Game of Thrones: Breaker of Chains
April 20, 2014 10:07 PM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Many stories in many lands move forward during this week, like players on a chess board.

Sansa gets away with Mayor Carcetti! Hound is back with Arya! Deathbed rape! Prince Oberyn in an orgy, but then he gets an appointment! Crazy shit in the North! Dragon lady continues to bulldoze across the lands! Kind of a lot going on this week, but still Tyrion sits in jail awaiting trial.
posted by mathowie (591 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tywin Lannister doesn't waste any time.
posted by homunculus at 10:13 PM on April 20, 2014


Poor Podrick.

Also I'm mystified why the Lannisters seem to think it's obvious that Tyrion Did It when a) they ought to know that if he did, he'd be smarter about it and b) he has nothing to gain from it and an enormous amount to lose.

It's like, the entire rest of his family can't help but assume that he's as venal and spiteful as they are.

...Oh, now that I think about it that way, it sort of makes sense that they'd blame him. WELL, STILL THOUGH.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:14 PM on April 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


What the fuck was with the altar scene. In Sepinwall's review he mentions the director thinks he portrayed a consensual encounter, but ... No, I'd say he failed. The AVClub's article summarizes it pretty well.
posted by rewil at 10:14 PM on April 20, 2014 [19 favorites]


Like Jamie and Bran was a consensual base-jumping encounter?
posted by homunculus at 10:16 PM on April 20, 2014 [23 favorites]


That scene with the wildlings made me giggle inappropriately.

"Mom's making Stove Top!"

"Whoops. Dart in your neck."
posted by keli at 10:21 PM on April 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


Yeah, the altar scene was just creeptactular.

I think with Tyrion it's a case of: we don't have any other credible suspects; we don't have the time to conduct an investigation, nor the ability to cope with the political waves an investigation might cause (Tywin's questioning of Prince Oberyn is as far as it goes, in terms of pissing off allies/neutrals/unaligned Houses); Tyrion is expendable in the sense that he's not the heir to anything, nor is in about to be the father of the heir to anything and he has no allies anywhere. So it's convenience more than anything.

And I liked - very much liked - the Hound and Arya this week; I think the writers had picked up on the fact that the audience might like this pairing a bit too much - so here's a cold splash of water for those of us who think the two would make an awesome crime fighting team.
posted by nubs at 10:22 PM on April 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


CALLED IT, LITTLEFINGER

Someone should buy that man a black cape to swirl around, jeez.
posted by furiousthought at 10:24 PM on April 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I have to say the rape scene was well timed in a character context. I was just thinking how not awful a guy Jamie was turning out to be.

Good AV Club article. Knowing the books treated that scene totally differently makes it even more gross on the writers' part.
posted by olinerd at 10:38 PM on April 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm glad I'm not the only person who saw Dario 2.0 vs. Mereenese Champion as having echoes of the Indy vs. Scimitar Dude scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark (ref: Sepinwall).

Dat lack of consent. Jamie was never going to be redeemed or sympathetic, I think, but his arc with Brienne at least humanized him. I'm a bit confused why the showrunners would choose to cast that as non-consenting, as opposed to the quite different scene the AV Club article calls out. It basically ruins any sympathy I might've felt, or hope that he grows to be Not A Ginormous Dick and perhaps repent/regret some of his past acts (non-consensual base jumping indeed).

Baelish, man, creep city. Actually, lots of people in this episode, creep city.
posted by Alterscape at 10:41 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The altar scene is so much worse than portrayed in the book, not least because the dead body wasn't actually in the same room, if I recall correctly. I think it really makes us not like Jaime just when he was becoming something of a sympathetic character.

I felt like they jumped around a LOT this week, telling tiny bits of lots of stories. I know the focus characters are spreading out, and I do miss my favorites when an episode doesn't feature them, but I like seeing big chunks of each story at once. (Apparently I don't miss Bran though. I almost forgot he wasn't in this episode.)
posted by Night_owl at 10:43 PM on April 20, 2014


That rape scene was fucking gross. Even if it was intended to start out rapey but then become consensual (which, if that's the case, the director sucks because it doesn't seem even a little ambiguous the way it was filmed) that's still fucking gross and treads dangerously close to when women say no they secretly mean yes blurred-lines bullshit. If it's to punish Circe, that's fucking gross (really not interested in seeing women punished with rape). If it's to show how bad Jaime really is, that's fucking gross (really not interested in seeing rape become all the consequences for the rapist). I love game of thrones but I'm considering rage-quitting it at this point. I'm getting sick of tits and torture.
posted by supercrayon at 10:44 PM on April 20, 2014 [18 favorites]


The Hound is a terrible house guest.
posted by Arbac at 10:51 PM on April 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


There is so much going on that 10 episodes a season is not enough to cover it all. Tonight was a perfect example. Really frustrating. The Wire and Deadwood each had more than 10 a season, pity GOT is not getting the same.
posted by mlis at 10:57 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Hound is a terrible house guest.

As opposed to an excellent traveling companion?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:58 PM on April 20, 2014


Welp my sympathy for Jaime is ebbing pretty solidly.
posted by KathrynT at 11:12 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jesus, that rape scene makes me so angry with the showrunners and the director. There is a vast gulf between "initially reluctant because, hey, dead son's body" and "I'm raping you because you're a hateful person who used to have sex with me but now you won't" and it's incredibly fucking revealing and disturbing that the people involved are confused about this.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:14 PM on April 20, 2014 [34 favorites]


I happened to read the latest advance chapter from the next book, which delights in playing the wording and meaning of the phrase "she'll be late for her own rape." So the complete fuckedupness of that altar scene in the show feels right at home, however distasteful and bizarre it comes across.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 PM on April 20, 2014


I think Shireen is too hard on Davo's reading abilities. Lots of people pronounce "knight" as k-nig-ht.
posted by homunculus at 11:35 PM on April 20, 2014


Game of Thrones: The show were you wish they had followed the book version of consensual incest sex on a church altar where the body of their dead child lay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 PM on April 20, 2014 [59 favorites]


The AV Club "Experts" recap has a very interesting set of thoughts on that scene, which is totally laden with book spoilers and so which I will merely refer to here for anyone who wants to read it. Anyone who wants to know what it says without risking spoilers is welcome to memail me and I will do my level-headed best to sum it up without spoiling anything.
posted by KathrynT at 11:46 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do any of these guys take a piss before the battle? I'd have thought an empty bladder is preferable when besieging a city.
posted by homunculus at 12:03 AM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


What was going on with Littlefinger's accent? A lot more Irish than I remember. I can't decide if it is supposed to signify his time away from King's Landing, or if the actor is slipping back to his natural voice.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:07 AM on April 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm with the AV Club "Experts" recap. The idea that the Jamie/Cersei scene is completely out of left field is a whitewashing of the books and characters. I think Saraiya is partially wrong on much of what she is saying but utterly dead wrong about the initial Dany scene. The TV show is honest about what that was. The book was depicting what was intrinsically a horrific rape of a 14 year old girl with the equivalent of shooting it through a rose-tinted lens lit with soft light while pretty music plays in the background. The idea that Drogo got Dany's consent is laughable whatever Martin put down on the page. Martin could have written "KHAL DROGO GOT DANY'S CONSENT" in all caps like that and we still wouldn't have to accept it because it's ridiculous. Plus, of course, we only see the Jamie/Cersei scene through Jamie's point of view in the book. He's not a reliable witness and he still comes off badly...

Frankly, I think both the Drogo scene and the Jamie/Cersei scene are much more distasteful in the books unless you take everything as depicted at face value without thinking about it critically. I realize there's a divide as to whether one should do that when reading SF but I think Spinrad answered that question rather definitively 42 years ago.
posted by Justinian at 12:25 AM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Jon Mitchell: I thought it was just me! Yeah, Littlefinger's accent was way more accenty than I remember. No idea if it was a conscious choice or a slip but, yeah, it was very noticeable.
posted by Justinian at 12:26 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]




I'm getting sick of tits and torture.

I think you're gonna have a bad time.
posted by Justinian at 12:28 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't know, man.

1. It's brutal, but that scene was the first time in far too long (ever?) that I've seen the slightest glimmer of humanity in Cersei. Now she's even sympathetic. I don't think they needed to go to quite that extreme (like, mourning her dead child might've been sympathetic enough on its own, y'know?), but a consensual sex scene on her dead son's altar sure wouldn't have achieved the same result.

2. And, I mean, we really did need to be reminded that Jaime is a total, grade-A fuckface. With all the puppy love and hand-loss and moping, it's easy to forget that time he shoved a kid out a tower window.

3. Frankly, the rapey aspect of incest is a welcome addition to the story. The whole siblings/lovers thing was feeling entirely too normalized.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:28 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Murdering 10 year olds is one thing, dude, but this crossed the line.
posted by Justinian at 12:36 AM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Jesus, that rape scene makes me so angry with the showrunners and the director. There is a vast gulf between "initially reluctant because, hey, dead son's body" and "I'm raping you because you're a hateful person who used to have sex with me but now you won't" and it's incredibly fucking revealing and disturbing that the people involved are confused about this.

This.

It's especially disturbing to me that the scene plays out with Jaime raping Cersei as a kind of punishment for her denying him sex. Their relationship has always been more complex than just lust; Jaime is devoted to his twin sister. As the father of her children, he is also grieving right along with her the loss of their firstborn son. It's only natural they would turn to each other for comfort at a time like that.

In the books, Cersei's initial objections stem from the impropriety of having sex in the church (Joffrey's dead body is not right there beside them, ugh). She is quickly won over, though, and willingly capitulates when Jaime tells her he doesn't care about that, murmuring words of endearment--and encouragement--in his ear.

Yet the scene in the show is deliberately directed so as to make even Cersei's rejection of Jaime seem petty (she is kissing Jaime passionately before his prosthetic hand seems to disgust her), while Jaime's "I don't care" becomes the mantra of a frustrated rapist forcing himself on an unwilling woman.
posted by misha at 1:05 AM on April 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I've been kind of frustrated that Stannis is still hanging around Dragonstone making stinkfaces when he is supposed to be heading to the wall. I was looking forward to that. But if Davos is able to get the Iron Bank involved, that could get interesting. The Lannisters could be in for quite a shock.
posted by homunculus at 1:13 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the tv version would get more of the benefit of the doubt that additional sexual violence against two of the main characters is narratively justified if there wasn't already a pattern of changing things that earns a side-eye.
posted by rewil at 1:24 AM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons…”

“The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. 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. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference.
Just so people know what we're talking about. And this is a Jamie POV chapter so even this is biased in his favor.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


People could object that in the following paragraphs she relents. Before you make that objection I urge you to consider a hypothetical situation in which someone says that they told a man no repeatedly, were thrown to the ground and had their clothes literally ripped off, all while punching and beating upon his chest with their fists. Say it was an AskMe. Would anyone have the chutzpah to say that ANYTHING which occurred after that would mitigate the situation? No, you know what we would say. And we'd be right.

So, yeah, like I said before I think the book scene is actually more distasteful since it is less honest about what happened (perhaps as a result of being from Jaime's POV) while the TV show is from a more objective 3rd person perspective.
posted by Justinian at 1:53 AM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


I really hope no ones taking sexual cues from game of thrones... that said, here's the full quote from the director:

"Well, it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle. Nobody really wanted to talk about what was going on between the two characters, so we had a rehearsal that was a blocking rehearsal. And it was very much about the earlier part with Charles (Dance) and the gentle verbal kidnapping of Cersei's last living son. Nikolaj came in and we just went through one physical progression and digression of what they went through, but also how to do it with only one hand, because it was Nikolaj. By the time you do that and you walk through it, the actors feel comfortable going home to think about it. The only other thing I did was that ordinarily, you rehearse the night before, and I wanted to rehearse that scene four days before, so that we could think about everything. And it worked out really well. That's one of my favorite scenes I've ever done."


Really though, the most important part of this episode was Podrick. :(
posted by whorl at 2:16 AM on April 21, 2014


I'm not entirely sure what the Jamie/Cersei scene was supposed to have accomplished narratively. I don't think the director's ideas were communicated all that well or clearly - compare and contrast that scene with the infamous similar scene from A History of Violence. It might not be fair to pit Graves against Cronenberg, but I think it's fairly obvious that Cronenberg did a much better job of telling a similar story. Or, maybe I'm missing the point entirely. Either way, I feel justified in having largely resisted the charms of Jaime Lannister thus far.

Littlefinger's been growing more and more Irish as the show bears on. His scenes will ultimately be in full Gaelic. By the end of the show, he will have literally become just a fluttering Irish flag.

Sansa screaming on the boat was a "Stimpy, you forgot to breathe!" moment. Actually, Littlefinger sort of reminds me of Ren. Hmm.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:23 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's kind of interesting, because as written, it basically fits into a history of scenes written to appeal to a primarily female audience, from Kathleen Woodiwiss through to the reams of dubcon posted to Ao3 just this week. Filmed, that's dispensed with, though perhaps unintentionally.

(I'm not saying those tropes aren't unproblematic, mind you. Deciphering that's above my pay grade. But it is A Thing. Also, yes, of course, in a real-life situation, things would be entirely different.)

Really though, the most important part of this episode is Podrick. :(

True. :(
posted by rewil at 2:41 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Hound is a terrible house guest.

To be fair, he warned them:

Old guy: "Walder Frey committed sacrilege that day. He shared bread and salt with the Starks. He offered them guest right."

Hound (while eating): "Guest right don't mean much anymore."

Also, I wish they hadn't written Strong Belwas out, though I did like how they handled Daario fighting the Meerenese champion in his place -charge charge charge charge charge charge slash die.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:51 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Read that other av article dedicated entirely to the jaime/cercei scene and it brought up an interesting point: "It’s not impossible that this rape is a conscious choice that will take these characters in a new direction". From what the director said quoted above though, it seems unlikely as apparently they were both pretty into it due to their mutual crazy. That article kind of put me off a bit, because it suggests if it wasn't done in the part of painting a broad picture of the treatment of women in Westeros it was done for exploitation/shock value. I just saw it as what it was, a screwy relationship proceeding to be screwy. The director essentially said that was what he was going for, so ...kudos, I guess.
posted by whorl at 3:06 AM on April 21, 2014


It's kind of interesting, because as written, it basically fits into a history of scenes written to appeal to a primarily female audience, from Kathleen Woodiwiss through to the reams of dubcon posted to Ao3 just this week. Filmed, that's dispensed with, though perhaps unintentionally.

Yeah, this. I mean, I'm a dude who doesn't read those kinds of things, but I'm familiar with what those kinds of scenes are playing with. People much smarter and better-qualified than me have written reams on the hows and whys of this.

It could be interesting to subvert that trope, but as filmed, I don't think that subversion, if it was that, was handled all that well. I honestly don't know where they're going with Jaime/Cersei, but if it was subversion that they had been after, then why not just make the sex more obviously consensual, and leave the "ravishing" to the printed page? As it stands, it just sort of seems like we had been getting to know Jaime as a dick, and then we grew to understand him and sort of like him. And then, sort of seemingly out of nowhere, Jaime becomes the kind of dude who rapes mothers at her son's wake? But the director didn't really think it was rape? But...what?

Um...okay.

I dunno.

Sort of reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie High Plains Drifter, an otherwise terrific movie which contains a super-duper-WTF rape scene. If you haven't seen High Plains Drifter, then just imagine The Punisher, except the Punisher just straight-up rapes a girl in the first third of the movie, and then that's never directly referred to ever again. Not just offensive, but also distractingly out-of-place.

Either way, that AV Club article is well worth reading.

...

Other than that, I enjoyed the episode. Rape aside, it was a solid "in-between" episode. I wonder what Joffrey's actual funeral will be like, if we wind up seeing it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:08 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Best Arya and Hound moment.

Everything that occurs in the Sept is odd as hell.

1. Tywin becomes amazingly kind and tender as he verbally steals Tommen from Cersei and cements his own power as Joffrey lies there dead.

2. Then Cersei asks Jaimie to kill their brother.

3. Jamie more and less rapes her, while Cersei holds her dead son's hand.

I need to go watch something with fluffy bunnies and unicorns, because what the...?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:00 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I liked that, when he talked to Tywin, Oberyn made the tiniest nod to the fact that King's Landing is in mourning by nonchalantly draping his black sash/shawl thing over his shoulders, like "There is something black touching my body. This technically counts as mourning clothes." Reminded me of those kids at my catholic high school who always seemed to be able to find a way to wear their uniforms according to the letter of the law, but in such a way that they still screamed to the administration, "I hate all of you and I don't want to be here."

In general, the mourning clothes were fascinating—everyone has black clothes with their sigils embroidered in gold. We might be mourning, but we can't let anyone forget who we are.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:05 AM on April 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


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. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference.

I'm finding it almost impossible to read that as consensual. No wait, not almost.

He never heard her. Jesus christ. She pounded on his chest murmuring about all those things and he never heard her. Then he tore away her underwear, saw that she was menstruating and it made no difference.
posted by crossoverman at 4:13 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I honestly think there was a big difference between the sept scene as it was written and what was depicted on the show. I mean, it's pretty explicit in the high-melodrama way that Jaime curses the gods for making him love a "hateful woman."

The other thing is that, in the books, Cersei hadn't already rejected him. It was the first time they were seeing each other since he escaped. So there wasn't that icky undertone of vengeance for her rejecting him.

This really bothers me in terms of his character arc, especially since the show runners don't seem to see that it was a problem. Ugh.
posted by lunasol at 5:00 AM on April 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also: we are finally getting good scenes with Jon Snow.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:14 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


@brandon, don't think she was clutching onto joff's hand there. It was just fabric. Hope that eases the nightmares some :)
posted by whorl at 5:21 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Either way, that AV Club article is well worth reading.

And the comments, which are a series of glib rape jokes, are well worth avoiding.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:33 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I wish they hadn't written Strong Belwas out

Me too, but who would you cast as Strong Belwas in a world that is sadly bereft of Andre the Giant?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:40 AM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure what the Jamie/Cersei scene was supposed to have accomplished narratively.

I think it's setup, really. My guess is that that moment was the final coffin nail in their relationship, though if that's true, you're right that the director did a bad job of communicating that. The Lannister family's clearly being fragmented by its own machinations, from Cersei/Jamie to Tyrion to Tywin taking the new king under his wing. And that's pretty much going to have to happen if Tyrion's going to survive. He needs a friend on the inside and gaps to slip through.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:03 AM on April 21, 2014


1. I'm disgusted that they made this full on rape. Yeah, it might be a reasonable theory that maybe we just saw it through Jamie's POV in the book and it might have been worse than we thought, but warped as the original scene was, it did seem to be about lovers reuniting (one last time) after a long absence, and that she had more objections to his location than the nookie in general. I thought Jamie was supposed to be having a redemption story and this just chucks it out the window like one of Henry's fuckbuddies on Reign. Plus ruins everything for the Jamie/Brienne shippers. Why the hell would they choose to screw that up?

I'm with some other folks here: kinda makes me want to quit the show. This is the first adaptation thing that I think is absolutely terrible and a show ruiner, and normally I've liked or at least tolerated (I miss "Sam the Slayer") the changes.

2. But what's even more horrifying is reading the Sepinwall review and hearing that the showrunners thought it wasn't a rape. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT?! I haven't heard such denial and bullcrap since the Anita Blake shower rape soap sex scene yonks ago. Seriously? And that scene is your favorite?!?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:22 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Overall, not as good as the first two episodes S4, but man, that scene between Tywin and Oberyn and everything that came after... whoooo. Couple of random points:

-This episode's directing was below par for the series, I thought.
-I completely forgot about the rape in the sept scene from the books. Ugh.
-Ocherdraco is on the money about "finally, some Jon Snow".
-I really love Michiel Huisman (I've been rewatching Treme lately, and I watch Nashville, so this is a triple dose of him), but I miss old Daario Naharis.
posted by The Michael The at 6:24 AM on April 21, 2014


With regards to Littlefinger's accent:

I kind of like the idea that outside of the King's Landing, outside of the Lannister's orbit, Baelish no longer has to pretend to be like them and/or aligned with their codes/customs/codes. With no one (except for Sansa, his evident hostage) to call him out for being a sociopathic social climber, he loses nothing by being purely and utterly himself--an outsider, a villain, an agent of chaos, whatever.
posted by thivaia at 6:26 AM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oberyn! Oberyn! Oberyn! Oberyn! Oberyn! Oberyn! Oberyn! littlefinger! Oberyn! Oberyn! Oberyn!

Actually as someone who identifies as Bisexual, I think it makes me love Oberyn even more. I love that he's just openly blatant about this is who he is and he doesn't care what you think about him. Gay characters are gaining steam in representation, but I can't think of any characters off the top of my head who's Bi. The first that pops to mind is the one girl in Black Swan, but that movie was all kinds of messed up anyways.

I am glad I'm not the only one who thought Littlefinger sounded odd. I thought it was because he was whispering. It was coming off as very Creep. I do know where his story is going though, so I hope he'll stop being that once we move beyond the ship.
posted by royalsong at 6:31 AM on April 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


I can't think of any characters off the top of my head who's Bi.

M. Gustave in Grand Budapest Hotel. He goes to bed with all his friends.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:33 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


M. Gustave in Grand Budapest Hotel. He goes to bed with all his friends.

That's a reach at best, given that all of his friends in the movie were apparently women save for Zero.
posted by The Michael The at 6:35 AM on April 21, 2014


M. Gustave in Grand Budapest Hotel.

Oh, you know a coworker told me I should see that movie. I just couldn't remember the name of it. Thanks, I'll check it out!
posted by royalsong at 6:37 AM on April 21, 2014


We just watched The Mentalist (6x18) and on googling, realised that sweet sad-eyed Agent Pike, is the Red Viper clean-shaven and put in a suit!
posted by viggorlijah at 6:45 AM on April 21, 2014


That's a reach at best, given that all of his friends in the movie were apparently women save for Zero.

He references his own sexuality in the prison when the other prisoners call him straight. We don't see him with men in the film, but, then, we don't see Pierce Brosnan with men in "The Matador," and that character is also explicitly bisexual.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:54 AM on April 21, 2014


This is sort of off to the side, but much has been made that the chapter in which the events of the Sept occur are from Jamie's POV. If you haven't read the books each chapter is from the perspective of a single character, but they're not first person perspective. I've never seen them as possibly unreliable narrators, but more that we can't see anything they can't see. That's not to say they'll never lie in their dialogue, but I've not doubted the events as described.

So the idea that it's not presented as the rape it truly is in the book, because it's Jamie's perspective, doesn't hold much traction for me. In way, the show has painted itself into a corner by not making this their first encounter. Here, Cersei has already categorically rejected Jamie. It doesn't make a lot of sense to acquiesce at the side of her son's corpse, when she's had so many opportunities, and will have more if she so wishes. It is quite different than doing so the first time she's seen her lifelong lover since the time she assumed she'd never see him again, as it occurs in the book.
posted by mzurer at 7:01 AM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


That rape scene was fucking gross. Even if it was intended to start out rapey but then become consensual (which, if that's the case, the director sucks because it doesn't seem even a little ambiguous the way it was filmed) that's still fucking gross and treads dangerously close to when women say no they secretly mean yes blurred-lines bullshit. If it's to punish Circe, that's fucking gross (really not interested in seeing women punished with rape). If it's to show how bad Jaime really is, that's fucking gross (really not interested in seeing rape become all the consequences for the rapist).

There's quite a bit of daylight between depicting rape in a piece of fiction and condoning it.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:14 AM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


That book passage sounds pretty rapey to me, too.

My husband and I were chatting through the episode about how tonally off the Daenarys scenes have started to feel. The whole white savior of savages trope had worn pretty thin by me for last season but it does seem odd that in a show where there are few good guys and those who seem good often get their comeuppance, there's a storyline which is just about a character kicking ass in one scene after another. By this point, most of these scenes are lacking in conflict, too. There's no doubt that Daeny will always come out on top so . . . where's the tension?

Liked the stuff with Tommen. Poor kid.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:25 AM on April 21, 2014


There's no doubt that Daeny will always come out on top so . . . where's the tension?

Without giving away anything, Denaerys' situation becomes much more tenuous over the next few books, and she's certainly not just kicking ass in every scene.
posted by The Michael The at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, it's worth updating the count, four seasons in:

Female Genitalia: 340482, Male Genitalia: 1
posted by cacofonie at 7:33 AM on April 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I saw so many boobs hanging out of dresses in Mole's Town that I started to think we were in Qarth.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:33 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is so much going on that 10 episodes a season is not enough to cover it all. Tonight was a perfect example. Really frustrating. The Wire and Deadwood each had more than 10 a season, pity GOT is not getting the same.
posted by mlis at 12:57 AM on April 21


I'm rewatching the Wire right now, and one thing I've noticed is that the average scene length is like 2 minutes. An episode of the wire regularly feels 2 hours long when its over just because of how efficient they are with each scene, and therefore how many they squeeze into each episode. I think that's what annoys me with say spending 3 minutes showing Oberyn and Ellaria's orgy. Did we really need that much time to cement (for all those who missed the subtly in episodes 1 and 2) that yes, they're bisexual and also age ravages everyone's body eventually.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:37 AM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


There's no doubt that Daeny will always come out on top so . . . where's the tension?

I suspect it's coming, what with the way the dragons are getting out of control a bit. Plus, since she's won so much in such a short time, she'll have a particularly hard crash when things don't go her way.

Tywin is somewhat similar, in that he's always coming out on top. It would be interesting to see those two meet on battlefield and clearly Tywin is preparing for that moment and he's not awed or impressed by dragons.

Westros also seems vastly different from Essos in that slavery isn't in the former, so Daenerys' shtick of freeing the slaves won't work as well over there. She's had it easy for now, fighting against simple foes. Dealing with the Lannisters, Tyrells, Martells, Varys and Baelish, all at the same time, is another kettle of fish.

Plus, as Robert found out, it's easy to overthrow a city or king. It's much, much harder to rule. Daeberts hasn't done the latter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't read the books and I sincerely don't know where Daeny's story is going, so presumably it's polite for me to speculate...

It seems like Meereen is going to be a story about Daeny's run of successes hitting a kink, no? We've set up a pattern for Daeny, to the point where it's almost routine for her, and now the time is ripe to switch things up. Based on this episode and the preview for the next, it looks like we might wind up in Bioshock Infinite territory, no? I mean, it's not as if all real life slave rebellions go off without a hitch. Think Haiti. (Obviously, it wasn't just the former slaves who made Haiti complicated, but that's not my point...)
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:41 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the ending image of the slave holding the collar is perfect. Astute viewers probably mostly feel the same way that Stitcherbeast does... Dany's luck has to run out soon, right? Instead of getting a scene where the slaves immediately revolt, the show ends one second before the first slave makes his decision about what to do.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:44 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, there's even the simple matter of how her previous slave-freeings has ended with her army ranks swelling. But what about people who are freed but who want to stay home? What does home become then? It's not as if there's going to be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:44 AM on April 21, 2014


Daenerys has also had people vastly underestimate her so far. Something she says frequently, although less in the show, is that she's just a young girl and she doesn't know anything. She knows how to use that.
posted by royalsong at 7:44 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


As the AVClub write up notes, this episode is the ur-GoT episode in which power is examined and discussed at every level and in every kind of human interaction. The rape serves as a counterpoint to Oberyn's (healthier?) sexual expression. Daeneyrs will get a chance before Tommen to see what makes a good ruler. Meereen is the last major hold out of the salve cities and presumably once she conquers it she can get on with bringing her huge army of freed slaves to Westeros where her just actions and threat of force will bring the kingdom to her side. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by mzurer at 7:48 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I read an article (link is to foxnews.com, oddly enough) that made me think about this episode a little differently. Throughout the episode, we are exposed repeatedly to women who, in some way, give deference to men who think they know what the women want or what's best for them. We see Sansa "rescued" by Littlefinger. We see the Cersei/Jaime scene. We see the Gilly/Sam scene, where he effectively moves her to a brothel for her own good, he thinks. We see the Arya scene, where not only is Arya forced to follow the Hound despite his atrocities, but they are visiting a house where the father is protecting the "virtue" of his daughter.

We end with a scene, in an episode titled "Breaker of Chains," with Daenerys literally casting broken chains into the city. On one level, this is intended to be directly symbolically relevant to the slaves in Meereen, but on another level, Dany is the only female character in this episode to whom it is the men who give deference. We, as viewers, might have cause to think about what would change for women in a Westeros ruled by Daenerys. I think ending the episode on this note is intentional punctuation for the themes drawn out in the rest of the episode.

The Jaime/Cersei scene is of course disturbing, for many reasons. People are fixated on it for some reason, but this is hardly the most disturbing thing that has happened between them, either on screen or in their backstories. Part of what makes this entire story so engaging is that very, very, very few characters are black-and-white (Joffrey being the obvious exception). They are all just different shades of gray. Don't be surprised when your favorite character, whoever it is, does something you find deplorable. It will happen a lot. If the good guys were always good, it would just be the same story as every other story.
posted by tempestuoso at 7:49 AM on April 21, 2014 [17 favorites]


it looks like we might wind up in Bioshock Infinite territory, no? I mean, it's not as if all real life slave rebellions go off without a hitch. Think Haiti. (Obviously, it wasn't just the former slaves who made Haiti complicated, but that's not my point...)

Haiti is literally the one successful slave revolt in history, and applying Bioshock:Infinite's childish morality to it does no one any favors. I hope the show doesn't go down a similar road, but it probably will. "Moral ambiguity" is pretty easy to do when you ignore the systematic, constant, terrible violence inflicted upon slaves by their enslavers.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:49 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The slave rebellion itself was successful, but Haitian governance was not exactly smooth sailing after that. The fact that Western powers were the ones fucking with Haiti doesn't change that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:53 AM on April 21, 2014


Also, it's worth updating the count, four seasons in:

Female Genitalia: 340482, Male Genitalia: 1


You're bad at counting.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:56 AM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


The slave rebellion itself was successful, but Haitian governance was not exactly smooth sailing after that. The fact that Western powers were the ones fucking with Haiti doesn't change that.

That's true. Sorry, it's morning, seeing a serious historical event contrasted with a simplistic fictionalization of historical conflict fed my angry part, and I really don't want to start a derail. Never mind, all.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:57 AM on April 21, 2014


I don't disagree about B:I's maturity, either, but that's neither here nor there...it seems fairly clear that Meereen is going to be complicated, in the sense that freeing the slaves will not immediately cause an unambiguously happy ending. I could be wrong, of course...
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:57 AM on April 21, 2014


Don't be surprised when your favorite character, whoever it is, does something you find deplorable. It will happen a lot. If the good guys were always good, it would just be the same story as every other story.

Pretty much. The Hound may have a code that prevents him from killing or raping Arya, but he has no problem beating the farmer and stealing from him. Ygritte has no problem murdering innocent villagers and working with cannibals. Sam has sweet heart, but he'll cheerfully ship Gilly and baby off to a hellhole, for what he thinks is their own good. Jamie may have changed, but he still can be an asshole, particularly around Cersei. Tywin will cheerfully have guests murdered at a wedding, but he can also be gentle and kind, almost fatherly, with Tommen.

Jon Snow hasn't turned into bastard, yet at least. But he's up in the North, dealing with fairly black and white situations. If he traveled south, like his father and brother did, he'd be eaten alive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jon Snow hasn't turned into bastard

Heh.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:14 AM on April 21, 2014 [19 favorites]


Spoilers aren't ok here right? The show is starting to make some deviations in the North that I can't figure out how it'll get back to how I think it should be in time, and it would cut out some stuff... I hope that was sufficiently vague...
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:23 AM on April 21, 2014


right, no spoilers. Lots of people would prefer you pretend the books don't exist.

I don't remember the war at the wall very well, but I think there's still a lot of wiggle room for it to end up like the book.

(If it helps, memail me. I'll be happy to chat with you about it as a fellow-book-reader)
posted by royalsong at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey, could we not be snotty about those of us who haven't read the books? Kthxbai.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:38 AM on April 21, 2014


Ok after refreshing my memory at the wiki I've found enough wiggle room to not worry about it, I should be ok.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:44 AM on April 21, 2014


computech: if that was directed at me, I'm sorry. I wasn't being snotty and sorry if it came across that way.
posted by royalsong at 8:47 AM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


How big do you suppose the slave army is getting at this point? Just curious if the books (I know, the books are off topic, but they're the only background source I can think of) give any general indication?

The spear and shield formations shown outside Meereen look to be around 9,000 to me, but I suppose they could all be just The Unsullied making a show of force outside the gates, being the most well trained, elite legion of the slave army, and that the rest are off screen along with everyone's horses? The other freed slaves weren't necessarily warriors, right?

It doesn't really matter of course, especially since I don't have a good idea of how large any of the other kingdoms are. I'm just trying a rough comparison against Roman legions for scale.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:49 AM on April 21, 2014


You're cool. FWIW, My BF is a bookwalker and I can tell it's an effort on his part to not tell me all the things.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:49 AM on April 21, 2014


I found the rape scene really really upsetting, and it's normally not a trigger for me. The much-linked AV Club deconstruction of rape as a plot device in GoT is definitely worth a read, if you haven't already.

