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Razor’s Rant: The Loras Conundrum

Warning: This is an article written from the perspective of a book reader. Unsullied, considered yourself appropriately warned.

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 4 caused quite an uproar with book purists everywhere, as Ser Barristan the Bold died fighting to save Grey Worm and the Unsullied from an ambush by the Sons of the Harpy. I won’t get into the details of these arguments, as this article is not about Barristan’s death. Instead, I’ll consider a topic that is no less a hot-button issue among fans of the books; that of Loras Tyrell.

For too long now, I have been becoming more and more dissatisfied with Loras’ character development (or lack thereof). And before we get too deep into this subject, let me be clear that I do not place the blame for this on actor Finn Jones, because he is a fantastic actor who is doing the best with what he is given. No, I lay the blame for the vapid and silly incarnation of Loras Tyrell squarely at the feet of David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

My problems with Loras began in season 1, when he was shown shaving Renly’s chest. I remember that many casual fans of the books got upset at the time because they did not even catch on to the fact that Loras was gay. However, hardcore book fans such as myself picked up on George R.R. Martin’s subtle hints about Loras’ homosexuality, and we thought we knew how his story would play out. Was the chest-shaving scene something that we thought book Loras and Renly would participate in? Not particularly, but that scene was not enough to justify raising the banners and marching on HBO headquarters.

Our first hint at what the showrunners had in store for Loras came in Season 2, when Renly was slain by the Stannis shadow-monster. In the books, Loras is so utterly in love and dedicated to Renly that he slew the guards that were supposed to keep Renly safe in a fit of grief and rage. Then, he took Renly’s body to a secret location, where no one could disturb his final resting place.

On the show, Loras’ grief was never really shown, not to any real extent. In fact, Loras seems to slide easily into court life in King’s Landing, happy to play the pawn in his grandmother’s game to improve her family’s status. This is where the show broke from the books in a major way. In A Clash of Kings, Loras requests to become a member of the Kingsguard, a celibate order. With his one true love dead and gone, his desire to love another is gone as well. A direct quote from A Storm of Swords should shed some light into the depth and complexity of Loras Tyrell from the books.

“Ser Loras said. “It is not necessary for a third son to wed, or breed. Not necessary, but some find it pleasant. What of love? When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”

He’s clearly referring to Renly here. On the show, we see Loras become a silly, cartoonish version of his book self. He day dreams about his wedding while extolling the virtues of wearing frilly lace. He is shown having sex with other men, like Olyvar, who is obviously a plant by Lord Petry Baelish, who’s trying to gain leverage over the Tyrells. Even this season, Loras is made out to be a half-wit, as he clumsily stumbles through attempts at consoling his betrothed, Cersei, at Lord Tywin’s funeral.

When Cersei begins to make her power play in A Feast for Crows, it is Loras who steps forward to help his family. Highgarden and the Reach are in danger of being sacked by the Ironborn. However, the Redwyne fleet, which is arguably the best naval force in Westeros, is tied up at the siege of Dragonstone. Loras begs the queen to release the ships so that they may go and stop the Ironborn from reaving the Reach, but Cersei denies his request. Loras then demands to be sent to the siege, claiming that he can end it quickly. Cersei allows him to go, knowing or hoping that he will die in the process. Loras lifts the siege of Dragonstone in under 10 days by leading the charge against the gates of the castle himself. Whether the reports of his grievous wounds are to be believed is a topic for another article, but it suffices to say that the heroic and valiant knight who volunteers to sacrifice himself in the books is a far cray from the hollow shell that Loras is on the show.

Back to the show, and Episode 4, “Sons of the Harpy.” Loras was taken into custody by a band of lunatics called the Faith Militant. These men were poorly armed and even more poorly armored. Loras was sparring in full armor with a blunted practice sword, surrounded by his house knights and guard. Still, the Faith Militant were allowed to waltz in, unmolested, and lay their hands on Loras. Watching this happen made my blood boil, as it completed the slow decline Loras’ character had been on for years.

Understand this: in the books, Loras would have cut a bloody path through the Faith Militant had they accosted him in that manner. Loras is a knight of the Kingsguard who holds the respect of even Jaime Lannister, the Lord Commander. He’s a skilled fighter and known to everyone in the realm as a brave and accomplished warrior.

On the show, Loras has become a fan-service device. His sexual exploits and flamboyant personality are a clear case of pandering to a certain demographic, and that demographic should be offended. He is a pale shade of the Loras from the books, and it’s a dammed shame that show-watchers don’t get to experience the true Loras Tyrell.

Hi, my name Razor, and today I’m a sad book purist.

100 Comments

  • The fact that WiC actually hired a book purist to just moan and whine is one of the reasons I don’t check this site as often as I used to.

    • So then fuck off. The idiots are ruining this series and ruining the books. Buncha fucktards

      • How exactly is the show ruining the books? Hot Pie could kill off every single character and all the White Walkers and become King of the Seven Kingdoms, and even then the show would have done absolutely nothing to ruin the books.

        The books are still there. If you’re so aggravated by the show, stop watching it. That’s what grown-ups do.

        • Wait, suddenly I like the idea of going really, really off book….Hot Pie killing everyone and becoming KING? I can get behind that. Or at least have a good laugh!

          Otherwise (rant warning), this “book purist” being thrown around as an insult is a bit confusing. People can be fans of both. There were NOT that many ASOIAF fans out there before the show, most never picked this up without the show. Let’s be honest, and no offense to anyone who has loved the books long before the show. The screenplays for season one were written FAR better than GRRM’s prose for the most part. Did we miss some POV aspects? Absolutely, but it worked. The books aren’t perfect, far from it. But their better aspects, I find those best to preserve. There are some real gems in the books, and Selmy was one of them, as a recent example. Tyrion’s real motivation behind his rage in what was the finale of the last season, that is another. The revelation about Tysha.

          GRRM’s gift is giving fully fleshed out characters more than his actual writing, and providing them with real, human emotions. That is his true gift, not creating worlds, or unique cultures. To me that is what being a “book purist” is about with GRRM. Is he a great prose writer? No. Does he ramble and overuse certain words to the point of wanting to punch his lights out? Hell, yes (see: jape, craven, and a few others I forget at the moment). Does he ignore the great scope of epic literature and instead give us pulp fiction? Yes, but it’s engaging and involved pulp. And a lot of us don’t want those kernels of greatness to be stamped out for ratings.

