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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Return to Westeros: “Hardhome” Review

Oh, somehow, we’re nearly fifty episodes into a show where a zombie apocalypse feels like a huge relief after weeks and weeks of sexual violence. Hooray?

Okay, this looks bad.

Okay, this looks bad.

“Hardhome” is about more than just the title location, but it swallows up nearly all the oxygen in the room this week, capped by a long, slow, and nearly dialogue-free battle between the Night’s Watch, the wildlings, and a growing horde of skeletons, zombies, wights, and ultimately, White Walkers. There were very few survivors.

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A Song of Ice and Fire and the A+J=C&J Fan Theory: Ace’s Favorite Theory Ever

Well, now that Game of Thrones’s fifth season has a release date, I figured it was time to revisit the book series and talk about another theory. I mean, hey, it’s going to be a few more years until the sixth book comes out, and maybe another decade before the seventh, so at this point, yeah, discussing theories is about all we can do to pass the time.

via fanpop.

via fanpop.

So let’s discuss my favorite A Song of Ice and Fire theory. Though it is by no means popular among the fanbase, there is a theory that King Aerys II Targaryen and Joanna Lannister, not Joanna and Tywin, are Cersei and Jaime’s real parents. This theory, commonly shortened to A+J=C&J, is one I desperately hope to be true. This is, however, probably not a popular opinion, since from what I can tell, most book readers hate it.

Spoilers for ASOIAF and a trigger warning for rape and sexual assault after the jump.

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Magical Mondays: It’s a Metaphor

One of the most important functions of fiction is that it can be used to provide greater insight on reality. By reframing a real social problem in an entirely new and unfamiliar context, that problem can be portrayed more objectively, divorced from the society that may normalize or excuse prejudices or social division. As writers have addressed before, allegory is a very common and a very positive element of fantasy, but even the noblest and most direct of allegories are not the same as visible and relatable minority representation in fantasy. Social research indicates that for minority groups, visibility in media is critical in creating a sense of importance and self-worth, something that metaphorical representation, however well-constructed, does not provide. Fortunately, there is no reason that a story cannot contain both an extended social metaphor and some trans wizards or dark-skinned fauns. Continue reading

Bows, Jails, and Prostitutes Who’re Impaled: The Worrying Trend of Misogyny in GoT’s Season 4 Finale

With this season of Game of Thrones finally at its close, it’s time to look back at where the season, and its finale, left us. It’s a shame that I found this season’s finale fitting for the season as a whole—in this case “fitting” meaning “I expected a lot more”. Season 4 felt like a season of mess-ups and scrambling to reach certain plot points, which only made the impact of these plot points suffer and the climax feel that much less… climatic. Honestly, some of this could have been remedied, I’m sure, if an entire episode wasn’t devoted to Jon Snow and the Wall. But an entire episode was devoted to it, and while it wasn’t a bad episode by any means, it just felt a touch unnecessary. However, on reflecting on the chaos and loss of the finale, I found that one thing in particular caused me to stare at my computer screen just a little more judgmentally. It didn’t ruin the finale, no, but it did continue the disturbing trend that started up this season, and I fear it’s only a sign of more of this kind of thing to come in the future.



Spoilers for the Season 4 finale under the cut. Also a trigger warning for mention of rape and graphic images.

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In Brightest Day: Characters Don’t Get to Stay Disabled

If you have seen “Breezy,” the most recent episode of Adventure Time, then you will know that something really awful happened. That’s right—Finn grew his arm back. Just grew it back. And maybe I would be less annoyed if 1) I didn’t expect better of Adventure Time, and 2) this wasn’t symptomatic of a bigger problem. “Curing” disabled characters is one of those things that happens a lot in genre fiction and it sends an awful message.

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In Brightest Day: Tyrion and the Lannisters

(Note: I’m just finished with A Clash of Kings, so if Tyrion ends up killing everyone later on in a drunken rage, don’t tell me kthxbai. Oh, and TW: rape and incest.)

As I’m working through both A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, I’ve come to realize that Tyrion Lannister is the only Lannister I don’t absolutely loathe, and with good reason.

520181-tyrion_lannisterDespite being a booze-guzzling, sex-driven dwarf in a world of “noble and strong men,” Tyrion is a better person than most of the main characters. And Tyrion is definitely one of the most compelling characters in the series.

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