Last Week’s Game Of Thrones Celebrated Mother’s Day With Awesome Lady Scenes
By Alex Cranz
The Game of Thrones video game came out last week and word is that the only women who show up are handing out quests or getting banged in the background. Hopefully this isn’t the case because if it is then the game creators have completely missed the mark when it comes to interpreting the land of Westeros. All they need do is look at this very special Mother’s Day episode which seemed to have nearly every female character taking center stage. I think there were more developed female characters in this episode than you average episode of The L Word and that show is ONLY about ladies.
Ygritte continues to be the counterpoint to every woman we’ve seen on the show, and really every man as well. While Osha has given us an idea of what the wildlings are like she’s more devoted to her exceptional spirituality than she is to the wildling way of life. But Ygritte. Ygritte is a hardcore believer.
In the books her devotion to anarchy often bordered on irritating, but when she’s actually brought to life she is a vibrant character. Yes she is anarchic but it is no longer just a political idealogy. You really can sense how it pervades her way of life. How she moves, speaks, reacts and lives are all governed by her belief in a form of extreme individualism that would make tea baggers ruin their underpants with delight. Also she’s the rare female character to gleefully bust the balls of Westeros’s most grumpy hunk.
As Jon tries and fails to be awesome Ygritte is effortless. She sees Jon and knows him and as she tells him, he “knows nothing.”
But he’s not the only male this hour failing to understand things. Tywin has figured out that Arya isn’t who she says she is but he still has no idea that she is, perhaps, the most valuable person in Harrenhal besides himself. That’s fine though, because if he knew their tete a tetes wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable. Right now she’s just a toy for him to play with. A curious little oddity to help pass the time. If he knew who she was that would change in an instant. And you get that in their scenes. They’re both walking along a razor’s edge. They’re playing roles.
But the character who most felt like she was actually stick in a play was one dragon-owning lady who had the misfortune of having her most emotionally potent line pulled for promos and ended up sounding like a broken record.
I like Daenerys. Really I do. I also like Emilia Clarke. I think she does a great job wedding the two wildly different parts of Daenerys in a cohesive whole and I think there are few actresses in her age group that could ever do it as well. I also think that daaaaang have they written Dany-girl into a corner of privileged angry future despotic ladyness. And just when I was ready to write Dany off they had to go and prove that she, like Jon, knows nothing of the world.
Her crash course in real world horrors is two fold. There’s the betrayal of her friend (he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and will tell you forever) and the realization that the magic her dragons possess is only the tip of the iceberg. Sorcerers exist. Men and women exist with magic potent enough to stage coups and destroy lives and they want nothing more than to control Daenerys.
Fortunately she has Sir Jorah and a couple of surviving Dothraki on her side and even though Jorah’s devotion to her is mildly creepy (dude is old enough to be her dad and feel like a Nice Guy™ too often) he’s also one of the few allies she has that isn’t into her just for her dragons.
Which is kind of awesome. Usually women in fantasy settings are desired for their beauty and maybe for their crown (if they have one). Guys want to get with them so they have have access to that power and also the other p-word that I really wanted to use here but feel might be too crass. Yet the men Dany’s met since giving birth to three squalling piles of dragony flesh have all desired her solely because of the dragons she controls. Except Jorah. No one told him that he’s doing it wrong.
You know who else sucks at doing things? Sansa. Her sheer panic overwhelms the wall of demureness she’s built up over the season and when she sees the menstrual fluid all over her mattress she freaks out. I love how Shae just assumes that Sansa is an idiot at first. I also love how their attempt to hide the stain makes it more obvious and that Shae attempts to fix things by pulling a knife on a woman. This Shae, versus the often vexing and ignorant one of the book, is a real treat. She’s smart and constantly conscious of just how dangerous the castle she lives in is. Unfortunately others are just as savvy and the Hound (who people apparently want to hook up with Sansa? Gross.) finds Sansa weeping over the stain and rats her out. This is AFTER she tried to be nice to him. Which is, you know, not such a great foundation for a romance. Also dude is like thirty years older than her. Also dude is kind of crazy? Whatever. Tangent. I’m over it.
Cersei too is savvy and when she learns that Sansa is now menstruating she calls her in and tries to make a snide comment about Catelyn. Then she tries to help Sansa in her wonderfully Cersei-like way. That gratuitous beating of a prostitute we all had to suffer through a few weeks ago is weighing heavy on Cersei’s mind. She knows about it and she knows that it means nothing good and that she’s going to be sending another poor girl/woman into the arms of that creature. But she’s trying to balance her feelings of horror over her son’s actions with her distaste at selling women into marriages and with the necessity of her duties. She may hate it all but she has to do it.
And she does hate it. That’s made abundantly clear in her later scene with Tyrion which may well end up being one of my favorite scenes of the entire show. The jealousy, resentment and fraternal bond all flow just beneath the surface as they try to prepare for the coming battle, and wrestle with their previous choices and admit, finally, what they each know.
While Tyrion and Cersei partake in a delicate dance of insinuations and concealed truths their brother Jaime embraces honesty even as he ignores chivalry. He’s the best sort of villain. Absolutely self-aware and possessing not one iota of true guile. He says and does what he likes and cares not for consequences. Which is unfortunate because that means he murders a cousin, kills a Karstark, breaks out of the Stark camp and is nearly killed for it. Only Catelyn’s intervention saves him and she really does put it all on the line.
But she also draws a sword when Jaime goes too far, so it’s not like she was doing it out of affection. She really is just THAT NOBLE.
So’s her son Robb, who is in love with a camp doctor lady but is also twelve and thus has no idea how to talk to ladies besides using a low voice and staring at her boobs.
Theon, Robb’s former brother from another mother? Not as loyal. In fact. Opposite of loyal. And being torn apart by it. The episode ends with him watching as two burnt corpses are strung up. Has he murdered his best friends’ brothers just to earn a modicum of respect from the worst father and ship crew on the planet?