Are Most Women Stupid in Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell?

In last week’s Game of Thrones, Arya told Tywin Lannister that “most girls are stupid.” When we heard that line, were we supposed to think, “This is why Arya is awesome”? After watching The Prince of Winterfell, I can’t help but think that the answer is “yes.” While the books series presents a huge range of dynamic and well-developed female characters, the show writers seem determined to edit the story so that all stereotypically feminine women seem weak and worthy of disdain. Girls, like Arya, who fight to throw off femininity and become “one of the boys,” are the only ones who are really strong or worthy of respect.

Although some of the show’s changes to the story have been positive and potentially even improve on the novel, many edits in the last few episodes have reduced the series’ selection of varied, challenging female characters into cliches and walking confirmation of the idea that “most women suck.”

Catelyn Stark

Catelyn’s character has been sacrificed in favour of her son and viewers’ expectations of a caring, if somewhat irrational, mother. In the books, Robb is a boy-king, out of his depth and somewhat reliant on his mother for help, while Catelyn is shrewd, intelligent and vehemently anti-vengeance. In its attempt to make Robb into more of a stereotypical “sexy young king,” the show has stolen a lot of Cat’s agency, allowing Robb to voice her ideas (such as sending an envoy to Renly Baratheon), leaving her out of strategy meetings, and transforming her desire to help Robb into a desire to return home and be with her youngest sons.

At the start of The Prince of Winterfell, Catelyn frees Jaime Lannister, sending him south in exchange for her daughters. In the books, she releases him after hearing about Bran and Rickon’s deaths, as grief drives her to take a drastic step to protect not only her only other remaining children, but also Robb’s new heir. In the series, she releases him because… well, partly because Robb’s bannermen might kill him, although she neglects to mention this when defending herself in the latest episode. Her main justification, she says, is to trade for her daughters. A fine reason, perhaps, but it seems completely arbitrary: why hasn’t she released him before now if that’s her only motivation?

Worse, perhaps, is the change to Robb’s reaction. In the books, Robb is understandably unhappy about this loss of a diplomatic pawn, but he understands why his mother did it: she felt the same grief that drove him to make (arguably worse) mistakes as well. In the show, however, Robb is furious, calling her a traitor and putting her under constant guard, as though she’s going to wander into camp and find other Kingslayers to free, or perhaps try to stab him in his sleep. As he shouts and she frowns and cries, the audience is pushed into agreeing with Robb’s point of view. Catelyn acted irrationally. She was being an irrational, impractical, non-strategic mother, and she betrayed her son by weakening his position. From a book series that shows the rise of a boy king from the perspective of his mother, a woman who must deal with intense loss and try to prevent further horrors, the show presents everything from that boy’s own, contorted perspective, including the stereotype that mothers are pretty darn useless when it comes to the ways of war. Catelyn’s strength and wisdom are reduced to a cliche of a meddling mother who loves her children too much to see reason.

In the books, many terrible events could have been prevented if people had only listened to what Catelyn had to say. In the show, ignoring Catelyn’s advice seems the wisest course of action.

Robb and Talisa

Continuing along the theme of “Robb has become too genuinely heroic,” his relationship with Talisa (or Jeyne, for book readers) is another significant departure from the books that changes characters for the worse. In the books, Robb’s relationship with Jeyne is an unfortunate event that arises from grief over Bran and Rickon’s apparent deaths and, later, the conflicting compulsions of honor. Here, it’s a story of true love, of the poor king forced into marriage with a woman he does not know who falls for another, better woman despite himself. Although it goes against the general trope-inverting nature of the series, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that change. It was refreshing to see the show present a romantic love scene for the very first time, rather than the general exploitative nudity we see every week. But Talisa’s speech, just before Robb jumps her, creates a new context for their relationship which makes me distinctly uncomfortable: he’s attracted to her because she’s not like other women. She laughs at the idea of playing the harp or learning the latest dances, and says she was determined to be different and make something useful of herself. She says she vowed she would never live in a slave city again, as though things are so simple, and all good people would make the same choice to leave their entire world behind. She’s “not like other girls,” strong and confident and willing to speak out of turn to the king. In isolation, this is not a bad thing. Some women are like that. But when her entire worth, the entire reason she is worthy of Robb’s affection, is that she bucks the trend and is unlike regular, silly, simpering women (like the poor unnamed, unknown Frey girl, who might not be so keen on being married to a stranger either)… that has unfortunate implications for the series’ view on women as a whole.

