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[Book Spoilers] Littlefinger/Cersei


100 replies to this topic

#21 aghrivaine

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

(I'm cross-posting this from the general discussion thread, apologies if that's redundant)
Hallo all. Most of what I felt has been said already (as is so often the case) but I'll chime in on the Littlefinger/Cersei confrontation.

Like a lot of you probably did, I rewatched the last season over the weekend, this time with the commentaries on. I noticed that, again and again, the writers, actors, director, producers - all mentioned over and over "the relationship." This seems to be the lens through which they are approaching the story - a series of relationships that taken together constitute a plot. I understand that an actor will necessarily have to thoroughly comprehend his or her character's relationship to the other people in the scene, it's what makes their interactions breathe and seem real.

But I think it's now officially been taken too far - as this confrontation seemed to exist solely to flesh out Cersei and Littlefinger's relationship. They are both wielders of "soft power" - however much it galls both of them, and they're both competing for the same influence and authority. (As is Varys, but he's just better at keeping his cards close to his chest.)

I don't think this scene shed any particular light on their individual characters, or their relationships to each other, that wouldn't have been clear from previous or eventual interactions. Further, from a screenwriting perspective, their dialogue - and especially Littlfinger's - is far too "on the nose"; meaning it exactly states what the character's ambition or desire is, rather than illustrating it through other means. That one scene stuck out like a sore thumb, as being both unnecessary and poorly written. Both actors approached it like champs, though, and so it wasn't completely wasted. But it definitely stuck out to me.

Contrast that with the confrontation between Robb and Jaime (here we go with more relationsihps! I predict in the commentary for this season, both actors will say "such an interesting relationship our characters have!"). In this, we see a genuine change in Robb; he is becoming the picture of a rebel leader, who has the sang-froid to stare down one of the most feared knights in the world, and sees the situation for what it is; not a complete victory, but a strong position that he is trying to leverage for even more gain. And doesn't that make what we all know will happen to Robb that much more tragic? Series Robb is even more likeable than book Robb. Whereas Jaime is clearly rattled by his captivity and by being menaced by a direwolf, but by golly, he will NOT let it show. And I thought this was a particularly fine acting job by Coster-Waldau, who deftly managed portraying a man who experiences fear and trepidation, but doesn't let it color his actions or words, at all. That was a great scene, well-written and well portrayed. Plus - direwolf!

I hope the rest of Season 2 will diverge from the books less than this initial episode.

#22 Strider

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:25 PM

Maybe this scene is a little bit out of character for Littlefinger (as portrayed in the book), but it's such a minor change. It's good to see that Littlefinger has his own vulnerability: he's touchy about his lack of name and fortune, as well as his failure to win Catelyn, and so overplays his hand in response to Cercei's insult, which in turn gives Cercei an opportunity to demonstrate her "power" and put him in his place. Yes, book-Littlefinger would not have allowed himself to be provoked; but for the benefit of the viewers who have not read the books, it's not unhelpful to get an idea about what is really driving Littlefinger. It's not all about greed and lust for power.

#23 aghrivaine

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:28 PM

Yes, book-Littlefinger would not have allowed himself to be provoked; but for the benefit of the viewers who have not read the books, it's not unhelpful to get an idea about what is really driving Littlefinger. It's not all about greed and lust for power.


I believe all of Littlefinger's motivations were given in great detail in the "sexposition" scene from Season 1- which of course directly contradicts what he does with Cersei here. Rather than shed light, I think this scene makes muddy what Littlefinger wants, and how he'll go about getting it.

#24 Hyper

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:28 PM

I wasn't bothered by the scene. A bit out of character for both Book Cersei and Book Littlefinger, but not by much IMO. It is a scene that plausibly could have occurred outside the POVs in the book - it does not contradict anything in the books.

I think it had two reasons for existing, and executed both well:

1. Showcase for TV viewers that Littlefinger is not just a Lannister stooge

2. Showcase how they view power differently. (a theme of the episode/season no doubt)

Edited by Hyper, 02 April 2012 - 01:33 PM.


#25 Kaitscralt

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:30 PM

As a diehard novel fanatic.... I wasn't much bothered by it, nor did I suspect to be after reading all the fuss before the episode aired.

