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Game of Thrones is turning me into a feminist Cannoli Send a noteboard - 07/05/2019 06:05:38 AM

So there I was, planning my rape schedule for the week while watching Game of Boob Dragons and wondering if there was some way for the actresses to react and emote their proper submission to male authority and/or their shortcomings in that regard and need for chastisement, without actually speaking, when a conversation happened between Tyrion & Varys. After Varys fails to convince Dany not to attack the city, he and Tyrion have a little chat in front of the Dragonstone throne. We get this:

Tyrion: What about my earlier proposal? They could rule together as king and queen.

Varys: She's too strong for him. She'd bend him to her will as she already has.

Tyrion: He could temper her worst impulses.

Varys: As you have?

What the ever-living fuck is this shit? "We can't reconcile Jon & Dany's claims by marrying them to one another, because he'll listen to her instead of the other way around?" Monarchy is a stupid way to run a country, nearly as stupid as democracy, but Jon is just a moron while Dany's psycho issues were there long before Varys accompanied her back to Westeros. But she DID fall in with his plans concerning the White Walkers and agree to put her quest for the throne aside to come north. She mentioned as much to Sansa, in case anyone's forgotten since last season. She's far more likely to listen to Varys' whining about the sufferings of the commoners, because that's why she attacked the last three cities she conquered.

Yeah, Dany isn't very impressed by the collateral damage argument, because it's stupid. It has been known since Day One that Cersei blew up the sept and killed the paternalistic Tyrells and the leaders of the national religion. Hot Pie told Arya as much in the very next episode. At this point, any innocents still hanging around Cersei for protection are fine with her being a usurper allied to a pirate and a necromancer. They're fair game. If Cersei is kidnapping them to serve as human shields, it's out of Dany's hands. This is not book-knowledge about Westeros, this is simple common morality. Dany even finished up the conference saying she'd give Cersei the chance to surrender, for optics. And this is supposed to be alarming and distressing, and Emilia Clarke is clearly being to told to deliver the line like a right royal bitch, but she's right! She is facing stupid objections and her comment about only doing it for the optics is not because she doesn't care about the body count, but because she (correctly) figures that Cersei won't give in, and optics are the only possible gain.

There are two ways to take a city, assuming negotiations fail. Storm it and kill everyone who stands in front of you, because life is not a video game and you can't readily identify people who are not a genuine threat, and the other is a siege. Siege is not simply a matter of waiting until they get bored and quit, it involves depriving them of incoming food and supplies until death and disease either weaken the resolve of the decision-makers or they flat-out run out of people to defend the city. Oh, and during this wait Dany somehow has to feed HER people, with Kings Landing having been relocated to the middle of a desert, and it being winter everywhere else and the lack of food supplies available to her forces being a thing mentioned two episodes ago.

But they need Jon to tell Dany what to do? This is the dealbreaker for supporting her? Jon's blood claim is of suspect provenance. How are they going to prove it? Rhaegar never named him his son, the only documentation was procured by his best friend, and at this stage of chaos, people are going to listen to whoever wins the war. Jon's sort-of blood claim is a big deal in a Grand Council, where people are weighing claims to choose a ruler. Right now he's a de la Pole and Dany and Cersei are fighting over that crown they found on a bush. Varys offers the argument that the lords of Westeros, whose support they need, are going to prefer to follow a male claimant to the throne. Now this might be true, if you are a book reader. If you parsed out the arguments and eventual outcome of the Dance of Dragons. However, while Book-Stannis has definite opinions about who was right and who was wrong there, Show-Stannis appears to have learned about it from his daughter shortly before her death, and his only opinion was that "Dance" was a stupid name.

