Reaction: Game of Thrones (1×4)

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Dude, I’m starting to think Ned Stark might be a leeeeeeeeeetle bit unobservant. Little Finger has been creepin’ on Cat and Sansa, has told Ned to not trust him, and then was all LOLLERSKATES if you have someone you trust completely you should send them to this specific location LOLLLLERSKATES haha you shouldn’t’ve said you had someone you trust completely INTERESTING THING TO FILE AWAY, amirite??? Anyways, so Ned went to the armory on the hill that Little Fingers told him about and found King Robert’s bastard by a blonde woman, and has begun realizing that Robert’s girth, build, and coloring are so powerful that it’s hella weird that him and Cersei’s kids don’t look like him.

Sansa is starting to realize that she’s been giving a shit stick to beat on a shit drum and if she doesn’t play along with a shit melody, she’ll be up shit’s creek without a shitty paddle. She asked her nurse what would happen to her if she only had daughters once she became Joffrey’s Queen, noted that everyone hates her, including Joffrey, and then asked why her grandfather and uncles had been killed in the throne room years before. The actress has my heart — she manages to convey Sansa’s rising panic while at the same time emphasizing that Sansa’s still thinking of the court, the court, the court! as the end-all of these machinations. The actress for Arya is also charming, though my friend and I LOL’d at what her teacher said about cats and their sneakiness. My cat is really easy to catch because she’s LAZY.

Daenarys is… growing on me. I still think she looks badly photoshopped into every scene she’s in, and my friend and I had an energetic debate at to whether that was an issue of camera contrasts, or make up. I think make-up, and that they went heavy with an opalescent shimmer on her breast-bone and cheeks so that she appears to glow a little in comparison to everything else. Anyways, she whacked her douche of a brother with a heavy metal belt in the face because he hit her, but noticeably didn’t tell him to not hit her slaves as well. Siiiiiiiiiigh.

Catelyn also totally GOT Tyrion — when they met at an end in the area of Westeros she’s from, she quickly reminded EVERY MAN IN THE ROOM that she was their kin/friend of their kin/uniquely of this area in a way the Lannisters never were, and got them to arrest Tyrion for her for trying to assasinate Bran. Speaking of Bran… Tyrion got the designs for a special saddle so that Bran can learn to ride, even though he can’t walk. That whole sequence where someone “helps” Bran by carrying him like that… gah. I can’t tell if the show is troubling stereotypes/mythos about the disabled or what, but I do know that Bran’s dignity was profoundly insulted, something interesting to see on the face of a little kid. Also: Jon made friends on the Wall. Yay? One of them is a weepy fat boy who has HIDDEN DEPTHS.

Concluding thoughts:

1. GOD, isn’t Catelyn just SUPER? She was so completely regal in EVERY scene, and that concluding moment where she asked these men whose loyalty she had to arrest the Queen’s brother? HOLY GUACAMOLE, Batman.

2. Ned sucks at playing detective.

3. If Sansa and Daenarys are both pawns because of their femme-dom, it’s interesting to see how/if they’ll be the lucky pawns that get promoted to Queen or are just expendable.

4. Arya is SUPER cute. <3

5. Finally, this show really needed more diversity in casting. There are a lot of stoic white guys with brown/dark hair, and I CANNOT tell them apart unless one of them starts talking. It’s like Glee and the bevy of white blondes, or BSG and the symbolic white blondes. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Comments

  1. says

    Well, I think the scene with the saddle plans would be more upsetting/bad if it didn’t come from someone who had clearly had to deal with ‘how to ride’ himself. It’s not so much the show as the books, because again that scene is from the books and unfortunately there is no way for Tyrion to supply the plans in a more discreet way (and he’s very much about…confronting people about their attitudes, although normally with his wit? idk. From his talks with Jon Snow he seems…sympathetic to being the object of jokes and even pity, but he has very definite ways of dealing with it himself and he obviously feels that others should deal with in a similar way.) While that’s not particularly sensitive of him, it’s pretty bang on character for Tyrion.

  2. oneiriad says

    GOD, isn’t Catelyn just SUPER?
    I’ve only seen the two first episodes so far and only read the first three books, but no, sorry. I lost all respect for her in the first book (and I doubt the tv series will change that), and actually, the whole getting of Tyrion and what follows that is a major part of that – she’s a strong character, sure, terrifyingly strong in some ways, but, well, you see, she’s not, she’s…

    Uhm – what was the spoiler policy around here again?