#26 Charles F. Peterson

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

Ultimately the scene wasn't damaging to the episode and did show Cersi's arrogance, a central aspect of her character. However, the scene was not accurate in the portrayal of the characters. Littlefinger, may jibe, jape or insinuate but he never directly confronts. Cersi due to her positioning as a woman, and her over confidence sees herself as a manipulator and intriguer. She believes that she is on par with Varys. She enjoys delivering the blow but concealing the source. Her flexing like that is way out of character.

#27 Skywarpgold

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:01 PM

I didn't think it was out of character for either of them at all. Littlefinger always thinks he has everything under control, while Cersei just kind of blunders into things without thinking of the consequences. How could he predict what someone, who doesn't think before they act, will do?

I absolutely loved what I can only assume to be one of Varys's little birds eavesdropping on the whole thing while washing the floor!

Edited by Skywarpgold, 02 April 2012 - 04:16 PM.


#28 DragonAge93

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

I didn't mind the scene at all, really. Sure, it seems uncharacteristic of him, but this coulda happened off-page, you never know. I think he said it because either 1) he wanted to show Cersei "knowledge is power", and that with knowledge you command everything in a sense, or 2) he got pissed when Cersei talked about his sigil and his travesty with the Tullys, and wanted to put her in her place for a quick second.

Edited by DragonAge93, 02 April 2012 - 04:12 PM.


#29 The Anti-Targ

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:26 PM

Definitely the low point for the episode. I can sorta see why they did it: create tension between Cersei and LF, and put him firmly on the path to betrayal. Be we know he already has a motive: his obsession with Catelyn. But I suppose they wanted to create a direct conflict.

Was probably one of my main deductions in terms of scoring the episode. I think it's what Elio was referring to in the Season 2 preview as being quite out of character for LF and hence not well received. If nothing else LF would never challenge anyone in a situation where his flesh could meet steel. So baiting Cersei like that would be OK if she wasn't surrounded by 4 bodyguards.

#30 Tourne-Toujours

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

I liked the scene for the simple reason that I didn't expect to see it. It caught me by surprise.

Also it adds a personal element between Cersei and Littlefinger relating to the events of Joffrey's wedding

#31 Elaena Targaryen

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

I don't think the scene was that bad for a few reasons. First for Cersei I felt there was a flow with her story. She is very upset about Tyrion and then it's pointed out to her that her Tywin was so mad at what happened with Ned that he sent Tyrion there, of all people. Then Tyrion tells Cersei how upset their father will be when he finds out Arya is missing and we know how she can't stand to be a disappointment to her father. Next we see her trying to fix this situation by ruthless and desperate measures with LF, which he brings up the incest. Then Cersei and Joff, her beloved son and king is so angry about the gossip and that there might be bastards, and then he basically threatens her life. What happens after this...entire brutal baby killing.
I think it flows nice in Cersei's story, someone asserts their power over her then she finds someone to lash out at, classic bully stuff...she has to make herself feel better and assert her power over some one. Tyrion strong arms Cersei so she does it even more violently to LF. Next Joff strong arms Cersei so she does it even more violently to the bastards. I think part of the baby killing was to 'fix' things with Joff, but also to wield power as well as removing any threat. The same goes with the LF scene because she needs to wield power but Cersei also must fix the Arya problem.
Now for LF, and part of this will go back to Cersei. I think it shows that maybe Cersei has not been so aggressive in the past. Well now LF knows for sure what he will be dealing with now that she has more control and power. I also thinks this helps set up the baby killing because everyone is bringing the incest up and using it to insult and belittle her, which she will not allow. I'm not sure where they will go with all of this but it could set up some things. If this season we see LF looking like he is totally on Cersei's side, supporting her and helping her, then after this scene we will know better. Even with his scenes from last season it could have been a little confusing for those who have not read the books and they have to take that in consideration.
I think this could set up how smooth LF really is later if they go that way. It shows that Cersei does not deal with power well and how unstable she is, and no matter what LF is not Cersei's lackey, or Lannisters for that matter, and we know why with her specifically. Plus LF is just a man, not some super hero, but I'm sure he will get her back somehow. I guess we will have to wait and see, it could go either way and I hope they don't ruin LF character. I wonder if this is setting up some scenes between LF and Cat later on, isn’t there a scene where Cat holds a knife to LF throat?

