The Bastard of Winterfell

Guest post from Fraser

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Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born.

These words uttered to Jon Snow by Aemon Targaryen were perhaps more important than ever at the end of the ambitious episode 8 of Game of Thrones. It was an episode where the young Lord Commander truly took center stage. Jon Snow is arguably the most important character in the ASOIAF universe and I will prove that he is. George R. R. Martin tries to break fantasy tropes in his world- it isn’t a fantasy story in the same wayThe Lord of the Rings is. It is much more complex, and his characters follow this pattern. Jon Snow is one of these characters. You often see people say he is ‘too gloomy’ or ‘2 dimensional’ and these people are incredibly wrong!  Jon is a character whose journey is at a crossroads come the end of A Dance with Dragons, and you would expect it will be in the same place come the end of season 5. It’s a journey that deserves to be understood and to understand the journey, you need to understand Jon Snow.

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When we meet Jon Snow in A Game of Thrones he is just a 14 year old boy. A 14 year old boy who has been brought up in Winterfell by Eddard Stark alongside the other Stark children and the relationships with his half-brother Robb, his father’s ward Theon Greyjoy and his half-sister Arya are the most important to his development as a child. Robb and Theon are there when Jon is trained with a sword and on a horse and  it is said that he was more skilled than Robb with a sword. He is also said to have the most Stark like features of Ned Stark’s children, along with Arya whom he is very close to. This relationship does not need explaining if you have read the books or understand the significance of Arya’s sword Needle. Jon certainly has a soft spot for people who might be viewed as the odd one out and Arya is one of these people. This would perhaps explain Jon’s eagerness to join the Night’s Watch. He feels more comfortable with people who may be viewed as outsiders. It’s how he has experienced his life as Ned Stark’s’ bastard son. As relatively privileged as his upbringing was, a point he is not allowed to forget when he goes to the Wall, he is often mocked and called ‘Lord Snow’ due to his upbringing. However something that affects him the most is the lack of a mother or not knowing who his mother was, or is. I am personally not in the camp that solely blames Catelyn Stark for this. Her actions are far from perfect but understandable. It is surprising that Ned never seemed to trust her enough to tell her the truth of Jon’s parentage. This could have changed the way Catelyn viewed Jon if the theory of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark being Jon’s actual parents is true. It almost seems as if Ned felt a deep shame about not being able to save his sister. Or perhaps he did not want people to know about Jon’s true parentage as it puts him at risk. Jon’s struggle to understand why the man who bought him up never told him the truth about who is mother is something that he must get over throughout his journey. After Ned’s death, he figures that he will never find out. He does not know if anyone alive knows who his mother is. He believes his father was executed at the Sept of Baelor and the truth of his parentage was lost at this point. This is perhaps something that helps him become who he is by the end of A Storm of Swords .

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Throughout a Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords a lot is asked of Jon by the Night’s Watch and those around him. Qhorin Halfhand asks the most of him. Jon’s time with the Wildlings is very important to his development as a leader. He crucially learns why the Wildlings are marching south and perhaps more importantly, that they aren’t that different from people south of the Wall. A lot of decisions Jon makes throughout the series are ones that he antagonises over. He isn’t someone who takes the decisions he makes lightly. One of the first major decisions he makes is going back  to the Watch after temporarily leaving to go help Robb. After this his commitment to the Watch and his role in it grows immensely. One of the biggest moments for Jon is meeting Ygritte. His relationship with her is challenging to everything he believes in. After being told by Qhorin Halfhand to go undercover to find out what the Wildlings’ plans are, his commitment to the Watch is shown yet again when he leaves Ygritte to warn them of the coming Wildling invasion. Leaving the woman he has fallen in love with, and may have to face when the Wildlings invade, is proof of how much Jon has grown and how he now feels that the Night’s Watch is truly where he belongs. He has the chance to leave the Watch and be with someone he loves but instead chooses to warn his brothers and in the end it is a decision that saves their lives. After the battle of Castle Black and having been given the command of the Wall during the fighting, Jon’s leadership skills are evident. The eventual arrival of the wonderful father and non-religious fanatic Stannis creates further decisions for Jon to make. Jon is given the chance to have what he always dreamed of having by Stannis- Winterfell. Stannis offering to legitimise Jon and making him Warden of the North is something Jon has always secretly wanted. One of the main reasons he does not accept it is he is chosen as Lord Commander by his brothers. However another important reason he turns it down is Ghost. When reunited with Ghost he looks at his red eyes and sees the Weirwood tree in Winterfell. Melisandre would want to burn the heart tree and after all his family has been through Jon decides against it. This is perhaps the most important decision made by Jon, and one of the most important made in the entire series by someone. If Jon had accepted it he would have joined Stannis and gained him a lot of support in the North. But by choosing to become Lord Commander he takes on perhaps an even more important role- the fight against the White Walkers. The rest of this post will look at the most recent events involving Jon and theories about what is next for him. The theories surrounding Jon are perhaps some of the most important in the series.

