1. queenacrossthenarrowsea:

    What I liked about Jorah reminding Dany that he was a slaver is that it goes back to the sort of “well it’s okay when do it” mentality that they both share.

    Dany loved a man whose people trafficked in slavery and has a commander/right hand who sold slaves in Westeros. She has been perfectly willing to forgive them, but refuses to give the masters of Slaver’s Bay a chance. Why? It smacks of Targaryen pride a little, doesn’t it? Those who love her are forgiven their sins, those who fight her are shown little mercy. Pride and naivete both, I think.

    Jorah does the same; I’ve talked before about his weird brand of conditional morality that leads him to criticize Tyrion for killing his father but refuse to apologize for lying to/betraying Dany. That’s mostly pride, again, and stubbornness, and a whole heaping dose of being really self-centered. 

    It just highlights for everyone the weird flaws that they share, and the painful irony that Jorah is correcting Dany about things he does himself. But in a way I think that’s what makes him a good advisor for her - he knows exactly how she thinks, because he thinks that way himself, and it has gotten him into a shitload of trouble.

    Yes, and when Dany loved a man whose people trafficked in slavery, she was also a slave. Being with him wasn’t a choice. Leaving was not an option, so she chose to love him instead.

    Things were not going great for Dany-as-Dothraki near the end. Even though Drogo’s death threw her into the Red Waste, it had to happen. What would’ve happened as she grew more and more disgusted with slavery? Would she continue to love the man who traded in it? She wasn’t entirely okay with the Dothraki doing it then, but her ability to romanticize Drogo was not “Targaryen pride” — it was survival. Drogo allowed Dany to grow, then his death allowed her to grow more, until she looked back on her time with Drogo as slavery. With him dead, she doesn’t need to denounce him. He’s gone. She’s no longer with the Dothraki. But she does acknowledge that she was sold to him. She views herself as a former slave.

    When Dany kills the slavers at Astapor, she’s killing the masters of the Unsullied. The Unsullied are only trained in Astapor. The Unsullied are treated particularly viciously, and their training is exceptionally cruel. The slaves Jorah sold were sold into an awful fate, but they did not end up Unsullied. Killing the Unsullied masters to immediately free the slaves does not somehow contradict forgiving Jorah for selling two men to slavers years ago.

    Especially when she actually does forgive the masters at Meereen. She doesn’t go around killing everybody who deals in slavery. After doling out an-eye-for-an-eye-esque punishment, she forgives the masters. Even though they sure as hell don’t love her, and Dany knows it.

    I’ve noticed people are eager to argue that Stannis does stuff like this because he’s into honor and justice, but Dany does stuff like this because it’s cruel or she’s a mad Targaryen … or she’s full of Targaryen pride. No taking account for her abuse and captivity that played into how she felt about Drogo. No taking account for her own sense of justice or sacrifice as she arrives in Slaver’s Bay.

    Even in the show, she’s attempting to protect the slaves when she has plans to kill the masters. She’s not doing it out of some idea that all masters must die. She is naive because she’s still learning how to rule, but she’s not getting a lesson in her Targaryen pride when she’s convinced to let them live. She’s not the one who came up with “kill the masters.” She just wants to protect her people. How does that look anything like pride? Is it pride that makes her put her own life at risk to be among her people? Is it pride that makes her chain her dragons up — the literal symbol of Targaryenness — when she realizes they pose a very real danger to innocents? Is it pride that makes her forgo being with the man she loves in order to forge an alliance that could bring peace to her people?

    Dany forgave many slavers, but she also thought some of them were worth the sacrifice because their deaths meant an immediate difference in literally thousands of lives. Punishing Jorah would do nothing. Remembering Drogo in bitterness and anger for the slaver he was would do nothing.

    All this proves is that Daenerys is practical (with a very specific limit of refusing to hurt children — something most Westerosi leaders find difficult to wrap their head around). I can get behind that.

  2. The Truth of Shae’s Testimony

    Since I hang around the cool ASoIaF crowds, I see a lot of defenses for Shae. I remember reading somewhere, a while ago, that show!Shae was more sympathetic than book!Shae, but I frequently see the opposite on Tumblr. Even more now that show!Shae has done the same “betrayal” as book!Shae.

    I’ve always felt sympathetic toward book!Shae. I understand that she didn’t actually have a choice to testify against Tyrion — and the fact that she died in the wake of that guts me. She did not deserve to die. But something that’s always stuck with me is how personal the testimony was.

    She could’ve said all sorts of things to make Tyrion look like the bad guy. But she specifically gave out information only the two of them knew, and that information was used to humiliate Tyrion. She told the entire courtroom about calling him, “my giant.” Why?