Yara/Asha Greyjoy

This episode had so many uses of the word c*nt that it’s like they were trying to fulfil a particularly demanding quota — perhaps competing for the world record? (And yes, I will censor it here, because I cringe at the word on a gut-reaction level). Although I’m not hot on the whole “misogynistic words are edgy” nonsense, it makes sense for certain characters, like Tyrion, to use it. Regardless of what he believes about himself, he’s hardly a bastion of respect for women and their rights. But the one usage that bothered me came from Theon’s older sister, Yara. She repeatedly called her little brother a c*nt, creating the weird set-up of a badass woman calling a man a misogynistic insult, because the ultimate sign of weakness and patheticness is to be a woman. And hey, perhaps Yara is misogynistic. Maybe she also believes she’s “not like other girls.” But, as several people have pointed out since the episode aired, Yara (or Asha, to go by her book name) is explicitly against the use of such language in the books.

Cunt again? It was odd how men like Suggs used that word to demean women when it was the only part of a woman they valued.

In a Dance with Dragons, Asha notes the painful irony of this most extreme of insults, as man after man attempts to dismiss or demean her with the word. Would this character then tell her little brother he was a “c*nt” to similarly demean him? Or is this change only included to emphasize that she is “not like other girls,” because most girls are weak, and pathetic, and are deserving of that disdain?

Arya Stark 

Arya remains a fairly awesome character, although strangely, in comparison to the books, she’s also getting nicened up. She’s less brutal, less ruthless, and her escape from Harrenhal, which in the books was an act of desperate self-preservation, mostly orchestrated by her own efforts, is handed entirely over to Jaqen. He is the actual killer; she’s just the one who asks for it to be done. But hopefully her story is not yet done this season, so we’ll see where she ends up in the finale.

Sansa Stark

… was not in this episode. Out of all the Starks, she’s received the least screen time this season, despite the fact that she goes through an important narrative arc as she learns to not only survive in the Lannister-controlled world but to manipulate some of the people around her. While Arya becomes more and more brutal, Sansa remains kind and caring, often putting herself at risk and relying on her wits to help and protect others. But her scenes in this season have mostly emphasised her as a victim and as a part in other character’s stories, like Tyrion and the Hound. She endures with dignity, but she’s given little agency, and little chance for her story to grow. Some of her scenes have been truly excellent, but when we spend a long time listening to Talisa give Robb her (possibly made-up) backstory, or Jaime Lannister connect with and manipulate a fellow Lannister captive, I get the feeling that the writers could have had time to do more with her storyline, if only they’d cared. Sansa and Arya are two sides of the same coin, but the action side, the non-girly side, is getting a lot more screen time, making it seem like the writers believe that is the side most worthy of our attention.

Of course, The Prince of Winterfell wasn’t without its good points. The scene between Jaime and Brienne, as they begin their long journey south, was fantastic and gives me great hope that the two actors will nail their relationship going forward. Tyrion’s conversation with Varys, as they lament that they cannot speak honestly with one another as intelligent men to solve the problem of the upcoming siege, allowed the show to explore the characters’ interesting dynamic once again, and Shae continues to be a fascinating interpretation of a character who was always difficult to read. When Tyrion declared “you are mine,” and the actress’s face set into please-my-lord-who-pays-me mode when she agreed, it drove home to me the fact that, while she does feel some affection for Tyrion, Shae will never truly belong to anybody, and Tyrion would be wise to remember it.

Game of Thrones cannot stick blindly to the events described in 1000 page books without the show falling apart. The making of a quality adaptation comes before 100% faithfulness to the books. However, some of the changes do make me uncomfortable about the writers’ perceptions of the series’ female characters, and what makes a woman worth the show’s attention.

34 comments on “Are Most Women Stupid in Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell?