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Jon is not going to die. Let’s get that straight. He is too important. His actions following the arrival of the “Pink Letter” lead to a mutiny and end with him getting stabbed. Of course we know nothing more of his fate after this. It also seems unlikely we will find out about what happens to him in episode 10 of season 5. There are many ways Jon could be ‘resurrected’. Firstly the importance of Melisandre at the Wall cannot be ignored and the show has even had her meet with Thoros of Myr and discuss resurrection through the Lord of Light. Also Melisandre starting to believe Jon is increasingly important will play a role in this. The ability to warg is something that is also shown to be increasingly important with the Varamyr prologue chapter as well. Jon’s ability to potentially warg his mind into Ghost’s before his body is resurrected by Mel is probably what will save his life. There is no question Jon would be a different man after this experience but in essence he would still be Jon Snow. The questions of what would be next for Jon then come up. Would dying release him from his Night’s Watch vows? Would he still be able to hold his position as Lord Commander after the attempt on his life? This is a very important question because Jon does have other options. Perhaps something that is forgotten by people is the letter that Robb made legitimising Jon as his heir should he die before having a child. Jon is the only brother that remains to me. ‘Should I die without issue, I want him to succeed me as King in the North.’ Although we cannot be sure where the letter is there is a good possibility it is with Howland Reed at Greywater Watch. If this is true this makes Howland Reed important to Jon’s future for more than one reason. Not only would this letter legitimise Jon, something he may be more favourable of having been attacked by his own brothers and the legitimisation coming from Robb himself rather than some southern King he had never met before. It would not be too surprising if Jon took this offer. Although staying at the Watch would perhaps be more in character for Jon, the experience of warging into Ghost for an extended period of time may change his motivations. Howland Reed’s importance may perhaps be even greater when it comes to knowledge about Jon’s parents. Being the only surviving member from the battle at the Tower of Joy it is likely that Howland will confirm the theory that Rhaegar and Lyanna are Jon’s parents. This would also give credit to the theories of Jon being The Prince that Was Promised, or Azor Ahai, or maybe even both. The nuances of whether these two prophecies are the same or not can be debated, but I do not believe they are. However I do believe it is possible they are the same people. Someone of Ice and Fire. Of course it could be argued either Aegon or Daenerys are Fire whilst Jon is Ice but what would the purpose of Jon having mixed Stark and Targaryen blood if he was not both? If was just ice he would just be a Stark, he is not. This is of course presuming that R+L does equal Jon but it does seem highly likely, if not obvious.

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Jon is crucial to the future of the story. We now know that we will find out his fate in either season 6 or if TWOW comes out before it. The show has set it up for Melisandre to revive him. He understands that the real fight is yet to come. The Iron Throne does not matter. This is why he cannot be dead. Whether Jon is ‘ice’ or ‘fire and ice’ or The Prince that Was Promised or Azor Ahai, or both, or he just ends up being Ned Stark’s bastard his importance cannot be overstated. He is trying to help the Wildlings, he is trying to strengthen the Night’s Watch, he is trying to prepare for the coming Winter. A Winter that will bring much more danger than any in 8000 years. He has lost his father, his brothers, his uncles, his sisters, he has lost almost everything that he grew up with. He gained a brotherhood which has turned against him, by the start of The Winds of Winter, Jon Snow may have nothing. He might be a completely different man. We do not know. But one thing I am almost certain of, he will try and do the right thing, he might gain an identity which gives him a new purpose. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell, and as Eddard Stark said, ‘You may not have my name, but you have my blood.’

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Dorne is Bad and D&D Should Feel Bad!

~Guest post from the lovely Lauren~

So before I start I just want to state that Dorne is my favourite place in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ world. I love the dynamic and complex characters, I love the shrewd political intrigue and I love the unusual (in Westerosi terms) political system and most of all I LOVE LOVE LOVE Arianne Martell.  This is NOT a critique on the ASOIAF story. It is a critique on the unrecognisable shower of shit that D&D have created for Game of Thrones. After Pedro Pascal’s stellar portrayal of the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell in season 4, Dorne was the most anticipated part of season 5. Everyone was so excited to see a region of Westeros that had not been featured on the show before. But what we got in season 5 has been one of the biggest let downs in the history of Game of Thrones. The show runners have reduced Dorne to the absolute bare minimum that they could get away with and it is beyond underwhelming.

If you’re not familiar with Dorne let me just quickly explain this beautiful region of Westeros. Dorne is the southernmost region in Westeros. It’s completely different to the rest of the world in regards to its climate, its people and its customs. Dorne is described as being mostly an arid and mountainous desert. There are many different regions in Dorne with a diverse population. Sunspear is the ancestral seat of House Martell who rule over all of Dorne and is  the capital of the region as well. dorne-sunspear

Sunspear

Let’s begin my critique by starting with this important fact: Queen Nymeria and her people (the Rhoynar) fled to Dorne and under her leadership (and the marriage to the Martells) united the whole region which soon became known as Dorne. The point I’m making here is that a woman did this.  Queen Nymeria united the region, she led a successful campaign, and she led her people safely away from their destroyed homeland. Another event in Dornish history that is of note is at the time of Aegon’s Conquest, Dorne was the only region to remain unconquered. This is thanks to the might of Dorne and the unwavering bravery and cunning by Princess Meria. Dorne has never been conquered but instead voluntarily joined the seven kingdoms through marriage alliances; a testament to their incredible political intrigue. Furthermore, this is an important event in Dornish history because it set up the fair and equal political system where the eldest child can inherit titles regardless of gender, unlike the rest of Westeros. Is there any mention of this in the television show?!?! Nope, Trystane is the heir to Dorne now completely disregarding his older sibings Arianne (the number one bae) and Quentyn.

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Arianne Martell (and Ser Aerys Oakehart who mysteriously vanished from the show)

So basically what I’m trying to say is that throughout Dornish history women have been important players, but there is no mention of or even allusion to this in the show. They cut Arianne (arguably one of the most powerful and important female characters in ASOIAF), they cut five of the sand snakes and even cut Quentyn (which had a pretty interesting storyline IMO). D&D did away with important female Dornish characters and their agency and completely transformed Ellaria’s personality from a caring and peaceful mother to this vengeful, bitter woman set on avenging Oberyn. One of the best parts of Ellaria’s character is that she does NOT desire revenge! Her speech to the Sand Snakes in A Dance with Dragons is one of the best in the series:

Oberyn wanted vengeance for Elia. Now the three of you want vengeance for him. I have four daughters, I remind you. Your sisters. My Elia is fourteen, almost a woman. Obella is twelve, on the brink of maidenhood. They worship you, as Dorea and Loreza worship them. If you should die, must El and Obella seek vengeance for you, then Dorea and Loree for them? Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?” Ellaria Sand laid her hand on the Mountain’s head. “I saw your father die. Here is his killer. Can I take a skull to bed with me, to give me comfort in the night? Will it make me laugh, write me songs, care for me when I am old and sick?”

