By The Gorgeous Ladies Of Pajiba (GLOP!) (and TK!) | Game of Thrones | June 30, 2016 |
By The Gorgeous Ladies Of Pajiba (GLOP!) (and TK!) | Game of Thrones | June 30, 2016 |
The season 6 finale “The Winds Of Winter” is arguably the most girl-power heavy episode of Game of Thrones, a series that has been in desperate need of it for a while, it felt fitting to bring back everyone’s new favorite acronym to get the ladies of Pajiba’s responses to it. (Also TK who it turns out is a bit of a butt-in-ski) This is a discussion of the show as aired, so definitely be aware this will be SPOILER HEAVY
Riley: It was definitely a really nice change of pace, this show has been so bad to so many women for so long, so seeing it really flip the tables, it was almost like that episode of Breaking Bad when Walt has all the men killed within one minute, like this well orchestrated misandry strike.
Jodi: I quite enjoy the women cleaning up the messes of their fathers and then exceeding their ability to uphold the family names.
Genevieve: It’s a strike against misandry, but also against the idea that strong women have to be good somehow. Cersei is incredibly strong and powerful right now. She’s also a monster.
Kristy: Does this season make up for the misogyny and rape as go-to plot device of seasons past?
Jodi: It’s a start. It proves that women can run the spectrum as protagonists and antagonists in stories without losing the interest of an audience. They can be the center of attention and move a story forward without resorting to bullshit like rape or misunderstood romantic intentions. It’s a huge step forward for the series AND the way people should view entertainment and the roles that women can play. But I don’t know that they can erase the lazy writing that allowed rape and torture of women only seen as sexual objects by cranking up Beyonce and having bitches get stuff done.
Cersei’s Destruction of King’s Landing
Kristy: I know Cersei is a monster. But I really love her arc. She’s never been encouraged to be anything but arm candy. Yet she carved out a family she loved. Now with that gone, she is truly terrifying. Only death will stop her.
Riley: Yeah, there’s something very Shakespearean about Cersei’s arc, like slowly chipping away at anything and everything that made her ever sympathetic. Lena’s acting at the end during her coronation was so well executed. I couldn’t get a full read on it, it’s definitely not triumph.
Kristy: Do we think Cersei knew Tommen would leap? I’ve seen people speculate that she killed him by knowing neglect. But I don’t think she allowed herself of thinking of Tommen as being devastated by the Sept destruction. I think she couldn’t imagine a version where he wouldn’t choose to be with her.
Genevieve: I found it intriguing that even in her final moment of triumph she’s still keeping herself so covered compared to previous seasons. I think her Walk traumatized her in a way no one’s fully understood. I don’t think it turned her into what she is, she was always bitter and filled with rage that she was not the heir despite being first born, but I think it made her more likely to go this far.
Riley: Cersei’s destruction of the Sept feels for me much like Dany’s decision to leave Daario behind. It’s one of those things where it shows how different she reacts to a situation than the men do. Jamie rode up to the steps of the Sept, swords drawn ready to spill blood in the streets. Cersei’s wildfire was every bit as deadly and arguable more monstrous, but it was also a swift surgical strike rather than a drawn out conflict.
Genevieve: I think Cersei was entirely unaware that Tommen might feel so strongly about the loss of the Sept that he might kill himself. She’s always looking out for #1. The idea that Tommen might feel a strong enough sense of duty or connection to other people to be so affected by that would be incomprehensible.
Riley: I don’t think it’s the loss of the Sept that made Tommen kill himself, I think it was Margaery and the weight of knowing his mother was responsible.
Genevieve: I did aside to my boyfriend after he was a bit incredulous with Tommen’s jump “wouldn’t you kill yourself if you knew you’d never have sex with Natalie Dormer again?”
Sarah: I agree with what y’all said about Cersei. I LOVED seeing her on the throne. I don’t think it is what she wanted — she did not calculate in Tommen’s reaction. (I also saw his reaction more of being upset about Marg and also not wanting to live in a cruel world/with his mom, perpetrator of such cruelty.)
