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.

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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.

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Magical Mondays: Fantastic Cryptids and Where To Find Them

A frame from the famous (in cryptozoological circles) Patterson-Gimlin footage of what’s supposedly a Bigfoot walking through the woods. (via Wikipedia)

This may or may not be a known fact to our readers, but in case you missed it, I love cryptozoology. I think it’s a fun and harmless interest, and while you won’t catch me out in the woods doing Bigfoot calls, I won’t pass up the opportunity to watch a “documentary” about someone else doing just that. But despite the efforts to make cryptozoology seem like a serious branch of science to tie Sasquatches to a missing evolutionary link and lake monsters to dinosaurs who never went extinct, I think a lot of people, myself included, are interested in cryptids because they offer an element of somewhat fantastical chaos into a world in which it sometimes feels that there’s not a ton left to discover otherwise—especially if you’re a layperson without a handful of science degrees. Anyone can go sit on the edge of Loch Ness and hope to spot a monster. And hey, isn’t it hubris to assume we’ve discovered every known species when we’re constantly discovering new and bizarre creatures in remote areas?

That said, the general belief is that people who take chupacabras, skunk apes, Jersey Devils, and the Mothman too seriously are stubborn, stupid, and naïve. But though cryptids themselves are often fantastical creatures, the attitude we have toward them in the real world seems to be exclusive to the real world. While some fantasy stories do feature cryptid-esque animals, they’re never treated with quite the same sense of dismissive derision—by either the narrative or the people involved—that real-world cryptids and cryptid enthusiasts get. In fact, the farther you get from realism, the more likely it is they’ll be celebrated rather than mocked.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Westworld, Sadism, and Humanity

HBO continues to set a high bar in its primetime drama, and the new sci-fi drama Westworld is a strong addition to their lineup this fall. With cinematic production values that match or exceed Game of Thrones, there’s no doubt that the network has made a real commitment to this reboot of a relatively obscure 1973 movie, starring, of all people, Yul Brynner.

shall-we-dance

Please tell me nobody’s going to reboot this, too.

Westworld isn’t a sweeping epic, like Game of Thrones, but rather, a more thoughtful, existential work more in the mode of The LeftoversIt shares some common DNA with Orphan Black and Dollhouse, pushing through the boundaries of humanity in a world where technology is showing them to be soft.

Orphan Black‘s clones challenge a basic sense of human autonomy: Sarah and her sestras were made in a lab, from their carefully-coded DNA on out. They are copyrighted and patented intellectual property, reproducible by their owner. Their rebellion over the course of the series is, in part, about taking back self-ownership. Dollhouse was the converse: its featured technology did not create new bodies, but customized the minds and personalities of the individuals in its clutches. While the clones seek to reclaim their engineered bodies for their individual minds, the dolls of Dollhouse seek to regain ownership of their engineered minds.

Westworld, essentially, does both: its robotic characters have artificial minds in artificial bodies, beyond the fractured humanity of its predecessors. What self can there be under such circumstances? And how can the viewers navigate these uncanny representations of humanity?

Westworld.jpgTrigger warnings for rape and rape culture below, as well as spoilers.

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