Why U mad, tho? Another treatise on Sexual Violence in HBO’s Game of Thrones

It’s been a little over a year since Lucy (formerly Peachy) wrote her article discussing the now infamous incestuous rape scene in the third episode of Game of Thrones’ season four. History has a funny way of repeating itself, doesn’t it? If you’re a fan of GOT, be warned that there’ll be spoilers from here on in. Those of you not riding that particular roller coaster are still encouraged to read on, because what I have to say doesn’t only apply to the seven kingdoms. At the end of episode 6, Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner), was married to Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), in what she was made to believe to be a power move by a political puppet master Petyr Baelish, whose relationship with her revolves around her serving as both a political pawn and a romantic proxy for her dead mother, upon whom he long had designs. That disturbing little tidbit is not even what I want to talk about right now. What I do want to talk about is the general and critical reaction to the very final scene, in which she is raped off-screen by her new husband (long established as a sadist), with her former foster-brother watching on. I’m not here to have the “but was it rape?” argument, I’m here to have the “why does fictional rape garner the outrage non-fictional rape evades?” discussion. Some fucked up stuff happens on Game of Thrones. Some fucked up stuff happens in real life. In real life, though, we can cloak these things in an ambiguity and reason that’s difficult to foster when it’s presented to us by an omniscient narrative eye. So long as there’s room for doubt, you can rationalise it away or pretend it didn’t happen, at least “not like that”.  But when it’s right in front of you, like it was in this episode and in last year’s, there’s no “he said, she said”, no evidence to gather, no allegations to discount and no witnesses to find or discredit. You saw a fucked up thing happen. You are a witness. You can’t hide from it anymore, like you could when if happened to a friend of a friend’s cousin. You have to confront a very real and fucked up thing that happens to women and men all over the world under a range of fucked up circumstances, and it makes you uncomfortable. Which is fine, by the way, you should be uncomfortable. Only rapists are okay with rape (in addition to an alarming number of politicians, religious and academic institutions, etc.) But are you as upset by a 30 second headline on the six o’clock news about a real, violent, sexual crime perpetrated by and upon real, living people as you are by something simulated by actors in a safe and controlled environment? Are you going to jump online and write about how it should never have been allowed to happen? Are you going to demand that it never be allowed to happen again? What is arguing with a stranger going to achieve? Sex is still a pretty significantly taboo topic in contemporary society, especially when it comes to issues of consent. The way it’s dealt with on our tv and movie screens reminds me of repeats I’ve seen of shows from the ’60s where married adults slept in twin single beds. For centuries, polite society – historically, the part of society that makes and enforces the rules – refused to allow the open acknowledgement that consensual sex, within the boundaries of a loving relationship, was something that occurred in a fictional universe, let alone in a real one. Sure, we’ve moved on, sex is everywhere in contemporary media, for better and worse. There are dozens of crime shows that thrive on twistedly empowering narratives of rape – the perpetrator is convicted, or served poetic justice, the victim is avenged. Our fiction feeds us rhetoric about survival and the power of the system, when nothing is more systemic, on a global scale, than sexual abuse. In attempting to depict narratives of sexual violence that conform to resolution-driven, episodic formats, contemporary fiction is unknowingly and implicitly reinforcing the tendency to hide from the inconvenient truth of reality. There is nothing more damaging or pervasive than willful or enforced ignorance. You can’t hope to change or fix something you don’t know how to talk about. I am by no means advocating for more rape scenes on my television. What I would like though, is for the people watching and talking about them to think seriously about why it makes them feel the way they do without becoming the proverbial ostrich, blocking out the inconvenient or uncomfortable. Come on, other humans, do me this one solid.



Televised incestuous rape? OVER MY DEAD BODY: Sexual violence in HBO’s Game of Thrones

GTN, my darling. I have missed you.

As uttered to Magpie on numerous occasions –  in cars, cafes, Skype dates and tea slurpings – GTN is the child we put up for adoption. To use an appropriate analogy, it is the infant the White Walkers carted off to ice-henge.

But we are back. We have returned. WITH TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY. TRY NOT TO HAVE A STROKE.

As a mirror to Magpie’s post on Tess of the D’urbervilles, a nineteenth century novel that addresses the social repercussions of sexual violence, I thought this piece of mine was appropriate. Enjoy.

*Spoilers for the most recent series of HBO’s Game of Thrones in this article. Ye be warned*


For a show that exposes within its 56 minute segments a medieval concoction of incest, prostitution, murder, torture, beheadings, zombies, slavery, and sacrifice, people sure do love it, and people sure do get worked over a bit of rape.