More upsetting is the showrunners saying that they considered that scene consensual. If two adult men who seem like they have a healthy respect for the stewardship of female empowerment can consider the scene between Jaime and Cersei to be consensual, what the fuck does that say about mainstream understanding of consent in our culture? No shit all of those well-meaning "hey maybe you shouldn't rape people" campaigns aren't working, if a man literally pushing a woman to the ground and forcing himself on her is considered acceptable. It horrifies me to think how much more violent things have to be before they would have considered it "legitimate rape".

I definitely agree that the scenes between Jaime/Cersei and Dany/Khal were anything but a clear display of consent, but this is twice now that the show has elected to sweep nuance and complexity under the rug for unmitigated violence against women, and they're getting dangerously close to three strikes for me.
posted by Phire at 8:50 AM on April 21, 2014 [19 favorites]


Female Genitalia: 340482, Male Genitalia: 1

I see you're only including ones that are still attached.
posted by goethean at 8:50 AM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Pretty sure there have been at least four penises, y'all. Well, three and a Hodor.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:54 AM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


100% with Phire on the rape scene. The show portrayed a rape, which can be done for good reasons, but the showrunners intended it as a consensual encounter, and the show will proceed as though that's what it portrayed. So not only did the showrunners once again indulge in showing sexual violence, but they also did it for no good reason, because they didn't even know they'd done it. No, they didn't mean to make a hash of their characters, and they didn't mean to contribute to the wider world's tacit acceptance of sexual violence, but that's what they did. It's extremely frustrating.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:57 AM on April 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


(Not to minimise the massive disparity, though. And beyond sheer numbers, the male nudity always makes sense in the scene, whereas the female nudity is just set dressing 90% of the time. Last week's contortionist was pretty much the most egregiously gratuitous nudity ever.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:02 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Great reading by the director the gentle verbal kidnapping of Cersei's last living son

Misguided reading by the director Well, it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.

I can see what he's trying to say there, but that's not what he presented on the screen. And if it's not in the book, then where did he pull it from and why?
posted by GrapeApiary at 9:12 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Side thought, man Arya looked teenaged in a few of those scenes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think we're going to have to adjust our expectations of the ages of the younger characters as the series goes on.

We've already seen it with Bran, who's just growing in giant leaps and bounds. And even Tommen, who's no longer a little kid and edging into teenagerdom. Seems as though Tommen is recasted though.
posted by royalsong at 9:22 AM on April 21, 2014


Podrick looked a lot less moon-faced than last season, too.

Also a side thought: when Tywin says something isn't a trick question, it most certainly is.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:30 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Tommen was recast. But, oddly, we've seen this kid before. I almost wonder if they sent the call sheet to the wrong actor or something.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:32 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Side thought, man Arya looked teenaged in a few of those scenes.

QFT. The contrast between her and Sally (the farmer's daughter) was really startling. Even more startling is that Trixibelle Harrowell, the actress who plays Sally, is the same age that book-Arya was at the beginning of the series.
posted by KathrynT at 9:38 AM on April 21, 2014


OK, so a few more thoughts after a night to digest further:

1. The Cersei/Jaime scene remains incredibly problematic. In the books, it isn't consensual but the context is different - Jaime has literally just returned to King's Landing, Joffrey is dead, and Cersei is in mourning - the first place they reunite is in the Sept. Cersei, from my perspective, not only doesn't consent, but isn't in a place mentally/emotional where she could meaningfully consent. The context doesn't make what happens right, but it also helps to understand where both Jaime and Cersei wind up afterwards - and it makes her rejection of Jaime make more sense...This is one area where I think the changed timeline really, really doesn't serve the TV show well at all. Because now what happens in the crypt makes Jaime look like a vengeful stalking ex, rather than the emotionally overwhelmed, lovesick, confused, immature, self-centered egotist he still largely is at this point in the books. He isn't right in either case - but the context changes the read on the character so, so much in my perspective.

When Jaime says to her "I killed people to get to you" in episode 1, he isn't referring to his escape, but his whole life. His identity is so wrapped up in that relationship...he can't conceive she isn't the same. But for Cersei, his sudden departure from King's Landing after attacking Ned was the start of her becoming a different person.

So much of Cersei comes down to choices - the choices she has been denied her whole life. Her expectations were set from a young age; Jaime got to learn the sword and have control over his destiny; she was told who to marry to further the family; her only choices ever were in her children. She chose to have Jaime's children, not Roberts; she chose how they would be raised (and giving Joffrey free reign to be what he was, I think, is Cersei wanting to give her son the complete freedom she never had - and also why she is furious with Tyrion for Myrcella's bethrothal - she hates that women of the noble houses are just "brood mares" this way); Jaime chose to act against Ned and leave, while Cersei had no such choice; and in the absence of her father, Jaime, and Robert, she started to be something else. Then her father returned, and again she was to be a brood mare to a "renowned pillow bitter"; she stands by and watches as her last child - sweet, sweet Tommen - becomes another pawn for her father in the Game of Thrones; and then she is raped on the floor by her brother. And this was a rape, no matter how the show creators/director see it, I think - this is Cersei losing all power and control and choice. And I hope that's what they are going to use going forward, but the fact that they are trying to argue that somehow it was consensual by the end is just making me really, really worried. Because I think there's a book to be written on the Lannister family and their dynamics and issues of power, control, and choices, but the show might be about to screw it up.

(Listening to some of the director commentaries from earlier seasons is revealing; I think D&D have some issues of their own with women and sexuality and that's part of the reason why we had Ros around for three seasons instead of one episode as was originally planned).

2. The Hound. Can I just say that I am blown away at how well this character is developing? He's been called out on it before, but he isn't the tough, mean scary guy he wants everyone to believe he is - he does horrible things, but only with elaborate self-justifications and it's the Stark kids who keep calling him out on that. And I still like the fact that they took this direction in this episode, because Arya has been seeking a father figure since Ned took leave of his head, and keeps finding the wrong ones...as much as I wanted the Hound/Arya spinoff series, that isn't where either character is going, so they had to slam that door.

3. Jon Snow. As much as I'm worried that the show is about to botch the Lannister family relationship and Jaime's arc, can I say that after 3 seasons I think they are finally getting Jon Snow right? They totally messed up the Halfhand storyline, but this season they seem to be finally giving Kit the right lines and beats, and Kit seems to have found the character. Jon Snow isn't a mopey, angsty teenager. He's a young man struggling to be a leader and deal with the compromises necessary to do both duty and the right thing.

4. Since I'm also wrapping a re-watch of season 3, can I just say the recasting of Daario from this to this just isn't working for me? The chemistry between Dany and the first Daario is incredibly palpable; it just isn't there now. Maybe it's because I too strongly associate Huisman with Treme as well, but Ed Skrien brought a presence and swagger to the role that Huisman can't match.
posted by nubs at 9:48 AM on April 21, 2014 [16 favorites]


Oh, and it's not only Arya looking teenaged - how about Bran?
posted by nubs at 9:49 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


More upsetting is the showrunners saying that they considered that scene consensual.

Have the showrunners? Sepinwall is quoting the episode's director, which matters because on TV, unlike movies, the director isn't the person with final say over an episode. They're more of a hired hand to run the shoot and do some other stuff. I haven't looked very hard (yet), but haven't seen anything with Benioff or Weiss talking about the scene in question.

It seems possible that the scene as shot was not how it ended up playing after editing and the director hadn't seen the final cut when that interview was given? Or maybe they really did intend that scene to play somewhat more like it does in the book and they (director, showrunners, et al) just really badly fucked up communicating that.
posted by sparkletone at 9:56 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


re Jaime's POV chapters

> I've never seen them as possibly unreliable narrators

There's an incident in the books (already seen in the series) where The Hound has deserted his post at the Battle of the Blackwater, and he visits Sansa in her room. In subsequent Sansa chapters where she remembers the incident she recalls there being a kiss, but in the actual chapter describing the scene there is no kiss.

When asked about this GRRM has referred to Sansa as an unreliable narrator. They're in there.
posted by vbfg at 9:59 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Was there another scene earlier in the series where people were having sex on an altar? Am I totally imagining that*? (I haven't read the books, so this can't be a spoiler.) If I'm wrong, is there another show or movie with a very similar scene (dead body, etc.)?

*I'm not talking about the thing Bran witnessed in the tower. It was definitely near a dead body.
posted by desjardins at 10:07 AM on April 21, 2014


> Oh, and it's not only Arya looking teenaged - how about Bran?

If they don't recast Bran then Hodor will need a back brace before the series is out.
posted by vbfg at 10:09 AM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Certainly the characters can be unreliable speakers (Paging Mr. Baelish), but I don't know of any examples where the non-dialogue text has been revealed to be inaccurate. I could very well be wrong, but I have seen the shifting focus (though not necessarily pure perspective) as a way to hide information from the reader in an "honest" way, as well as to allow us to experience the flush of realizations at the same time as the characters. I don't know what happened to Uncle Benjen, but I don't think it's because anyone has lied to me. I have some theories though!
posted by mzurer at 10:25 AM on April 21, 2014


(In the example cited, I take that to mean her later recollection is unreliable, not the original description.)
posted by mzurer at 10:28 AM on April 21, 2014


To be fair about Arya looking teenaged, George RR Martin has said that the events of the first three books take about 2-3 years, IIRC. So that would mean that show-Arya, who started out as 11, would indeed be a young teenager by now.

Bran, on the other hand, is getting into Walt territory.
posted by lunasol at 10:51 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Desjardins, Stannis and Melissande have sex on his big map table (is it weird that I spent most of that scene coveting the table? ).

Fantastic comment, nubs. With you all the way, on all counts, The only moment when New Guy felt anything like Daario to me was when he turned and winked cockily at Dany. He's just one more Dany fan, when he should stand out as someone who draws admiration of his own. He needs less deference and a lot more swagger.

Justinian, if you are going to put book scenes in the thread, do it right. When you provide only an edited snippet of the Cersei/Jaime interaction fom the book, you are not giving everyone the full picture. People are perfectly capable of making up their own minds about it given the full context. So here it is:
She kissed him. A light kiss, the merest brush of her lips on his, but he could feel her tremble as he slid his arms around her. “I am not whole without you.”

There was no tenderness in the kiss he returned to her, only hunger. Her mouth opened for his tongue. “No,” she said weakly when his lips moved down her neck, “not here. The septons…”

“The Others can take the septons.” He kissed her again, kissed her silent, kissed her until she moaned. Then he knocked the candles aside and lifted her up onto the Mother’s altar, pushing up her skirts and the silken shift beneath. 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. He undid his breeches and climbed up and pushed her bare white legs apart. One hand slid up her thigh and underneath her smallclothes. When he tore them away, he saw that her moon’s blood was on her, but it made no difference.

“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.” She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair. Jaime lost himself in her flesh. He could feel Cersei’s heart beating in time with his own, and the wetness of blood and seed where they were joined.
posted by misha at 10:52 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Desjardins, Stannis and Melissande have sex on his big map table

Whoa...I missed that scene.
posted by goethean at 10:59 AM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fantastic comment, nubs. With you all the way, on all counts, The only moment when New Guy felt anything like Daario to me was when he turned and winked cockily at Dany. He's just one more Dany fan, when he should stand out as someone who draws admiration of his own. He needs less deference and a lot more swagger.

It doesn't help that like every scene they've been together in this season she's been dismissive of him to the point of being annoyed. That has to be an intentional choice for some reason but it just makes it feel like there's no chemistry at all there.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:00 AM on April 21, 2014


Apropos of nothing and in case people haven't seen it; Let it Go(T).

(ALERT: Don't watch if you don't want that goddamn song stuck in your head.)
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:08 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's brutal, but that scene was the first time in far too long (ever?) that I've seen the slightest glimmer of humanity in Cersei. Now she's even sympathetic. I don't think they needed to go to quite that extreme (like, mourning her dead child might've been sympathetic enough on its own, y'know?), but a consensual sex scene on her dead son's altar sure wouldn't have achieved the same result.

I wonder if this is their attempt to promote the feel of things that you perceive in the books. In the books, Cersei getting a POV chapter really goes a long way towards making her more sympathetic - because we can't help but see her justifications, feelings, and emotions. But in the show, there's no real way to do that - no way to say "Hey, it's okay to feel sympathy for this character." So I wonder if something like this is their attempt to show that Cersei can, in fact, be sympathetic - to make us, the viewer, feel with and for her, to say "Hey, you guys that have been seeing Cersei as an uncomplicated devil - she's not, there's more."
posted by corb at 11:12 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Totally unrelated to any other discussion but I enjoyed one of Davos's lines in this episode, something to the effect of "If you're a famous smuggler, you're doing it wrong."
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:12 AM on April 21, 2014 [18 favorites]


I haven't read the books and there wasn't much revealed about Cersei's state of mind in this episode, but what we've seen of her is a woman consumed by grief, that her ability to act rationally at this point is out the window. In that context, a decision to consent to sex, particularly in front of her dead son's body, would seem to me very jarring and inconsistent. Before the rape, I imagined her character going to very extreme, angry, and insane places. The rape gives her less to lose. Is she going to trade sex with Jaime for the murder of Tyrion? Or is she just going to go insane and completely self destruct? Regardless of whether it was consensual in the book, this wasn't an arbitrary decision on the show runners part, I don't buy that it was a just a gratuitous display of Jaime's depravity. I imagine there will fall out directly a result of this.

although I haven't ruled out 100% that this show contains gratuitous badness. I almost stopped watching after the red wedding and I may yet stop watching if they keep pulling this kind of shit without a reason or without letting the good guys win once in a while
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:12 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, despite her initial objections, in the book, before the first thrust into her body (sorry to be so graphic, but this is important to how I read the encounter), Cersei pretty obviously consents, not just by helping to guide him into her, but by telling him explicitly, "Do me now," and then, several times, repeating, "Yes".

Now, I may feel like that is an unrealistic reaction on Cersei's part, but then again, I am not the incestuous twin sister of a one-handed man having life-affirming sex to assuage the grief over our poisoned son, the King of Westeros.

In other words, there is some narrative precedence for us to suspend our disbelief here and believe these actions are in character for both Jaime and Cersei. Remember Bran's 'accidental' fall? Cersei's biggest fear was being seen and being caught.

In contrast, the show version was borderline triggering for me, as a victim of date rape, and frankly the fact that the director seems so blasé about it creeps me right out.
posted by misha at 11:12 AM on April 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm worried that an older Tommen means that some of his freaking adorably hilarious scenes will be cut.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:13 AM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


The Map table sex is from the 2012 season. Season 2, episode 2, entitled The Night Lands.
posted by misha at 11:20 AM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Clue solution or GOT sex scene? In the library, on the map table, with a necromancer.
posted by shothotbot at 11:45 AM on April 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


Gay characters are gaining steam in representation, but I can't think of any characters off the top of my head who's Bi.

Offhand, there's Kalinda on The Good Wife, Nolan on Revenge, Sarah on Arrow, Bo on Lost Girl, Delphine on Orphan Black -- only Bo is the lead of the show, but these are all pretty important characters.

Anyways, back to GoT.
posted by jeather at 11:48 AM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


There's 13 on House.
posted by goethean at 11:50 AM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


But in the show, there's no real way to do that - no way to say "Hey, it's okay to feel sympathy for this character." So I wonder if something like this is their attempt to show that Cersei can, in fact, be sympathetic - to make us, the viewer, feel with and for her, to say "Hey, you guys that have been seeing Cersei as an uncomplicated devil - she's not, there's more."

I don't know, I think acting goes quite a ways towards accomplishing this and I haven't seen Cersei as pure pure evil since, I don't know, the first half of season one.

I am going to be faintly annoyed all week because now I don't know if the show knows that the disturbing straight-up rape scene was in fact a disturbing straight up rape scene. I had read it as presaging more Shit Falls Apart In House Lannister – now I am less certain in a pretty itchy way. Also, now that scene's going to be in the back of my mind all week; it's like if the Tyrion/Shae scene was in the back of my mind all last week and that was not the easiest thing to watch either. I suppose this is why I'm not the most avid reader/listener of director commentaries.
posted by furiousthought at 12:11 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The actor's answer to whether it was rape is "Yes and No"
posted by Jacqueline at 12:11 PM on April 21, 2014


I'm worried that an older Tommen means that some of his freaking adorably hilarious scenes will be cut.

If Ser Pounce is cut from the show, we riot!!!
posted by Jacqueline at 12:12 PM on April 21, 2014 [19 favorites]


without letting the good guys win once in a while

Seemed to me that this episode was all about reminding us that these ambiguously-grey guys that we'd been getting attached to during their apparently-redemptive arcs: they're still actually bad guys.

In addition to Jamie and the Hound, I felt like they also did this walking-back to Ygritte: after all the "where do your loyalties lie" stuff with Jon Snow, the wildling's attack on the village was a very pointed demonstration that Ygritte is also a stone cold killer.

On the rape scene: I wonder if part of what they're trying to show is how corrosive an atmosphere Kings Landing is, both in general -- "everyone lies" -- and specifically for Jamie? There was a better side of him shown during the journey with Brienne, but now he's trapped back in the Lannister orbit and there's no longer any incentive to be anything but bad.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:20 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I saw it pointed out, I think on one of the subreddits, that the 3 qualities Tommen names (Holiness, Justice, and Strength) map fairly well to Stannis, Daenerys, and Robb respectively.
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:24 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


The only issue I really take with that though is I wouldn't pick holiness as the first (or probably top 3) adjective for Stannis, but I guess he's the most devoted to a religion of all the kings.
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:25 PM on April 21, 2014


I don't know if the show knows that the disturbing straight-up rape scene was in fact a disturbing straight up rape scene.

That's very well put. And that "yes and no" answer from Coster-Waldau is not helping with that.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:27 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I almost stopped watching after the red wedding and I may yet stop watching if they keep pulling this kind of shit without a reason or without letting the good guys win once in a while

I think this came through more in the books, but the way I took the Red Wedding is that it did have pretty clear reasons, both narrative and within the world of the story. Narratively, the war was going badly for the North, but in the long, slogging way that wars general do. Realistic, but not very good for fiction. Again, this comes through very clearly over the course of two long books, but is less clear on the show. So the RW was a way for the author to just put an end to that part of the war once and for all. It also shuffled the deck in terms of alliances and enemies, which is always going to make things interesting, plot-wise.

As for the world of the story, the reasons for the perpetrators to do it are pretty clear: Tywin Lannister wanted to win; Roose Bolton wanted to control the North; and Walder Frey saw how the war was going and wanted to curry favor with the victors. The whole thing was brutal and horrible, but not really without reason, IMO.
posted by lunasol at 12:29 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Seemed to me that this episode was all about reminding us that these ambiguously-grey guys that we'd been getting attached to during their apparently-redemptive arcs: they're still actually bad guys.

In addition to Jamie and the Hound, I felt like they also did this walking-back to Ygritte: after all the "where do your loyalties lie" stuff with Jon Snow, the wildling's attack on the village was a very pointed demonstration that Ygritte is also a stone cold killer.


Totally. Totally. Littlefinger, too. And Tywin is looking worse and worse by the minute. Even Lwaxana Olenna's shrewd pragmatism is starting to look kinda sociopathic. The whole episode was like a big reset button.

Here's hoping there's a reversion in store for Reek.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:38 PM on April 21, 2014


On other matters: was Littlefinger's departure for the Eyrie all a feint for his real string-pulling? Was he moored just out of sight of the Landing the whole time?

(And what's his plan now that he finally has Sansa in his grasp? Open rebellion doesn't seem his style. Is it all about keeping Sansa hidden to cast as much suspicion on Tyrion as possible? Either way, this doesn't seem to bode well for Sansa.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:39 PM on April 21, 2014


-This episode's directing was below par for the series, I thought.

I noticed this too. More than a few indoor shots were really monkey-cammy in a way that made me think like... daytime tv soap opera. I realize in last episodes thread i was harping on how this season felt cheesy thusfar, but the weird directing/cinematography in this episode really cemented it for me.

I'm happy i wasn't the only one who noticed this weirdness.

As for the rape scene, which i'm realizing is all anyone is going to talk about until the next episode comes out(and probably for a while after, as a club to attack the show) i think it was actually a good thing they did it.

Is it upsetting and gross? yes. Would i have been WAY more upset if they depicted it exactly how it was described in the book with her being all "no, not here, not right now" and implying that she did want to fuck him just not that second and then he's all just like "lol i'm ignoring you"? No.

The book version is way grosser to me. It reads as incredibly like, 1950s romantic scene pick up artist "the woman needs to be pushed through her fears of being a slut" kind of bizarre stuff that you're supposed to encounter resistance or whatever. Having it just be flat out, uncomfortable to watch, inarguable rape is somehow a lot healthier to me.

Nothing about that scene was romantic, or sexual, or glamorous. The way the book put it definitely read somewhat as like, some kind of fantasy novel sword and sorcery "Oh the brave night overcomes the fears of the maiden and eventually she enjoys it" kind of shit.

I definitely would have thrown my remote at the tv and booed if it went like the book, and she started moaning his name quietly as he raped her.

Like seriously, why is anyone arguing the book version was somehow better? The jaime POV nature of it especially makes it seem like some story posted on reddit about some guy powering through "last minute resistance". It was also really porny in a gross way with all the "do me now" kind of stuff, while also having those gross elements. They took something that was kind of a gross neackbeards problematic fantasy and made it just upsetting. I think it's kind of a "fuck you" to that sort of thing in general, and i respect that.
posted by emptythought at 12:50 PM on April 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


Seemed to me that this episode was all about reminding us that these ambiguously-grey guys that we'd been getting attached to during their apparently-redemptive arcs: they're still actually bad guys.

Very few people on GoT are bad, they're simply people with various agendas in a violent world that's descending into chaos and war. These people can be nice, but they won't stay alive long if they are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on April 21, 2014


It seemed to me that Tywin knew that Tyrion wasn't the killer. In his talk with Oberyn he said something like "help us convict the killer" — not "convict Tyrion" or somesuch. Even offering the judge job to Oberyn seemed like a way to get an outside perspective on the proceedings, as opposed to someone who would rubber-stamp Tywin's opinion.

Obviously there's going to be more to it when it comes to Tywin, but this episode made him seem measured and smart when everyone around him is going nuts, which made me like him a lot more.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2014


On other matters: was Littlefinger's departure for the Eyrie all a feint for his real string-pulling? Was he moored just out of sight of the Landing the whole time?

No, he obviously went. Where else would he get his Eyrish accent?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:02 PM on April 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


[Folks, please remember to take "let's talk about what's okay or not stuff" over to Metatalk rather than getting in exchanges over here about what has been said on Metatalk, etc. Please be mindful about not getting into future events based on book-reading, beyond that please use Metatalk or the contact form if you need to talk about the details of something you feel is problematic.]
posted by cortex at 1:04 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


That it's a Jaime's POV chapter in the books means that we have no idea what Cersei was really thinking or feeling. Her urging him on at the end could plausibly be her trying to get him to finish quickly before they are caught instead of an indication that she actually consented.

The scene in the book reads at the very least as very dubcon even from Jaime's point of view. Given that most rapists don't see themselves as rapists, if even Jaime acknowledges that she was resisting and pushing him away before starting to seemingly enjoy it suggests to me that it could have actually been rape in the books as well.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:05 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I read the books a couple of years ago, and watched S01 but skipped S02 and 03, so this might be something known: was there a valid reason for Littlefinger to not attend the wedding? Was he out of favour with Cersei? Because I wonder if anyone would notice his absence. I would have otherwise enjoyed seeing him and Varys sitting together, snarking like Statler and Waldorf (just very quietly).
posted by tracicle at 1:05 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Eyrish accent
groan

Tywin is a great game-player, even better than Tyrion, I think. It's no surprise to me that he came across as measured and smart -- he's one of the most level-headed, logical thinkers on the show, even if he's not someone we like. I wish we had been able to see him and Ned together, Ned would have been the perfect counterpoint, likable but naive.
posted by Night_owl at 1:07 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh and to be super clear, when they say they didn't intend for it to seem like rape i don't believe them. There's just no way in hell everyone involved could film that and have at least some of them not think that, or bring that up or whatever. I don't believe that it wasn't discussed at some point.

Them denying it strikes me as little kid playing ball in the house because he thought he could get away with it, breaking the lamp, and making up a story that it had nothing to do with it and was just a freak occurrence or something. They don't want to admit that's what's up for PR reasons or... something.

I just don't buy that the artist doesn't know what the art is depicting here when they're essentially beating you over the head with it. So i don't really want to engage much on the "But they said it wasn't and the show will treat it like it wasn't" path until the show has continued and it's clear that's the case.

She has already been shown to have soured on him in this season. There's no reason to believe that the show might not take a different path there, since it's already setting itself up to do so in several ways.
posted by emptythought at 1:08 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


For those not embedded in fandom culture: dubcon = "dubious consent"

Had to google that one :)
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:13 PM on April 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I may yet stop watching if they keep pulling this kind of shit without a reason or without letting the good guys win once in a while

There are good guys? ---AFAIK, none of these are spoilers---

We've already seen Jon Snow do some harsh things, and he's likely to do more in the future. I could imagine him sacrificing an entire town to the fire god if he thought it would help him kill Others.

Daenarys? Her anti-slavery stuff is fun to watch, but at the same time I figure the only reason she hasn't actually committed genocide yet is that her dragons aren't big enough. I wouldn't be shocked if, when her dragons are big enough, she decides to just depopulate Westeros and give it to her followers rather than conquer its people. Or something similarly horrible.

Arya? We like her, but she is stone-cold psycho and I doubt it will be long before we watch her torturing people to death and singing happy songs while she does it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:33 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline: THANK YOU. Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to get across.

I have a real problem with the defense of Jaime in that scene (from the book version) which boils down to "Sure, she was saying NO and hitting him and he threw her down and ripped her clothes off and ignored her but she ended up wanting it!". I have a hard time articulating just how problematic that is without being extraordinarily inflammatory. Of course Jaime saw it that way; he's the one who raped her.

I think the TV show was just far more honest about what happened than Jaime in the book and I think people are upset because they are forced to confront who Jaime is rather than who they wanted him to be.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 PM on April 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Another thing to keep in mind is that Cersei couldn't risk resisting too much because a ruckus would attract witnesses and she'd rather be raped than beheaded. So once she realized that the rape was inevitable, she had good reason to try to get it over with as quickly and quietly as possible.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:52 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also: I am not taking a position on whether the depiction of this sort of sexual violence in Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire in general is handled well or poorly. I'm primarily taking issue with the idea of lots of people and particularly Sonia Saraiya's supposed takedown of the show's handling of it. Because I think it's dead wrong for the reasons outlined above. The primary difference on the show is we don't have the apologia of seeing this stuff through the perpetrator's viewpoint and mindset.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow, that didn't make sense but is too much to fix in the edit window! I meant taking issue with the idea that the show is worse in this regard than the books.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


GRRM comments:
The whole dynamic is different in the show, where Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer, and he and Cersei have been in each other’s company on numerous occasions, often quarreling. The setting is the same, but neither character is in the same place as in the books, which may be why Dan & David played the sept out differently. But that’s just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.

Also, I was writing the scene from Jaime’s POV, so the reader is inside his head, hearing his thoughts. On the TV show, the camera is necessarily external. You don’t know what anyone is thinking or feeling, just what they are saying and doing.

If the show had retained some of Cersei’s dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression — but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline.

That’s really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing… but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.
I feel like this is tepid support for my position... but I would think that, wouldn't I.
posted by Justinian at 2:04 PM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Who's the creepiest character in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire? GRRM.
posted by MsVader at 2:14 PM on April 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


I think the TV show was just far more honest about what happened than Jaime in the book and I think people are upset because they are forced to confront who Jaime is rather than who they wanted him to be.

Well put.

It's hard to accept the idea of Jaime as a rapist because it doesn't fit with the trope of redemption everyone was expecting. It's hard to cope with the idea of Cersei as a victim because it doesn't fit with the trope of the evil queen everyone was expecting. I'd bet that Once Upon a Time lives up to those expectations a little better.

Who's the creepiest character in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire? GRRM.

And yet it is we who crave the books, and we who are glued to the television. Maybe the creepiest character in GoT is us.
posted by tempestuoso at 2:18 PM on April 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I mean the scene with Cersei in the Sept isn't even the worst thing we've seen Jaime do ON SCREEN! He's my favorite character but I have no illusions about him.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'll admit to being interested in the characters and the overall story, but I can't help but be creeped out by the way he treats the women of this world.
posted by MsVader at 2:38 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Justinian, where's that GRRM quote from? Have a link?
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:47 PM on April 21, 2014


It's from the comments on this post.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here.
posted by merelyglib at 2:52 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't know what happened to Uncle Benjen, but I don't think it's because anyone has lied to me. I have some theories though!

A tale of Benjen Stark - A Game of Thrones fanfiction
posted by homunculus at 3:29 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Benjen is a secret merling.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:34 PM on April 21, 2014


I think the TV show was just far more honest about what happened than Jaime in the book and I think people are upset because they are forced to confront who Jaime is rather than who they wanted him to be.

I can't speak for other people, but this is categorically not why I found the rape scene distasteful. What I'm pissed about is that in popular culture we have this shitty tradition of double-victimization of rape victims - first they're victimized by being raped, then they're victimized a second time by being erased from their own rape. What I mean by this is that the rape often becomes about either the perpetrator and how awful they are, or it becomes about how some third party reacts to the rape. You can see this happening right now - I keep seeing people talk primarily about the character of Jaime and what this means for him - CIRCE IS ALSO A CHARACTER. I'm withholding judgement to some degree until next week to see what (if any) the fall-out from this is, but given the show so far I expect it to be swept under the rug and not particularly important. I'm happy to be wrong about this because I enjoy GoT and I've read all the books, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile the showrunners attitude of wanting to have their cake and eat it too regarding fmeale empowerment and sexualised violence.
posted by supercrayon at 3:39 PM on April 21, 2014 [15 favorites]


supercrayon: I think it's reasonable to have problems with the handling of this sort of thing in both the books and the TV show, like I said I'm mostly reacting against the idea that the TV show is seriously worse than the books on these issues.
posted by Justinian at 3:40 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


supercrayon: I think it's reasonable to have problems with the handling of this sort of thing in both the books and the TV show, like I said I'm mostly reacting against the idea that the TV show is seriously worse than the books on these issues.

I think you're right, there. I've been reacting to everything I've heard about how the show gets credit for being less sexist than the books -- someone even said as much in that recent AskMe thread -- and then I watch and I see dialog changed so that women display internalized misogyny, I see scenes shot with extra breasts for the benefit of male gaze, I see heightened sexual violence. I don't care so much about Jaime.
posted by rewil at 4:06 PM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


supercrayon: I think it's reasonable to have problems with the handling of this sort of thing in both the books and the TV show, like I said I'm mostly reacting against the idea that the TV show is seriously worse than the books on these issues.

And the more online commentary on this i read, the more i think people started writing their blog posts before they even finished watching the damn episode. Or even just like, paused it going "omg omg omg" to write them.

With not even a lot of sitting down and contemplating a lot of the criticisms that have come up kinda fall flat to me. So much of it just strikes me as "breaking news!" twittersphere type stuff where it's like O MAN EVERYONE HAS TO HEAR ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW. The various tv blogs and other places linked seem like they just wanted to be the first up to get the most clicks and shares. Fucking buzzfeed culture, ugh.

I guess the thing for me, is that in remotely following the existing story in any way i can't see how they could have handled this without people getting really upset about it. If it was 1:1 with the book people would flip out who hadn't read the book, and people would be defending it saying the same thing happened there while others collected lots of nods and approval(in whatever forms those take on various sites) for going "that doesn't make it ok". As it was, which i've already stated my opinion on, many were unhappy.

Supercrayon, your criticism is one of the most legitimate, to me, that i've seen so far. And all i can say is watch the entire sequence again from joffrey lying there on the slab to it happening and look at Cersei's face.

I will be utterly shocked if this is it with this. Although i could see it being canon that this never really comes up again in the show(and you can debate whether that's terrible or not) i expect to see Cersei being oddly cold around or avoiding Jaime for a while, or giving him shitty looks, or possibly there even being a "wtf was that" scene. I'll be kinda surprised if there isn't.

Also, I absolutely think there's a case to be made for "the stakes are too high for this to ever come up again, since everyone involved would be seriously fucked if it became public at all" and sweeping it under the rug not being some shining beacon of What's Wrong With The Show or whatever. Tons of people are going to want to write some big screed about there being a problem with how this show treats women, but this is a bad example that people want to latch onto simply because it has a high profile.
posted by emptythought at 4:30 PM on April 21, 2014


I think the HBO T&A sexposition fest is a much better criticism about how the show treats women. This season seems somewhat more even handed about it but that's damning with faint praise given the first couple of seasons.
posted by Justinian at 4:33 PM on April 21, 2014


I am a book reader and was as disturbed as anyone by the change in tone of the sept scene. However both this thread and the corresponding reddit discussions in r/asoiaf have allowed me to muse on it a bit and maybe re-think it to a degree.