          So, that likely ticked off “book purists” and people insulting “book purists” alike (WTF are people even TALKING ABOUT with that?? It’s like telling a fan of the Nolan Bros. Batman series they are an idiot because they never saw the TV show, read the comics and saw Tim Burton’s films. Either way, both fans love effing Batman and don’t want to see Batman act like a bloody moron. Same principle to me.) I’m a “good and consistent writing purist”. You HAVE to swing between ASOIAF and GoT to even find that consistency, IMHO.

          Sorry, I just HAD to get that out. One more person says to stop watching a show that seems to be potentially jumping certain sharks (that don’t exist in Dorne, gee, wonder why they threw THAT line in there) because they like aspects of the books and I’ll just stop trying to explain it out.

    • Well, he wasn’t hired *TO* moan and whine about changes from the books. He was on staff, and there the opinions were…

      Love, love, love…

    • So you’re berating a website you once liked for trying to provide more material for a wider audience? Don’t be such a child just because you disagree with the opinion

      • WiC does not only exist bc of the books. If there was no show, this site would be invisible and not nearly so interesting and fancy.

    • I haven’t read any of the books, but as a television-viewer I can agree with the take that Loras’ character on the show is less interesting than the one described in the books. I like the show overall (unlike pretty much all bookreaders I even liked the invented trip to Craster’s Keep last season), but this is a spot where I don’t think D&D have done a particularly good job.

  • And I love listening the rants of a book purist! To each his own. Anyway, I completely agree with you, Razor. Loras’s is one of the most tragic love stories in the books, and I miss his strength, devotion, and talent with the blade.

      • I really only have one concern with the article. Razor is allowed to have his opinion as we all are. But if the Unsullied never picked up on the fact that Loras was in love with Renly or at the very least was gay, then that’s their problem. It was clear as day after the shaving, Loras “went down” on Renly as he could easily hear the belt come off and the slurping began. I say this to every future GOT show fan, GOT is the ONLY show where every word means something! Just watch the show and do nothing else while watching it.
        Now, I too like Book Loras better. But D&D had to cut stories and Loras’s story is the tragic example of what happens when cuts are made. What do you do with him? You make him different from the book. Yes, I read the books after Season 2. But I love GOT and ASOIAF so much that it’s awesome to have 2 versions of it! I can’t wait for the different endings. And mark my words, The Winds of Winter will be released 1 or 2 weeks before Season 6! What a great way to sell millions of copies in the first week! Every book fan will fly through it before the first episode of season 6!

  • I completely agree with this article. Loras was an incredibly well respected knight in the books, admired by the ladies and recognized as a skilled fighter by the men. He is being written as an utter fop in the show, a silly schemer, and it totally cheapens the character. The subtle love story between Loras and Renly was just wrecked in the show, and it diminished both characters by making them caricatures. No fault to the actors, it’s the way they’ve been rewritten in the show by D and D. Disappointing…

  • Very well said. I as well have been disappointed by Loras’s character development in the show. I really appreciate what you have to say Razor.

  • Okay, so while we here at Winter Is Coming welcome all viewpoints, I had to weigh in on David’s article once I finished editing it. While I agree that the show has simplified Loras’ character and mined his homosexuality for laughs more often than it needed to, I disagree with a lot of the points made here.

    First off, I don’t think Loras is as noble in the books as this article makes him out to be. For example, take his slaughter of Renly’s guards after Renly’s death. That shouldn’t be praised—that’s homicidal, and indicates that Loras has a seriously short fuse. Similarly, his volunteering to rush off to Dragonstone and end the siege in A Feast for Crows was foolhardy. If Loras had stopped to think, he probably would have realized that he was playing right into Cersei’s hands. Loras may have been portrayed as a “half-wit” on the show, but he ain’t no genius in the books, either.

    About Renly: in the books, Loras is a teenager who’s going through a serious Romeo-and-Juliet phase. I don’t doubt that his love for Renly was genuine and that he was crushed when his lover died, but when I read Loras’ line about the candle and the sun in A Storm of Swords, I rolled my eyes. That might make me a hateful cynic, but I think it’s a valid interpretation. The line sounds like something that, well…a hot-headed teenager would say about his first love. Loras is very young, on the show and especially in the books—he’ll get over it. In the meantime, I think it’s unrealistic to expect a young guy like him to just turn off his sex drive, so I don’t have a problem with him fooling around with Olyvar.

    Finally, remember that, on the show, Loras is an only son, so the Tyrells have a vested interest in having him marry, breed, and stay away from celibate orders like the Kingsguard, which accounts for that plot departure. I do think the show could have done a better job of fleshing out the fine details of Loras’ character, but I feel that he’s closer to the book version of the character than this article would have me believe. Overall, I think we need to cut the kid a break.

    Nice job, David!

    • “Loras is very young, on the show and especially in the books—he’ll get over it.”

      Will he? Not everyone gets over a lost love; some folk ne’er do. Teenagers in medieval times – particularly nobles – are not the adolescents of today. Loras is essentially an adult, and knows what he felt for Renly. It’s not a case of getting over it; he does not want to be with anyone else, and so makes a choice not to. Why is that any different to Bonifer Hasty choosing celibacy as he couldn’t have Rhaella? What about Brynden Tully choosing celibacy rather than a political marriage? What about Tywin not remarrying after Jaime is named to the Kingsguard, leaving him with The Imp for an heir?

      I’m a heterosexual male and think Martin did a good job at writing a touching scene with Loras there; I honestly wouldn’t have thought prior to it that I would have felt touched by Loras’ mourning of Renly. It’s maybe not popular to admit that, but it’s true; Martin’s writing of it made me feel for Renly.

      As to his slaughtering of Renly’s guard? It’s rash; it’s also entirely justifiable when Renly’s guard failed to do anything to save him. Once Loras considers that sorcery may have been involved, he clearly feels awful for killing honourable men.

      There’s subtle character development in the books, and it’s not there in the show – as right from the start Renly and Loras were written as modern day gay stereotypes. (And this is coming from someone who watched the show first.)