    Since show!Shae was in love with Tyrion at one point (while book!Shae was probably not), there’s an element of revenge to her testimony. She is not only saving her own life (though the look of fear and sadness on her face suggests that she is not simply “a woman scorned” — too much hesitation), she also wants Tyrion to know that this is what he gets. This is what he asked for when he told her she was just a whore.

    But again, she gets extremely personal, quoting Tyrion and having the spectators laugh at him. I don’t believe show!Shae would do that. I also don’t believe show!Shae would betray Sansa — her own life be damned, I think she’s proven that she thinks of herself as Sansa’s protector; she was willing to help Sansa hide her period, which could easily be taken as treason. She’s risked her life for Sansa before — why stop now, when Sansa’s in more danger than she’s ever been in?

    But even when it comes to book!Shae, who didn’t appear to be in love with Tyrion, who appeared to be a girl interested in self-preservation and climbing the ranks — why reveal such personal, humiliating things? Why not just implicate Tyrion and leave it at that?

    This is not a Tyrion, good, Shae, bad post. I repeat that Shae didn’t deserve to die. But I don’t think book!Shae gets off scot-free as simply protecting herself. I think she didn’t care if Tyrion got hurt, to the point where she revealed extra information just to hurt him. I think it was unnecessarily cruel. It’s always bothered me every time I read a defense of her. She went above and beyond simply protecting herself — she intended for Tyrion to be humiliated — and now show!Shae has done the same.

  3. This is the last thing I’m going to say on this subject because it’s upsetting me too much, but this whole situation has made a few things very clear to me:

    1. Jaime’s defenders, who argue that it wasn’t rape in the books, are perpetuating the myth that it’s only rape when the guy is creepy and gross and nobody likes him anyway. Jaime is likable. I like Jaime. He still ignored Cersei when she plainly told him no. Yet people I dearly respect are still defending him. Jaime can be full of redeeming qualities and still have raped somebody.

    2. It’s frightening to me that there are so many feminists arguing that showing rape as rape is misogynistic. Isn’t it more so to depict rape as consensual? I was under the impression that most feminists realize that saying “no, no, no, no, no” and being ignored and then saying, “yes,” is not a situation of consent. But, hey, I also thought most people believed 13-year-olds couldn’t consent, and I’ve consistently been proven wrong there.

    3. The idea that Cersei wouldn’t let herself be raped because she’s such a vicious, angry woman is making me nauseated (Fuck you, A.V. Club: “But given what we have seen Cersei Lannister capable of—her ex-husband is hardly the only man she’s had killed—is it even conceivable that she would stand for it?”). Cersei had no practical defense against Jaime. The most she could’ve done was scream for help, and she wasn’t going to do that because of the bazillion issues that would cause for her entire family. You can love the person who rapes you, you know. Cersei has certainly sacrificed her body before for the good of the family. Cersei’s had to deal with rape before. The idea that she wouldn’t let it happen is completely ignoring what Cersei has had to deal with and has put up with in silence in the past, not because she’s weak or incapable of hurting people, but because she had to.

    4. Some argue that stripping both Dany and Cersei of their eventual yes is misogynistic because it’s stripping the women of their autonomy. While it’s true that both those women yearn for control and therefore attempted to take it during their rapes (Cersei being well practiced in that), hardly anybody would’ve interpreted the scenes that way. So many readers already read those scenes as not-rape. If they would’ve played out exactly as they did in the book, it’d be me and five other people saying these women were raped — the rest of the fandom would say, “They said yes! That’s consent and nothing else matters!” Thank god that instead of letting the viewers of GoT twist a rape scene into consensual sex, the show made it clear: this is rape.

    5. It’s terrifying to me that so many people, including myself, read the scene as not-rape in the books. I didn’t remember Cersei saying no and Jaime ignoring her. What is wrong with me that I can read a scene where Cersei is saying no and pounding against his chest and shrug and say, well, she consented eventually, so it must be okay? What is wrong with society? What is wrong with the fandom that they’re still defending it, even after the show forced us to take another look, to realize that the scene played out sickeningly close to the way it does in the book, to realize all along that Jaime raped Cersei?

    6. No means no. What a cliche, but come on: no means fucking no. I don’t care that Cersei’s reason for saying no was “not here.” That doesn’t mean that Jaime gets to ignore her no and invalidate it and push through it just because he doesn’t think her reason is good enough. She didn’t want to have sex with him in the sept. He ignored her. To justify it by saying that it wasn’t really no because it had to do with location, not whether or not she wanted to have sex with him, is horrible. She said no. She meant no. That’s all that matters.