“What would you have us do, my lady?” asked the Lady Nym. “Shall we lay down our spears and smile, and forget all the wrongs that have been done to us?”

“War will come, whether we wish it or not,” said Obara. “A boy king on the Iron Throne. Lord Stannis holds the Wall and is gathering nothmen to his cause. The two queens are squabbling over Tommen like bitches with a juicy bone. The ironmen have taken the Shields and are raiding up the Mander, deep into the heart of the Reach, which means Highgarden will be preoccupied as well.  Our enemies are in disarray. The time is ripe.”

“Ripe for what? To make more skulls?” Ellaria Sand turned to the prince. “They will not see. I can hear no more of this.”

Instead of this, we now have an Ellaria who wishes to send Myrcella back to Dorne in pieces which is not only disturbing in itself, but is a stark contradiction to Oberyn’s comment to Cersei in season 4!

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Speaking of Doran, he has all of what, 3 minutes of screen time thus far? Doran Martell is one of the most underrated players in the game and instead of portraying Doran as this understated but nevertheless shrewd diplomat, we’ve only seen him arguing with Ellaria so far. We’ve seen Dorne many times this season yet I don’t remember anything of consequence to have actually happened?

D&D have also reduced the Sand Snakes down to just 3 and they have made them SO one dimensional and boring, which the Sand Snakes are not! They are the embodiment of Dorne: passionate, fiery, intelligent, diverse etc… and D&D have taken this and have completely fucked it up. Where is the agency? Where is the diversity? Where are the personalities?! – Side note, what the fuck did they do to Tyene in episode 7? 1) that is not Tyene’s personality 2) Since when do the Sand Snakes give antidote to their victims? Especially after having to be told ‘they are the most beautiful’ by some random. Answer: they NEVER do. Don’t even get me started on their costumes, let alone their armour. Why do they need nipples on their armour? Why do they need to sexualise them?! The show runners have essentially taken 3 strong and unique personalities and rolled them into 1 character. Now, instead of these unique personalities, we are left with ethnic ninja Barbie dolls.

snakesThe Sand Snakes we deserve!

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The Sand Snakes that D&D chose…..

Let’s thank our lucky stars they didn’t cast Arianne, she would have just been objectified, her powerful agency taken away and would have been reduced down to just her sex and would have been a victim of their misogynistic crap like so many of the other wonderful and powerful female characters (#protectSansa). How shit is that? That we have to be THANKFUL that they didn’t include a character because they would ruin them!

D&D GET YOUR MISOGYNISTIC BULLSHIT AWAY FROM DORNE.

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.

Beet Protection Society! Oh, and Shireen too!

The Beet Protection Society!
by the fabulous Brandi
In light of D&D’s fanfiction season 5 I started worrying about the fates of (NEARLY EVERYONE!) two characters who are alive in the books. (No my dears, not Pyp and Grenn. Don’t talk to me about that tragedy.) Shireen and Tommen (Lannister) Baratheon. Before you rip my head off about how they aren’t that important and other characters are more important, just hear me out. And yes, children should be protected with the exception of Ramsey. But there are more reasons to protect Shireen and Tommen than their age. I feel it’s important to stop thinking of them as minor characters hanging around and start thinking of them as future powerful players in this game. And to get to that point, it’s important that we all join what I’m going to call the Beet Protection Society. (Clever; I know….not really. We’ll work on it.)

​Via Penna

There are so many characters in this series that demand protection and by all reality should be protected as well (DO YOU HAVE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT THE PRECIOUS HOUSE STARK? Or…at least what’s left of it….) but those have been done. We could also go on the opposite end and do a list of all who deserve death, but all I want to discuss is how we as a fandom can protect Shireen and Tommen. How we must protect them at all costs.
The fact of the matter is both are royalty. Yes, we are all aware Jaime is really Tommen’s father but Robert still claimed him as a potential heir (yes unknowing to the real paternal aspect of Tommen but claimed.) I’m not saying Stannis is not our rightful king, I’m merely stating that Tommen is still of importance. But more to the fact, Tommen is unaware of his parentage and this should protect him from a punishment for unlawfully taking the throne. As for Shireen, she’s the rightful princess. She is the one true king’s daughter and if that doesn’t call for all the protection in the world I really don’t know what does.

I could continue with more light #gameofthronesbanter (really I think this is the best hashtag I’ve seen in this fandom. Let’s be real) with their shared importance, their shared reasons but I want to get serious. (Not as serious as Sansa Stark but I can’t be touched about that yet.) So lists are fun, let’s have a list!
Shireen Baratheon. How do I begin to describe Shireen Baratheon?

In all seriousness though, let’s discuss.
1.) Shireen is the only child of Stannis, we are going to disregard shadow!baby because…well. If Stannis is the one true king of Westeros, and he is, he needs an heir. You can say all you want that she can’t be his heir regarding her sex but I mean…try to fight him on that. He needs to name someone and fight me on him not naming his own daughter. And if he names Shireen, then by all rights she should take the throne after him. If we let her fall through the crack who the hell will we get on the throne? Gendry is out there still out there trying to figure out how to row his boat…

Besides, let’s all be real here. The best part of Myrcella being in Dorne (outside of the fantastic book!cast of Dorne) is the push to make her the queen. Shireen could be even more exciting trying to take the throne. She’s probably stronger and smarter than Myrcella (who don’t get me wrong, I love too). She has Stannis’ blood pumping through her veins, that would be one hell of a ride. We need to be realistic in the terms of the books, the key players right now may not be the ones we end with on the throne. We need to be realistic that some ‘minor’ character may come out of no where and take the throne. Shireen could be an interesting contender.
2.) Shireen beat most odds and survived Greyscale. While it’s possible to survive Greyscale to an extent, it also says something  about her as a person to fight it off and become the adorable child we know. We heard Val/Gilly’s story of what they know Greyscale to do. We’ve met the Stone Men. This child beat the odds of that and became the smart, kind, adorable little girl she is. We can talk about the luck of Stannis finding all the right people but at the same time we can discuss how something in her personality was strong enough to let it not take her life. What does surviving Greyscale have to do with keeping her protected? If she can survive Greyscale, think of the girl’s potential. Think of the many other things she could survive, having survived this. Besides, the girl survived her crazed mother. Think of other kids who survive a super crazy mother….

