Game of Thrones Season 7: Elia Martell Deserved Better than Rhaegar Targaryen

Spoilers for Season 7 of Game of Thrones throughout.

Before the seventh season came out, I knew that it would probably be worse than the seasons before it. I just didn’t know how it would be worse. But disappointed I was not. The horribleness this time around more than exceeded my expectations. There are so many things to talk about, but here on Lady Geek Girl & Friends we try to keep our posts below a certain word limit, so we don’t bog you readers down with a post the size of a novella. And Game of Thrones’s seventh season is so asinine that a novella is exactly what I’d be in danger of writing if I tried tackling all my thoughts. Thankfully for me, Mikely will be by later this month with his own Game of Thrones Season 7 review. In the meantime, however, I’ve got a bone to pick with Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, his annulment to Elia Martell, and all the worldwide implications that entails.

Trigger warning for abuse, violence, and sexual assault up ahead.

Continue reading

Minor Character Appreciation: A Song of Ice and Fire’s Shae

Well, everyone, this is our last post before our summer vacation! We’ll be off for the next two weeks or so, but in the meantime, Game of Thrones is back on the air, and I don’t think many of you will be surprised to learn that I still hate it and question everything that’s happening. As such, I figured it was time to take another look at a minor character who has always stuck with me: Shae. Shae’s book and show counterparts couldn’t be farther apart. But if I’m being honest with myself, it’s another change from the books that I somehow actually enjoyed in the show. Part of that is because I doubt the show could handle Shae’s book storyline well because it’s consistently proven itself incapable of treating its female characters with any kind of respect.

Trigger warning for victim blaming, rape, sexual abuse, and murder up ahead.

Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: The Life-Changing Magic of Being Not Like Other Girls

As I recently read S. Jae-Jones’s YA novel Wintersong, I noticed something troubling. The book seemed designed to appeal to me: it was a fantasy romance with strong (really strong) inspiration from both the movie Labyrinth and my favorite poem, Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market. However, something about Liesl, the main character, bugged me, and it took me a while to figure it out. Not because it wasn’t obvious, but because I thought that, in this, the Year of Our Lord 2017, we had done away with the “not like other girls” trope.

It’s a tale as old as time: a girl who’s just ~not like~ the other girls around her, against all odds, wins the day. These stories are appealing to us because these girls are framed as the outcasts; we can relate to their being bookish or plain or unpopular. But a problem that uniquely affects the female characters who fit these roles is that they often succeed or achieve victory at the expense of other women and girls, or by denigrating traditional femininity (or both). Liesl is an on-the-nose example of this trope: she is terribly jealous of her sister’s physical beauty, a trait Liesl lacks and constantly laments. Liesl is a genius composer, but her skills are downplayed or overlooked because of her gender. Meanwhile, it feels like her gorgeous sister is set up to be resented, as she at least can win men’s attention with her looks.

The cup of a carpenter is not like those frilly other cups. (via indygear)

However, when offered a beautiful fae gown by the servants of the Goblin King, Liesl instead chooses a plain dress, and this is played like Indiana Jones correctly picking the right Holy Grail. But instead of just rejecting the wealth and majesty of the other dresses, it reads as though Liesl is casting a value judgment on the majority of the other women in the book, who did choose to wear frills and finery.

This is just the latest example of this issue, rather than the only one. Pop culture has a long and varied history of celebrating these not-like-other-girls, from formative Disney flicks all the way up to watch-at-your-own-risk premium television like Game of Thrones. These portrayals enforce a terrible message: that there’s only one right way to be a girl, and that it’s totally acceptable to tear down other girls who don’t meet those standards. Continue reading

Minor Character Appreciation: A Song of Ice and Fire’s Margaery Tyrell

There are very few things I like better in the television adaptation Game of Thrones than in the original source material. And when such a rare improvement does occur, the show has proven time and time again that it is more than capable of messing it up. One such thing is Margaery Tyrell. Although she has a large role in the show, her A Song of Ice and Fire counterpart features significantly less often. We never see the story from Margaery’s perspective, only from the perspective of others, and it’s from them that we are left to interpret her character.

(via wiki)

Game of Thrones made her much more active in the story. This allowed the show to imprint on her a fascinating and cunning personality. I know I’m not the only one who was blown away by Margaery when Game of Thrones first introduced her—she’s a proponent for gay rights, sexually active, sure of herself, and smart enough to play the eponymous game of thrones. Of course we loved her. Unfortunately, this is still Game of Thrones. Margaery seemed amazing on the surface, but when you dig deeper, it’s clear she’s just another victim of Game of Thrones’s terrible misogynistic writing. Making her more active in the story is all well and good, but it came at the expense of Cersei’s characterization, because once again, the show completely failed to realize the original purpose of Margaery’s character.

Continue reading

Minor Character Appreciation: A Song of Ice and Fire’s Waymar Royce

Game of Thrones’s seventh season is nearly upon us, and given how poorly we found the previous seasons, I suspect I’ll continue to hate the show. After all, I’ve spent the past three years telling myself that it can’t get any worse, only to be surprised in new and unfortunate ways. Nevertheless, as the next book is also coming out soon (“soon”, probably meaning sometime this decade), I decided to reread the series.

(via tvseries)

I love the books for their amazing worldbuilding, interesting characters, and the messages they bring us. Beyond that, they’re just good in a way the show is not. Everything I love about A Song of Ice and Fire—the intrigue, the nuances in characterization, things making sense—have been removed from the show, and we don’t need to look much farther than the prologue and first episode to see how. In both, we are introduced to Waymar Royce, a man of the Night’s Watch, and his two companions. Sharing an ill-fated trip north of the Wall, both books and show use these characters to set up the world and give us our first taste of Westerosi society.

Continue reading

Winter Is Coming: Climate, Morality, and Whiteness

I recently started re-reading A Game of Thrones, which means I’ve had the Stark words lodged in my head more than usual. Winter is coming. Also, I looked outside, and as frost starts to coat the grass in the morning, Ned might have a point.

Battle_of_Winterfell_1.png

A Song of Ice and Fire is always heavy-handed with its climate metaphors, but it is not alone in ascribing certain moral values to different weather patterns. H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe placed their monstrous horrors beneath the ice, and C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien show a preference for temperate climes while fearing the tropics.

While superficially harmless, there begins to be a clear pattern that uses climate, particularly this kind of temperate climate marked by warm summers and cold winters, as a shorthand to remind the reader of certain parts of the United States and Europe. By continually centering this one ecological structure, authors, intentionally or otherwise, privilege a kind of Anglo-American whiteness, culturally as well as physically. The underlying message, therefore, is one of white supremacy, particularly Anglo supremacy.

Continue reading

Game of Thrones and Its Diminishing Worldbuilding

Game of Thrones Westeros MapGame of Thrones’s sixth season bothered me on a number of levels, and the show has really been heading downhill since Season 1. I understand that when making a television show, some things from the original books need to be cut—that’s just the way things are—but there’s a huge difference between cutting material that’s not essential and taking shortcuts at every opportunity, no matter how detrimental to the story. The worldbuilding in the show really started to bother me during Season 5, but it wasn’t until Season 6 that I could put my finger on it: Westeros is small.

Continue reading