The ethics of caring in Game of Thrones

“Law must, like the other parts of the culture, be understood in its historical context and within ‘the political, social and economic conditions, which have given it form and shape.’ (Sandra Berns, Concise Jurisprudence, Federation Press, Sydney 1993, p. 120) If we look at the parts of society as inter-linking … we do see that our ‘public’ institutions continue to be dominated by males and we further comprehend that there are gender differences in personality traits and roles. It is evidence that law may, in fact, not reflect women’s experiences – instead seeing and treating women ‘the way men see and treat women,’ (Catharine MacKinnon, “Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: Towards a Feminist Jurisprudence,” (1983) 8 Signs 685) which has been described as irrational, illogical, emotional and erratic. (Ngaire Naffine, ‘Sexing the Object of Law,” in M Thornton (ed.) Public and Private: Feminist Legal Debates, OUP, Melbourne 1995, pp 18-39.)”

Women and the Law in Australia, ed. Patricia Easteal, LexisNexis Butterworths 2010 Sydney.

A while ago, a post on /r/asoiaf caught my eye: it noted that the biggest difference between the books and the show was that ultimately, the big lessons of the books are missed by the show. Instead of showing us that Sansa learns from the cruelty and machinations of Cersei and Littlefinger, and resolves to never be like that, Show!Sansa is all about becoming a blend of Cersei and LF – the Queen in the North who is ruthless as well as strong. Tywin Lannister is still considered to the show to be A Great Man, rather than a cruel tyrant whose legacy is a stinking, rotting corpse and a pile of horse manure in the throne room.

Fundamentally, the showrunners’ biggest flaw in GOT was in missing the nuance and ethics of care at the heart of the books. We’re supposed to cheer on Jon and Sansa as they grow into leaders who care for the people they rule. We’re supposed to side eye Dany when she talks about care but then burns people alive. We’re supposed to feel deeply uncomfortable as Tyrion goes dark. We’re supposed to see Cersei as a tragic victim of misogyny but a horrendously cruel woman who has brought her own misery upon herself. We’re supposed to cheer on Jaime’s redemption but also remember that he is still (as at AFFC/ADWD) leading the Lannister armies to enforce the broken cruelty his father subjected the Riverlands to in the first arc of the books.

Short term gain and Big Impressive Water Cooler Moments are not what ASOIAF is about, and nowhere was that more starkly confirmed than in Season 8. Yes, I am grateful that for 8 seasons, a fantasy show was The Biggest TV Show In The World. But jeez I wish they’d actually adapted ASOIAF, instead of coming up with their idea of Game of Thrones…

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Annulments, plot holes and water cooler moments…. all the ways the show has gone off the rails in S6-7 and beyond.

sansa

YES, I’m a Book Snob who thinks the Books Are Better Than The Show. But I also genuinely really do like Game of Thrones. The first 3-4 seasons are fantastic, even with the changes they made from text to screen. But then… things started to get a bit wonky. Jaime inexplicably went to Dorne, where Ellaria Sand was merged with Arianne Martell to produce a vengeance driven woman who seized power by killing her paramour’s brother, and the Sand Sneks went from interesting but over the top characters to caricatures of the Erotic Exotic, with cringe-inducing lines about liking the “bad pussy.”

The show is still doing epic, amazing MOMENTS that make us go WOAH NO WAY SO COOL. The Field of Fire? Holy crap. That was awesome.

But then… there’s the lack of logical consequences. No Dany, you don’t guarantee that the nobles of Westeros will follow you if you burn every Randyl Tarly that says no. You imprison them and take their heir as a hostage/ward to be your page until they say yes. No Cersei, you don’t just crown yourself Queen because your son died without an heir and because you want to… and you blew up all the nobles that would have been able to tell you to piss off in the Sept of Baelor. Not every major lord in Westeros was at Loras’ trial and confession. Only the ones who had speaking parts on the show thus far. There should have been an opposition to Cersei’s coronation – hell, even if it was just two lines of Random Unnamed Nobles hurrying to the Throne room saying “I don’t like this, but what can we do against the Mad Queen who blew up our most sacred institution?” GIVE US SOME LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THESE MAJOR ACTION SET PIECES DAMMIT.