But lets take this at face value, and examine Varys' assertion. Who will prefer Jon's penis to Dany's dragon? The people of the capital region are loyally following Cersei. The lord of the Stormlands was named personally by Dany, who also legitimized him, and the only other known Show Houses in the Stormlands are Tarth and Selmy. The latter will have to be cognizant that their greatest knight died in Dany's service and the former have Brienne, who is another woman. Yes, she's on Team Stark, but it's via loyalty to Catelyn, who hated Jon. The Dornish are not going to pick the male claimant by virtue of his sex alone, and if Ellaria spoke for the prevailing sentiments, the Dornish allowed Doran's murderer to take over because he would not avenge Oberyn, who died pursuing vengeance for their sister, Elia. Whom Rhaegar divorced to marry Jon's mother. There's the West , which is following another filthy vagina-creature, and if not her, Jaime & Tyrion, who are on Team Dany. Tyrion's upholding her cause in this very discussion. The Reach followed Lady Olenna right down to the end, and the other major Show House is Tarly, headed as far as we know by Randyll's widow & daughter. The Riverlands only intermittantly matter, but Edmure has apparently been stripped of Riverrun, if Cersei is promising it to Bronn. So far as we know, his heirs are Sansa & Arya. Female. The only known Show House in the Riverlands are the Freys, who are also down to a widow and maybe some step-daughters, because Arya killed all their men. When Varys is first told of Jon's heritage, he & Tyrion are certain the Vale lords are lost because they follow Sansa. As does the North. What other nobles are in the north? Did Lord Glover survive? We know Ned Umber & Lyanna Mormont died, so the last one with a face is the Lady Karstark Jon raised. And there are the Iron Islands, under Asha Yara Greyjoy.
The whole damn realm is under the rule of women or the Lannister boys and their best bud, Bronn, future lord of Riveacherlands. Put a pin in him, I have more to say about that.

Another argument for Jon to take the throne, per Varys, is that "the best ruler might be someone who doesn't want to rule". This is the same TV show that insists Ned and Robert were bad rulers. Was there anyone who better fits that criterion than those two bumblers? But even if it does work out, how does Varys think things are going to go Jon is thrust onto the throne over the corpse of his lover? Remember that thing where Jon came back from the dead and kept his job as Lord Commander long enough to get revenge and then retroactively claim his watch ended with his assassination? Varys better hope whatever Dolorous Edd analogue ends up with the Throne when Jon quits and goes home is as committed to the welfare of the people as he (and I repeat, absolutely no one else has expressed so much as lip service to that ideal other than Daenerys).

Before we get to that stuff about Dany henpecking Jon into tyranny, Varys opposes Tyrion's suggestion of a marriage by citing their blood kinship. Tyrion responds with "but Targaryens" and Varys retorts that Jon was raised by the Starks, who don't practice Targaryen marital customs. But that's exactly the point - Jon & Daenerys were never socialized as aunt and nephew. That has not ever been a part of their relationship dynamic. Their closest common relative, Rhaegar Targaryen, died before either of them was born. Daenerys never held a position of familial respect and superiority over Jon which could make consent a sticky issue. Their kinship is only an abstract datum to them. By the same token, first cousins marrying is common throughout Westeros (such as Tyrion's own parents) but Jon & Sansa or Arya would be highly unlikely to want to marry to consolidate authority and inheritance over Winterfell, because even though they are mere cousins, they were raised as brother and sisters.

And while marrying aunts and nephews is not a thing done by Starks (except only maybe not. I'd have to check the family tree to be sure), they had no problem fighting in the name of Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was married to her uncle. Rhaenyra's son Aegon III was the only Targaryen to have a Stark as his Hand, and a northern lord, Torrhen Manderly, was the last Hand of Aegon's regency. Before that, Princess Rhaenys was born of an aunt-nephew marriage, but her claim to the throne received very little support. Only her husband's house, her mother's family ... and House Stark. Clearly Starks do not have a problem with Targaryens marrying aunts or uncles. Book knowledge aside, the Starks followed the Targaryens loyally for several centuries, in spite of the incest thing.

Also on the book knowledge front, which has been bothering me for nearly two years, since Bran first said "Robert's Rebellion was based on a lie," the show has Tyrion claim that all the horrible stuff that has happened in Westeros for "...the last twenty years. The war, the murder, the misery. All of it because Robert Baratheon loved someone who didn't love him back."

Robert Bartheon began "his" Rebellion only when, out of the blue, for events over which he had no input or control, a king ordered him murdered. He HAD to rebel, because as long as the king was on the throne, he was not safe, nor were his two dependant brothers, a teenager and a child. Note that in the only media to actually tell us what happened, Robert did nothing about Lyanna and Rhaegar for MONTHS. The news spread, Brandon Stark went to court, was arrested, his father was summoned, came to court and was tortured to death alongside his son. This whole time, Robert was in the Vale of Arryn with Jon & Ned. Not making war, not raising rebellion against his king, not even demanding a redress of his rightful grievance. Rickard Stark had to pass by Robert's location halfway along his fateful journey to court! There was plenty of time for Robert to do ANYTHING intemperate or in reaction to the loss of the object of his unrequited love. Then King Aerys called for his head, because he was engaged to the woman Aerys' son ran off with, whose father and brother had just been tortured to death at Aerys' order.