    • Thanks boss!
      Let’s dissect your thoughts, shall we? MUWAHAHAHAHA **steeples his hands menacingly

      First off, I don’t think Loras is as noble in the books as this article makes him out to be. For example, take his slaughter of Renly’s guards after Renly’s death. That shouldn’t be praised—that’s homicidal, and indicates that Loras has a seriously short fuse.

      Yes I do think he has a short fuse and while I think killing the men who failed to keep Renly alive was not a noble act, it does go to perpetuating the romantic myth of the Arthurian knight. If say, Guinevere were slain by some surprise attack and the men that Lancelot had placed to guard her failed to stop the ambush, I could see Lancelot losing his mind in a fit of rage and grief that would result in the guards being killed by him.

      Similarly, his volunteering to rush off to Dragonstone and end the siege in A Feast for Crows was foolhardy.

      Yes – Foolhardy but no less valiant and noble…and caring. He cares for his people and the people of the Reach.

      If Loras had stopped to think, he probably would have realized that he was playing right into Cersei’s hands. Loras may have been portrayed as a “half-wit” on the show, but he ain’t no genius in the books, either.

      Agree to this, because Loras much like other famous knights of his time, is not particularly smart or at least politically savvy. But I’m not arguing that he’s being portrayed as dumb (even though he is), I’m saying they make him a cartoonish half-wit, which is not the same in my mind.

      when I read Loras’ line about the candle and the sun in A Storm of Swords, I rolled my eyes. That might make me a hateful cynic, but I think it’s a valid interpretation.

      WHY DO YOU HATE LOVE, DAN? I’m kidding. See, when I read that line, I thought to myself that even after Renly’s death, surrounded by all the temptation in the world in King’s Landing, Loras still carries a torch for Renly, which is why he chose to be a Kingsguard…or at least a major factor in that decision.

      Finally, remember that, on the show, Loras is an only son, so the Tyrells have a vested interest in having him marry, breed, and stay away from celibate orders like the Kingsguard, which accounts for that plot departure. I do think the show could have done a better job of fleshing out the fine details of Loras’ character, but I feel that he’s closer to the book version of the character than this article would have me believe. Overall, I think we need to cut the kid a break.

      This is a HUGE oversight on D&D’s part. All they need do is mention Garlan’s name and mention that Willas is the heir to High Garden, and Loras’ story is opened up for so much more. I get trying to streamline characters for budget sake, but that has and will always be one of my biggest gripes on Benioff and Weiss, is how they make UNNECESSARY changes like the exclusion of Garlan and Willas.

      All in all I see where you are coming from, but I just cannot be moved from my growing anger over the Loras character on the show.

  • What we know about Ser Loras Tyrell, Knight of the Flowers, from ASoIaF:

    We know he is gay. We know he is not a terribly smart fellow, though he is not especially dumb, either. We know he is loyal to his family and was Renly’s lover. We know he can do murder when he is angry — as he was when Renly died. And yes, we know that the Tyrells bankrolled Renly because of Ser Loras’ affections for the would be King. We know he is young, and can be foolish and headstrong. We know he is the second best sword in the Seven Kingdoms, bested only by his brother, Garlan (Ser Loras is the better lance). There is no Garlan or Willas Tyrell in the series, there is only Ser Loras. So perhaps Ser Loras really is the best man with a sword in the Seven Kingdoms — after the Beauty of Tarth, that is. We also know that Ser Loras works very hard at keeping his famed combat skills.

    The fact is, we know precious little about Ser Loras from the books outside of the above. We never see inside his head, we never see inside his bedroom. The scenes the show gives us of Ser Loras’ private moments are not at odds with the text of the series — simply your entirely unjustified impressions of Ser Loras from the book series. And those are two VERY different things.

    Because frankly, we don’t know much more about Ser Loras that that. He is not a major character. We never see inside his head. We see him from the perspective of Sansa, Catelyn, Jaime and Cersei. That’s it.

    Let’s look at what we also know about war and the art of the sword in GRRM’s novels. We know that what you claim about Ser Loras simply cannot be true. We know he would not have carved through the faith Militant, for the very good reason that he was holding a blunted tourney sword at the time and was outnumbered 6:1. Moreover, he was caught by surprise. Therefore, while an armed Loras could have — and would have I think — done just that if he had been armed with a regular sword and not caught by surprise, that isn’t what happened in the show.

    It isn’t your claims to being a book purist which are off-putting, rather, it’s your suggestion that Ser Loras is so clearly something else in the books than what we see on the series which is untenable. What you imagine Ser Loras to be and what we have been getting on the series are not at odds and are, more or less, entirely consistent with the other.

    What you are complaining about is that your impression of Ser Loras from the books is not being met by the portrayal of Ser Loras on the screen. While that may well be so, it is no principled reason to complain about Finn Jones, the writers, or the character of Ser Loras on the series. Not a bit and not at all.

    • Robert:

      Thanks for the thoughtful response. I appreciate the intelligent nature and am happy to have your comments as part of this piece. While I do not agree with you, I do appreciate you taking time to get us in on your thoughts on the topic.

      EDIT: I am not blaming Finn at all, I think he’s a phenomenal actor.

    • isn’t it known that Ser Jaime Lannister is the best Sword in the seven kingdoms? (Pre-Amputation ofcos)

  • I don’t really care if he is gay or not, or if they change his character slightly.
    However the chest shaving scene to me indicated a serious miscasting. Loras in the show just does not have any sort of athleticism or physique that indicates he could be an armoured warrior let alone one of the best in the land. He is supremely unbelievable as a famed knight.

    • In the show he is not meant to be a tower of strength like the Mountain (who was about to kill him), the Hound (who rescued him) or even Brienne (who bested him). Clearly some knights will be more quickness than power. I don’t imagine Oberyn had rippling muscles either.

      • Yes, there are different types of athlete. In many sports you will see slim, wiry, quick athletes who use speed and agility – from Lionel Messi to Alex Honnold – and indeed Oberyn Martell was well cast for character and physicality this way.

        The Loras actor though just looked feeble in the first season. I’m not saying he isn’t a big guy I’m saying he is in no way athletic.

    • You really nailed it and I never could figure out why Loras just didn’t sit well with me – the actor is great and I like him but he doesn’t convince me that he’s an exceptional warrior in any way… either by his appearance or his actions on the show. After all, in the show we’ve seen him win against the Mountain primarily by trickery and also be defeated by Brienne so if we didn’t know from the books he was supposed to be so great we really couldn’t figure it out from the show, either from the plot line or his stature.

