Game of Thrones mania

Unless you are living under a rock, you are likely to have been bombarded with stories about the final season of this series that seems to have grabbed the passionate devotion of so many people. Hearing that it has large amounts of gruesome and gratuitous violence, I steered clear of this show and have not seen a single episode and feel like cartoonist Stephen Pastis.


  1. flex says

    You are not alone.

    My wife, on the other hand, recently (i.e. around the turn of the year) watched all the previous seasons (again), and then last week watched them again.

    My sick secret, I’ve been re-reading the Hardy Boy’s books.

  2. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I am an avid reader, and I almost never stop reading a book partway through, but I quit on the Song of Ice and Fire series in the middle of book 2. It is garbage writing by a below mediocre author, and the show is no better. If you like Game of Thrones, it drastically lowers my opinion of you.

  3. says

    Flex -- I loved the style of The Hardy Boys when I was ten. It was already way old when I read it, so it seemed classy. How does it read as an adult?

    Mano -- Also not into GoT. I had only heard about the rapes and I was fuhgeddaboutit.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    Dave @2: I got halfway through Book 1. Two things bothered me (not the writing; I thought it OK for the genre): the physics of the variable-length seasons, and reading that the damn thing was going to go past the five-book level. Putting it well beyond the length of the Mahabharata and most other literary works.

    I also thought the first few TV episodes weren’t too bad, mostly because of the actors. But lost interest after Sean Bean got killed off, again.

  5. johnson catman says

    Have never seen one episode of GoT. I do not feel like I have missed out on anything.

  6. Jazzlet says

    I don’t like what I’ve read and heard about the books or the TV series, not my cup of tea at all.

  7. flex says

    @Great American Satan,

    I’ll try not to go into too much detail, but there are way more Hardy Boy books than I’m interested in reading. When I was 10 I read about a dozen of them, and envied my friends who had more than I did. But the first 58 books were the series I was reading. But that was the re-written series starting in 1959. Well, that’s not exactly accurate either. The first 38 books were re-written starting in 1959, and finishing in 1973, but more books were added from 1960-1979.

    In any event, there is a series of 58 books from 1959 to 1979 which are the Hardy Boy books I have been enjoying. The original 38, which are apparently collectors items, were deemed too filled with stereotypes to be appealing to a boy in the late 1950’s, what with the civil rights movement going on. I.e. African Americans were poor and spoke English poorly, Italians owned all the construction businesses and spoke broken English, all the cops were Irish, etc. The original 38 books were re-written, and I haven’t read a single one of them.

    The classic 58 book series from 1959-1979 still has a lot of stereotypes. The women are not equal to the men, the father of one Italian friend of the Hardy’s does own a construction company, there is some fat-shaming of their best chum Chet, but it’s not so bad that it’s unreadable. You just have to recognize that the authors are trying, even if they don’t always succeed.

    I do not agree with the Wiki article, which says that the Hardy Boys are a patriarchal version of a boy’s fantasy where the father, Fenton, always rescues them at the last minute. The wiki article says this demonstrates the power of the father in a patriarchal family. For one thing, Fenton Hardy does not usually rescue the boys. In fact, the boys rescue Fenton a few times, and at least one book has Chet, their best friend, save the day. I suspect that whoever authored the Wiki article didn’t re-read the books before writing it. As we all know, the quality of Wiki varies.

    Also, I find these are perfect bathtub books. Since the Gross-Dunlop editions are about $5 each used on Abe Books (including shipping), I don’t worry about dropping them into the tub while I’m soaking (not that I ever have). And the 170 pages of each book takes only about an hour to read. (3 pages a minute? How can that be? Well, the type is larger and there is more white-space. Reading a Hardy Boy’s book at 3 pages a minute is not a difficult feat.)

    They are not literature. The plots are predicable, the mysteries are obvious, and the cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter are disappointing. E.g. The end of one chapter: The Hardy’s convertible is being forced off a cliff by an on-coming car: Next Chapter: Frank steers the car back onto the road. “Whew,” Says Joe, “That was a close call.” That’s about the quality of the writing.

    But if they are not literature, they are comfortable, quick, and enjoyable. The plots are tight, there are no loose ends hanging. The characters never change or develop. The books lack any death, rape, or gore. The bullets always miss. A football tackle will take down the toughest opponent. No one is every sick. Although there is the occasional knock on the head to put someone unconscious for plot reasons. And whatever Chet’s new hobby is, it always plays a part in the plot.