One of the things I think some are missing is that by changing the tone of the scene in the TV show, you, the viewer, are thus forced to feel shame, compassion, sorrow and empathy for Cersei. Keep in mind this is the exact same character that, at least here, by the end of last week's episode thread there was a huge philosophical debate going as to whether her character was utterly evil and shitty, and totally without any hope of redemption.

not to mention that by removing any shade of ambiguity, HBO, by virtue of showing this as a straight up nonconsentual rape, neatly sidesteps the entire convoluted tangle of the book scene, because face it: the viewing public as a whole is just not generally as smart or philosophically nuanced as the demographic here, or in many fan forums.

bottom line the TV series needed there to not be that whole icky mess of "oh, dude she totally wanted it / had it coming to her" as Justinian and Jacqueline both articulated so well upthread, which, yeah, no. Straight-up rape scene? Oh hell yes it's controversial, but not as bad as one of the most popular TV series of all time implying YET AGAIN that tired old trope of "if you just keep on coercing her, eventually she'll say yes..."

Bleh. also this.
posted by lonefrontranger at 4:42 PM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


I feel like the Jaime fanatics who are up in arms over this are making a really cool parallel with Sansa's arc. Now we just need them to sit around for a few seasons looking depressed and helpless and it will be perfect.
posted by Justinian at 4:51 PM on April 21, 2014


not to mention that by removing any shade of ambiguity, HBO, by virtue of showing this as a straight up nonconsensual rape

except according to the director and the actor, they weren't showing a straight up rape - their comments have only reinforced ambiguity. a lot of the complaints i'm seeing is that they filmed a straight up rape and then said they hadn't.
posted by nadawi at 5:02 PM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


They're either dumb or fibbing. I suspect fibbing.
posted by Justinian at 5:19 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


For all the horrible shit that happens to women in the source material, there's at least a reason behind him writing what he writes (though obviously everyone's MMV on whether or not it's a good reason, or it misses its mark, and good intentions obviously aren't a blanket excuse, and it's not like there were zero missteps) in that it's pointedly saying "Look, this is how Stock Fantasy World with its Stock Fantasy Rules would be, it's a horrible, horrible, awful place". The books really are concerned with deconstructing fantasy tropes and shining a light on the things typical fantasy is happy to gloss over, not just in its portrayals of the lives of women in that system but in pretty much everything (though they do meander and lose a bit of the pointedness as they go on). I mean, it's also concerned with being a rollicking fantasy story, but it makes a point of not being naive about what a world like that taken even a little way towards its logical conclusion really means. It lets you have your cake but doesn't shy away from reminding you what terrible knock-on effects in this cake's supply chain you're supporting and, oh yeah, that cake also had flies walking all over it before you came in the room and picked it up.

But what sticks out to me, especially after this episode, is that the show seems to not keep that in mind, like... at all. I honestly think that the moments in the show that touch on the more nuanced stuff GRRM was doing only really happen because it's a fairly close adaptation and some things will just carry over when doing one of those, but then you look at this latest scene, and all the sexposition stuff that's been going on the whole time, and the way that shitty treatment of women and just general sex and violence and sexy violence takes up way more of a proportion of the TV series than the book series because it's the last thing they'll choose to cut for time, and it's hard not to think that the core of the series in the eyes of the network and most of the production staff really is just the superficial shocking gore & boobs & epic battles stuff for its own sake. The books, at their (sometimes fleeting) best, made you take a look at your preconceptions as a fantasy fan and judged you for them. The show kind of does that, ish, when some of that comes through the adaptation process from the source, but it also just tacks on all this stuff to get eyeballs glued to the screen that just runs counter to that.

I guess Game of Thrones the tv series in some ways isn't really the ideal place for deconstructing fantasy tropes in the way that its source was, because it's so much My First Fantasy Series for so many people and the history of craaaaap fantasy epics just isn't there in TV like it was in books before GRRM started the series. But ironically, there's plenty there already in this show that a future TV series could deftly deconstruct and leave looking pretty thin in a way similar to what GRRM did.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:36 PM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Even offering the judge job to Oberyn seemed like a way to get an outside perspective on the proceedings, as opposed to someone who would rubber-stamp Tywin's opinion.

It'd be nice to think so, but asking him to be a judge after first pointing out in so many words that he is almost certainly the next most likely suspect suggests something else.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:57 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Justinian - yeah, you've said that. i remain unconvinced. even if they are fibbing, they're fine going around telling everyone they didn't film a rape and people are going to feel a certain way about that, and i suspect those feelings won't magically turn to adulation even if it's revealed they were fibbing.
posted by nadawi at 5:57 PM on April 21, 2014


How could they be telling the truth, though? We've all seen the scene as shot; it's not ambiguous.
posted by Justinian at 6:00 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is so much going on that 10 episodes a season is not enough to cover it all. Tonight was a perfect example. Really frustrating. The Wire and Deadwood each had more than 10 a season, pity GOT is not getting the same.

Game of Thrones is a massively more expensive than either of those shows (good thing it's a huge hit too). If it takes orders of strictly ten episodes per season to make the numbers work out, okay, fine. I think it's mostly working out okay. Maybe the final season will get more though to make the finale extra epic!
posted by sparkletone at 6:16 PM on April 21, 2014


The show has to externalise and speed up parts of the book. Characters who have large internal shifts that can be written end up looking mopey or dull on screen (Sansa, Bran and Jon Snow to some degree). The show does way more exposition and dialogue and this may be why Tyrion who can't shut up to save his life, comes across most closely to the book character.

I think the rape scene is a way to leapfrog a lot of development to get Cersei and Jaime where the plot needs them.

It's odd to watch an episode and have the Hound make better moral choices than Jaime, but realistic within the world GRRM's created - and our own actual world where marital rape is real.

Peter Baelish was supposed to have left the city a while ago - didn't he offer to take Sansa away once already? I liked Sansa's hope for the drunk knight, that she had been hoping for some nobility, some true honor and kindness, and her resignation and despair when it turned out he'd done it for money, followed by her pain at his death - Sansa and Robb are so much Ned's children.

Are we allowed to mention the backstory to Dontos Hollard here? I don't think it comes up again further on in the books, but his story is just so sad - almost Stark-like.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:16 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well for Cersei, it's another person she loves sexually assaulting her. This is more like another rock in an avalanche of horror for her.

I think the scene also showed just how vile Tywin is, standing over his first grandson's body and offering no comfort to his daughter, only insults (deserved but possibly not in front of the mother) to the dead and taking away the last of her children from her. There were a couple of glances between the two that were just cold and desolate respectively.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:33 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


At mods request, I'm reposting this without the spoilery part so that they can just delete my earlier comment:

I'm really fascinated by what Supercrayon said above about how even after the rape, the discussion is all about the effect on Jaime, rather than Cersei. That's dead on and I'm trying to figure out why, because this feels like a specific case.

I think, first and foremost, there's the simple issue that at this point in the show (and the books, I suppose) Jaime is just far, far more sympathetic than Cersei. It's awful to imagine that we would minimize the effect of sexual assault on someone just because we don't like her very much, but there it is. And that's disturbing.

Secondly, and tied to that, the book gives juuuuuuust enough wiggle room for the reader to kind of put the question of consent out of their minds if they don't want their redemptive arc of Jaime put asunder. That's another thing I don't really want to think about, but there it is. We will look for excuses to ignore sexual assaults if we like the rapist.

Finally, we are viewers of a story, invested in people's inner characters. In that way, this turn of events changes things for Jaime in a way it doesn't for Cersei. Her moral soul isn't tarnished with it the way his is. We can look at her the same way, and we can't for him.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:47 PM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


If nothing else this episode has made a lot of people think about these issues which is a good thing.

We will look for excuses to ignore sexual assaults if we like the rapist.

I am absolutely surprised (and perhaps I shouldn't be) at how true this is. Not here but on other places like Winter-is-Coming or Westeros.org. There are lots and lots of people who are bending over backwards to claim Jaime would never do such a thing despite what I consider clear as day evidence in the book that he did. Because they like Jaime.

People give lipservice to the idea that it isn't the monster in the alleyway who commits these sorts of crimes, it's people with complex and nuanced internal lives. But when confronted with that even in a fictional context we see that they don't actually believe it on a visceral level. Jaime is complicated therefore he cannot have done this, all evidence to the contrary be damned.
posted by Justinian at 6:48 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Because they like Jaime.

Cf. Roman Polanski. We do it all the time.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:00 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Even offering the judge job to Oberyn seemed like a way to get an outside perspective on the proceedings, as opposed to someone who would rubber-stamp Tywin's opinion.

It'd be nice to think so, but asking him to be a judge after first pointing out in so many words that he is almost certainly the next most likely suspect suggests something else.


It also sounded to me like he was basically offering Oberyn vengeance on the Mountain as a reward for cooperating.

So far on the TV show we've barely seen the Mountain except for the joust in the first season. Did he play a larger role in the books before this point?
posted by homunculus at 7:01 PM on April 21, 2014


Did he play a larger role in the books before this point?

No. He's a character mentioned by others, they talk of all the horrible things he's done.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


even if they are fibbing, they're fine going around telling everyone they didn't film a rape and people are going to feel a certain way about that, and i suspect those feelings won't magically turn to adulation even if it's revealed they were fibbing.

Look, I'm going to defend the actor - not the character and not the director - the actor for seeing it from his character's POV. He's not going to play Jaime as a rapist. He's going to justify it to himself somehow that makes it complicated and not-rape. Now, sure, he should probably have some perspective - it's a role he's playing and the scene plays as a rape. But I understand why he might think it's complicated.
posted by crossoverman at 7:12 PM on April 21, 2014


i'm not calling the actor a bad dude - i'm saying that a statement saying what we saw was an unambiguous rape from beginning to end isn't supported by the people involved in making the show. we all seem to agree that's what was shown - but the director and actor both say it turned into not a rape by the end - which retains the ambiguity, while still playing it for ultimate shock, which is what some people are reacting to.
posted by nadawi at 7:20 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


but the director and actor both say it turned into not a rape by the end

This is why the unreliable narrator thing doesn't make any sense. If the idea is that in the books it's from Jaime's point of view, and he interprets the encounter as consensual (eventually), but in reality it wasn't, and so this is what is filmed - to show us that outside Jaime's head it was in fact rape...then why are the people involved in making the show saying it was consensual sex? You can't have it both ways.

I think the idea of an unreliable narrator is interesting, but at the moment it's not being supported by the people who actually filmed the scene.
posted by supercrayon at 7:31 PM on April 21, 2014


I read that interview, and he seemed to me to be saying that he acted it as a rape that to Jamie was consensual because of their past history, and that Jamie felt in self-delusion as the physically stronger rapist powerless and forced by Cersei into raping her, that this conflict between what Jamie is deluding himself against what Jamie was actually doing is what made the scene complicated to act.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:32 PM on April 21, 2014


Unfortunately, it's a fairly common phenomenon that one party in a LTR assumes that they have blanket consent and don't understand that "not now" is indeed a form of "no." That leaves his victim in a confused state where she has to decide whether to treat it like the violation that it is and lose the person she loves or buy into her rapist's reasoning to save the relationship. This still happens all the time in our world even in areas where women have a lot more rights than in Westeros.

So it's very plausible that we (via the "objective" camera lens) can see something that is clearly rape when the rapist himself would be shocked at that characterization and even his victim might try to minimize and rationalize it away herself.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:42 PM on April 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


Supercrayon; I think the idea of the unreliable point of view only comes into play in the books. I don't think we've seen even a hint in the TV show that we aren't to take the camera lens as objective.
posted by Justinian at 7:47 PM on April 21, 2014


Okay, after re-reading more info about that scene in the books (it's been about 10 years since I read it the first time around), and thinking and reading the discussion here, I have to admit I'm a bit ashamed about my initial reaction up-thread. I'm flabbergasted by the way that the cast/crew are casting this as "kinda sorta not a rape," (what is that, even) but the book version was not an improvement in the way I asserted, for anyone involved. Crapsack world indeed.
posted by Alterscape at 8:25 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ok so to get a bit meta about the rape/or not rape scene and the degree to which it is being discussed:

The whole trigger situation and people who discontinue watching/reading/etc because something comes up they are uncomfortable with (and then proceed to analyze it, deconstruct it, etc)...

I completely understand the need to discuss things that are uncomfortable, where it confuses me is when someone raises their internet megaphone to call for boycotting some fiction as a result (unless it is blatantly glorifying something awful). It smells like that is inches away from happening here, with everyone paying so much attention to what actors, etc are saying about this one scene in which rape is perceived in an incestuous relationship in a fictional world. I don't understand why it matters so much what the showrunners label it -- whatever they say doesn't and won't appear as a caption during the scene to alert viewers that, yes, this is rape and this is a horrible thing.

I think a possible solution, and likely there is already a website that does something like this, is a warning for popular shows/books/etc of where triggers may lie, the degree to which a given scene will trigger, and how well it fits into the story. No spoilers, just some clever numbering system. TV may adapt it at some point to reside along TV-MA, etc. An implementation such as this wouldn't bother me in the least. But would it be enough?

(sorry if this is a bit tone-deaf, as I seem to be the only one bringing this up for whatever reason)
posted by whorl at 8:36 PM on April 21, 2014


To give an example of how discourse on Metafilter differs from discourse in other places related to this topic; the phrase "touchy feminazi’s [sic]" has not yet occurred here. I wish I could say the same for elsewhere but I cannot.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on April 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I hope you don't think I'm going there because that is not a place I will go :) Just thought this subject could do for some more depth as it is being discussed so thoroughly.
posted by whorl at 8:51 PM on April 21, 2014


Even Olenna's shrewd pragmatism is starting to look kinda sociopathic.

Olenna continues to rule and I love her and she said probably the smartest things in the episode with Tywin and Tyrion and Prince Greek all vying for second place
posted by Greg Nog at 9:18 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


All Scenes of Tywin Lannister (S01 - S03)

Via Boing Boing's recap.
posted by homunculus at 9:27 PM on April 21, 2014


So it's very plausible that we (via the "objective" camera lens) can see something that is clearly rape when the rapist himself would be shocked at that characterization and even his victim might try to minimize and rationalize it away herself.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if that's what was happening on the level of the directors and actors as well. They read the books, they wrote the script, they've discussed the thing to death for weeks or months, and if you suppose that they wanted it to come off as "starts off resisting but ends in ambiguous, partial consent" that's a very, very tricky thing to play. When you've been steeped in every nuance of a thing for ages it can become impossible to see how it will play to an outsider, and even in the book passage as written --- if you were to try to block what's on the page, I don't even know that it would come across as consensual, because all of that's internal. The physical action would be quite similar to what was on the show.

To me the idea that they were trying to film an ambiguous, disturbing sexual encounter and simply failed to bring across the nuance they thought they were bringing across makes more sense they the idea that they deliberately filmed a blatant rape and are now lying about it for PR purposes. But I don't know them, I don't know dick about their conscious or subconscious thoughts on this whole issue. I do think Lena Hedly's acting in that scene was superb -- not so much in the part with Jaime as in the part with Tywin, her nearly comotose in her grief and yet alert enough to see that every last scrap of power is being stripped from her.

---------------

So anyway, the rest of the episode....in a normal story, given that Tyrion is one of the few sympathetic characters and often feels like an authorial stand in, I'd figure that by hook or by crook (or other deus ex machina) he'd get out of this one alive. Given that it's GoT, I'm not nearly so certain; he sure as hell does make a handy scapegoat. The only thing I can see saving him now is that I don't know if Tywin would outright kill any of his children; Cersei might take after him in that. (Combination of fucked up displaced paternalism and absurd family pride.) If not Tyrion, though, surely some other scapegoat will have to be found? Not sure who makes it to the top of the list there. The Viper dude would work....but the broad strokes of why-the-Lannisters-want-Dorne-in-the-fold that Tywin lays out seem plausible enough, as well. I suppose finding a patsy's easy enough, if you want one, but fingering the real killer, and figuring out how they're tied into Littlefinger....doesn't seem like the show trial they've got cued up for Tyrion will have a chance of doing that.

Speaking of your man, it seems like a real bad sign that he just had the Fool shot in front of Sansa. No more Mr. Nice Guy, eh? Not even a facade of it, for our little bird...that girl sure knows how to leap out of a frying pan. Does Littlefinger want her for himself? Knock her up and become King of the North, is that the plan? There's probably a twisted psychological appeal for him, given his backstory. Have to get rid of the Boltons, though, not to mention pacifying the Lannisters. (Unless Tywin was in on the assassination of Joffrey, but somehow I can't picture him sacrificing Sansa merely to be rid of ol' Joff. Game's not worth the candle.) If not, who does he want her for? She's way too much of a hot potato to just try and keep her in your back pocket in case of need.
posted by Diablevert at 9:43 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


All Scenes of Tywin Lannister (S01 - S03)

I hope to god Charles Dance is the next late-period Christopher Lee around/after his GoT commitments. Before GoT he never had that real breakout role that he's so clearly deserved for such a long time now.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:47 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


He gave an impressive performance in this too.
posted by homunculus at 10:05 PM on April 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


Actually, thinking along the lines of breakout roles, it's astounding how many people are becoming household names as seriously talented, capital-A Actors because of this single series, many long overdue for the recognition. Really it's like, Diana Rigg, Sean Bean and maaaybe Julian Glover? And that's about it for people who were already well established as high profile actors and even then a bit niche, but almost all of the rest of the huge main cast is up to the task with crazy potential ahead.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:09 PM on April 21, 2014


This was my introduction to Charles Dance.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 PM on April 21, 2014


Guys, guys, don't click on homunculus' link. Can't unsee.
posted by whorl at 11:01 PM on April 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Frankly I like the fact that the show finally had the balls to admit what GRRM can't, which is that incest isn't just a kink other people don't understand, it's sexual assault. I didn't like watching it, and I included a trigger warning on my own recap of the episode, but I'm glad we've finally stopped pussyfooting around and made it clear that what is between Cersei and Jaime isn't love, but abuse.
posted by Sara C. at 11:02 PM on April 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I completely understand the need to discuss things that are uncomfortable, where it confuses me is when someone raises their internet megaphone to call for boycotting some fiction as a result (unless it is blatantly glorifying something awful). It smells like that is inches away from happening here, with everyone paying so much attention to what actors, etc are saying about this one scene in which rape is perceived in an incestuous relationship in a fictional world.

Women being treated like cattle is not a new thing for this show. But, in all the discussion about this particular episode, I haven't heard any calls for boycott. People are trying to discuss what is a traumatic and confronting story - while also dealing with lots of think pieces that were published almost immediately upon the episode airing.

I actually think that AV Club article has muddied the waters considerably - as it misrepresents what is in the book, somehow trying to fit into the writers' stance that GRRM's books are less misogynist than the series. And to hell with all the evidence to the contrary.

I'm absolutely sure there would have been discussion about this scene, with or without that AV Club article, titled with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer - but it seems to have spun off into an unhelpful discussion of whether the scenes are or aren't consensual. Mostly based on trying to reconcile how Jaime could have done such a thing.

For mine, both the book and TV scene read like rape scenes. There is some more ambiguity on the page - but ambiguity in these kind of situations always make things look worse instead of better.

The idea that turning a "dubious consensual" scene into a "rape" scene is more misogynist is very puzzling. I guess in the first case, you might argue that there is some power in Cersei giving in. On the other hand, making Jaime the aggressor and Cersei the victim isn't inherently misogynist.

I actually quite like this article about the whole situation - even if he sides with his fellow AV Club writer.
posted by crossoverman at 11:03 PM on April 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Sara C, incest in GRRM's world is not seen as an outright moral line - Danaeys is the child of deliberate planned incest too.

Also in RL, there are occasionally incestuous relationships especially between siblings that have been a source of comfort and love for both parties. It very much overlaps with terrible abuse but is not always abusive. Jamie and Cersei turned to each other for comfort and affection in a harsh childhood. What happens in this episode is far more marital rape than incestual abuse.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:29 PM on April 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


My reasoning on bringing up boycotts is because there was someone way upthread saying they were considering stopping the show combined with the previous incidents of boycotts. I know it's very unlikely they will do a boycott over this (more likely would have been that scene with Joffrey and the prostitutes which was way worse imo).

It definitely came off as rape to me as well. It is really hard to see the whole screwed up incest aspect because it isn't portrayed in the media very much. While the director said he got what he was going for in his head he seems to have very poorly conveyed "anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on" (and in the context of Joffrey's body it seems like a really bad time to make this as ambiguous as how it was edited). A short shot of Cersei's face enjoying herself at the end would have put all this to rest pretty easily if his intent really was it being consentual. Maybe it was done with the express purpose of drumming up conversation.
posted by whorl at 11:37 PM on April 21, 2014


Rewatched the episode. Altar scene more ambiguous than I first thought, Cersei's actions seem more willing than what she says. Still a fucked up scene, almost makes me feel pity for Joff.

His mom may have been the only person to love him and even that love looks sick and twisted.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 PM on April 21, 2014


incest in GRRM's world is not seen as an outright moral line

Sure, but in the real world, the problem with incest isn't that people find it icky, it's that it's usually nonconsensual.

I find it very easy to see Cersei and Jaime's relationship as coming out of something that started as sexual abuse, and very hard to get on board with the GRRM "oh no it's just different and not morally bad at all" line. Which I frankly find disturbing considering how frequently he writes in incestuous subplots. One of the reasons I stopped reading the books is that a lot of it is borderline incest porn. I particularly had problems with the scene depicted in this episode, so I'm glad they chose this moment to take a scene that was written as erotica and turn it into something that, if nothing else, makes thematic sense within the episode.
posted by Sara C. at 11:40 PM on April 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Unless Tywin was in on the assassination of Joffrey, but somehow I can't picture him sacrificing Sansa merely to be rid of ol' Joff. Game's not worth the candle.)

It should have been very obvious to Tywin that Joffrey was going to be increasingly uncontrollable and would have likely destroyed the Lannister legacy which he is so obsessed with. It would make a lot of sense for Tywin to want Joffrey gone and Tommen on the throne. Considering how quickly and smoothly he responded to the new circumstances, I think it's quite plausible that Tywin was in on it, as Tyrion suspects.
posted by homunculus at 12:43 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not to say that it isn't completely messed up, I never felt like Cersei and Jamie's relationship was based on anything other then love. Sure, real life it's abusive and we certainly seen that from Daenerys's perspective when her brother was still alive and being a total creep..

But everything from Jamie and Cersei always suggested that they just felt they belonged together. Even a play on the twin aspect that they should be one. Up until this point in the book, and even afterward as we learn more stories about what Jamie has done to stay near Cersei. As others have said, the timing of this in the book is completely different and is written to be taken as eventually consensual.

It's one of the few instances in these books of genuine love between characters instead of being motivated by personal gain. They're taking extremely huge risks.

I refuse to jump into the pool of the idea of an unreliable narrator. That sounds like a hand waving I-screwed-up response instead of a real reason. We'd need to see it happen much more often by Sansa and others to suggest that they're all unreliable.

You can't tell a story through a context that everything might be false.
posted by royalsong at 4:28 AM on April 22, 2014


Guys, guys, don't click on homunculus' link. Can't unsee.

GAME OF THRONES DANCE PARTY - THEON GREYJOY EDITION
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:45 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


(all credit to previous clip for the blend of diegetic and non-diegetic music)
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:46 AM on April 22, 2014


It should have been very obvious to Tywin that Joffrey was going to be increasingly uncontrollable and would have likely destroyed the Lannister legacy which he is so obsessed with. It would make a lot of sense for Tywin to want Joffrey gone and Tommen on the throne. Considering how quickly and smoothly he responded to the new circumstances, I think it's quite plausible that Tywin was in on it, as Tyrion suspects.

I could buy Tywin wanting Joff dead. What doesn't make sense to me is the sacrifice he would be making for it: the method by which the murder was conducted is an obvious frame-up job, designed to get Tyrion hanged and hand over Sansa to Littlefinger. If Tywin was in on it, then he'd have to have approved that. But regardless of his personal antipathy toward Tyrion, he's always been willing to use him as a tool, a tool which has proved useful to him in the past. Tyrion's marriage to Sansa is the lynchpin through which Tywin hopes one day to bring the North under firm Lannister control. Yeah, he's got Roose Bolton in there now, but Bolton's a treacherous bastard, as he knows better than anyone. Sansa's son with Tyrion would be the heir of Winterfell, and that's a very, very valuable thing. So while killing Joffrey is useful, killing Joffrey at the cost of sacrificing Tyrion and Sansa in a stroke, especially giving her away to Littlefinger in the bargain --- that seems like way too high a price to pay. Especially when Tywin of all people would have ample opportunities to have Joff killed that wouldn't force him to make that sacrifice.

Plus, I dunno, it's funny, looking at the compliation if Tywin scenes you posted...I still don't think it fits in with his character's psychology to kill his own blood. He starts a war over Tyrion, and spends two seasons hissing "they have my son" at people over Jamie; he's trying to set up a thousand year dynasty to rival the Targaryan's, and in that quest he needs all hands on deck. He thinks Tyrion is a depraved lecher, but he also sees he's clever, and no one is more loyal than family. I think he has too much pride to kill his own blood. Joffrey may have been proving especially difficult, but I find it difficult to think Tywin wouldn't think he could bring him to heel eventually.
posted by Diablevert at 4:52 AM on April 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


As for Jamie and Cersei, I see their relationship as comparing a little to the idea of the Žižekian "heretic" - someone who exposes the insanity of a system through overconformity to its stated rules. Nobody believes more than they do that the Lannisters are the very finest and that to live is to scheme to rule.

Their incest is also interesting in light of the fact that the issues of power are not just between one another, but also between themselves and the people of Westeros. Reminds me a little of the when the Common Man in A Man For All Seasons takes note of how all this fighting and how all these moral stands affect him.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:55 AM on April 22, 2014


eventually consensual

I am staggered at the kind of language that has been used around here and elsewhere that seems to suggest something can be rape and then not be rape.
posted by crossoverman at 4:59 AM on April 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't get the "obvious frame-up" for Tyrion. What was the plan exactly? Hope Joffery gets drunk enough to drop his cup ---> gets Sansa/Tyrion to retrieve it from being partially hidden under the table ---> eats some overcooked cake? Without that exact sequence of events, you'd have just ended up with Joffery poisoned ---> Tyiron blamed, with nothing in between but "well, he hated him", which doesn't really narrow it down, especially when you have self-confessed poison expert and professional anti-Lannister Prince Oberyn (plus like half of Westeros).

I bet it turns out he just chocked on a dove's head. That's what a cake slice is for - sharp enough to cut cake, blunt enough not to do major damage to hidden birdlife. Mum always told me the dangers of cutting cake with a longsword.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:33 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let's review our potential murderers:

I don't get the idea that Olenna is behind Joffrey's murder. I don't think she would have left Maergery in limbo. She would have waited until the marriage was at least consummated.

I agree that Tywin is too practical to set up Tyrion to take the fall. He doesn't like his son much but he does recognize his talents.

I don't see Littlefinger's motivation. Feels like if he is involved there's a bigger fish pulling the strings.

Oberyn seems too obvious. But still a good candidate.

Who else? Possibly Jaime. He's killed a king before in the name of the greater good and he's never shown any real affection for his children. But he definitely wouldn't set up Tyrion.
posted by double bubble at 5:35 AM on April 22, 2014


Good point endsofinvention. It's fairly predictable that Joffrey would behave horribly at his wedding, but less predictable exactly how. If Tyrion was set up, it would have to have been an on the fly decision.
posted by double bubble at 5:50 AM on April 22, 2014


Crossoverman, I find the idea that during this altar rape, Cersei's "consent" is not capitulation, but I do think it is possible both for Cersei and Jamie and for other people in fiction and RL to have complicated relationships with rapists, especially when there is a pre-existing relationship. They may forgive, they may deny the rape, they may justify it in certain circumstances to themselves, and most of all, they may have deep love for the person who has hurt them so much, why we count the rape by a family member to be so much worse a betrayal and pain than rape by a stranger who can be exiled from our lives.

GOT reminds me of Rome (the TV series) that included soooo much gratuitous sex and slavery and rape, but even more than GOT dealt with what that meant during the time and the effects of that sexual violence.

(Also I now have War stuck in my head, argh)
posted by viggorlijah at 5:51 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sys Rq: this was the first I heard of Charles Dance.
posted by tracicle at 5:55 AM on April 22, 2014


I think Olenna must have been the one to poison Joffrey's cup. We've now seen that Sansa definitively was the delivery vessel for The Strangler via the necklace Baelish had Ser Doritos give her. Go back now and watch Ep. 2 closely for who comes near Sansa and gets handsy with her to acquire the poison.

I think Tywin may have been involved in the plans for Joffrey's murder, too, but not at the level of planning the way it played out. I think that's Baelish looking for the opportunity to grab Sansa (due to political machinations or due to his obsession w/Sansa's Mom? Who knows.) and not much else. Tyrion getting the frame up is just circumstance. Unless you think Joffrey was in on the frame up.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good point endsofinvention. It's fairly predictable that Joffrey would behave horribly at his wedding, but less predictable exactly how. If Tyrion was set up, it would have to have been an on the fly decision.

Ye olde cupbearer routine seems to have been a spur of the moment bit of d-baggery from Joff. But the tournament of little people --- that was planned, and planned specifically to humiliate Tyrion and Sansa. Cupbearer bit or no, Tyrion was always going to be at the top table and would have had opportunity. And Sansa's disappearance was obviously carefully planned out. So I think you could have framed up Tyrion pretty well cupbearer or no --- have a servant come forward and claim to have seen him drop the poison in the cup. That whole thing just made it much easier.
posted by Diablevert at 6:11 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't get the idea that Olenna is behind Joffrey's murder. I don't think she would have left Maergery in limbo. She would have waited until the marriage was at least consummated.

Leave her dearly beloved granddaughter alone with that monster, who was putting on the most monstrous of shows at the wedding reception? With his blood lust up like that, who knows what he would have done to Margaery, who was trying to distract him from his playthings? Especially when she can kill him and then still forge a political alliance with the Lannisters via marrying Margery off to the new king, who is much so nicer and more importantly, so very trainable.

I suspect Tyrion is just an unplanned for casualty, and he's only fingered 'cause Cersei went a bit nuts at Joff's death.

Olenna clearly isn't the only person behind Joff's murder, it's at least her and Baelish. Possibly Varys, but I tend to doubt it, he would thwart Baelish's power grab. What power grab? Sansa, the only known Stark alive and the key to the North. Dontos was obviously used to spirit Sansa away, Baelish wanted her with him.

What's fascinating about that is no one buys into the hereditary claims to the King of Seven Kingdoms. Lannister, Barethon, Stark, Tyrell whoever can wager the most power gets the throne.

But the North? Everyone, including the Lannisters and Tyrells, the richest and most powerful Houses in the lands, agree that the North can only be ruled by a Stark. What better way to build a foundation of power than to lock up the North in your hands?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Tyrion getting the frame up is just circumstance. Unless you think Joffrey was in on the frame up.

Well, if you want to make the case for the Tyrells, it points even more strongly to Tyrion being framed, I think. Tyrion dead frees up Sansa to wed again. Leave Tyrion alive, and even if you "marry" her off again, her child's legitimacy would be clouded --- a product of bigamy is a bastard. Being at the table and hating Joffrey is sufficient motive and opportunity for frame-up purposes --- the cupbearer thing is just icing. Probably if you find out who planted the idea of the tournament in Joff's head and procured the little people knights you'll have your murderer.
posted by Diablevert at 6:23 AM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Do we definitively know the necklace is the source of the poison? We know it was a fake and that giving it to her was orchestrated by Littlefinger. But that could have been to win her trust so she would be willing to go with whatshisname when the opportunity presented itself.
posted by double bubble at 6:24 AM on April 22, 2014


Do we definitively know the necklace is the source of the poison?

Yes, absolutely. I've see the episode a couple of times now, Oleana did the actual deed, using a "droplet" from Sansa's necklace.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah. I'm going to have to re-watch. I generally don't because I'm a wuss if I know what is coming and there is always something that makes me want to barf each episode (blood, guts, severed body parts, Joffrey). Yet I can't quit. Dammit GOT - I just can't quit you!
posted by double bubble at 6:37 AM on April 22, 2014


crossoverman..

I can only tell you my take away from having read the book. The tv show was, no argument, rape. She said no, kept saying no, and Jamie said he didn't care.

In the book? The book she protested, not here, not now. Jamie said he didn't care about the place or those who might be around, not that he didn't care that she didn't want it. Before copulation she tells him to "Hurry. Do me now."

I said it before, I will say it again. It's super incredibly messed the fuck up. She's grieving, he's grieving. The haven't seen each other in months at this point. She thought he might be dead, he's lost his hand.

It is seated firmly in the gray area, but it is my take away that you're suppose to believe the book scene is consensual. That's how I choose to take it.