  3. says

    Ah, again, it’s something from the books. The depiction of Hodor is definitely not without issues, imho, as he’s basically just a wheelchair substitute for bran rather than being considered as a character. I don’t think Martin is in the business of subverting tropes of disability in the same way that he attempts to with sexism, sadly (and obvs neither are the show runners). On the other hand, what choice would they have if the boy is ‘summoned’ by his lord?

    • Maria says

      @Pewter, good point. I had the impression from the book that Hodor was like… a giant who never spoke?

    • Maria says

      @Oneiriad —

      I know Tyrion didn’t do it, if that’s what you’re referring to? I do think she’s an awesome character tho…

  4. oneiriad says

    Maria

    It’s not so much that Tyrion didn’t do it and more that she basically drags him off to fantasy-Guantanamo, wanting to force him to confess, on nothing more than Little Finger’s word. Catelyn seems to me a character primarily motivated by a motherly love so intense that it goes beyond madness and – well, unfortunately, it makes her do some pretty shitty things to people who really, really didn’t deserve it, like Jon and Tyrion, and I’m not really comfortable with her.

    Oh, and Peter Dinklage is the dwarf.

  5. oneiriad says

    Maria,

    Sorry. I’m honestly never quite sure what the American pc term for loads of things are, being a Dane. So let me re-phrase that: Peter Dinklage is the awesome actor portraying the awesome character Tyrion (and when he gets done with Game of Thrones, somebody needs to abduct him and make him do some huge Vorkosigan saga movies).

  6. Shaun says

    Maria,

    It’s worse than that. “Hodor” is so called because he only ever says the word “hodor,” and in fact, *spoiler spoiler* as Bran develops the ability to trade skins with animals, ie psychically control them under limited conditions, he’s able to take control of Hodor because of his “simple mind.” Yes, GRRM actually said that. Disabled people are just closer to animals, you know?

    I THINK dwarf is appropriate language, but preferred language varies from disability to disability, and you never have any guarantee that a specific advocacy group actually includes the population it’s advocating for, so I’m not certain.

    As an aside, I had assumed my inability to tell almost anyone on the show apart was just my regular inability to distinguish faces from each other, but my able friend told me she was having trouble because they all looked like brunette white guys.

  7. Attackfish says

    Maria,

    From what I’ve been able to google, “Dwarf” and “little person” are both acceptable, but “midget” is not. Some people prefer to go by little person, because dwarf is associated with non-human mythological figures, whereas others say little person is cutesy and associated with non-human mythological figures too.

  8. Maria says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Right, but Mongolism was considered a medical term once upon a time as well, and part of the DA rights advocacy for people with Down’s syndrome was getting rid of that label.

  9. Maria says

    Shaun,

    Shaun: It’s worse than that. “Hodor” is so called because he only ever says the word “hodor,” and in fact, *spoiler spoiler* as Bran develops the ability to trade skins with animals, ie psychically control them under limited conditions, he’s able to take control of Hodor because of his “simple mind.” Yes, GRRM actually said that. Disabled people are just closer to animals, you know?

    O_O
    o__O
    O_o
    O_O

    Wow. That’s… really so not okay I don’t even know what to say about that.

  10. says

    Maria,

    Achondroplasia is the medical term, & you can’t go wrong with “little person.” Peter Dinklage, as I’m sure you’ve figured, is the gentleman in question– I HIGHLY recommend seeing the movie “The Station Agent,” which I originally picked up because Stephen Trask (co-writer of Hedwig & the Angry Inch’s music) did the soundtrack. Peter Dinklage blew me away. Also, if I recall correctly– I mention this only as a side note– I remember reading that he preferred the term dwarf, but I can’t find a source for that & when you google “Peter Dinklage dwarf” all that comes up is stuff about Narnia.

    • Maria says

      @mordicai

      Thanks! I thought “little person” sounded right, but then I was like, MAAAAAAAAAYBE I’m wrong, since I thought he preferred “person of short stature?” I know Station Agent is supposed to be awesomely good, and was the first feature film with a little person as lead.

      (Also, he was hot as Tina Fey’s date on Thirty Rock)

  11. says

    I found this link helpful:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050501/COMMENTARY/50429001

    Ebert used the term midget, unaware it was considered offensive, and actor Daniel Woodburn (scroll down for his pic and you’ll probably recognize him) informed him it was hurtful. Ebert apologized and asked for further clarification (for example,if LP was always the correct term). There’s an essay in the middle of it which is interesting, but then the email discussion continues. I think Mordicai is right that one “can’t go wrong” with LP, even though you may well run into people who aren’t crazy about it (and you usually need to note for the benefit of average-sized people that it IS a preferred term of respect, and not a put-down).