    They are not real, but they are at the same level of reality as most action movies, and yet without the gratuitous violence. Hence, it’s my sick little secret that I rather enjoy them.

  8. brucegee1962 says

    A girl I liked in the third grade had all the Hardy Boys books, so I wanted to read them. I read one of them and rather liked it. Then I read another one and thought “Did I just read the same book a second time?” That was it for me.

    So yeah — the basic plot wasn’t too bad, but when it became a formula, I didn’t go for it. I was reading Lloyd Alexander and Joan Aiken and Edward Eager and Norton Juster at the time, and I could tell those were all way better written. Heck, CS Lewis was better written.

    Oh, yeah, the OP: no GoT for me, either. I kept hearing people telling me “As soon as you start to like a character, THEY DIE!” What’s the point, then?

  9. deepak shetty says

    Hearing that it has large amounts of gruesome and gratuitous violence

    Gratuitous nudity too. Not sure if that makes a difference to all the non viewers here :D.
    I enjoyed it and my spouse and I have watched every episode together. But then I can watch most Bollywood flicks and enjoy them too. Some of the earlier themes were good -- Up until last season whoever sought vengeance and revenge usually had bad things happen to them , even if they were “good”. It has strong female characters too -- Olenna Tyrell is still a favorite.

    The Hardy boys! Wow that brings back memories

    The bullets always miss.

    Hardy Boys casefile #1 -- Iola dies in a bomb explosion. That caused such a shock and discussion among all the avid hardy boy readers.

  10. Mano Singham says

    deepak shetty,

    Sex and nudity don’t bother me. It is violence and horror that I avoid.

  11. says

    I don’t even mind violence per se in my entertainment. Obviously super heroes punching other superheroes is violent, but I shy decidedly away from gore.

    But it’s not even the gore that most pushes me away from GoT (of which I’ve never read a single book-page or watched a single minute of a single episode). Here are some things that really do repulse me that I’ve either heard are in GoT or that I suspect would be in GoT:

    1. sexual violence: depictions of rape or sexual assault in media where the person committing the assault is reasonably viewed as either a protagonist or anti-hero. To make it acceptable to me, they must show only enough of the assault to establish what they need for further development of the character who was assaulted. If they’re going to show a scar on a cheek later, showing an assault where the cheek is cut is acceptable. If they’re going to show the person struggling with consensual sex later, they should show us enough to know that someone overrode that characters’ refusal of consent in the past. That sort of thing.
    NOTE: “rape” here includes having sex with someone incapable of consenting due to age, sleep, intoxicants or any other reason.

    2. Confusing sexual excitement with the desire to commit violence. This one is actually worse for me than the outright portrayal of rape and happens ALL THE FUCKING TIME in art. I fucking hate it. It usually takes the form of two people fighting to injure each other, falling down in the chaos, ending up wrestling, and then after some period continuing the fight, an abrupt transition straight into kissing, and then, finally, quickly moving from kissing to stripping and sex. NO THANK YOU. There is no good at all that comes from confusing violence and sex. None. It’s not even portraying something that actually happens in real life that I can tell, at least not to more than 1 person in a hundred thousand or more.

    3. Encouraging people to sympathize and/or empathize with someone willingly committing non-defensive violence. “Defensive” in art can include things that don’t happen in real life, like being absolutely certain that person A is going to commit an act of aggression, so you attack first in a manner calculated to prevent a larger loss of life. Superheroes do this all the time --

    Hero1: Oh, the Big Bad is going to blow up the earth!
    Hero2: I have an idea, let’s sneak into Big Bad’s lair, beat up Big Bad’s minions, then confront Big Bad before the plan has a chance of killing billions.
    Hero1: Hey, that makes sense!

    Sure, it makes sense in fiction, and if the fictional world portrays things this way I don’t have a problem with the choice of the heroic characters. But I also much prefer it if there is no **killing** even in this situation. Killing the Big Bad is wrong if there is any way to avoid it, but it’s not too ridiculous or contrived to imagine a scenario in which a single person bent on doing evil might die in the midst of a struggle whose aim is to stop them, not kill them. Killing minions is even worse if there is any way to avoid it. But here it’s just not plausible that a true hero would simply have to kill dozens of underlings. You have to really want your characters to kill to dream up a scenario where the killing of one individual after another is justified twenty or thirty encounters in a row. If you’re an author and go out of your way to concoct a scenario where it’s okay to kill the minions, I’m not interested in your thought process (in fact, I’m nauseated by it) and thus not interested in your art. If you’re a hero and you make the choice to kill minions when you could have chosen otherwise, then the story of which you’re a part is lionizing murder, and I’m not interested in that art.