  • I demand an extra episode next season to cover the fact that the Knight of Flowers pubic hair is not the same colour as in the books

  • “Understand this: in the books, Loras would have cut a bloody path through the Faith Militant had they accosted him in that manner. ”

    LOL didn’t we *just* go over this in the gif article?

      • Uh, look again:
        http://winteriscoming.net/2015/05/07/game-of-thrones-episode-504-sons-of-the-harpy-gif-recap/#comments

        “Razor
        May 7, 2015 at 6:25 pm

        No you’re clearly right. The Faith Militant had that montage before they arrested Loras, where they smashed a bunch of stuff, beat-up some folks, and carved signs on their bodies…there hasn’t been a hype montage like that since Rocky IV and Rocky ran up and down a mountain and chopped some wood before he fought Ivan Drago. It’s obvious to me now that Loras really never had a chance. I only wished I had seen the error of my ways before I wrote that. Thank you.”

          • What is the difference between “going over” something and “talking about it in the comments”? It’s too late to edit it, but I happily amend my original comment to read “LOL didn’t we *just* talk about this in the comments?”

  • I don’t have a problem with the TV show Loras at all. Book Dany was in deep utter love with Khal Drogo but that didn’t stop her from feeling passionate for someone else or even have a few dalliances with female characters. Are you Loras would be forever ruined as far as sexuality or love? People can get past these things.

    If a bunch of men grab you like the religious fanatics did Loras, you’re first reaction is probably shock and confusion. They didn’t look like bandits or enemies. But in any case he was totally unarmed, not lightly armed, and they took hold of his limbs. It’s hard to get away when a bunch of people subdue you like that. Loras isn’t the Mountain or the Hound. He is not a big man. Sure, the show could’ve had them interrupting him at dinner, but it’s more interesting that he was practicing, giving us an idea of what it takes to be a knight.

    Loras is not as skilled at Margaery with words, whether it’s consoling a mourner or giving backhanded compliments. The writers appear to be making it awkward between Cersei and Loras, which is totally believable.

    I really like how the show has fleshed Loras out. From Season 1 he was portrayed as smoother yet weaker than other knights (e.g. Mountain, Brienne) — more romance than violence — yet still a tough knight (Renly scenes showing bruises). He’s a study in contrasts. Also, showing him in gay bedroom scenes was bold and compelling. His conversation about fringed cuffs with Sansa was priceless. None of that is in the books. He can be passionate in both anger and love, though not quite Oberyn’s level obviously. He’s one of my favorite show characters.

  • Hollywood swordplay is rarely going to be the same as in real life. What do people really expect here? If two fighters like Jamie and Bronn actually sparred with even blunted swords in real life, one of them would have a broken arm if not a cracked skull in about 60 seconds. Jon Snow would’ve been knocked unconscious when the Thenn smacked him against the anvil. Many wounds that occur in the show surely should have been fatal, requiring emergency surgery by ER doctors in the real world, yet characters get over them, good as new. And every character in Spartacus would be dead after 3 episodes.

    • ROFL Storm of S-Words (name as well). Yeah, that’s what I think pretty much every time I watch. But I really like the commentary on the episode with Ned fighting Jaime in season 1, that they had two different fighting styles to fit the different swords. They put some thought into that, which is more than most shows do. GRRM’s commentary in season 2 is also hilarious, “that guy has no helmet, that guy has no helmet either, hey, that guy! He has no helmet….”

  • Yeah, as a gay man, I find the writing of Loras’ character to be offensive. The actor, however, does a great job of not playing a stereotype–even with the worst fop-inducing mincing words, and he should be commended.

    D&D aren’t too terribly interested in shades of grey-it’s giant swaths of black and white..hence cartoony over-sexed Melisandre, cartoony gay Loras, cartoony silent mom Catelyn, cartoony babe with dragons Dany…

    At least the actors have the ability to add the nuance, because the screenwriting certainly lacks it.

    Honestly, I just don’t think D & D are that cerebral–or sophisticated enough–to accurately put GRRM’s page to stage. They just lack the nuance and vision required. They seem like bros who would be at better ease with the paint-by-the-numbers formula of sitcoms.

      • I keep hearing increasingly about the dwindling number of cast members left willing to do nude scenes. Does that perhaps have something to do with the inordinate number of Loras in bed scenes? It seems to be part of the Melisandre getting naked scenes….just wondering. It doesn’t excuse him caring more about fabrics than Renly, but I think it may be a contributing factor.

      • That makes me really wonder why you guys watch the show. Perhaps you enjoy disliking it? Or you’re just hooked? I intend no offense.

  • Absolutely agree. It’s not so much about Loras’s competence or nobility as about the way he represents gays – he is in love with a man, yes, but aside from that he is hyper-masculine, having all the virtues (and bone-headed idiocy) that his society says a man should have. That’s where the show falls down – instead of slyly undermining our stereotypes of gay men as universally effeminate not-quite-men like GRRM did, it reinforces them. In fact, if anything he ends up as a satire of the traditional chivalric knight.

    As in, I’m not troubled by the fact that the show plays up his foolishness (even in the books, this is a running joke with Olenna), but by the fact that it removes the ways that he represents a strong, masculine image of homosexuality that we don’t get to see very often in the media.

  • Even without the books, Loras is (for all the foppishness they throw on him on the show) is still seen as a great knight and member of the Kingsguard. You don’t see his interaction with Jaime, which does show respect with a little facepalming, but you still see he is a good knight. I think they’ve treated the character in a silly manner on the show, yes, but I also think that it’s inconsistent that I knight, armed and in practice, would be apprehended by a previously disbanded force that suddenly shows up led by Lancel Lannister, who is NEVER shown to have much in the way of sense or cajones.

    For lack of consistency, look at how Jaime’s bathtub scene recalling his choice between honor of allowing KL to be burned and his own father killed was won over by his choice to slay the Mad King. Or Ser Barristan’s response to Cersei/Joffrey’s dismissal of him. THAT is how we are presented with the actions of the Kingsguard on the show, and any slights against its members, yet Loras just gets taken to a cell without fighting? Even without the chest shaving and other sex scenes or the rest of it, we’re presented with the Kingsguard being of a similar character in vow and strength of body and character as the Night’s Watch, yet one of them doesn’t fight the FM? It’s inconsistent.