This does not mean that I do not respect anyone else's opinion if it differs then mine. Nor do I mean that my opinion of a book is me casting any judgement what so ever on anyone who's ever experienced a similar situation.
posted by royalsong at 6:41 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I still don't get why she didn't wait until the marriage was consummated. Surely there would have been an opportunity to murder him the next day and still make it look like someone else did it. With Oberyn the poison expert in town you've got good built in reasonable doubt.
posted by double bubble at 6:44 AM on April 22, 2014


I think when Littlefinger crushed the stone with the hilt of his dagger it was suppose to imply that it wasn't a precious gemstone and therefore not valuable to anyone to be kept as a heirloom.
posted by royalsong at 6:46 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why risk consummation? Bleh.

The killer probably had better access at a busy, quasi-public event like a wedding. Outside of the wedding, not everybody would be so close to Joffrey, his food, his effects, etc. Trying to do the deed outside of that context would be much riskier for most people, whether or not they'd be close to Joffrey anyhow.

Regarding the rape, as filmed, that looked like straight-up rape to me. The director may or may not have had other ideas, but as a viewer, all I have is what's on-screen. It looks like the book was going for the trope of "giving in to the ravishings of a brute in a time of grief" or whatever snappy term there is for that trope. That is not a statement as to the *propriety* of that particular trope, or anything even vaguely resembling a defense of Jaime, but rather a description of what it looks like Martin had written, barring an unreliable narrator.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:02 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still don't get why she didn't wait until the marriage was consummated. Surely there would have been an opportunity to murder him the next day and still make it look like someone else did it.

Probably looks pretty suspicious if he dies the day after the wedding, or the week after Margaery announces she's pregnant, and the converse is true too. If your king dies before consummation it probably helps shield the wife's family from a lot of suspicion in general...
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:03 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think it's quite plausible that Tywin was in on it, as Tyrion suspects.

I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense, especially if you view the prior and very friendly, familiar conversation between Tywin and Olenna to be the writers calling their shot.

I could buy Tywin wanting Joff dead. What doesn't make sense to me is the sacrifice he would be making for it: the method by which the murder was conducted is an obvious frame-up job, designed to get Tyrion hanged and hand over Sansa to Littlefinger.

Good point, but honestly I can see his distaste for Tyrion and the urgent need to get Joffrey gone overriding his concern with Sansa and the Starks in a big damn hurry. An alliance with the North means dick with increasingly-loopy Joffrey tearing everything down, and there are other ways to build alliances. Plus he's now got an in with the Tyrells and Dorn, plus he knows the North is about to be attacked by wildlings, and there's nothing like an invading foreign force to make people set past differences aside.

Orchestrating this whole thing with Olenna is a pretty brilliant move on his part, if he did it.

(And yes, Olenna did the poisoning. Careful re-viewing of the wedding party pretty much drives that home.)
posted by middleclasstool at 7:09 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


10 year old: what are you guys watching?
me: Game of thrones. Stay over there [where she can't see the screen].
10 year old: who is the good guy?
me: there isn't really any good guy, everyone is nuanced.
10 year old: so like they seem nice then they turn out to be really mean?
me: sort of.
10 year old: why do you want to watch a show with all those murders and stuff with no good guys?
posted by shothotbot at 7:15 AM on April 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


man I can't keep up with these discussions because work. but anyway - regardless of how the directors, etc. THOUGHT it came off, or tried to portray it or are now handwaving or whatever, that scene did not in any way read as "consent", at least not to me. There are lots of reasons well discussed above why Cersei may have or may not have capitulated both in the book and on the show so I won't drag it out further because many smarter people than me have already gone there.

hell I'm female and (at least I think) pretty progressive and even I never read much more into the book version other than "man, that's pretty fucked up" and then moved on. I'm actually glad for discussions like these that make me re-think my whole position on this and raise considerations I would never even have thought of.

ultimately the one chocolate chip in the entire shit sandwich is that this is the first time I can ever remember the entire internet and my entire IRL geeky-friends network thoroughly and thoughtfully hashing out topics like consent and agency in depth, so there's that.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:16 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it's quite plausible that Tywin was in on it, as Tyrion suspects.

That makes no sense. Tywin started a war when Tyrion was taken captive by Catelyn Stark. He's not going to have Tyrion jailed or killed before he's impregnated Sansa with a boy. Even after that, he's not going have a member of the family threatened by anyone but him.

Tywin is all about the family name and he wouldn't conspire with another family to kill off any member of the Lannisters. That threatens his name and family.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Go back now and watch Ep. 2 closely for who comes near Sansa and gets handsy with her to acquire the poison.

Also, go back now and watch the scene in Ep. 1 where Lady Olenna, Margaery, and Sansa are all looking at potential wedding jewelry. Lady Olenna picks one of the necklaces up, scoffs at how insufficient it is, and throws it off the balcony.

A little while later, ser Dontos pops out of the very same place Olenna threw the necklace, armed with a family heirloom necklace to present to Sansa.

And in this week's episode, Littlefinger says he had the necklace made two weeks ago.
posted by Sara C. at 7:45 AM on April 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


But is getting Joffrey out of the way less of a threat to the family name than letting him to continue to spiral out of control? I hadn't seen it from that angle before but it's definitely making me reconsider.
posted by brilliantine at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2014


Also, I see no reason to think Tywin was in on it, or even that Tyrion was always the target of a frame job. I feel like the idea was to let the chips fall wherever. In fact, it wouldn't even surprise me to find out that part of the plan was to throw Margaery to the dogs, if necessary.
posted by Sara C. at 7:47 AM on April 22, 2014


Also, I see no reason to think Tywin was in on it, or even that Tyrion was always the target of a frame job. I feel like the idea was to let the chips fall wherever. In fact, it wouldn't even surprise me to find out that part of the plan was to throw Margaery to the dogs, if necessary.

That makes no sense to me. Diana Rigg doesn't seem to be at all the chaos-is-a-ladder type. Seems much more like she weighs and plans. Obviously they can react to changing circumstances, but what is the percentage in killing a king and letting the chips fall where they may, if you have no plan? Throwing Marge to the dogs? It's chess she's playing, you don't sacrifice a queen for nothing. Looking at it cui bono, the prizes here are Joff dead and Sansa winkled out of Lannister hands --- the benefits of that are freeing Marge and Sansa up for remarriage. There was a point to the assassination, it wasn't for shits and giggles. So I think there's got to be someone waiting in the wings to knock up Sansa, and for that to be worth it you need Tyrion dead.
posted by Diablevert at 7:55 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm sure she weighs and plans, but there's been nothing onscreen so far to suggest that Olenna set up Tyrion specifically to take the fall. None of the events that led to that are things that were previously set in motion. They're all momentary happenstance and the coincidence that Tyrion had just recently threatened Cersei so her hatred of him was fresh on her mind in the moment. Olenna's good, but there's no way she has control over that.

Also, if you're looking at Baelish as the architect of the whole plot, he wasn't even there. How would he be able to set up the Tyrion frame job? There's just too much messy stuff on the ground he doesn't have access to at all.

If anyone was set up to be framed, it's probably Sansa.
posted by Sara C. at 8:01 AM on April 22, 2014


Also, Oleanna loves her children. She may have no respect for her son, but she really does love Margarey and Loras. I don't think she would act in a way that would hurt Margarey.

A virgin widowed queen still can be married off to another king. And I don't think anyone would want to suffer through months of whatever Joffrey's idea of marital sex was to get pregnant.

If Sansa is dead, then at this point doesn't the entire Stark line appear dead? We know Arya and Bran and Whatshisface are alive, but only the Boltons and the Hound have any idea otherwise. Sansa is the most direct threat to Margarey at this point for power as a queen.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:05 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


you don't sacrifice a queen for nothing

Margaery was never going to be and is never going to be queen. She's just a bargaining chip for the Tyrell family. They keep plying her with dreams of life as a pretty princess, but she's just the bait to lure people into alliances.

One of the key themes of this episode -- and really the season so far -- is the degree to which young marriageable women have absolutely no agency in this world. They are talking Pokemon cards. It doesn't matter if Margaery Tyrell dies, except as an inconvenience for her family who now have to find a new barbie doll to dangle in front of eligible men from powerful houses.
posted by Sara C. at 8:06 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


The time of the poisoning and the method used where to provide a cover. Joffery wasn't posioned, he choked, it was a horrible accident! They didn't predict Cersi accusing Tyrion, but happy accidents will happen and everyone is willing to roll with it if it means things can go back to normally fucked up and not insanely fucked up.

So far as I can tell the conspiracy to Straight Up Murder Joffery is Olenna, Baelish, and Ser Dontas. Everyone else is accident or collateral damage.
posted by The Whelk at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm reminded of a line from Stephenson's Baroque cycle, describe the wandering German princesses as being wretched and expendable except for ability to create more princes putting them in this awkward position of being necessary but not respected.
posted by The Whelk at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2014


That makes no sense. Tywin started a war when Tyrion was taken captive by Catelyn Stark. He's not going to have Tyrion jailed or killed before he's impregnated Sansa with a boy. Even after that, he's not going have a member of the family threatened by anyone but him.

That was then, this is now. I don't know that putting a Lannister in Sansa's belly really means as much to Tywin as it used to, strategically.

I don't know. I'm back and forth on it, because Tywin did have a fair bit of control over Joff, but as the Hand there's only so much he can get away with before Joff goes completely bugfuck I AM THE KING HERE, plus with wassisname on the throne, Tywin really will be the silent king. Not to mention that Joff's death alone will likely stabilize the kingdom a bit more.

He has a real reason to want Joff off the throne, a quiet intra-family usurper plot is a good way to pull that off, and hey, you can get rid of your problem son who's looking less and less faithful to the cause with every day and you've always hated anyway. Or, hey, you put someone who hates your guts on the bench, and he gives you the excuse to let Tyrion live.

It may well have just been Olenna and others. But it's not a stretch to see Tywin reordering his family priorities here.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2014


Yeah, I think there are a few scenarios the plotters would have been OK with happening:

1. Everybody assumes it's an accident.

2. Any one of the people who have pre-existing motive to kill Joffrey get fingered. This includes Tyrion, but probably also Sansa, Oberyn (I don't think it was known beforehand that he'd be at the wedding, unless the plot is much bigger than we realize), Dontos, and any number of side characters I'm not thinking of. Half the wedding guests probably wanted him dead.

3. The focus shifts immediately to Margaery as a "black widow", probably with the assumption from Lady Olenna that she could make it go away. Because, again, look at all those much more likely candidates that were right there at the wedding!

What I'm wondering is how much Lady Olenna knows, and how much she's a pawn on the level of Dontos.
posted by Sara C. at 8:17 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the key themes of this episode -- and really the season so far -- is the degree to which young marriageable women have absolutely no agency in this world. They are talking Pokemon cards. It doesn't matter if Margaery Tyrell dies, except as an inconvenience for her family who now have to find a new barbie doll to dangle in front of eligible men from powerful houses.

The fact that you have no agency doesn't mean you're not important. This is a feudal society; everything's about blood and clan. You can't just whip up another Barbie doll from nowhere, as you put it; Marge and Loras are the heirs of the house. If they die Diana Rigg would be fucked; whatever second cousin would come into line is going to have their own baggage. You see this in real succession struggles all the time; things get very messy when there's no clear heir. Margery may not have much choice herself in who she marries, but having Margery available to marry somebody is one of the key ways the Tyrells can exercise power, and no substitute can make up for that. Same with Sansa; if the Stark line dies with her the north becomes a free for all. And though women don't have freedom to act on their own, that doesn't mean they're not valued; Robert and Ned start a war to avenge Ned's sister, the Red Viper hints he's prepared to start another one to avenge his. It is the very fact that the women retain that bond to their birth families that make them useful to seal an alliance. Cards they may be, but you can't win the game without aces.
posted by Diablevert at 8:28 AM on April 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


I don't buy Tywin's involvement. Looking at it from the perspective of the conspirators that we know of, (Olenna, Baelish, Dontos), why would you want to risk discussing this with him? Even if Tywin were willing to look the other way on Joffrey's murder, which sounds out of character to me, why would they take the chance when they could pull it off without tipping him?

Looking at it the other way - if Tywin were the originator of the plan, which is the only reasonable way for him to be caught up in it - why bother to involve Baelish? Why bother to frame Tyrion? Tywin had sufficient control to pin the death on more or less anybody, and could've done it with a lot less fuss.

No way would that particular secret cabal occur at this time. Doesn't mean Tywin won't capitalize on the death, but that's a different animal entirely.

I also don't buy Olenna being willing to throw Margaery to the wolves. Assassinating Joffrey at the wedding specifically casts suspicion on pretty much everybody but the princess: Margaery's big, obvious goal was to be The Queen, and Joff's death at that particular juncture snatches it away from her. She's about the last person anybody would reasonably look at in this specific scenario... but if Joff died someplace with a lack of handy scapegoats, after he had, perhaps, had a chance to abuse her? She suddenly looks like a black widow again.

On preview:
The fact that you have no agency doesn't mean you're not important. This is a feudal society; everything's about blood and clan. You can't just whip up another Barbie doll from nowhere, as you put it; Marge and Loras are the heirs of the house. If they die Diana Rigg would be fucked;

Beyond Olenna's obvious love for Margaery, this entire line of discussion is also very true.
posted by mordax at 8:33 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is a great review of the episode from Grantland; Andy Greenwald is viewing the series as a non-book reader. He doesn't really touch on the most problematic scene of the week, but insightful on the rest of what is going on.
posted by nubs at 8:34 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


FWIW I'm not really suggesting that Olenna would frame Margaery specifically, just that, if that's where the chips fall, OK.

The scene between Olenna and Margaery this week makes it pretty clear that love doesn't really come into their relationship at all. Margaery is a tool to be used for Olenna's will. It doesn't matter what she wants or whether she's happy.

Not to say that Olenna doesn't love her granddaughter, just that there are a thousand other more important things than that.

Also, Margaery isn't the heir to House Tyrell and never will be. Loras is. Women don't inherit in this world. Likewise, Sansa is only valuable for her womb's potential to bring forth an heir to Winterfell, not via the notion that she herself is the Stark heir.
posted by Sara C. at 8:53 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


On an unrelated note: the entire time Sam and Gilly where on screen I was going "no. No ...stop talking, you're talking yourself into a horrible situation just like you people always do staaaaaaaaahp."
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on April 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Margaery was never going to be and is never going to be queen.

In the episode, it's abundantly clear that Olenna is planning to marry Margaery off to Tommen. When she says "The next one will be easier" the camera cuts to Tommen.

She loves her granddaughter, but the Great houses marry off their children for alliances and that is exactly what's going to happen with Margaery. Cersei will try to interfere, but Tywin will probably be ok with it.

That was then, this is now. I don't know that putting a Lannister in Sansa's belly really means as much to Tywin as it used to, strategically.

Tywin needs the North to have all Seven Kingdoms. That means a Stark girl to have a Stark heir.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:58 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Women can inherit and rule. GRRM has made it clear that inheritance in Westeros is usually the first male heir, but it is flexible by power and pragmatism. Dorne is a whole other basket of fish.

A Stark Queen of the North would be more powerful and popular than another Lord of a northern family.
posted by viggorlijah at 9:05 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


From the Grantland article linked by nubs above:

Despite all his decades of maneuvering, Tywin’s still the only member of his family capable of ruling. (The king died just as Jaime came back as his bodyguard, and I wouldn’t let Cersei manage a roadside Cinnabon.)
posted by The Michael The at 9:09 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like the part where Jaime put his hand on Tommen's shoulder to reassure him he'd be okay because Jaime was there to protect him. Because now that three have died on his watch, one by his own hand, he totally knows what to look out for.
posted by vbfg at 9:14 AM on April 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


Women can inherit and rule.

Have we actually seen this happen on the show?
posted by Sara C. at 9:16 AM on April 22, 2014


FWIW I'm not really suggesting that Olenna would frame Margaery specifically, just that, if that's where the chips fall, OK.

That doesn't strike me as a particularly sensible position. Letting 'the chips fall where they may' is really bad form in regicide - you really want some patsies already picked out. Baelish gave that cute 'chaos is a ladder' speech, but he's still not interested in loose ends that might inconvenience him personally - the point of that is to exploit the chaotic and undisciplined behavior of others, not to be sloppy himself. The banquet is the perfect time to deflect suspicion.

It is entirely possible they didn't care if Tyrion in particular took the fall - it may be that he was only on their short list of convenient scapegoats - but I'm sure they had a short list of people to pin it on. (Dornish guy with a grudge would've been an easy sell, his protests about being a reasonable man to the contrary.)


In the episode, it's abundantly clear that Olenna is planning to marry Margaery off to Tommen. When she says "The next one will be easier" the camera cuts to Tommen.

She loves her granddaughter, but the Great houses marry off their children for alliances and that is exactly what's going to happen with Margaery.


Yeah, but that's actually what Margaery wants too. In her position, "Tommen's wife" is the job description that best describes her personal ambitions, rightly or wrongly. Shuffling off Joffrey and leaving her with someone who doesn't kill hookers for fun isn't just good politics, it's certainly an act of compassion. Look at Olenna grilling Sansa about Joffrey, early in.

On preview:
I like the part where Jaime put his hand on Tommen's shoulder to reassure him he'd be okay because Jaime was there to protect him. Because now that three have died on his watch, one by his own hand, he totally know what to look out for.

I literally laughed out loud at that exchange.
posted by mordax at 9:17 AM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Have we actually seen this happen on the show?

Tywin talks about Daenerys seriously in this episode, no scoffing about how the people will never take a queen seriously. I'm not sure that's the best example though, since she's coming with a fantasy WMD.

Apart from that, nothing comes to mind offhand.
posted by mordax at 9:20 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, go back now and watch the scene in Ep. 1 where Lady Olenna, Margaery, and Sansa are all looking at potential wedding jewelry. Lady Olenna picks one of the necklaces up, scoffs at how insufficient it is, and throws it off the balcony.

A little while later, ser Dontos pops out of the very same place Olenna threw the necklace, armed with a family heirloom necklace to present to Sansa.


Are you sure it's the same necklace ? I think Littlefinger just gave Dontos the necklace.
posted by Pendragon at 9:26 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just looked it up, it's not the same necklace.
posted by Pendragon at 9:28 AM on April 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Brienne of Tarth is the heir to her father's kingdom. Shireen is heir to Stannis.
posted by viggorlijah at 9:30 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Have we actually seen this happen on the show?

It occurs frequently enough in the books, but I'm not certain we've had an on screen example of it.
posted by nubs at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there any scenario where Olenna calls off the Loras-Cercei marriage and tries to wed him to Sansa instead? Does Littlefinger have sufficient title/rank to marry Sansa himself?

The remarks upthread about Tywin being too loyal to family to be involved in the plot have convinced me. Putting the Dornish prince (name escapes me) on the tribunal confirms his loyalty to Tyrion, in my opinion.
posted by GrapeApiary at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2014


(Dornish guy with a grudge would've been an easy sell, his protests about being a reasonable man to the contrary.)

But nobody knew that guy would be there. Prince Oberyn came as a stand-in for his brother, Prince Myrcella'sHusband.

Unless you think the plot is way bigger than we're imagining, and Baelish set that up?

Tyrion definitely can't be the intended fall guy. Too much coincidental stuff that came purely from Joffrey on the day and relates to family dynamics Littlefinger probably doesn't know about and definitely can't control.

I think everyone else is right that Margaery can't be the fall guy, because she's too valuable to Olenna for other purposes.

Sansa, on the other hand, is under Littlefinger's control (he got her out of there, thus making her look guilty), a predictable presence at the wedding, is understood to have motive, and has already been used in the plot in ways that would make her the obvious patsy if anything went wrong. I mean, she's the one who brought the poison to the table!
posted by Sara C. at 9:35 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, ugggghhhhhh my necklace idea was so good! I'm pissed that I wasn't right about that.
posted by Sara C. at 9:37 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Prince Oberyn came as a stand-in for his brother, Prince Myrcella'sHusband.

Prince Oberyn came as a stand in for Prince Doran - Prince Oberyn's older brother, and current ruler of Dorne. He's an old man, not in the best health (hence the gout discussion).

Myrcella is betrothed to Trystane Martell, the youngest son of Doran, a match far more suitable in age.
posted by nubs at 9:39 AM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


> Have we actually seen this happen on the show?

Only in the regency sense. Cat's sister Lysa at the Eyrie.
posted by vbfg at 9:43 AM on April 22, 2014


I have to say, watching Oberyn McShirtlessHottie lounging about being badass and sexy -- if that runs in the family, being betrothed to that guy's nephew doesn't sound so bad. Add in the fact that in Dorne, women inherit in their own right, and Myrcella doesn't seem to have drawn that short of a straw.
posted by KathrynT at 9:44 AM on April 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


Prince Doran - Prince Oberyn's older brother, and current ruler of Dorne...

Thanks, this either wasn't spelled out on the show or was too boring a detail for me to bother with. Either way, Oberyn came as a last-minute replacement for someone else and thus can't be Littlefinger's intended fall guy unless Littlefinger engineered Doran's gout flareup.
posted by Sara C. at 9:48 AM on April 22, 2014


There are probably worse fates than to be sent to the sex and poison captain of the world.

Yeah Dontos being all " come with me if you want to live." and then "psych! You now look totally guilty!" made me think that "getting" Sansa was Baelish's payment for putting this together.
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


KathrynT, yeah, that's why I just don't get Cersei's irrational anger at Tyrion setting that up. It's really a win-win situation from all angles, no matter how you look at it. Cersei should be elated that her brother set up such an ideal match.
posted by Sara C. at 9:51 AM on April 22, 2014


Cersei should be elated that her brother set up such an ideal match.

"...I wouldn't let Cersei manage a roadside Cinnabon." maybe my new favorite put-down of the year. Because it is so, so true.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:03 AM on April 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


> Have we actually seen this happen on the show?

Does Balon Greyjoy's daughter, Yara, count? It's never explicitly stated, but he's certainly groomed for the part.

Is there any scenario where Olenna calls off the Loras-Cercei marriage and tries to wed him to Sansa instead?

Remember, the Loras-Cersei marriage was arranged because Tywin found out about the Tyrell's plan to wed Loras to Sansa. Tywin outplayed Olenna on that move. He will not give away the only known key to the North.

Which is hilarious considering he had Arya as a cupbearer and left her behind! Oh, if he had only kept her and taken her back to Kings Landing. I do hope he eventually finds out what he had, because the look on his face would be fantastic!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Does Balon Greyjoy's daughter, Yara, count?

No, Yara is in the same boat as Brienne and Shireen, only daughters who are being groomed to rule but are not actually the head of house.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 AM on April 22, 2014


Cersei is mad because she didn't do it. Actually, that's slightly unfair: Cersei is mad because she is paranoid. She sees herself as surrounded on all sides by enemies and traitors, by people who will stop at nothing to see her shamed, humbled, and destroyed. For a while, Jaime was the lone exception, but when he went riding off and left her alone in the viper's pit that is King's Landing so that he could rescue Tyrion of all people, she sees the "truth": she is alone, vulnerable, with only what protection and power she can draw to herself, and no allies or even friends save her children. When Tyrion, that cunning little monster, deftly extracts Myrcella from the tenuous web of protection that Cersei has managed to weave and sends her off to the land ruled by people who hate her entire family, a people who are so strong that they alone resisted Aegon the Conquerer, to whom her own ancestors knelt -- why, he might as well have been signing her death warrant herself. The fact that this entire scenario is true only to the extent that Cersei made it that way herself doesn't make it any less true in her head.

In truth, I think that Cersei chose to have her children with Jaime because it was the closest she could come to parthenogenesis.
posted by KathrynT at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2014 [15 favorites]


And I just discovered this - Grantland's Ask the Maester, where some of the larger questions about "who was that?" or "What's the deal with that guy?" are answered without spoilers, though with context from the book.
posted by nubs at 10:20 AM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oberyn came as a last-minute replacement for someone else and thus can't be Littlefinger's intended fall guy unless Littlefinger engineered Doran's gout flareup.

Eh, it's not at all clear to me exactly how long before the wedding Obie gets into town; once he does he heads straight for Littlefinger's brothel where Male Roz hooks him up. Littlefinger has to know he's in town right away. There's probably at least a few days, maybe a week or two, between his arrival and the actual ceremony. The poisoning plot was probably already in the works by then, but one could still tweak a few details to make him the fall guy if desired.

I don't think it was desired, though. Tyrion standing over the sputtering king holding the poisoned chalice while his sister hollers, "guards, seize him!" is a lot more than the conspirators could have hoped for, sure. But think about the stuff they did plan for: The murder happens right after the pageant, a pointed humiliation for Tyrion and Sansa in particular. Tyrion has had some very visible public clashes with Joffrey (at his own wedding, at the battle of Blackwater); the pageant just serves as a immediate reminder to the crowd of all the reasons he has to hate him. Everyone at the top table has sufficient opportunity to slip something in the wine; bribing a servant to say they saw Tyrion do it is easy peasy. Indeed, Pod tells us he has been approached for this purpose. The fact of Sansa's escape can also be spun to further implicate Tyrion, as her husband. But most crucially, whoever did this clearly wants to get Sansa into their clutches. Sansa is useless to them while Tyrion is alive, because she can't then be married off to someone else (e.g. Loras or Littlefinger). For Sansa to truly be useful, Tyrion's got to die, too. Framing Tyrion for Joffrey's murder solves the problem at a stroke.

Don't forget --- the pageant seems to have been a surprise to everyone, including the rest of the Lannisters; someone helped Joffrey arrange it. Littlefinger has already established himself as the ace procurer, able to help Joffrey indulge his most twisted desires. Who better to help him with his final little display of sadism?
posted by Diablevert at 10:28 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think hanging it all on the pageant assumes a far kinder and friendlier Westeros than the Westeros we know. Surely Tyrion will have been seeing court jesters and entertainers with dwarfism his whole life. Nobody would buy that he would flip his shit and murder Joffrey on the spot over that.
posted by Sara C. at 10:35 AM on April 22, 2014


That makes no sense. Tywin started a war when Tyrion was taken captive by Catelyn Stark. He's not going to have Tyrion jailed or killed before he's impregnated Sansa with a boy. Even after that, he's not going have a member of the family threatened by anyone but him.

Having slept on it, I agree.
posted by homunculus at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hold on a minute.

What are Tyrion and Sansa doing up at High Table in the first place? Tywin, the Hand of the King and Cersei, the King's Mother didn't get seats there. Who wrote up the seating arrangements?
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:54 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think hanging it all on the pageant assumes a far kinder and friendlier Westeros than the Westeros we know. Surely Tyrion will have been seeing court jesters and entertainers with dwarfism his whole life. Nobody would buy that he would flip his shit and murder Joffrey on the spot over that.

I agree with that, but I don't think it needs to, from the perspective of the murder-plotters. If people believe the motive, if people are certain he had the opportunity, if you can produce a few complaisant witnesses to bolster your case, and if you're pretty sure half his family hates him anyway and wouldn't mind seeing him dead, what more do you need? It's all about creating the appearance of guilt.
posted by Diablevert at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2014


That's a really good point.

A straightforward/realistic seating arrangement for the marriage of Joffrey to Margaery Tyrell would have those two sitting as far as possible from the action. He's the black sheep of the family. She's Joffrey's ex.
posted by Sara C. at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2014


Joffrey could have done it. Joffrey is the only one who knows about the pageant, and he's planned it deliberately to humiliate them. He'd want them on public display for it.
posted by Diablevert at 10:58 AM on April 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


So far on the TV show we've barely seen the Mountain except for the joust in the first season.

Right, but we've heard other characters mention him occasionally -- the Tullys skirmish against his forces at the mill, Polliver and his men were in the service of the Mountain. Feels like they're doing just enough to keep us reminded that he exists.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yara is interesting. In addition to being her father's heir, she commands her own longship and has the loyalty of some of the toughest Ironborn warriors. That doesn't seem be exactly normal in the Iron Islands, but she also doesn't seem to have to put up with as much crap as Brienne. Is that just because her father is so feared and respected or are the Ironborn more accepting of women leaders and warriors than some other parts of Westeros (Dorne excepted)?
posted by Area Man at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


What are Tyrion and Sansa doing up at High Table in the first place? Tywin, the Hand of the King and Cersei, the King's Mother didn't get seats there. Who wrote up the seating arrangements?

I'd have to go back and rewatch, but IIRC there are three tables on the raised dais:

The centre table is Joffrey and Margaery.

To the right (from the audience view; Joffreys side) is the Lannister table with Tywin, Cersei, Tommen, Tyrion and Sansa. To the left is the Tyrell table with Olenna, Mace and Loras. Presumably, as the closest family members to the bride and groom, they get seated up there and I suspect Jaime would be up there as well if he wasn't part of the Kingsguard.

Not that he's any good at it - he murdered one, he was out of town when the second was killed, and the third was poisoned right in front of him. He's 0/3.
posted by nubs at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


And Tyrion certainly saw it all coming. Other than the poison bit.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:01 AM on April 22, 2014


I figure the pageant was planned to humiliate basically everyone at the wedding. Tyrion is one of the few people there who doesn't have any skin in the game to anybody but us delicate viewers who see making fun of a disability as a terrible thing. People have been making fun of Tyrion's disability to his face every day of his life.

The upshot of the pageant isn't "loldwarves", it's what the pageant actually depicts. Loras Tyrell is called out as a faggot, the Starks are thoroughly degraded, Stannis* is a religious nut ruled by his dick, and ummmm I don't know the Greyjoys are octopus fuckers or something, nobody really cares about them and they're not at the wedding to be humiliated anyway.

Tyrion isn't feeling the dwarf angle on the whole thing, but it's clear that it wasn't engineered to rile him up specifically.

*Is it just me or is there no Baratheon contingent at the wedding at all?
posted by Sara C. at 11:03 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Joffrey couldn't have been the only one to know the pageant was coming, though? He's a lazy, entitled sack of shit, and even if he wasn't, it would still take multiple people to put the show together, at least to hire the players and to fashion their costumes.

Yara is interesting. In addition to being her father's heir, she commands her own longship and has the loyalty of some of the toughest Ironborn warriors. That doesn't seem be exactly normal in the Iron Islands, but she also doesn't seem to have to put up with as much crap as Brienne. Is that just because her father is so feared and respected or are the Ironborn more accepting of women leaders and warriors than some other parts of Westeros (Dorne excepted)?

Maybe the nice thing about the Iron Price is that, once you've paid it, you've paid it. It's meritocratic, in a brutal sort of way.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:04 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


What are Tyrion and Sansa doing up at High Table in the first place? Tywin, the Hand of the King and Cersei, the King's Mother didn't get seats there. Who wrote up the seating arrangements?

Sansa (via her marriage to Tyrion) is the source of the Lannister's expected claim on the North. They may be a disliked couple, but they are strategically vital. So it's maybe not that weird.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:04 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Who wrote up the seating arrangements?

Off topic, but I went to look for images to see if I could figure out who WAS sitting at the head table, and I found a whole slew of sites about how to design your own Game of Thrones-inspired wedding. And I'm just like "Who on EARTH thinks that would be a good idea?!!"
posted by KathrynT at 11:04 AM on April 22, 2014 [28 favorites]


Thanks for clarifying the seating arrangement. It was hard to figure who was at what table what with all those meaningful glances between Loras Tyrell and the Dornish powercouple.
posted by Sara C. at 11:05 AM on April 22, 2014


Joffrey could have done it. Joffrey is the only one who knows about the pageant, and he's planned it deliberately to humiliate them.

The pageant is alluded to (by Jamie I think?) as "the main entertainment" in the scene in which the Kingsguard brief Joffrey on their arrangements.

(I thought I remembered a conversation about seating arrangements, but on further reflection I think I'm conflating this scene and the scene in which Varys briefly mentions the wedding breakfast.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:06 AM on April 22, 2014


And I'm just like "Who on EARTH thinks that would be a good idea?!!"

I still have lovely, lovely schadenfreude for all the brides who were painstakingly constructing ASOIAF theme weddings set to take place the second week of June, 2013.
posted by Sara C. at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


*Is it just me or is there no Baratheon contingent at the wedding at all?

All that is left of the House of Baratheon is Stannis and his family at this point. I'm pretty sure their invite got "lost".

As for the Storm Lands in general (the portion of the Kingdoms the Baratheon's rule), I'm not sure of their status at this point; Storm's End fell after Renly died, but I cannot in all honesty recall if anyone was named to take it over.
posted by nubs at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Game of Thrones-inspired wedding

I'm just gonna NOPE right out of here, now.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also I guess it wouldn't be the done thing for the family of Margaery's late husband to make a point of attending her next wedding. Though Stannis being Joffrey's uncle complicates matters.
posted by Sara C. at 11:08 AM on April 22, 2014


Carrie-inspired prom
The Shining-inspired writing retreat
Alien-inspired eggs
Slither-inspired roasted red peppers
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Re: the discussion above about how the poison was done... In this screencap you can clearly see there is a stone missing from Sansa's necklace, only moments after Olenna Tyrell gets all handsy with her. Watch the part just before this carefully and you can even see her palm the stone.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also I guess it wouldn't be the done thing for the family of Margaery's late husband to make a point of attending her next wedding.