And I sure find it very hard to write “bit” in jest. Because there is nothing at all light about sexual violence, and for it to be displayed in one of the most popular and widely pirated television series’ of all time has done more than ruffle a few ravens. The episode in question, “Breaker of Chains” aired recently as part of the newest season of HBO’s medieval drama currently showing on Foxtel in Australia, and received a good deal of backlash for its depiction of a previously deplorable – and now fan favourited – character, Jaime Lannister, raping his twin sister in very close proximity to their dead son. Yes, this show is that insane.

Up until now it has garnered nothing but praise. Recently being renewed for a fifth and sixth season, GoT has received widespread critical acclaim and popular support, boasting one of the largest casts and budgets in television. Set in the fictional medieval land of Westeros, it chronicles the violent dynastic struggles of seven noble families as they fight for control of the Iron Throne, all the while shadowed by looming supernatural supernatural threats in the icy north and fiery east.

Game of Thrones has become well known for its merciless displays of violence, sexual intrigue, and the innumerable dark facets of human nature, evoking a realism and moral ambiguity that sets it apart from fantasy stereotypes. In short, there seems to be no line in this gritty series. But recently, viewers recently stood up and marked one, ripping their ‘Jaime Lannister’ banners through gold-flecked tears.

Let’s just recap for a second on how far this show has gone in the past. In season one, we witnessed incest, the attempted murder of a child, nudity, and beheading. In season two, sadism, the sacrifice of infants. In season three, castration, torture, mass slaughter and the sowing of a wolf’s head on to a human body. And yet for some reason, none of these portrayals have triggered a peep of outrage when compared to the uproar that followed one recent scene.

There is a surprisingly simple reason for this. In our society, we are fortunate enough that beheadings, incest, torture, and slavery are virtually unheard of. They strike a chord with very few viewers, providing only bloody colour for a world of entirely foreign substance,a world that doesn’t even exist. They blend in to the fantasy. They become, in this context, forgivable.

Rape does not. And that is because it remains for us – more so than ever due to its exposure – a social concern that has ongoing implications. Sexual violence is as prevalent now as it has ever been, and the psychological scars it inflicts on victims run deep and everlasting. That is why the blasé handling of rape on the show has sparked so much uproar, and with good reason. Personally this widespread reaction, unique thus far to the series, has triggered in me very conflicting concerns.

The first is is that Game of Thrones now has an extremely far-reaching influence, and that this arguably affords it a degree of responsibility. It is unable to continue to stretch the line when it is a cultural phenomenon that can at any point be seen to be championing or over-exposing issues that are of huge social sensitivity. It cannot be careless with its portrayal of crimes that are still abhorrently prevalent in our society.

My second contrasting concern, is that viewers are being selective about the deplorable facets of the human condition they condemn. As mentioned repeatedly, Game of Thrones far from holds back in depicting shocking events. Let’s come away from Westeros for a second. As a politics student, I have  Thomas Hobbes’ famous “life is nasty, brutish, and short” tattooed on my eyelids. Humans do evil things. The reality of ‘medieval’ times was that these things often went un-policed, and Game of Thrones is famed for addressing this with ruthless accuracy.

It is perhaps irrational to expect that in a fictional universe where incest, murder, torture etc is a daily reality, sexual crimes are not. “I know rape happens, but they shouldn’t show it.” But can you really expect a show famed for its realism to suddenly omit its portrayal of one aspect of human evil? This would arguably cripple the power of its storytelling.

I will never defend sexual violence. It cannot be excused. But I do believe that fantasy is fantasy, and that storytelling should cause discomfort. Art exists to turn a mirror on us all, exposing human darkness.

Regardless, viewers have drawn a line. In reality, when a show’s influence pushes ever expanding edges, walls must be raised to keep out sensitive subject matter – the ‘White Walkers’ of our world. Though shiny and rogue in the early days of a far smaller viewership, with fame comes accountability.

And for a cultural phenomenon with such tremendous influence, viewers clearly demand it.



‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 Episode 10 Review: “Mhysa”

Rating: 8/10

Spoiler-free summary: In the final episode of season 3, the Capital receives news from the Twins, Tywin and Joffrey have a disagreement, Bran tells a ghost story, Theon’s captor is revealed, the Greyjoy’s make their decisions, Ygritte takes revenge, Sam arrives at Castle Black, Stannis shifts his focus and Dany meets the people of Yunkai.