  • Well said! I don’t particularly like Loras in the books, he never really stood out for me, but in the books he is greater than the 2 dimensional stereotype that is show Loras.

  • I disagree with this article in a few ways:
    – First, in the books Cersei tries to plant the idea that Margary isn’t a virgin, and has been sleeping around with multiple men. In the show, they did something more effective: Have Margary sleep with Tommen to hold sway over him.
    – They need to have someone arrested by the Sparrows on the Tyrell side, and I think Loras is a good choice. In the books, he goes off to war at Dragonstone, but that plotline is completely over on TV, and wouldn’t make sense to have him get bloodied up / wasted there.
    – He was arrested while practicing, probably using dull-edged practice swords. Also, up until then they had been going after lower-class “sinners”, such as brothels, barrels of ale, etc. They had humiliated the former Pope guy, but they didn’t arrest him. I’m not sure anyone expected him to get arrested. Also (maybe it was editing) but I’m imagining most of the Sparrow activities happening in very quick succession, and he might have been caught unaware.

    I’m fine with this. His book plotline was going nowhere on the show, and this was a good way to retask him. They couldn’t arrest Margary, so he’s a good replacement.

    • Also, (to reply to my own comment), Cersei deliberately says “There’s a sinner in our midst”. I can’t imagine the Sparrows going after lower class folks first, and then Loras. They probably went after Loras right away.

      I’m going to guess that Loras makes a big comeback after his arrest.

    • Good points, but the character of Loras, over the entire series, is still sorely underdeveloped. Which is what my overlying problem with what D&D have done with him. On the show, he’s quite nearly unlikable.

      • Sorry, other reply was to GregE, I’m having a BIT of trouble with the formatting here. At least this page is letting me post!

        I do agree, Loras is underdeveloped on the show, and what is developed isn’t particularly pleasant (and I am NOT talking about his sex life, but his generally frilliness and inattention to the death of Renly, etc.). He just seems vapid. And also nothing like a knight.

    • Yes, but check the scene again. He’s practicing against someone of fairly equal skill, they have squires and at least 6 swords (by my count, steel, who knows how sharp, but there is a VERY good view of Loras’ sword as he hands it to his squire) and spears along with shields. Just no heavy armor (well, seems there at first then hard to tell) The Faith Militant could’ve been cut down very easily. Especially as Loras has no idea who they are, and as Kingsguard would recognize his OWN authority over theirs in KL since he obviously has no idea who they are in the scene, from his perspective it would be his JOB to fight them down and get back to King Tommen to protect him.

      Think of the politics and season 1. The fight between Ned and Jaime. That alone was seen as unprecedented and something King Robert wanted put down, but you didn’t see either the Stark or Lannister men backing down when attacked or apprehended. They THREW down. Did Brienne say, “Oh, ok, capture me (again)” at that inn recently? Hell no. Yet Loras lets a few guys weaker than him grab him by his arms after handing his sword over? Just a plot mover that isn’t believable to me. All of Ned’s obstacles in Season 1 were believable obstacles. Intricate, nuanced. This was “Hey, new guys with hammers, go capture an armed Tyrell!”

      Lady Olenna could’ve beaten the crap out of Lancel Lannister. Let’s be honest.

      Ugh. They should at least have given him a fight. Being hit on the back of the head with a hammer by one FM or overwhelmed by them would’ve at least made sense. Kinda sorta. Maybe make that intro a tad bit shorter (we don’t need a map of EVERY PLACE EVERY WEEK!!) to squeeze a few more minutes in?

      • I agree with some of your points, but then something just occurred to me. If he did fight back, then it’s possible his arrest would seem more legitimate (and that might cause its own problems). When he’s released, it will be more of a clean situation with the blowback falling back on Cersei.

  • I agree that it was wrong that Loras didn’t take out some FM. When Arya’s teacher got confronted and all he had was a wooden sword, homie took out several fully armored knights. Loras with a wooden sword would have at least brained a couple of poorly armed and trained fanatics. Not even a question, at least a couple of swings at the nearest heads would have happened. What’s he got to lose at this point, he already lost his lover, he would have gone for broke. That scene was wrong.

      • And why is he handing his sword to a squire as these FM freaks storm down the stairs?? And what happens to his buddy with the armor and sword? But Jaime wins a sword fight with his fake hand and the other one missing? I keep expecting Errol Flynn to show up at any moment.

          • Well, D&D don’t seem to understand how training changes one’s reactions to their environment and people around them (even GRRM has commented on this….).

            And since we’re winging it here, let’s see Bronn just slice someone’s sword in HALF with that dagger behind his back! Like archery, but even more brutal! Jaime will be very impressed, and Jerome Flynn will get another great one liner.

            Pardon me, feeling a bit japing today.

        • Jaime’s skill is whatever the show makes it. If the show has him recover 80% of his skill then he could easily beat a simple soldier (since he could beat any knight living before being imprisoned and mutilated). If the show had him recover only 20%-40% which they seem to be doing, then the result on the beach seems totally reasonable. Personally I think he’d do okay with just a left hand, especially if he mounted some kind of weapon on the right. But the book makes it clear that he has trouble, which is fine.

  • You make some valid points Mr Razor. However, if you are not careful you will find yourself watching the show just to pick holes in it. It’s not that important. It’s a TV show, a diversion, an entertainment, nothing more. It’s hardly a matter of life or death if the producers adapt the show in a way that is not to your liking. There are a ton of things I would have liked them to have included but I realize that they were not put on this earth to keep me happy. Ditto GRRM – there were great swathes of the last two books that could have been cut or truncated in my opinion – but that’s my problem not his.I think you should counter balance your arguments whilst acknowledging that some of the story lines / character arcs have actually been improved by the producers. If you can’t find them then you really should turn off. This show just isn’t for you and you’ll just become more and more dissatisfied as each episode passes by. Not good for your state of well being. There is only so much negativity we can handle.

