Considering that the show is (1) fantasy (i.e. a notoriously male-centric genre) . . .
“My precious . . . peni$”
(2) takes place in the Middle Ages (a time when women were treated no better than the chamber pots they had to pee in); and
(3) it’s based on a book series written by a guy who looks like a plus-sized version of Gandalf from Lord of the Rings . . .
. . . the fact that Game of Thrones is so emblematic of female empowerment is pretty darn remarkable!
I mean, sure, the critically acclaimed HBO series definitely has its share of dirty-faced, grunting, sword-wielding, strong men, and power-hungry, Iron-Throne squatting, politicians.
Yet, it’s also jam-packed with a bevy of exceptionally strong female characters, each of whom derive their strength from distinctly unique sources. And, perhaps, no single episode of the series better exemplifies this than Sunday night’s epic hour, appropriately entitled “And Now His Watch Has Ended.” Whether it be with a strong moral code like Brienne, courage like Arya, wit and cunning like Lady Olenna, charm like Margaery, resilience like Sansa, or a fire breathing, ass-kicking dragon like Daenerys, the women of Westeros were the clear winners of the Battle of the Sexes in this week’s Game of Thrones.
Let’s review, shall we?
The Tell-tale Feather Bed
For a sex-free episode, “And Now His Watch Has Ended” sure did feature a lot of Weiner Talk . . . starting with Don Juan Podrick. It appears the Lannister household is still scratching its head as to how the tubby, awkward, and heretofore virginal teen ended up being such a Lion in the sack that not a single Lady of the Night was willing to charge him for their services.
It’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it?
To be honest, apart from comic relief, I’m not really sure where the writers are going with this storyline relating to Podrick’s prowess. It definitely wasn’t in the books. Perhaps, BIG POD will inspire Littlefinger to expand his “little side business” to include the Very First Male Escort Service . . . a sort of Magic Mike: Westeros Edition.
In other Weiner News, we finally learned the horrible story as to how Varys, a.k.a. the Spider lost his. Turns out some crack magician chopped it off to use in some spell / magic trick. You know, kind of like pulling a rabbit out of a hat . . . except, without the rabbit. But it turns out, the last laugh was for Spider, who keeps the magician in a box underneath his bed, where he pokes him with a stick every once in a while, just for sh*ts and giggles. Talk about having skeletons in your closet . . .
Speaking of skeletons in closets, Ros clues Spider in to one about Littlefinger that may prove to be quite valuable indeed to the intrepid Eunuch. (Ros actually reminds me a bit of Joan from Mad Men, in that she seems to know everything about everybody, and is clearly much smarter than anyone will give her credit for being.)
As it turns out, Littlefinger will not be taking his Fantastic Voyage to wed Lady Arryn alone. He’s ordered a second feather bed for his ship. This means that either Littlefinger is planning on spiriting young Sansa Stark away with him, or . . . he just really likes feather beds . . .
Presuming the former, Spiderman pays a visit to the positively hilarious (and not just because she wears a funny hat) Lady Olenna.
After “charming” Spider with an obligatory “You have no balls” joke . . .
. . . Lady Olenna gets right down to “brass tacks,” as the saying goes. “How can YOU help me, Strange Bald Man?” She wonders.
He then tells her what he knows. And so it was decided. The “not particularly-interesting-but-has-an-interesting-life” Sansa Stark will marry into the Tyrell family.
Upon hearing the news from Margaery Tyrell later that day, Sansa nearly weeps with joy. So, what if Loras Tyrell is obviously gay. So what if she’ll never be Queen. Sansa has had a more hellish childhood than most could have dreamed. She watched her father be beheaded, and labeled as a traitor. She was tormented by her sociopath would-be husband. She was given the title of Queen, only to have it ripped from her fingertips. And Sansa endured all of it quietly and bravely.
She may not be outspoken and hard-edged like her younger sister, or charmingly cunning like Margaery Tyrell. But Sansa Stark is a survivor. And if my money is on any of these women to make it out of this series alive, it’s her . . .
The Bravest Among Us
You would think that one of the few benefits of having an ugly mug like Hounds would be that you’d never have to worry about being mistaken for somebody else. And yet, that’s exactly what happens to the not-so-gentle giant, who gets captured by the Brothers without Banners and charged with his brother’s crimes. When the Hound patiently points out the Banner Boys honest mistake, they are about to let him go, with a pat on the back and an apology. But then Arya reminds Hound that he IS in fact the TRUE murderer of her young friend the Miller’s son, who he killed, back in Season 1.
Sentenced to a Trial By Combat, the Hound snickeringly wonders whether Arya will be the one to fight him. “Is a girl the bravest among you?” She asks.
“She may be,” admits the leader of the Brothers without Banners. “But you will be fighting me.”
RUH-ROH Hound! Maybe next time you’ll think twice before murdering Arya’s buddies . . .
Wrapped Around her Little Finger (Not to be confused with Littlefinger . . .)
There’s something both captivating and creepy about scenes between Joffrey and Margaery. On one hand, it’s extremely satisfying to see the mostly unfeeling, and clearly sociopathic, Joffrey in such a vulnerable position.
Margaery is manipulating him expertly. And Joffrey is just blindly following her every whim, like an obedient puppy dog.
On the other hand, Joffrey is so ridiculously young, that even the hint of any sort of romantic entanglement between him and the actress who plays Margaery is a bit disturbing.