  4. asoiafuniversity:

    “Unfortunately, the show is wrong, on both counts. Changing a scene from consensual sex to rape is not just a pedantic issue of accuracy—it’s a problem with story. The Daenerys Targaryen who falls in love with a man who granted her respect when no one else would is different from the Daenerys Targaryen who fell in love with her rapist. It changes that relationship. (Dany falling in love with Drogo, and calling him her “sun and stars,” makes a whole lot more sense now, doesn’t it?) Similarly, Jaime is a figure of chivalric love in the books—despite his arrogance and ruthlessness, his devotion and sense of duty to Cersei, the only woman he has ever loved, is so fervent as to border on adoration. Admittedly, the show can’t rely on his point-of-view chapters, as the book does, to communicate that love. But given what we have seen Cersei Lannister capable of—her ex-husband is hardly the only man she’s had killed—is it even conceivable that she would stand for it? Jaime raping Cersei is a major anomaly for these two characters—even based purely on what we’ve seen in the show. It’s just not something that either character would do.”

    *tosses Bernioff and Weiss into a trashcan* (via tramampoline)

    I’m utterly perplexed by how many people insist Daenerys wasn’t raped. I cannot understand it. And it’s not just the sexist, I-hate-Sansa-and-Cat crowd. It’s everywhere on tumblr. It’s everywhere on usually feminist minded askwomen subreddit. At this point, I’m less irritated, more baffled.

    Khal Drogo still granted her respect when no one else would. Dany’s life was so broken and sad at that point that the two are not even close to mutually exclusive. He was a step up from Viserys, who had yet to rape Dany but not for lack of wanting or trying to. But Drogo raped Daenerys. Daenerys was a child sold as sexual property to a man who was large enough to kill her with his bare hands. When he had sex with her, she could’ve said yes a million times, and it still would’ve been rape.

    The 13-year-old girl with the abusive childhood who was sold into an arranged marriage with a man who terrified her could not consent.

    Game of Thrones made the scene more clear. It made it so people couldn’t pretend that Dany wasn’t raped repeatedly. It made it so people had to acknowledge how awful Dany’s beginnings were, that the man who saved her, who helped her grow, was also the man who raped her to the point she was suicidal. That happened in the text. It’s right there. If you romanticized their relationship to the point where you erased the very real rapes that happened, then that’s on you, it’s not on the show to portray a sanitized version of the story so you can feel better about liking Drogo.

  5. What Sexual Violence Looks Like

    I realize what I’m opening myself up to here, but I think it’s important.

    I was blown away by the rape scene on tonight’s Game of Thrones. I turned to my husband and said, “That doesn’t happen in the books. Jaime would never rape Cersei. She is 100% on board with the altar sex.”

    But then I re-read the scene in A Storm of Swords and realized that the scene, at best, can be called a dubious consent situation.

    Tonight was the second time Game of Thrones has translated a “dubious consent” situation from the books to undoubtedly rape on screen.

    Is the show really that obsessed with sexual violence?

    Or is it possible that the dubious consent situations are rape and always have been and that talking about gray areas when it comes to rape is almost always sketchy and at the expense of the victim and that by removing any question before sending the scene out to millions of viewers the show allows us to see these scenes for what they really are?

    In the books, Cersei very clearly tells Jaime no first.

    "No," she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, "not here. The Septons…"

    We do not get to see Cersei’s point of view. Perhaps in her mind, she wasn’t raped. Perhaps her understanding was completely one of I-want-to-but-I’m-scared-convince-me.

    But it’s also true that assuming that Cersei felt that way is exactly what happens with rape all the time. She wanted it. She said no, but she didn’t mean it. She said no, but she just needed some convincing.

    Cersei does give consent before any penetration happens.

    "Hurry," she was whispering now, "quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.” Her hands helped guide him. “Yes,” Cersei said as he thrust, “my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.”

    Before that, Jaime lifted her up and had to push her legs apart. Before that, Cersei pounded on his chest. And then she consented.

    Again, perhaps Cersei’s consent was genuine. But her consent didn’t matter to Jaime.

    After she says no, Jaime completely ignores her.

    "The Others can take the septons." He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned … She pounded on his chest with feeble fists, murmuring about the risk, the danger about their father, about the septons, about the wrath of gods. He never heard her.”

    (Bolded by me.)

    Had Cersei not changed her mind, had she continued to pound his chest and tell him no, would he have stopped? Would he have suddenly pulled away and accepted the fact that she was not consenting to what they were doing?

