The women of Game of Thrones speak
By Ours is the Fury on in Media, Press.

The cast has been busy promoting the season 2 DVD release and the upcoming premiere of season 3. Here’s what Michelle Fairley, Gwendoline Christie, and Rose Leslie had to say in new interviews about femininity, strength, and being “too pretty” to play in Game of Thrones.

Michelle Fairley spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about Catelyn Stark’s priorities, what production set wowed her the most, and life on a show with a high kill count.

In addition to her onscreen interview, Fairley added:

There are different strands of female characters within the piece and, depending on what world they’re from, they have certain traits,” says Fairley. “Some are born into intrigue and are very good politicians, while I think ultimately what most of them have, irrespective of whether they were born with that aspect, they learn quickly. They learn how to become a politician. In many ways they have to be stronger and faster and cleverer than the men in order to survive.

In the same article, Rose Leslie comments:

Everywhere you look you have dominant women taking hold of the situation.

Gwendoline Christie shared her thoughts on Brienne fighting for a place in the world on her own terms, and her character’s developing acceptance of herself:

“Personally, I feel that Brienne is coming to terms with her own femininity…It shows the evolution of one woman’s psychology and I think that’s incredibly enlightening and brave for a mainstream television show to have that sort of storyline…Women in Game of Thrones have a harder job because they’re existing within a man’s world…[Brienne's] interaction and encounter with Catelyn Stark was enormously illuminating to her because she sees a woman that is full of power and strength, but is also very, very much a mother. And motherhood, certainly to Brienne, encapsulates being a woman.

When criticisms of her being “too pretty” surfaced after her casting, Christie tells EW that she “didn’t mind at all. I knew all the things I wanted to do to become the part. I’ve always been able to look very different very easily.”

She also notes:

There’s so many parts of my life that I’ve struggled with — that so many millions of others struggled with — about being an outsider, about feeling ugly, about having to overcome looking different to other people,” she says. “The great thing about this character is she’s found her strength. And this season, she goes beyond that as a person.

Ours is the Fury: There are few shows on television today that have such a variety of roles for women, and I love the intensity with which the cast members discuss their characters. I’m especially excited for Brienne’s journey this season; it’s one of my favorite story arcs from the books.


101 Comments

  1. Gwen
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    First!

  2. Grijnwaald
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Gwen:
    First!

    Congrats! :)

  3. Nick_Scryer
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Love the women of Thrones! They all play their parts perfectly.

  4. Friend Of fire
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    @Ours is the fury are the DVD sales still going strong for hbo ? Haven’t seen any news since the first week on sales figures I hope they continue to sell well.

  5. Nic
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Yay for Brienne. She’s one of the more underrated characters , even amongst readers of the books. Looking forward to seeing the Jaime-Brienne S3 scenes so much!

  6. WildSeed
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    So very impressed with these three women ( characters ), thanks for posting this.

  7. Zack
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of writers unskilled or uninterested in writing genuine characters of the gender opposite their own.

    GRRM is not one of them. And that helps make the series so fantastic. So this adaptation has a very strong foundation from which to launch memorable female roles, matched with actresses more than up to the task :)

  8. AdrianAegon
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    and one more powerful woman joins this season. I can’t wait to see Olenna Tyrell!

  9. Miss
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I like that the actresses recognize one of Martin’s strengths: the variety of the female characters, and that they’re aware of how the cards are stacked against them. At the same time, these are the same things that have been praised since season one, it’d be nice if there were more sophisticated things being said by now than “Women are strong because they have to be in a man’s world.” Martin’s source material says much more than just that, some of what is in there could compete with the most sophisticated gender commentary out on television right now if only the writers would care about it.

    I do like seeing a nod to the Brienne and Catelyn relationship, it’s one of the few female-female interactions in the story and the fact that they are such different women but have such a strong bond that actually is important to the plot is really unique. I have a feeling Gwendoline sees the importance of it much more than the writers do, since it really didn’t get the screentime it deserved.

    (ETA: I also think it’s a little hilarious how before every season there has to be some media blitz reassuring us that the women of Thrones are important to HBO, no really they are!)

  10. The Red Viper
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Brienne gets really boring on a Feast for Crows until she fights rorge and biter and then gets hanged.

  11. Ours is the Fury
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper,

    Going to disagree with you 100% there.

  12. Zoltán
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper,

    I actually enjoyed quite a lot of her chapters, especially her intaractions with Randyll Tarly and Septon Meribald. Those passages are essentials to enrich the world and make people realize that the Seven Kingdoms are, in the end, is a feudal society, and being a woman or a peasant is not your idea of fun in a feudal society.

  13. Hounded
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I can’t imagine this feminist vibe lasting that much longer into feature seasons.

    Between Shae revealing herself to be liar and a money hungry Tywin-fucking whore. Cersei being a blithering idiot. Arya dithering about being blind and Dany only getting by because of the men (and dragons) in her life (Without Ser Barristan she would be fucked).

    Brienne’s brave quest will be about the only feminist thing left. Go Brienne! (Although she has been saved from distress by Jaime and Ser Hyle a few times now…)

  14. Isabelle
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Christie’s physical transformation for the role was intense. The former gymnast, who grew up “completely obsessed with Marilyn Monroe”, quit drinking, stopped wearing heels, took up kickboxing, lost 10 kilos, put it back on in muscle, wore only unisex clothing and sobbed for hours when her flowing locks were cut, all in preparation for her role as the sword-fighting, horse-riding warrior Brienne of Tarth.

    Incredible.

  15. The SheBear
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I love female characters on the show, although Martin makes most of them like manipulative bitches.. Really looking forward to the Cersei-Margery-Queen of Thornes interaction, we don’t get to see much of that relationship on this part of the books as Cersei is not a POV character

  16. Omar Brown
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper:
    Brienne gets really boring on a Feast for Crows until she fights rorge and biter and then gets hanged.

    Agreed, she is wasted while being on a wild goose chase. Let’s hope D&D forsake book faithfullness and make her actually do something.

  17. Jentario
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury:
    The Red Viper,

    Going to disagree with you 100% there.

    And I’m going to disagree with you and agree with him/her. It’s not that Brienne herself was boring, but nothing happened in the first three (or so) chapters. She was only walking around asking that dreadful question. Later (SPOILERS!) it got better, from that scene where she fights those Brave Companions in that abandoned castle (before Rorge and Quiet Isle). But honestly, most of the POVs in Feast were like that (Cersei comes to mind).

  18. Miss
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Hounded,

    I don’t think feminist means what you think it means. Female characters don’t have to be superheroes for the story to have a feminist message. Feminism has never meant “women embody everything strong and superlative and admirable and good”, it is about women being allowed to be as human as men.

    I would like to see more sophisticated commentary regarding feminism in the story than “The women are the strong ones.” That’s nice to have, but it skims the surface.

  19. John W
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I thought Christie was perfect as Brienne.

  20. Omar Brown
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Jentario: And I’m going to disagree with you and agree with him/her. It’s not that Brienne herself was boring, but nothing happened in the first three (or so) chapters. She was only walking around asking that dreadful question. Later (SPOILERS!) it got better, from that scene where she fights those Brave Companions in that abandoned castle (before Rorge and Quiet Isle). But honestly, most of the POVs in Feast were like that (Cersei comes to mind).

    I think the Cersei chapters are the best parts of the book, the last few chapters were quite fun when she gets her just deserts!

  21. Selmy
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    On the first reading, after having read the incredible book that is ASOS, it does get boring with certain characters. Cersei had a lot of chapters, but it was still interesting reading her thoughts and how much untrustworthy and paranoid she is. Brienne got interesting for me when she met Pod, then it got boring again, until she meets Biter and Lady Stoneheart. I won’t even mention the Greyjoys.

    But, on my second reading, I enjoyed those chapters a lot more and the details they bring. AFFC is not a bad book, it’s awesome. It’s a bit different now that the ”War” is over and we see the aftermath. Let’s just say that ASOS raises expectations.

  22. MedievalFantasy
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper:
    Brienne gets really boring on a Feast for Crows until she fights rorge and biter and then gets hanged.

    I, personally, found AFFC to be amazing, and equal to the rest of the other books. I love the descriptions of characters and their armor, weapons, etc.

  23. Dragons
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Mother of Dragons to rule them all!
    Seriously, the women are the strong part of “game of thrones”. every single one of them.

  24. Hexonx
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Hounded:Dany only getting by because of the men (and dragons) in her life (Without Ser Barristan she would be fucked).