  • tassa , Direct link to comment

    thank you. this just had to be written. somehow i see that arya is like ygritte and jeyne like sansa, so i didnt really like it how they made jeyne. i really still like her, but i think that book!jeyne is much more like sansa. not only girly, no, of course not, since sansa is also a badass, the women are truly the strong ones. but more a like.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I agree that Sansa and Jeyne, and Arya and Ygritte, are quite similar, at least in their attitude to and expectations about the world. I hadn’t thought about it like that before! I wonder if Jeyne will have a similar story to Sansa in the end… that even though most people dismissed her as naive and weak, she has an inner strength that will allow her to play the game while everyone underestimates her.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      Glad you liked it! I had this niggling sense of dissatisfaction after I finished watching the episode, but it wasn’t until I started writing that I realized how far I felt the problem went.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • Whisky , Direct link to comment

    This is a very upsetting article. I feel like you took some of the creative choices of the directors and GRRM and turned them into some fight for feminism.
    Arya Stark is not like other girls. Her character, in the book and in the series, is not like other girls. She hates the idea of being frilly, learning the stories of lovers, and needlework. That is her character. She is a tom-boy. She’s not some literary device used by GRRM to show disdain for weak women, and to assume so for the cause of feminism is very ignorant.
    Catelyn Stark is a mother. The things she does, she does for her children. In the book series she admits that she was so distraught that her two sons have died, that she released Jamie to get them back. In the books, she does not release Jamie to protect him from the Karstarks. Also in the books, Robb is extremely upset over his mother’s betrayal, and openly tells her that she is under watch for it. He won’t call it treason because he doesn’t want to have to do to his mother what he does to Lord Karstark. Yes, they could have scripted the scene in the show better, but for the most part it was pretty spot on. And again, should not be used as a fight for feminism. Cat releases Jamie because she sees that her last little boy is becoming a man grown. The only real children she has left are her daughters, she is a mother to her core, and will do whatever necessary to get them back.
    Sansa Stark, if you read the book series, isn’t too key of a player yet in the second book. Her role begins in the 3rd. Everything theyve done in the series so far has perfectly portrayed who Sansa is. Just as Arya would rather die than be a lady, Sansa would rather suffer than show that she is not one. And that is not because the author and the directors want to show that a good women knows her place. That is to show that Sansa is like her mother in the sense that she is incredibly strong, and has always been taught to be a lady and bring her house honor. And that is just what she is doing.
    Yara Greyjoy is not a woman to her people. To her people, what you have between your legs does not determine worth. They pay the iron price, and if you can roll with the best, then thats that. She talks like a sailor of the Iron Islands, rough and tough. Again, you’re taking this all way too personally.
    And last but not least, Robb and Talisa. Robb loves Talisa for the exact reason you mentioned above. But why is that a problem? Is it wrong to love someone that your family and the world says you shouldn’t? Are we not allowed to love a woman because she doesn’t do what women are told? Your paragraph on their relationship was a bit hypocritical. As for your little bit about the Frey girl Robb was set to marry; yes, we can assume she would want to marry him. He is the King in the North, a gentleman, and good looking. All of those are traits that, if you read the books, no Frey has.

    • Jasmine , Direct link to comment

      Did you actually read the article?

      The author never said her opinion was definitive or that this was a “personal” attack. But she’s analyzing the show through a certain lens. If someone wrote an article asking if the show was trying to say something about hair color by having so many red heads would you be like “I don’t know why you’re mentioning hair color? You must have personal issue about your hair.”

      You also went on to explain things about the characters that were already known, not addressing any of the actual problematic facts…for instance, you don’t mention that Asha in the books finds the word cunt sexist, but
      Yara in the show uses it.

      I could go on about your inaccurasies, but I think if you just calm down and read the article, you’ll find them as you say you’ve read the book.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I think it’s very unlikely that the writers and directors made these changes out of any conscious agenda to say “haha, women suck!”, and I certainly wouldn’t want to start some kind of manic crusade against them. But, in my reading of the show, these small changes to the story add up to paint a picture that makes me somewhat uncomfortable, and so I wanted to explore them.

      I certainly don’t think that Arya is a literary device to show disdain for weak women. I love Arya’s character, and one of my favourite things about the books is that GRRM presents such a wide range of female characters, from the girly dreamers like Sansa to the straight up warrior swordswomen like Brienne. I just take issue with the fact that the show’s adaptation seems to favor anyone who fits into the second group over those (like Sansa and the original Jeyne) who fit into the first. When a female character is “not like other girls,” and is badass and cool, that’s fine. That’s *great*. I love reading those stories as well. But if the message becomes the idea that a female character can *only* be interesting and cool and compelling if she throws off silly girly things, and that girls who *don’t* do that are inferior… then it seems like sexism in a slightly contorted form.