Fortunately, I’m pretty sure romance with Joffrey is the last thing on Margaery’s mind, especially when she’s having so much fun making Joffrey look like a total tool. Check out the look of sublime glee on Margaery’s face, when she gets Joffrey to dumbly wave to his so-called adoring populace, when it’s quite obviously Margaery herself for whom their cheering. The arrogant douchenozzle doesn’t have a clue he’s being made the but of a joke. And yet his mother Cersei, no stranger to the art of male manipulation herself, is all too aware of what’s going on . . .
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Hand
Jamie Lannister is having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. First he loses his hand . . . his favorite hand . . . the one with which he
jerks off wields his sword. This was the hand that famously slew the Mad King. Then, he gets beaten up repeatedly by his captors, falls off his horse, and literally spends a good portion of the episode with his face stuffed in what looks like mud, but might very well be poo . . .
To make matters worse, Jamie can no longer applaud for himself!
No wonder he’s depressed! No wonder he’s seemingly lost his appetite, and his will to live. But Brienne of Tarth is not about to let our anti-hero give up hope. Not when he has just performed the surprisingly chivalrous deed of preserving her chastity, and preventing from a massive raping . . . all by weaving a deliciously creative lie about her supposedly wealthy origins.
Brienne gives our hero the will to live through a little bit of tough love.
OK . . . so it’s a little bit sexist. Odd that Brienne has to degrade her own sex to bolster the morale of her former captive. But the sentiment, and her heart, is in the right place. Brienne reminds Jamie that the only way to defeat ones enemies is survive them. And the only way to deal with loss and handicap is to not allow it to define you. These are the credos by which Brienne, herself, leads her life. And Jamie can undoubtedly learn a lot from her . . .
It’s hard to feel bad for Theon Greyjoy, after he butchered and burned those two anonymous orphans, and then literally bit the hand that fed him, by burning and pillaging Winterfell, his former childhood home. But if not necessarily redeemable, even the slimiest of villains can be pitied. And Theon was certainly pitiable, when he admitted to his supposed friend and savior this about the late Eddard Stark . . .
And then his so-called friend, who had only just recently rescued him from the stocks, ended up bringing him right back into captivity. And now Theon is in stocks again . . . the same stocks. Seems like a whole lotta work and trouble just for a cruel joke, don’t you think?
Mutiny in the Pig Pen
Samwell Tarly is a bit like the Pillsbury Doughboy . . .
He’s just so adorably clueless, you can’t help but want to pinch his cheeks and poke his belly . . . especially when he tries to give the girl he likes a thimble, despite the fact that she’s on the verge of potentially having her newborn baby sacrificed to those zombie thingies outside her tent, and is in no mood for Doughboy Romance.
Things haven’t been going all that well for Tarly and the Nights Watch, ever since the White Walkers ravaged their crew. And they ended up holed up with that douchebag Craester and his 50 or so daughter/ wives, mucking pig poop from pens.
That is until one of them stages a mutiny, and all hell breaks loose . . . Samwell, of course, is smart enough to know when to stay out of a fight he can’t win. And when his fellow Night’s Watchmen start stabbing the crap out of Craester and his men, the Doughboy wisely makes a run with it, along with his new girlfriend, her baby, and, of course, his trusty thimble. . .
Of course, the Piece de Resistance of the episode came in it’s last few moments . . .
DRAGONS ARE NOT SLAVES!
Last week on Game of Thrones, we saw Dany be mercilessly teased and insulted by the leader of Astapor, to whom she seemingly reluctantly offered up one of her beloved dragons, in exchange for his mighty slave army.
So, of course, you could imagine the wanker’s surprise, when the morning of the exchange arrives, and she reveals to him that she’s spoken his language all along. Therefore, she has been very well aware of all the crap he’s been saying about her behind her back.
And she does give the Asshat her trusty dragon, as promised. Of course, dragons are not so freely given . . .
There’s an important lesson to be learned here. When you play with fire, you end up getting burned. When you play with dragons, you end up a Roasted Weenie . . .
Consistently underestimated by the men around her, due to her youthful face, soft voice, and delicate looks, Daenerys showed cunning, strength, intelligence, and a generalized ability to kick ass, when she had her baby burn that mother f*&ker to the ground, while encouraging her new army to lay siege to the formerly great city of Astapor.
But Daenerys has something many of the other battlers for the Iron Throne lack, HEART. Not long ago, she won the loyalty and service of the Dothraki people through her undying devotion to her husband, and her miraculous ability to literally walk through fire, and come out bearing dragons on her back. Now, Daenerys has once again earned the loyalty of a formerly enemy people. And she’s done this by benevolently breaking the chains of their slavery, and asking them to fight at her side, based on free will alone.
It was a bold and risky gambit she made here . . . riskier even than her actions with Dracarys, because at least she knew how her dragon would react. Daenerys knew nothing of the men she just purchased. For all she knew, they could have staged a mutiny and ran off to salvage their burning city. Or worse, they could have killed her and her men. But Daenerys believed that, by giving these men respect, and treating them as soldiers as opposed to slaves, she would win their loyalty and their strength. And she was correct in that assumption.
As Daenerys and her new army march into the sunset together, in the final moments of the episode, the Iron Throne seems hers for the taking. His Watch may have ended. But Hers is most certainly just beginning . . .