    Ultimately, I don’t want to root for anyone who commits murder or rape or who confuses sex and violence, and as I understand it GoT is chock full of characters committing murder and rape, with the murders and rapes not at all limiting the sympathy with which the characters are portrayed. On top of that, GRR Martin seems to me from what little I know to be someone who frequently conflates sex and violence. I’m not interested in rewarding that frame of mind even if the kind of assault=>wrestling=>kissing=>sex progression does not occur as such. But mostly, I expect that I would be nauseated by the ethics of every single one of the major characters. If I’m nauseated by every single one of your characters, then I’m not interested in your art.

    I doubt I’ll ever even watch a teaser/trailer for the show, and I’ll certainly never read the books.

  12. file thirteen says

    Interesting there are so many GoT haters here. Is that a backlash against it being so popular? Or do some have other axes to grind? It’s not a “pleasant” series, but I’m not ashamed to say that I revere the books, and the writing is great.

    As an aside, my own fiction collection is down to less than 300 now (not counting this year’s acquisitions), having been halved (at least) every time I moved, but A Song of Ice and Fire still makes the cut. Quality of writing is key for me too; whenever I look for new acquisitions, I always flick through each book first to gauge it. And there’s nothing like moving countries to reduce the size of your book collection.

    I digress. The tv series isn’t as good as the books (imo, some will disagree), but it’s still decent. It is gratuitous. It seems to me that’s at least partly because when a book contains an erotic description, it has to go to a lot of effort to set the scene so the reader gets the full picture. But when made into a film or tv series, a lot of directors don’t understand the adage that a picture really does tell a thousand words and that a lot of erotic book scenes can be greatly scaled down and still be faithful to the story.

    That said, the gratuitous nudity has been used as a selling pitch, and it’s pretty hard to defend that. My 2c.

  13. cartomancer says

    I really like fantasy literature myself, but I’ve never been interested in checking out this series either. I’ve seen the odd still from the programme, or ten second clips, and I’ve read descriptions of it, and nothing about it seems to inspire me to look further.

    I suppose the sexual element is one of the main problems. I don’t like sexual content or themes in my fantasy literature -- or, really, in literature at all to be honest. I go to these things to get away from the darkness and unpleasantness of that aspect of the world.

    The lack of elves is another problem. Everything is better with elves. Or wizards. There don’t appear to be any wizards. What’s the point of a fantasy epic with no elves or wizards?

  14. Holms says

    Never read the books, never seen an episode. Don’t even own a tv. And by the time I heard about the books, it was already several large books long -- with indications that there were more large books coming -- and I just didn’t feel up to another Wheel of Time-esque series.

    #7 flex
    They are not literature. The plots are predicable, the mysteries are obvious, and the cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter are disappointing. E.g. The end of one chapter: The Hardy’s convertible is being forced off a cliff by an on-coming car: Next Chapter: Frank steers the car back onto the road. “Whew,” Says Joe, “That was a close call.” That’s about the quality of the writing.

    A stunningly accurate description of the Hunger Games series, by the way. Every chapter is the same: a twist or cliffhanger that subverts part of the previously content that that chapter was building up to, with such regularity that they became heavily predictable.
    I turned it into a bit of a game. At the end of every chapter, I would pause reading a couple of paragraphs before the end and try to predict what the twist would be. I think I was right two thirds of the time. E.g. they rescue Katniss’ crush, who had been a prisoner of war for a while by the city folk. Everyone is cheerful, and Katniss is elated. Finally, reunited with Utterly Boring Love Interest Guy! Uh-oh, end of chapter spotted! Time to put in my prediction, let’s see, something that subverts the happy buildup… I’m going with: he has been turned by the city folk and rejects Katniss.

    The result: he had been conditioned by the city folk to hate Katniss. Oy, vey.

    #8 brucegee
    A girl I liked in the third grade had all the Hardy Boys books, so I wanted to read them. I read one of them and rather liked it. Then I read another one and thought “Did I just read the same book a second time?” That was it for me.