  • The arrest is indeed rushed. I love the show too and will continue trying to keep things separated, but you can see where we are headed with all the “shortcuts” like Tyrion’s arc and what looks like Arya’s arc, as Meryn Trant is travelling to Bravos soon. While they are giving some storylines more screen time they are omitting a lot of things that I found interesting in the books. All things considered it is kinda fascinating to wait and see where the show is heading, as with all departures from the books and “shortcuts” being a book reader is not an “advantage” anymore.

  • I will preface my comments by saying that I am not a book reader, but I am keenly interested in what book readers see as important in the story.

    The way I see it, the character of Loras has been adjusted to provide more importance to the roles of the women in the Tyrell family. Olenna and Margaery represent a sense of cunning and ambition (in that order) more typical among the men of other houses, and part of that on the show is the contrast with the dim-witted men of Highgarden. From my perspective, no matter how much more interesting Loras might be if he was a potent force of his own ambition, if the consequence of that was to diminish or distract from the success of the ladies of the house, I would say it would be too high a price.

    On the faith militant, consider that show Loras is not a cold blooded murderer willing to wash the streets of kingslanding with blood, but rather is the brother of the Queen, and a knight who knows that he can choose a trial by combat for any crimes he may be accused of. He may even recognise Lancel, and not wish to spill Lannister blood, given that the last time two great families fought in the capital, it cost him his lover, and saw heads adorning spikes on the city walls.

    • Great comment. Also with the arrest, I think the sheer number of sparrows present gave it more than enough surface plausibility, I think people are diving very deep to find problems here. Unless the belief is that somehow Loras is such a good fighter it’s simply not possible for him to be arrested at all, by anyone (unrealistic), this scene is fine.

    • WOW! Excellent comment. I honestly hadn’t thought of it in that light before, now I can’t help but think back to how the Tyrell females are the real players and the men are basically their puppets.

  • I am a book reader, although I read them years ago so I don’t really remember many of the minor characters and plot twists, just the major stuff. I enjoy the show so much though that I have made a point in not reading any spoilers online and not re-reading the books, that are still on my shelves. I want to have an unbiased show experience.

    In general, I think that the changes made in the show make sense, simplify and streamline the plot, and give new opportunities to shine to characters that we love and care for, instead of introducing a myriad of characters impossible to follow on tv. I was happy to find out that the show had split book 3 (the best book in my opinion) into two seasons (and in fact, they were excellent), and had shortened books 4 and 5 (let’s be honest, these were sub-par, especially book 4) into one single, abbreviated season. This all made sense to me.

    However, I completely agree with the author that the treatment given to Loras on the show is infuriating and, quite frankly, a little insulting. Contrary to what other people have expressed here, I thought that the love scenes between Loras and Renly were sweet, affectionate and very sexy. I also think that they opened the universe of game of thrones to forms of sexuality that people wouldn’t immediately associate with it, giving it a higher degree of complexity than most fantasy stories.

    However, after Renly was murdered, we were prevented to see Loras’ grief except in one brief scene, and a few episodes later, he was turned into a flamboyant gay guy who only thinks of clothes and of hooking up with hot guys: Loras had been reduced to a collection of stereotypes. This reduction of Loras’ character, from a strong, flawed, but nuanced individual to the medieval version of a South Beach party boy, is quite frankly, quite disturbing.

    Loras’ love for Renly was soon gone and forgotten after Renly’s death, even though we’re constantly reminded of Robert’s love for Lyanna or of Littlefinger’s love for Catelyn. The message is that Loras’ love was not as deep or as significant as that of a straight knight. In contrast to Loras’ depiction, in the latest episode we see Jon Snow turn down a naked Melissandre because of his enduring love for his lost partner. A woman, of course.

    Finally, the fact that a knight like Loras would let himself be captured without a fight like a little damsel in the latest episode is, as Razor puts it, shameful.

    I hope that D&D correct course. I absolutely love their work on this show even though as a gay man, I am bothered by the message that Loras’ character is sending. Which, needless to say, is not the fault of the actor, who is also doing a great job.

  • So funny reading all the complaining. The character hardly appears in the books. And most of what he does involves plotlines they’re not doing in the show. Does anyone really expect the show to spend money on a pointless battle at Dragonstone that does nothing to further the overall plot?

    They haven’t spent much time developing his reputation as a fighter on the show, because it’s totally unnecessary. Do we really need endless dialogue with Jaime or others heaping praise on him? How does that further the storyline.

    And, OF COURSE, he’s the heir. Why on Earth would they want to have the heir to one of the key families on the show not appear on camera? They already have more characters on the show than most viewers can keep track of. Why add one or two other characters who serve no other purpose than to keep book fans happy.

    And that’s really the fundamental problem here. We have the author of the piece complaining in the comments that leaving our Garlan and Willis is an “unnecessary” “oversight” done for “no reason at all”. It’s utterly ridiculous when fans expect that the showrunners need to explain their reasonings for every change to their satisfaction. THEY DO NOT.

    In fact, I’d say that both characters are completely unnecessary on the show. What purpose would they serve, other than to keep a small handful of book fans happy? Nothing. On a show this big, every character needs to be there FOR A REASON. Having Loras fill that role gives him more to do on the show than he actually does in the books.

    As for the “that sun has set” bit, honestly, when I read that in the books, my first thought was how utterly cliché it was, to have the gay guy now conveniently celibate due to some fairytale notions of romance. Conveniently, that also allows George to have a vaguely gay character, without having to actually deal with any actual gay relationships. (We never see Loras and Renly’s relationship in the books.) Pretty convenient, eh, especially for a book written in the less tolerant 90’s. But contrast that with George’s decisions to have two of the biggest heterosexual female characters in the books — Dany and Circe — both have full on lesbian sex scenes. Loras gets to pine away over lost love, while Circe and Dany get their vaginas eaten. Yeah, that’s really modern.

    And where did this notion come that Loras is some stereotypical slut? He’s had sex with ONE man since Renly that we know of, and frankly, it seems like they’re in a relationship now. REAL people move on when their lovers die. Only in fairytales do people wine over a sun that has set. Especially when it helps the authors avoid doing anything actually gay in the books.

    I prefer show Loras. By having him as the eldest son and heir, it gives him a new dimension when he agrees to sacrifice his happiness to marry the biggest bitch in the whole continent. He’s not happy about it. But he’ll do it for his family, as he did when he allowed his sister to marry his former lover. To me, this gives Loras far more dimension than having people talk about what a good fighter he is. And throwing him in the middle of the power struggle between Circe and Margaery is far better use of the character than sending him off to get possibly mortally injured in a useless battle.