Renly was the youngest of the three Baratheon boys (Robert, Stannis, Renly) - I don't think there's any family left but Stannis.
posted by nubs at 11:11 AM on April 22, 2014


I believe the necklace angle, but how was the poison inside of the necklace? Was one stone secretly a vial? Did all the stones have a delicious "dry pie" center? If Littlefinger had licked his hands after smashing one of the stones, would he have died?
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I found a whole slew of sites about how to design your own Game of Thrones-inspired wedding. And I'm just like "Who on EARTH thinks that would be a good idea?!!"

A thousand times me.
posted by jeather at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I'm referring to Stannis and his people. I don't know why people keep stepping in to explain that I'm referring to Stannis when I say "Baratheon contingent".

Though I guess Stannis is also still in open rebellion to the Lannister claim on the throne, so it's not like he'd go, anyway.

It is kind of interesting to me how completely surrounded with Lannisters King Robert was, and how House Baratheon immediately just sort of fades away into nothing. To the point that it's easy to forget that Stannis and Renly are even (supposed to be) related to Joffrey. Did they not have an uncle or something, or maybe some third cousins twice removed Robert could have installed somewhere?
posted by Sara C. at 11:15 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


how was the poison inside of the necklace? Was one stone secretly a vial?

When Littlefinger smashed one of the stones, it looked as though they were crystal in the same way that rock candy is a crystal. That is, they seemed like a granulated substance pressed into the appearance of stone. Something like that could probably dissolve in wine.

I'm no expert on rock candy or poison, though. Guesses like this are probably the best we will do, though, as a tv show has little reason to devote time to answering our technical questions on poisoning.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I believe the necklace angle, but how was the poison inside of the necklace? Was one stone secretly a vial? Did all the stones have a delicious "dry pie" center? If Littlefinger had licked his hands after smashing one of the stones, would he have died?

One of the stones was the poison itself, which takes a hard crystalline form; in last week's thread, I think, someone posted a link to a shot-by-shot breakdown of how the poisoning happened.
posted by The Michael The at 11:21 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that the typical way to administer The Strangler is via Ring Pop.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:22 AM on April 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


Tyrion is one of the few people there who doesn't have any skin in the game to anybody but us delicate viewers who see making fun of a disability as a terrible thing. People have been making fun of Tyrion's disability to his face every day of his life.

True, but we saw in the "sheep shift" conversation with Sansa that he does take note of insults. Not so much because they're mocking his height, more because they're an affront to his pride and to his position as a Lannister.

That said, Tyrion's reactions to the pageant seemed not so much about himself -- of course Joffrey's being a dick to him, Joffrey always is -- but more sympathy for the other targets. Especially for Sansa.

(Also empathy for the performers themselves, recognizing that they also have been pressed into degrading themselves at Joffrey's bidding; he tells Pod to pay them extra.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I imagine there are succession issues for the Baratheons. They are based at Storm's End, and Renly inherited it from Robert after he became king. Stannis held it during the rebellion that saw Robert become king, and he was next in line being the older brother, but Renly got it. It's really the key to Stannis' sense of injustice towards him.

Clearly Renly has no heirs, all of those supposed to be Robert's heirs are in the royal line of succession and Stannis has a daughter locked away out of sight at Dragonstone. Some of the feudal lords joined Stannis (and were mostly wiped out or fled with Stannis at the battle of Blackwater) and the rest went with the Tyrells (the new queen's family).

Not sure who there is down there that still counts as a Baratheon.
posted by vbfg at 11:25 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


If Podrick does receive his knighthood, I hope it includes an onscreen oath, so that we can hear him say, "I Pod..."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:26 AM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


ARISE POD
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


It is kind of interesting to me how completely surrounded with Lannisters King Robert was, and how House Baratheon immediately just sort of fades away into nothing. To the point that it's easy to forget that Stannis and Renly are even (supposed to be) related to Joffrey. Did they not have an uncle or something, or maybe some third cousins twice removed Robert could have installed somewhere?

Renly was on Robert's small council and is in King's Landing at the beginning of the series. However, he flees back to his land in the Stormlands after Ned won't join him in taking the children captive. So, Robert did have one of his brothers close to him as a key advisor. Stannis is on Dragonstone, but it probably made sense after the rebellion to have the traditional Targaryen stronghold held by someone strong whom Robert could trust.

Also, it is worth remembering that Jon Arryn was Robert's Hand before the show starts. Tywin was rich and influential, but wasn't in the capital or on Robert's council. Tywin had last been Hand of the King back when the Mad King ruled before Robert's Rebellion.

All of this is to say that Robert wasn't as surrounded by Lannisters as Joffrey, it was really just Jaime and Cersei.
posted by Area Man at 11:28 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I'm referring to Stannis and his people. I don't know why people keep stepping in to explain that I'm referring to Stannis when I say "Baratheon contingent".

Sorry, I thought it was a given that because Stannis is in rebellion he's persona non grata and that you were wondering about other ends of the Baratheon tree.
posted by nubs at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Probably if you find out who planted the idea of the tournament in Joff's head and procured the little people knights you'll have your murderer.

That could be the key. The tournament ensured that all eyes were on Tyrion the moment before Joffrey died. Joffrey knew about the tournament, obviously, but someone else probably suggested it to him in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it was Baelish's idea.
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Remember, the Loras-Cersei marriage was arranged because Tywin found out about the Tyrell's plan to wed Loras to Sansa. Tywin outplayed Olenna on that move. He will not give away the only known key to the North.

Thanks for that. Completely forgot this piece of the story.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


that's why I just don't get Cersei's irrational anger at Tyrion setting that up.

Cersei is irrational more often than not. She feels she is a shrewd tactician, having avidly taken in all her father's lessons (ignored by Jaime, who has no desire whatsoever to rule--he's a soldier at heart and always has been). But Cersei is given to bouts of temper and impulsive acts that undermine even the occasional sensible plans she makes.

Just a few examples:

Cersei is the one who manipulates Jaime into becoming a King's Guard to the Mad King. This is a selfish act on her part, made impulsively when Jaime comes to visit her at the castle on his way home from a battle. Cersei uses sex to convince Jaime to join the KG to be close to her, as she is at court with Tywin, the Hand at the time. Tywin is angered by this move from Jaime (completely predictably), resigns as the Hand and takes Cersei back to Casterly Rock, leaving Jaime stuck serving a psycho, only now with no one holding the mad king in check the way Tywin could.

Cersei insists on calling Joffrey back to the Keep in the battle of the Blackwater, making Joffrey, who s actually doing the right thing for once, look weak and ineffectual to his men. Joffrey leaving the front lines causes some of the fighting men to lose hope and they are ready to desert. This nearly loses the siege for them. Only Tyrion's strategic thinking and unaccustomed bravery keeps things together until Tywin's surprise arrival saves the day (just seconds before Cersei was about to murder Tommen, thinking the enemy approached).

In countermanding the,order to give the leftovers from the wedding feast to the poor, Cersei takes her anger (born out of jealousy of Margeary) out on Maester Pycelle, who, while vile, is one of the few people at court unreservedly loyal to the Lannister family and even more specifically loyal to Cersei and Thwin over Tyrion, which the Maester has demonstrated more than once.

She took her anger out at Littlefinger once, if you recall, in the courtyard of King's Landing. Look how that turned out.
posted by misha at 11:50 AM on April 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Cersei is the one who manipulates Jaime into becoming a King's Guard to the Mad King...

FWIW I think this whole paragraph is potentially a spoiler, or at least it's definitely taken wholesale from the books and covers material that hasn't been discussed in the show at all.
posted by Sara C. at 11:54 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surely Tyrion will have been seeing court jesters and entertainers with dwarfism his whole life. Nobody would buy that he would flip his shit and murder Joffrey on the spot over that.

I think a lot of people in King's Landing would buy it. My impression is that many people see him as "an ill-made, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning," as Tywin put it, and wouldn't hesitate to blame the Imp. Only a few people like Podrick and Varys know what he is really like.

(And fewer still realize that he is, in fact, a God.)
posted by homunculus at 11:57 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, I think plenty of people in King's Landing will believe that he killed Joffrey. I just don't think you need to create a special pageant just for the benefit of establishing motive. And if you did want to do something like that, a pageant that mocks all the rest of the wedding guests is a remarkably bad way to do that.
posted by Sara C. at 12:01 PM on April 22, 2014


Hey, if anyone thinks that is a spoiler, feel free to flag it, but I do believe, having watched each season multiple times, that it has been discussed on the show between Jaime and Cersei why he decided to become a Kingsguard and that it was so he could be near his sister in the castle.
posted by misha at 12:10 PM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Joffrey could have done it. Joffrey is the only one who knows about the pageant, and he's planned it deliberately to humiliate them. He'd want them on public display for it.

I initially read this as a tongue-in-cheek (too soon?) theory as to who the murder is and snorted my tea a bit.
posted by prefpara at 12:55 PM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Answering questions about how the poison works: The Strangler is a crystal that dissolves in wine. We've seen it used before, in S02E01 when Maester Cressen tried to assassinate Melisandre (The Red Woman).
posted by Jacqueline at 1:05 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well it hasn't worn off for me. The episode starts with a shot of dead Joffrey and I smiled and said Haha YES
posted by Hoopo at 1:08 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is kind of interesting to me how completely surrounded with Lannisters King Robert was, and how House Baratheon immediately just sort of fades away into nothing.

Both Stannis and Renly were on the small council. One of them is dead. The other plots and plans against the Lannisters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:33 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


And I just discovered this - Grantland's Ask the Maester, where some of the larger questions about "who was that?" or "What's the deal with that guy?" are answered without spoilers, though with context from the book.

Thanks! The latest one addresses something I've been wondering: "What happened to the ravens the Night’s Watch sent to warn the land about the gathering threat of the Wildlings and the Others? Why is it that Stannis and Ser Davos are the only ones who seem concerned?"
posted by homunculus at 3:12 PM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that in most of Westeros the succession rules are like in the British Royal Family prior to QEII changing them a few years ago, and in Dorne they are like the British Royal Family post-changes.

So yeah, women can inherit, they just have the deck severely stacked against them and are valued primarily for their ability to have sons and are marched around as pawns, but that's also kind of the point. (In the universe, I mean, it's kind of the point that we are constantly reminded of how awful the gender politics are.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:21 PM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've read the books but definitely don't remember all the intricacies of the backstory. I did, however, recently watch some videos about the backstory made in conjunction with the show (high production value animations, narration from cast members) and in those I believe the story is that the Mad King Aeres named Jaime to the Kingsguard as revenge against a perceived slight by Tywin, robbing the Lannisters of their heir apparent in such a way that it looked like an honor and would be impossible to refuse.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:57 PM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Which is the trick that Tywin used to force Olenna to capitulate on marrying Loras to Cersei. Otherwise he was going to sign an order making Loras part of the Kingsquard.

That Tywin, he learns.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on April 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


So, completely apart from the many important happenings in this episode, may I say I really like the Meereen fashions? For those who didn't read the books, Meereenese people in the books sported the most ridiculous-sounding outfits in the entire book, including gowns that only cover one breast and hair sculpted into elaborate figures like birds in flight. The fashions shown there in this episode were distinct from everything we've seen before, but also not nearly as nutso as in the book.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:03 PM on April 22, 2014


I just rewatched that awesome Tommen/Tywin scene and had totally forgotten that in that scene Tywin instructs him specifically that women are for making heirs. Fucking Tywin...
posted by Navelgazer at 7:07 PM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, man, I could have totally used that in my recap.
posted by Sara C. at 8:34 PM on April 22, 2014


I sucked it up and re-watched and I caught Olenna's slight of hand with the bauble. I also noticed that when Littlefinger smashed the necklace, he then pushed it off the ship and onto whathisname's dead body in the row boat. Presumably giving the powers that be someone to pin the murder on once they found the body.
posted by double bubble at 9:08 PM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is it too late to pop in and spend a few moments swooning over Oberyn and Co.? The orgies! His saucy remarks! Ellaria Sand's amazing outfits! It's like a series of Boris Vallejo illustrations, but progressive!

I want to read bawdy '80s fantasy novels about their adventures.
posted by redsparkler at 10:25 PM on April 22, 2014 [11 favorites]




I found a whole slew of sites about how to design your own Game of Thrones-inspired wedding. And I'm just like "Who on EARTH thinks that would be a good idea?!!"

If the reception doesn't go starter, main course, toasts, cake, tiny crossbows distributed to guests to pepper marriage party with foam darts, yr doin it wrong.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:45 AM on April 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


(And you cut the cake with a longsword, obv)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:46 AM on April 23, 2014


Maybe the weirdest part of Jofftey's demise is that it frees up the apparently extremely kind, warm, and likable actor who played him, Jack Gleeson, to focus on his theology studies.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:46 AM on April 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Meereenese people in the books sported the most ridiculous-sounding outfits in the entire book, including gowns that only cover one breast and hair sculpted into elaborate figures like birds in flight.

The hair thing is true, but the single breasted dresses were in Qarth. In Meereen, highborn men and women alike wear tokars, sari-like single sheets of fringed fabric that must always be held with one hand to prevent them coming unwound, and which must be wound around the body perfectly lest they be too loose and fall off or too tight and hobble the wearer. (Making it extremely clear that the wearer is so rich as to be nearly completely physically idle.)

And it does seem the tokar has survived the transition to screen, if not quite so universal a garment as it is among Meereenese nobles in the book: the man and woman at the left of this screenshot both appear to be wearing tokars.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:37 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Tywin needs the North to have all Seven Kingdoms. That means a Stark girl to have a Stark heir.

Yeah, no, I understand that, I just question whether (1) that would still have worked as well as originally expected in the wake of everything that happened, and (2) it's the only way to keep the north under control.

An allegiance with the Boltons plus the news of the death of Mad King II: The Mad Kingening plus a welcome army come to help defeat the wildling invasion, led by King Tommen the Pretty Good Dude, would pretty well lay the groundwork to solidify things up there for the Lannisters, wouldn't it?

I dunno. I'm pretty sure it was Olenna and some other conspirators, but Tywin would be a great twist, and there are plenty of ways narratively to deal with Sansa no longer being an option. Especially given Tywin's buddy-buddy convo with Olenna beforehand and his immediate political maneuvering afterward.

I'm looking at this less from a political perspective and more from a writing one: Stories like these, you call your shots. It's possible that their conversation before the wedding was simply for exposition and mention of the Iron Bank, but I'll be disappointed if so.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:46 AM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


It occurred to me on a second watch of this episode that Melisandre may have had a hand in the assassination - Stanis seems to believe his ritual caused Joffery's death so it might be her doing to at least keep him doing what she says (whether or not her plans actually involve getting him on the throne in the end). That said she seems to deal in weird shadow monster assassins rather than more pedestrian wine-poisoning.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:02 AM on April 23, 2014


An allegiance with the Boltons plus the news of the death of Mad King II: The Mad Kingening plus a welcome army come to help defeat the wildling invasion, led by King Tommen the Pretty Good Dude, would pretty well lay the groundwork to solidify things up there for the Lannisters, wouldn't it?

No. Killing northern leaders and sacking Winterfell would not solidify the North for the Lannisters. The Starks are close to hereditary Lords, no questions asked, that the GoT has (I think). Plus they've been loved and the Houses that swear fealty to them are pretty close, like family in that most of them trace their origins back to the First Men. Remember Lord Cardstark noting that, before Robb chopped off his head? It's like an extended family up there. You can marry into it, but not fight your way in.

It occurred to me on a second watch of this episode that Melisandre may have had a hand in the assassination

Ooo, good point! I think she called for Balon's death too, but he's still alive, for now at least, ha. I get the sense that Melisandre is half bullshitting, half telling the truth when she talks of magic, just never know which half is which and when.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think Melisandre had a hand in it, but (speculation) I'm damn sure she's going to capitalize on it as if it's proof of her (god's) power.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:52 AM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


But what if she is taping into god power and somehow causing these deaths? It's not real clear which way it goes and how much power she actually has.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Melisandre scares me more than any other person in Westeros, and that includes Ramsay. Not the least because her terrible scary god seems to be the only one with any actual efficacy.
posted by KathrynT at 8:43 AM on April 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yes, the fact that the new god seems to be a functional one, and that his/her human avatars are fraught with GoT-esque levels of ambition and cunning, is immensely terrifying.
posted by GrapeApiary at 8:53 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The reason Melisandre is scary is because she, unlike most, is a True Believer. With kindness and sorrow, she will do what she has to do for the ultimate end she's chasing. Even without the actual power shown, that's still pretty terrifying, because she can't be bribed or lured aside from her purpose, unlike almost everyone else in this series.
posted by corb at 8:54 AM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Not the least because her terrible scary god seems to be the only one with any actual efficacy.

We don't know much about the Others/White Walkers yet, but what has always interested me is that their magic seems just as effective - and parallel:

-R'hllor (Melisandre's god) seems to thrive on human sacrifice and blood magic; the Others seem to need sacrifices as well;
-Both seem capable of raising the dead;
-We really have no freaking clue what either of them want.

Given that the overall series is "A Song of Ice and Fire" there's obviously something here

I'm debating sitting down with the books again and going through with an eye to the use of ice/winter/cold and fire/summer/heat imagery, as well as the various legends about both because I think there's some important stuff in the duality.
posted by nubs at 9:03 AM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Melisandre scares me more than any other person in Westeros, and that includes Ramsay. Not the least because her terrible scary god seems to be the only one with any actual efficacy.

I agree that Melisandre is incredibly scary, because she really can bring the wrath of (some) god down on people! But her god isn't the only one with efficacy -- the Old Gods, or at least some force connected with what people call the Old Gods, seems to have efficacy, too. I think that the connection between the Stark children and their direwolves, including the warging, are proof of their efficacy.

What I want to see is a showdown between Melisandre and Dany. Also, I wonder if Dany would be willing to convert to Melisandre's religion, seeing as she loves fire so much.
posted by rue72 at 9:04 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think Melisandre is basically in the zipcode but not on the target. She's figured out some stuff that seems to work and has a theory about why it works and what her god wants, but my personal view is that she's mistaken about a lot of it. I agree that there's clearly a juxtaposition between evil ice zombies and awesome fire dragons and they seem destined to clash, and Melisandre just doesn't have all the information to figure out where she fits in with that. I think she's like those people who were part of the psych study where they were given a "video game" to play that was programmed to do random things, and they mostly all said their ineffectual keymashing was working and they were playing. Melisandre is doing a bunch of stuff and some of it works and some of it may not work and she thinks she knows why the stuff that works works, but that doesn't mean she's right. I don't think the show has remotely established that she knows what she's talking about, just that she definitely has specific powers she can use in specific ways.
posted by prefpara at 9:12 AM on April 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Now I'm imagining Melisandre capturing Dany and trying to burn her at the stake, and kind of hoping for just such a scene so I can see Melisandre get a little bit of comeuppance.


Actually a lot of comeuppance.

Dany: "I survived your fire, witch. Can you survive mine? Dracarys."
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:12 AM on April 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


I think Melisandre is basically in the zipcode but not on the target. She's figured out some stuff that seems to work and has a theory about why it works and what her god wants, but my personal view is that she's mistaken about a lot of it.

I agree- and also, I think it's not at all clear whether the leech thing really worked. Yes, everybody who got leech'd died, but it seems like a wise bet in Westeros currently that, hey, all these pretenders to the throne are very likely to be killed somehow, with or without magical intervention. (Renly, of course, was a different story.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:16 AM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


the Old Gods, or at least some force connected with what people call the Old Gods, seems to have efficacy, too

That's true. A quiet, stolid, tree-like efficacy, but that's hardly surprising. I was mainly thinking of the Seven, which appear to have fuck-all to do with anything.
posted by KathrynT at 9:21 AM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maybe the weirdest part of Jofftey's demise is that it frees up the apparently extremely kind, warm, and likable actor who played him, Jack Gleeson, to focus on his theology studies.

It's a pity Joffrey never listened to Gleeson's advice.
posted by homunculus at 9:55 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do we have evidence about when the Seven came to Westeros, and who implemented it? I wonder if it was deliberately introduced to wean people away from actually effective gods/prayers.
posted by corb at 10:15 AM on April 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Has the show mentioned who built The Wall? I don't think so, but want to be sure.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:17 AM on April 23, 2014


One thing I find very intriguing about the magic in this world is that it seems to go in phases as well. No dragons for hundreds of years, no Others for thousands, the magic in the (forgetting the correct phrase for it) fire oil that Tyrion used at the Blackwater, Melisandre being able to channel the power of R'hllor . All augured by the big red comet in the second book.

Why does magic wax and wane? Is it the ability to generate new magic? The magic that holds the wall has lasted.
posted by shothotbot at 10:36 AM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Has the show mentioned who built The Wall? I don't think so, but want to be sure.

Pretty sure it came up very early on in the series. If not, I can't see ancient backstory as much of a spoiler. It was built by Bran the Builder, the founder of House Stark.
posted by absalom at 10:43 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I believe the show mentioned that Bran the Builder built the wall thousands of years ago. Bran the Builder has been mentioned a couple times and is clearly a historical figure, but I don't think the show has fleshed out who he was. I imagine the books problem provide more of the history.
posted by Falconetti at 10:43 AM on April 23, 2014


What I want to see is a showdown between Melisandre and Dany. Also, I wonder if Dany would be willing to convert to Melisandre's religion, seeing as she loves fire so much.

Always thought it would go down the opposite way if the story ever gets there.

"You're... unburned! This is... this is the one true Champion Of Light!"

"Ok cool there's an empty spot in my entourage next to Dario Nahaaris, get your things, we're going north to fuck up some ice zombies"
posted by furiousthought at 10:52 AM on April 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


The show hasnt mentioned who built the wall i dont think but I'm sure the extras from the dvds have. Theyre all on YT. The books spell it out clearly, and have done by the equivalent of this point in the series.
posted by vbfg at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2014


Do we have evidence about when the Seven came to Westeros, and who implemented it? I wonder if it was deliberately introduced to wean people away from actually effective gods/prayers.

I think this is the relevant link, though it doesn't completely answer your question, corb.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:39 AM on April 23, 2014


Pretty sure it came up very early on in the series. If not, I can't see ancient backstory as much of a spoiler. It was built by Bran the Builder, the founder of House Stark.

Don't say that! Don't you know time is a flat circle?

(But, hey, Brandenburg Gate much?)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:40 AM on April 23, 2014


the magic in the (forgetting the correct phrase for it) fire oil that Tyrion used at the Blackwater

I always assumed that was one of those """magic""" things that's actually just science, like the alchemists or whoever it was that created the oil (was it the maesters?) just knew the chemical process for creating napalm or whatever. There does seem to be some amount of "alchemy"/science in Westeros, I forget who mentions it but in a recent episode someone calls for a specific maester (implying that they are actually the most effective at medicine) and another maester complains about his "ridiculous experiments" (i.e. he seems to be conducting scientific/medical experiments).

The magic that holds the wall has lasted.

I have no knowledge of the wall past the TV show, and just assumed it's a massive ice wall in a climate zone that never gets much above freezing - hence it just stays frozen, no magic involved.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:42 AM on April 23, 2014


I forget who mentions it but in a recent episode someone calls for a specific maester (implying that they are actually the most effective at medicine) and another maester complains about his "ridiculous experiments" (i.e. he seems to be conducting scientific/medical experiments).


That was Pycelle talking about Qyburn.
posted by homunculus at 11:50 AM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


just knew the chemical process for creating napalm or whatever

IIRC, the book makes it clear that there is both what we would call chemistry and magic in the fire, and the magic part did not work for a long time but has lately been working again. Anyone else remember it like this?
posted by shothotbot at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, as I recall, they are talking about wildfire, and say that they're going to have more of it than they thought because it's suddenly getting either more effective or easier to make.
posted by corb at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why does magic wax and wane? Is it the ability to generate new magic? The magic that holds the wall has lasted.

Several friends and I were wondering about this and came up with a theory. Basically, magic is like any other resource and can be exhausted, so the world needed time to build up its depleted magic levels, like letting nutrients get back into farming soil for crops.

Yet it seems the birth of the dragons unleashed reserves of magic. I wonder if the dragons are pollinates in some odd way
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:54 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]




Oh god, they asked him where his ideas come from. What is this, baby's first interview? I want to punch the interviewer. So facile.
posted by Justinian at 1:40 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Justinian, where do your ideas come from?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Schenectady.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2014 [18 favorites]


Does anyone know what is Ser Davos's idea for getting funds for the war when talking to Stannis's daughter? I thought it might be an alliance with Daenerys but definitely am not sure?
posted by Riton at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2014


Does anyone know what is Ser Davos's idea for getting funds for the war when talking to Stannis's daughter? I thought it might be an alliance with Daenerys but definitely am not sure?


They had been talking about the Iron Bank of Bravos when he had that little flash of inspiration.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:15 PM on April 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


It has been established in the show that the Crown is deeply in debt to the Iron Bank. Far more in debt to the Bank than to the Lannisters, the second largest creditor.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


If this whole show is really about mortgages and ends up with the Iron Bank taking possession of the Seven Kingdoms following a foreclosure, I'm going to be very angry.
posted by Area Man at 2:34 PM on April 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


Occupy Bravos!
posted by homunculus at 2:40 PM on April 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Baelish shouldn't have taken out that sub-prime variable rate mortgage.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Iron Bank has been mentioned, I think, in every episode this season? Previous episodes established that the crown was heavily in debt to the Iron Bank.

This episode, it's mentioned that the Iron Bank deals with defaulting monarchs by funding opposition groups and uprisings and usurpers. Also in this episode, Davos mentioned the possibility of contracting 10,000 swords from the Golden Company, and Stannis pointed out that Team Dragonstone is basically bankrupt.

So, I think that's the A-B-C connection.
posted by absalom at 2:59 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


"If this whole show is really about mortgages and ends up with the Iron Bank taking possession of the Seven Kingdoms following a foreclosure, I'm going to be very angry."

One of the neat things about Daniel Abraham's The Dagger and the Coin fantasy books is that one of the two protagonists and storylines is all about banking in that fantasy world and how it wields some of the levers of power. And it's actually interesting and exciting! The character is one of my favorites in genre literature right now — admittedly, Abraham's using some contrivance to achieve this, such as the character being a young banking prodigy who bluffs and lies her way to establishing and (secretely) running new banks in narratively important cities.

Still, it's impressive — Abraham has researched the topic and he includes numerous technical details.

It makes me very happy because I feel very strongly that SFF writers have been always terribly neglectful and ignorant in their world-building with regard to almost every topic in the social sciences. Charlie Stross's recently nominated novel seriously examines interstellar economics in a universe lacking faster-than-light travel (a topic explored semi-seriously by Paul Krugman a number of years ago). And Steven Erikson' Malazan books are far-and-away better than any other epic fantasy I'm aware of with regard to the depth and verisimilitude of their ethnography — not unsurprising from someone trained as an anthropologist and archaeologist.

All this to say — I'd be rather delighted if the story proves to hinge on the economics and finances involved. But that's just me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:24 PM on April 23, 2014 [12 favorites]


What is the proper name for the piece of music I am calling "It Will Be Both Glorious and Horrible When Danaerys Targaryen Destroys You All"?

You know, that bwaaaaahhhh-UUUUUUMM bwaaaaaaah-UMMMMMMM thing?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:42 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surprisingly enough, it's a track titled "Dracarys" from the Season 3 soundtrack of Game of Thrones. Love the way the music actually seems to slither.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:11 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


e character is one of my favorites in genre literature right now — admittedly, Abraham's using some contrivance to achieve this, such as the character being a young banking prodigy who bluffs and lies her way to establishing and (secretely) running new banks in narratively important cities.

Still, it's impressive — Abraham has researched the topic and he includes numerous technical details.


From an interview I read, it seems to be something of an approach to writing fantasy that Abraham is taking right now (he's a good friend of GRRM, and the two of them are in the same writer's groups in and around Santa Fe) - picking up on observations of what is being neglected/not done in fantasy and then using that to start ideas. It's enjoyable.
posted by nubs at 4:42 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Surprisingly enough, it's a track titled "Dracarys yt " from the Season 3 soundtrack of Game of Thrones.

Needs more goats.
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


One thing I find very intriguing about the magic in this world is that it seems to go in phases as well. No dragons for hundreds of years, no Others for thousands, the magic in the (forgetting the correct phrase for it) fire oil that Tyrion used at the Blackwater, Melisandre being able to channel the power of R'hllor .

What about the Faceless Men? Are their shape-shifting abilities considered to be magic in the books?
posted by homunculus at 4:58 PM on April 23, 2014


We don't really know how they do what they do. So, yeah, probably magic.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:11 PM on April 23, 2014


feel very strongly that SFF writers have been always terribly neglectful and ignorant in their world-building with regard to almost every topic in the social sciences

See also Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books, which have some truly shocking physics gaffes but do involve characters arguing about polyarchy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:15 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


the magic in the (forgetting the correct phrase for it) fire oil that Tyrion used at the Blackwater

>I always assumed that was one of those """magic""" things that's actually just science, like the alchemists or whoever it was that created the oil (was it the maesters?) just knew the chemical process for creating napalm or whatever.


The siege of King's Landing is a typical siege of Constantinople. The army is away fighting wars, enemy navy arrives, the city uses a massive chain to block access to the port and destroys part of the fleet with Greek fire, the emperor or a general arrives from a campaign just in time to lift the siege. For good measure, the Gold Cloaks share certain similarities with the Varangian Guard.
posted by ersatz at 5:23 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Peter Dinklage.
posted by rewil at 5:32 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


There was also the tower that Danny went into and had her visions last season - it wasn't supposed to be so magical, more trickery-based, but because magic is rising again, it ended up overwhelming the sorcerers, I thought.

Melisandre is the kind of believer who will kill children while deeply and truly believing she is Good. She's terrifying. Every time I see her on screen, I want to take Shireen and run away.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:30 PM on April 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Instead of holding a sword he should be peering quizzically at an empty goblet he just picked up off the ground.
posted by double bubble at 6:42 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yet it seems the birth of the dragons unleashed reserves of magic. I wonder if the dragons are pollinates in some odd way

There was also the tower that Danny went into and had her visions last season - it wasn't supposed to be so magical, more trickery-based, but because magic is rising again, it ended up overwhelming the sorcerers, I thought.


Here are the scenes with Daenerys and the Warlock. He says that the presence of the dragons caused their powers to return, but that didn't seem to help him when the dragons roasted him.

Do the Warlocks in the books demonstrate the same abilities as the ones on the show?
posted by homunculus at 7:45 PM on April 23, 2014


Does anyone know what is Ser Davos's idea for getting funds for the war when talking to Stannis's daughter? I thought it might be an alliance with Daenerys but definitely am not sure?

Just before he had his big idea, they were talking about the following things:

There existing barges full of gold in the harbor of Braavos

and

Ser Davos having started out as a pirate smuggler.

I also saw some speculation somewhere around the web that it's more that Davos is hoping to get the backing of the Iron Bank legitimately, as a way to get the Lannisters to Pay Their Debts.

But I mean, come ON. The guy is a pirate smuggler, and they went out of their way to mention that the gold they need is on boats. Also, OMG who wouldn't like to see the Onion Knight in a scurvy side-quest? It'd give the Baratheon contingent something to do, for once.
posted by Sara C. at 8:41 PM on April 23, 2014


Then again "Stannis Baratheon fills out a loan application" would be a typical Dragonstone subplot, I suppose.
posted by Sara C. at 8:45 PM on April 23, 2014 [22 favorites]


Do the Warlocks in the books demonstrate the same abilities as the ones on the show?

More or less. The biggest difference is in the sequence where Dany is trapped in the House of the Undying. Basically, in the book there are a lot of things that she sees that work okay as ambiguous in text but would be glaringly obvious if presented visually. For a non-spoilery example, she sees a banquet where everyone is dead and the guest of honor has a wolf head. This works on the page but would have caused problems on-screen, obviously.

This is similar to a number of things (no spoilers here, I swear!) that have been changed because of the necessities of a visual medium. In the show, we know that Barristan Selmy has come to Dany's aid as son as he shows up, though in the books his true identity is kept secret for a long time. Similarly, in the show we are watching Theon's endless torture, as Ramsay forces upon him the new identity of "Reek." In the books, he's gone for a long, long time, and in Book 5 (again, not a spoiler by show standards) a character named Reek appears in a POV chapter, and at the end of the chapter we discover that he is the same as Theon. Because of Alfie Allen's contract, and the fact that such a twist couldn't be reliably delivered visually, we just see his torture as it happens now.

THis is important to me because it gets to some of what GRRM was saying about the rape scene - that in the book we are reading it from Jaime's perspective. Yes, the dynamics are a bit different, and Cersei relents and the actual sex is more-or-less consensual in the book, but the show takes us out of Jaime's self-justification, and what we see is that he's just insistent on fucking her there. So like GRRM says, take the text away and we see it more objectively.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:04 PM on April 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


Thanks for that answer, Navelgazer.
posted by homunculus at 9:10 PM on April 23, 2014


In the show, we know that Barristan Selmy has come to Dany's aid as son as he shows up, though in the books his true identity is kept secret for a long time.