#32 Frozen Soul

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:51 PM

I'm thinking the scene may have actually been uncharacteristic for Cersei as well. "Power is power!" sounds like something Robert would say, whereas Cersei has always played the game from the shadows, manipulating others for more cloak & dagger work.


Not really, she is always going on about how she is a Lannister of Casterly Rock and her pride. She thinks that as Queen she is above everyone else, meaning she can do as she likes, because she was born with that right, she's of a noble house and people should just shut the fuck up and do as commanded, why should she hide it? she thinks very little of almost anyone. how she manipulates others is another matter. She sees herself as a cunning mastermind of sorts ala LF or Varys but she is rather messy...if not AFFC and part of ADWD shows that.

I liked the scene because it showed some of that. It may have been a little out of character for LF, but it works. As for Robert his line would 've probably been something like "seven hells, just give me my hammer" while holding something with wine on his other hand.

Edited by Frozen Soul, 02 April 2012 - 05:53 PM.


#33 Skeksi

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:55 PM

Hmmm... well, this was probably my least favourite scene. On the one hand, it wasn't as bad as I'd feared- you get a little tension from both sides, and the actors do a good job with the scene. BUT, it just doesn't seem in character with Littlefinger in either the book or the first series, both of which protray him as a clever manipulator, to have him push quite that far with Cersei when she is surrounded by armed Lannister bodyguards. That part of the scene just felt a little clunky.

I mean, if they want to show why Littlefinger is working against Cersei- well, they've already introduced the concept of his past with Cat/ his views towards Sansa as a younger version of Cat, something which is presumably going to be expanded upon later. They've already confirmed that he wants power- all the power there is- which isn't really compatible with Cersei and her son running the Seven Kingdoms. Surely that's enough reason? And if not, they could have shown her needling him about his past as she was in the earlier part of the scene without having him blunder so obviously, to emphasise that she doesn't really trust/ like him and he has no reason to be fond of her either. It seems very needless if this is the point of the scene.

His scenes with Varys worked, despite their threats, because both of them are on reasonably equal footing. Both know that the other is playing a bigger game than they seem to be, both know things that could harm the other, and both know that the other knows that they know. They balance each other out by holding enough information about the other to be reasonably certain that the other won't risk exposing them, whilst knowing that the other knows enough to not want to risk themselves by exposing the other, if that makes any sense. This scene doesn't work, because Cersei is a) surrounded by armed guards belonging to her family, /cool.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> has power over LF and CAN publicly order him killed if necessary, and c) has no real information to threaten him with, as Varys did, therefore her response will almost certainly be physical threat, probably death.

Much as I love Littlefinger, this was probably my least favourite scene of the episode- the actors did a good job, but it didn't seem to work. Especially since LF gets about 1 other line in the episode, after having him plot and scheme throughout series 1, most of what we see of him in this episode puts him across as him having dropped a few levels of smarts.

That said, it was the low point in an otherwise enjoyable episode, and I have reasonable faith that other LF scenes will be somewhat more in line with the books/ S1 portrayal of the character. Cersei is obviously being put across as quite a different character from the books, and I have no issue with that.

#34 Caro99

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:59 PM

personally i didn't really mind the scene, but after discussing it with my best friend and with other loyal fans in diffrent fourms i came up with a theory that would have made me like the scene a little more and would make better sense, maybe..?
so we know that LF was probably the one to give Joff the idea of chopping poor Ned's head, since initially he was just going to be punished and be sent to the wall. cersei was not aware that an execution was going to take place, and in the books i don't remember reading she ever finds out LF had something to do with it (could be wrong though). still, i would have prefered if after she orders the guards to leave LF alone she would've walked up to him and whisper something like, "And don't you ever advise my son behind my back for you gain," or something. it would've come off IMO as a better reason for excusing cersei's behaviour here. of course, the twincest hit the heart of the matter, but i can also see her advising LF to be careful..?
well, that's one theory at least /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' />

#35 dtones520

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:03 PM

For a tv audience you have to somehow build up the characters you are showing. Especially one who plays a big role in e series like Littlefinger. You have to know his backstory and why he is who he is. Without the brothel scene in season one and this scene in season 2, you don't really get to know Littlefinger and why he does what he does. You could have some random conversations thrown in other scenes, but these add dramatic effect.