*Episode spoilers from here on*

Why ‘Mhysa’ was great:

  • Arya killed a man. And he was a Frey.
  • JonGritte : ‘I know you won’t hurt me’ – ‘You know nothing Jon Snow’
  • Major characters finally coming together, such as Sam and Bran, Sam and Jon and Jaime and Cersei
  • Tyrion drinking with Podrick – “Keep up!”
  • Davos saved Gendry!
  • Stannis abandoned the War of the Five Kings and looked to the north – why isn’t everyone doing this?!
  • Beautiful shots captured the tragic devastation of the Starks banners at the Twins (the shots of flaming men were reminiscent of Blackwater) and Daenerys’ liberation of Yunkai.

Why ‘Mhysa’ could’ve been better:

  • There was a lot of dialogue, a lot! Some of it better than the rest. I know we’ve come to expect E9 to be the main emotional climax and E10 to be more of a set up for the season to come, but I expected more action of the finale. Just a bit.
  • While some scenes felt over-long, other important ones like the return of Jaime were disappointingly brief
  • It…didn’t pack any punch. The last scene was supposed to be epic, but it had more ‘messiah’ cheese than a babybel.

At the end of season 2, Arya uttered the words ‘Valar Morghulis’ (all men must die). However her priorities lay in being reunited with her family. Now, with Robb and Catelyn dead and House Stark desecrated, the same words tumble from her lips.I can’t wait for season 4.

Because of the decision to base Season 3 on the first half of ‘A Storm of Swords’, this finale was kind of like stopping in the middle of a book. It didn’t have much punch because it’s more of a breather than an end. There is action to come, but by my calculations a lot of it has to happen in the first few episodes of next season, so it’s a shame they couldn’t have let some of that action seep in to this finale. As an episode of over an hour in length, it was composed mainly of lengthy dialogue to set the stage for season 4.

After witnessing the aftermath of the Red Wedding, including the nightmare-inducing sight of Grey Wind’s head sewn on to Robb’s body, we quickly turn to King’s Landing. Tyrion and Sansa’s banter-filled stroll suggests that this mismatched pair is actually quite a match. This is perhaps the most sincere we have ever seen Sansa. She is no longer spoilt, hysterical, naively optimistic or sulking. She seems genuinely excited about the prospect of teaming up with her fellow outcast husband and putting ‘sheep shift’ in the beds of their enemies. The little detail that Sansa doesn’t actually know the word ‘shit’ was endearing and amusing.

However their playful plot is cut short when Tyrion is called to a Small Council meeting by Pod(sex-god)rick. News of the Stark’s demise at the hands of the Lannisters, Freys and Bolton’s has reached King’s Landing. Somehow I don’t think there will be any playful banter between Tyrion and Sansa for a while.

A common theme in Game of Thrones has been the illusion of power. In ‘Mhysa’, Tywin proved that despite not wearing a crown he is by far a more powerful player than Joffrey. As Tyrion remarks, he can send the ‘most powerful man in Westeros to bed without his supper.’ Robb also had a King’s power, yet despite never losing a battle, he perished.


Cersei is a character who survives on the threads of power. As a woman and a queen, her ability to wield it is rife with contradictions. Lena Headey somehow makes the most loathsome character understandable, and Cersei’s revealing scenes with Tyrion are always some of my favourite. It’s a small detail, but I noted the sincere smile Cersei gave Joffrey when he grinned at her during the Small Council meeting, perhaps remembering the happy little boy that kept her from throwing herself from the Red Keep. There are so many dimensions to these characters, even the ones you want to hate.

As a fantasy series GoT is unique in its lack of distinction between good and evil. When Ned Stark appeared to be the hero of the series, his head was swiftly removed. While we are horrified by the Red Wedding and condemn Lord Walder and the Lannisters , Lord Walder is nothing more than a proud and prickly underdog on a quest to ruthlessly prove his betters wrong. Tywin has his own reasons for the massacre, and Tyrion is both a Lannister and popularly one of the best characters in the show! Nothing is clear cut, which is what makes this story believable and engrossing.

Jon Snow is surely a man of honor. Right? However last week he had to choose between honoring his vows, and honoring a love born of dishonor. It’s a similar decision to the one Robb faced, except Robb chose wrong and paid sorely. One could say that getting shot with three arrows is a painful price, too, but hey, I feel ya Ygritte. It’s easier to embed three arrows in the person that is breaking your heart than sit there crying like an idiot. Rose Leslie is a great actress. I loved how Ygritte’s entire body reacted when Jon told her he loved her, how the bow came back as a reflex.