    I don’t see how that matters as far as her being female. She is still in charge. There are many instances of kings/male leaders not being warriors themselves. I mean just look at Joffrey. He got his ass handed to him by Arya. Pretty much anyone would be fucked without support.

  25. Abyss
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    There is another interview with Michelle Fairley done by HBO Bulgaria aswell one with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Some stuff in them could be considered as slightly spoilerish.

  26. Hexonx
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Isabelle: Christie’s physical transformation for the role was intense. The former gymnast, who grew up “completely obsessed with Marilyn Monroe”, quit drinking, stopped wearing heels, took up kickboxing, lost 10 kilos, put it back on in muscle, wore only unisex clothing and sobbed for hours when her flowing locks were cut, all in preparation for her role as the sword-fighting, horse-riding warrior Brienne of Tarth.

    Incredible.

    That’s another great aspect of this production. Most of the cast take their roles very seriously, even with not much screen time. It helps too when you have new & relatively unknown actors with something to prove.

  27. ACVG
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper:
    Brienne gets really boring on a Feast for Crows until she fights rorge and biter and then gets hanged.

    I did too on the first read,
    but then on the 2nd (and 3rd) read when your not just looking for plot advancement you appreciate the details of her search and all of the interesting characters and let you know about the smallfolk of westeros are coping and getting by.
    theres a lot of detail in those chapters and could easily get overlooked as unimportant, especially after you realize that certain charters she meets appear later in other POVs (mad mouse, dwarf with bulbous nose and others)

  28. Ours is the Fury
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    The SheBear: I love female characters on the show, although Martin makes most of them like manipulative bitches.

    I would be curious to know what you (and others) see as the difference between women being “manipulative bitches” and men being players in the political game. Because no one is more manipulative than Littlefinger, Varys or Tywin, but they’re admired for it.

    And a female character certainly doesn’t have to a likeable warrior-type to be considered “feminist” or strong.

  29. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Abyss,

    I’m not sure the interviewer has actually seen the show. Nicolaj sort of didn’t know how to respond to a couple of questions, especially the one about being “constantly immersed in magic with this being a fantasy show”. LOL.

  30. zod
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Yeah what kind of questions were that? “Do we lack magic in the real world?”, “What is it that you like the most in your character’s costume?”.. :D

    The whole interview is awkward.. it looks like a job interview or something.

  31. Gonfaloniere
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting the Michelle Fairley interview; she’s just wonderful, a lovely lady and fine actress, and I feel like I don’t get to see her talking about the show as often as some of the other characters do.

  32. Patrick
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Funny that Michelle Fairley talks about women surviving. Though I guess she does, in a way?

  33. Snakes dnthave hands
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper: Brienne gets really boring on a Feast for Crows until she fights rorge and biter and then gets hanged.

    Actually Brienne doesn’t really get hanged. She’s alive in Dance

  34. The Bear
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand how people can say Martin has gotten “less feminist” with his characters. I feel like saying that the female characters are “bitches” when they do something deceptive and manipulative is sexist in itself. Why can’t they be manipulative like every other character in the show?

  35. The Red Viper
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Snakes dnthave hands,

    If you re read Dance you ll se that Brienne comes to see Jaime with some sort of bandage or thing protecting her neck. She could have been reanimated. At the end of her chapter on Feast you assume she died.

  36. The Red Viper
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    As a reader i found them boring. As a viewer if D&D keep true to her first 3 chapters they are going to loose some viewers (remeber Danys storyline on Clash? she didnt do a lot compared to the first book so what did D&D do? invent stuff to keep it exciting).

  37. Salty Dornishman
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    The Bear,

    Martin’s female characters are so refreshingly complex and diverse! I just finished the last book in the Wheel of Time series. Spend a little time with Robert Jordan/Sanderson’s female characters and you’ll see the difference. All they do is “cross their arms stubbornly beneath their breasts” and “sniff” at anything a male character says or does. I welcome the return of Cersei, Catelyn, Brienne, Dany, Sansa, Arya, Ygritte, Selyse etc. Powerful women come in all types… even if they’re not all that intelligent (looking at you, Cersei :-))

  38. Fire And Blood
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury: I would be curious to know what you (and others) see as the difference between women being “manipulative bitches” and men being players in the political game. Because no one is more manipulative than Littlefinger, Varys or Tywin, but they’re admired for it.

    And a female character certainly doesn’t have to a likeable warrior-type to be considered “feminist” or strong.

    This here.

  39. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    The Red Viper,

    She has a bandage over her face because Biter bit her cheeks off. She wasn’t hanged because the word she uttered was “sword” and that saved her and Podrick’s life. By choosing the sword instead of the noose she was sent to bring Jaime to Stoneheart and the Brotherhood.

  40. Visenya
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Michelle Fairley is fabulous. I’d give anything to age so gracefully. All her interviews reveal how well she understands Catelyn, even when the show’s writing doesn’t reflect the character’s depth.

    Also, I wouldn’t say Cersei is “dumb.” Yes, she’s cruel and somewhat delusional, but she isn’t flat out stupid just because she made poor decisions in AFFC. Let’s not forget that her son was murdered right in front of her. That’s enough to break anyone’s sanity. It’s also frustrating to hear people constantly bring up Cersei, Sansa, and Catelyn when talking about “dumb” characters while completely overlooking people like Ned Stark, Theon, and Robert. These men have all done (multiple) unintelligent things, yet those deeds are rarely attributed to any inherent stupidity they way they are when it’s a woman who screws up.

  41. KG
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Snakes dnthave hands:

    Or IS SHE???? (I hope so, personally.)

  42. Shock Me Sane
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I do dislike some things about Martin, but to say he is anti-feminist is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. He has such strong female characters and even if they aren’t all warriors like Brienne or Arya they are still strong. The definition of feminism itself is that women should be equal to men, and in his world the women are trying quite hard. Unfortunately in fuedal history preference was always given to men. But he made this place called Dorne in his alternate history.

  43. dogs
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I’m going to be honest. I don’t and never will watch Game of Thrones for its feminist correctness. If you want some good feminism, probably popular culture is not the place to go. None of the characters can be called feminist – maybe socially oppressed and rising above their circumstances, but that is by no means feminist. And George R.R. Martin’s books are certainly not works of feminist literature.
    For the show: the portrayal of only naked beautiful skinny ladies, rarely naked men and rarely unconventional or unsensationalized nudity, I would say, is counter progressive. And it annoys me. What the director of Blackwater said about one of the executives really surprised me and shook my trust a little bit, something about him saying that he represented the pervy side of the audience.
    Also, I find some of the female characters do fall into stereotype roles which appear like they’re fighting sexism on the surface but really are kind of trite and predictable. Like Arya: the wily, rebellious girl who doesn’t want to be a lady and marry a lord, no! she wants to be a warrior! this is totally breaking away from the social expectations of women guys! – Except, she is positioned only in complete opposition to her expected gender characteristics, which then become: fierceness, rebelliousness, fight. What this does is basically affirm gender expectations for both men and women.
    I’m not saying the characters aren’t ultimately complex as they unravel, but I definitely find that any assertions that George R.R. Martin or the show’s adaptation of his books are particularly progressive in their portrayal of women is bogus. And we should all probably just focus on enjoying the show for what we find enjoyable in it. I don’t want to start a big controversy, but yeah, I just wanted to say some things.

  44. Josh
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Hounded: d from distress by Jaime and Ser Hyle a few times now…)

    I think we’re going to see things take place very different then in the books…at least for

    Cersei…I think her fall and craziness will be a lot more understandable. We’ve been told time and time again she loves her children more than anything..even her power, so I’m guessing the writers will make it very clear that 1) Joffery’s death has broken her(as a child’s deaht can do to a parent) and that now she’ll do ANYTHING to make sure to keep her only son safe(who also happens to be one of the most/only innocent characters on the show and the book)

    Plus we’ll see Sansa, who I think is going to become the maser player of the Game of Thrones.

    I do hope they handle Dany better as well…because she was sort of pathetic.

    But I think Arya was just handled poorly period…not as a woman or a girl, her story went nowhere for two books.

    And let’s not forget Asha/Yara…she kicked all sorts of butt.

  45. Alan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I love Brienne’s feast storyline. One of my favorite parts of the books.