      I recognize that Cat is a mother, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a key part of her character and the decisions that she makes. However, in my opinion, the show’s reinterpretation of these scenes took away some of her strength as a character (and as a mother) and reverted to old stereotypes about how women are weak and irrational about their children.

      I agree that Sansa will almost *always* act with a lady’s courtesy, because it’s her armor, and that she’s very strong like her mother in that sense. I hope my post didn’t give the impression that I think Sansa is weak for suffering, or a “woman put in her place.” Sansa is my favourite character in the series, and I also think she is one of the strongest, precisely because she endures with courtesy and determination and honor. I just wish she got more screentime!

      I think it’s interesting that you say Yara/Asha isn’t a woman to her people. I hadn’t considered the Iron Islanders from that perspective… although some of their attitudes to her place in the Kingsmoot suggest, to me at least, that she still faces some discrimination from men, I think it’s true that Balon has accepted her as a replacement “son.” However, I don’t think Asha would think that she was not a woman, and from her characterization, I don’t think she’d believe she’s *better* than other women.

      I’m not sure why my section on Robb and Talisa was hypocritical… but I agree that the reasons why Robb loves Talisa aren’t a problem, *in isolation. Talisa’s a fun character, and she has some interesting things to say. However, when this change is combined with all the others, it creates an overall picture that I’m not comfortable with.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

    • Tara Gauthier (@le_solstice) , Direct link to comment

      The point truly went above your head.
      Did you even read the article properly? Because it sounds like you just decided that you were going to argue every point on the principle that ”oh no, some uppity woman dared to criticize the show’s treatment of women, let’s quickly derail the whole thing!”

  • Betsy , Direct link to comment

    You’ve hit so many of my problems with how they’ve been handling things. Another point about Cat, though: They made having her releasing Jaime another of Tyrion’s clever schemes, relayed to her via Petyr Baelish. So not only is her releasing Jaime rather out of the blue and her motives completely muddled, they transformed it into her falling for clever Tyrion’s schemes. Rather than including the actual attempt at having Jaime freed that Tyrion came up with in books, which failed, they made it so that Jaime being released was one of his plans coming to fruition by having Cat duped and acting the fool. Just terrible.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I had forgotten about that! I was so relieved when Cat didn’t immediately say, “Littlefinger, you’re right, I will go and release him” when he brought the idea to her that I didn’t think about how the scenes would add up to non-readers. I know that Cat isn’t always good at seeing through Littlefinger’s manipulations, but the fact that this has become a Lannister plot rather than a defiant act of her own just makes the whole thing worse.

  • Shirley , Direct link to comment

    Everything about this is so well-worded. Thanks for putting into words why exactly this episode left me so uncomfortable.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      Thank you so much! It’s been bugging me for a while, but the latest episode really left me with an uncomfortable feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on, until I tried to write about it.

  • Megan , Direct link to comment

    This is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been wanting to make a post like this and you have just noted everything I’ve meant to say about Cat and Arya and Sansa much better than I ever could have. The points you made about Talisa/Jeyne and Yara/Asha definitely opened up my mind. I really haven’t been paying attention to their story lines because they haven’t really interested me so far and I think this might be why. Thanks for the enlightenment! How do you feel about the way Ygritte is being portrayed?

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 I’m not sure I’ve had time to build an opinion on their interpretation of Ygritte yet… but so far I like her! They’ve stuck pretty close to the books, I think (in her characterization, if not in the actual Beyond-the-Wall plot). She seems fun and dynamic, and she’s certainly giving Jon Snow a run for his money. Perhaps it’s another “she’s not a normal girl” plot, but as that follows her personality in the book quite closely (at least, in comparison to ladies like Sansa, if not compared to other Wildling women), I don’t think that’s a problem. What do you think?

      • honey , Direct link to comment

        With Ygritte, she has tons of reason not to be a “normal [Seven Kingdoms] girl” and is not especially out of the ordinary for a “normal [beyond the Wall] girl,” which is why she works. She has reason to be as she is, she fits in her context and behaves in a way that’s genuine and real for who she is. It’s when the writers try to shoehorn characteristics like Ygritte’s into a character that hasn’t shared her background, her context, her societal upbringing, that it’s a problem. Ygritte makes sense in a way that Talisa as generated by the show does not, and she actually reinforces the point, in my opinion. There are reasons that women are they way that they frequently are, and yes there are exceptions, but it’s okay to be a woman and there’s more to “strong female character” than “boy with boobs.”