3.) Shireen is smart and far more like Stannis than Selyse. In all matters that matter, Selyse is a terrible mother to Shireen. Selyse gets even worse towards her after Melisandre comes into the picture with her magic boobs and uterus (with that shadow!baby and all…tho I would tend to lean to deformed uterus…having shadow!babies and all). Despite that, despite being locked away essentially, Shireen is a decent and true person. Outside of having Patchface, Shireen has no one to entertain her and she took to studying and reading. She has to be pretty smart if at 9 she is teaching Davos to read; teaching Davos to read well. Not only that, but show!Shireen decided to teach Gilly to read. While Shireen being a sweet child doesn’t scream being like Stannis, her ability to endure, her intelligence, her loyalty…that’s what makes her like Stannis. Despite Davos being locked away for not buying Melisandre’s game, she still believe he was a good person. Still believe he was her friend. We haven’t had a chance to find out if she’s like Stannis in every sense, but what we do know, I feel deems her important enough to save.
4.) Shireen is often glanced over in chapters featuring her. We don’t even know much about her personality or who she is. I understand losing characters we don’t know well is easier but is it fair to also lose someone we know nothing about that is a pretty important character. Shireen has potential to be prominent and important if allowed to survive long enough to be given the storylines. When we first meet Shireen, shes essentially locked away in a tower and her mother talks of her as this deformed monster. Not in exact terms, but basically. She’s this shy, quiet, sweet little girl. We get little bits of her before she reaches the wall, but all of it is pity. It’s much in the way people look at Bran after his accident. It’s really no different when we leave her in ADWD. She’s pitied or seen as unclean. She hasn’t had a chance to be seen as anything other than this sweet little girl who has had some unfortunate disease. The worst part is, she knows that’s how she’s seen. And she still manages to stay the same!

​Via songsofwolves

Tommen Baratheon. What can I say about this adorable cat lover and beet hater?

1.) I’ve discussed this before, but I feel the need to repeat it. Tommen by all accounts honestly believes Robert is his father. Tommen believes he is a true Baratheon and Tommen believes he really did have the right to sit that throne after his brother died. Jaime and Cersei’s sin should have no real affect on Tommen, because he’s a small child and knows nothing about this. I can’t repeat enough that his parents sins should not be a cause to kill Tommen. Besides, outside of stamping the royal seal, Tommen could care less about being king. Tommen dreams of knighthood. Outside of kittens, Tommen only dreams of knighthood. Joffrey was supposed to be king, not Tommen. And once Joffrey died, all Tommen knows is that the next child then takes the throne. He honestly believes, and I can’t stress this enough or repeat it enough, that he is the next lawful heir to Robert Baratheon. How can he be punished for that?

2.) While it’s obvious Tommen shares his sass with his mother, Tommen is more like Jaime than Cersei. Tommen actually thinks about things, even for a little kid.

“Yes, but I’m the king. Margaery says that everyone has to do what the king says. I want my white courser saddled on the morrow so Ser Loras can teach me how to joust. I want a kitten too, and I don’t want to eat beets.”

While this doesn’t seem too well thought out, the fact that he decided to square off against his mother simply because he’s king. He feels and knows that as king he should be able to have control. He thought out enough to use that to get what he wants; to joust. And then the little cute shit adds in a kitten and how he doesn’t want to eat beets. It’s more of a playful sass, more like how Jaime is. And like Jaime, he dreams of knighthood. Jaime didn’t want to be the heir for Tywin, granted for many different reasons. Tommen doesn’t want to be king. That’s Joffrey’s job.Tommen has it in his head that he’d be a knight like Jaime. And like Jaime, he knows when to be careful. In that same scene, he backs down slightly when Cersei seems to be getting angry with him.
3.) No beets. I don’t feel like I need to explain this too much. We should save anybody who wants to outlaw beets.
4.) Like Shireen, Tommen is super underrated. All we get of Tommen is everyone else experiencing him. We don’t know much of Tommen, outside of Ser Pounce, wanting to be a knight, no beets, and liking to stamp the royal seal. Like Shireen, Tommen hasn’t had a real chance to prove his worth but you can’t tell me he doesn’t have it. The little we see of him before Joffrey dies, he’s your average little boy. He suffers Joff’s torture, and isn’t really seen much. Once he becomes king, the poor kid is trying to play his own against Margaery and Cersei using him against each other. And to be fair, he does pretty well. He decides, as his wife, he should listen to Margaery and tries to make his mom listen to him regarding her.