The worst offender this season is a doozy. Gilly, who has mastered reading (good on you girl!) while Sam’s been cleaning poopy chamber pots, found a reference in a Septon’s diary (not just some average run of the mill septon who was hanging around Rhaegar’s entourage… but the ACTUAL HIGH SEPTON. The Westerosi Pope. And no one thought to read his memoirs before???) to a rather convenient annulment. This is a major problem, and actually doesn’t solve anything – it just introduces more pointless and unnecessary drama. The concerning thing is that the show runners seem to think that the audience loves it and it answers questions about Jon and his role in the future Westeros. This blog is all the reasons why, in my considered legal opinion, that this totally ridiculous, complete and utter bullshit actually creates more problems than it “fixes.”

Continue reading “Annulments, plot holes and water cooler moments…. all the ways the show has gone off the rails in S6-7 and beyond.”

Timeline for Robert’s Rebellion

GRRM is pretty fuzzy with dates, which can be rather annoying when you’re trying to work out who was where and when, and how long things took (and when babies were born…)

The Rebellion is one of these awkward, fuzzy, vague timelines. It took somewhere around 9-18 months? Maybe?

I got sick of not being sure, so I investigated procrastinated one night and worked it all out. because who needs to write their postgrad papers huh?

This is what I reckon happened, and when.

EDIT: Updated to include a clearer, shorter timetable/spreadsheet at the bottom.

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Fan entitlement and writer’s block

Many, many fans are fed up with GRRM’s glacial writing pace. As someone who waited patiently from primary school to university, to working, to returning to uni for postgraduate studies, to getting a masters before Isobelle Carmody finally finished the damn Obernewtyn Chronicles, I get it. It’s frustrating.

But as Neil Gaiman said, GRRM doesn’t owe us anything. He is not our bitch.

Creative writing is just that: creative. Sometimes creativity doesn’t flow smoothly. Sometimes you get stuck. And if GRRM did give us an update, would that satisfy us?

Probably not. This is what he said to a fan recently on NotABlog:

If you think a “tell all” or update on WINDS OF WINTER would stop fans from asking about it… well, I love your optimism, but my own decades of experience suggest otherwise.

There are only two things that will stop people asking me about WOW:
(1) my finishing and delivering the book, or (2) a giant asteroid hitting the Earth and destroying human civilization.

As I have no control over (2), I am working on (1).

However, I know perfectly well that the moment I announce the completion and delivery of THE WINDS OF WINTER, I will start to get emails demanding to know how A DREAM OF SPRING is coming.

So it goes…

He’s quite right. GRRM could tell us “I have worked out Theon’s, Arya’s, Tyrion’s, Arianne’s, JonCon’s, and Jon’s arcs, but am struggling with Sansa, Brienne, Jaime, Cersei, Dany, Barristan, Asha, and how to get everything ready for the Others to invade” and it wouldn’t tell us any more or any less than we already know, would it?

He’s working on TWOW and will be working on it until it’s done.

So suck it up princesses. Be patient. Wait until he’s done. Keep coming up with tinfoil. Chill out. Re-read. Watch Game of Thrones. Enjoy it.

It’ll be done when it’s done.

Quick post: bastard names

Something that is often brought up by new fans, and I sure as hell was one of them, is the realisation that if Rhaegar Targaryen + Lyanna Stark = Jon Snow, then our dearly beloved bastard of Winterfell isn’t actually a Snow!

Right?

Yeah nah. Not how bastard names in Westeros work.

Here is a quick guide to my interpretation (opens to feedback otherwise!) about how GRRM intends bastard names to work in Westeros.

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