I’m gonna need you all to take a few seconds to consider something really important.
Back in book two when Sansa got her first period she described it as her body betraying her and she described the blood as looking like a Lannister banner. You know why? Because getting her period means the Lannisters own her. And scrap of agency she was allowed is gone because she reached the age of maturity.
Marrying a Lannister, any Lannister, means that Sansa’s own body is being used to betray her family and she can’t stop it. It means that the Lannisters are using her body to make sure the Starks never rule Winterfell.
If your body was being used to take away everything your family worked for you would be less than enthusiastic too.
eta: It should also be noted that being married to Tyrion offers her zero protection from Joffrey
“When Sansa turned, the little man was gazing up at her, his mouth tight, his face as red as her cloak. Suddenly she was ashamed of her stubbornness. She smoothed her skirts and knelt in front of him, so their heads were on the same level.”
No, she doesn’t kneel right away; yes, it’s important that she doesn’t, and it’s highly problematic that the show changed it. But stop screaming that “Sansa Stark doesn’t kneel for anyone,” guys. She doesn’t kneel for House Lannister; she does kneel for Tyrion, if only out of pity.
The whole kneeling thing is about the oppression that both of them face, although in different ways. Remember what Sansa thinks when she refuses to kneel? “Why should I care about his feelings, when no one cares about mine?” And then everyone is laughing at Tyrion. Because haha the dwarf can’t reach his bride’s shoulders, in this wedding that he didn’t choose, that neither of them chose. And then Sansa realizes that no one thought to bring Tyrion a stool. Because even the Lannisters don’t care about Tyrion. Because this wedding isn’t about Tyrion, it’s about politics. No one cares about Sansa’s humiliation, or about Tyrion’s. In fact they’re more than willing to laugh at them. That’s why she kneels in the book, and it doesn’t make her initial refusal less powerful, but it does say something about Sansa’s ability to have compassion for someone even though she has it worse. She doesn’t kneel because she owes Tyrion anything. She kneels because this isn’t right for either of them.
“Davos flattened down the little square of crinkled parchment and squinted at the tiny crabbed letters. Reading was hard on the eyes, that much he had learned early. Sometimes he wondered if the Citadel offered a champion’s purse to the maester who wrote the smallest hand.”—Davos Seaworth
Today’s topic is literacy. Davos is a lowborn man raised up by Stannis Baratheon. His previous station in life explains his illiteracy. Otherwise, his inability to read would be unusual in Westeros, a world where the highborn—both lords and ladies—are all seemingly functionally literate. Who beyond the highborn are literate in Westeros? Were literacy rates similar in medieval Europe and was literacy similarly distributed amongst the social classes?
“How do we get up there? I’ve no experience at riding goats.”
“Mules,” Brynden said, smiling.
Today’s topic is travel. In a series that takes us from Dorne to beyond the Wall, we see a great deal of travel in Westeros. From foot to hoof, the characters travel wide and far, encountering danger with great regularity. What drove travel in the Middle Ages was a combination of commerce, religion, and politics, and the variety in modes of travel and the dangers faced were much the same as what we find in Westeros.
eclectictsunami replied to your post:
penny is wonderful. the series could stand to focus on more people like her.
Like, one thing that Martin gets right is that his POV chapters almost always come from some place of lack of privilege. The aristocratic white dudes of the series are the ones whose perspective we usually don’t see and that’s important. The POV characters are usually women, children, people dealing with ableist and anti-bastard attitudes, etc. But he’s not great at non-aristocratic POV (Davos is awesome but iirc he’s the only one other than those poor devils in the prologue chapters) and also not always stellar at giving working-class characters much of a voice within other characters’ POVs (i.e. my complaints about Tysha and Shae).
So, yes. We need more Pennys, and we need Pennys with POV chapters.