    Jesus christ, just one comment after the above, brucegee gives his own summary that is stunningly applicable to another series of books, this time the Redwall series. Every book of that series that I read, before giving up on it altogether, was a repeat of the plot of the first book. Every book had a new protagonist and hence a new name, but every name was derived from Matthew; every motley band of good creatures had a very strong badger; there was always a riddle which always led to a hidden advantage when it was eventually solved; there was always an amazing magic weapon. The bad guys were always predator animals, including at least one with a reputation for cunning and one with a reputation for brute strength -- and the strong one was always an idiot; so on and so forth.

    The series would actually have been genuinely good if only the repetition was turned way down.

    #14 cartomancer
    Ever since Hero Quest and The Hobbit, I have always vouched for dwarves belonging in fantasy works.

  15. brucegee1962 says

    #15 Holmes,

    Just one of the Redwall books was enough for me. It was the worldbuilding that was the problem. This is supposed to be a monastery or something — does that mean they’re supposed to be Christians? Is the idea that these are animals coexisting in a human world, and the humans just don’t notice them? How do all of these animal cultures interact with each other? What about the government?
    I could almost imagine a decent book that recasts the middle ages with animals. But you actually need to figure out how the society works, not just scrape off a few surface details and call it quits.

  16. file thirteen says

    One afterthought I should add about GoT: although the tv series is gratuitous, the books are not. They show the cruelty of humankind, but the attempt is to show the difficulty decent people have in maintaining their principles in the face of powerful, utterly heartless opposition, and in no-win situations. The author shows that sometimes to be decent you have to be more than just naive, and the complexities of situations may call for immediate action, or for great restraint, or there may not even be any acceptable moves to make at all.

    Moreover, even those that do do the right thing may have it misrepresented later; a common theme in the book is not being able to trust reputations, with good people having bad, undeserved, reputations and bad people often being even worse than theirs. And many bad people have mistreatment of their youth to show for their descent into hell (not all, there are some of the vilest of vile characters in these books).

    But there are some common themes. An abused child, sold by her brother and raped by her “husband” defies this to become the most powerful person in the seven kingdoms. The theme of overcoming your background is repeated on a lesser scale and in different ways with many other characters, and I think is much more representative of the book than a “rape fest”. But it’s abuse that the media seizes on. It should have been toned down for the tv series, not advertised as a feature.

    All imo again, ymmv.

  17. mnb0 says

    @13: “I’m not ashamed to say that I revere the books, and the writing is great.”
    Yeah, especially the final chapter of Dance with Dragons. Twelve pages to say “Daenerys was lost and is found.”
    The biggest joke is that Martin discredits himself in the epilogue. I paraphraze: “Who cares what Daenerys is doing in Mereen?” And from the previews I learn that Winds of Winter isn’t going to be any better. Two chapters (say 25 pages) and Arianne still hasn’t met Aegon VI. Great writing indeed! If you like dozens and dozens of pages with nothing happening -- like Sansa climbing a tower before the book begins and descending it at the end.
    I can take the violence and sex. What I can’t take is the utter boredom. The political situation regarding the Iron Throne (the main theme) halfway a Storm of Swords (after the Red Wedding) is exactly the same as 2000+ pages later.
    I watched a few fragments of the TV-series and didn’t find them any more entertaining.
    Up to the Red Wedding I quite enjoyed the books. I wasn’t shocked; I just think almost everything after it superfluous. Only a few chapters would have sufficed to finish the stories, especially the ones with Jaume mopping up the last remnants of resistance. Also cut the Jon Snow chapters (from book 2 and 3) and all the Daenerys chapters and the three books would have been pretty good -- not perfect; see next comment. Read all the Jon Snow chapters after another and also the Daenerys ones and it becomes painfully clear how irrelevant their storylines are. Great writing indeed.

  18. says

    @file thirteen:

    Interesting there are so many GoT haters here. Is that a backlash against it being so popular? Or do some have other axes to grind?

    Are you counting me among the haters? I don’t “hate” GoT, btw. I don’t mention the books or shows on my own. I saw advertising that led me to believe that it was not my cup of tea (which is, in fact, a cup of tea … or more likely a large pot). I chose not to consume it.

    Other people on this thread were discussing the phenomenon of not watching it when so many others are such devoted fans. I thought I’d give specific reasons why I didn’t watch it. I have an aversion to specific kinds of violence. I avoid art that contains those depictions. I have reason to believe this art would contain those depictions. I avoided this art. But I don’t have an opinion on the underlying art itself since I’ve never read/watched it.