    Woodburn also mentions something that never occurred to me:

    “The truth is Little People or Persons of Short Stature or Dwarfs do not
    have equal rights under the law. We are forbidden to join the military or police force based purely on size and not ability. Accessibility laws laid down by the ADA are not always accommodating to Little People. The ACLU, has not, in my experience acknowledged such issues as forcible eviction, denial of housing, or employment and education when it comes to people with Dwarfism. The response was “We don’t recognize that there is any such race as the Dwarf race.” True though it may be, in my opinion there needs to be a precedent set in support of Little People.”

    ACLU fail.

  12. Shaun says

    Maria,

    Well, just remember, she was awesomer than she was the last episode, and she’ll be awesomer the next episode too. :D She did address it, she just didn’t extend the threat to something like “If you touch me or my people again I’ll cut off your hands.”

  13. Shaun says

    Okay, since we’re rolling in spoilers over here unlike the LoGI post, that first link about Catelyn is completely ridiculous. I think the 4th link pretty nice shot down most of the writer’s points, but I’d like to point out her/his argument about “disobeying Robb, her KING,” is also absurd. Robb is a 15-year-old boy. At that point he’s acting as King in the North and he has NO IDEA WHAT HE IS DOING. Catelyn has years of experience as a regent and her understanding of military strategy and war is far, far beyond his, which is zero. So, yes, she’s going to make her own decisions and try to influence him, and in fact if he had done what she said none of “this” would ever have happened.

    • Maria says

      Plus, some of the vibe I got from Catelyn was very, FINALLY! Someone’s FINALLY asking me to do what I’ve been TRAINED to do.

      I can’t imagine in the North that the skills at diplomacy and being a lady-who-leads-in-the-background were as necessary in Winterfell as they were when she was amongst her own people.

      I think someone mentioned that Cat would’ve been the other woman re: Jon’s mother? How so? Wasn’t Jon born after Ned and Cat married?

  14. Maria says

    AND ALSO

    What the fuck is up with casting Theon as another white brunet male? I thought in the books he was described as lean and dark, which I assumed meant that the Ironborn were not white. It’s too bad they went with this casting, because I was imagining Theon as being phenotypically different from men of the North, but wearing their clothes, etc., and then “matching” his own people but still wearing Nothern clothing, etc.

    Oh wells.

  15. Shaun says

    Maria:
    Starting with Bran not falling down!

    LOLOL. Yes, it’s true. Catelyn is basically constantly saying the rational smart thing and getting blown off because YAR HONOR. DUTY. YAR. There’s also a scene where she basically prevents everyone from getting killed because they actually listen to her re: strategy for once (Cat is a woman of many talents).

    And yeah, Cat would not be “the other woman.” Robb is older than Jon, if not by much. I think Catelyn is smart enough to know if Jon + 9 months is longer than she and Ned have been married!

  16. oneiriad says

    Shaun,

    About “Catelyn as the other woman” – yes, Robb is older – but it seemed to me, as I was reading the books, that, well – Ned wasn’t supposed to marry Cat, his older brother was – but then the brother died and for reasons of securing alliances Ned had to take his place – and the implications I felt there was in the novel was, that Jon’s mother might very, very well be a relationship he had going before the plans changed – for all we know, there was an eligible noblewoman out there, who might have been Ned’s wife now if not for the need of alliances. The fact that Ned never did reveal Jon’s mother’s identity is suspicious all in itself. Maybe the future books will tell us, that whole time period is pretty obscure so far and ripe for crazy theories…

  17. Shaun says

    oneiriad,

    Yes, but as I mentioned in the other thread, it was strongly hinted and then outright confirmed that Ned isn’t Jon’s father at all, which makes the other woman argument rather pointless.

  18. oneiriad says

    Shaun,

    True, but did Catelyn know that or did she think Jon merely her husband’s bastard? My original issue was with her treatment of Jon, after all, and so the actual truth of his parentage doesn’t really matter – only what she thought it was and what she did.

  19. Maria says

    oneiriad:
    Shaun,

    True, but did Catelyn know that or did she think Jon merely her husband’s bastard? My original issue was with her treatment of Jon, after all, and so the actual truth of his parentage doesn’t really matter – only what she thought it was and what she did.