    We don’t get to know that, because Cersei does end up consenting. She consents in a situation where she is physically incapable of defending herself and where her “nos” go unheard.

    The scene is somewhat similar to Daenerys’ wedding night, besides the (hugely important) fact that Dany is 13.

    Dany has no physical defense. She does consent, but only after openly crying. She’s been sold and knows sex is required of her. Dany consents, but her consent doesn’t matter. Dany was raped, despite the vast number of readers who insist she wasn’t.

    Similarly, Cersei consents, but only after every indication has pointed toward the idea that her consent doesn’t matter.

    A lot of the time, this is what rape looks like. It’s not often stranger danger, beating and battering. It can also very well involve rapists who aren’t aware they’re raping (because victims fight to death and never end up acquiescing to protect themselves, right?), who have been so conditioned to believe they have the right that they don’t ever wait for permission, who convince themselves that no means yes, or try harder, or who literally tune out protestations. I don’t believe Jaime would consider himself a rapist.

    Re-reading the scene changed the way I view the scene in the show. I appreciate that Game of Thrones made it clear that Dany was a victim of rape. So many people argue that the showrunners are clearly obsessed with rape because of that slight change. It should be unquestionable that she was raped in the books. Unfortunately, rape culture makes it so that when she consented to Khal Drogo, many readers assumed it was well and good. She consented! How could it be rape when the slave child actually uttered the words “yes”?

    But it was rape.

    Cersei also consented. Unlike Dany, she isn’t 13, nor is she technically a slave (though she is still a woman in Westerosi society and frightfully devoid of power for being so utterly powerful). But how many times did she have to say no? How hard did she have to pound on Jaime’s chest?

    He wasn’t listening to her. He didn’t care what she said. That is what rape looks like.

  6. Becoming Hodor

    I think we need to take a moment to remember that children are children. Children should not be held to the same standards to which we hold adults. A child who does something awful will not necessarily grow up to be an adult who does awful things. A child who does something awful does not necessarily understand what he or she is doing. This is something people usually agree with in American society (though there are always the bloodthirsty when a child does something especially awful): children are not small adults, and they deserve far more grace when they commit acts we view as morally wrong.

    There is no one age that marks when somebody is better equipped to make decisions and understand consequences, but I’m not sure I know anybody that thinks that a 9 or 10-year-old’s actions faultlessly dictate what sort of person he will be … which brings me to Brandon Stark.

    More than once, Bran skinchanges into Hodor for survival, but Bran also skinchanges into Hodor for his own enjoyment.

    I think it’s important to point out that Bran’s intent isn’t relevant when it comes to Hodor’s experience. Hodor is clearly deeply negatively affected by the skinchanging experience.

    "Like a dog who has had all the fight whipped out of him, Hodor would curl up and hide whenever Bran reached out to him." ADwD, Bran III

    Even when Bran does it seemingly automatically to help fight off the wights outside the cave, Hodor is traumatized.

    "Deep inside, he could hear poor Hodor whimpering still…" ADwD, Bran II

    It doesn’t matter if Bran does it automatically, for purely good or purely selfish reasons — Hodor does not understand skinchanging, and it scares him every time. Ideally, there would never be a situation in which Hodor would have to deal with skinchanging. In the instances where Hodor’s own life depends on it, I’m more willing to say Bran did what was necessary. The same way the Hound knocked Arya out to get her away from the Twins safely, Bran invades Hodor’s body to save him and the others. It’s an awful thing, but it’s understandable given the circumstances, even as the person being saved bears the scars.

    But what about Bran’s willingness to skinchange into Hodor when there isn’t any danger? What does that say about Bran?

    It’s probably Bran’s biggest flaw. Bran is a lovable character. He’s the youngest point-of-view character, unable to walk from early on. He has big dreams and misbehaves in what seems like wholly innocent and boyish ways. He even appears to be Catelyn’s favorite child. Bran is a sweet, innocent boy. But he’s more than that. He’s not a stock magical character, a lovable hero whose only problem is that the world is unfairly against him. He’s a complex character, a real character, in the vein of the rest of the series.

    Bran has a plethora of issues that surround the loss of his ability to walk. He feels helpless and incapable throughout the entire series. He must rely entirely on other people to get to where he’s being told to go. As a boy in Westeros society, this is especially shameful — he often thinks of himself as “almost a man grown,” yet he must be carried like a baby.

    "Of late, Bran wore Summer’s body more often than his own; the wolf felt the bite of the cold, despite the thickness of his fur, but he could se farther and hear better and smell more than the boy in the basket, bundled up like a babe in swaddling clothes.” ADwD, Bran I

    His embarrassed thoughts occur throughout the entire series, but even in Bran’s scant A Dance with Dragons chapters, it’s clear how insecure and unhappy he still is as he continues to deal with the fact that he lacks physical ability, one of the things his society tells him is among his most valuable assets.