I don't really think anything in that scene is out of character for Cersei. Littlefinger, maybe a bit, but it does show off his cockiness, which I picked up in the books. It's not like he was saying anything Cersei and Jaime out of the blue. It was after everyone had already gotten Stannis' letter.

#36 LauraD

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:06 PM

I was confused by the scene, but not because of mischaracterization. While Cersei was going nuts in the book with her paranoia, Littlefinger was never a major harbor for her fears. I didn't like the confrontation only because it didn't need to be between those two.
In the books I saw their relationship as frustratingly mutually dependent, each working dutifully to try and become self-reliant. Littlefinger through conniving possession of Harrenhal, Sansa, then the Eyrie, then the Vale. Cersei through surrounding herself with sychophants and morons. They never trusted or liked each other, but they would never threaten each other. It would have been counterproductive to their ulterior motives.
Basically, in the books, (And I could very well be wrong), there was never any outward aggression between the two. And the show sort of missed a mark of understanding their delicate political dance with this. Nothing devastating, just a bit of an error.

#37 Skeksi

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:36 PM

^Yes, if anything Cersei seems to get on better with Littlefinger than most of the rest of the Small Council in the book- especially when he suggests spreading rumours about Stannis and his daughter, she seems quite delighted with him. The rest of the time, she doesn't seem to give him much thought at all.

#38 theMountainGoat

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:04 PM

I hope the rest of Season 2 will diverge from the books less than this initial episode.

I fear you are going to hate this season, the divergence from the books will only get more and more egregious as the series continues. The butterfly effect and all.


On topic - put me firmly in the camp of detesting this scene in every respect.

Had hbo-Littlefinger said that to book-Cersei she would have had him killed without a moment's thought or hesitation. No doubt about it. After that blatant an insult to her how could it not completely change the way their relationship goes from here on?

It almost goes without saying that book-Littlefinger would never have been stupid enough to say such a thing. Those of you saying he is not perfect are right but he is a smart strategist and fencing words with the Queen as if she is hbo-Varys is dumb beyond belief. I can't see book-Littlefinger making that mistake, no way.

I think we really have to make the effort to start differentiating between the books and the TV-show in this way because the characters really are that different in the way they act and react to situations. I think this is true with the relationship between Cersei and Joffrey too. Because hbo-Joffrey is slightly older he would naturally be bolder, more confident and sure of himself, less of the whiny little bitch that book-Joffrey is.

The aging up effect is also evident with hbo-Robb. The puzzle there is why anyone would have treated him like a boy at all, Richard Madden is well into his late 20s and looks it. I don't think it was ever believable that he was meant to be a 19 year old kid, taking on a role originally written for a 14 year old. If when we get to see him meet hbo-Jeyne, hbo-Robb comes across as a virgin boy who doesn't know where to put it as hbo-Samwell would say, then I'll call bullshit to that as well. If you're going to age up the characters and have them act differently because of it then you have to be consistent and hbo-Robb must therefore act as a fully grown man would with hbo-Jeyne. That's what I will be expecting to see later this season.

#39 DannySpud

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:44 PM

re-posting my thoughts on this scene from the episode discussion thread

In regards to the LF/C scene, if Cersei hadn't threatened Littlefinger with death then I don't think anyone would have a problem LF in that scene. It's pretty in-character for LF to poke back when someone pokes at him, especially when someone tries to out-knowledge him. LF knows he's reasonably secure life-wise being the master of coin so he has room for his pokes. Cersei on the other hand has just had her power questioned and wants to exercise it. I think the scene works well also in giving us books people a "wtf?!" moment.



#40 Magjee

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:13 PM

TV show and Books will diverge more and more as the seasons progress.

Overall it stays the same.