    But why SHOULD she be nice to Jon? He’s a political threat to her children, Ned’s legitimate heirs, and a “reminder” of the most honest man in the North’s personal failing. Look at Ramsey Bolton and how he took over Deadfort — bastards can be a danger to the line of succession.

    So, yeah, she pushed for him to join the Night Watch, where he’d be out of the line of succession for realsy and not be a political symbol, and didn’t go out of her way to be kind to him. At the same time, we know that his childhood wasn’t marked by deprivation, that he had weapons instruction, could (I think) read, and wasn’t ever hungry or discouraged from having a loving relationship with his family, besides her snapping a bit when she’s, uh, LYING BY THE BEDSIDE OF HER COMATOSE CHILD. She just wasn’t warm towards him.

  20. oneiriad says

    Maria,

    Actually, Jon Snow’s bastardy and the threat inherant therein should be exactly why she – a woman of great diplomatic skills and political know-how – should have been – if not nice, then polite to him. After all, why raise a bastard among the legimate family, if not to foster a sense of loyalty and love towards the family, to secure the loyalty? Why would she risk being the cause of the very resentment that surely would be last thing anybody would want the bastard to grow up feeling? And yet, in the books, it seemed pretty clear that what resentment Jon Snow has grown up to have focuses very much on her treatment.

    I’m not expecting her to be nice, but seriously – the kid is about to leave forever, to a place where any threat he might pose to her and her children will be permanently erased, a place where he’ll quite possibly die a nasty death beyond the Wall. Yes, she’s not at her best, but if she is really all that all her fans insist she is, why couldn’t she just have kept her mouth shut for five minutes while the kid said his goodbyes to his beloved little brother?

    I dunno. Sometimes I wonder if my opinions about Catelyn Stark are overtly affected the whole “OMG she was mean to two of my favourite characters in the books, she’s a bitch!” factor. It might. I hope I’m not quite that shallow, but maybe. That said, I actually like the interpretation of Catelyn as a not very nice person or at least a person who does nasty things to people who didn’t deserve it, even if that might not be her intented goal, because that’s just one more way that the books show that none of the sides in the upcoming civil war are actually able to claim the moral high ground.

    Is it just me or is there a tendency to portray mothers in a less than stellar way in A Song of Ice and Fire? Catelyn Stark, her sister, Cersei – I can’t remember, are there any mothers in a central position who are not – how to put this – who does not possess this oddly excessive love for their children? By which I don’t mean to spark an argument, it’s just – it seems a bit much. Sorry.

  21. Shaun says

    oneiriad,

    Uh. I don’t think anyone but Lysa has an “oddly excessive” love for their children, not even Cersei. Everyone’s problem there is pretty much the incest, but the actions she takes in protecting that secret are perfectly legitimate because it’s exposure will result in 1) the exclusion of her children from the throne, 2) her and her brother’s execution, 3) and very likely her kids’ execution. I don’t think Catelyn’s political motivations of keeping her kids safe would be judged nearly as much if she were a man–I’m not saying you would, I’m saying these arguments out there would not be all over the place if she was a father trying to keep all of his kids alive.

    And Lysa is just… weirdly overprotective and mentally ill, and let’s not get into talking about how GRRM handles mental disability. I think that definitely trumps the gender card in his series.

  22. oneiriad says

    Shaun,

    Cersei is so indulgent of her offspring and unwilling/unable to control them that one of them winds up being Joffrey – admittedly, she has the excellent excuse of having Tywin Lannister for a father – who wouldn’t be a bit fucked up? Catelyn literally returns from the dead. How is that not excessive?

  23. Shaun says

    The Lightning Lord resurrected her. It’s not like she burst down the door between worlds and announced her love for her kids was so strong she returned to protect them. SHE THINKS THEY’RE ALL DEAD.

    As for Cersei, any child of privilege is going to perpetuate the same thing. I don’t think there’s anything hugely unusual about the way Joffrey thinks of people compared to her, or Robert, or the Freys, or Renly Baratheon, or the entire institution of the Church.

  24. Raeka says

    Just a thought on this whole ‘excessive motherly love’ –in the setting of the novels/tv show, women hold relatively little power. All their power is derived from their relationships with other people. So Cersei and Catelyn are not just protecting their children, but they’re also in a way insuring their continued influence through who their children become/marry..

    Sooo although you could argue that the ‘motherly love’ both women show for their kids is excessive by OUR standards, if you factor in the fact that their kids are also an investment in their future –is it still excessive?

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