Via ​songsofwolves

I could have went on to many more reasons but I feel these were the most broad and important reasons. It’s all fun and games, in the game of thrones (HA) but I adore these two so much that the thought of them no longer around and never having the potential to evolve actually frustrates me. The possibilities are endless with these two and I don’t think they get enough credit and definitely not enough storylines to prove their worth. And it’s great to sit here and discuss their potential and importance but I don’t think people are paying attention to this 50 Shades of Cray fanfiction D&D are producing. Not enough people are seeing the real potential of them killing off more (RIP Pyp and Grenn. RIP Gendry’s storyline. RIP SANSA/ALAYNE’S storyline. RIP Lady Stoneheart…etc) people that are fully alive. Show!Lovers can come out and scream about how it’s exciting and Book!Burners can scream about how D&D are setting up for us soon catching and passing where the books currently stand timewise. But until I have ink and paper proving these two are dead, and I am over here screaming about that not happening, I refuse to believe these two shouldn’t survive. That these two can’t play a role in the grand scheme of things.
Why do I feel the need to worry obsessively over their fates? Let’s take a quick look at how this show is handling their arcs and just point out everything we should be fearing for these two. (Remember Jojen!paste…yeah)
The thing with the show is we see them even less than we do in the books. Well that is until this mega fanfiction season. And that’s worrisome. When we first meet Tommen in the series, he’s this little kid rarely shown except for when the show wants some adorableness. When we first met Shireen, it was simply to teach Davos how to read. They kind of fall off the radar until D&D decide to fuck some shit up. Tommen comes back, aged, to become king. They completely revamp his storyline. Instead of being the cute baby who likes stamping things, he’s a teenager who is married to a hot piece of ass and getting laid. That’s problematic. Why age him and change his arc slightly? Especially since we are gearing away from the books. Are they going to kill him off too?
And then Shireen. Granted in her storyline she does involve her heading to the wall, but the focus on greyscale so much is slightly iffy. Granted we meet the Stone Men and Jon Connington and they have greyscale. But the fact that people are focusing on Shireen’s. Val and Gilly talk about how destructive it is. Val calls Shireen unclean and say she should be killed. It makes one suspicious about what they intend for her.
The real thing that scares me is how much D&D listen to fans when it comes to the show. And the fans aren’t very nice when talking about either of them.
“That young king Tommen Baratheon seriously needs to grow the f*ck up. Sies man! What a sorry excuse for a king.”(@SaneInTransit)
“As vicious a king as Joffrey was, i think we all agree that we would rather have him as king than Tommen Baratheon. (@OfficialP_Elago)
Recent events have shown that Tommen Baratheon is, in fact, the worst character in GoT. (@MuhammedRabiu_)
Psoriasis all over my face got me looking and feeling like Shireen Baratheon (@alohasarahjane)
I get this one isn’t terrible, but hella rude Who is Shireen Baratheon? the sister of the guy that got screwed up or (@DamianSommer)
My point here is, Tommen and Shireen haven’t been given an opportunity to be as fantastic as I know they can be and if we let them fall through the D&D cracks, we will never know. I mean, coming over to my side, you don’t have to eat beets. And I mean, I know you don’t want to eat beets.

Game of Bros

~Guest post from the lovely Sarah~

Fuckboys David and Dan have done it again. So before I begin this long-winded rant that noone will actually read, let’s give Benioff and Dan Weiss a big round of applause!!!

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 In game of thrones, he’d actually be the good guy.

You have collectively pissed off the entire Game of Thrones fandom. You wanna know how hard that is? Harder than Theon’s penis right now…

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Not sorry, but really I kind of am. But not really.

If you don’t know what I am talking about, TURN BACK NOW. DO NOT CONTINUE READING. GO HOME AND JUST LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SAY TO YOURSELF “Life is great, I’m great. I love myself. I will not read this stupid article about some stupid sexist/misogynistic show.” Okay, for the rest of you who know what I am talking about, you might as well whisper some words of encouragement to yourself too, you’re gonna need it.

Okay good, now, let’s talk about Sansa Stark. And by that, let’s start at the beginning…

 young sansa

Actual picture of a goddamn angel who must be protected at all costs.

 

When we first meet Sansa, she’s your typical 13-year-old girl: gossipy, annoyed by her little sister, emotional and boy crazed. The majority of the fandom was put off by Sansa’s behavior, especially when it came to fan favorite Arya. But what people seem to forget is that Sansa is a rich teenage girl who has been raised her whole life to believe that she’ll marry some prince and live happily ever after in a beautiful castle by the sea.

dreadfort

What Sansa actually gets because of fuckboys

 

Sansa is promised to the handsome blond-haired Bieber lookalike who just happens to be wealthiest bachelor and heir of the Seven Kingdoms. So when her dad told her she was going to marry him, she was ecstatic (like we all would be). She finally got what every 13-year-old girl wanted: to be a princess and marry the prince.

Now we all know how this story ultimately played out. Arya goes on this road trip with the Hound and ends up training to be an assassin, Robb makes bad life choices and ends up being an IRL Furry, Catelyn is killed by tru wuv, Bran becomes Westeros’s very first tree hugger, Rickon starts a My Little Pony club, and Ned loses his head because JUSTICE.

ned stark

 I AM THE JUSTICE. I AM NED STARKMAN.

 

So while everyone else is almost in control of their life and the choices they make, Sansa is stuck in King’s Landing, being constantly abused and assaulted by those living around her. The people who should be keeping her safe, are instead trying to break her will and emotionally destroy her. And you know what? Sansa just says “fuck that, I’m still better than all of you.”

Now, a lot of you are gonna bitch about how Sansa betrayed her family. She sold out Arya and her father to Cersei, she deserved everything that happened to her. Well dick weed, let me paint you a picture. I’d say close your eyes, but then you wouldn’t be able to read these beautiful words on your screen, so just pretend you closed your eyes to envision this scene.

 

It’s a beautiful sunny day, you’re tired after a long days ride and this cute boy who just happens to be the PRINCE OF FREAKING WESTEROS comes up to you and is like “yo bae, let’s go for a walk.” OF COURSE YOU WOULD BE STOKED. So you internally freak out, because hello HE IS CUTE, but you calm yourself and nonchalantly reply “Yeah, sure. Sounds fun Joffrey.” So you’re walking and having a great time. He listens to your concerns, gives you some wine, and all of a sudden you come across your highborn sister fighting some peasant boy. Joffrey, who wants nothing more in this world than to impress you, calls out this peasant boy for hitting your sister. So, this beautiful walk  quickly turns more awkward than if you had walked in on your brother trying out his new furry costume.

robbLife is ruff, but I’ll keep howling on

So you just try to calm everyone down and just try to convince everyone to leave this entire situation. But no, your sister keeps pushing buttons and all of a sudden, a physical altercation between your sister and your boyfriend occurs. He gets OWNED  by an 8-year-old girl and embarrasses himself in front of you. Game over.