  • shanna , Direct link to comment

    I have to disagree with you last statement about Catelyn. I spent most of the books thinking that Catelyn was often too rash and too quick to judge. I don’t really know if I feel this season has done the character justice because book 2 is where Catelyn and I started to part ways but I do agree that she has lost some agency in the quest to give Robb more screentime.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I agree that Catelyn was somewhat rash in the first book… she was far from responsible for the war, as that whole thing was a powder keg, but she was definitely too willing to judge the Lannisters based on scant information from not-very-trustworthy people (as was Ned). But I think she really regrets the decision to take Tyrion to the Eyrie, and her cautious, diplomatic attitude going forward is to her credit. She seems to be the only voice in the whole mess who is calling for peace.

  • gallen , Direct link to comment

    While I really like your analyses, you must remember that the HBO version of Game of Thrones has no choice but to be a cliff-notes version of the books. I sincerely doubt that Martin himself really knew where the various characters were going when he was writing the second book. The entire series strikes me as a bit unplanned in places. I wonder if he’s ever really going to find a way to wrap the entire thing up.

    Also, I don’t expect the writers of the HBO series to understand the nuances of the many – many characters in Martin’s opus. I’m kind of gratified that they are making an attempt at it (and a not half bad attempt IMO.)

    I could go into medieval culture and how culturally patriarchal they were (with a ‘very’ few exceptions.) However this is fantasy anyway.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I’ve actually been impressed by how the show has added nuance to some characters, like Cersei and Shae, who seemed a lot less engaging or sympathetic in the earlier books. I’m not in the camp that “Game of Thrones is misogynistic because Westeros is misogynistic” (far from it), and I agree that if the show didn’t go cliff-notes, it would probably end up an incoherent mess. Some of the changes are definitely for the better. I just find that a lot of (imo) unnecessary changes, like not having Catelyn hear about Bran and Rickon’s deaths, have unfortunate consequences for the characterizations we’re seeing.

  • Jessica , Direct link to comment

    Somewhat off-topic from the ep/post but I needed to share:

    I’m really conflicted about Asha (Yara i suppose, although I’ve only read the books and haven’t kept up with the TV series at all) as a feminist character because I don’t really feel like she is necessarily concerned with the welfare of other women. I particularly remember a scene where she and her men capture a castle and the women in the losing family are forced to serve them naked and then later raped as she leaves the hall to discuss war or something with a cohort or. She’s not my favorite character at all (other female characters such as Dany also find themselves in a position to witness rape and wartime rape and Dany does something about it that notably has consequences later but at least she did something about it).

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I always felt pretty unconnected to Asha… I find the Greyjoys in general to be the least interesting part of the story, so I must admit I didn’t think much about her character before ADwD. You’re right that she’s not a feminist character in those moments… or perhaps it’s more that she’s not a *caring* person? Dany cares deeply about other people’s suffering, whereas Asha is very pragmatic and blunt and just accepts war the way it is. She doesn’t develop sympathy for these women, not because women aren’t worth developing sympathy for, and not because she thinks they deserve it, but because they’re nothing to her.

  • Sarah Bee Bee , Direct link to comment

    I agree with everything you say, with the exception of one point made about Talisa. I don’t agree that “her entire worth [to Robb] … is that she bucks the trend and is unlike regular, silly, simpering women…” The thing that draws Robb to Talisa from the beginning is not that she is boyish or unfeminine. The thing that keeps him coming back is that she tries to heal all wounded, regardless of what side they’re on. That she resists all of his attempts to justify the war he is in, and constantly points to the here and now, the fact that there are men dying right now as a direct result of decisions that he, Robb Stark, has made. She is not afraid to cut off a man’s foot to save his life, and she is not afraid to tell a rebel king to his face that war is an ugly thing, something which should not be happening. Something that’s wrong. Of course even if she wanted to she cannot stop this conflict, just try to heal the injured.

    Which I believe leads handily to one of the main points in this series which circles around (among other things) the definition of power. NONE of the characters alone seem to have the power to stop violence, destruction, hate, or war. Every single character in this series has had things go wrong for them, plans thwarted, themselves or people they love killed/captured/hurt. Even the most powerful characters in this show openly acknowledge that they are playing a game, that they are therefore capable of losing the game unless they fight to stay on top.