Riley:We’ll, on that note actually, let’s talk about the Mountain in the room. Like we do seriously need to talk about Cersei giving the Septa over to Strong/Clegane to, we have to assume rape, right?
Kristy: Oh. I didn’t assume rape. Just pain. All the pain.
Riley: I guess I feel like it was uncomfortable (not saying that as criticism of the show because it was really intentional) but I found myself going “Oh I hope this is just torture.”
TK: Riley, yeah, that… that’s problematic. But I think it’s implied at the very least that the Mountain isn’t there to break her fingers. I think that, given his history and, uh, enthusiasm for rape, that’s what we’re not going to see. It’s not going to be just torture, guys. If she wanted to torture her, there are far more effective people to use.
TK: BUT THAT SAID… on the other hand, there’s something stark and terrifying about what that says about Cersei, and it shows that she really is capable of *anything* to get what she wants, and it shows that her capacity for inventive vengeance is a dark and horrible thing. And while I know “rape as a plot device” is something I’ve routinely railed against, it’s still an impressive statement about Cersei herself.
Riley: I think maybe the biggest tragedy of that Sept scene is that Margaery clearly had her own plan in the works and now we’ll never get to know what that is.
Kristy: Also that she went out and she saw it coming. The look on her face. Devastating. It doesn’t matter in this game how smart you are if you give your power over to someone else. By giving power to the Sparrow, she ended up in a trap she couldn’t maneuver out of.
Riley: Yeah she was a real Cassandra in that scene.
Genevieve: Yeah, I knew Marg aligning herself with the Sparrow was a huge mistake. I think she was only just realizing how huge.
Riley: She was trying to play Cersei’s game but she was too arrogant to realize that Cersei has been at it for decades and has lost a lot of the things that keep her tethered.
Genevieve: I also think she underestimated the High Sparrow. He comes off as a kindly old dude, but he’s a hardline extremist. There’s no cooperation or compromise with him, there’s his way and you being beat down til you accept his way. Cersei wasn’t wrong that literally burning everything to the ground would be the only way to wrest back power from him and his followers.
Meanwhile, In The North
Kristy: Can we take a second to revel in Lyanna Mormont, who suffers no fools and is my new style icon.
Jodi: Lyanna is the best. THE BEST.
TK: Lyanna is my new favorite television human. She’s amazing. When I watched it, I had this moment where I was like, “how can a girl so little terrify all these -” and then the camera would zoom in on her gaze and I was like “oh, shit, yeah I get it.”
Genevieve: As impressive as Lyanna’s moment was, I was a little disappointed she didn’t mention Sansa. LADIES GOTTA STICK TOGETHER, LITTLE BEAR!
Riley: Yeah, honestly the Sansa storyline in the second half of the episode is the one thing about it that I was really not a fan of. Early on it seemed Jon was really keen to make her the lady of Winterfell, placing her in the bedchamber (which is kind of creepy if you think about it, hey here’s where your parents used to bone, but I guess that’d be standard for all inheriting nobles), and then it felt like after the Littlefinger scene the allegiances totally flipped. And I just hate that Sansa for all her growth is even for a second letting Petyr into her head
Genevieve: It’s setting up a false conflict. Jon was happy to let Sansa rule Winterfell in the Stark name, but apparently couldn’t be arsed to interrupt a year old to be like “Listen, this is great, but LADY STARK over here is who you should be pledging to.”
Riley: Well, I mean, I couldn’t be arsed to interrupt that girl either. She scary as hell.
Genevieve: For a guy who keeps insisting he’s not interested in power, he’s awfully good at keeping his damn mouth shut when other people want him to have it.