  • Thank you Mr. Harris – you are on the nose about the HBO show’s portrayal of Ser Loras Tyrell. GRRM gave HBO the character of a man who is naturally gifted at classic masculine pursuits AND capable of a monogamous commitment to his partner that even survives his partner’s death AND very young AND gay, and HBO blew the opportunity to bring that rich and non-stereotypical character to life. Furthermore, you were clear and up front in your essay that you are not faulting Finn Jones for any of this, so I am puzzled as to how anyone could be interpreting that aspect of your essay otherwise. (I think I may have even seen Finn Jones interviewed at a convention during which he carefully and very diplomatically alluded to having similar issues with the presentation of his character on screen.) It’s confusing too, because HBO managed to translate the complex sexualities of the non-hetero-traditional characters Jaime Lannister and Prince Oberyn from the books to the show quite well. Finally, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the artistic efforts of others and offering constructive criticism of those efforts. I don’t find your essays overly negative at all.

  • Thanks Shadow!
    Yeah I’ve read some long and in-depth pieces on Finn being a huge book fan and writing letters to D&D trying to convince them to give Loras more depth. In fact I read something before the season started (I’ll have to go dig wround reddit to find it) but it basically stated that Finn has been lobbying D&D for some time now using the books as his guide, and that may be the reason we MIGHT see Loras end up being killed this season.

    Thanks again for the comment =)

    • Hey Razor, I really loved your article. I have spoken to Finn Jones on several occasions and discussed the difference between book character and show character with him. He has read the books and I felt that he was quite sad that the show had decided to portray Ser Loras the way it did – like a silly caricature – when they could have shown us a strong, confident gay Knight. Finn told me that he was quite happy with Loras’ development in season 5, so I was as disappointed (and surprised) as you were when he went so meakly with the Faith Militant. I fear I have to agree with you, I think Loras may well die this season. I just hope to see a little glimpse of the Knight he is in the books before he goes. As to the argument “they have to streamline the Story and can’t flesh out all the characters” – yes, that may be so but they have already streamlined the Story by leaving out so many characters, wouldn’t it be better to then at least give those remaining characters a bit more depth? jbtw. I got really upset when Brienne of Tarth turned up at the Purple wedding, bowed to Joffrey and strolled around King’s Landing for days and Loras said and did nothing but educate Sansa on the difference between a brooch and a pin.

      • Crazy Kraut ,

        Thanks! I’m glad you agree. That’s cool that you’ve spoken to Finn about this. I personally consider him to be one of, if not the most underrated actor on the Game of Thrones cast. Most actors on the cast have received a HUGE bump in their careers because of being on the show, but Finn has had to suffer through some tragically horrible and slow character development.

        I really hope we aren’t seeing him die this season, but much like most folks, I’ve been picking up on the not so subtle hints at his eventual demise. He and Olyvar having a sexual escapade where his unique tattoo is talked about at length (That will be HUGE point at his trial, the fact that Olyvar can point that out will doom Loras), and then his arrest. This is all leading to him either dying in his eventual trial by combat or if they make his really stupid, a normal trial. I hope he chooses combat and I hope he survives to become the Loras from the books, but I fear he won’t live past his trial.

        Thanks for reading!

  • I commented on this issue earlier — in one of the summaries of the episode. So I’ll simply say: Bravo, Razor, bravo. Loras is a knight. Yes, he’s gay; that doesn’t make him a wimp. No, he’s not the master player that his grandmother and sister are, but he’s a killing machine on the battlefield. It’s the thing he does well. And the show just took that away from him, completely defying its own inner logic. I’ve never taken issue with the changes from the books to the show before — most of the time, I understand the producers’ perspective. But this one still bothers me.

  • The series decided to deviate so that book readers like you and I will not be ‘omniscient’. So you’ve got 2 choices
    Leave or Live with it.

  • I hope that after the trial he will become more closer to how we know him from the books..

  • I agree with you 100%! If I had never read the books, I would still be offended at the stereotype that is Loras. He’s made fun of behind his back, loves fashion, and bangs the first dude who gives him a second glance.

  • isn’t it known that Ser Jaime Lannister is the best Sword in the seven kingdoms? (Pre-Amputation ofcos)

    • isn’t it known that Ser Jaime Lannister is the best Sword in the seven kingdoms? (Pre-Amputation ofcos)

      That seems to be the thinking. Hell, in the books, he is still considered the best sword in the 7 kingdoms despite his amputation. I think it’s his reputation that precedes him.

  • Yeah, very few people care because Loras is such a small character in the books, but it has become distracting. Not the changes themselves (I mean they also do it to far more important people), but the way they make him look like a stupid depraved man…. is it offensive?

  • Well said, Razor. You make some very good points.

    Incidentally, as a result of reading your essays, I have become the target of a plethora of pop-up ads for shaving products. I take some small comfort in this evidence that Internet activity tracking programs are still dumber than people.

  • To those commenters who complain that Loras’ actions in the attack on Dragonstone are ‘pointless,’ I would say, wait and see. We do not know what the author has up his sleeve. Some seeds of doubt have already been sown about whether reports of Loras being badly burned and near death are true or not. Maybe he is cannier than we give him credit for and is baiting a trap for Stannis.

    For that matter, we have no way of knowing that GRRM doesn’t intend to have Sansa married off to Willas Tyrell as a sort of semi-happy ending for her.

  • I agree with you completely. They have also ruined Jaimie’s character by sending him to Dorne. He was supposed to become a serious statesman in the Riverlands. Now he is just reverting back to his old self.

    • I agree with you, I really wanted to see Jaime in the Riverlands but honestly, that is probably only interesting to us book readers. I don’t think it would translate well to the small screen…

      having said that, yes, I did NOT want him in Dorne. But, as long as he’s there, might as well have him with Bronn, right?

  • I agree with much of your critique Razor and am a long time reader first time (commenter. Well I just came across this website which claims to have the spoilers for S5 eps 5-10, of there’s no way to verify until the eps actually screen but if your inclined to read be prepared to alternately facepalm and question D&D’s understanding of the material. A few mor deaths some like Ser Barristan quite unexpected and well my main peeve is the Jon Snow resolution. As a book fan you should know what’s coming but the aftermath will only be known in tWoW. If the spoiler is correct were looking at a resolution I do not agree with and think is bloody ridiculous and something GRRM will not use in the novels.
    if this proves true GOT will see a media and fan sh*tstorm unprecedented since its inception.
    http://angrygotfan.com/2015/05/06/spoiler-alert-season-5-eps-5-10-plot-leak/

    • Dyskord:

      I’m not usually one for speaking ill of other bloggers/fan sites, but Angrygotfan is a loud and uncouth troglodyte who spews his vitriol on Social Media in all caps, in a lame attempt to get a rise out of fans of the show. Even we who call ourselves “Book Purists” do not acknowledge his campaign of hate and anger to even the slightest alterations in the show.

      Let me be clear, while my rants are about major departures in the show from the books, and while I am considered a book purist, I am still a HUGE fan of the show. I also am able to understand that D&D are doing quite well for only having 10 hours a year to tell a story of such a scope of ASOIAF.

      Angrygotfan’s article is taken from Reddit, who got it from 4Chan, and it is obviously a farce. It’s an elaborate troll on some 4Channer’s part to suck in the people who really want Episodes 5-10 spoilers. Understand this, no one outside the HBO circle of trust know what 5-10 is about. The only reason 1-4 was leaked is because some journalist was lazy about his copies of the show and someone uploaded his/her copies to a streaming service.

      I find it hilarious that Angrygotfan is offering this article as if he uncovered it himself. He’s a sad and pathetic plagiarizer who is taking credit for a Reddit post who took it from 4Chan. Just sad, really.

      That being said, I can see the appeal in wanting to believe it’s real. When I first read it, I almost believed it, but then I took a breath, allowed the reasoning side of my brain to kick in (which isn’t often, I admit), and did research on it and found it to be a completely false and non-legit troll job.

      • I commented almost directly after reading. Sorry, bout that, but whats written seems plausible and as youve noted is quite upsetting for many reasons. Glad to know i can dismiss this “leak”. Thanks for clearing this up.

        I’ll admit i’m a fan of the show as well but certain divergences like Ser Baristan’s death and Lady Olenna being Joffrey’s poisoner when its not yet been revealed in the novels have irked me. Especially since i believe it was a certain Spiders botched assisination of the imp (everyone is looking at the wine. No one considers the pidgeon pie.) So i was a little too ready to believe this rubbish.

        • hehe exactly. I will admit, thought, to being taken in season’s past, by other “spoiler” leaks only to be sorely disappointed =(

          For instance:

          I was in the “Lady Stoneheart will come and take the Hound at the end of Season 4” camp. It had been a huge post on Reddit from about Episode 6 of Season 5, some rando was claiming to have been on set when they filmed the scene and it would appear as an after credits roll thing.
          I was proudly thumping my chest when Brienne knocked him off the ledge and he tumbled to his almost death. I hurriedly went to Reddit to get ready to post my reaction to the first confirmed appearance of Lady Stoneheart…but as the episode ended, and no “post credits scene” happened, like the “spoiler leak” promised, I shut my laptop and sadly shuffled off to bed, knowing I had been had, because in the end, much like Jon Snow, I knew nothing. A fact to which my wife gleefully reminded me of for about a month after the finale as part of a running joke every time I became convinced of something…it still haunts me to this day. =*(

  • Well said! I don’t particularly like Loras in the books, he never really stood out for me, but in the books he is greater than the 2 dimensional stereotype that is show Loras.

    That’s the thing. Book!Loras is not particulary likeable but (therefore?) I love him. Yes, he is a very minor character which makes it even more awesome how much you can learn about him in the few lines he is featured.

    I wouldn’t even mind a totally different show!Loras but after 4.5 seasons in which he was featured more than in the books, we still know absolutely nothing about this strange incarnation except he is gay and rich and supposedly a good fighter. It’s almost as if D&D still have not even decided themselves what they want him to be (Willas? Something else entirely?) and it’s getting a bit ridiculous at this point.

    The stammering “half-wit” act around Cersei is one of the strangest things to me actually, because Loras court behaviour is um very different in the books. I mean he even becomes a cold ass bastard to poor Sansa when she won’t shut up about her Renly/Marg shipping. :P

    when I read Loras’ line about the candle and the sun in A Storm of Swords, I rolled my eyes.

    You weren’t alone as Tyrion pretty much tells him to get of his lawn at that point. I too think book!Loras will eventually get somewhat over it (if he lives) but I think it will take quite some time. And of a all the fictional gay characters to end up celibate for some strange reason, Loras reason in ASOIAF is actually a sound one.

  • I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Sadly, Sir Loras is far from the only character D & D have wrecked….much more so as we get further into the books. I suppose it was inevitable, but I really hoped they would have a little more sense and respect for the source material. It may only get worse….. Dark Wings, Dark words.

  • Are we going to see articles like this ever time there is a deviation from the books? People this is a TV show and I’ll let you in on a little secret: no TV show (or film for that matter) will ever be 100% accurate to the book. It’s simply not possible.

    How about we enjoy the books for what they are and enjoy the TV show for what it is?
    Otherwise we’ll spend the next few years going on and on about how “such-and-suchs horse was brown in the books and they’ve only gone and used a white horse on the TV show.”

    Boring.

  • I think this critique goes a bit deeper than Loras not being blondish and blue eyed in the books, Galway Gooner.

    And, yes, I still will complain all the time about that too, when I stumble over yet another fanart in that vein. :P

  • Galway Gooner,
    What’s boring is that you came in with the standard “They’re different just like them both for what they are!” response and added literally nothing. This is about a lot more than a single deviation from the books, it’s about a nuanced minority character being dumbed down into an offensive stereotype. Your final sentence leaves me wondering if you read the article at all.

    As for the essay itself, Razor, I really enjoyed it. I’ve never liked show-Loras much and something about him always rubbed me the wrong way and could never put my finger on it. You’ve summed it up great, along with a few other commentors, so thank you!

  • You’re right. Loras was one of the best swordsmen in the realm. He would have cut through the Faith Militant as easy as a dagger cuts cheese (to quote Barristan, whom I can’t believe they killed off).