Your sister runs off, your dad has to go find her, and you’re left alone with the Queen B of Side Eyeing Cersei Lannister. You don’t need words to imagine what was going on here.

So when you’re called into this room with the King, your dad, your sister, your future husband, and Queen B, you’re already in a fucked situation. If you tell the truth, your betrothed is going to hate you and your future mother in law will probably try to throw you into prison.

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Season 3 of Rose is the New Black coming this fall starring Margaery Tyrell and Cersei Lannister.

 

You could lie and have your entire family hate you and be forever known as the worst Stark ever….or you could just say “you don’t remember” and hope everything turns out fine. Now let’s be frank here, Ned was not going to call off this wedding anytime soon at this point. And if Sansa would have told the truth, she would have been in a world of pain for a really long time. I mean, this is her future husband. She is supposed to stick up for him. Now, well know how this really played out, but at the time, she (and the viewer) had no clue how fucking crazy this kid was. And she paid her price for her crime. She lost her Direwolf, her dog that she loved more than Robb loved Talisa.

anakin

 Still a better love story than Robb x Talisa

 Now, we all know what happened next, fuckboy Joffrey started treating Sansa right, apologizing, giving her a dope necklace, treating her like a princess and all of a sudden her dad comes in and goes “yo Sansa, we’re leaving. I’ll find you some northern boy to marry.” And Sansa just flat-out refuses. Why would she leave Kings Landing when she has this cute boy who is totally interested in her, the weather is great, and she is living out the teenage dream. So of course, she goes to the one person who’s been almost like a mother to her, Cersei freakin Lannister. She tells Cersei her father wants to leave Kings Landing and take Sansa along and that Cersei has to convince Ned to let her stay. So Cersei plays her cards right and Ned (who is told NOT to trust the guy who is obsessed/in love with his wife but yet trusts him because JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL) is betrayed by Pedo Baelish and is killed.

LF

Hello Sansa, I will protect you, but only until I use my Tardis to go to King’s Landing and leave you surrounded by enemies #Swag

Now all alone, Sansa needs to find a way to survive. And now people see Sansa as weak because she doesn’t just go around killing people in their sleep. That just isn’t Sansa. Sansa uses her wits and words to navigate through her every day life, while being subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse by her keepers. Sansa’s story has always been about surviving in a world fought with words, not swords. And despite everything that has happened to her, she’s always remained kind and caring. And at this point, if you’re still on board with the whole “Sansa deserves all this shit” please go talk to your mother or some woman in your life that you respect and love. Please, I’ll wait for you.

 

Okay glad to see you’re back. I missed you. Hope your talk was great.

 

Now, I want to discuss the first time Game of Thrones actually disgusted me. Let’s turn to Season 2, episode 4 “The Old Gods and the New.” In this episode, Myrcella is shipped off to Dorne and as Sansa and her captives head back to the Keep, they are attacked by a mob of angry residents. Sansa is separated and chased down by a group of men. One of the men attacks her, knocks her to the ground, gets over top of her and asks her if she’s “ever been fucked.” If Sandor had not come and rescue her, I think it is safe to say Sansa would have been raped. Now I know in the books, Sansa is attacked, but did David and Dan have to actually show this scene? They’re already re-written so many story arcs, they could have easily just had her cornered with a knife to her throat. But David and Dan, being David and Dan, do not miss out on a chance to sexually victimize a female character.

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I’m pretty sure this scene was just foreshadowing all the future bullshit we’d be seeing later on.

 

Even after that scene, I forgave David and Dan. So far, I thought they were doing a pretty decent job with adapting Sansa’s story (especially compared to others *cough cough* Catelyn *cough cough*). There were a few issues (like the Joffrey, Ros, prostitute scene, LIKE WAS THAT REALLY NEEDED? AND  DO I NEED TO TALK ABOUT OUR LORD AND SAVIOR TALISA), but overall, nothing to really to write an article about. Then something happened…..season 4.

 

Season 4 marked the point in this show where I started to question why I even watched this show anymore. First, we have the altar sex scene. Where, even to this day, the cast and crew still vehemently defend that scene. A year later and they’re still trying to convince everyone Jaime didn’t rape Cersei (it was the editing they say….okay, still not an excuse, but whatever helps you sleep at night). Now if that didn’t sour your Game of Thrones viewing experience, just wait till the next episode where David and Dan once again show their bizarre fascination with throwing excessive and unnecessary rape in your face with Craster’s Keep. This is where David and Dan truly started using rape as a shock value and they went out of their way to write this clusterfuck of misogyny to shock the viewers.

cersei wine

Cersei’s drinking habit can be attributed to David and Dan’s misogynistic writing  because she’s tired of fuckboys.

 

AND LET US NOT FORGET ABOUT MEERA REED. This was the season where Bran was running out of source material, so the showrunners started to write new material to keep Bran in the story longer. And guess what? GUESS WHAT THEY DID?!

Meera

 “glad we were able to find another female character we can threaten rape against.” david and dan probably

Yep, more threats of sexual violence against another female character. And this scene got very uncomfortable (at least for me). Let’s keep in mind, this wasn’t a scene that was pre-established in the books. This was something that was purposefully written into the show. They could have done so many other things, but instead relied on good old shock value. Thankfully, they did not actually proceed with the threats, but after everything else that’s happened in this show so far, the fact it didn’t go farther was surprising. But it really pains me to know I live in a world where Meera Reed was almost raped, instead of telling great camping stories as Bran chows down on some homemade Jojen paste.

dead jojen

Be the paste meera

 

After the shit storm that can only be described as season 4 of Game of Thrones, you’d think David and Dan would have learned their lesson. Would have learned from their mistakes and correct the problems from previous seasons.

mhysa

Pretty sure Daenerys is the Westerosi version of David and Dan because this is obviously not problematic.