So Robert fought against Rhaegar Targaryen, when Rhaegar showed up at the head of an army fighting on behalf of the king who tortures people to death without trials. Robert didn't hunt Rhaegar down at a harp recital, Rhaegar rode into battle armed and armored, with 40,000 men, some of whom were Dornish and thought they were fighting for their prince's brother-in-law, not knowing he had divorced her and disinherited their kids.

That was what Robert Baratheon did over a woman who loved another. He won several fights that other people picked for no good reason. But if he had NOT rebelled, then Westeros would have been ruled by a king known as the Mad, with a predilection for homicidal pyromania and associated sexual fetishes he acted on through marital rape. And was prejudiced against one of the three races over which he claimed kingship. When he died, the reign would pass to his emo douche son who is so out of touch and politically inept that he seemed to have no idea people would be displeased with his ditching one wife who had borne him two children at apparent risk to her health, and eloping with abducting and statutorily raping a 15 year old, without her family's knowledge. Who happened to be engaged to the highest-ranking man on the continent outside the royal family. With these two men on the Iron Throne, there obviously would NEVER have been "the war, the murder, the misery".

And most of that war, murder & misery that subsequently happened anyway had very little to do with Robert and is disproportionately the result of the actions and choices of Tyrion's father, brother & sister.

So when the issue of a King torturing a High Lord and his heir to death in the throne room came to the attention of other High Lords who might find themselves similarly subject to royal whims, by the Show's values, Robert was supposed to be all like "Oh hey geez, you guys. Look, I'm totally in agreement with you that this is bad, no question, but, you see, I kind of a history with Rhaegar's new girl. We were a thing for a minute and if I were to rebel against his father's tyranny, it would look like I was being petty about the girlfriend thing. Sorry, we just can't rise up right now."

So clearly, these writers don't know their asses from their elbows about politics, military stuff or the source material of their own works, but you'd think they could at least get human stuff down. Instead of normal conversations, we get Sansa & Dany being bitchy to one another for no reason. Jon is not Sansa's ex. He's her brother. When your brother is in love, you overlook her shortcomings, not harp on them. Not unless she's really bad for him in some way. Giving him free access to her obsidian mine, coming to the rescue of his kingdom and letting him be the only other person in the world to ride her dragons generally shouldn't set off the typical concerned-sibling alarm bells. The show keeps paying lip service to the cause of northern independence, but the Starks gave that up the first time, because rebelling against dragons is stupid. Jon putting out for Dany is the path to maximum freedom and leeway for House Stark. If Sansa & Arya are really worried about their political cause, they should be telling him to lie back and think of the North. Cattiness is the only real reason I can find to explain their attitude, and meanwhile, Dany, rather than offer some political gestures to placate her new subjects, just whines to Jon & Sansa about her reception or glares at her in meetings.

The only place I can get to from what I'm seeing this season is that women are immature, petulant bitches, and they are too emotional to run a kingdom or a marriage. There is lip service paid to the notion that they live in a sexist society that requires male leadership, but there was a notable lack of rebellion against Cersei the Usurper without a drop of Targaryen blood in her veins and public knowledge of her crimes (and no, she cannot be ruling by fear - FrankenGregor can't chase down every person who decides to move to another city, and the septsplosion would make any truly fearful people somewhat reluctant to live in a city full of other buildings she could be planting bombs under), and in past seasons, we had Olenna Tyrell sitting on the Small Council and directly negotiating with the Hand of the King and joking about his sexuality to his face. Westeros is only sexist when they want to rape Sansa or parade Cersei naked through the streets.