I actually thought this was very tedious and clumsily handled in the books, and much better in the show.
posted by Sara C. at 9:48 PM on April 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


If this whole show is really about mortgages and ends up with the Iron Bank taking possession of the Seven Kingdoms following a foreclosure, I'm going to be very angry.

It certainly would fit into GRRM's theme of subverting fantasy tropes!

(Personally, I'm hoping that the endgame for the "Who will sit on the Iron Throne?" question is that the smallfolk revolt, execute all the nobility, and institute a constitutional republic.)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:10 AM on April 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


(Personally, I'm hoping that the endgame for the "Who will sit on the Iron Throne?" question is that the smallfolk revolt, execute all the nobility, and institute a constitutional republic.)

I'm hoping Nymeria returns with a horde of direwolves and claims the throne.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on April 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Basically, even if you hear reference to a character appearing in book 4, 5, or the released chapters of 6, don't assume that necessarily means the character will still be alive for the corresponding number of seasons.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:23 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


For a non-spoilery example, she sees a banquet where everyone is dead and the guest of honor has a wolf head. This works on the page but would have caused problems on-screen, obviously.

That would have been sweet as hell.
posted by goethean at 10:37 AM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


[Talk that is not about this episode and is spoiler-related goes elsewhere. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:02 AM on April 24, 2014


For a non-spoilery example, she sees a banquet where everyone is dead and the guest of honor has a wolf head. This works on the page but would have caused problems on-screen, obviously. That would have been sweet as hell. If they'd included that in the show it probably would have made it impossible to avoid spoilers for the Red Wedding.
posted by homunculus at 11:03 AM on April 24, 2014


Re Dany and the bloody banquet, I don't think that would have been a "spoiler" per se, just foreshadowing, as it is in the books. However, my guess is that it wasn't included in the episode because:

* There's foreshadowing, and then there's showing your hand in a way that isn't any fun for the viewers.

* It would have been incredibly expensive to create that onscreen for just a few moments of airtime. From a production standpoint, it's a bad return on investment. Why not just come up with a way to achieve the overall effect, but without having to hire, costume, and make up all these extras, find a location/build a set, etc?

So far most differences between the show and the books that I have noticed are either about depicting something in the most economical way, in both the money and the narrative sense, or are about things that, even on pay cable, you just cannot do on television.

For instance I'm positive the reason that this episode's rape scene was done that way because portraying borderline necrophilic incest as a hot and steamy sex scene crosses a line with HBO.
posted by Sara C. at 11:11 AM on April 24, 2014


The really, really funny thing about all that, Sara C, is that originally, when GRRM was writing GoT, he said that one of the reasons he wrote those sweeping scenes is because he could do things in books that you couldn't do on television because of budget. And now he's back to television, and the constraints are real again.
posted by corb at 11:16 AM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's hilarious considering how lazily written the books are. Martin has a uniquely poor ability to evoke his world through language that appeals to the senses. He's much more into listing things off, or saying "her dress had golden threads" or "his helmet was in the shape of a boar" or whatever rather than actually describing anything. It's rare that we hear what something smelled like, or what the texture of something was, or even that we get a sense of people at the Wall being cold.

But yeah there are lots of big expensive battles, I guess.
posted by Sara C. at 11:30 AM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


If this whole show is really about mortgages and ends up with the Iron Bank taking possession of the Seven Kingdoms following a foreclosure, I'm going to be very angry.

So one thing I think that is really cool about Game of Thrones is actually showing kind of the "beans and bullets" (or "grain and swords") aspect of the world they exist in. For example, as Tywin notes in Season 2, the Tyrells are powerful not simply for their armies but because "Their lands are the most fertile in the Seven Kingdoms, feeding horses and soldiers." If you look at HBO's map of Westeros, you can see that King's Landing only has a few main roads out - to the North, to the West, and to the South. To the South is Storm's End, while Highgarden lies to the Southwest. But trade is down all over, as areas with different liege lords fail to supply those with others. Highgarden hasn't fed the city in a long time - until they decide to throw their lot in with the Lannisters and bring Margaery, distributing food. The commons hate Joffrey - again in Season 2, they asked him for bread and he threatened to kill them. But Margaery is the bringer of largesse. She is the one who is loved.

I don't know about this - this is all pure speculation - but I wonder if the Tyrells were attempting to reinforce Joffrey being the unloved and unpopular king, with Margaery the popular queen, so that once she had a son or two, Joffrey would have been essentially disposable?
posted by corb at 12:58 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's rare that we hear what something smelled like, or what the texture of something was, or even that we get a sense of people at the Wall being cold.

Sort of a bizarro-world Henry James, then?
posted by goethean at 1:28 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I have a feeling that one of the things people like about the books is that they don't get too bogged down in that stuff. Which I totally respect, but I was definitely happy to move to the TV show where you neither have to hear about how the black dye of the Knights' Guard smelled like a pine tar fart, and also there are no long tedious lists of banquet courses.

I also really have to throw it out to the production design and costume teams on the show, which have gone above and beyond in terms of taking Martin's relatively prosaic "it was a pin in the shape of a hand" descriptions and turning them into gorgeous reality. The visual worldbuilding of the show is miles beyond what Martin was ever able to get across in the text, and it makes the show a joy to watch.

I was kind of looking forward to the Braavosi having their beards dyed weird colors, though.
posted by Sara C. at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I have a feeling that one of the things people like about the books is that they don't get too bogged down in that stuff.

I am one of those people. There may be a few people who can pull it off, but the vast majority of authors should not be spending multiple sentences describing the shape of a helmet or pin.
posted by Area Man at 1:42 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


one thing I think that is really cool about Game of Thrones is actually showing kind of the "beans and bullets"

Except for Dany, who now has a huge entourage and how on earth is she keeping them all fed? Seems to me she pretty much has to keep locusting across the land sacking cities, otherwise her entire army will starve.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:13 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Except for Dany, who now has a huge entourage and how on earth is she keeping them all fed? Seems to me she pretty much has to keep locusting across the land sacking cities, otherwise her entire army will starve.

That's true. She has to be a raider, and keep her people moving to new places to sack and pillage, just in order to keep everyone fed. It actually reminds me of a fire -- consuming and consuming.

If she's successful and keeps building her army, it's only going to get worse. If she were to actually do what she's hoping for and get all the way to King's Landing to retake the throne -- what happens to all her "soldiers" if she wins? Westeros is likely to have to import food during winter anyway, since they've had so much war during what should have been summer/harvest.

Dany's more of a general than a queen. Thinking of it now, I would love to see her and Yara shoot the shit over a beer.
posted by rue72 at 2:24 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


This episode was the second one where a character mentioned the belief that the sky is blue because they live in the eye of a giant, wasn't it? That's my new series-end theory. The credits take place on concave space not because they're in a dyson sphere but because they're in the eye of a fucking giant.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:56 PM on April 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yes, Bran mentioned that Nan told him that story, back in season 1. Or was it Robb?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:59 PM on April 24, 2014


Just been rewatching season 1. It was Robb. And now we got it from Oberyn. The dialogue was super similar, so it almost felt like it would have been a common saying or something but it just sort of felt like an odd echo.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:03 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's true. She has to be a raider, and keep her people moving to new places to sack and pillage, just in order to keep everyone fed.

This is referenced in the books - that Dany has logistical problems the moment she takes the Unsullied, and that her travels around Slaver's Bay are basically to (a) free the slaves and (b) keep her increasing army and group of followers fed, because they can't sit still long - they would pillage the surrounding countryside very quickly, and even her followers that bring livestock would overgraze everything if they tried to settle; the cities are using the best/most arable lands and have also conducted a bit of a scorched earth campaign as her intentions become clear.

The logistics issue is one I would love to see addressed on the show a bit more - she has a massive standing army operating in hostile terrain. What does her supply line look like?
posted by nubs at 3:08 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


but it just sort of felt like an odd echo...

Agreed, the phrasing was oddly similar and made me think there's something there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:10 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Although I can just see the show if these lines of thought go ahead:

Episode 4 - Negotiations and Loan Songs:

Stannis and Davos fill out the loan application for the Iron Bank. "What do you mean, they want collateral? I am the rightful king!" Dany, Daario, and Grey Worm deal with malnutrition and dysentery in the camp: "Grey Worm, have the Unsullied dig the latrines further away." Meanwhile, Tommen appoints a new Master of Coin, who proposes a more modern system of accounting for the Seven Kingdoms. Will blood be spilled over the introduction of double entry accounting? Tune in and find out this week on Game of Thrones Tedium of Ruling!
posted by nubs at 3:14 PM on April 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


For no reason here is me with a sword

( I did hold it out on the line to see if I could match my old record for holding a sword. I could not.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness I would love to see a GoT character vaguely drawn on the model of John Law.

Spoiler Alert: there's a reason you shouldn't hand over the entire financial system of your country over to economists.
posted by Sara C. at 3:17 PM on April 24, 2014


In the Tedium Of Ruling, You Rule And/Or Doze Off. Whatever.
posted by Sara C. at 3:17 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think one of the major backstory themes in place here actually is the Tedium of Ruling, otherwise known as Why Robert Baratheon Was Such A Shitty King. Great conqueror and peerless soldier, but dude had absolutely zero interest in the petty day to day affairs of ruling, and what's worse, he allowed his small council to run roughshod over the treasury.

This is not exactly a major secret, either; it's been rather widely discussed.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:20 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Has the horse collar been introduced to Westeros yet? Because a whole story about increased plowing efficiency would be just grand.
posted by Area Man at 3:21 PM on April 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


I thought a lot about that in the scene between Tywin and Tommen. It seems like every contender for the Iron Throne is going to have the problem Robert had as king.

Meanwhile, I don't entirely see how Robert wasn't doing exactly what Tywin was advising Tommen to do, delegate to your advisers and listen to their wisdom where your own is lacking. Robert could have been a more hands on king, and he could have listened to Littlefinger* more on fiscal issues or at least thrown fewer tournaments, but the problem with Robert wasn't that he was bad. It was that he was assassinated by his wife for asking too many questions about why none of his kids took after him in any way.

*On the other hand, oy vey, is "listen to Littlefinger" ever really good advice?
posted by Sara C. at 3:24 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was that he was assassinated by his wife for asking too many questions about why none of his kids took after him in any way.

Robert didn't ask those questions, Ned and John Arryn did.

Robert was assassinated by Lancel Lannister, who plied him with wine while Robert was hunting a boar. Cersei probably helped plan it and she did that simply because he was in the way. Robert went to his grave thinking the kids were his.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:27 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Exactly. In the way of her getting away with littering the line of succession with bastards.

Robert wasn't actually bad at being king, and the extent to which he was is going to be equally problematic for anyone who hopes to rule going forward.

Robert didn't fail because he sucked at being king. He failed because he fell on the "or you die" end of the familiar adage. Which had fuck all to do with how to be a good ruler, unless the most important attribute of a king isn't wisdom but instead frequent appearances on Maury Povich.

Maybe that's Tywin and Tommen's next lesson.
posted by Sara C. at 3:31 PM on April 24, 2014


Robert had no interest in ruling he just wanted the Targaryens dead. Also he was terrible at politics and finance because he didn't give a shit about them. You can not give a shit about politics or finance and STILL make it your business to ensure that the lunatics aren't running the asylum (c.f. Littlefinger, Varys).

Varys is a fine councilor but it was politically a very bad decision to have left him in place as an advisor. He knows too much and his motives aren't politically clear.

Littlefinger is a pimp. P.I.M.P. pimp. I wouldn't trust him to run a 5¢ lemonade stand without doing a regular till audit.

Both of these characters could have been managed more effectively simply by keeping a better system of checks and balances in place. Meaning: audit the auditors, essentially.

Trapping an ambitious and powerful queen in a loveless marriage and giving zero fucks about her happiness? See how that turned out. Dude didn't even give a shit about his kids; he showed about as much interest in his various bastards as he did for his actual heir(s).

tl;dr: Robert Baratheon was an abject mess as a ruler.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:32 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


List of things we wouldn't trust people to manage:

a roadside cinnabon

a 5¢ lemonade stand

Anybody got any more?
posted by Sara C. at 3:34 PM on April 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Dude didn't even give a shit about his kids

I dunno, I thought there was something a little sad and tender about how he wanted Ned to shape Joffrey into a good ruler. Too little too late, clearly, but it was sort of fatherly.

Meanwhile, I don't entirely see how Robert wasn't doing exactly what Tywin was advising Tommen to do, delegate to your advisers and listen to their wisdom where your own is lacking.

I pretty much thought that wasn't actual good advice but rather a way of encouraging Tommen to be pliable and easily manipulated.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:38 PM on April 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Robert was a lousy, lousy ruler. He liked to fight, he liked to drink, and he liked to hang with the ladies. A great warrior, yes, but that was it - once he was out of enemies to fight on the field, he was bored. He had no skill for the politics that come with being the King, and no skill at management of the people around him - he delegated everything and then disappeared - mentally if not physically - leaving his small council to run things.
posted by nubs at 3:43 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Robert wasn't actually bad at being king, and the extent to which he was is going to be equally problematic for anyone who hopes to rule going forward.

Robert was a bloody terrible king. Tywin's speech to Tommen should be taken with about two tons of salt, most of his advice about advisers is to secure his own place. Robert barely managed to pull his head out of quim and wine long enough to notice his Hand had been assassinated; he didn't give two shits about the finances of the realm, his heirs, none of it. That automatically makes you a bad king.

Honestly, the Cersei incest thing is really the Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand assassination of the whole GoT world; it's just the blow that finally causes the whole rotten system to collapse. If it hadn't had been that, it would have been something else. And really that's all down to Robert's inattention and apathy. In destroying the Targaryans he created an immense power vacuum which he only partially and half-hardheartedly filled. If you can pull down one king, who's to say you can't pull down another? The very success of the rebellion ensured that all the other major houses would sit up and take notice and start thinking, well, why not us? With time and care and ambition, Robert could have solidified his dynasty and put a stop to all that. He just didn't give a fuck. He himself acknowledges that in that scene between him and Cersei alluded to above --- it was his job to make Westeros one fist, and he didn't do it.
posted by Diablevert at 3:45 PM on April 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


I pretty much thought that wasn't actual good advice but rather a way of encouraging Tommen to be pliable and easily manipulated.

Oh, yeah, for sure.

I just think it's interesting as an example of a way to be a shit king. Because the reality of the series as constructed is that Robert had the exact problems any of the main contenders for the throne have -- they're all too busy winning the throne to have any idea what they're going to do with it once they have it.

Tywin doesn't actually say in the scene that Robert's problem is that he's a drunk who doesn't love his kids enough. He says that his problem is that he was more interested in winning than ruling. This is 100% true of all the major players in the Game of Thrones. And it's the most true of the character a lot of people are really rooting for, Daenerys. Daenerys is going to be a TERRIBLE queen, if she wins. Worse than Robert, probably.
posted by Sara C. at 3:50 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there even such a thing as a roadside Cinnabon? Malls and airports, yes.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:52 PM on April 24, 2014


I think that's part of the sarcastic irony of the insult, WhadK -- the fact that it probably doesn't even exist.

works for me, anyhow.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:53 PM on April 24, 2014


it was his job to make Westeros one fist, and he didn't do it.

And in that vein, note what Tywin is doing. He goes to Oberyn and invites him to sit as a judge in the investigation of Joff's death and offers a small council seat: "We can't be the 7 kingdoms without Dorne." In the previous season, he dispatched LIttlefinger to the Vale to marry Lysa Arryn (nee Tully) and bring them back into the king's peace. He arranges for the King to marry the daughter of Highgarden; all that is left is the North, the Riverlands, and the Iron Islands.

So he has the Starks destroyed, gives the Riverlands as a reward to the Freys and the North to Bolton, and leaves Bolton to consolidate the North (which still isn't fully back under the Iron Throne) and fight the Iron Islands while everyone else recovers their strength, knowing that at some point both sides will be too exhausted to do anything but accept the rule of the Iron Throne.

He at least has a plan for getting the 7 kingdoms back into one fist.
posted by nubs at 3:55 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have seen a Cinnabon in a truck stop. I think that's pretty much as roadside as it's possible to get.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:22 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]




I'm trying to figure out whether Cinnabon is more likely to show up in GoT as the name of a person or the name of a house.

Ser Synsodyne Fishkill of house Cinnabon?
posted by Sara C. at 4:25 PM on April 24, 2014


A Frank Discussion of Game of Thrones‘s Rape Scene And Its Epidemic of Sexual Violence

Annnnnd they buy into the false and damaging narrative that the book was consensual if disturbing sex while the show turned it into a rape. I'm becoming annoyed. I don't know... maybe the last few years of discussion on this issue on Metafilter has made me more aware than I used to be or maybe people in general are suffering from a lack of awareness about what constitutes rape (or maybe both) but I don't understand how they can be so wrong and yet so sure they are right.

I would write to them but I don't see the point. I think people are simply wedded to some idealized picture in their heads of the books in general and Jaime in particular and anything they see which disagrees with that gets discarded or twisted.

The director certainly isn't helping with his dumbass comments about it ending up consensual, though, which is utter nonsense.
posted by Justinian at 4:36 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


For no reason here is me with a sword

Nice hilt.
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on April 24, 2014


Well, that, and I don't know, would feminists really be happier with the scene they seem to think was actually in the books?

Because the prospect of soft-core incest porn with necrophiliac undertones doesn't make me really any happier than yet another shitty triggering rape scene on pay cable. I straight up stopped reading the books when I got to the scene as written. I just have way better things to do with my time than read incest porn.

The real problem here is the fact that anyone was ever willing to publish such garbage in the first place. Stop giving people who write incest porn TV deals, and then you don't have a situation where TV producers are trying to figure out what the hell to do with this basically unbroadcastable scene that'll have half the audience thinking, "Hey I wonder what's happening on Mad Men this week?"

Also, that director who basically has no idea what rape even is? Fuck him.
posted by Sara C. at 4:51 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


A Frank Discussion of Game of Thrones‘s Rape Scene And Its Epidemic of Sexual Violence

Overall, a good article about the problematic use of sexualized violence in the series. I like the fact that they point out that some of the worst examples on the show are made up entirely for the show (not that the books don't have their share) - but I'm getting to a point with the show where I'm getting frustrated every time time there's a scene in the brothel with naked women running around. Why? Why did they need to have Tywin meet Oberyn in the brothel (and kudos to them for at least bringing Oberyn's bisexuality into the show) but why? Oberyn and Tywin could've met over a glass of wine in the Tower of the Hand, or in the throne room, or in the courtyard, or anywhere else...but it feels like there's some kind of contractual obligation the show has to have naked women in it at this point, because it sure feels like they go out of their way for it (I mean, how much extra money did it take to have the women in that scene, having simulated sex and playing with each other? Spend it on the dragons! I can find scenes like that in about 30 seconds on the web if I want!)

Some of the best damn episodes of the show are those that do not feature any boobs or nudity of any kind. I really wish someone would point that out to them.

I think people are simply wedded to some idealized picture in their heads of the books in general and Jaime in particular and anything they see which disagrees with that gets discarded or twisted.

There's that, and then there's also a different interpretation of the characters and the moment. As mentioned above, the scene in the book happens in an entirely different context - Jaime has basically just gotten off his horse after arriving back in KL, and walked into the sept - they haven't seen each other in months/over a year, and there's a lot going on in that moment. Which is not to say that what happens in the books isn't rape (I think it is), but I can understand people taking the scene in different ways.

On the show, however, Jaime has been back for weeks/a month? He's been rejected by Cersei, he's walked away from his father's requests - so much has changed already, that the scene just becomes so intensely problematic (the emotional context is radically different, the camera angles, everything) that I can't believe that the director and others didn't see it. Has no one interviewed Lena Hedley about this scene? Because all I keep seeing is quotes from the male director, the male show runner, the male actor...I have a feeling that Lena might have seen it differently?

Looking at the character, I know many people for whom Jaime will never be redeemable, because of what he did to Bran. He could single-handedly (he would have to, now) save the world from whatever is coming, and it wouldn't be enough. I don't know: What does it mean to be redeemed? How do we know when it's done? What actions are irredeemable? All of this differs from person to person. I guess I'm at a point with the characters where I'm looking at them not in terms of hero/villain, but interesting/uninteresting. And from that perspective, book Jaime is interesting...show Jaime I don't know about anymore.
posted by nubs at 5:10 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Via Reddit: How the Jaime/Cersei scene should have gone
posted by Jacqueline at 5:19 PM on April 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


I can't believe that the director and others didn't see it.

My impression based on watching the scene, reading all the various media blurbs from the various players (director, producer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau GRRM), and knowing a bit about TV production, is that, yes, it was completely written and shot in the TV show as rape. However:

1. The director is a turd and not a reliable source on anything to do with consent and sex.

2. GRRM really thinks incest is sexy.

3. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, like most actors, thinks of his character as a person and not a rapist. He wasn't in the scene thinking "CERSEI, I HEREBY RAPE YOU". And for good reason: that's a really bad way to do acting.

I don't really see anybody "not seeing it". That's just not how TV works. There are endless meetings about stuff like this beforehand. The dialogue and scene description would be written down in the script.

The real issue there is that the director has no idea how to talk meaningfully about this. Possibly because, as a TV director, he's not used to being in the media spotlight, especially on such a complicated topic.

Reading statements from Benioff and/or Weiss, it didn't seem to me that they thought anything other than what was actually onscreen, a rape. And they're the real decision-makers, here, not the director, the actor, or GRRM.
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on April 24, 2014


I like the fact that they point out that some of the worst examples on the show are made up entirely for the show (not that the books don't have their share) - but I'm getting to a point with the show where I'm getting frustrated every time time there's a scene in the brothel with naked women running around.

I've decided as of this latest episode to take "DO interrupt your fellow nobleman for important meetings while he is well at ease in a brothel or bawdy-house" as a particular point of Westeros etiquette because, come on, seriously.
posted by furiousthought at 5:41 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've decided as of this latest episode to take "DO interrupt your fellow nobleman for important meetings while he is well at ease in a brothel or bawdy-house" as a particular point of Westeros etiquette because, come on, seriously.

I figured Tywin was being Tywin and showing Oberyn that he was very serious. Besides Oberyn seems to be indulging quite a lot, so if one wishes to wait for a quiet moment, one may be waiting a long time. Tywin had work to do, so he did it, never mind what else was going on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:46 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell, HBO has a nudity quota for all but a few of their shows. Otherwise why have the show on cable at all?

GoT most often uses gratuitous female nudity to make exposition scenes less boring.
posted by Sara C. at 5:49 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The worst thing is that I said the "nudity quota" thing to an actual TV showrunner I know and he was just like "yeah".
posted by Sara C. at 5:49 PM on April 24, 2014


Otherwise why have the show on cable at all?

So that Aaron Sorkin can make Sam Waterston say "fuck" a lot?
posted by Navelgazer at 5:57 PM on April 24, 2014


This is one of the most successful shows in HBO's history of very successful shows. The books are likely the most successful adult fantasy books since Tolkien (albeit thanks to the show being made). Whatever valid criticisms you may have of the portrayal of sexuality, it's not there for no reason, and it's an issue with mass media, not just with HBO. I don't see a lot complaints about the level of violence here, which probably should be more disturbing - that the vast majority of humanity will experience nudity and sex in their lives isn't something I'm concerned with, but I'd certainly by happier with the universe if no one experienced any more violence.
posted by mzurer at 6:03 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Because the prospect of soft-core incest porn with necrophiliac undertones doesn't make me really any happier than yet another shitty triggering rape scene on pay cable."

That's you. I'm much, much happier with "soft-core incest porn with necrophiliac undertones" than I am with rape scenes, assuming the incest is consensual without a power-imbalance†. You seem to confuse your visceral reactions about taboo violations with actual harm.

† How frequently this is the case in the real world is a matter of debate. Most incest is sexual assault because it is inherently coercive; this is always the case with a parent or other adult and a child and between siblings where there is a significant age difference and/or one sibling has authority over the other. Nevertheless, there's considerable evidence that some incest between closely-aged siblings or other near relations during childhood is fully consensual, does not have the same etiology as other forms of incest, and does not cause the same kinds of psychological damage, excepting that directly related to taboo-violation. More to the point, given Cersei and Jaime's status as twins and that neither the books nor the show has given us any indication that their relationship was originally, or is, coercive, there's every reason to believe that their relationship is not, as you put it earlier, "sexual assault". On the other hand, this is clearly an unhealthy family and I can imagine several scenarios where the incest is coercive, for example if one of the children was victimized by someone else and then they re-enacted their abuse with their sibling. Alternatively, perhaps one of them has always been dominant and exploitative of the other.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:04 PM on April 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


one sibling has authority over the other

This absolutely applies to Jaime and Cersei, in the world of the books/show.
posted by Sara C. at 6:18 PM on April 24, 2014


Most incest is sexual assault because it is inherently coercive; this is always the case with a parent or other adult and a child and between siblings where there is a significant age difference and/or one sibling has authority over the other.

You could argue that fictional media depictions of equitable incestuous relationships normalizes relationships that in real life are almost never equitable. Jaime and Cersei don't particularly bother me, because they seem sufficiently screwy in the show and their relationship seems pretty unhealthy and not admirable, but I could see how, say, people who are real-life incest survivors might find it hard to watch.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:23 PM on April 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to view ASoIaF as normalizing incest given the two examples of it we have are the Targaryen Dynasty which regularly produced crazypants psycho murderer types and the Lannister Twins who are extremely screwed up and unhealthy people and nothing but evil comes from their twincest. If that's normalizing please give me the non-normal.
posted by Justinian at 6:27 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


But I think that's another reason why the writers might have chosen to diverge from this scene as written, which probably would either normalize incest or give viewers severe enough heebie-jeebies that you'd risk a lot more controversy than just some pouty Bitch Magazine correspondents.

Your choices for the scene are basically:

- water it down enough to play as sexy without sending people reaching for the remote, normalize incest.

- play it exactly as written, royally piss off the network at the very least.

- turn it into rape, portray yet another problematic rape on pay cable.

It does not surprise me that they went with the latter.

The only way to win this particular game would have been to just cut the whole thing, but I don't know, maybe it becomes a major plot point in a way I'm not anticipating.
posted by Sara C. at 6:33 PM on April 24, 2014


It is really saying something, though, when rape is the "safe" choice for a graphic and controversial sex scene on American television in 2014. It definitely smacks of that whole thing where showing a woman having an orgasm is an automatic NC-17 rating.
posted by Sara C. at 6:43 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly it's my opinion that the scene could have been excised entirely and probably should have been. At least from the show, but probably from the book as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:45 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eh, at this point, it's probably better to just wait and see how the incident affects Jamie and Cersei. They've been slowly crashing relationship wise since this season began and this isn't going to fix anything obviously.

Cersei's is revolted by his missing hand and angry that he left her alone for so long. It's doubtful they have much of a future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 PM on April 24, 2014


I feel like this is tepid support for my position... but I would think that, wouldn't I.

Justinian, I don't think GRRM's comments which you excerpted constitute even tepid support for your position. His first paragraph, which you didn't quote, says:

I think the "butterfly effect" that I have spoken of so often was at work here. In the novels, Jaime is not present at Joffrey's death, and indeed, Cersei has been fearful that he is dead himself, that she has lost both the son and the father/ lover/ brother. And then suddenly Jaime is there before her. Maimed and changed, but Jaime nonetheless. Though the time and place is wildly inappropriate and Cersei is fearful of discovery, she is as hungry for him as he is for her.

If she is, in the moment, "as hungry for him as he is for her," then the sex that happens between them is not rape. I fully understand the danger of a narrator's suggesting that when a woman says "no" she means "maybe." But Cersei is not any woman or a typical woman, and her relationship with Jaime is not intended in ANY way to be something that a normal man or woman would aspire to. Jaime's actions in the scene come from pure hunger, and yes, entitlement. But the sick power dynamic between them runs both ways, and Cersei treats Jaime with an equal sense of entitlement. If the tables were turned, she would (and does) attempt to override his objections with equal force. For some reason they both thrive on it.

That's the book. I just got around to catching up with the most recent episode last night, and I hadn't read anything about it in advance and was appalled by what the show did with the scene. I can't believe the showrunners thought in any way they were depicting anything other than rape from start to finish, and I don't know why they would do that. (Likewise the Daenerys rape in the first season, which was even more problematic in the context of her developing relationship with Drogo.)

There aren't really any other changes I've minded in the show (well except for the gratuitous nudity which is just annoying as hell). They can swap around characters and change storylines as needed; I'm no book purist. But when they take a relationship between major characters that is codependent, that is mutually sick and obsessive but fairly equal in power, and turn it into a man simply overpowering and raping a woman, I'd like to know the reasons why.
posted by torticat at 7:10 PM on April 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Likewise the Daenerys rape in the first season, which was even more problematic in the context of her developing relationship with Drogo.

Most likely HBO put the kibosh on "consensual" sex between a 14 year old girl and an adult man in the pilot episode of the show. Depicting it as the rape that it is is really the only humane way to do the scene aside from just cutting the sex out entirely (which is probably what they should have done).

Again, the main problem is the source material, which includes graphic scenes of child rape which we're supposed to see as beautiful and sexy. Not the show, which now has to figure out what to do with this material.
posted by Sara C. at 7:16 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


- water it down enough to play as sexy without sending people reaching for the remote, normalize incest.

Sara C., this assumes that people would FIND it sexy. You also said earlier that the scene in the book reads as erotica.

While there are messed-up people out there who will find anything a turn-on, I honestly don't think GRRM intended the scene to be that. "Disturbing" is what he said he was going for. It's hard for me to imagine that HBO couldn't have managed a consensual sex scene that conveyed the weird power dynamic without making it erotic. They could have had her continuing to demand that Jaime kill Tyrion, while they were doing it, for example. That would have pretty much killed the buzz and totally maintained the mutuality of the hold they have on each other.

Also it seems kind of weird to say they were going for rape to avoid normalizing incest. We already know they are incestuous lovers, we've already seen them have sex!
posted by torticat at 7:22 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Most likely HBO put the kibosh on "consensual" sex between a 14 year old girl and an adult man in the pilot episode of the show.

Daenarys clearly isn't 14 in the show, so this makes no sense. The tv version of their wedding night and Drogo seem designed to show how their relationship and their individual selves changes over time. Still an odd choice to that the tv director and/or show runners choose though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:30 PM on April 24, 2014


I actually liked what the show did with the Dany/Drogo arc from a rape-culture perspective. There was no consent because of course there couldn't be (though of course in the show the characters are aged up to an appropriate spot, and I like to imagine that the years in Westeros are just longer than Earth years and that makes up the difference or something) but with Drogo, he's an undefeated warrior-king who no one has ever said "no" to. The concept of consent doesn't exist in his world. But once Dany introduces it to him, he comes around (and, you know, dies from wounds inflicted defending Dany when she keeps his men from wantonly raping the khalasar's victims.)

I think there's value to the show implicitly saying that education of men is a way to fight rape culture. I think that the show could have done that in a much better way than "well, insist on being on top," but whatever. The fact that the show (and the books for the most part) take their relationship from "sold to him as chattel" to "mutual respect and love" is fascinating, and something I've seen in real-life marriages where the husband was abusive until the wife forced him to confront his actions and attitudes, and he actively changed them for the better.

That people can become better through conscious effort is so important, but that's also a big part of why the Cersei/Jaime scene is so disturbing, because it comes at a point where Jaime seems to have done that. In the book, I still think it's non-consensual. I read Cersei's relenting as just that - relenting. Get it over with. But it's not angry. It's not hateful. It's horny and unthinking and inconsiderate in the way that people too often don't read as rape because it's too, I dunno, understandable for people to be comfortable calling it rape.

It is also, in the book, kind of an instinctual regression for Jaime, which I guess means it has a place there that I don't see the show being able to pull off now.

I recently read online some list of "tips every dad should give his son on how to be a real man," and was groaning going into it but was pleasantly surprised when the first item was "Never have sex with anyone who doesn't want it at least as much as you do." Setting the bar not at "okay," but at enthusiastic consent was wonderful, as was the gender neutrality of "anyone." Cersei's "consent" in the book exists in the area between those two yardsticks. Cersei's consent in the show is, of course, nonexistent.

Oh, and for all of my defense of the Drogo arc above, it doesn't do anything for the rampant Orientalism going on in both the books and show w/r/t the Dothraki in particular and Essos more generally, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


re: twincest and normality of the relationships

Part of what has pissed me off about the showrunner's response to this controversy this seeming intimation that the Jaime/Cersei scene is "less consensual"/outside of the norm for their relationship because THINGS HAVE CHANGED AND NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME FOR THEIR POWER HUNGRY TWINCESTINESS.