    To me, the reason Robb Stark is attracted to Talisa is because she isn’t trying to play the game. She might be the only character thus far in the show who possesses agency and doesn’t try to play the game. She wants to help people, not have power over them. And – irony of ironies! – she is still someone who possesses the power of life and death over others. She’s just using that power in a positive, healing way. To me, that is the antithesis of all the masculine displays of power we have seen in this show.

    Every thing else, Catelyn, Yara/Asha, and Sansa and so on, everything you’ve said is fantastic and spot-on. Thank you for writing this!

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      Wow, that analysis was really interesting. I’d never thought about it that way before, but I think you’re absolutely right. Talisa’s definitely an interesting character (and will become even more interesting, I think, if she does turn out to be Jeyne Westerling, as someone who’s willing to work in the enemy camp to help *everybody* in this pointless war). I still find the set-up of the ~*big romantic scene*~ a little uncomfortable, since her speech really emphasized the silly girly things vs. her better life calling, and in the context of all the other things this episode, it irked me. But that’s more of a problem with the way the story is being told, rather than with the character herself.

      After reading this, I really hope that Talisa manages to get a scene with Catelyn at some point. I think they’d have a lot of ideas in common to talk about.

      • Sarah Bee Bee , Direct link to comment

        I completely agree! I hadn’t thought about the message that sends, the “I’m not like other girls” message, so I really appreciated how you talked about the various ways that trope is used in this show. That’s definitely something that I used to do when I was younger, and I have long since come to realize that people should just be able to be who they are. I won’t belabor the point. 🙂

        I freely admit that I liked the sex scene with Robb and Talisa as it compared to, oh, all the other sex scenes in this whole show that come to mind. Sexuality is something that ASoIaF-verse already uses in a fairly negative way, and HBO cranks that to a whole new level of omgsrsly? For me, anyway. Oh man, that could be a whole book right there, sexuality and the ways it harms both men and women in [insert work of fiction/television show].

        Talisa and Cat…it could go both ways I bet. Depending on how like/unlike herself Cat is characterized. I was nonplussed by their decision for her to be like “oh noes mah babies” and crickets chirping when she was supposed to provide a rationale for her decision. It’s like hello, we’ve seen her being fairly rational thus far (esp book readers but even in the show), why the heck would she not at least have a rationale outlined to save Robb some face? Meh. Buuuut I babble. 😛

  • voodooqueen , Direct link to comment

    Talisa was some sort of incredibly annoying hippy who belongs in a movie about the Vietnam war.
    She does not work in the Middle Ages… I thought the reason Jeyne worked was because she had a certain regality, and definite virginity, where as I think Robb mentally compared this to the Freys (vulgar and as Daven Lannister says-not very virginal) and subconsciously went “better queen material”. What I am saying is that if we lived in the Middle Ages “strong women tm” wouldn’t be all that attractive, it would just be annoying. So Robb’s attraction to Jeyne made cultural sense, where as if I had been Robb and some stupid Volantene trollop came up to me and started preaching peace, love and mungbeans, I would have hit her hard (because she would have fallen outside of the feudal order rather like Brienne). Now maybe B&B felt that by making Talisa (and what a pathetic weak made up name) some sort of hippy (and modern person transported to the Middle Ages) they made Robb’s love much more sympathetic (since it makes it twuw wuv, rather than boring duty), but actually it renders it rather stupid and even less sympathetic (they seem incapable of imagining how a man could fall in love with dignity, virtue and compassion) and somehow think it is easier for a man to fall in love with a woman who insults everything that he stands for….

  • spamslots , Direct link to comment

    I’m sorry. I haven’t watched the show, but reading the books, quite frankly, Catelyn sucks. I don’t see ANYTHING in what you’ve said that if they’d trusted her judgement, people would be better off.

    In the books, Catelyn is almost offensively self-righteous, and time after time, her judgement is *Wrong*. Blaming Tyrion with planted evidence, prematurely making a move on Tyrion, getting her husband to rely on Littlefinger, her treatment of Jon Snow, releasing Jaime, wasting time trying diplomacy against brothers who loathe each other in Stannis and Renly… Where exactly is she so wise in the books?

