dark. Both she and her grandmother know how much of a bad egg Joffrey is. She’s playing with him enough to get him in her grasp, but in ways that aren’t directly cruel to anyone else, and are even sometimes genuinely the opposite. I think they set her up, as she is a bit in the books, as a woman who manipulates, but doesn’t stoop to Cersei (or Joffrey’s) levels of threats and cruelty. She’s practically the embodiment of “attract more flies with honey than with vinegar” She’s crafted every moment of manipulation to be a kind of win/win for both parties.

  • Gail F

    Loras in the book was less stereotyped – no discussions of fringed dresses and brocade; and no dallying with a cute squire; he implied that he would love no one after Renly’s death. He wasn’t necessarily the most brilliant of the Tyrells; but he was a good fighter and loyal to the man he loved even after the latter’s death.

  • Gail F

    I am not so sure that the murder of Lysa shows that Littlefinger is violent so much as it shows that he is absolutely ruthless, and devoid of compassion or a sense of fairness. Lysa was a criminal mess; but he had helped to make her that way; and he had used her and benefitted from that usage. Littlefinger killing her showed he has no qualms about discarding someone he views as a pawn in his scheme, regardless of their past closeness (Lysa was his foster-sister and had briefly carried his child as well as being his partner in crime). The Lysa incident did show that Littlefinger was not as controlled as he thought he was – not the killing, but Littlefinger’s foolish triggering of Lysa’s jealousy and insecurity, i.e. his actions with Sansa outside (where anyone could see)…

  • Gail F

    Arya had certain advantages even when thought to be a lowly peasant girl – she was not privy (at least in the books) to anyone’s secrets (as Ros became to Littlefinger’s), and she was too young to be of sexual interest to most of the predatory men hunting her and later holding her captive. (If Arya had been three years older while a prisoner in Harrenhal, she would have surely been raped at some point) In the books, it becomes pretty obvious that human life is horribly cheap in this world; uncounted innocent men, women and children suffer and perish. It hurt my heart to read the probable sad fate of a three-year-old orphan girl, and the miserable, unnecessary death of the woman owner of the Inn at the Crossroads (the Inn where Catelyn Stark kidnapped Tyrion; in the books, Tywin Lannister had the woman hanged). Also, Ros did not exist at all in the books; so don’t blame George R. R. Martin for her fate.

  • Spam

    That is a far better character than the shallow one we’re seeing in the series. Though, to be honest I don’t think the character is aided by his actor, I’ve never once been convinced by Loras, he doesn’t seem very real, more like an afterthought that the showrunners aren’t quite sure what to do with.

  • http://twitter.com/Darth_Cliche Carl Jackson

    But are you every going to see threats of rape even up between men and women? I think the resounding answer to that question, just as in real life, is no. When we talk about those that have taken on the black in GoT, you’re talking about ex-criminals so prison is not a bad parallel … except they are murdered for breaking their vows. Rape probably ISN’T a great idea. But if as a group they are going to systemically allow that behavior to the point it is safe, why wouldn’t they just turn a blind eye collectively to men going off to town to use prostitutes? It doesn’t make much sense.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m not, I’m just pointing out that engaging is risky behavior is not a death sentence, if the writer decides the character has value, so it’s an invalid argument to use that Ros was being risky, so of course she died.

    Your point about Arya being predated, kinda makes my point. She served no purpose to the men who kidnapped her, unlike Gendry and Hot Pie, she should have been as easily discarded as Lommy. She wasn’t, because in the author opinion, her POV has value. In these Benioff’s and Weiss’ opinions, Ros’ POV had no more value. And that hurts.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    In the books, unfortunately I don’t think so. It doesn’t really come across as consensual or desirous to me, done more out of an obligation to her mistress.

    I think they may be trying to change that dynamic by aging up Missandei, but the creates it’s own problems with a power dynamic, and that’s it’s like to be shot for male tittillation.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    There’s a blogger I read who’s reviewing the book, who has been demanding gay characters since the first chapter. Still mad she hasn’t found any. She’s on A Storm of Swords. :^D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001588468594 Peter Hale

    Did he? Been awhile since I’ve read them.