This seems to point to the violence of the scene being

(a) Rape As a Signifier of Change which is TERRIBLE

or as they claim

(b) "You guys are just WATCHING THIS WRONG. Jaime's not raping Cersei. They love each other. Deep Down. Somehow"

You guys really can't have your cake and eat it too.
posted by warm_planet at 7:42 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Depicting it as the rape that it is is really the only humane way to do the scene aside from just cutting the sex out entirely

A rape that results in a girl being besotted with her rapist is humane? Come on, no one at HBO thought that.

What they could have done to get around this is to age up some of the children even more than they did, to a level (young adults) that would be acceptable to a modern audience.

In GRRM's world, kids (boys and girls) have to grow up fast and are expected to marry and start bearing children as soon as, or not long after, they hit puberty. It's hard to read and it's especially hard on the girls, but it's also how much of the world was for most of history, so it's not without historical precedent. If that can't be translated to the screen without being unacceptable to modern eyes which see it as the statutory rape that it would be and is today, then age everyone up. Turning it into forcible rape just makes things worse, taking away even the possibility of agency away from the girl/woman.
posted by torticat at 7:44 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


If she is, in the moment, "as hungry for him as he is for her," then the sex that happens between them is not rape.

It doesn't matter what GRRM says about the scene, it only matters what happened on the page. And what happened on the page is clearly rape. But in any case...

The director has also said that the scene he shot depicts an event which ended up consensual. One cannot argue that what occurred in the book was not rape based on GRRM's comments about it while what occurred on the screen was rape despite the director's comments about it. Either the controlling factor is what actually shows up on the page/screen or it isn't. Either what the writer/director says about the scene is definitive or it isn't. You can't have it both ways and argue that what the writer says about the scene is definitive despite what is on the page while what the director says about the scene doesn't matter, only what is on the screen.

Obviously I think the only reasonable position is that what matters is what actually shows up on the page or screen. It doesn't matter what GRRM, the director, Jesus, or even what I have to say about it. GRRM can most certainly give the definitive word about what he intended to write just as the director has the definitive word on what he intended to film. But only about what was intended, not about what actually got written/shot.

What GRRM wrote was a rape whether or not he actually intended it to be or not. If he doesn't think so he either doesn't understand the consent issue or isn't as in control of his writing as he thinks he is. Given the evidence of the last couple of books I'm thinking the latter isn't much of a stretch.
posted by Justinian at 7:59 PM on April 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think the brutality of Jaime raping Cersei next to their son's corpse also emphasized that Joffrey's death doesn't mean that we should feel any hope, because this world is brutal to its core. Just like Joffery's pathetic death on his mother's lap made it difficult to feel triumph at his death, Cersei's rape next to his corpse makes it difficult to feel relief. One savage tyrant is gone, but everyone is a savage tyrant in waiting -- it's like the Hound told Sansa during the assault on King's Landing: "Stannis is a killer. The Lannisters are killers. Your father was a killer. Your brother is a killer. Your sons will be killers someday. The world was built by killers. So you’d better get used to looking at them."

In terms of point-of-view, I think that the show's depiction of the rape and the rapist's self-"justification" that's in Jaime's POV of the book overlap somewhat in terms of meaning (in a way that, counterintuitively, I think they wouldn't have been if the show had been as filled with pseudo justifications as Jaime's narrative in the book was). The idea of someone being "the hero of his own story" is complicated when it comes to a character like Cersei, who clearly *wishes* she could be the hero of her own story but isn't, or Jaime, who doesn't much care about being the hero of his story but sort of is. I completely believe that Jaime could convince *himself* that he didn't rape Cersei, and it's something important to know about the character -- that he can do horrible things and convince himself he's still the good guy (this is far from the first time that's come up -- if nothing else, there's Bran). Jaime can hurt people and *not care*; Joffrey really was his son.

I think there's some general paralleling of Jaime:Joffrey and Tommen:Tyrion going on as well.* It seems important (in terms of the characters, I don't mean plot-wise) that there's a scene of Tywin taking his younger (milder?) grandson "under his wing" while his younger (milder?) son is on being tried for murder/regicide. There's also the irony that Jaime actually did murder a king, and Tyrion (I'm pretty sure!) didn't.

*If the show is drawing parallels between the generations like that, what does it mean, in terms of Cersei's character, that Myrcella has long since vanished to Dorne?
posted by rue72 at 8:05 PM on April 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


I completely believe that Jaime could convince *himself* that he didn't rape Cersei, and it's something important to know about the character -- that he can do horrible things and convince himself he's still the good guy (this is far from the first time that's come up -- if nothing else, there's Bran). Jaime can hurt people and *not care*; Joffrey really was his son.

Gods, this is true. Jaime has a lot more capacity for honor and good now, but still justifies his evil actions, and that's huge to keep in mind now. He's definitely in a mindset where he believes that good deeds here can outweigh bad acts there on some karmic scale.

Damn that's revelatory. Thanks rue72. And that's all I have to say about that.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:19 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Jaime appears to be on a quasi-redemptive arc but it would be completely unbelievable to go from "murders 10 year olds so he can keep banging his sister" to being a swell guy overnight.
posted by Justinian at 8:42 PM on April 24, 2014


so I was thinking about this whole discussion today while I was setting up a potluck thing at work and watching what my colleagues had on the TV in the lunchroom. They were laughing at some junk comedy video clip show called "World's Dumbest" or whatever, which mainly looked like creepy spy vids with zero context making fun of unsuspecting people doing fairly normal stuff like dancing around at the bus stop or getting TP stuck in their underwear or whatever. It was completely godawful, and I found it horribly offensive, but it really drove home to me how incredibly shallow most TV viewership is.

And there's absolutely no way I could have explained to anyone in that room WHY that show was so offensive to me without sounding like a complete killjoy. I mean, these people have no clue - they just think it's funny ha-ha oh look at those idiots on the TV, why would anyone do that.

ultimately the thing is, despite all this great nuanced discussion that's going on regarding these shows online, I would be willing to bet based on the ABSOLUTE GARBAGE the majority of the viewing public unironically and enthusiastically consumes that exactly .002% of the viewing public is deconstructing the series to this degree. Most of them that watch it are like WOOHOO TITS AND GORE AND SEX BRING IT ON.

Now, that's not to say that they're not discussing it because they are. And a funny thing is happening along the way - this series in particular has sparked real discussion (both online and IRL) about tough themes with people who really have never been forced to really think through difficult topics like what actually constitutes consent, and why. This is not a bad thing. Like I said even I've learned a bunch of stuff in these discussions and I'm pretty progressive on these issues.

also, and I've said this before, it's weird for me to read some of this stuff because I, myself, am tangentially acquainted to the series author, and good friends with his niece who also serves as his PA, chief cook and bottlewasher.

Ultimately it doesn't matter whether it's the failure of the author to adequately portray challenging ideas, the failure of the show to do difficult themes justice (I think that one's more often at fault, mainly because the show runners simply can't assume their audience is all that sophisticated, and at the end of the day they have to sell ratings), or the failure of the reader/viewer to set aside their bias and try to give it the benefit of the doubt.

tl;dr: it's really fucking complicated and everyone views these issues through their own lens. Some lenses are clearer, some have fingerprints.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:44 PM on April 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


A rape that results in a girl being besotted with her rapist is humane?

No, but again, the real problem here is with the source material. It's not like the showrunners took good clean wholesome fun and turned it into brutal rape. They took an extremely fucked up whitewashing of rape and went realistic with it.

You can't really be a fan of the books and also be mad that the TV series is depicting things like rape. Or, I guess you can, but I'm going to start questioning whether you actually know how to read.

The two rape scenes people are angry about take scenes in the book that are already rape/sexual assault and simply make it explicit what is actually happening.
posted by Sara C. at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's hard to read and it's especially hard on the girls, but it's also how much of the world was for most of history

You really can't have this opinion about the books and also have the opinion that the TV show needs to not include rape scenes ever.
posted by Sara C. at 9:07 PM on April 24, 2014


Well, I agree with you, Justinian, that what ends up on the page/on the screen is what matters.

But first, I was replying to your quoting GRRM's own explanation and leaving out the part where he said it was mutual. You brought up GRRM's intent.

And second, I just disagree that what happened on the page was unambiguously rape, but I understand that is a very sensitive question.

I think it's possible in a longstanding relationship for one partner, within boundaries built over time and mutually understood, to try to persuade the other to have sex. And most recipients of that persuasion, if they weren't into it at the beginning but were in short order reciprocating enthusiastically, would not call it rape. A huge part of that of course is the trust you have that other person wouldn't actually force you, that you can say NO in a way the other person will hear.

Jaime's form of "persuasion" was more coercive than most people would be comfortable with, but I think arguably in line with their sick, obsessive relationship and well-understood by Cercei.

In the show, Jaime overrode/violated her trust completely. If that's not what the makers intended, fine, but it is what they showed. I don't think it's what GRRM wrote, given that the power dynamic between Cersei and Jaime is very equal overall, or if anything Cersei pulls the strings. She is far more into power plays, and he's more hopelessly entangled. He's not a good guy, but he doesn't punish her with rape for being a "hateful woman."

Look, if my daughter were dating someone who did what Jaime did in the book, I would say get the hell away from him, you don't know what line he WOULD have crossed or might in the future. Of course I would say that. But if two people in their 30s were in a longterm relationship in which power play is part of their sex life and this kind of thing is normal for them and goes both directions, I would say ooookay, whatever floats your boat.

Not that I'm saying that about the relationship between J&C; I definitely understand people finding the scene in the book gross. I find it gross too, but because it's a codependent incestuous mutually violent relationship, not because it's rape.
posted by torticat at 9:18 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


You really can't have this opinion about the books and also have the opinion that the TV show needs to not include rape scenes ever.

What? I never said that.
posted by torticat at 9:20 PM on April 24, 2014


Sara C. you're setting up a straw man there. One can believe (as I do) that the rape scene in the show is more emotionally brutal and less dramatically nuanced than the scene in the book. One doesn't have to believe either the book or the show is a perfect work of art to appreciate the artfulness contained therein, and I don't have to defend every aspect of either to say they're worthwhile ways to spend time.
posted by mzurer at 9:27 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying one has to be perfect and the other has to be terrible. But disliking the scene in the show on moral/political "don't ever put rape scenes in things" grounds, while thinking the scene in the book is A-OK, doesn't make any sense.
posted by Sara C. at 9:34 PM on April 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


People who've never read the books, have no particular opinion on the show, and just want to get on the grar bandwagon can think what they like, I suppose.
posted by Sara C. at 9:35 PM on April 24, 2014


It's not clear to me that anyone in this discussion holds the combination of opinions that you're describing.
posted by mzurer at 9:42 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Perhaps we should just say that if you're including a rape scene, you should know why you're doing so. And, and this should go without saying, you should really know that you're doing so.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:44 PM on April 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Sara C., what the hell?

disliking the scene in the show on moral/political "don't ever put rape scenes in things" grounds

You've made that point twice now, the second time in quotes, and I never said anything close to that. I said,
"when they take a relationship between major characters that is codependent, that is mutually sick and obsessive but fairly equal in power, and turn it into a man simply overpowering and raping a woman, I'd like to know the reasons why."

while thinking the scene in the book is A-OK

Um, to quote myself again,
"I find it gross too, but because it's a codependent incestuous mutually violent relationship, not because it's rape."

You can't really be a fan of the books and also be mad that the TV series is depicting things like rape. Or, I guess you can, but I'm going to start questioning whether you actually know how to read.

The feeling is mutual I guess. I have no clue why you're choosing to ignore what I've actually written, to make up things to attribute to me, and then to throw insults about how stupid I am for opinions I don't hold.
posted by torticat at 9:59 PM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sorry. I made an assumption that you agreed with the current sort of "internet party line" about it, which is "grar rape in shows is bad problematic grar outrage mmmkay ". That wasn't fair of me.

And in general I agree with your assessment -- their relationship is fucked on so many levels.
posted by Sara C. at 10:11 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I probably should have used the general you in that comment, or "one" -- I really didn't mean to insult you in that way.
posted by Sara C. at 10:12 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Yeah, and this sort of needs not to become you, Sara, defending your hill against all comers; you've made your observations, and that's enough. This isn't a winner-take-all debate-to-the-death argument, but a conversation -- so let's let it breathe a bit. ]
posted by taz at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


But if two people in their 30s were in a longterm relationship in which power play is part of their sex life and this kind of thing is normal for them and goes both directions, I would say ooookay, whatever floats your boat.

Except you're simply asserting this kind of thing is normal for them and using the very scene in question as the only evidence for that assertion. You can't say "If this is the kind of thing which is normal, then this kind of thing is normal". It's circular reasoning. What evidence do you have that this is normal for them except that it doesn't fit your perception of Jaime for this to be an assault, therefore it must not be an assault?

I think it's possible in a longstanding relationship for one partner, within boundaries built over time and mutually understood, to try to persuade the other to have sex.

Where "try to persuade" in this case involves ignoring repeated NOs and pleas to stop, ignoring repeated hitting and punching, and physically throwing the other person down and violently ripping her clothes off. I guess you could call that trying to persuade.
posted by Justinian at 12:46 AM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anyway I will stop talking about that since I've probably exhausted the subject. Instead I want to talk about the caterpillar which appears to have died on Bran's upper lip.
posted by Justinian at 12:54 AM on April 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hodur?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:03 AM on April 25, 2014


Yeah, Jaime appears to be on a quasi-redemptive arc but it would be completely unbelievable to go from "murders 10 year olds so he can keep banging his sister" to being a swell guy overnight.

Yes, I agree. It does seem a bit strange to have him regress to rapist (okay, unintended rapist) while he's at present on a redemptive arc, though. GRRM says (currently, and in the context of discussing the show, so this is not a spoiler) that he was working with the idea of redemption and whether a person like Jaime CAN be redeemed or understood.

But really my own objection to the rape in the show is about Cersei, who really does have a great deal of power, including power over Jaime. At this point both she and Jaime are growing and learning, though in different directions.

Jaime is fairly self-aware and I think knows the difference between right and wrong and recognizes when he's done wrong, albeit in the service of what he thinks is a greater good or when his hand is forced.* I don't agree with Rue17 that he can hurt people and not care. He does care, and he's fully aware he deservedly has no honor left in the public eye.

Cersei has been for many years the victim of marital rape during her relationship with Robert and will NEVER allow that to happen to her again, or at least she believes this. She is trying to learn how to wield power without becoming a victim herself. (Her attempts to manage Joffrey, contrasted with Margaery's, are an example of how she's trying to work through this.) She's awful at holding power--vindictive and conscienceless--but she does have it, and she is no longer willing to sleep with people unless she chooses to, nor to be forced to marry against her will. This is interesting growth on her part, as a woman in the world of GoT, and it bothers me to see it undermined by what 99% of viewers will see as her being raped by her brother.

*I think the thing with Bran wasn't only "so he could keep banging his sister," though it was partly that. It also had to do with the fact that if Bran reported back to his father, Cersei and her three children would certainly have been executed. Which was something he and his sister had brought on themselves, but it wasn't the kids' fault. (Nor, obviously, was it Bran's.)
posted by torticat at 1:04 AM on April 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Where "try to persuade" in this case involves ignoring repeated NOs and pleas to stop, ignoring repeated hitting and punching

The NOs are weak and the punching is feeble, which is NOT characteristic of Cersei. One good push and it's over. RIGHT after that scene, Cersei tells him to leave and he objects, and she says "Leave me," and Jaime "obeys her command." Or something like that.

I'm not reading into it. Cersei has a great deal of power over Jaime, and there is no indication that he did or would overpower her with physical strength.

But yeah, I'm happy to talk about caterpillars. :)
posted by torticat at 1:11 AM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh... ONE other thing. The other thing going on in that scene, which is not minor, is that Cersei wants Jaime to kill Tyrion. She is not a victim here. They both want the sex, but in addition Cersei may be using it to cement Jaime to her and get out of it what she wants most, which is vengeance.
posted by torticat at 1:21 AM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, I agree. It does seem a bit strange to have him regress to rapist (okay, unintended rapist) while he's at present on a redemptive arc, though.

He's no longer around Brienne. Instead, he's back around Cersei and all the bullshit in King's Landing, so it's reasonable to have him regress. Couple that with Cersei's continued rejection of him and the loss of his identity along with his hand and Jamie's action are more understandable, while still being condemnable.

Cersei has been for many years the victim of marital rape during her relationship with Robert and will NEVER allow that to happen to her again, or at least she believes this.

Yeaaaah, there's a big difference between that actually happening and Cersei thinking it happened. Because by all accounts, both Robert and Cersei were happy to having sex with other people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:26 AM on April 25, 2014


I have never seen the word "showrunner" used so much in my life as it is in this thread.
posted by goethean at 5:46 AM on April 25, 2014


I have never seen the word "showrunner" used so much in my life as it is in this thread.

This must be the first tv-related MeFi thread you've read, then.
posted by The Michael The at 6:20 AM on April 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Out of 481 comments, the word "showrunner" appears 18 times.

Knowledge is power!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:58 AM on April 25, 2014


Brandon was that counting the one where I used it but OSX autocorrected it to "show runner(s)"?

Anyway yeah, idk if it's been discussed here or I lost it in the whole deconstruction of the sept scene discussion, but holy right the fuck on, Maisie Williams nailed that scene. Quite possibly my favorite media quote of all time now is "YOU'RE THE WORST SHIT IN THE SEVEN KINGDOMS!!!"

just in case anyone was rooting for a redemptive arc for, say, Sandor Clegane aka the Hound, that is.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:08 AM on April 25, 2014


The sept scene that was never shot. (Not actually a leaked script but humor)
posted by corb at 7:13 AM on April 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Anyway yeah, idk if it's been discussed here or I lost it in the whole deconstruction of the sept scene discussion, but holy right the fuck on, Maisie Williams nailed that scene. Quite possibly my favorite media quote of all time now is "YOU'RE THE WORST SHIT IN THE SEVEN KINGDOMS!!!"

Maisie Williams has been fantastic and her pairing with Rory McCann (The Hound) is great. The way he delivered the "How many heads of Starks..." line, plus the look on her face was fantastic timing and acting.

Arya the character has gotta a lot of interesting and different father influences, from Ned to Tywin and now the Hound. It's gonna be interesting to see which way she turns out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:31 AM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree, Brandon Blatcher. Anything of Ned I used to see in her is slowly dissipating. Someone may have said it in a previous episode thread, but the fact she has been taking cues from a sociopath for the past few episodes points her in a dark direction.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:45 AM on April 25, 2014


Not a spoiler from the books or anything but

It's gonna be interesting to see which way she turns out.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 AM on April 25, 2014


Maisie Williams has been fantastic and her pairing with Rory McCann (The Hound) is great.

Yarp.
posted by homunculus at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2014




Maisie Williams has been fantastic and her pairing with Rory McCann (The Hound) is great. The way he delivered the "How many heads of Starks..." line, plus the look on her face was fantastic timing and acting.

There was one line of hers that really grated on me, though, when she tossed off something like "it's really good!" when she and the Hound were slurping the stew. It was just such a cloyingly modern one-liner delivery that it felt really alien to the rest of the dialogue. There was another line from someone else in this episode that also had the same problem, but I'm not quite remembering what it was. It's the exception that proves the rule though, since her acting has been so wonderful otherwise.
posted by The Michael The at 12:12 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


The two rape scenes people are angry about take scenes in the book that are already rape/sexual assault and simply make it explicit what is actually happening.

Honestly i think a big part of it is this subconscious + psychological "oh my god, it's like VISUAL on a SCREEN right in front of me " sort of thing. Like it's somehow less explicit in the books because it's just written text(which isn't totally flatulent, but still).

It kinda dismisses the argument that the way it was painted as like, ambiguous and maybe OK in the books is arguably more upsetting than how it's explicitly shown in the show.

Sorry taz if i'm bringing up something that should be left on the table here, but i think that distinction between visual and written media is something worth discussing outside of that boxing match.

Obviously I think the only reasonable position is that what matters is what actually shows up on the page or screen.

Justinian, you are correct here. Good luck on this path though, i've had a very similar "all that matters is what comes out of the speakers" argument with many people when it comes to thoughts about music, or whether something was offensive, or a ripoff, or whatever.

I am equally annoyed with the cake-and-eating thing going on with the "GRRM said this, but then this was on the TV". How about just what it says in the book and what it shows on the screen? I think true detective proved that listening to ANYTHING the artist says about their art, especially when they're trying to defend criticism or whatever, is usually just a path to confusion/frustration/tears.
posted by emptythought at 12:14 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


There was one line of hers that really grated on me, though, when she tossed off something like "it's really good!"

I thought it worked in the Arya was playing, i.e. eager helpful daughter. It read as though Arya was busy eating and then suddenly remembered she's playing a role.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on April 25, 2014


I thought it was also somewhat of a callback to her parting "it's really good!" line to Hotpie, referring there to his gift of the bread-wolf.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:25 PM on April 25, 2014


Except you're simply asserting this kind of thing is normal for them and using the very scene in question as the only evidence for that assertion.

You can go back to the very first sex scene with them, the one Bran witnessed, and see that it played out in almost exactly the same way. Slapping, she tells him to stop, sex ensues. To me it's gross, but it's how they interact.

I don't remember how that first scene was played on the show, just talking here about the relationship as GRRM presented it.
posted by torticat at 12:30 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Apologies if this has been linked before, but: amazing 90s-style GoT characters.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:33 PM on April 25, 2014


It was just such a cloyingly modern one-liner delivery that it felt really alien to the rest of the dialogue. There was another line from someone else in this episode that also had the same problem, but I'm not quite remembering what it was.

I totally agree, The Michael The, that line was offkey (not on Williams' part, I think, but the writers'). And I also remember another similar moment in the episode that I can't put my finger on... maybe it was Daario's wink at Daenerys, which was just trite/goofy and not swashbuckling as I'm sure it was intended.
posted by torticat at 12:46 PM on April 25, 2014


You can go back to the very first sex scene with them, the one Bran witnessed, and see that it played out in almost exactly the same way. Slapping, she tells him to stop, sex ensues. To me it's gross, but it's how they interact.

Huh? The scene were Bran stumbled upon Cersei and Jamie was very consensual, they were both into it and no slapping occurred. Am I not understanding what scene you're talking about?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh my god, that panel homunculus linked is the cutest thing ever.
posted by corb at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think torticat got the S01E01 scene when Bran caught them confused with the S01E03 scene when Jaime joked about starting "The War for Cersei's Cunt."
posted by Jacqueline at 2:11 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah, thanks for that link BB. Interesting. I said I didn't remember how it was played on the show.

Justinian asked, "what evidence do you have that this is normal for them" in the context of what GRRM wrote. I'm saying, it dates back in the books to the very first interaction we see between them, which is similar to the scene in the sept. Here it is, if you're interested, snipping some of Bran's perspective:

"Stop that!" the woman said. Bran heard the sudden slap of flesh on flesh and the man's laughter....

"All this talk is getting very tiresome, sister," the man said. "Come here and be quiet"....

Bran looked in the window.

Inside the room, a man and a woman were wrestling. They were both naked. Bran could not tell who they were. The man's back was to him, and his body screened the woman from view as he pushed her up against a wall.

There were soft, wet sounds. Bran realized they were kissing.... "Stop it," she said, "stop it, stop it, oh please." But her voice was low and weak, and she did not push him away.


The sept scene is more intense because they haven't seen each other in a long time, but her protests are similarly "weak" and "feeble." Cersei is never weak or feeble, except when it comes to resisting Jaime's advances... and that's not because he overpowers her but because she wants him too. It's all part of their love language. :)

GRRM is consistent in showing how they relate. The show, OTOH, apparently makes the first scene entirely consensual and the most recent one entirely non-consensual. (I say "apparently" because I understand the writers are denying that.)
posted by torticat at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have a question coming out of the MeTa thread, maybe specifically for Sara C., or for anyone else still reading here. I'm asking only about the show, hoping I'm not reopening a can o' worms.

In response to Jacqueline's argument that what she'd said last week about the poisoning had not been a spoiler, Sara C. said:
The Purple Wedding sequence was split between two episodes. The first episode set up the poisoning, and the second explained it.

My question is, in what way did the most recent episode explain the poisoning? I felt like, if anything, it muddied the waters. We now know the necklace came from Littlefinger, that it was used by Dontos as a way of gaining Sansa's trust so he could extract her from the wedding, and that it was not valuable but made of something easily crushed, maybe glass. We don't have any new clarity on whether it was involved in the poisoning, or who did the poisoning, do we?

If the issue is still unclear on the show, that's fine; I'm just wondering if I missed something.
posted by torticat at 9:34 AM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't feel like it's been fully explained in the show, no.

Jacqueline's argument was that if you watch very closely you might see how it is done. Maybe so; but I think for casual viewers -- especially non-bookreaders -- the show is going to have to provide a much more explicit exposition.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


You just have to remember that we've seen someone die this exact same way before (Maester Cressen in S02E01) and if you review that old scene then you'll see the method used. Once you've seen the method and know what to look for, you can rewatch the current episodes and see exactly who did it and how.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:30 AM on April 26, 2014


I understand. But Sara C. said that your analysis, Jacqueline, specifically spoiled the most recent episode. I did not think there were any reveals about the poisoning in the most recent episode, and was wondering what I missed.
posted by torticat at 10:35 AM on April 26, 2014


I totally agree, The Michael The, that line was offkey (not on Williams' part, I think, but the writers'). And I also remember another similar moment in the episode that I can't put my finger on... maybe it was Daario's wink at Daenerys, which was just trite/goofy and not swashbuckling as I'm sure it was intended.

Ah, that jogged my memory! It was when Denaerys was choosing who was to be her champion to fight the Meerenese knight: "you're the bravest, and you're the smartest, and you are the kindest, but you're just right Daario!" It was like the writer was like "eh, no time to write this dialogue... I'll just crib from Goldilocks and The Wizard of Oz and call it good."
posted by The Michael The at 12:32 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


in what way did the most recent episode explain the poisoning?

It hasn't been entirely explained on the show, but two important things were revealed in the first few minutes of this episode:

1. Petyr Baelish was involved.

2. The necklace had something to do with the poisoning.

The latter wrinkle was spoiled by Jacqueline in the previous thread. The whole thing hasn't been completely blown open yet, but perhaps folks should remember that just because an episode doesn't end on a big reveal of all the interesting questions it set up, that doesn't mean the book is closed on that particular storyline.
posted by Sara C. at 1:36 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Folks, given the state of the GoT universe and the prevalence of spoilers thereof, please avoid making definitive claims about open mysteries. If they're speculation, label them as such. If they're not, this isn't the place. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 1:48 PM on April 26, 2014


2. The necklace had something to do with the poisoning.

Okay that is the kind of answer I was looking for... but when/how was this revealed in the last episode? I don't think it was.
posted by torticat at 2:07 PM on April 26, 2014


My question is, in what way did the most recent episode explain the poisoning? I felt like, if anything, it muddied the waters. We now know the necklace came from Littlefinger, that it was used by Dontos as a way of gaining Sansa's trust so he could extract her from the wedding, and that it was not valuable but made of something easily crushed, maybe glass.

Okay. I am going on "TV show logic" as opposed to "how it would have played out in real life" logic:

- there are two Master Manipulators on the show: Varys and Littlefinger. If they are in on a plot it is pretty safe to think they came up with the plot, though certainly they may act with co-conspirators (for ex. Varys plotting with Olenna to marry Sansa to Loras*)

- so, Ser Dontos leads Sansa to Littlefinger. Littlefinger gloats about how he set the whole thing up with her escape, has Dontos shot, and removes Sansa's necklace and tosses it into the boat with dead Dontos before they sail off. According to TV show logic, this all says "guilty guilty guilty" without explicitly connecting Littlefinger to the poisoning

- and, given that Game Of Thrones is made for general audiences and not dedicated sleuths, plus that the show has a lot of threads that aren't always easy to follow when they are being straightforward, I am quite satisfied that Master Manipulator Petyr Baelish orchestrated the murder of Joffrey without even touching the mechanics of fantasy poisons and necklaces, and if I am wrong, hey that is fun too!

* now, in the case of Littlefinger betraying Ned, it seemed to me he was playing that by ear and only decided which way to go very late in the game, so he didn't have that one planned from the very beginning at all, but neither was he being manipulated himself
posted by furiousthought at 2:31 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Which is hilarious considering he had Arya as a cupbearer and left her behind! Oh, if he had only kept her and taken her back to Kings Landing. I do hope he eventually finds out what he had, because the look on his face would be fantastic!

I've been waiting for a scene like that since Tywin returned to King's Landing. I do hope we get to see it someday.
posted by homunculus at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2014


when/how was this revealed in the last episode? I don't think it was.

Me neither. What we saw described last episode was (a) the necklace was not the family heirloom that Ser Dontos represented it to Sansa as; (b) Littlefinger gave Ser Dontos the necklace to give to Sansa (and I think by implication we can assume that his "wear it for me" plea was scripted by Littlefinger); (c) now that Joffrey is dead Littlefinger has no further use for either the necklace or Ser Dontos.

(And we already know from several previous plots exactly what kind of man Littlefinger is.)

But I think I'm just repeating what furiousthought said two comments up.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:30 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Littlefinger gloats about how he set the whole thing up with her escape, has Dontos shot, and removes Sansa's necklace and tosses it into the boat with dead Dontos before they sail off. According to TV show logic, this all says "guilty guilty guilty" without explicitly connecting Littlefinger to the poisoning

There's also the bit where Littlefinger demonstrates that the necklace wasn't a valuable family heirloom at all, but had stones made of some kind of brittle crystalline substance. I forget the exact dialogue he says to Sansa about the necklace at that point, but it's made relatively clear that she was given the necklace for Reasons. Reasons that have to do with Joffrey's death.

And, yes, it's been established on the show, if you have a great memory for detail, that there exist solid-state poisons that dissolve when added to a drink.

I'm being probably more cryptic than absolutely necessary, because now I've not only been spoiled on the details, I also read the books 3-4 years ago and have very dim memories of how it went down. I'm having trouble sorting out for myself what was actually said on the show and what triggered my memories of either reading the books or being spoiled.
posted by Sara C. at 5:00 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sara C. said that your analysis, Jacqueline, specifically spoiled the most recent episode.

And Sara C. and I continue to disagree on that. :)

Basically, Sara and I seem to have two different definitions of spoilers -- I think if something can be deduced from careful (re)watching of the episodes and an understanding of how good TV works (i.e., they are not going to show us anything that isn't important in some way) then it's *not* a spoiler, whereas Sara seems to think if it's not obvious to a regular person on their first viewing that it *is* a spoiler. (Sara, please correct me if I've misrepresented your position.) Based on their deletions, it seems the mods are closer to Sara's position than to mine.

FWIW, I rewatched all the relevant scenes in the relevant episodes (S02E01, S04E01, S04E02) to confirm that someone could indeed put it together just from what was shown on TV before I wrote the comment that some people claim "spoiled" the mystery for them. Since then, at least a few nonreaders here (and a zillion elsewhere on the internet) rewatched S04E02 before S04E03 came out and have commented that upon their second viewing that they were indeed able to spot where the poison came from and who put it in the wine cup.

I very purposely did NOT say anything about Littlefinger in my now-deleted comment, I merely pointed out that there had to be at least one other person involved in the conspiracy besides the ones we saw in action at the wedding. There is plenty of in-show evidence for the necessity of an additional person -- the oblique way the poison was smuggled into the wedding, the poisoner's established paranoia about constantly being spied on while in King's Landing, etc. -- but it does require a bit more of a deductive leap than the rest.

Based on the Sansa/Littlefinger dialogue in the preview, it appears that the next episode (S04E04) will spell it out for everyone who hasn't figured it out on their own yet.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2014


So could you MAYBE let it go for just 24 hours more so that the episode can actually air WITHOUT you telling us what's going to be in it?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:38 PM on April 26, 2014


Eh, it's a note that two characters will have a conversation, hardly spoilers about the episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:55 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]




I just rewatched the episode. (I stayed through the sept scent; wasn't sure I was going to.)

On the sept scene, aside from Cersei kissing Jaime a bit, she pretty much says "no" and physically resists to some degree through the entire thing. No ambiguity for me there, not that there was the first time around, either.

On the poisoning, I think it's pretty clear that Littlefinger, Dontos, and the necklace were all involved. There is no other possible reason why Littlefinger would have gone to the trouble of getting the necklace to Sansa but then discarding it when he did. In addition, Dontos appeared immediately when Joffrey began to choke and he clearly knew what was going on and he and Littlefinger had an escape for Sansa planned and timed appropriately. The necklace had to have some purpose of Littlefinger's, that purpose must have been served by the point at which Sansa arrives on the boat. In combination with the circumstantial evidence that Littlefinger was involved in the poisoning (by clearly anticipating it and Sansa's escape), it seems clear that the necklace was somehow crucial to the poisoning.

That's what the show was trying to make clear to the audience with Dontos's and Sansa's escape and meeting with Littlefinger.