    Literally nothing in that is “hating” on GoT. So I wonder why you use that word. What qualifies as “hatred” here? Honestly, this comes across to me as the Christians who insist that I “hate” a god I’ve never met. I don’t hate their god any more than I hate some random sportsball fan named James who lives in Canberra. I’ve never been to Canberra. I don’t know anyone that is (to my knowledge) from Canberra. I don’t appreciate sports as much as others and don’t “get” fandom and am fully aware that some sportsball fans can be entirely obnoxious, but none of that adds up to hating James.

    I haven’t read the GoT books. I haven’t watched the GoT shows. Advertising and word of mouth leads me to believe that I wouldn’t like them, but ultimately I have no experience of GoT. How could I possibly “hate” it. And what on this thread would lead you to believe that anyone here “hates” GoT?

  19. mnb0 says

    More problems with GoT: the stereotypes.
    Westeros is just England (Dorne pointing to the east iso Cornwall to the west). Osteros is just Turkey -- with all the oriental stereotypes that were so popular in the 19th Century. Of course the events in Westeros in the end are just run of the mill medievalism, typical for say 90% of the fantasy genre. I like it now and then, but heck, does the fantasy genre lack …. fantasy.
    Back to GoT. It doesn’t contain much supernatural elements either. It easily can be pruned back to a gritty tale about the Middle Ages. This of course especially is clear in the Dunc and Egg tales, which are way better exactly because they are short and hence lack all the problems of the big books.
    What especially turns me off in book 4 and 5, immediately after nobody getting anywhere, are the endless descriptions of landscapes and cultures. Who cares what the Iron Islands look like? Their stupid religion? And that’s just one example. Martin seems to be determined to describe every single square meter in both Westeros and Osteros, plus all their cultures. The format of an encyclopedia would have worked better. Oh wait -- that’s exactly what Tolkien did. Smart guy -- Martin not so much.
    That said I quite liked all the political intrigues and complications -- up to the Red Wedding, because after it nothing much happens and what happens doesn’t have any effect.
    As so many interesting guys (not only the good ones) get killed off Martin faces another problem: to introduce fresh ones, equally interesting. He fails in this respect too. What’s worse, their introduction works as a sort of Deus ex Machinae (granted, even Tolkien couldn’t escape it). It’s a bad sign that Martin needs it to keep the flow somewhat going -- and achieves nothing more.
    Again -- Song of Ice and Fire would have been very good (but not perfect) with some very serious trimming. Lesson learned: forget about Wheel of Time and The Sword of Time. Of the latter series I read the first volume; a messiah (also unoriginal -- Dune already had one and equally stereotypal) set in a sword and sorcery setting. Distrust every series with more than three volumes. Even fantasy trilogies usually are uneven, with the first one being the best and the second one the worst. I suppose that’s why so many fantasy series aren’t fully translated in Dutch (Bobby Dollar, The Children of Ji etc.). The last volumes apparently don’t sell, because only a few hardcore fans can stomach them.

  20. says

    If you like dozens and dozens of pages with nothing happening…

    If anyone honestly does like this (I understand you don’t), no one does it better than Virginia Woolf. She drops a dollop of cream in her tea and the swirling patterns are still dominating the emotional experience of the character a thousand words later. She reaches for a spoon and stirs the cream into the tea and ten thousand words go by before she’s done. I get it, she’s reminiscing. And I’m not opposed to non-linear time in general, but using reminiscing as an excuse for non-linear storytelling and then neatly containing the non-linearity in a package as small and establishment-acceptable as an Edwardian teacup? No, thank you.

    Don’t get me wrong; she has an amazing vocabulary and turn of phrase. But disrupting norms by crafting non-linear narratives only to package your disruption for palatability to the people in power isn’t guerilla-revolutionary. And while I can appreciate the historical value of writing about women’s experiences at all in a time and place where this wasn’t done, again, the “revolution” of this writing was diluted with too much cream and sugar. Woolf is no Emma Goldman, and she wants you to know it.

  21. mnb0 says

    @Crip Dyke: in the dictionary of fanatics everyone who doesn’t start drooling when even thinking about their favourite books/movies/whatever is a hater, you as much as I.

  22. deepak shetty says

    @Crip Dyke

    Are you counting me among the haters?

    Your original response does include words like repulse and ALL CAPS which is strong dislike of GoT or things like GoT. I dont think its an unfair statement.
    To be clear most of the commenters criticisms of GoT are valid.
    I think most of us who like the show are not going in with an expectation of Feminist serial with sensitive portrayal of complex topics. It has some clearly noted sadists doing some sadistic things and there are other more complex characters. Some of the plot twists were good (imo) and the serial is internally consistent -- atleast till last season.