Bran’s storyline was back to a slow burn this week as he, Meera and Jojen continued to head for the Wall. It was great though for two reasons. First, his tale of the Rat Cook really emphasised the unforgivable nature of the Red Wedding in Westeros. Second, the warm satisfied feeling I get when two groups of characters finally come together is just the best. Sam meeting Bran was a highlight of the episode. “I’ve been around Ghost enough to know a Direwolf when I see one.”

In less warming revelations, the freaky man torturing Theon was unveiled as Roose Bolton’s bastard son, Ramsay. He kindly sends Theon’s recently amputated manhood to his father with a ransom, which gives us our first glimpse of the Greyjoy’s since last season. While the ever horrid Balon Greyjoy renounces his son, Yara decides to take matters in to her own hands. She vows to find her brother and bring him home in what is a major plot point going forward.


I commend the show for turning what was initially one of the dullest storylines in to one with texture and direction. Stannis in Dragonstone is no longer something I yawn at. The clever shot of Melissandre and Davos as a devil and angel was a bit cheesy perhaps, but it worked. These characters are no longer one dimensional, and I feel that I have a better grasp of their motives and perspectives. Stannis isn’t unjustifiably grim. Davos is no longer ‘that guy who hangs around Stannis’. An adorable addition to their story has been Shireen Baratheon, and as i’ve mentioned a few times this season, Melissandre is no longer ‘crazy witch lady’ but someone I can almost empathise with. Kudos, season 3.

Daenery’s final sequence looked beautiful, but it seemed like an average end to the series. I would’ve preferred something focusing on the north, to match this episodes emphasis on the coming threat of the Whitewalkers.


Season 3 has at times been disappointing. If you consider what it had to portray – bear fights, hand amputations, Dany’s sack of Yunkai, the climbing of the Wall – it just didn’t pack the punch expected and came across as thin. This might’ve been a result of complacence at the awesome source material, or just a struggle by the producers to portrayal numerous storylines as the series continues to expand. And in one as sprawling as this, can you blame them?

Nevertheless, season 3 has had some great moments, memorable guest stars, and showcased superb acting and beautiful sets, costumes and direction. It’s easy to forget that even an average episode of Game of Thrones is still fantastic television.

Peachy x

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 Episode 9 Review: “The Rains of Castamere”

Rating: 8.8/10

Spoiler-free summary: The Starks arrive at the Twins, Daenerys’ men debate how best to take Yunkai, Gilly and Sam look upon the Wall, the Hound and Arya talk fear and death, Bran discovers a new gift, Jon is forced to prove his loyalty, and House Tully joins with House Frey.

*Episode spoilers from here on*


And so he spoke, and so he spoke, that Lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o’er his hall with not a soul to hear.


The ‘Rains of Castamere’ began innocently enough. Nothing amiss but the inclusion of the Twins in the opening credits, the location of Edmure Tully’s wedding to Roslin Frey. And of this seasons most memorable scene.

We jumped straight in with Robb asking the opinion of his mother. The problem is that his entire plan hinges on the cooperation of Walder Frey, a man Blackfish calls the ‘most unpleasant man’ he has ever met, and a man Robb pissed off by breaking his marriage oath. Yet at this point, the Starks have no choice but to commit to uncertainties or perish as Ned did. The memory is for Catelyn a reminder of all she has lost. “Show them how it feels to lose what they love.”

So the Starks arrive at the Twins and it’s Walder Frey. I mean Filch. I mean Frey. Either way, this man is an ass. We all know it. From stumbling through the names of his daughters and grandaughters (which was actually pretty amusing) to summing up Talisa like a piece of meat. Lord Walder has a very good point in saying that if Robb wanted to hide Talisa (and his unborn child) he shouldn’t have brought them to the Twins in the first place. I can’t help but agree. Considering the danger and the offence she would cause, it surely made much more sense to keep his wife and his heir far away. Robb is very kingly as he apologises to the Frey daughters for his slight, but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that all won’t be so easily forgiven.


En route to the Twins, Arya mocked the Hound’s tough man attitude, telling him that he was basically a kitten next to Faceless Men like Jaqen H’gar. Despite all that she has been through, she showed some lingering tenderness as she begged the Hound not to kill an old man. “You’re very kind,” was Sandor’s reply. “And some day it’ll get you killed.” Well, after what she witnesses at the end of the episode, any inkling of kindness has probably gone. That’s basically a nail in the coffin of her destiny to become a stone cold killer.

In the north, Jon had a hard time taking his Wildling guise all the way, refusing to execute a man allied to the Night’s Watch. This is where shit hits the fan, with Tormund reluctantly ordering the Wildlings to kill him. A fight ensues. Ygritte sides with Jon, but he knocks her down and she is subdued by Tormund as Jon, aided by the wolves, gets away. Ygritte looks PISSED.