    On the other hand, Hodor is commonly acknowledged as the strongest person in their party, and Bran admires Hodor’s strength.

    "No one was as strong as Hodor, no one." ADwD, Bran I

    When Bran skinchanges with Hodor, he does so to remember what it felt like to be physically independent, he does so to feel big and strong, something he will never be.

    "And suddenly he was not Bran, the broken boy crawling through the snow, suddenly he was Hodor halfway down the hill, with the wight raking at his eyes … Deep inside, he could hear poor Hodor whimpering still, but outside he was seven feet of fury with old iron in his hand." ADwD, Bran II

    Bran’s trauma does not give him a right to victimize Hodor, but it does make his act far more understandable. The situation is extremely sad. Bran does not fully understand the implications of what he’s doing, and he’s doing it because he yearns for a body that (to him) works. He laments the loss of his skills, which were a huge part of his identity.

    "Bran remembered a time when no one could climb as good as him … Part of him wanted to shout at them for leaving him, and another part wanted to cry." ADwD, Bran III

    His frustration with his body is not limited to feats of strength or agility. When Meera is crying, Bran reflects upon what Bran could do with a “working” body compared to his own.

    "He wanted to put his arms around her, hold her tight the way his mother used to hold him back at Winterfell when he’d hurt himself. She was right there, only a few feet from him, but so far out of reach it might have been a hundred leagues … I could put on Hodor’s skin, he thought. Hodor could hold her and pat her on the back." ADwD, Bran III 

    This moment explains what goes through Bran’s mind when he skinchanges into Hodor for non-survival purposes. He recalls a moment with his mother, and he wants badly to give that to somebody else. He wants to be the strong one, the supportive one, someone able to care for herself and others, like Catelyn was. But just as he’s unable to walk, he’s unable to comfort Meera. The hurt that Bran still feels permeates the last chapter of his, and I understand, in that moment, why he does something so invasive. He’s a frightened little boy who’s still dealing with hugely traumatic events while learning how to manage confusing and unique powers.

    Bran is also completely lacking information that the reader has by the time we’re reading his chapters in A Dance with Dragons. While the reader understands from the prologue that skinchanging into another human is viewed as deplorable, Bran cannot know this; however, he does clearly understand that there’s something wrong with it. Not only does he keep the secret from everyone around him, but he can sense Hodor’s response. He knows that it frightens Hodor; this cannot be debated.

    "The big stableboy never understood what was happening, and Bran could taste the fear at the back of his throat." ADwD, Bran I

    Again, there is no question that regardless of Bran’s side, Hodor is suffering. It is clear that this is no blameless act and that Bran is doing something selfish here, something that hurts Hodor just so he can have some time in a body that is strong, that can walk, the body of a man that Bran will never be. But Bran does not do this carelessly. He tries to tell himself that Hodor is getting less frightened, and he tries to soothe him.

    "He knows it’s me, the boy liked to tell himself. He’s used to me by now." ADwD, Bran I

    Bran is clearly a deeply empathetic child. When he skinchanges into Hodor, he is taking liberties with somebody else’s body, liberties he doesn’t fully understand, because he’s so sick of hating his own. It’s wrong, but not detestable. Traumatizing to Hodor, but not intended to be by Bran. He makes a mistake. 

    There’s a passage in Bran’s second chapter that stuck out to me as relevant to this conversation, regarding Bran’s reaction to the slaughter of Coldhands’ elk:

    "Bran wept like a little girl when the bright blood came rushing out. He had never felt more like a cripple than he did then, watching helplessly as Meera Reed and Coldhands butchered the brave beast who had carried them so far. He told himself he would not eat, that it was better to go hungry than the feast upon a friend, but in the end, he’d eaten twice…" ADwD, Bran II

    Throughout Bran’s story, there are many indications that other people’s sacrifice is necessary for him to continue. There’s the vague suggestions that the group may have eaten human meat (even if it didn’t actually happen) and Jojen and Meera’s misery, which they are undergoing strictly for him. If the morbid “Jojen paste” turns out to be true, this message is even more strongly sent.

    When Bran sees the demise of the elk, he weeps “like a little girl,” feeling that familiar helplessness because of all the elk has done for them. His feelings toward the elk are strong, and he promises not to eat the elk. But then he does, because he needs to eat. He’s not strong enough to continue to survive on acorn paste, and he succumbs to the temptation of succulent meat, even as it makes it him uncomfortable.