I don't give a shit if Black Widow ever gets her own movie (but I'll watch it without a good reason not to). I don't care how many women had speaking roles in Lord of the Rings. I don't care that Marvel jumped over Wasp, their main shrinking character, to name a movie after a second stringer. I don't care if a movie passes the Bechdel test and you will never convince me that Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wiig are worthy to wash the underpants of Bill Murray, Harold Ramis & Dan Akroyd. My primary expression of love for "Wheel of Time" is to denigrate its female lead. I consider fatal uterine infections from coat hangers to be poetic justice. Do you know how many comments I posted on the internet complaining about depictions of violence against women, before I started noticing patterns in the first three season of Game of Thrones? About the same as the number of Fan-fics I wrote where Egwene solves all of the problems of Randland and wins the Last Battle (or the number of times I use "Randland" unironically).

But I'm seeing a book series where a young woman, who is just about the only ruler to actually care about the welfare of regular people, whose concern for peace and justice, while at time misinformed, is such that she ties herself in knots to try appeasing her enemies and prevent violence, is boiled down in an adaptation to a bitchy, arrogant and jealous girl, because the writers can't think of legitimate reasons to challenge her claim to a throne and lack the skill to make their audience believe the other candidate is a comparable threat, so they invent rationalizations why the brains of the cast wouldn't want her on the throne, which would embarrass a 1950s patriarch. If I was reverse engineering "A Song of Ice and Fire" from the TV Show, I would assume Tyrion is the point of view character for all his scenes with Dany, because their dynamic is almost always about Tyrion's struggles to keep this crazy bitch under control.

You know why I liked reading Tyrion? Because he was sympathetic, but also a huge asshole. Aside from a single perjurer who volunteered unsuborned false testimony to suck up to Cersei down the road, everything said at Tyrion's trial, all the evidence presented was TRUE. His sister ran a clean & legit prosecution! Cersei was almost outwitted in a coup by Ned Stark, and Littlefinger takes her incompetence for granted to the extent that his plans call for leaving her alone so she can destroy herself. But all she had to do to convince the realm that Tyrion was a regicide was tell the truth about his method of governance. Tyrion is arrogant, he's contemptuous of commoners and he can be pretty sexist. His saving grace is his being dwarf gives him the ability to empathize very slightly with people who get a raw deal, and he often acts against his own worst impulses. That last bit is way more interesting than someone who is always going on about how awesome she is or how her lack of awesomeness is the result of oppression. It is something he has in common with Dany, except she tends to channel her darkness against people who deserve it. In other words, they are very much alike and they have similar flaws. I think if they are going to be there at the final battle against the Others, it's going to be the climax of a rehabilitation arc. I think Dany is going to rejoin the battles in progress at the head of an army of savages who have the same quasi-religious reverence for her as her freedmen had between Yunkai & Meereen, with a huge black dragon, and she is going to be done listening to excuses or complaints. There's going to be a lot more of the woman who demanded a crucified slave owner in retaliation for the milepost atrocities on the road to Meereen. We're talking Radical Reconstruction, Essos style. Birth of a Nation, where the Klan gets eaten by dragons and the slaves and savages have free rein to do their worst, and Tyrion is going to be at her side whispering poison into her ear the way he was to "Aegon", encouraging him to launch yet another futile invasion of Westeros by the Golden Company. And they're going to have to bounce back from that, maybe with the help or example of the Starks, maybe they kill Aegon and everyone hates them or they kill off Stannis but upon reviewing his actions, they see the good stuff there and feel ashamed. Maybe Tyrion finds out about Jaime choking out Cersei and feels bad. Maybe all the show's arguments about the danger of using dragons to attack Kings Landing has been because the attack will have a bad outcome in the books. I keep going back to Aerys' wildfire plot, that Jaime never bothered to clean up after. If Dany "completes" the work of her dad in destroying the city, maybe that gets her to the place where she can hear all the stuff she avoids letting Barristan tell her.

Tyrion & Daenerys are complicated. Dany crucifies slaver class people indiscriminately, but then tries to judge complaints fairly, even for them. She takes hostages, but can't bring herself to harm them. She lets people talk a LOT of shit to her, when she's the only voice that really counts in a dracocratic dictatorship. I love her Meereenese courtiers, especially the fruity steward guy and the Shavepate, who really seem to have bought into her liberation agenda, even if one is still trying to give it a Ghizcari flavor and the other has a bit of psycho vibe. It counts for quite a bit in my eyes that Barristan, in the midst of the moral awakening that is his series-long story arc, and coming to grips with the nature of the rulers he has served, retains his loyalty to her, though he isn't blind to her flaws.