In the East, Daenerys’ scenes got a bit lost in this episode. I felt that her siege of Yunkai needed its own focus in next weeks episode to achieve its ultimate impact. Forever in the friendzone, we saw tension arising between Ser Jorah and the dreamy Daario. Ser Barristan was clearly disgruntled at having to stay behind while Grey Worm, Jorah and Daario led the sack of the city. They made a pretty badass trio, though, and this provided an opportunity for some great onscreen swordplay, mostly absent since Jaime and Brienne’s spar back in episode 2. When Grey Worm and Jorah return triumphant, Dany’s concern immediately shifts to Daario Naharis. The look of hurt in Jorah’s eyes was so sad, man. I’m team Jorah all the way, no matter how dreamy SparrowBloomHgar is.

As always, scenes moves rather seamlessly from fire to ice. In the far north, a brief scene saw Gilly entranced by Sam’s knowledge. “You know all that from staring at marks on paper? You’re like a wizard.” If you remember back to season 1, Sam’s childhood dream was to be a wizard. This, paired with the look he gives Gilly hints that poor Sam is falling pretty hard. Gilly is awestruck by the Wall and by having surviving to have seen it. Not only because of, you know, almost getting killed by a Whitewalker, but because of a myth her rapist father told her. Sigh.

Bran’s storyline takes an interesting turn (finally). He discovers that as a Warg he can get inside the head of his direwolf, Summer (as well as people with the IQ of wolves, like Hodor). Shit got real, man. Rickon had lines. A lot of lines. We learnt that Hodor really doesn’t like thunder, or as he calls it, ‘hodor’. (Bran – “Hodor, no more hodoring!”) After all the action, it’s revealed that literally no one is able to get inside another persons head the way Bran does. He decides that it is safer if he and Rickon separate. In an emotional goodbye, Osha heads for Last Hearth with Rickon and Shaggydog, while Bran, Jojen and Meera continue their search for the three eyed raven.

At the Twins, Roslin Frey is revealed to be a blushing beauty, not the mouse faced Frey we all expected. Edmure Tully is delighted by this. The look Lord Frey gives Robb at this point is pretty hilarious, but in hindight I just want to sob. So let’s talk about it. Everyone is having a jolly old time. Edmure and his new bride get carted off to bed by their friends and family in what is a pretty weird custom. Cat reflects fondly on her own wedding. Talisa and Robb share a tender moment in which they decide to call their son Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark. Eddard ffs. Then the doors close, the band begins to play the Rains of Castamere (a.k.a. the Lannister Song) aaaaand absolutely fucking everyone gets slaughtered.

Catelyn seems to be the only one to realise something’s up. When a family you’ve recently pissed off, as seedy as House Frey, begins to play the death anthem of your enemy, you’re bound to be hearing alarm bells. But only Catelyn, apparently. The creepy Roose Bolton shows that he’s more interested in money than honour. Cat realises too late, but still manages to land a firm smack across his creepy face.

The Hound and Arya arrive as the Red Wedding is just beginning. Arya herself witnesses the death of Stark bannermen and her brothers direwolf Greywind. You can kill all the Stark’s you want, but kill a direwolf and i’m gonna get weepy. She’s about to walk in to the room where her family is being slaughtered, but the Hound delivers a merciful blow to her head. “It’s too late,” he says. And he’s right.

Robb knows it. As he watches the light go out of Talisa’s eyes he seems resigned to his fate. A grief-stricken Catelyn holds a knife to Lady Frey’s throat, determined that her son should survive above all else. But Robb is completely broken by the death of his wife, and Lord Walder is ( as we’ve discussed) an ass. He even takes a sip of wine as Robb is stabbed, Catelyn wails in despair, and his own wife’s throat is cut. Nice man.

For good measure, the camera moves slowly in to silently frame Catelyn’s face as her own throat is slit.

Silent credits.


The Tyrell’s had better tread carefully, else hide yo’ kids hide yo’ wife hide yo’ husband, because the Lannisters don’t fuck around.

I know many people are depressed by this weeks events. I knew what was coming and still wanted to eat my own weight in chocolate. But due to the thrill of characters coming so close to each other, action scenes, character revelations like Bran’s, superb direction, chilling performances by Michelle Fairley and guest star David Bradley, and the horrifyingly brilliant execution of the Red Wedding, it comes close to a nine for me. More of a summary than a review this week – what did you think of ‘The Rains of Castamere’?