And you know what? I actually thought they had. Four episodes into Season 5 (and minus the weird Melisandre boob scene) David and Dan seemed to be learning from their mistakes.

jon and mel

Wait till you meet the magical R’hllor enchanced boobs, .

 

 

But….

 

Buttt……

 

Then they had to fuck everything up.

 

For those who are not familiar with ASOIAF (the book series you nerds), Sansa is actually in the Vale with Pedo Baelish, hiding from the world under the alias Alayne. It is there, Littlefinger is teaching her to control her agency and to play the game and survive. Despite all the creepy vibes from Pedofinger, Sansa is away from all the violence and assaults, and safe for once in her life. She’s being groomed to retake Winterfell and gain control of her life.

 

But because watching a woman gain control and power over her life is boring as fuck, David and Dan has gloriously rewrote an entire storyline so we can have Sansa yet again in a relationship with another sadistic asshole. Because violent relationships that demean women is way more interesting than women actually being happy and in control of their lives.

D&D

Two men who are actively boycotting Mad Max because there wasn’t enough sexual violence in a movie about sex slavers.

And I won’t lie, I was a bit intrigued with this new storyline. I hated it with a passion, but I was intrigued nonetheless and was willing to give them a chance with this new arc. Then last Sunday happened.

 

AND WHAT IN THE FLYING FUCK WAS THAT?

YOU HAD SO MANY OPTIONS. SO MANY CHOICES AND YET YOU DID THAT?

Not only did you write a storyline where a female character who is still a virgin in the books, is brutally raped, but took her entire storyline and put in the hands of Theon fucking Greyjoy. Now in the books, it is Jeyne Poole (Sansa’s friend from season 1 who disappears) who is disguised as Arya Stark and is married to Ramsay. Theon is then forced to watch and partake in the rape and assault of this young woman. And I’m not saying that was okay, no it fucking wasn’t cool. It is problematic as hell and deserves to be discussed at all costs. Martin was using rape as a way for Theon to redeem himself, and now David and Dan were doing the same for their bro Theon in the show. So instead of the show focusing on Sansa growing as a woman, they removed her power and focused everything on Theon’s ordeal. Instead of focusing on Sansa as she was brutally raped, they cut to Theon, showing Theon’s disgust, his feelings, his regret. They took Sansa’s rape and made it about Theon fucking Greyjoy. They couldn’t even make Sansa’s own rape about her. They took a powerful young woman, and used her rape so a male character could find redemption.

theon screaming

Kills two kids, betrays the only people who treated him like family and is still more well liked than Sansa. #Logic

Why does rape have to be the first thing you think of? What kind of world do we live in where you have to automatically just accept rape as a natural cause to a situation? There are so many other things they could have done, that would have actually shocked the viewers. For example, right when Ramsay rips Sansa’s dress, have Theon stab Ramsay in the back and run off with Sansa. Have Sansa stab Ramsay in the face!!!! I mean come on, Brienne was less than a day’s ride to the South, Stannis is coming in from the North, they could have EASILY waited before having this wedding until one or both them could be there. But no, David and Dan had to take a character who has already been victimized and make her a victim once again. She’s already been the survivor, did she really need to replay this role? What does this even do for her character development? She’s gone from one crazed asshole to another, and this does nothing to further her as a character. The only thing this does, is make her a victim again that has to rely upon others to save her from a terrible situation. And the sad thing is, is 20 minutes prior to this shitass scene, Sansa was controlling her situation, her surroundings with the Myranda scene. And I have said it before (and will never stop preaching) they’re using rape as shock value. Rape is already over used in shows, books, movies, etc and 90% do not further the plot at all. It’s like David and Dan don’t know how to write conflicting situations without including rape (but I guess this is what happens when this season has no female writers or directors). Now look back at every single rape (or attempted rape) in this show and ask yourself “Did this further the plot of this story at all?” No. No they did not. These rapes did nothing to the story but destroy seasons of character developments .

jaime

Jaime Lannister, Kingslayer and registered Sex Offender.Thanks Obama..

Maybe, we as a fandom, need to stop expecting rape to be a norm in situations like this. Because, rape isn’t a norm. Rape culture is real as fuck and needs to be addressed. And until then, we need to keep calling out bullshit that isn’t right.

Now, I wish I could say I am quitting this show. My original intent was to actually make this my resignation from the show, but Sansa needs me. She needs to be defended at all costs. Cersei needs to be defended at all costs, Meera needs to be defended, Daenerys needs to be defended; Shae, Ros, all the women of Westeros needs to be defended. And yes, it’s just a show, but you have to remember, this show (and book series) has impacted the lives of so many people and will continue to do so. And the fact there are thousands of people who actively believe Sansa was not raped and believe that the continuous use of rape in this show is alright, is the reason why we can’t stop watching this show. If we stop watching this show, who will be there calling out their bullshit????  Just read some of these tweets:

 

@JonathanYMusic-Stop being offended by Game of Thrones Including rape in a dark & scary medieval story IS NOT glorifying rape, it’s called BEING REALISTIC.

@jegirva-We’ve had child murder, torture, in-your-face bloody murder. But rape is too far? How Hyppcrite. #sansa #gameofthrones

@donaldjr-So people are saying Sansa was raped??! I don’t think that was rape but it was disturbing as all get out.

@zergLink- @capleesi just to point out, despite how gruesome it was, she is now married to him, and it was their bedding, so no rape here #GoT

@sheppy9- @TheFix Another reason to not freak out is that they don’t show the rape. Let the Sansa story play out before judging if it was necessary.

@15BenG-Not sure why everyone is kicking off about Sansa Stark rape, she was always the vulnerable stark character was only a matter of time.

@DanaHollyWood-Yes rape is horrible and awful but GOT fans are acting like they showed Sansa getting raped on screen, which is def not what happened.