    Bran clearly struggles between doing what will make him feel good and doing what he feels is right. This is not a struggle that only a few people ever deal with: it is deeply human, and I’m skeptical that there’s a human alive who has never accepted the first by giving up the latter.

    Bran slips into Hodor to aovid feeling helpless. As a result, he makes Hodor helpless. The exchange is not fair or equal, and I would hope that had Bran been informed how other skinchangers feel or were Bran older — even a little older — he wouldn’t do it. He would be able to be comforted in other ways, he would better understand how invasive the practice was. But Bran is a child. To make lifelong judgments based on what he does here is unfair. Bran is a child who yearns to feel physically whole, and the heartbreaking way he goes about satisfying that urge does not signal some irrevocably selfish person; it merely signals the uncomfortable things a sweet and kind child will do in the face of intense sadness and strange powers.

  7. 09:10 25th Feb 2014

    Notes: 303

    Reblogged from joannalannister

    Tags: tywin lannisterasoiaf

    in-somniar said: Hi there! Okay, so, I love Tywin as well. He's one of my favorite characters and I feel like he's being misjudged by the fandom. First of all, I think he's really strong to have seen his wife die and still not kill Tyrion (in that respect, he isn't much worse than Catelyn is towards Jon Snow, and Jon didn't kill Ned). Also, I think that his morality is great. I'm a big fan of Bentham and I think that Tywin really has that cost/benefit way of thinking. Thank you so much for making this blog!


    I don’t think the fandom is misjudging Tywin at all. Tywin Lannister is a complete asshole, and he is most definitely not someone with “great” morality.

    • He had an innocent 14 year old orphan peasant girl gang-raped and he forced his disabled 13 year old son to participate, to give him a “sharp lesson”. If Tywin hadn’t done that, he would probably still be alive right now.
    • As a teenager, long before his wife died, he killed all of the men, women, and innocent children in two whole houses. 
    • When his father died, again long before Joanna died, Tywin had his father’s mistress stripped and paraded naked through the streets of Lannisport - for the crime of being a social climber. Funny, because Tywin is also a social climber, on a much grander scale. 
    • Tywin orders the deaths of Rhaenys & Aegon Targaryen, who were innocents. I don’t think Tywin ordered Elia’s rape & murder, but he is still responsible for it as a military leader, so let’s list that too.
    • In the aftermath of the Red Wedding, we see that Tywin believes “killing saves lives,” which I understand is a very controversial real world political topic, let alone a controversial topic on tumblr. But ASOIAF is a very anti-war text, and the text is telling us it is wrong, that killing is murder. We as human beings aren’t meant to read about a bunch of people being slaughtered under a flag of truce and then read about Arya and Sansa crying in despair afterwards and say, “Wow, look at Tywin’s amazing cost/benefit analysis,” I don’t care how hard-core a Lannister-stan you are.
    • Tywin helps Robert send assassins after Dany throughout her childhood. (If “killing saves lives” was the “right” moral philosophy, Pycelle’s advice in book 1 would have been followed, and Dany would be dead and Westeros would be fucked. There are definitely right and wrong answers to the moral questions in ASOIAF, it is not a text free of morality.) 
    • Tywin started a war to get Tyrion back, burning out the Riverlands (including all the crops!! When winter is coming!! Excellent cost/benefit analysis on Tywin’s part!!!). When instead!! Instead!!!!! He could have gone to King’s Landing to petition for the King’s Justice, and then Tywin would have been there when Joff assumed the throne, and then Tywin might have been able to stop Ned being executed!!!!!! And then there wouldn’t have been a war!!!
    • "I’ve lost a hand, a father, a son, a sister, and a lover, and soon enough I will lose a brother. And yet they keep telling me House Lannister has won this war"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Everything that happens to Tyrion between his arrest by Cat and his getting out of the Vale is independent of Tywin’s actions, which means Tywin’s war was absolutely unnecessary!!!
    • Tywin wants a thousand year Lannister dynasty, but he disowns both of his sons before he dies!!! That’s not even logical!!!!
    • Tywin only cares about Lannisters, and doesn’t give a fuck about anyone else in the world, and I sympathize, I only care about Lannisters too, Tywin, but that’s a really bad world view to have!!! There are so many non-Lannisters in the world!! 
    • Tywin surrounds himself with family members in his war councils, his political maneuvering etc, but he even treats his family members like shit!!! Brilliant!1!!
    • Bullet point for Tywin’s general dickishness, because Tywin is just so much of a dick that I can’t keep track of it all.
    • Tywin Lannister does not get cookies for restraining himself from murdering his newborn son!!!!!!! No one gets cookies for restraining themselves from murdering someone!!!!!!1!!1!

    I LOVE TYWIN, and I’m a really big Tywin fan, but I’m a bigger fan of watching House Lannister crash and burn while Tywin rolls over in his grave because he was just so wrong. About everything. I appreciate that you like my blog, thank you, but I can’t agree with your interpretation of Tywin. Tywin Lannister is wrong in all the ways and his morality is really, really not an example for anyone to follow. 

    This is a great post. Thanks for writing it. I think it’s important to acknowledge a character’s faults even if (or maybe especially if) you love the character. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    I do have a question about one of your points. You wrote, ”Tywin helps Robert send assassins after Dany throughout her childhood.”

    I’ve been re-reading the series recently (but I’m still on book one), and I remember asking myself if there really were assassins after the Targaryens throughout Dany’s childhood or if Viserys was (justifiably, I think) paranoid and seeing threats where there weren’t any.

    In Ned’s second chapter of AGoT, Robert says, “I should have had them both killed years ago, when it was easy to get at them, but Jon was as bad as you. More fool I, I listened to him.” I took that to mean Robert never actually tried to kill the Targaryens until AGoT.

    When you say Tywin helps Robert send assassins after Dany throughout her childhood, are you referring to the attempt that happens in AGoT, or were there previous attempts that I either completely missed or have forgotten about since I last read the series?

  8. lowgarden:



    To be honest, the biggest problem I have with GOT in comparison to ASOIAF is that the show constantly goes for “shock factor” rather than genuinely good writing. 

    They make Talisa pregnant solely for the sake of gutting her at the Red Wedding.

    They develop Ros as a character because they wanted her murder to be a surprise. 

    They reject Doreah’s previous characterization to throw in that betrayal plot twist.

    They have Catelyn kill Walder’s wife instead of his grandson because I guess it’s easier to believe that Walder would react flippantly to the death of a wife rather than that of a grandson? 

    They add in the scene of Joffrey forcing Ros to beat Daisy because… we apparently don’t know that he’s evil yet? 

    They have Drogo unquestionably rape Daenerys on their wedding night, instead of waiting for her consent, because… of reasons? 

    The vast majority of the violence against men on GOT is taken directly from the books (Theon’s torture, Renly’s death, Ned’s death, etc). But the vast majority of violence against women is invented for the show. Which is… weird, to say the least. 

    I agree with all of this so much, besides *possibly* the Dany thing. I think that they maybe choose the way they did because of the shock value, but in the books its written in a creepy romanticized rapey way, and although I hated seeing it onscreen and it made me super upset and reactionary for awhile, in the end I almost prefer it? Because it’s unabashedly sketchy instead of “ambigious”, and with the way her story went, it…Idk. I have so many issues with the way GRRM writes Dany.

    Although then they went sort of creepy romanticized with it in the end, so yeah, I’ll attribute that to dumb luck on their part, they stumbled onto a better narrative decision becuase they were going with their tendency to make everything OMG!!! ADULT TV!!!! 

    The book scene was definitely a dubious consent situation, but I liked that in the end it was Dany who got the final word (“yes”) because it gave her at least a tiny bit of agency in a situation where she had next to none. I can see why GOT had to make some changes - it would be hard to show Dany’s internal thought process onscreen - but I wish they hadn’t made it so blatantly horrible. It was the stereotypical wedding night we had expected to happen when reading the books, and GRRM intentionally subverted that by having Drogo wait for consent. 

    Though the Dany / Drogo relationship is pretty sketchy, regardless, since he unquestionably rapes her a few times after that. But I prefer the book’s take on it. 

    I wouldn’t call it a dubious consent situation — not only is Dany 13, but she’s been gifted (or sold) to Drogo. I’d say that her verbal consent (given after she calmed down from crying openly) is completely and totally nullified and that what Drogo does to her on their wedding night is undoubtedly rape.

    I’m not even convinced Drogo was actually asking for consent. It’s really hard to know what’s going on his mind since we’re seeing him through Dany’s eyes. We’ve seen him do small kindnesses (giving her her silver, being gentle with her) but we’ve also seen him be a bit harsher (completely ignoring her at the wedding) and we come to see him be even harsher (raping her when she’s in so much pain she’d rather die than go on). Drogo is a better man to Dany than Viserys was, but he’s clearly not aiming for a relationship of equal power. Drogo only knew one word, and he repeated it over and over. We don’t know that in Drogo’s mind he was asking consent. If Dany had said no over and over again, would he have accepted it and not insisted on consummation? I truly don’t think so. I don’t think she was actually being given a choice — even outside of the fact that she’s a child that’s just been given away as property.

    But I do think the consent was an incredibly important part of Dany’s story. Along with her first ride on her silver, it indicates just how willing Dany is to take control when it’s offered to her, even in tiny doses.

    And that would’ve been difficult to communicate on screen. I’m glad they didn’t have Dany give consent because I believe that would’ve made people even more willing to forgive Drogo for mistreatment — especially since Dany on screen is not 13. If Dany had said yes and physically led Drogo to touch her, would anybody have considered it even close to rape? Or would they immediately forget that Dany had been sold to him? By removing Dany’s verbal consent from the show, they solidified that what happens between them is not consensual, and I think that’s important too.

    I don’t want this to come across as entirely anti-Drogo because I actually do like Drogo when considered in the context of the series. He gives Dany room to grow. He encourages her to lead. He loves her. But he does rape Dany. And he did rape Dany on their wedding night. Dany’s consent said something about who she is and who she was going to become, but it didn’t make it consensual sex. I think the show made the right decision, but I think the book version plays out exactly as it should too — to show Dany’s willingness to take control over her own life, even when it’s possible (and probable) she’s not yet being offered it.

  9. Professional Defender

    I’m a profession Catelyn and Sansa Stark defender. I roam the darkest, most dangerous corners of the ASoIaF fandom to discover unjust (and usually sexist) tirades against the ever complex but much maligned Stark women.

    I argue that Sansa is naive, not stupid, that as a child who was raised to be a proper lady, she can hardly be expected to behave the way the average reader would, that derision for her polite, girlish ways is nothing more than sexism, that she is clearly growing and learning in the face of constant tragedy, abuse and coercion.

    I point out that Catelyn’s mistreatment of Jon Snow stems from an overreaction to a patriarchal world — unkind, but a sign of a woman who ferociously defends her children. I cite Catelyn’s frequent voice-of-reason moments, her intense bravery, and her ongoing strength despite the loss that surrounds her.

    I do side-jobs as a defender of Daenerys Targaryen, directing the confused to blog posts written about how reasonable Dany’s actions were in the face of an impossible situation, point out that Dany’s consistent empathy for the downtrodden and powerless is evidence of one of the kindest characters in the series.

    On the darkest days of them all, I’ve worked as a defender of Arya Stark, whom I think should be universally loved, even in her violence. Arya is one of the youngest voices we hear, and as the voice of a non-conforming girl in a patriarchal society, her point-of-view is important. Her anger is understandable, her survival instinct impressive, and her loneliness heartbreaking.

    I hope the day will never come when I must put my skills as a Brienne of Tarth defender to use.

  10. 21:36 4th Feb 2014

    Notes: 24

    Reblogged from madaboutasoiaf



    Pregnancy and Possible “Personhood”

    "And if his seed quickened, she expected he would see to the child’s needs." - Catelyn II, AGoT

    It is probably true that in ASoIaF, the common people view quickening as when a pregnancy begins to involve a living child. Quickening refers to when the woman…

    I may be wrong but I believe most people take issue with Cersei’s selective use of moon tea, not her use of moon tea itself. It is not so much that she took action to avoid having Robert’s children but that she ensured that she would only have her brother’s children. She then passed those children off as Robert’s as a deliberate action.

    I’m all for female empowerment, especially in such a patriarchal society as Westeros but it is a bit of a stretch to label what Cersei did in this case as falling under that.

    I’m sure there are some people who feel that way, and perhaps I’m only responding to a small subset of people with a particular mindset (one I’ve seen on Reddit). But I have seen people chastise Cersei specifically for “aborting Robert’s child.”

    All that being said, I’m not sure how refusing to birth Robert’s children doesn’t fall under female empowerment. Having Jaime’s children and passing them off as Robert’s is a different thing, a secondary action, and one I didn’t address. I have problems with Cersei and Jaime consciously having children, not because it was dishonest to Robert, but because she brought three children into the world whose very existence was treason. Cersei and Jaime chose to create three children whose lives were in constant danger.

    Regardless, reproductive control is not only a part of female empowerment when it’s not used selectively. In fact, I think reproductive control is always supposed to be used selectively because it has to do with the woman deciding if and when she gets pregnant and has children. Cersei controlling her reproduction so she didn’t have to have the children of a man she loathed is definitely female empowerment. I mean, having control over our reproductive system is practically the foundation of female empowerment. Without access to reliable birth control and abortion, women are much, much worse off. What Cersei chose to do with Jaime is something else entirely.