Tyrion does a lot of awful and nasty stuff in the last book, but it's not black and white. In the midst of mocking and belittling the Aegon plot, he steps in front a scared kid to protect him from a zombie leper. In the midst of his being nice to Penny, he loses his temper and slaps her. He gets Jorah bought by their more humane owner, saving him from the back alley fights, and later he brings Jorah & Penny with him in his escape plan, which is mostly an exercise in cynical politics and manipulation. And he sadistically poisons his fellow slave, the overseer, for doing his job. During his first action scene, when Catelyn's party is ambushed by wildlings, Tyrion's reaction to Cat in peril is "haha, serves you right, bitch" but finds himself going to her aid. And then he breaks Marillon's fingers out of spite.

All this stuff means that when they finally make the right choice and save the world, it will be a really good thing to read. They'll hav earned their redemption as Jaime has not, in my eyes, and probably won't without another big shift in his storyline. Tyrion and Dany are the leading not-Stark characters because they've got tons of baggage piled up next to his political brilliance and her dragons, to make his underdog-makes-good tale and her messiah narrative be more than the trite archetypal stories they could be.

What the show is giving us is a comedian who is always right and reads everyone perfectly and has an answer for everything, and knows himself as well as anyone else. Tyrion on the show, after rescuing Sansa from Joffrey, astutely comments on her potential and survival chances. In the books, he took her at face value and believed her ghost story excuse to let her out from under his eye so she could keep plotting her escape with Dontos. During their marriage, he believed her cowed and submissive to the point where he wondered if she was jealous of Margaery marrying Joffrey, totally misreading her preoccupation with her imminent escape (even though her noting Ilyn Payne's sword first should have alerted him that she was actually pretty sharp on details). And he wasn't a super-nice husband either, claims to that effect on the show notwithstanding. He couldn't bring himself to rape a child whose age probably reminded him of his own abuse at a similar age by his father, but he spent the rest of their marriage resenting her for not being more friendly to her chief jailor in Lannister Penitentiary.

Tyrion on the show is just awesome, and his advice is so good that Varys switches teams, and has his whole Aegon plot tossed out the window so he can promote Tyrion as the savior of Westeros. Varys only seems to join Team Dany because Tyrion is already on board and keeps insisting that she is the best possible choice for the Iron Throne, missing cock and all, because she is the only one who listened to Tyrion. That explains, I guess, why he was always giving Tywin & co accurrate reports about Dany. Varys is on the side of whoever has Tyrion on their staff. You know Dany's temper is becoming a problem instead of a badass moment, because they show Tyrion being worried. Even the conversation I quoted from isn't as much about Dany's good qualities vs her bad qualities, as it is about how loyal Tyrion is. It's not about what Dany will do, it's about what Varys will do to or about her. According to the script, Tyrion doesn't have a logical leg to stand on, but he's trying to argue against the impossible position Dany has let him trying to defend, because he's faithful and has no gray areas.

The show took a male character and a female character who team up at probably the worst possible time for their personal flaws to complement each other, and come storming back to Westeros wreaking havoc, and turned it into the story of an enlightened, politically correct (because he's not a badass warrior) progressive hero who really GETS the problems of the common people and respects women (he'd NEVER slap a hooker for mocking him), and the emotional, crazy psycho bitch he has to manage and help everyone see her good qualities.

If this wasn't the last season, I can't imagine I'd watch another.

Oh, right. I said I'd get back to Bronn. "Hey, you two bastards. I keep insisting that I'm only working for you guys to get paid. And I keep not getting paid. I want to get paid, but I want you to outbid the person currently promising me payment, because I think she's going to lose! I am currently being offered a castle. So, you offer one worth twice as much? Good. You had better pay me. Or THIS time, there will be consequences!"

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Game of Thrones is turning me into a feminist - 07/05/2019 06:05:38 AM 286 Views
I found it more interesting... - 07/05/2019 05:33:36 PM 98 Views
Can we talk about the desert, though? - 08/05/2019 02:11:07 AM 117 Views
I didn't think it could get worse than Ep3 - 10/05/2019 11:09:33 AM 113 Views

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