Now, as to how the poisoning was accomplished, and how it involved the necklace, that's not clear. Nor is it clear who else might have been involved. Anyone who goes back to the wedding scene (only now knowing that the necklace was important) and watches it again, will possibly find some answers to these questions. Whether you want to, or not, and whether someone presenting that information here is okay, is another matter.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:17 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think if something can be deduced from careful (re)watching of the episodes and an understanding of how good TV works (i.e., they are not going to show us anything that isn't important in some way)

That's the thing, though--a lot of extraneous information is shown during the Purple Wedding episode, possibly and even probably to muddy the waters so that the 1)method and 2) culprit(s) were not obvious just from viewing the show.

Putting the relevant pieces together to come at one specificsolution required knowing what to look for because it was given significance from the books--either because you'd read the books or someone who had read the books told you what to look for.

For example, just from watching the show we know that King Robert died after being gored by a boar while hunting. We know it was his custom to drink wine while hunting, provided by his squire. We know Cersei was worried about Robert learning their kids were really Jaime Lannister and Cersei's kids. We know the squire on his last hunting trip was a Lannister, and that the squire was unusually diligent, offering the wine to Robert before he thought to ask for it. Did Cersei hope to get Robert drunk so that he had an accident? Sure seems likely, right? We suspect Cersei because the show has already set her up as the likeliest suspect, right from the first episode.

With Joffrey's murder, though, there isn't one likely suspect, there are many. He'd just had Sansa's brother and Mother killed. He deliberately insults Tyrion, But in the process also insults Loras. Prince Oberyn, who we know has a grudge against Tywin and the other Lannisters, is in attendance. All these people have motive. Mace Tyrell, Margaery's Dad, gives Joffrey a jeweled cup for a wedding gift, and Joffrey appears to have drunk poisoned wine. Margaery feeds Joffrey his pie right before he chokes. Sansa and Tyrion handled the wine goblet, which then sat on the table in front of Olenna before Tyrion picked it up again. All of these people had opportunity. The list of suspects goes on and on, and what clues there may be are not obvious unless you already know where to look for them.
posted by misha at 11:46 PM on April 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Putting the relevant pieces together to come at one specificsolution required knowing what to look for because it was given significance from the books--either because you'd read the books or someone who had read the books told you what to look for.

Nope. The way the camera frames the cup Joffrey took that last sip from makes it obvious. Backtrack where that wine comes from and you have a solid understanding of what happened.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:56 PM on April 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also now that it's been made very clear that the necklace was involved and that Sansa was clueless, you can just rewatch the wedding to see who else touches the necklace and what they do.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:58 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was still obvious that something weird was going on in those scenes -- several nonreaders also called them out as suspicious. So, once Joffrey was murdered, you can just go back and carefully rewatch those suspicious scenes and you'll see what happened.

Episodes of complex TV shows really should be watched at least twice. I watch every episode of GOT twice the first week it comes out (usually Sunday night alone and Monday or Tuesday night with my husband) and then marathon the entire season sometime after the season finale.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:06 AM on April 27, 2014


Seriously, the camera frames the newly filled wine cup Joffrey drinks from and a specific person. It's pretty much an arrow saying "she did it!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


So here's some speculation, and I have no special knowledge here because this hasn't been answered - because it goes to Littlefinger's motivations, and as I recall, GRRM said he was one of the ones who would never have a POV chapter in the books because he has his finger in too many pies, like Varys.

Assuming that this plot is Littlefinger's baby, however it got brought about - why? And for how long has this been his plan? We know he has a weird thing for Sansa because of her mom, but why does it take getting Joffrey poisoned to do it? Are we to expect that Littlefinger didn't have the contacts to get Sansa out without also having the king killed to do it? That it would be more risky without it? Or does Littlefinger have his own reasons to want Joffrey dead? Or is it related to Tyrion - has this plot been set up once Sansa was married to Tyrion in order to try to have Tyrion attainted specifically so Sansa could marry again? (Also, is there even divorce in Westeros? I...dont' remember hearing about it, and it seems a slightly glaring omission. I think there's annullment, but I don't know if there's actual divorce.)
posted by corb at 12:14 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Creepers gotta creep.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:29 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Baelish likes chaos, which killing a king would create. He also may be conspiring with someone else.

Sansa is the key to the North. Only a Stark can rule their and Sansa is the only one known to be alive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:33 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Chaos is a Ladder
posted by homunculus at 12:46 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or is it related to Tyrion - has this plot been set up once Sansa was married to Tyrion in order to try to have Tyrion attainted specifically so Sansa could marry again?

Diablevert also suggested this idea upthread. I too suspect that was part of the plan. Hopefully we'll find out on the next episode.
posted by homunculus at 12:50 AM on April 27, 2014


(Same disclaimer as corb: No special knowledge because even book readers don't know what goes on in Littlefinger's head)

I really do think a significant part of Littlefinger's motivation is transference of his unrequited love for Catelyn to Sansa. He desperately wanted to marry Cat and challenged her then-fiance Brandon Stark (Ned's older brother) to a duel for her hand. Even if he hadn't lost the duel, Cat only saw him as a brother and her father considered the Baelishes to be too far beneath the Tullys anyway. (Show reference: The backstory about Littlefinger and Cat was covered in the brothel conversation in S01E03, and there have been numerous references over the seasons to Littlefinger's low socioeconomic status relative to the other nobility.)

I don't think he's ever gotten over that rejection (he's still unwed by the time he's made Lord of Harrenhall in S02E10).

So now Cat is dead and Sansa looks just like Cat did when she was a girl, which is when Littlefinger was fostered with the Tullys and developed his crush. Yes, I think he wants Sansa's husband out of the picture, just like he wanted Cat's husband out of the picture.

Meanwhile, Littlefinger seems driven by a desire to prove to everyone that he can gain and wield as much power as nobles from greater houses. I wouldn't be surprised if he got a sexual thrill from these sorts of power plays.

So, regardless of what Littlefinger might say his plans for her are, I think deep down he wants Sansa for himself. Not just sexually, but also the political alliance that marrying her would bring. He is now the Lord of Harrenhal (which I think makes him Lord of the Riverlands too? given that the Tullys are in rebellion) and Sansa is "the key to the North" as the only known living Stark. As a couple, they would control 2 of the 7 kingdoms and almost half the territory of Westeros.

I think right now he's just pulling a "Nice Guy" scam on Sansa -- "rescuing" her, pretending to be concerned for her welfare, etc. -- while manipulating her into total dependence on him so that he can groom her to be his future lover / wife / protege.

As I said above: Creepers gotta creep.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:03 AM on April 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Or does Littlefinger have his own reasons to want Joffrey dead?

I think Cersei is the only person in the Seven Kingdoms to NOT have a reason to want Joffrey dead.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:26 AM on April 27, 2014


Oh, those who wondering if The Mountain has appeared in the show, he does show up in S02E7 and has a few lines talking with Tywin. The linked scene is also good for the discussion between Tywin and Arya.

It's interesting how Tywin zoned in Arya's intelligence and engaged with her and notes she reminds him of his daughter (Cersei). That and Arya weighing whether she could stab Tywin, while still craving the interaction with a father figure, and him noting how changing the rules ensured a victory for Ageon. I wonder if that encouraged him to consider breaking the Guest Rules to ambush Robb Stark.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, those who wondering if The Mountain has appeared in the show, he does show up in S02E7 and has a few lines talking with Tywin. The linked scene is also good for the discussion between Tywin and Arya.

Maybe this was covered above, but he also jousts Loras Tyrell in S1E5.
posted by The Michael The at 6:10 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


He is now the Lord of Harrenhal (which I think makes him Lord of the Riverlands too? given that the Tullys are in rebellion) and Sansa is "the key to the North" as the only known living Stark. As a couple, they would control 2 of the 7 kingdoms and almost half the territory of Westeros.

Lord Baelish (ha) has a fancy title, but Harrenhall is a bit of a white elephant. It's huge and Littlefinger doesn't have an army to defend it. He was the Master of Coin, so he ought to have some people in trade-related posts, but from what we've seen on the show, power is mainly wielded through families and Littlefinger's family is petty nobility. Sansa is the heir to the North and could conceivably end up as heir of House Tully since Blackfish (now MIA) is a confirmed bachelor and iirc the show is vague about other Tully children. Littlefinger has the fancy title of Lord Paramount of the Trident, but we've seen how much titles are worth without power. It looks like Baelish is expressing his love for the person he loves most, himself.
posted by ersatz at 7:45 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, Littlefinger has crossed with Cersei on more than one occasion. She made a big deal of showing him she held the power in one episode, threatening to have him arrested. Being involved in the murder of her son from afar probably would give him a secret thrill, knowing he has put one over on Cersei (in the most personally painful way, too).

Not to mention that by taking part, Littlefinger would now have dirt on the other accomplices, which gives hm power as well, and the possibility of calling in favors frm powerful people later. Having dirt on people s Littlefinger's stock and trade, after all. That's why he owns a brothel with lots of peepholes. And since he didn't even attend the wedding, he has plausible deniability beyond any of the potential accomplices.

Kidnapping/rescuing Sansa may be the weakest part of his plan, though. Sure, she is the Key to the North, but he just killed Sir Dantos the Fool right in front of her. Does he assume she will be so beholden to him that she will trust him implicitly after witnessing that? Maybe she will. Sansa is not Arya, after all. But I can't imagine she sees Littlefinger as the romantic ideal of the white knight riding in to rescue her now, either.
posted by misha at 8:52 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, those who wondering if The Mountain has appeared in the show, he does show up in S02E7 and has a few lines talking with Tywin. The linked scene is also good for the discussion between Tywin and Arya.

Maybe this was covered above, but he also jousts Loras Tyrell in S1E5.


Yeah, I was was confused in S02E7 because the new actor looked nothing like the guy from the first season. I didn't realize until later that the tall skinny guy was supposed to be him. They've got a proper Mountain for this season.
posted by homunculus at 9:36 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Three Mountains! While I find it confusing at times I sort of find it interesting the way the show just hires on new actors to replace other ones but leaves the characters the same.
posted by jessamyn at 9:43 AM on April 27, 2014


Does he assume she will be so beholden to him that she will trust him implicitly after witnessing that?

I don't think that LF particularly cares. The last exchange between them on the ship--having to do with his/Dontos's duplicity about the necklace--was something like "What did I tell you about Kings Landing?" and Sansa says, "Everyone is a liar."

LF may need Sansa for his plans, but he evidently doesn't care if she sees how the sausage is made. Presumably he even wants her to.
posted by torticat at 9:54 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Does he assume she will be so beholden to him that she will trust him implicitly after witnessing that?

I cracked up when he reminded her that that everyone around her is a liar and then proceeded to tell her she was safe now. And poor naive Sansa seems to sort of believe it.

Yet, everyone does seem to be looking out for her, even Cersei of all people at one point. Others have noted that Sansa seems to have this natural ability to get other people to like and protect her and it's hard to argue with that, even as she's still very naive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:04 AM on April 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


I enjoy Sansa because she seems like an accurate portrayal of somebody who is fucked and who knows she's fucked, so she has never really developed any sense of hope or survival.

Besides, Sansa isn't always so naive. Her earlier, constant talk of her love for Joffrey was the only move for survival left to her.

I cracked up when he reminded her that that everyone around her is a liar and then proceeded to tell her she was safe now. And poor naive Sansa seems to sort of believe it.

Funny stuff, but then again, it's reasonable to assume that Littlefinger wouldn't have gone to all that trouble to save her unless he needed her alive. And re: the persistent state of being fucked, Sansa doesn't really have any other option at this point aside from believing him.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:17 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


They've got a proper Mountain for this season.

Pah, he's only 6'9". Book-Mountain is eight feet tall! Of course book-Brienne is 6'10" so just like everyone had to be aged up, I guess everyone had to be scaled down a bit.

supposedly when the casting director found Gwendolyn Christie, she called D&D and said "Good news! I found a 6'3" woman who's not just a classically trained actor but also a trained fencer!" and they said "what's the bad news?" and she said "She's gorgeous."
posted by KathrynT at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


In the books she is so young that her naivete is just natural. Which doesn't mean she is trusting, exactly... that pretty much goes out the window after she witnesses her father's beheading. But there isn't an expectation that she would be figuring much out after that beyond self-preservation.

I've been interested in how the show has dealt with this, with an older Sansa. I feel like in part they've made her kinder and less self-absorbed. If you are willing to believe good of people, you're more likely to be taken in by someone like Dontos. Which is a form of naivete, but coming from a good place, i.e., she's not stupid.
posted by torticat at 10:29 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hell, I'm not even Sansa, and I had even had Some Other Spoilers, and I didn't see the Dontos stuff coming. It made perfect sense that Ser Dontos would be grateful to her.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:36 AM on April 27, 2014


Sure, she is the Key to the North, but he just killed Sir Dantos the Fool right in front of her. Does he assume she will be so beholden to him that she will trust him implicitly after witnessing that?

Well, having her a little bit scared of him so she does what he says probably plays into his agenda right now. The grooming process takes time and he needs her to be obedient immediately (can't have her telling anyone about his involvement).

Littlefinger's behavior towards Sansa reminds me of how child molesters act towards their victims. They need them too afraid to resist or say anything until they've broken them down enough that the child believes it's what he/she deserves.

Every scene he's had with her on the show has made my skin crawl. So, kudos to Aidan Gillen's acting ability, I guess.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


Aiden Gillen is terrific.

And yes, Littlefinger is definitely grooming Sansa. Euurrrggh.

Incidentally, if you ever want to see a very good performance of such grooming, check out Gardens of the Night. Tom Arnold delivers an amazing performance. No joke.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:32 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Remember that this is the man who also sold one of his prostitutes to Joffrey for crossbow target practice (S03E06). And Varys implied once that Littlefinger had a talent for producing fresh corpses of beautiful women on demand to cater to one of his clients' necrophilia fetish (S01E05). Littlefinger is a total fucking sicko where women are concerned.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, once you've been mayor of Baltimore...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't think we've ever seen Littlefinger actually having sex, despite owning numerous brothels? Even when auditioning applicants he orders them to have sex with each another instead of trying them out himself (S01E07).

He seems to get off on manipulating others and then watching his scenarios play out.

Oh, just checked the transcript of that episode and they even ask him, "Why don't you join us, My Lord?" to which he replies "I'm saving myself for another." So it's possible that he's been celibate his whole adult life, pining for Catelyn Tully... and now he has a girl in his clutches that looks just like his obsession.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:47 AM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Littlefinger and Sansa, I wonder what he plans to do with her....I speculated up thread that framing Tyrion may be intended to free up Sansa for remarriage. Supposing that either Littlefinger himself or the Tyrells want to do that, it seems like it'd take quite a while to arrange. Both LF and the Tyrells are openly allied to the Lannisters; LF owes his titles to them. Even if Tyrion does take the fall for Joffrey's death and is executed, neither can just elope with Sansa the next weekend without rupturing their alliance with the Lannisters and possibly restarting the civil war. Littlefinger in particular would need months, maybe years, to take firm control over his newly granted lands and put together enough men and money to risk open warfare with the Lannisters. Or at least I'd think so. He's just supposed to stash Sansa in a tower for months until he sorts that out? The Redhead in the Iron Mask? All the while, in addition, he's also supposed to be marrying Lysa Arryn on Tywin's instructions, no? Makes me think he has more ruin up his sleeve for the Lannisters to weaken them further.

Meta-plot wise, it also makes me suspect Tyrion will survive his trial, in order to keep Sansa in limbo a bit longer while Littlefinger has her.
posted by Diablevert at 11:47 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Based on Varys estimation of him as "the most dangerous man in Westros" and the intricate plan he seems to have conceived for killing the king and getting away with it, I'd say that he has a long term plan that will put him on top, even if it's just a pile of ashes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:15 PM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd say that he has a long term plan that will put him on top, even if it's just a pile of ashes.

Yes. Back to S01E07:
"Do you know what I learned, losing that duel? I learned that I'll never win, not that way. That's their game, their rules. I'm not going to fight them. I'm going to fuck them. That's what I know. That's what I am. And only by admitting what we are can we get what we want."

"And what do you want?"

"Oh, everything, my dear. Everything there is."
I'd say that they are pretty fucked after the Purple Wedding. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2014


Maybe this was covered above, but he also jousts Loras Tyrell in S1E5.

Here's the joust, btw: The Hound vs The Mountain
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Littlefinger and Sansa, I wonder what he plans to do with her....I speculated up thread that framing Tyrion may be intended to free up Sansa for remarriage.

****Total speculation below -- I read some of the books, but years ago, and don't remember much from them. Still, it's speculation, so thought I'd put a warning!****

Sansa and Tyrion would be eligible for an annulment, I think, since they haven't consummated their marriage yet. The only three people who know for sure that they haven't are Sansa, Tyrion and Shae, though. It's to Shae's benefit to get Sansa out of town, since she knows that Sansa wants that and she's been jealous of Sansa from the beginning. We saw Varys try to strike a deal with Shae, so I wonder if Baelish also tried to strike a deal with her, too? As Sansa's lady's maid, she'd be the obvious person to bribe for information about Sansa and about that marriage, and she'd have her own reasons for wanting to spill. Maybe she knew something about Sansa getting whisked out of town, and that's why she was so willing to throw Varys's diamonds back in his face and was so heartbroken about being sent away on Joffrey's wedding day (in particular)?*

If any of the Kings Landing crowd knows that Sansa's brothers are alive, then I think that they'd have a reason to want to stash Sansa away somewhere until they kill Bran and Rickon. Bolton knows (from Ramsey and Theon) that there are still two male Stark heirs in hiding, so I wonder if that's coming into play with what's happening to Sansa now? Bolton has that new Frey wife, but I wouldn't put it past him to have her killed along with the Stark boys and to marry himself to Sansa (and produce a Stark heir with her), in order to solidify his own place in the North. He might have struck a deal with Baelish to keep Sansa on ice for him until he gets the other pieces in place. In order to get his hands on Sansa (for Bolton), Baelish might have struck a deal with the Tyrells (as Sansa's de facto guardians right now) to help kill Joffrey. The Tyrells would want to get Joffery out of the picture for Margaery's sake -- she gains the most from Joffery's death and especially the timing of his death, but I doubt that she would have had the foresight or patience herself to kill Joffrey before the consummation or even before producing an heir, so I think that the wheeling and dealing must have been going on at least primarily through the Tyrell matriarch, Ollena. The only issue with this is the timing -- it's not as though Bolton has known about the Stark boys for long. Ordinarily, I would say that Ramsey could have done all the maneuvering I'm attributing to Bolton, but I don't actually think he's the type, I think he's too hotheaded to carry out a plan like that.

*Btw, isn't Tyrion having the absolute worst day ever? It starts out with him exiling his girlfriend as she slaps Bronn and runs out of the room sobbing, and it ends with him sitting in a jail cell suspecting his father framed him for murder. I don't understand how he's so cheerful and relaxed when Pod comes to see him, you'd think he'd be pretty bitter and afraid at that point. It bothered me that he was so nonchalant, it felt so fake to me.
posted by rue72 at 12:38 PM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sansa and Tyrion would be eligible for an annulment, I think, since they haven't consummated their marriage yet. The only three people who know for sure that they haven't are Sansa, Tyrion and Shae

Yeah, that occurred to me, and Shae would certainly be one mechanism for it. On the other hand, there's plenty of real-life examples of nobles attempting and sometimes succeeding at getting annulments on non-consummation grounds, regardless of whether or not the marriage had actually been consummated. It's probably doable so long as the wife never actually had a kid or a known pregnancy.


In re the Bolton theory, I dunno. It doesn't line up for me because it seems like Bolton is one of the few people who can't use Sansa to legitimise himself. He's already one of the most powerful Lords in the North; what he wants is to put the whole kingdom under Bolton control. Trying to use Sansa to bolster his claim feels like it would weaken it, in a way; he would be admitting that the Bolton name alone was not enough to win the fealty of the other houses up there. Plus he'd have the same pissed-off Tywin problem that the Tyrells and the Lannisters would have, were he to turn up with Sansa in the near to mid-term; I don't think he can afford that, since he's still in the middle of fighting the Greyjoys, the Blackfish is still out there and all the guys who were loyal to Robb must hate him as well, what's left of them. Not to mention what betraying Walder Frey cost the last guy.
posted by Diablevert at 1:43 PM on April 27, 2014


1. Marrying between Houses is common thing, so Bolton attempting to do that would make sense.

2. No way in hell is Tywin going to let Bolton marry Sansa Stark and establish a claim to the North. If Bolton even thinks of going in that direction, he'll soon meet Ned and Robb Stark.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2014


2. No way in hell is Tywin going to let Bolton marry Sansa Stark and establish a claim to the North. If Bolton even thinks of going in that direction, he'll soon meet Ned and Robb Stark.

Tywin is as killable as any other man, and without him, the Lannisters are screwed. With Joffrey dead and Tyrion maybe due to be executed, "the Lannisters" are just an impressionable child king, a young girl who's been swallowed up by Dorne, an emotionally unstable woman past her prime, and a crippled soldier. Oh, and a bunch of random cousins nobody seems to care about. I wouldn't count on Tywin being able to hold a man like Bolton back all by himself.

Winterfell seems to me to be the seat of the North and therefore a really good place to start building a northern dynasty that could then inch all the way down into the south. But if Bolton wants more than that (which he probably should, if he's ambitious, because he'll want southern lands once Winter arrives), he won't want to tie himself to the Starks, he'll want to tie himself to the Tyrells (as the powerful southern family and the ones in control of Westeros's breadbasket). Hey, maybe Joffrey's death (before consummating his wedding) could benefit Bolton after all...?!
posted by rue72 at 2:17 PM on April 27, 2014


Tywin is as killable as any other man...

Robb Stark thought so too.

if he's ambitious, because he'll want southern lands once Winter arrives), he won't want to tie himself to the Starks

The Starks rule or run the North. Period, full stop, everyone agrees that's the case. Hence the importance of Sansa. The Tyrells are lovely, lovely people, but they don't hold much sway in the North.

Now, if someone wants to break with tradition and attempt to install a non-Stark at Winterfell, I guess that's possible, but every indication is that the other Northern Lords and population are not down with that. So you've got war, right out of the gate, in a large and expansive land that gets cold as shit.

Most likely none of the Southern families want to actually put themselves or their families in the North. It's cold and ass backwards by their book, a sort of redneck central. Let the Starks run it, as long as they bend the knee, is probably the most reasonable and cheap option.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:25 PM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


to which he replies "I'm saving myself for another." So it's possible that he's been celibate his whole adult life, pining for Catelyn Tully... and now he has a girl in his clutches that looks just like his obsession.

Good point, and also... ew GROSS.
posted by torticat at 2:40 PM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Starks rule or run the North. Period, full stop, everyone agrees that's the case. Hence the importance of Sansa. The Tyrells are lovely, lovely people, but they don't hold much sway in the North.

If Bolton thought that, he wouldn't have done what he did. The Lannisters have made him a Warden or whatever the term is for a subcontractor when it comes to Lording, and so far it looks like he's welcome to rule there if he can hold it. At this point I myself am all tangled up as to what I've picked up from this thread and from the show, but the general gist is they're one of the most powerful families in that part if the country, second runner up maybe. Well, first place dynasty is all but eliminated. Sansa is useful to most people on the show because her son would have a colourable claim to rule the North ---- if the possess her, then they get access to that. Bolton already has that --- better than that, he's the legal ruler, the appointed representative of the king. Marrying Sansa himself or having his son marry her might help strengthen his position, but at what cost? Getting involved in killing Joffrey and potentially pissing off the Lannisters and Walder Frey in order to acquire extra double bonus legitimacy for his rule makes no sense, especially at a time when he already has his work cut out for him, dispatching- of-enemies-wise. The people of the North may not like it , and I bet they'll write some really amazing ballads mourning the Starks, but if he can bring the Greyjoy rebellion to heel and restore peace --- maybe throw in a few flayings of rebellious minor Stark cousins --- he'll have the North in his palm, and Sansa would be a bagatelle, maybe worth assassinating if it happens to come handy, but otherwise a matter of indifference.
posted by Diablevert at 3:42 PM on April 27, 2014


1. Bolton was appointed Warden until Sansa and Tyrion's son came of age. Don't know what's going to happen with that now, but probably nothing real soon.

2. The Starks and the Boltons have been enemies before, so it's not too surprising Bolton would flip sides for a chance to stick to the Starks and gain power over them.

3. He has zero real support, had to sneak into his homeland.

4. Flaying will not garner loyalty, so if they go that route Bolton won't have a solid foundation for long term rule.

5. There are one, two, three, four and a half Stark kids running around. Any one of them makes a claim, Bolton has a problem
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 PM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The new episode is starting.
posted by homunculus at 6:04 PM on April 27, 2014


Yes and the Previously On reminded me that Bolton now knows that the Bran and Ricon are alive and is starting to look for them. Because hey, free Starks!

Also, interesting that Winterfell is still in the opening credos, albeit burning.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 PM on April 27, 2014


[Just reiterating the reminder not to discuss the next episode in the previous episode's thread. I know it's tempting! Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:21 PM on April 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I cracked up when he reminded her that that everyone around her is a liar and then proceeded to tell her she was safe now. And poor naive Sansa seems to sort of believe it.

See also Ned, who ignores LF telling him not to trust him and ends up betrayed and captured when he confronts Joffrey in SE01.

Others have noted that Sansa seems to have this natural ability to get other people to like and protect her and it's hard to argue with that, even as she's still very naive.

Kind of the anti-Littlefinger, who has the natural ability to get people to trust him even when he's continually telling them that he's untrustworthy, and is actually being untrustworthy.

[Random aside, Aidan Gillen will always be Stuart from Queer as Folk (UK version) to me]
posted by Pink Frost at 7:42 PM on April 27, 2014


[Random aside, Aidan Gillen will always be Stuart from Queer as Folk (UK version) to me]

THAT WAS HIM?!?! Mind = blown.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:46 PM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]




And Mrs. S from Orphan Black!
posted by homunculus at 8:14 PM on April 27, 2014


HIS HAIR
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on April 27, 2014


Bolton is already married to a Frey, remember? The one where he got her weight in silver or something like that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:41 PM on April 27, 2014




The people of the North may not like it , and I bet they'll write some really amazing ballads mourning the Starks

The people of the North just marched against king Joff because they basically wanted a ruler they respected. They are in disarray now but Bolton can only rule through strength and I'm not sure the other major Northern houses would bend the knee to him.
posted by ersatz at 4:13 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let me kill this man for you.
posted by homunculus at 12:22 PM on April 28, 2014


Look at the flower Lord Bolton, just look at the flowers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on April 28, 2014


Maisie Williams nailed that scene

I'm sorry, you're going to have to narrow it down. She's had quite a few scenes and I believe walks around with a nailgun stuffed in her jerkin.

If she makes the transition to being an adult actor, she's going to be one of the finest of her generation. She is absolutely compelling, absolutely believable, and did I mention compelling? I cannot look away from the screen when she's on it. She has, to me, a very naturalistic mode of acting, which is something I really respond to. Actors who just comfortably inhabit and define their roles without it being Acting or forced or something, you know?

I would watch her read the phonebook. I say we somehow get the internerds to make this happen.

Obviously there'd have to be some kind of contest to choose the city.

But seriously, a one hour YT video of Maisie Williams reading a few pages of the phonebook.

Come on let's make this happen.

Also are we betting on which episode Loras and Oberyn get busy? Episode 6 I say, and it'll be just as gratuitous as all the boobs.

Also did anyone notice that brief shot in the previous episode, when Joff cuts the pie, of the smashed and bloodied dove? And what does Cersei always call Sansa?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:15 PM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


While I remember it: in the Inside The Episode bit that HBO On Demand tack onto the end of the episode, Benniof and Weiss state pretty clearly that the scene was indeed rape: "he forces himself on her ... it's not welcome".

(I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember their exact words, but I think I'm reasonably close.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2014


Lena Headey describes the scene from her perspective. (Full transcript and video)
posted by maudlin at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe this was covered above, but he also jousts Loras Tyrell in S1E5.

Here's the joust, btw: The Hound vs The Mountain yt


And here's a song about the joust: "Bannerman" (Game of Thrones / Piano Man spoof)
posted by homunculus at 6:11 PM on April 29, 2014


On rethinking about it I think I disagree with what someone said about Daario basically just going with the flow of the moment. I think he knew exactly what he was going to do, and how; the duel was over before the other dude even took one step with his horse.

He's like, Lumberjack Legolas or something.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:02 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


The duel was over the moment the other guy's urine hit the dirt.
posted by homunculus at 9:00 PM on April 30, 2014


Yeah. Over before it began is my point. Daario's kind of the Chaotic Good version of Jaime's (IMHO) Chaotic Neutral, and the match point really is that they are (were..) the pre-eminent warriors of their respective domains.

In my headcanon Daario meets Jaime prior to his, uh, removal, and they have to fight together against some bad dudes. Think Rodrigo and Ammar in Lions of al-Rassan.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:45 AM on May 1, 2014


Chaotic Good? Interesting. I think his first act for Dany after his entrance in Season 3 (killing his partners and presenting their heads to her) doesn't quite fit Chaotic Good.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:01 AM on May 1, 2014


Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons has kind of always struck me as the definition of CG.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:03 AM on May 1, 2014


The right reason being that he thinks Dany is hot?
posted by Area Man at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2014


Yeah, I feel like Jaime pushing Bran out the window fits "the wrong thing for the right reasons" better. Dany has no inherent righteousness in recruiting the Second Sons. Daario just likes her.

Jaime, on the other hand, knows full well that if his relationship with Cersei is revealed to Robert that he, Cersei, and their children will all be killed.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:22 AM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like Jaime pushing Bran out the window fits "the wrong thing for the right reasons" better.

No, that's the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. Pure self-preservation.

Daario, maybe, (who, yes, likes Dany obvs) thinks that she really is a force for good in the world so he took out the guys who were going to kill her, and brought her the Second Sons as a present.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2014


Yeah. Over before it began is my point. Daario's kind of the Chaotic Good version of Jaime's (IMHO) Chaotic Neutral, and the match point really is that they are (were..) the pre-eminent warriors of their respective domains.

I dunno. Can you really be neutral if you push a kid out the window because he caught you sleeping with your sister, and then kill your cousin to try to escape imprisonment for having done this, and then rape your sister. Does killing a bad king buy this much goodwill
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:27 AM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've always seen CN as "Doing whatever I want, damn the consequences."

Which is Jaime in a nutshell.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2014


I've always seen CN as "Doing whatever I want, damn the consequences."

What? No. I'd say that is much more Cersei than Jaime.

Jaime, despite being the KingSlayer, is ultimately loyal to his family and the people he loves. His actions stem from that loyalty--which is often misplaced, as when he does what Tywin and/or Cersei wants him to do, he ends up screwed more often than not.

He didn't push Bran out the window because, "Damn the consequences". He just weighed the situation, and realized that the consequences of someone seeing Cersei cheating on the King would be the worst of any options open to him. Just that she was cheating, let alone with her brother, would get her into serious trouble.

Yes, I know, Jaime would be in big trouble too, right? But the thing about Jaime is he doesn't care for all the behind the scenes maneuvering and subtlety at which Tywin and Tyrion excel. When it comes to duplicity, Jaime sucks worse than any other Lannister. He doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. He never shrinks from a fight. Hell, he revels in them.

Plus, Jaime has romantic notions about the love he and Cersei share. So he would honestly rather just come clean about the relationship, marry Cersei and say, 'Hey, the Targaryens married their siblings, what's the big deal?'

But he loves Cersei, and he knows that Reputation is a big deal to her. Cersei may hate Robert, but she LOVES being the Queen. She doesn't want to give up the power or the respect that position gives her. When Jaime says, 'The things I do for love,' as he pushes Bran out the window, he is stating a simple truth. The very worst things he has ever done, he has done out of love for his sister and his family.

I am not sure what alignment that makes him, but I don't think CN fits the bill.
posted by misha at 3:17 PM on May 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


It occurred to me last night that the other character in contemporary pop culture who most reminds me if Jaime is Sterling Archer. This would make Lana Cersei and Mallory Tywin. Beyond that I'm not sure how far we can push this metaphor.
posted by Diablevert at 7:29 AM on May 2, 2014


In the episode Breaker of Chains, the show's linguist David Peterson created the ultimate in-joke with series creator Dan Weiss, by translating Monty Python quotes into Low Valyrian, a language used by a clan on the show. More specifically, he took the insults hurled by a French soldier in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, such as "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:03 AM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Low Valyrian isn't used by a "clan"; that's an odd phrasing.

Specifically, it was Meereen's champion who said these lines, the dude who pissed at Dany et al. before charging toward Daario to his doom.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:32 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that it's pretty clear that High versus Low Valyrian is equivalent to Classical versus Vulgar Latin. Or, less likely, Attic versus Koine Greek. But I think it's more likely to be intended as a Latin parallel. Old Valyria is meant to be the Roman Empire.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:00 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


So yeah, women can inherit, they just have the deck severely stacked against them and are valued primarily for their ability to have sons and are marched around as pawns, but that's also kind of the point. (In the universe, I mean, it's kind of the point that we are constantly reminded of how awful the gender politics are.)

There's more on this in the Episode 7 thread.
posted by homunculus at 10:08 AM on May 21, 2014


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