Peachy x

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 Episode 8 Review: “Second Sons”

Rating: 8/10

Spoiler-free summary: Season 3 picks up the pace with only two episodes left. Arya passes the Red Fork river, Yunkai prepares to defend itself, Gendry arrives at Dragonstone, Stannis releases his prisoner, Kings landing hosts a major wedding, Cersei threatens the Tyrell’s, Daenerys gains new allies and Sam encounters a being in the snow.

*Episode spoilers from here on*


No Jon, no Robb, no Jaime? No skin-flaying or castration?

Second Sons flourished through exclusions, good and bad. Instead of countless parallel storylines, it focused mainly on Gendry’s arrival at Dragonstone, Dany’s negotiation with the Second Sons, and  Tyrion and Sansa’s marriage in Kings Landing. The episode was also bookended by brief scenes featuring Arya and the Hound, and Sam and Gilly.

It was a week of unlikely pairs; Tyrions awkward marriage to Sansa was trumped only by Melissandre’s leeching of poor Gendry. We also briefly visited Arya, a reluctant companion of the Hound, who plans on ransoming her at the Twins. There was something very gratifying about Arya FINALLY being caught up on things. As she sees it, her brother and mother are north, the Hound still works for Joffrey and her sister is betrothed to the King. Arya is that friend who only watched Season 1 and swore off the series when Ned Stark was beheaded. Ignorance aside, a rare smile means that for the time being the Hound is off her hitlist. (But seriously, is there a tally for the amount of times she’s heard the words, ‘i’m taking you back to your family?’)

In the East, Daenerys met with the captains of the Second Sons, a group of sellswords hired by Yunkai to defend them. Inexplicably without her dragons (one does not simply have an infinite CGI budget) she met the vulgar Mero “The Titans Bastard”, some other dude, and the dreamy Daario Naharis. While the trio initially planned to reject Daenerys offer, infiltrate her camp and kill her, Daario decides he’d rather not. “I said, I am Daario Naharis. I always have a choice.” He kills the two captains and pledges the second sons to Daenerys.

(This guy is all hair, swag and cheekbones – Captain Jack Sparrow meets Orlando Bloom meets Jaqen H’ghar. I kinda want his babies.)

Meanwhile on Dragonstone,  Davos was released by Stannis after an admirable attempt to read the histories of Aegon the Conqueror  Visenya? Vhagar? Couldn’t Shirreen have given him a book about sheep?  Stannis missed his BFF, and hoped Davos would have a word with his GF about gutting his nephew (as his Wife stared at jars of dead babies. #complicatedhomelife). Melissandre’s alternative to sacrificing Gendry was seducing him, tying him to a bed, and letting a leech suck the blood from his manhood. So nice. I feel like Theon and Gendry could form a club. She then performed a ritual in which usurpers ‘Robb Stark’, ‘Balon Greyjoy’, and ‘Joffrey Baratheon’ were condemned. By now, we know that the Lord of Light can make bad things happen. He can have Balon and Joffrey for all anyone cares, but Robb?!

As a distraction from that thought, let’s talk about what everyone wants to talk about. Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding.

It was full of awkwardness, tension and in many cases, hilarity. Married literally steps from where her father was beheaded, to the dwarf uncle of a boy-king who has made her life hell, Sansa was curiously resigned. And the sadistic cherry on top of it all was Joffrey giving her away. I know everyone loves to hate Sansa, but you have to feel sorry for her sometimes. Fantastically written and beautifully shot, the wedding scenes were a goldmine for amazing dialogue.

Olena Tyrell was great as she explained to Loras just how screwed up his family life will be when he marries Cersei. Hilarious. “And you will be the Kings stepfather and brother in-law.” And I know Cersei is a huge bitch, but man, is she good at it. From “if you ever call me sister again i’ll have you strangled in your sleep” to “nobody cares what your father once said” she gracefully performed a verbal smackdown on both Tyrell’s. To be honest, I was getting a bit sick of Margaery’s ‘let’s be sister’s’ routine anyway.

Back to the awkward union. Tyrion began gently, attempting to convince his bride that he understood how she felt and that he would always be kind to her. But he clearly lost his cool (probably around the same time Joffrey removed his stool) and opted for plan B, the one with lots of drinking. “I am the god of tits and wine” is definitely my favourite Tyrion line this season. Or is it? Threatening to geld the King in front of a room full of nobility might actually take the cake.

“Then you’ll be fucking your own bride with a wooden cock.”

DAMN. I liked how Tywin lazily swept in to save his son from being instantly executed, and how Tyrion casually turned the threat in to a drunken blunder. “I vomited on a girl once, in the middle of the act. Not proud of it.” Peter Dinklage’s line-delivery and mannerisms are Emmy-worthy. Equally brilliant was the scene Tyrion and Sansa shared as man and wife: “Astoundingly long…” “What?” “…neck. You have one.”

I could just write out quotes and nothing would be better. It really was great.

Sam the Slayer! In the north, our favourite screw-up showed some serious character development this week, summoning the courage to protect Gilly and her baby by shoving a dragon glass dagger in to a White Walkers’ back. (But not quite enough development to PICK UP THE WEAPON THAT JUST KILLED A MYTHICAL ICE DEMON CREATURE. Oh Sam. Baby steps.) The White Walkers have returned and look as amazing as ever, though the same cannot be said for some crummy CGI sword-shattering. Hmm. As a whole though, I enjoyed the action and plot development the final scene provided, and the wonderfully awkward interactions between Gilly and Sam.

‘Second Sons’ carries a lot of weight in its name, as what I think is this seasons best title yet. It refers most blatantly to the group of sellswords hired by Yunkai. However both Stannis and Tyrion are second sons, overlooked by their fathers and less loved by their peers than their older siblings, yet inevitably bound to ‘do their duty’. The Hound, too, is a second son, forever in the shadow of his older and crueller brother, Gregor Clegane. If we really want to stretch, Joffrey is a second son, and Sam Tarly is shunned by his father in favor of his younger brother. So many second sons!

We have to wait two weeks for the next episode, ‘The Rains of Castamere’, rumored to focus on Robb’s storyline as he reaches the Twins. We can always count on GoT to deliver in its final episodes. I’m certain the wait will be worth it.

Peachy x

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 Episode 7 Review: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

Rating: 7/10

Spoiler-free summary: A plot-mover with a dramatic end, ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ neatly puts the pieces in place for this seasons final three episodes. The Wildlings march for Castle Black, Sansa and Tyrion seek advice from friends, Tywin councils his grandson, Daenerys looks to Yunkai, Shae and Tyrion discuss their future, Melissandre reveals Gendry’s ancestry, Arya seizes an opportunity, Theon’s torture continues, Jon and Ygritte consider their differences, Osha shares a story from her past, and Jaime makes a dangerous decision.

*Episode spoilers from here on*


Dragons, bears, nudity. A pretty standard episode for GoT.

‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ opens with a panoramic view of the Wall as the wildlings march south, a taster of the visual brilliance to come. Directed by Michelle MacLaren, what this episode may have lacked in payoff it made up for in appearance, with stunning sweeping shots and visual effects. Jon is still getting used to the Wildlings’ willingness to discuss intimate matters loudly in public (“don’t jam it in like you’re spearing a pig”) and we were treated to a surplus of Jongritte banter. I enjoyed the contrast of their gaps in knowledge. Yes, Ygitte may be silly for thinking a mill is a castle, but she can shoot deers at distances Jon thinks are ‘too far’. Their language gaps also represent the difference between the wildlings and the northerners, seperated by a wall of ice, in a way that the series hasn’t done up until now.

That may be down to the fact that it was written by George R. R. Martin himself. From the outset, the dialogue in this episode had more weight. It was big on book detail we haven’t yet heard in the tv series (the population of King’s landing, the revelation that Tywin was the hand of King Aerys, the comparative sizing of dragons – big and small – and the history of Wilding revolts). The character voices, too, had the loving touch of the guy who created them, from Sansa’s tears to Jaime’s final jab at Locke.

But I imagine it must be fun writing for characters that don’t exist in his books. Talisa, for example. We got a rare scene between her and Robb. Robb’s abs – DAMN (and for the guys/ladies who like ladies, Talisa – dat ass). But aside from being a very lovely obligatory nude scene, did anyone else find Talisa’s post-lovemaking Valyrian letter to her ‘mother’ a bit suspicious? I’ve come to be suspicious of everything in this show. The first horrible thought that crossed my mind was that she could be a spy for Varys. He is known as ‘the Spider’ for his multitude of spies, and is also from Essos so would supposedly be fluent in Valyrian. For now though, i’m happy to think it was just a nice way to reveal that Talisa is up the duff with a cute-as-pie heir.

Sansa showed some character development this week: “I’m stupid. A stupid little girl with stupid dreams who never learns”. But her naivety hasn’t really gone anywhere, as she still thinks that Loras is straight and that Margaery learned about sex from her mother (ha). She also thinks that a gay man would make a better husband than a handsome and kind, albeit small one, who as Margaery points out is probably awesome at sex. Sigh. Meanwhile, Bronn and Tyrion also discussed his impending nuptials. Bro talk with Bronn should be a spinoff series.

Tywin-Joffrey was not quite the smackdown we’d all hoped, but there was some excellent subtlety in Charles Dance’s imposing performance. And the stair burn! I loved the irony that Joffrey won’t climb the stairs in the tower of the hand but is cool to climb those to the Iron Throne so that he can squat like a pre-pubescent gangsta. He may have had his only intelligent thought yet, though, in regards to Daenerys. Tywin seems uncharacteristically silly for underestimating the threat that Dany poses, but he has got quite a lot on his plate at the mo, with forcing his children in to humorously bad, loveless marriages and all.

Speaking of Dany, she’s come a pretty long way from being sold to a horselord in season 1. Here we see her beautiful, regal and at ease, her dragons surrounding her, giving terms to an ancient city. She even uses her dragons to intimidate in what is some epic CGI. The dragons look so real and…scary! As for the Yunkai negotiator – damn, gimme some of that eyeliner. I love how each of the Eastern cities – Yunkai, Quarth and Astapor – are all so distinct, and the level of detail that has gone in to making their costuming and cultures unique. What is aesthetically and imaginatively unparalleled about Game of Thrones (and probably what gets you hooked) is its realness, despite being a fantasy series.

Back in King’s Landing we got to see Shae’s reaction to Tyrion’s engagement, in what was a mildly heartbreaking scene. Peter Dinklage is the bomb, Tyrion’s mix of desire and pain was palpable as he talked about ‘any children’ he and Shae ‘might have’. But Shae won’t buy it. She’s come a long way from where she started (a whore and camp-follower, and perhaps once even a slave if her reaction to Tyrion’s ‘chains’ is anything to go by) so Tyrion’s deal sounds like a pretty sweet one. I’m not sure I really understand her stubbornness – surely she knows how the game works?

Once again, i’m being tricked into not disliking Melissandre. I really like that the audience is finally getting some background info on her, as her history of slavery makes her less detestable. However despite the friendly reveal that Gendry is the son of a king, I still get the vibe that she’s gonna gut him for some shadow-baby-ritual…

Arya’s brief appearance gave her just enough time to express her anger at the Brotherhood, deliver a kickass line about her one true god being Death, and make a run for it before being caught by the Hound. He may be one of the many on her ‘kill list’, but the Hound has spent a decent chunk of his time protecting her sister. Arya doesn’t know this, though, and I doubt she’d even care. Either way, these are two of my favourite characters and i’m excited to see their pairing unfold.

Elsewhere our favourite pair, Brienne and Jaime, shared a heartfelt goodbye that showed how far their relationship has come. Brienne’s choice to call him Ser Jaime, with his knights title and first name, is a far cry from the sneering Kingslayer. This is especially significant as Jaime feels less than knightly; he’s lost his sword hand, been worn down by imprisonment, and ridiculed for years for ‘forsaking’ his vows. I thought it was a simple, and really touching way of saying “you’re an okay guy”.

We also got our weekly dose of “Fun with Theon”. Didn’t I tell you? Worse than flaying, now castration. And psychological sex torture. Yes, this really does show just how little control Theon has, bla bla, but how much is enough for television? Iwan Rheon is probably gonna be as irrationally loathed as the kid who plays Joffrey soon. That’s all I have to say.

In other duller, but more comfortable scenes (is Bran’s storyline going to materialise soon?) we learnt a bit more about Osha’s reasons for fleeing south. Her Wildling lover, Bruni (“I was his, and he was mine”) became a Wight and attacked her. I like how Natalia Teena is playing Osha as increasingly cranky and uneasy the closer they get to the wall. The best part of this scene though (and perhaps the episode) came from Hodor:

Osha: How come he gets to sit and chat while we do all the work?
Hodor: [thinks for a minute]…Hodor.

Undoubtedly this episode’s biggest event, though, came with its crowd-pleasing ending.


Jaime returns to Harrenhall and throws himself in to a Bear pit to save Brienne. Despite being a seedy bastard who cut off Jaime’s hand and made Brienne fight a bear, I kind of really like Locke: “Buy yourself a golden hand and fuck yourself with it.” “Well this is one shameful fucking performance” “Dafuq you doing to my bear?” An awesome scene with a special guest star (Bart the Bear) that gave a bit of colour to what was ultimately a placeholder episode designed to set things up for a very eventful few weeks to come. Jaime even managed a retort that reminded me of his swagger back in season 1 (but for which we can forgive him ’cause he’s different now). “Sorry about the sapphires.” Perfect.

Peachy x