    As for getting less feminist? I think that’s in the eyes of the reader. Dany, for instance, is a pretty amazingly fleshed out character. She makes mistakes, but she’s not the idiot or bitch that people want to portray her as. For many of you, good outcome = smart and bad outcome = idiot. I guarantee Martin (and life) is not that simple.

    I follow Sean Collins’ take on Cersei. She’s mentally ill. I’m not saying that to excuse, more to explain. But like him, I thought she was a bit caricaturish, until I realized where I’ve seen behavior like that.

    Brienne, Asha, Arya, Sansa, Dany, Mel – each is very human, making their own way. I understand some people think of feminist as women must dominate, but most feminists I know just want a character who thinks like a woman and deals with issues like them and doesn’t need a man to save them.

  46. WinterFell
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Friend Of fire,

    Friend Of fire:
    @Ours is the fury are the DVD sales still going strong for hbo ? Haven’t seen any news since the first week on sales figures I hope they continue to sell well.

    I read that Game of Thrones is still in the Top Five of all DVD sales as of last week. So yeah, Thrones sales are still going strong almost a month after the release for Season 2. Can only be great for the future of the show. :)

  47. Isabelle
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Abyss,

    Thanks for posting these!!

    Tyrion Pimpslap:
    I’m not sure the interviewer has actually seen the show. Nicolaj sort of didn’t know how to respond to a couple of questions, especially the one about being “constantly immersed in magic with this being a fantasy show”. LOL.

    zod:

    Yeah what kind of questions were that? “Do we lack magic in the real world?”, “What is it that you like the most in your character’s costume?”.. :D

    The whole interview is awkward.. it looks like a job interview or something.

    Yeah, his interview was really, really awkward, almost painful to watch. But there was something quite charming about him so obviously trying to make the best of it! :-)

    And hey–the interviewer did know that Jaime’s witty, so that’s something she got right.

  48. Isabelle
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    zod,

    I did enjoy the exchange with Michelle, though–loved how she kept bringing up current events. Poor Angela Merkel!

  49. KG
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    To me, feminism means one thing:

    I am the equal of any man and any man is the equal of me. Neither of us is better, only different; and in that difference is one of the great and wonderful joys of the world :)

  50. zod
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:48 am | Permalink
  51. Shock Me Sane
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    KG,

    Yea, pretty sure a few people don’t understand what the definition of feminism actually is. And women are the equals of men. Maybe there are some differences but as GRRM says we have far more in common than we have differences.

  52. Isterband
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Ok well I for one do know what feminism means and I would say that now that I have left radical feminism and socialism far behind me I have a different perspective on it all. The big problem with feminism and other socialistic movements is the blind belief in social constructive explanations for everything and the sort of hybris that can be seen in religious movements. And the idea of equality that many of the movements have is for one far too materialistic and I believe it is an ideal that isn’t very compatible with our asymmetrical world. Some people will always be smarter, more beautiful etc. And complete symmetrical equality between all men and all women sounds beautiful but I do not believe it is possible, maybe on paper with wages etc. but not in reality. Ok enough with my cynic bantering and back to GRRM.

    Sure it is not an obvious dumb feministic work of the sort where all moral ambiguities have disappeared and all women are fantastically awesome and men are evil nutheads. But it does have clear feminist tendencies in the way a lot of female characters are portrayed for example. The only female character where this really bothered me a little was *drumroll* Arya. I understand she is supposed to be a tomboy and work outside the classic gender rolls etc. I get that and I love Arya. It’s just that… She is a boy. Especially in the books. And perhaps she’s also older than portrayed (it’s good she’s older in the series!). But yeah I think GRRM didn’t manage to do a realistic portrayal of a tomboy, but instead just created a boy. This is very correct in queer feministic trancegender roll circles ofc. But yeah I believe there are many differences between the sexes that aren’t surmountable by words, but in the case of Arya they have been ofc hahaha. But in the end I think it’s fine and it IS a work of fiction and whatever political motivations lay behind the creation I love Arya and accept her for what she is :)

  53. Friend of Fire
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    ASOIAF certainly shows in quite impressive ways the way women are affecting the development of the current political situation of george’s world. What i think is most impressive about how the women are portrayed is the realistic way they are presented, clearly the majority of women in this world are no more than serfs, but even the women who have or are striving for power are not presented as feminist poster women but as people who want to exploit POWER for their own ends be it to gain the throne, protect their family, revenge, or just plain vanity this is realistic of what people do with power man or women. take Dany for instance (perhaps the most powerful woman in the series) she has a fanatical almost religious following of a large host more so than any other power player man or woman yet she is also written in a way that we see her sexual and other desires some quite petty and silly to some (daario) from HER perspective as a young girl she and the other women are brilliantly presented not as some idealised feminine heroines but people who make massive mistakes have spectecular sucsess just like all people do man or woman, in my opinion there can be no greater tribute to the equality of men and women’s impact on the overall society and world of ASOIAF. Of course this is just my opinion and by no means are my opinions always right but they are mine :)

  54. Abyss
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Wow, Rose Leslie really does a lot interviews at the moment.

    1. KiSS 92.5 (a bit older, but new to me)
    2. Dork Shelf (little spoilers!)

  55. Doran's Gouty Toe
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    What does it even MEAN to say that men and women are “equal”? With respect to what? I don’t see this as having any meaning except with respect to the law — and medieval men and women were obviously NOT equal with respect to the law.

    “Equality” of human beings is not an essence, it’s a convention.

  56. Alan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    The Red Viper:
    Ours is the Fury,

    As a reader i found them boring. As a viewer if D&D keep true to her first 3 chapters they are going to loose some viewers (remeber Danys storyline on Clash? she didnt do a lot compared to the first book so what did D&D do? invent stuff to keep it exciting).

    I always find it funny that when someone doesn’t like something they go to the “they are going to loose [sic] some viewers” argument.

    So far, they’ve done a lot of things people haven’t liked, and this predicted loss of viewers isn’t happening.

    This show moves at an incredible pace. Nearly every critic thinks it is too fast. People compare the show to Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, The Wire — all of which move at a much slower pace.

    A few episodes with a couple of four minute scenes of Brienne talking to Randyll Tarly, Septon Meribald (including one of the best speeches in the book) and Hyle Hunt (where we can hear about Brienne’s courtships) isn’t going to run anyone off.

  57. Alan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Shock Me Sane:
    KG,

    Yea, pretty sure a few people don’t understand what the definition of feminism actually is. And women are the equals of men. Maybe there are some differences but as GRRM says we have far more in common than we have differences.

    One of the issues with arguing whether or not something is feminist is that there are a whole lot of definitions out there. Many people consider it to mean something else. And there’s lots of reasonable variation.

    The result is that virtually nothing will be considered feminist by everyone who wants it to be feminist. Some people want the female character to be incredibly strong and win; some want her to be vulnerable and struggle against an unfair system where she loses, and so on. Some want her merely to have the same doubts as the viewer does; some hate that those are shown as weakness.

    It’s a really fine line to walk. There’s a ton of things that Martin does that are a little err…man-fantasy-ish… including the proportion of attractive women in the overall population (it’s beautiful everyone versus Arya as “normal” and Brienne as “ugly”), as one example.

    That said, his female characters are main characters. They are pretty well drawn. They are human. They face discrimination that men don’t. They are capable of playing the game and winning, but don’t always. There are strongly principled characters (Dany, Catelyn, Brienne, Melisandre) as well as some who are selfish or still figuring out what they stand for. That’s the same as the men.

    These characters don’t sit around and talk about men. They talk about ruling countries.

  58. Nic
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the Brienne chapters in AFFC. Her refusal to give up on finding her “sister” is humourous and endearing.

    Dany sitting in Meereen eating figs and wondering whether to shag Daario. Now THAT is boring :D

  59. AtchooP
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    One of the issues with arguing whether or not something is feminist is that there are a whole lot of definitions out there. Many people consider it to mean something else. And there’s lots of reasonable variation.

    Dear God, Alan, it almost sounds like women are, like, individuals or something who each have our own opinions.

    *shock*

    *panic*

    *wild running around in circles*

  60. AtchooP
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Dany sitting in Meereen eating figs and wondering whether to shag Daario. Now THAT is boring :D

    But nothing is as boring as reading fifteen million comments like “Meereen storyline sUcksss!1!11! “. I think I am going to go and stick my head into a bucket of shit. That is preferable to reading Meereen complaints. Thanks for making the world a better place with your brilliant commentaries on Meereen, people.

    *sticks head in shit to escape*

  61. Abyss
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Doran’s Gouty Toe,

    It means that women have the same worth (as human beings) as men. That does not in any way mean, that they can’t be different.

    And equality of human beings (in worth) is an essence (of modern humanism).

  62. joaquin
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Alan,

    So far they been changing stuff from the books ( like danys storyline on clash of kings) to make it more exciting for viewers. As a reader and viewer and film student i didnt like dany storyline on qarth becaause is not nearly as exciting as the one in book one and season 1. I understand the changes they make.

  63. Ser Endrew Tarth
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Alan,

    Your statment regarding the high ratio of good looking women in the ASoIaF world is completely false… GRRM describes women in the book many different ways, and many descriptors used would not be considered flattering. If you choose to imagine all of the women as “super hot” that’s on you lol.

  64. Dexterized
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Nic:

    Dany sitting in Meereen eating figs and wondering whether to shag Daario. Now THAT is boring :D

    Lol please. Women had to read almost four books of Tyrion and his manpain towards Shae, Theon and his misogynistic sexual adventures, but a fanboy can’t take ONE BOOK of a woman gushing about a man without whining. Grow up.

  65. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Hounded,

    There was no such thing as feminism in the medieval era. It didn’t exist. Why not? Because there were absolutely no limits whatsoever placed on men. And, men, generally-speaking, can physically dominate women. So, feminism only came about when men finally agreed not to dominate women anymore. Men played a big part in that. Because, if they said, “Fuck feminism. We’re going back to caveman times. Where’s my club?” Women would have little recourse. And that’s what men WERE like in medieval times. Granted, there was a gentleman culture in some parts of the world in which women were shown more respect than they were in most places, but generally speaking, women were considered little more than chattel for thousands of years all around the globe.

    So, if you’re trying to convey this harsh, unfair world to people, female empowerment might not be a good way to do it. Meaning, in many historical novels — whether fiction or fantasy — women are SUPPOSED to be oppressed. That’s the whole point. They have it rough. They have to fight for every single thing they get, and are constantly afraid for themselves. That was their brutal reality. But, if you have a handful of female characters who somehow defy the status quo, the reader isn’t going to understand what the status quo is.

    Realistically speaking, in a world such as Westeros Brienne would be the only woman of those you mentioned to be seen on somewhat equal footing as the men. Why? Because she can physically dominate a good number of them (not all — but enough). That was all that mattered in that world — strength. Granted, Dany has dragons, but that’s a weapon, not a part of her being. Brienne is physically imposing. She’s like a man in that respect. The other female characters don’t have that sense of security (and mind you, it’s a very thin sense of security, even for Brienne). Cersei, for example, has no power at all other than that which she’s been granted. A common slave could rape her if he got the chance. And I think GRRM does a good job of portraying her frustration with that. It essentially drives her crazy, because she wants to be independent, but she knows she can’t be. She envies Jaime for his physical strength and prowess on the battle field. She wears armor during the siege. She bemoans her place as chattel. And she eventually goes batshit insane from the pressure.

    So, in summary — no, GoT isn’t exactly a feminist manifesto. But it does well to portray the reality of what women in different stations and mindsets might’ve felt living in such an oppressive society. And there is a certain nobility in that. Men have always had it easy, more or less. Women, on the other hand, have had to fight for everything they’ve ever got — including their suffrage. It’s been a constant struggle for them to convince these big hulking brutes that they live with not to treat them like shit. So, it’s probably better not to minimize that struggle by portraying a world in which it never happened.

  66. Nic
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    AtchooP,

    haha, calm down – was a joke! :D

  67. Nic
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Dexterized: Lol please. Women had to read almost four books of Tyrion and his manpain towards Shae, Theon and his misogynistic sexual adventures, but a fanboy can’t take ONE BOOK of a woman gushing about a man without whining. Grow up.

    haha, whoa. It’s not the gushing I had a problem with. Rather the procrastination, the uhm-ing and ahh-ing. Just get on with it already. That goes for the entire Meereen story arc IMO – not just her love interests but her raison d’être. During books 1 to 3 Dany was my favourite character but in book 5 I couldn’t care less about her.

  68. Maxwell James
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Varamyr Fourskins: So, feminism only came about when men finally agreed not to dominate women anymore.

    You make some decent points in your comment, Varamyr, but this one is poorly phrased, at best. Feminism came about well before men “finally agreed” to not be violent towards women. At the time feminism started being recognized as a concept, it was still common for men to dispose of their wives by putting them in homes for the mentally ill.

    In fact, men have not at all agreed today to cease using violence against women, as we have seen with the recent horrifying rape stories in India… and Ohio. Sexual assault and domestic violence remain terribly common in even “enlightened,” developed nations. And even in innocuous fields like video game production, women who express frustration with sexism are routinely threatened and harassed.

    And yet – feminism exists, and even thrives, despite a social environment in much of the world that remains aggressively hostile to it. Which hints at, I would posit, the real value of Martin’s novels with regards to relations between the sexes. His world is no better than ours, and he spares no expense in showing how damaging that is, to men and women both. And at the same time, his compelling characters suggest that even in a terribly oppressive society, there’s the potential to forge something better over time.

  69. Maxwell James
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ll also note for some the relevance of a certain riddle from GoT:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpL6Fwu0wkw

  70. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    …I’m sorry to have to say this, but why is it always about the women? Where’s our counterpart article entitled “The men of Game of Thrones speak”? In Game of Thrones, it seems that all the strong male characters are evil, and all the strong female ones are worshiped. What’s up guys and gals?

  71. queenofthorns
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos,

    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/phmt-argument/

    There’s nothing wrong with discussing men’s issues, but it’s irritating when a discussion of women’s issues is derailed by complaints like this.

    Also, maybe you don’t spend much time here, but it’s in no way, shape, or form “always about the women”.

  72. Anna Krakina
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    May i have your child ? Couldn’t sum my thoughts better than you did !
    Feminism isn’t linked to physical strenght and machiavelic dudes are certainly more popular than female ones.

  73. WildSeed
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Alan:
    I love Brienne’s feast storyline. One of my favorite parts of the books.

    As for getting less feminist? I think that’s in the eyes of the reader. Dany, for instance, is a pretty amazingly fleshed out character. She makes mistakes, but she’s not the idiot or bitch that people want to portray her as. For many of you, good outcome = smart and bad outcome = idiot. I guarantee Martin (and life) is not that simple.

    I follow Sean Collins’ take on Cersei. She’s mentally ill. I’m not saying that to excuse, more to explain. But like him, I thought she was a bit caricaturish, until I realized where I’ve seen behavior like that.

    Brienne, Asha, Arya, Sansa, Dany, Mel – each is very human, making their own way. I understand some people think of feminist as women must dominate, but most feminists I know just want a character who thinks like a woman and deals with issues like them and doesn’t need a man to save them.

    Thank you for putting words to it :D

    I admire each of these characters ( of both genders ), both their natural
    strengths and acquired weaknesses. They are balanced in that way, and
    reflect life’s natural form. Although Cersei belongs to a exception, for
    her madness, an inability to find such balance.

  74. WildSeed
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James: You make some decent points in your comment, Varamyr, but this one is poorly phrased, at best. Feminism came about well before men “finally agreed” to not be violent towards women. At the time feminism started being recognized as a concept, it was still common for men to dispose of their wives by putting them in homes for the mentally ill.

    In fact, men have not at all agreed today to cease using violence against women, as we have seen with the recent horrifying rape stories in India… and Ohio. Sexual assault and domestic violence remain terribly common in even “enlightened,” developed nations. And even in innocuous fields like video game production, women who express frustration with sexism are routinely threatened and harassed.

    And yet – feminism exists, and even thrives, despite a social environment in much of the world that remains aggressively hostile to it. Which hints at, I would posit, the real value of Martin’s novels with regards to relations between the sexes. His world is no better than ours, and he spares no expense in showing how damaging that is, to men and women both. And at the same time, his compelling characters suggest that even in a terribly oppressive society, there’s the potential to forge something better over time.

    I agree with this. And let us not forget that in many chapters in ASOIAF,
    that Cersei often spoke of the ” rules ” that women must abide by, especially
    of noble birth, limiting their success. Hers was an insightful, balanced
    perspective . Cersei made relevant points here too, but her insights were
    tainted by rage and vindictiveness.

    Nonetheless, a woman’s influence has always been present, in ancient
    time and present, And mostly hidden. It took many generations for
    these hard fought gains, to be acknowledged or recognized. The victory
    came from a united voice and warrior attitude. No one gave us permission.
    martin ‘s story does grasp the world as it was ( some would argue, is still ),
    and I give him props for that. I’m patiently waiting for Brienne, Arya and
    the Martell sisters stories to evolve .

  75. Ser Lyonel The Laughing Storm
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    My only critique of how women are written in the series is homosexuality, there are plenty of male characters that are sexually attracted to other men, while ever in every lesbian scene in the series its about the women wanting to feel power for a moment(cersei) or just meaningless sexual bliss(dany). Really though in a series with such a diverse cast already this is really just nitpicking

  76. Ser Lyonel The Laughing Storm
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    My only critique of how women are written in the series is homosexuality, there are plenty of male characters that are sexually attracted to other men, while in every lesbian scene in the series its about the women wanting to feel power for a moment(cersei) or just meaningless sexual bliss(dany). Though in a series with such a diverse cast already this is really just nitpicking

  77. Shan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos,

    You know, setting the whole “but why isn’t there a whiiiite hiiiistory mooooooonth?!??11!?” question aside, I would actually be pretty interested to hear what some of the male characters have to say about gender relations in GoT.

    Theon, for instance — put together Ros, Catelyn, Yara, and the captain’s daughter, and you get a really interesting combination of relationships with women. Same goes for Loras Tyrell (does he see women like Brienne as rivals?), Tyrion (was growing up with Cersei part of the reason why he doesn’t do relationships well?)… really a whole bunch of male characters.

  78. Alan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    AtchooP:
    One of the issues with arguing whether or not something is feminist is that there are a whole lot of definitions out there. Many people consider it to mean something else. And there’s lots of reasonable variation.

    Dear God, Alan, it almost sounds like women are, like,individuals or something who each have our own opinions.

    *shock*

    *panic*

    *wild running around in circles*

    I know. Weird. For a long time I thought y’all were pretty-looking robots sent to planet Earth for my personal amusement, but then I figured it out. ;)

    I think Dany’s Dance storyline is one of the best in the books. I was caught off guard by the ending and intrigued to see where it goes. As much as I don’t really like Daario, I think what’s really interesting is the fanbase reaction to him.

  79. Alan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Ser Endrew Tarth:
    Alan,

    Your statment regarding the high ratio of good looking women in the ASoIaF world is completely false…GRRM describes women in the book many different ways, and many descriptors used would not be considered flattering.If you choose to imagine all of the women as “super hot” that’s on you lol.

    I know what you are saying — that a character describing someone as beautiful doesn’t mean she’s objectively beautiful and that the arguments over “who’s hotter” are silly and on the reader (just because someone says Dany is the most beautiful person in the world doesn’t make her so, etc).

    That said, if I’m being nice to GRRM, he’s just a guy who finds women beautiful. I can relate — I can find more women attractive than not. And perhaps that’s all it is. But there’s not a bell curve of attractiveness in the books.

    Oh, it’s not most fantasy. Most fantasy is horrifically bad at this. And Martin does wonderful things by running Beauty and The Beast on both sides. But he still has more attractive women than plain and ugly by my count.

    I suppose if you take a very kind reading that most of the attractive nobles are so because they are clean and well dressed, then I can agree with you.

    (Upon thinking about it more, you may be right. Included in my count were a lot of historical figures — Lyanna, Ashara Dayne, etc., who are likely idealized. If I weren’t lazy, I’d plot it out. I will accede the point).

  80. Zack
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Alan: Included in my count were a lot of historical figures — Lyanna, Ashara Dayne, etc., who are likely idealized. If I weren’t lazy, I’d plot it out. I will accede the point).

    Remember Ned tells Arya (Horseface, dirty, looks like a boy, etc) that she looks a lot like Lyanna. The ‘ugly’ or ‘beautiful’ line is so blurred, and final judgment rests almost entirely in the perspective of the individual. There’s a point where Cat remarks that long-faced Dacey Mormont looks pretty when eschewing her armor for a dress. I think Martin does a commendable job of showing how fragile the boundaries are when it comes to attractiveness, and all the factors that determine it.

  81. Shan
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Also, re: beauty: it’s weird to even think about how different the world was before photos and video cameras. I mean, most of Danaerys’ subjects probably have no idea what her face looks like. If Cersei put on normal clothes she could probably walk around King’s Landing and not be recognized by anyone. Characters have a reputation for being beautiful, but anyone who hasn’t personally met them face to face is really just repeating rumors. And that’s just the people who are currently alive, let alone the historical figures.

  82. WildSeed
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    KG:
    To me, feminism means one thing:

    I am the equal of any man and any man is the equal of me. Neither of us is better, only different; and in that difference is one of the great and wonderful joys of the world :)

    I’m enjoying what you’ve put to words here. It’s simple principle and philosophical
    choice. If Politics and Religious beliefs were not present to complicate and exacerbate
    our ordered societies, personal choice and simple principle would command.

    Feminism, is an ideology that defined and defended political, social and economic
    rights for women. On that front, we have come far, but there is a long road to
    catch up to the equal status as men. For every gain , there are backward thinkers
    with political and social power to thwart progress made. Some may argue that
    one area of the world suffers more than others, but we all suffer at the setbacks.
    Sexual slavery and rape , dowry crimes and career discrimination is prevalent
    as ever. Stronger, if new feminist voices are continuing the fight for equality.
    The Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution has yet to pass, although
    many aspects have been considered in a lesser form. we are fortunate somewhat
    in the States, but any conservative political mandate could shift those efforts.

    Men and women are inextricably linked in the measures of human evolution,
    and it is for what each gender brings through our differences that make our need
    for each other so essential. It’s about a careful balance that the science of nature and
    environment exacts. Both our intellect and prowess aid in equal measure , our respect
    for life and survival. Men and women are equally unique , accepting and respecting
    that fact should make it easier to live and thrive peacefully. Since relationships are
    personal, social reform is tough to police. More generations of men are open
    minded but the statistics are terribly mixed.Still , their is growing outcry in
    Bangladesh and similar societies, to mandate laws against the mis treatment of
    women.

    The Feminist movement has brought us far and educated many men open to the
    subject, even applying it to their personal relationships. I hope a simpler
    principle could be applied in our daily choices and political decisions to reflect
    the way we live, anywhere and everywhere. Cersei, Catelyn and Arianne may
    represent our feminist predecessors , but they fought in the way best known town
    to them.

  83. Shock Me Sane
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I think you make many strong and poignant points. Indeed there are many places in the world where women do NOT have equal rights. I do not think that is the case where I live (Sacramento, CA) I know many women who are lawyers, lobbyists and PhDs. They also make a comparable amount to their male peers. As someone who employs people I employ the man or woman most qualified for the job and I pay them the same amount I would pay anyone who meets the job description.

    The only real problem that my educated female friends have is that they generally have to take years off of work to have children, and that DOES make a difference in pay. But having a child is a choice, and they respect that. Most women can do it. It isn’t magic. But you can’t expect to be paid the same as a man because you took 5 years off of work to have 3 children. All else being equal, he has more experience and should be paid more.

    I am also a gay man if that makes any difference. But this is the only aspect of “feminism” that bothers me. Getting paid the same as a man who worked 5 more years than you is not equal treatment, it is preferential. I love women. I love my mother and my 4! sisters and my best friend is a woman. Feminism should be about equality, not magic.

  84. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    queenofthorns

    queenofthorns,

    Thank you for the link. Just a few quick comments:

    -You mentioned that there’s nothing wrong with discussing men issues. It’s good that you say so, except that… we don’t really discuss men issues, and feminists tend to turn a blind eye to them, or just to deride them as insignificant (perhaps your link is an example?).

    -Feminism has been silencing weak men voices for decades. PHMT arguments are more than justified, and to complain about them puts to evidence feminists inherent bias against men. I might even call it misandry.

    -To everyone: If Feminism was really about equality, why do we so often need to explain that it (at least, allegedly) stands for equal rights? The root word is “feminine”. This stands for female. Feminism is Femalism. Equality, is equality! I’m an egalitarianist, not a feminist. You see the difference?

    -Some “issues”: Suicides rates in Western societies range from three to ten times larger among men than among women (that’s 10: 1). Of university graduates, there are presently, on average, three women for every two men, with commensurate trends and discrimination taking place at the lower education levels, all of it documented. Some feminists even gleefully reference this to demonstrate that women are increasingly running the show. “Women empowerment” — no kidding!

    And you tell, it’s not always about the women? I’m sorry, but that’s just self-justifying and self-deluding bullshit.

    And, unlike most men, I’m not afraid to point out feminist double standards. Not here, not anywhere. (And I do.)

  85. Shock Me Sane
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Also, how did Rose Leslie get talked into doing all the press for season 3? She is adorable and darling but I was sort of hoping they might have talked another few actors into doing press.

  86. Shan
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos,

    Can I point out a couple of logical fallacies here?

    1. If your definition of “feminist” is “someone who tends to talk about women’s issues a lot on the internet,” then obviously you’re going to wind up with a group of feminists who don’t talk a lot about men’s issues — because that’s the group of people that you’re defining as feminist. By your definition, people who talk about men’s issues on the internet aren’t feminists — they’re just people who talk about men’s issues on the internet. It’s a self-fulfilling definition.

    2. Etymology has very little to do with a word’s present-day definition. Conservatives don’t actually sit to anyone’s right, and they’re not colored red. Liberals don’t actually sit to anyone’s left, and they’re not colored blue. Most Americans don’t even know who Amerigo Vespucci was — and (and this is the important part) who Amerigo Vespucci was has very little to do with understanding what the word “American” means. The relationship between the signifier and the signified is always pretty tenuous, but it’s the meaning that’s important, not the origins of the word.

    3. Correlation does not equal causation. “The rate of suicide among men is higher than the rate of suicide among women” =/= “women coming to power is causing the rate of suicide among men to skyrocket.” You might as well say that ice cream causes murder because ice cream consumption and murder rates both go up in the summer.

    4. I’m not going to argue with “it’s all about the women” because that phrase is too vague to argue against. What’s all about the women? What women? How much all? It’s not so much self-deluding as confused.

  87. WildSeed
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me Sane,

    You speak true, and from a perspective of an individual living in a state
    known for championing equal rights and spearheading legislation.
    The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is one that comes to mind.
    In spite of such efforts within this state, the same Sex Marriage Bill remains
    defeated. Such is the nature of fickle voters and the perverse work of right
    wing demagogues. Without a straight forward federal mandate, distributed fairly
    throughout the country, we are stuck with seeking bit by bit influences.
    Speaking as a female, living in Calif, I’d hope for the great state of Arizona,
    South Carolina and Texas and Michigan ( to name a few ), ratify equal rights
    legislation for all as most states have. We’ve had tremendous progress, but
    it remains splotchy , if by exception by state only, until conservative Tea Party
    demagogues are silenced by effective legislation and an educated populace.

    You mentioned Maternity Leave. This expectation is where the discussions
    should include respect for how we are different, and fairly accommodating
    these inherent facts. Included would be epidemiological reports, citing
    the overwhelming evidence of health related issues affecting males only,
    and sensitivity when such need arises.

    By the way, have you heard that the great state of Mississippi just ratified in
    ( Feb 2013 )the US 13th Amendment ? Outlawing slavery against people of
    African descent ?

  88. queenofthorns
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos:
    queenofthorns,
    Thank you for the link.Just a few quick comments:

    -You mentioned that there’s nothing wrong with discussing men issues. It’s good that you say so, except that… we don’t really discuss men issues,

    What makes you think this? And who is “we?” Men’s issues are discussed regularly, especially on the more male-oriented spaces on the internet. Reddit is a good example. The comments section of this site spends a lot of time discussing the men in the show. Probably more than the women.

    As for this site, like Shen said I would be very interested to read an article discussing how the sexist society of ASOIAF also harms men.

    and feminists tend to turn a blind eye to them, or just to deride them as insignificant (perhaps your link is an example?).

    I’m sorry the link seems derisive. I’m just sick of every time women’s issues are discussed someone trying to make it about them instead.

    -Feminism has been silencing weak men voices for decades. PHMT arguments are more than justified, and to complain about them

    We are in complete agrement that PHMT arguments are justified. However, Patriarchy Hurts Men Too is a feminist argument, so starting your critique of feminism here doesn’t really make sense. Your argument seems to more be that Feminism Hurts Men, and I don’t see much support for this, especially considering we don’t live in a fully feminist society (yet). Every issue that you bring up about societal harm done to men can be traced to the patriarchy (via enforcement of traditional gender roles), rather than feminism.

    -To everyone: If Feminism was really about equality, why do we so often need to explain that it (at least, allegedly) stands for equal rights?

    The root word is “feminine”. This stands for female. Feminism is Femalism. Equality, is equality! I’m an egalitarianist, not a feminist. You see the difference?

    Again who is “we”, and who are we supposedly explaining this to?

    Here you are redefining feminism based on etimology alone in order to support your point. It’s circular reasoning. “Feminism comes from the word female therefore it must mean that they don’t care about men!” This is simply not the case.

    -Some “issues”: Suicides rates in Western societies range from three to ten times larger among men than among women (that’s 10: 1). Of university graduates, there are presently, on average, three women for every two men, with commensurate trends and discrimination taking place at the lower education levels, all of it documented.

    Men’s issues such as suicide rates, discomfort with men’s emotions, disproportionate death in war, lack of support for men as parents (e.g. adoption and custody favoring women) are all caused by enforcement of traditional gender roles. Gender role enforcement is one of the primary issues that feminism has been fighting against for the last century.

    Opposing feminism actually means opposing men’s rights.

    Some feminists even gleefully reference this to demonstrate that women are increasingly running the show. “Women empowerment” — no kidding!

    http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=341

    And you tell, it’s not always about the women? I’m sorry, but that’s just self-justifying and self-deluding bullshit.

    I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to try to figure out “who has it worse”!? You seem to think men do. I think that women have problems caused by society and men also have problems caused by society. Because society is based on sexist gender roles, the problems men and women face are different, and therefore it is sometimes helpful to address these problems separately. This is why ti is not helpful to jump into a discussion on women’s issues to say “what about men’s problems, doesn’t anyone care?!”

    It’s an unfair attack, nonsensical, and it derails discussion. It’s similar to saying that just because I am trying to find a cure for AIDS that must mean I don’t care about finding a cure for cancer.

  89. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Shan,

    Thank you both for your posts. I would answer both together, but I am not yet so well acquainted on this site as to how to quote two people in one post, so I will try to answer you both separately:

    Shan, you assert that I have fallen prey to a number of fallacies, but in fact, you misinterpreted several points, and in so doing, perhaps made a few fallacies of your own.

    1. You wrote: “If your definition of “feminist” is “someone who tends to talk about women’s issues a lot on the internet,”” — As it so happens, that is not my definition, nor was I defining feminists in this way in my post.

    Your point, however, appears to be that, according to you, feminists do talk about men issues (Queenofthorns also mentions this notion), but that I just wasn’t including “these feminists” under the “feminist” umbrella.

    I disagree: mainstream feminists hardly discuss men issues. To the contrary, they consider such issues to be of secondary importance, and therefore, scarcely worth addressing.

    Consider the following quote (among many) from the link which Queenofthorns sent to me (no doubt as “therapy” for what she appears to consider, or may consider, as “my” problems – these being, the “problem” of being a man in a feminist-dominated society, and the “problem” of thinking that my experiences and views are worth something, and not just material for dismissal by condescending and self-flattering feminist Nazis):

    “Women are the victims of patriarchy, and the suffering of men occurs as a secondary consequence of their role as oppressor. The fact that patriarchy hurts women should be sufficient justification for fighting it.”

    And that’s why we shouldn’t mention men issues in the presence of women on a feminist forum. That would be disrespectful, of course. And you are still convinced that “feminism” has anything to do with Egalitarianism, and not about “femalism”?

    On an Egalitarian forum, all gender issues should be up for discussion, no? Even the very idea that these feminists could be dismissively categorising male comments into the simplistic groupings of “PHMT” and “WATM” arguments reveals much in itself — as if all male comments are generic and, and for all intents and purposes, garbage.

    ’nuff said! You can say what you wish to me here, but at least be honest with yourself.

    The fallacy you may have made is sometimes known as plurium interrogationum — “someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved.”

    2. Although your point about etymology is largely a good one, and there are many further intriguing instances, the example of Amerigo Vespucci doesn’t actually work here, because the feminine aspect of Feminism is no secret to anyone and is constantly emphasized. (And in any case, roots of words are still important.)

    These are quotations from the same feminist forum which demonstrate as much — I quote from the same site for lack of time to quote from several, but it’s intended to be specimen of a larger tendency:

    “Feminism:

    The advocacy of women`s rights on the grounds of sexual equality (OED)”

    Then, later, as a clarification for what “What About The Mens?” arguments (WATMs) are, and why you shouldn’t raise them:

    “1) Understand that if lots of women say something is important, it is. Your opinion, as a man, about the extent and nature of the problem is not valuable when the specific problem pertains to women’s experience. [...]”

    And this, again, on a “feminism” site, where feminism allegedly stands for “equal rights.” No connection between “feminine” and “feminism”? Just another Amerigo Vespucci? Really?

    In a space of equality, all opinions, even if it is “as a man,” should be considered valuable. In my book, this is not negotiable. Except that feminism isn’t really about equal rights; feminism is about the advocacy for indefinitely increasing women privileges — regardless of how many privileges would be genuinely equal to those of men, or the consequences of these privileges on young boys and men — and for changing the debate such that any woman’s voice is considered to be inherently on the moral high ground and to be that of a victim, again, regardless of the circumstances. A female accusation, for instance, is tantamount to a lost job for any man, regardless of any facts which might suggest disingenuous intentions from the woman. There are many examples, Strauss Kahn being perhaps one of the more famous, but hardly, by any wild stretch of the imagination, the only one. These injustices are a direct result of feminist/female domination of the gender debate.

    3. I am aware of the “Correlation proves causation” fallacy, but I wasn’t actually making it. I was not drawing any connection between high men suicide rates and discrimination against men in the education system. I wrote “issue” in the plural — these are two issues. I wasn’t actually making any claim to correlation, but now that you mention it, that would be something to consider, seeing as it is statistically often young men who commit suicide, and not young women. With many more young women going to university these days than young men, it might not be a complete coincidence.

    If you were to mention this, though, in person, in a feminist forum, or in a class on “women and gender,” you would probably be roundly accused with one of the feminists’ favorite win-without-argument trump cards, which is to simply falsely accuse you (again, without them feeling any need to explain or justify their comment) of “misogyny”, “sexism”, “patriarchy” , “chauvinism”, “masculanism”… and there was one more, what was it again? It doesn’t occur to me at the moment.

    4. Many young men are confused because Western societies have indoctrinated them into believing in the myth of their own perpetual guilt and in the illegitimacy of anything they feel, regardless of their youth and the fact that they were not even around in the time (pre-1970s) of more serious anti-female sexism. This leads to self-doubt, depression and frustration.

    I’m sorry if my comments appear abrasive, but some things must be said.

  90. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    queenofthorns,

    Thanks for answering each of the points I had made, I’m not sure if there is interest in hearing my responses, I hope so, but in any case, I would have to write them at another time (the disproportionate length of the message above might explain that…!). But certainly there were some points where I would beg to differ. Not everything!

    Hear me roar!

  91. Visenya
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos,

    Focusing on the context of ASOIAF/GoT alone: fantasy is a genre where women are often marginalized, if they appear at all. Male characters do not have a history of being poorly developed/plot devices/nonexistent in fantasy. Quite simply, this is why it’s relevant to discuss the roles of female characters in Game of Thrones. It’s one of the only series where women not only have important roles to play in the larger story but are also fleshed out and realistic.

    Also, the claim that strong female characters are worshipped while strong male ones are reviled is nonsense. First of all, “strong” may not be the best word choice here because I’d argue that every character (male and female) is strong in terms of development. I take it you’re talking about male “villains” vs. female “villains.” Nearly every online fan community constantly derides Cersei, Catelyn, and Sansa for being stupid and/or crazy while characters like Tywin Lannister, Randyll Tarly, and Roose Bolton are admired. Just a trend I’ve noticed.

  92. Shock Me Sane
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    I cannot express my love for women enough or the impact they have had on my life or even the existence of it. But I cannot get with you on the maternity leave thing. In a technical industry 5 years of absence means you will also need half a year of re-training to do your job. I do not feel like it is my job to pay for you having a child, which is a choice. And that is exactly what you are asking me to do. I do pay for maternity leave. I do re-hire women after they have children. But they cannot expect to be re-hired at the same rates people who have actually been producing for me (men and women btw, not all women have children) for 3, 4, 5 years. That is preferential treatment, not equality.

    If as a woman you want a child, it is not your employers job to suffer for that. Find a husband (or wife if you prefer, whatev) that will remove the financial burden. Jobs leave this country because of the weight of those kind of insane laws that make no sense. Asking someone to employ a woman who is pregnant four times in a row in 7 years and has to pay for EVERY maternity leave is MADNESS. No business could function. And many choose not to function here and me and my lawyer can agree that is a part of it.

  93. Shock Me Sane
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    And I will be clear and succinct here. There are no laws for men who want to adopt to get a mountain of paid time off and health coverage and an expected return to their old job. That doesn’t seem like equality to me. It seems like asking for preferential treatment. As I’ve said earlier, feminism should be about the equal treatment of both sexes. And guess what? Some guys want kids too.

  94. Queenofthorns
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Shock Me Sane:
    And I will be clear and succinct here. There are no laws for men who want to adopt to get a mountain of paid time off and health coverage and an expected return to their old job. That doesn’t seem like equality to me. It seems like asking for preferential treatment. As I’ve said earlier, feminism should be about the equal treatment of both sexes. And guess what? Some guys want kids too.

    I think all feminists or nearly all would agree that paternity leave policies ought to apply to all sexes equally.

    (Speaking as a mom currently on paternity leave who’s male partner also got paternity leave.)

    Also speaking personally as someone that values work, 5 years is way more than is necessary, IMO, though it would be kind of cool if society would allow 5 years split between both parents, I think 2 parent working households are fine and the American norm, at least.

  95. Queenofthorns
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos,

    I’ve enjoyed our exchange, I think we kept it fairly civil! All the best.

  96. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Shock Me Sane,

    But isn’t this precisely the phenomenon which is leading so many women and men to chose to simply not have children, which is the single most (and quite obvious) cause for the extreme “baby bust” almost every Western country is facing? There will, quite literally, in a few years, be more elderly than young — more pensioners, many less taxpayers — which is the primary source of the social security and pension crisis, and more broadly, the deficit (or much of it) and the approaching heavier taxes. I can’t imagine that will be so practical for the long-run efficiency and lucrativeness of the U.S economy and its businesses. To the contrary, the negative externalities will be staggering. The birth rate of 1.3 children per woman or couple is unsustainable. Although immigration is an obvious part of the solution, and is helping to alleviate the current crisis, it seems to me that the government should be subsidizing businesses in order to provide for maternity leave for both women and men who have children. This subsidy would ideally make it more profitable to hire mothers and fathers, or women and men considering parenthood, without risk to the business. This could be financed by cutting the military budget slightly as well as some of those damnable steel and agriculture subsidies we still have (which also devastate many African and Caribbean economies).

    Although having a child may seem like an option to you, and you feel it is unfair that you should be paying (or think you are paying) for one of your employee’s children, consider that — assuming you don’t have children, which purely theoretical — this mother or father is actually paying for your retirement fund through raising a child who will eventually be paying the heavy taxes necessary to sustain your lifestyle into your retirement. Even if you live a productive life, and amass an impressive retirement fund for yourself, that doesn’t actually suffice (at least, not on average), because generally the costs in later life outweigh the profit made during earlier years (if one were to subtract government benefits during retirement). (I think I have to check this again though.)

    Mothers and fathers are paying and sacrificing enormously for the welfare state, and for society in general (and always have), with little to no recognition, while the youth bring great positive externalities to the economy (and tax revenues), perhaps only truly recognized when our hair grows grey. There are other positive externalities in terms of culture and inter-generational understanding, among others. If we reject the welfare state, than perhaps workers should only be paying taxes for their own family’s elderly, and not for elderly who did not have any children. If, on the other hand, we accept aspects of the welfare state (for instance, that we all deserve retirement pensions to live out our days in relative peace), than we all have an obligation of sorts to contribute meaningfully to the next generation of taxpayers, and there is no more meaningful contribution than having one or two (or three+) children, naturally or through adoption. In the process, more people may also discover the joys of parenthood! Just as a side note. (These children also continue our society, but never mind I guess?)

    With this in mind, perhaps businesses should be organizing themselves in order to advocate in Washington for maternity subsidies in order to allow them to hire women and men more easily even with the “risk” of them having children and needing maternity leave — and being re-hired at the same rates as before/same rates as those who did not have children. If this were somehow possible, these costs would then not fall on your business and its profitability, which is understandably your concern.

  97. QueenofThorns
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Prince of Pentos,

    Hear, hear! Even though we don’t agree about feminism we certainly have common ground on this issue.

  98. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Visenya:
    Prince of Pentos,

    Focusing on the context of ASOIAF/GoT alone: fantasy is a genre where women are often marginalized, if they appear at all. Male characters do not have a history of being poorly developed/plot devices/nonexistent in fantasy. Quite simply, this is why it’s relevant to discuss the roles of female characters in Game of Thrones. It’s one of the only series where women not only have important roles to play in the larger story but are also fleshed out and realistic.

    Also, the claim that strong female characters are worshipped while strong male ones are reviled is nonsense. First of all, “strong” may not be the best word choice here because I’d argue that every character (male and female) is strong in terms of development. I take it you’re talking about male “villains” vs. female “villains.” Nearly every online fan community constantly derides Cersei, Catelyn, and Sansa for being stupid and/or crazy while characters like Tywin Lannister, Randyll Tarly, and Roose Bolton are admired. Just a trend I’ve noticed.

    “fantasy is a genre where women are often marginalized, if they appear at all.”

    Really? Perhaps in the 1930s — but today? Really? I may be mistaken, but I’m quite sure that all fantasy that I’ve read had many prominent and powerful female characters in it — with the exception maybe of “The Hobbit.” Could you perhaps give me some quick examples?

    “It’s one of the only series where women not only have important roles to play in the larger story but are also fleshed out and realistic.”

    For me, it’s the realistic aspect which is the most appealing and which marks it out perhaps from some other series — really good point of course — but one of the only series with important roles for women? Anyway…

    “Also, the claim that strong female characters are worshipped while strong male ones are reviled is nonsense.”

    There actually aren’t very many “strong” male characters, and let me explain quickly: Most of the male characters have quite obvious “flaws” as seen in the medieval context. Jon is a bastard, Tyrion an imp, Jaime has been crippled, Loras is homosexual, Theon a toothless wreck, Varys is a eunuch, Baelish is baseborn, and so on. Perhaps Victarion and Barristan Selmy alone are “strong” “likeable” male characters, but even then, Victarion isn’t the cleverest, and quite abusive, and Barristan an older man. Tywin Lannister, Randyll Tarly, and Roose Bolton are the obvious “strong” male characters, but they’re all evil, except perhaps for Randyll, who at least is relatively “just” (despite largely rejecting his own son and mistreating Brienne!…). It’s almost as if, if you put “strength” and “male” together, the result is tyrannical!

    The “strong” female characters on the other hand, Dany, Cersei, Asha and Arianne, with the obvious exception of Cersei, are quite beloved, with no obvious flaws. Side point: In the case of Dany, it seems obvious that she’s going to win this “Game of Thrones.” She has male worshipers beyond count — both in the book, and in the fan base!

    I know what you mean regarding Catelyn and Sansa — this is a bit frustrating, and when you think about it, one wonders whether it is because they can more closely be identified with conventional “woman roles,” Catelyn being a supportive mother, and Sansa a (for the time being at least…) slightly helpless damsel in distress. Brienne, Arya, Dany, all of the Martell “vipers,” and Asha, however, are all reasonably beloved characters, and all happen to be more reflective of conventional understandings of the “warrior male.” In other words, we (the fans, I am one actually) like the “manly” women, and dislike “womanly” women — I understand completely that that sounds quite brutal, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to express here. But why is this?

    We all love “warrior women” these days, myself shamelessly included, but I also greatly enjoyed reading the Catelyn chapters, and I for one would love to see Sansa become the unexpected “Queen of Winter / Queen of the North” and see her subdue the Boltons, the Freys, Stannis while she’s at it, and somehow resist the coming Targaryen and Wight Walker invasions, all the while remaining Sansa. I think Sansa is the only character in the book, besides Cersei and her brood, — oops, I forgot Margary! hmmm. Honest mistake! — who is hoping to have children some day. All the other “warrior female characters” seem quite resentful of the idea — Danny, Brienne, Asha, etc, etc. What’s so bad about being… not a warrior woman? (Which is not to say that Sansa or Margary can’t become more “warrior-like” if necessary. Again, I would love to see Sansa become the Joan of Arc of the North, and Loras avenged by Margary, but never mind.) So are being a warrior woman and a mother and lady mutually exclusive? I hope not — and perhaps Cersei proves that somehow, but… in any case, Cersei is Cersei. And of course, no character can be perfect. A warrior/mother/lady/beautiful/everything character might be more reminiscent of unrealistic female characters? I don’t know.

    Have you all noticed something similar (if you can disentangle a coherent idea out of all that)? What are your impressions?

  99. Prince of Pentos
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    QueenofThorns:
    Prince of Pentos,

    Hear, hear! Even though we don’t agree about feminism we certainly have common ground on this issue.

    I truly am an “egalitarianist”, for you a feminist, so that doesn’t surprise me — thank you for mentioning this. I was actually still hoping to eventually respond to your earlier longer post — I’m not sure if I was being very civil at all, I did mention misandry at one point, for instance, even though I knew that it was most likely not very appropriate when discussing with you and others — I’m sorry about this. Misandry may be an issue, but anyway, not here and not with you! Unfortunately, and more broadly speaking (and not necessarily in North America), it seems sometimes that “escalation” is the only way to get a point across. Does our society really reward moderates? But never mind — have you glanced at that “book” I wrote for Shan? Some of the points I made there may be relevant to our exchange? Some of that I had wanted to mention in my response to you, but generally in a less “flammable” manner as I am reminded of what kind of forum I’m writing in. Perhaps check it out? Thanks again for your thoughts! -Writing from anonymity :-(

  100. WildSeed
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me Sane:
    And I will be clear and succinct here. There are no laws for men who want to adopt to get a mountain of paid time off and health coverage and an expected return to their old job. That doesn’t seem like equality to me. It seems like asking for preferential treatment. As I’ve said earlier, feminism should be about the equal treatment of both sexes. And guess what? Some guys want kids too.

    Perhaps other states , such as the one you dwell, should take on the Family Leave
    Act, which provides for up to 3 mos time to bond with a new child. I’m assuming
    you’re childless, and unfamiliar. Most men are not interested in doing so, but
    a few have utilised the FMLA for that purpose. Of those few, most have been
    non heterosexual men about to raise an adopted child ( SanFrancisco stats ).
    I was also fortunate to use approximately 45 days to take care of my sick mother.

    I’ve not researched how the remainder of US states are following California’s
    example, nor how Romney Care worked in New England-Mass. There remains
    an absence of unilateral support from state constituents to petition federal govt
    to devise a policy that would be mandated in all states. I hope president Obama
    is successful in influencing a majority vote. For now, for a non heterosexual
    requesting relationship bonding time off , or share in inheritable benefits , in
    the US Bible Belt , would be something of a suicide mission. You certainly
    would not attempt to live as mates in Virginia ( but I hear there is a petition
    to repeal the archaic law ). The point is this, in order to have a fair and balanced
    set of rules, where citizens are affected, there needs to be a pragmatic approach
    which includes sensitivity to the individual groups discussed . This requires
    epidemilogical and social scientist to provide data that judges may respect.
    There would be no illusion for a unilateral ruling, as general needs may apply.

    Say what you will about ” choice ” to bear children. A succinct answer to that
    embodies the survival of any specie. Reproduction , scientifically speaking, is
    fundamental. Some may choose not to, or physiological maladies may apply
    as exceptions. The realization is those who can, may continue this biological
    process. I respect maternity leave, and have covered hospital shifts for my
    fellow female colleagues . I would do the same for any male with a genetic
    disease or condition, including a request for child bonding. I’m not a parent, btw.

    Anyway, I’ve said perhaps too much, my perspective comes as a from a ethical
    approach ( medical philosophical ). The topic is far reaching and probably
    would sort itself out in a appropriate forum………which WiC is not. Hope I haven’t
    despaired you in any way .

  101. WildSeed
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James:
    I’ll also note for some the relevance of a certain riddle from GoT:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpL6Fwu0wkw

    One of my favorite scenes from GoT, certainly of Varys the Spider. Most rules are
    questionable, especially when the fundamental needs of the loser are not met.
    The game represents an advantage only for the one whom holds the political
    power. This is no trick that Melisandre may defeat with a shadow baby.
    Imagine the brilliance of shared power and fair rule………….. nah……Utopian
    ideals………… or is it (?).


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