I could absolutely see the series ending in some first baby-steps towards constitutional monarchy. There might well still be something like the Iron Throne - not as we know it in its current glory, but some institution that draws its legitimacy from this tradition, albeit greatly reduced in its powers - but there might also be some Magna Charta/Bill of Rights-type deal paving the way to constitutional monarchy. And once you have a proper House of Lords which can vote on the important stuff, you can start dreaming about a House of Commons. Introduce the notion of suffrage and the moral arc of history will hopefully bend towards its expansion. The Dream of Spring won’t quite get us there, but a dream is a start.
All we need now is a new King weak/enlightened enough to be bullied/convinced to sign a Bill of Rights. Luckily, you don’t have to reach very far to find parallels between the situation that led to the historical Bill of Rights and the situation as it’s shaping up in Westeros. The Bill of Rights came into being, when some disgruntled English aristocrats wanted to get rid of their catholic-loving Stuart-King because of the threat of a catholic heir. They supported an invasion of William of Orange married to the Stuart King’s conveniently non-catholic daughter Mary. But of course, with William and Mary not having the strongest of claims, their allies had some leeway to dictate the terms and, the narrowly averted threat of the Catholic-heir fresh on their minds, they had a big incentive to exploit that advantage and have it set in stone.
Aegon could well be Westeros’ William of Orange - the foreign invader with a tenuous claim to the throne welcomed by the disatisfied subjects. Alas, is his claim weak enough to make him sign a bill of rights? Well, his military might could be weak enough…. then again, I don’t think Aegon will be endgame. But once, such a document is set up, things often develop a dynamic of their own.
The British were ushered towards democracy by their fear of Catholicism. For the Westerosi, it might be the fear of Rhollorism that does the trick.
what cracks me up about people ripping on dany for her scenes in 3x07 is that she literally just walked up to yunkai and said, “if you free your slaves i’ll walk on by, but if you don’t i’ll kill you”
she didn’t roll on in and declare herself ruler of yunkai
she doesn’t give a shit about yunkai
it’s a dot on a map to her
what matters are the 200,000 dots with slave collars inside the city
dany would be perfectly content to leave the city be if the people there were all free
#if you’re going to criticize dany at least do it correctly #criticize her for having a naive and privileged attitude towards the underclass she’s ‘freeing’ #criticize her for her white savior complex #criticize her for trying to make social change without stopping to consider the social upheaval #but don’t accuse her of being a child tyrant bully on the playground because her name is not joffrey baratheon
When we were little, Jaime and I were so much alike that even our lord father could not tell us apart. Sometimes as a lark we would dress in each other’s clothes and spend a whole day each as the other.
In chapter 60 of A Clash of Kings, Cersei notes that when she was little Jaime used to dress up in her clothes and pass as her, and she him. At least as a child, Jaime experienced what it was like to be treated like a woman.
We know explicitly how the impact of this experience and other misogynistic experiences has affected Cersei, but not so much how it has affected Jaime. Did this experience give him a deeper understanding of how Cersei was treated for being a girl? Has it subconsciously helped him relate to Brienne in any way?
And then I find myself circling back to my dead horse, about how the show depicted Jaime as so repulsed at the idea of being called a woman. There has been a lot of conversation about how Brienne from the books (or the show!) would never say that and less focus on how Jaime would never respond to that.
I don’t think Jaime would/should have responded to that.
And I find it fascinating that this one throwaway line actually tells us a lot about Cersei and Jaime’s childhood experiences with gender expectations.
The Silencing of Catelyn Stark | Feminist Fiction
In the books, the war of the boy king is Catelyn’s story, subverting tropes of the dashing young hero who beats the odds and triumphs over all. She adds an emotional level to the story, as the mother who worries for her children, but she’s also a strategist and deeply pragmatic. She’s one of the few figures who realizes that they’re not merely playing at war, and understand what that must mean. In the show, however, Catelyn is merely the mother of the king, and no one wants to see what the mother is thinking or doing when the true hero is elsewhere.