Riley: When she walked away from the Godswood, I thought the idea was that she totally knew what she was doing and she was using Jon the way she’d been used by Littlefinger, but then her face during his, coronation? It was clear that’s not what she was feeling
Kristy: I’m not sure her reaction was so clear. I wonder if she is playing it cool to Littlefinger because so knows he’ll be after Jon now.
Genevieve: The problem is that Sansa kind of knows what the Game is now, and Jon still has no idea. I think that Sansa understands why they swore their allegiance to Jon, but she also understands that he’s woefully unprepared for the politics of it. Littlefinger is going to be there to drive a wedge in that small crack.
A Girl Is Not To Be Crossed
Genevieve: I also have to say that I’m fairly pessimistic on Arya’s story. Not in the immediate sense, but if she’s taking the Lady Stoneheart/vengeance role it’s not a great sign. Vengeance is about living in the past, not building a future.
Riley: That was actually maybe my biggest “holy shit” moment of the episode. It made everything else after it feel a bit anticlimactic. I’ve been waiting years to see that R+L=J but at that point I was like “Sorry Arya just went full Titus Andronicus on us.
Kristy: I wanted to be all excited. But I feel like it’s been SOOOOOOO long. It lost something for me.
Genevieve: Well, Arya just singlehandedly threw the entire Riverlands into utter disaster. There are two types of major succession problems: no easily identified heir and too many possible heirs. The Freys have the second in abundance.
Kristy: We haven’t touched on Olenna and Ellaria, and the (snooze) Sand Snakes, have we? Because 1) I LOVE when Olenna told the SS to do shut up please, b/c she is very busy and important. and 2) Thank the seven that those damn snakes might actually get to do something cool next season!
TK: I feel like in that scene, Kristy, we are all Olenna. I consistently want them all to just shut up.
Kristy: TK, “Don’t you said another word about bad pussies. The real bad bitches are here to get shit done.”
TK: Those three are easily the show’s worst character adaptations. From striking, stning women of power and fury to petulant children playing with sharp objects. It’s beyond frustrating.
Genevieve: I just want to ignore the Sand Snakes but it seems like the show won’t let me do that anymore. Unfortunately.
Genevieve: I think my favorite script-flipping bit was Dany and Daario’s entire breakup scene, which was basically every tired breakup scene ever written but with the genders reversed. Which made a world of difference.
Riley: The Dany/Daario scene was really interesting to me because he even pointed out the gender dynamic difference, how it would be standard practice for a King, but it plays into how shrewd she is. It’s like Cersei with the Sept like I said above. She knows that’d be standard but she also knows it’d be a weakness and she has to be better at her rule than a man would be. She can’t be just as good as any other king.
Kristy: I also loved that she admitted she felt nothing about it. He’s a man in love with her, but that doesn’t entitle him to her.
Sarah: I also really liked the Dany-Tyrion scene. They balance each other out well, and I really don’t like the idea of her being mad like her dad. Tyrion has been great at reminding her of her sucky parentage, and it seems like all she needs is someone like him (or previously Jorah) to help keep her in check. When you remember that she’s young and is probably still somewhat overwhelmed with her powers, it makes sense.
Riley: Agreed. Honestly her making him the Hand of the Queen was one of the sweetest moments of the entire series. One of the threads that I feel the show doesn’t hit as hard as the books, except on a few notable occasions, is how really good Tyrion actually is at his positions. He ran King’s Landing very well, he was really instrumental in protecting it during the Battle of the Blackwater, and he showed so much wisdom with the bay battle in the previous episode too. So having Dany see that in him was a really big deal to me.
Sarah: I agree. I was afraid they were setting him up to be a failure, so having him still carry her regard and make good calls is great.
Genevieve: I think it can also go aways towards repairing his damaged psyche. Tywin did a number on him, and while it’s fun to joke about Tyrion’s drinking or badgering people to be his friends, it’s also a way to remind us that he’s kind of broken. I’m hoping that having someone show complete, honest trust in him and his judgement helps to bring him to a place where he can appreciate himself.