  23. Sam N says

    @23, in other words, fairly light on human behavior through the 18th century. The way women were treated then….

    I only felt 1 comment had truly criticized A Song of Ice and Fire, and clearly by someone who had read the books (and I have my own, softer, criticisms of the writing). I feel like everyone had a justified reason for not having consumed the GoT HBO show. I for the most part enjoy watching it. It’s a subversion of the absurd notion that a good heart or playing fair wins out in the end. Not everyone wants the real world, where a true villain, like Trump, is able to dodge every consequence, while some poor pleb is branded a felon for smoking a joint at an inopportune time and being persecuted by a conditioned, overzealous police state in a fantasy setting. Some of us find art reflecting such truth of life refreshing, if unfortunate.

    I’m only worried the last season of the HBO series will pretend that good hearts and selfless motivations do win out in the end. I just don’t see that reflected, overall, in life. In some instances year, in some instances no. Maybe it’s an optimistic message…

  24. Sam N says

    By the way, file thirteen, I disagree about your interpretation regarding Dany. I see it as reinforcement that the only way to get ahead is to be born into privilege. Yeah, she was sold by her brother, and raped. But she still only made it so far thanks to her being a ‘Targaryan’. My interpretation of the entire series is that aristocracy always is fronted an advantage. If she hadn’t had the family, inherited advantage, she would have just been slaughtered despite her adaptability and endurance.

    The only character I see that is truly meritocratic in the entire series is Bronn--who is probably inspired and reflected by the actual War of the Roses, where one of the underclass (one of thousands) managed to make it into the aristocracy.

  25. cartomancer says

    mnbo. #20

    You’d think the plural of deus ex machina would be deus ex machinae, wouldn’t you? Sadly it isn’t. machina, in this context, is actually ablative (the final “a” is long), because the preposition “ex” takes an ablative, and the ablative plural of a first declension noun ends in -is: so now we have deus ex machinis.

    Except that still isn’t quite right, because “deus” is singular -- we now have one god delivered from several machines. Pluralise deus (dei is normal, but di and dii are also attested) and we have it at last -- dei ex machinis.

    This post was brought to you thanks to the generous support of the International Pedantry Fellowship and a small grant from the European Commission for Missing the Point.

  26. Mano Singham says

    cartomancer @#27

    I am pretty sure that anyone as familiar with Latin as you must know this scene from Life of Brian but for the benefit of others, here it is.

  27. file thirteen says

    @Sam N

    My interpretation of the entire series is that aristocracy always is fronted an advantage.

    It’s part of the story, sure, but it goes a lot deeper. Many of the royals in the story themselves suffer terribly; most notably women and bastards, but also just about anyone with more capable siblings (take Samwell Tarly’s story for example). Those already in the top eschelons of power are depicted as irresponsible (Robert Baratheon), inhuman (Joffrey Baratheon) or insane (Aerys Targaryen), while those lusting for more power can be even worse (Petyr Baelish, Cersei Lannister, Ramsey Snow). Everyone else has to just look out for their backs.

    There is a brutal honesty in this series. Most born at the bottom are simply screwed, with no opportunity to ever transcend their lot. Some lucky ones can, but few escape unscarred. Many of the women never have any option but to be chattels, while others, some who are sheer geniuses and would achieve greatness if they were male, are unfairly handicapped all their lives as second class citizens.

    (I don’t need to spell out the parallel with the countries in our world in which women are second class citizens, but I mention that here in part to show there’s much more to the story than a simple retelling of medieval Europe).

    I disagree about your interpretation regarding Dany. I see it as reinforcement that the only way to get ahead is to be born into privilege.

    I think you’re too hard on Dany. If she hadn’t been a Targaryen, she wouldn’t have been sold into slavery by her brother in the first place. She achieved what she did despite everything that was thrown at her, not by having it gifted on a silver platter.

    Bronn is one of the few who has risen up, but he’s still more used than user. A better example is Varys. But there are other tales woven into the story than just enduring, ones of atonement and yes, even redemption. Tyron Lannister for sure, but consider also Sandor Clegane, Jaime Lannister and Theon Greyjoy. Those that don’t believe redemption is possible could never like (not even sure like is the right word here -- forgive?) those last three characters, but they may not believe criminals are ever worthy of redemption and think they should never be allowed out of prison anyway. I’ll leave you with that food for thought.

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