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      I actually wrote a post on this here, so I won’t go into it too much here. However, you list what I think is one example of her wisdom… trying diplomacy between Stannis and Renly. Stannis at least does have some love left for his brother, and I think Catelyn is right: their war is basically pointless, will cause many more deaths, and will only weaken their position in general against the Lannisters. Whether they listen or not is on them. Similarly, she’s the biggest (possibly the only?) advocate of “always listen to your direwolf,” and bad things generally happen when people ignore that advice.

      She’s not perfect, and some people are bound to dislike her, like all characters. But I find her interesting and compelling, and the show’s portrayal of her plays up the negative aspects, frequently without also including the positive.

  • Stacy , Direct link to comment

    Everything you wrote is spot on. Granted that this series is fantasy (dragons, magic & such) I too believe that the way women are characterized in ASOIAF (A Song Of Ice And Fire/Game of Thrones) is lame at best. Brienne is the only female knight. Why can’t women make a difference by brute force? Why are we not represented on the battlefield. Thrones should stick to the facts (albeit fantasy) and the facts are women can fight hand to hand just as well as any man. I will no longer watch the HBO series or read the books. Who is with me?

    • voodooqueen126 , Direct link to comment

      lol. I am sick and tired of women who fight armies in chainmail bikinis. Brienne is the most realistic portrait of a woman warrior that I have ever seen in fiction.
      truth is we can’t get into physical fights with men, they have so much brute force than us by their very nature. That is a simple fact.
      My source: every time I have gotten into physical fights with men it has ended in painful bruising and atleast one time a twisted arm.
      On the other hand I can carry a baby, give birth and then feed it.
      Which men cannot do.

  • Emily , Direct link to comment

    The main thing thst bothers me is that Talisa is not Jeyne. Talisa shouldn’t even be in the show, but HBO just had to change Robb’s character completely and make him the rebel king who doesn’t care about the rules, when, in the books, he knows what his duty is and follows it to the best of his ability. This chnge in Robb’s character was really dissappointing to me because Robb was my favorite character. I understand that HBO needs to make it appeal to everyone, which means they have to go with more “classic” character types, but it is kind o dissappointing.

  • Kartik Mohan , Direct link to comment

    “In the books, many terrible events could have been prevented if people had only listened to what Catelyn had to say.”

    Couldn’t agree more, and the series completely misses this. Even as loss after staggering loss is inflicted upon book-Cat, she holds on to her reason better than most other characters, and anticipates eventual disaster with more level-headed acuity than many oblivious men (cf: her “Knights of Summer” comment at Renly’s camp.) She grooms hotheaded Robb into a leader of the seasoned Northern Lords, and negotiates the trickier aspects of his trajectory every step of the way up to the Red Wedding. This, in fact, is what makes her transformation into the rigidly vengeful Lady Stoneheart shockingly poignant when it happens; it is that most unkindest cut that slashes away her lifelong commitment to staying reasonable in the face of intense opprobrium. It’ll look a lot different when TV-Cat becomes Lady Stoneheart… sexist viewers will perceive the deeply undervalued transition as representing just one more irrational flip-flopping mother turning into a bitter, post-menopausal crone.

    And how about that scene in Season 3 Episode 3 (I think) where Catelyn makes this confessional speech to Talisa about her regrets over Jon Snow? Nooooo! What are they thinking, softening her about the edges like that? Book-Cat’s unwavering antipathy to Jon Snow is not just a humanizing character flaw, but illuminates the exact way in which she is protective of her own blood-children, cannily aware of the dynamics of her society’s feudal traditions… a quality far more “mannish” than simply a mother-bear’s doting over her cubs. It sets up the unspoken question of just why Catelyn thought a mere bastard might pose a threat to the claim rights of her own children… just who was Jon’s mother anyway?

    Just one more of the subtle but very compelling themes that the HBO series has managed to do away with, because it doesn’t expect viewers to be able to handle depictions of femininity beyond a dichotomy of Princess/Tank-Girl stereotypes. Which says most, unfortunately, about the society from which HBO draws its viewing pool.

  • My Website , Direct link to comment

    The traditional Hollywood companies are unable to specify what the general public choose or will get as they have before. Whenever you add to that distribution on the web and, news reports, web-sites, from chat to whole films. It’s just a brand-new world. Some of it very good, some not.

What do you think?

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