Posted by : Wendy B Sunday, 6 November 2011
Tyrion Lannister is an obvious choice for favourite character, but not far behind him for me is Lord Varys. Varys was previously seen through Eddard Stark, whom he tried to help, it would seem, and now through Tyrion, to whom he has revealed much more of himself and his web. "Lord Varys," he says, "I am growing strangely fond of you. I may kill you yet, but I'd feel sad about it." I originally thought it because he was the only one that was not in it for himself, but for the realm, but really, what is Varys without the realm? His scheming and secrets and spies all serve to keep him within his comfortable place. Unlike Littlefinger who most certainly is out for himself and willing to put a knife in your back as necessary, or Maester Pycelle who is utterly devoted to the Lannisters, Varys aligns himself with whomever has the power to rule. He never truly plays the role of enemy to anyone, but anyone who knows him is aware that he cannot be trusted, with his own demeanor aiding in the perception. While Littlefinger and Tyrion's machinations are outwardly manipulative and/or an obvious betrayal to those betrayed, Varys' manipulations are more like a spider's whisper in your ear....
This is obviously not a matriarchal society. In case anyone doubted this, HBO takes it one or two steps further to show just what place women hold in this story. Hell, HBO even offered up a whole new character, a whore, who's purpose seems to be, well, a whore, yes, but someone to make intrigues more interesting by having characters bounce their thoughts off of her. In spite of this, there are many females who do what they can with what they can. Cersei more or less makes herself queen, Catelyn, bless her, runs around starting wars, Daenrys, whom some might say is simply suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, overcame her circumstances to become
And then there's Asha Greyjoy. She's introduced as yet another wench, but unlike the others, she has true power that she's earned not merely by being "one of the boys," but by being good at what she does.
Sex is used to put women in their place in this book. Despite running a brothel, Chataya's views on sexuality reminded me, for obvious reasons, of the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey.
"My people hold that there is no shame to be found in the pillow house. In the Summer Isles, those who are skilled at giving pleasure are greatly esteemed. Many highborn youths and maidens serve for a few years after their flowerings, to honor the gods."
"The gods made our bodies as well as our souls, is it not so? They give us voices so we might worship them with song. They give us hands, so we might build them temples. And they give us desire, so we might mate and worship them in that way."
Asha Greyjoy has been cast and also renamed Yara for season 2. This is, presumably, to avoid confusion with the character Osha, introduced last season. Apparently, the audience is just that stupid. A minor issue, though. Comparatively, Renly Baratheon was turned from a charismatic and handsome man, lacking in humility, and quick to proclaim himself king when Robert died, into a simpering coward who fears the sight of his own blood and must be encouraged to take the crown by his lover, the Knight of Flowers. I assume it was Renly's Rainbow Guard that inspired the series to make him overtly gay where the book only implied it, but could they at least have made him more fabulous, too? Where is the great stag helm and forest green and gold armour? Are they planning to skip over the entire sibling rivalry in the series? Because right now, I'm not seeing that Renly daring to go to war against anyone...
Theon Greyjoy was also changed from a whoring and somewhat cruel young man with great aspirations into a virgin with great aspirations. This was, perhaps, to save us from his many whore-related inner monologues.
People I'd like to kick in the head to help them figure things out faster
Catelyn Stark - Just shut up and cut the umbilical cord already. Or better yet, go be with your other sons who DO need you more than Robb does.
Bran Stark - Open your eye, dammit!
Sansa Stark - Like mother, like daughter.
Oh hey. All Starks. Go figure.