@PSConfessional-Dumbest ever! Sansa is married to Ramsey, she didn’t say No or fight. Not rape just VERY unpleasant #GameOfThrones

@BrendanGilmer-I’m not sure how you could describes Sansa’s ‘rape’ as gratuitous when you could see it coming 2 episodes before…

@LivnDaLife3902 -GOT fans get a grip sansa rape was not even graphic did u think it would go otherwise with the bolton kid?

 

And that isn’t even the icing of the cake. Even our friend Bryan Cogman had something to say about Sansa’s scene:

“This is Game of Thrones,” he said soberly. “This isn’t a timid little girl walking into a wedding night with Joffrey. This is a hardened woman making a choice and she sees this as the way to get back her homeland. Sansa has a wedding night in the sense she never thought she would with one of the monsters of the show. It’s pretty intense and awful and the character will have to deal with it.”

elrond_facepalm

No comment, this literally speaks for itself.

So David and Dan, congrats. I want to congratulate you on making the best show that you can possibly make.

 poop emoji

actual picture of david and dan’s writing

 

And Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Caster’s Wives, Brienne of Tarth, Meera Read, Shae, Ros, and all the other ladies of Westeros who have been be victimized by David and Dan, I want to apologize. You deserved better than mediocre writing by men who can’t invent conflict without the presence of sexual violence. But I want you all to know, I am not giving up on you. I will be here with you, till the very end. And I will be your voice, reminding the world that what is happening to you is not okay. Because rape is never okay. Acceptance of rape in a tv show because it’s “obvious it’s going to happen” is not okay. What happened Sunday night was NOT okay. And I’m sorry it had to come to this. At least I know that in the books, Sansa is still fine. Cersei was never raped by the man she loved, Meera was never hurt, Ros was never hurt. Yes, sexual violence is present in the books, and no it’s not okay. Just because it happened in the books, doesn’t mean it’s okay. And we need to show David and Dan, George, and everyone else that we’re not standing for this anymore. So take a stand and eat some lemoncakes, because this will be a long ride.

The Desecration of the Maiden

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After months of discussion on social media and throughout the asoiaf/GoT community, it finally happened. The traumatic scene that Sophie Turner, Iwan Rheon and Alfie Allen had hinted about filming was finally revealed and it has left the fandom more divided than ever before. The rape of Sansa Stark has caused many to swear off the show forever. It has also been somewhat expected so many people enjoyed the scene for the superb acting. And more people still felt something deep and personal after being victims of sexual abuse themselves. Whatever the case may be, this was probably the most traumatic scene to date in the history on Game of Thrones.

Let me be very, very clear about something. Rape is never alright. Rape is the most brutal thing that can happen to a woman and to use rape as a plot builder or a storytelling device is horrific and shameful. For those of you saying “well, Jeyne Poole was raped! Don’t you care about Jeyne Poole?!” The answer is unequivocally and emphatically YES. But the difference between Jeyne and Sansa, in my opinion, is that the trauma of Jeyne Poole was more about Theon than it ever was about Jeyne. Yes, what happened to Jeyne is horrific, but the abuse of Jeyne at the hands of Ramsay is what causes Theon break from the role of Reek and remember that he is Theon Greyjoy. The treatment of Jeyne allows Theon to find his redemption.

“Every time he looked at the girl who had been Jeyne Poole, he felt the presence of that steel at his side. I have no way to save her, he thought, but I could kill her easy enough. No one would expect it. I could beg her for the honor of a dance and cut her throat. That would be a kindness, wouldn’t it? And if the old gods hear my prayer, Ramsay in his wroth might strike me dead as well. Theon was not afraid to die. Underneath the Dreadfort, he had learned there were far worse things than death. Ramsay had taught him that lesson, finger by finger and toe by toe, and it was not one that he was ever like to forget.”

250px-Thrumugnyr_theon_and_jeyneIn the overall plot of A Dance with Dragons Jeyne Poole is  a secondary character who compliments other characters and in this case, it is both Theon and Ramsay. Through the treatment of Jeyne by Ramsay, the reader can further see how truly terrible Ramsay is while also simultaneously seeing Theon remember who he is as well. Theon is now able to become  Theon again and cast aside the identity of Reek.

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What has angered many people about the treatment of Sansa is that the rape and brutalization of her character does nothing to enhance her plot. It does nothing to further her arc. In fact, it seems that this even is taking her growth as a character backwards. Last season we saw Sansa learning how to “play the game” and appearing stronger than she had in previous seasons.  Many would argue that the rape is going to be the basis for her revenge, but I disagree. Sansa has plenty of motive for revenge and their names are Ned, Cat, Robb, Bran and Rickon. She is fully aware that her brother Robb was murdered at the hands of Roose Bolton. And now the Boltons have taken her home as well. That seems like a fantastic motive if I ever needed one. The rape of Sansa Stark was not the first time that we have seen rape on Game of Thrones and I feel most confident that it shall not be the last and that makes me sad. I know that there is rape and sexual assault in the books, but seldom does George R.R. Martin use it simply for shock value. Seldom does he use it just to get a rise out of people. And if you say that D&D don’t do that, then clearly you have not been paying attention (see Craster’s Keep season 4). When GRRM published his Alayne excerpt from The Winds of Winter it was so pleasing to see that Sansa had developed into a sassy woman that was now playing the game. But the very moment Sansa entered that bedroom with Ramsay, it was all flung out of the window because now she was a victim once again. Sansa Stark, the woman who we have all watched morph from a flighty young girl with dreams of marrying princes and attending court to a survivor of more loss and pain than more people experience in a life time, was bent over in her parents bedroom and raped. And to add further insult, Theon was made to watch.

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Sansa Stark was once again made to be the victim. Once again, a female who exhibited strength and resilience and determination had all of that extinguished by the writers of Game of Thrones. But you are not a victim, Sansa.

Remember your name. You’ve got to remember your name.


tumblr_nojnqeHmzk1s95j2so1_500The gods heard my prayer, she thought. She felt so numb and dreamy. My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel.