Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 10, “The Children”

June 17, 2014

AKA “lol what source material” and also “HBO stop touching things I love”

Because I need it, this was what made me laugh the hardest after the episode.
Andrew: “Wait, so where’s Dorne?”
Me: “It’s where Oberyn was from.  He’s got a lot of bastard daughters.  And he’s got a brother, the guy actually in charge, and there’s a lot of plot that takes place there-”
Me: “I wish.”
Pedro we miss youuuuuuu

Although there were some good moments in tonight’s episode, I’m overall just really pissed.  I am committed to a no-book-spoilers post, but I do have my LSH thoughts at the very end, so if you’ve read the books, go ahead; if you haven’t, just stop where I say stop.

There’s a ton of nerdrage in this post, and also a ton of just general rage.  I’m…tired, guys.  This show has turned into a microcosm of a lot of the stuff that gets me mad in the real world, but the series was supposed to be a bit of a safe place for me, as silly as that sounds about a series that’s notorious for killing people off.  But it was familiar, and I could discuss things with people like “who would you like to sit the Iron Throne?” and “who would you love to see as a POV character who isn’t one?” but now I’m sitting on Twitter watching people type things like “kaleesi’s got a set of balls on her” and “Shae got what she deserved, that bitch” and I’m just so, so tired.  Obviously I’m not implying that you’re trash if you just watch the show (the show’s not going to make you a misogynist if you’re not one), but it hands up these stereotypes and ruins complicated characters and just generally talks down to the viewers and makes it easy for people who are misogynists to jump into the show.  The books don’t.  This is not a “books>show” argument, because they are different forms of media and you are not smarter or better because you read instead of watching TV.  This is a “these books>>>>this show” argument.  Maybe after I take the bar I’ll be up for arguing this more, but I legit might cry if I have to do it now, so just hold off, please. And if you see me in real life just give me a hug?

The Wall
It’s nice to see that they got the camera man from the first three Bourne movies to shakily follow Jon around for the first ten minutes

We are apparently paying Ciaran Hinds by the minute but I’m glad to finally see him.  I guess he doesn’t have his kid, though?  I don’t remember seeing Dalla or Val yet, and I’m assuming that means we don’t get them, which could be a problem? And the Horn?  Mance’s threats seem to hold no water without the Horn (“if you don’t let us in will continue to throw mammoths at your Wall and you’ll, uh, set them on fire but uh, YEAH COME AT ME BRO”), and seriously, the dialogue was handed to you.  We’ll see. Stannis’ arrival should have been the end of last week’s episode, hands down.  I’m not sure how long they’re gonna keep Davos around but I guess he’s there too.  Again, lol what source material. HOWEVER, this scene was great.  Listening to Mance and Stannis play a wordgame version of “my kingly penis is larger than yours” was perhaps my favorite bit of dialogue in the episode, and the attack looked great, and people seemed legitimately surprised.  If you rewatch, look at Davos’ face while Mance is sassing Stannis: I was waiting for him to bust out with a “in Soviet Russia” joke.  “In Soviet Dragonstone, weather dresses for you!” #AllHailStannis

I’m okay with the fact they gave some of Mance’s lines to Tormund, because I did want to hear some of them. (They’re gonna switch his role with Rattleshirt, aren’t they…dammit.)  I also know they have to portray Jon’s sadness over Ygritte somehow, but goddamn it dragging her funeral pyre out there and then pulling a Sad Boys Drop Their Torches Behind Them Without Looking is just ugh.  I would not have been so upset with all the funeral stuff if that was the only scene from the Wall, but they had ALL of last week and still wasted time there, so much time.  We also apparently don’t care that no one’s in charge?  What’s happening next?  Idk Jon you go kiss your girl by the fire because you now Know Something or whatever I don’t know screw this show.

Brandon and the Argonauts: tonight’s special effects brought to you by Harryhausen

Outside the cave: total bullshit scene. (I was hoping the first hand was gonna be Coldhands but yeah he’s never showing up) Once inside the cave: actually kind of great?  I liked it once they got in there, it was exactly as I had pictured it.  You know what’s gonna be THRILLING to watch? Bran, Meera and Hodor dicking around in that cave for the next two seasons.  I’m joking.  Lol what’s pacing idk

I guess Thomas Brodie-Sangster had to go shoot “Love Actually 2: Die Harder” because okay, Jojen’s dead?  Sure?  Can no one do anything on this show with out “I didn’t want anyone to die for meeeee”? Like clearly the show runners have no respect for their audience but did they not think we could feel things correctly without killing off characters?

Brienne/Arya/Pod/The Hound
#IncomPodence (love you Podrick)

The little “we both named our swords, GIRL POWER” scene was 100% unnecessary and once again, show runners, can you stop attempting to spoon feed “Strong Women” to us?  We got it, or we don’t got it, but that’s not helping.  Just stahp.  Brienne’s dialogue with Sandor, however: yep.  Works.  The difference between the two characters in thinking that there’s somewhere safe left was wonderful. Not in the books, but works.  That’s when I don’t really get mad: you made stuff up, but it makes sense both in-universe and for the character (see last week’s Sam Tarly).

Fight scene, and Arya and Sandor after the fight scene = A++++.  Actually quite pleased with this whole thing.  Maisie and Rory, Rory especially, nailed this scene, and the grossness of Brienne’s fight with him was just spot on.  Not glorious sword-spinning and pretty dance-fighting, just blood and screaming because yep, that’s how it be.  Also oh hey Brienne will destroy you.  Like she wears that armor for a reason, and I’m really, really happy the show demonstrated just how good a warrior she is.  It’s also excellent that she beat Sandor, tried to be noble about it, and when he did his weird “I’ma hold your sword now” (which reminded me of that Uruk-hai from “Fellowship” when he like grabs the sword that’s in his stomach right before Aragorn beheads him because he’s so BA, or whatever) she was straight up like “oh that’s how it’s gonna be? BRING IT.”  Brienne of Fucking Tarth, but in a good way.

SO, I was in a good mood about the show getting something right, and then I walked in to bar prep and overheard some bro saying “I like Arya, I just don’t know if I’ll keep liking her as much if she’s not with the Hound anymore.”  Just fuck everything, seriously, I’m so done.  Friendly reminder, once again, that the Hound, while totes getting his face burned off, is still an actual piece of shit who robs and kills and was 100% serious about that Sansa thing.  And I saw people defending him like “but he didn’t do it!” and I’m like “you’re mounting a defense for a 35-year-old dude who was going to rape a 13-year-old girl and the entire defense, beginning and end, is that he DIDN’T ACTUALLY RAPE HER? Is that what’s happening here? Jesus, people.”  And yes, I know that part of what he said was to incense Arya into finishing him off (so please don’t try to mansplain it because that shit happened to me already and I’m not stupid…just bitter), but he DID kill Mycah and he DID kill a ton of other people on Joffrey’s orders and he DID rob that farmer and he considered raping Sansa.  He’s not a good guy, okay?  This is really a difficult set of characters for me, because I think the actors (and even the writers, mostly) did a great job with them this season, but the misogyny of the show fans comes out so hard with Arya and the Hound.  Okay, so to sum up my feelings: Maisie, Rory, most of the dialogue (especially in this episode) = really great.  Defending Sandor = not great.

We are now in the beginning of book 5 for her, who’s looking forward to the Meereenese knot HAHA no one good luck show peeps.  The old man who comes in and asks if he can reenslave himself was actually a great scene: she gets the information differently in the books, but it worked.  She’s starting to realize that for some of those who were enslaved, her arrival and dramatic freeing does not fix everything.  I’m hoping the show makes it clear what the other issues are, because as important as the old man’s plight is, I’m worried leaving people on that note will somehow turn into “yeah slavery’s not that bad and it wasn’t that bad in the real world, either!” because I straight up do not trust a large portion of the show’s fanbase.  That said, it was a pretty great scene (the actor playing the old man rode the line of allllllmost insubordinate very, very well) and introduced a problem neatly and quickly.  The scene with Hazzea’s father bringing her bones was also very well done, and if they had shortened the dramatic Closing of the Doors or whatever that was with her dragons, I would have actually said this was a very solid Dany week, but I mean, I guess we paid for the CGI or whatever so DRAGON IT UP.

King’s Landing
NOOOOOPE.  Just all around nope.  Nope-ier as we go along

Firstly, hated the Cersei and Tywin scene: like let’s not pretend that Cersei can out-do Tywin at anything.  When I was reading, I was always under the impression that Tywin totally knows where all the kids come from, he’s just dedicated to not letting it become public/accepted as true.  The show decided instead to give him a “na na na can’t HEEEEAAAAR youuuu” to Cersei’s “yeah no the kids are totes incest babies” instead of a “yeah, I know, shut your face or I’ll do something worse.”  She and Jaime are apparently still cool, as well, even though by this point in the books he’s super pro-Tyrion and she’s really pissed at him but now we get to watch them bang again because nothing gets twins ready like “our brother’s about to be executed but only one of us is conflicted about it.”  Ughh.

Now, on to the important thing.  HBO you done fucked up and not just in a “ruin several characters” way, in a “let’s not so subtly make violence against women okay again.”

In the show’s second season, you may recall that Tyrion mentions his first wife, Tysha, as a peasant girl who he believed genuinely fell in love with him, and they got married, and then Jaime and Tywin told him that no, she was actually a whore (I don’t like using this word but I’m using it here because it’s important later), and Tywin makes Tyrion watch as a whole garrison of Lannister men have sex with her for money, and then Tyrion has to do it, and gives her more money, because “a Lannister is worth more.”  This understandably screwed him up a little.  This is also true in the books.  In this scene from A Storm of Swords, Jaime, with Varys’ help, comes to rescue him (it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since Jaime’s return), and because Jaime’s gotten some kind of conscience, he tells Tyrion the truth during the escape: Tysha was in fact just a peasant girl and she had fallen in love with Tyrion, so the stuff orchestrated by Tywin (with Jaime’s participation) was a gang rape of a teenage girl.  Tyrion loses it, and tells Jaime not only that he’s responsible for Joffrey’s death (which is false), but also that Cersei has been unfaithful to him while he’s been at war, which is 100% true: she uses sex to control and she’s been using it a lot.  Jaime leaves pretty messed up, and Tyrion tells Varys to wait for him while he goes to find Tywin.  He discovers Shae in his father’s bed (which makes Tywin a huge hypocrite, just to remind you: no whores unless you’re me, I guess?), and she attempts to smooth things over, but Tyrion strangles her.  He then gets a crossbow, finds his dad in the privy, and asks him about Tysha, who Tywin barely remembers, and calls a whore.  Tyrion warns him not to use that word, and asks Tywin where Tysha went.  Tywin says, “Wherever whores go,” and Tyrion shoots him.  We see all this from Tyrion’s perspective, and it’s pretty damn clear that he’s snapped a bit with what Jaime told him.  There is nothing heroic about either of the acts, especially not killing Shae, but we see the motivation.

The scene in the show?

  • Destroy Jaime’s character going forward because he’s still cool with Cersei and helped organize the gang rape of his brother’s first wife, and then they bro-hug
  • Tyrion decides to go on a happy little jaunt for no goddamn reason even though he’s free (I guess to get more Solid Lannister Parenting from Tywin the Great?)
  • Shae’s death is turned into “well he had to because it was self-defense” even though he could have legit just turned around and walked out of the room when he saw her, and her actions were more self-defense than his were
  • I get to watch Twitter blow up with “good, Tyrion got his revenge, I hated that stupid bitch” so I cry forever
  • Tyrion apologizes to her dead body (not in the books) because yeah I guess that totes fixes it, plus the Tyrion fans don’t want anything to be wrong with their most precious Tyrion even though he is just as flawed as literally everyone else on this show and is now officially a murderer
  • Goes to find Tywin, who decides to pull a sky-Mufasa “REMEMBAHHH WHO YOU AAAAHHHH” with “you’re my son” and “I was never going to let them kill you” (LOL YES YOU TOTES WERE)
  • Tyrion defends Shae and tells his father not to call her a whore.  Not Tysha, Shae.  The woman he just strangled.  I’m sure she’s way more pissed about the “whore” thing than the strangulation.  How dare you call her a whore, but killing her? Totes okay.
  • Tywin calls her a whore again and Tyrion shoots him not because he organized the repeated rape of his teenage wife or he butchered a ton of northmen at the Red Wedding or that he wiped out an entire noble family or that the smallfolk are starving under his rule or that he’s just generally a terrible human being but because he called Tyrion’s murder victim a woman who has sex for money happy father’s day
  • Varys didn’t know this was going on (LOL RITE) and gets on a ship with Tyrion The Bestest Ever Who Can Do No Wrong
  • I quit everything

Jaime, Tywin, and Tyrion are significantly changed by the show doing it this way, and obviously I’m mad about that, because the dialogue, backstory, pacing, and everything else was literally handed to you, HBO.  However, I’m way more upset at the continual erasure of women and the acceptance of violence against them.  They justified the murder of Shae because it was revenge, or jealousy, or retaliation for her testimony, or something.  We let Tyrion look like the hero because he won’t let people call her a whore.  We erase Tysha and all of the things Tywin and Jaime did to her (and just to remind you, Tyrion participated!) because Jaime’s cool now and Charles Dance is a great casting decision.  NO. Everything that happened to Shae was nothing short of an unjustifiable murder, and cutting out Tysha allows the terrible, terrible actions of fan-favorite male characters to go unpunished.  The scene was ruined for me because of the changes, but more importantly, the changes hurt women, and this is just the most recent in a long line of terribleness: incomprehension of what rape looks like, gratuitous nudity of non-named female characters, Ros’s death, and so on forever.  I’m so tired of this happening, the show runners have given no indication it will ever get better, and I’m just sad, y’all.  I know you read these recaps to laugh and think a bit, but I really don’t know how to keep my feelings out of this one.

The rest of it is below the gif.


I love Toothless and I’m not sorry.

Lady Stoneheart
I swore so much when they cut to the credits and left her out.  I’ve been reading some reactions and other things about the lack of Lady Stoneheart: one that made me angry was someone arguing that it’s a waste of a plot point because we only see her one more time so where are we going with that? (Okay??? that doesn’t even make sense, we see like a jillion people once or twice, including Beric!)  However, the most frustrating one by far was from the director of the episode. Alex “We Didn’t Shoot a Rape Scene” Graves.  He thought it was hilarious that the fans were gearing up for that scene, because it was never ever a possibility, and they might cut her out entirely.  Mostly because they’d “have to call back Michelle Fairley, who’s this amazing actress, and she’s just a zombie who runs around…killing people? Why would we like that?”

Get the fuck out of here.  First of all, don’t act like “running around killing people” is not enough of a characterization for you.  You’ve got like 2 dozen men whose entire story is “I run around and kill people.”  Secondly, “running around and killing people” is what you got out of Lady Stoneheart?  Really? Not the fact that she’s targeting Freys?  Not the fact that she’s not Catelyn anymore, she’s a dead, vengeful thing who is no longer a mother and just now made up of straight murder and anger?  Not that Brienne is going to meet up with her later?  Not that the Lord of Light’s power can be transferred from person to person?  Not that Beric is now dead, and maybe something happened to Thoros because he transferred the power?  Not that Catelyn in this form could conceivably run into her living children and oh my God what if that happened?  None of that occurred to you? Oh, no, I’m sorry, she’s a murder-zombie, what was I thinking.  Thirdly, fuck you for pretending to care about Catelyn’s characterization.  The show’s creators had so much of a broner for Robb Stark that they made up an entire wife storyline for him with a backstory and lines and Robb’s unborn Nedbaby, while leaving Catelyn to weave prayer wheels and sit there saying “if only I had loved Jon Snow” and getting put in a cell by her son.  Don’t you DARE act like you suddenly care about this woman who is just *~*not COOOL like Dany and Arya**~~* because she’s only a mother and doesn’t fight and she’s whiny and she started the war and etc etc all this other shit you’ve let the fandom think because you did NOTHING with her character.  Finally, you’re laughing at the bookreaders for expecting the end of a season that loosely followed the end of book three to end at its actual fucking ending.  This is funny to you?  We’ve read the books, some of us many, many times.  We hyped up your show.  We put in money to this series.  Our interest is the only reason you have a goddamn show to work with, and instead of responding with “hey, I know it was a really epic scene in the books, but we chose to go in a different direction/it didn’t work well on-screen” you decided the best possible response was “LOL fuck you for wanting things, fandom.”  And many of the comments I’ve seen from people who watch the show have been along the same lines: “congrats, you read the books? what do you want, a cookie?”

I mean, yeah, I do, because cookies are delicious, but I’d settle for some acknowledgment by the show’s directors and writers that there is source material and a fandom built around it, and both of them are the reason you have a show in the first place.  The overarching attitude about them has never read as “this is a gorgeous series and we’re honored to write for it and adapt it and we’re so thankful to Martin,”  it’s read as “we are literally those three models in Zoolander having a gasoline fight on the source material and lol fuck your feelings.”  I’m not going to pretend like I’ll stop watching, but it’s getting to the point that I kinda wish the show had never happened.

Sorry, y’all, I know. *Sad trombone noise*  Anyway, I’m checking out.  Maybe I’ll want to talk about this after a couple weeks, but not so much right now.

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  • Reply M@ June 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I'm happy with this post. When I watch sometimes I either doubt my memory of the books or I'm like wait what? Why did you change that!? Esp the Tasha thing and I feel like there is a lot of Beric that was left out.
    Also correct me if I'm wrong but Sam (way back when) dropped or threw that dagger, totally didn't happen like that in the books right?

  • Reply Christina Cozzetto June 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you! And yes, I definitely have a faulty memory a LOT with the books and this show: sometimes it's just me misremembering, but sometimes it's the show messing it up (which is why I totally cheat and have the books open in front of me when I write the posts haha). And nope, Sam was not alone when that all went down; hence his "Sam the Slayer" nickname. Thanks for reading!

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