Land's End

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  1. Look you can all criticize my chart as overly simplistic and then go on to describe single characters in detail to prove that they all have feminine and masculine traits - I agree. I said it in the opening post. My question is: Are these characters perceived as masculine or feminine? Is Ned mistaken for a woman like Brienne and Arya are mistaken for boys/men? I think not. I already tried to explain my categorization. I’m trying to reconstruct the perception of femininity and masculinity in Westeros and I’m open for suggestions since I only read the series once. It’s not my own take on the characters. Cat and Ned are both very balanced characters. I classified Cat as feminine because she sees herself foremost as a mother. After Ned’s death she often thinks about how men won’t listen to women, how women want peace while men want war and how Robb won’t listen to her while he would have listened to Ned. Sure, she’s also fierce, she kidnaps Tyrion and walks into Renly’s camp to lecture him an Stannis. But in general she blends into society as a woman. She doesn’t stick out like Arya, Asha and Brienne do. These three are constantly reminded by others that they aren’t acting the way they should as women. So far no one could name a male POV character to whom this would apply. I also can’t think of a male character who constantly obsesses over how he should have been born with teats the way Cercei obsesses over not having a dick. My proposition is that overall it’s a little unbalanced, not that single characters are lacking in complexity.
  2. I totally agree, it is overly simplistic. No one acts 100% feminine or masculine. It's a spectrum. To make it even more complicated whether an action is perceived as feminine or masculine also depends on concept of gender of the society it’s performed in. The same action carried out by the same person can be considered masculine in France and feminine in China. However, if you want to analyze something on a comparative level you need to simplify first, then you can discuss the details. If you only discuss individual characters you never get an overview. First you distance yourself from the object and then you go closer again. Until I made this categorization I never noticed that there are 15 male POV characters and only 9 female POV characters. I always thought the ratio was around 11/13. This doesn't tell me anything about individual characters, but it's still an interesting insight, especially regarding my own perception. I'm not classifying anything. This isn't my take on the characters. I'm trying to retrace how their actions and thinking would be perceived in Westeros. I'm open to other suggestions. I agree - Arya has feminine traits. She gets pretty pissed when Syrio calls her a boy. But could you name one male POV character who goes against gender roles to the the same extend she does? I'm not saying Arya acts 100% masculine or that she is 100% masculine. What I'm saying is that in the society she lives in her behavior is perceived as more masculine than acceptable - which doesn't exclude her from having feminine traits. Of course Martin’s characters are too complex to fit in such a chart. If this chart could represent them he wouldn’t need to write seven books and could start handing out excel sheets instead. This categorization is meant as a starting basis for the discussion, not the final result. I’d really like to hear you suggestions for male POV characters who subvert gender roles to the same extend as Arya, Asha and Brienne do.
  3. Quoting the people who participated in the discussion when it started in this thread:
  4. (This thread is about POV characters only) Reading ASoIaF I got the impression Martin likes to play with gender roles in the case female characters but no so much in the case of men. This is kind of sexist towards both men and women though I don’t think Martin does it intentionally. The tomboy trope is simply a lot more common than... well, is there even a name for feminine acting men that isn’t degrading? A strong argument for why there are more male-acting female characters in ASoIaF is that in a feudal setting it would be more acceptable for a woman to act like a man than for a man to act like a woman. A man who acts feminine in this society would lose power and respect while a woman who tries to act like a man would get ridiculed (Brienne) but at least she’s trying to get into a position of power (Asha). To break it down: Being a man in feudalism = Power Being a woman in feudalism = Submission Therefore, it makes sense for a woman wanting to be a man but not for a man wanting to be a woman. However, this still doesn’t explain why (except maybe for Sam) there isn’t even one male POV character who wishes he was born female without acting on it. Sure, acting feminine as a man in TWoIaF would be social and political suicide but why not secretly envy women for how easy their life is (it’s not - but many men think this way) ? I tried to categorize all POV characters according to whether they act or think opposed to their sex. I only read the series once so feel free to correct me. According to my analysis there are three female POV characters who act masculine and two who wish they were men at some point of the story. In contrast, only one male character used to act feminine in the past but doesn’t anymore and one is just generally confusing (Theon). He has an equally confusing female counterpart (Dany) so that makes it even. The bias gets even stronger if we consider that there are 15 male POVs but only nine female POVs. So five out of nine women act like men or wish they had been born men but only 1 out of 15 (!) male characters used to act kind of girl-ish. Disclaimer: Categorizing characters like this is overly simplified and enforces stereotypes. However, we can’t talk about and therefore criticize stereotypes without naming them first. Grey = Thinking/acting fits sex White = Thinking/acting doesn't fit sex Orange = Unsure Character Thinking Acting Arianne Feminine, envies Quentyn Feminine Arya Masculine Masculine Asha Masculine Masculine Brienne Masculine Masculine Catelyn Feminine, envying men though not as often as Cercei Feminine Cercei Wants to be a man Feminine Dany Confusing Feminine Melisandre Feminine Feminine though she gets frowned upon for taking part in battles so she’s breaking gender roles Sansa Feminine Feminine Character Thinking Acting Aero Masculine Masculine Aeron Masculine Masculine Arys Masculine Masculine Barristan Masculine Masculine Bran Masculine (for a child) Masculine (for a child) Davos Masculine Masculine Eddard Masculine Masculine Jaime Masculine Masculine JonCon Masculine Masculine Jon Snow Masculine Masculine Quentyn idk Masculine, I guess Samwell Leaning towards feminine Transitioning from feminine to masculine Theon Strange mixture of aggression and sexism which is considered masculine but also overly emotional, which is considered feminine Overly masculine, trying to compensate feminine traits (?), may have been emasculated by force Tyrion Masculine Masculine Victarion Masculine Masculine
  5. Making a distinction between acting and thinking makes the analysis even more interesting. Then we have three male-acting female POV characters (Asha, Arya, Brienne) At least two female POV characters who sometimes wish they were born men but don’t act on it (Cercei, Catelyn, maybe even Arianne (?!)) And only one male POV character who shows some interest in activities which are considered feminine (Sam). One could argue Sam did act on these wishes which resulted in him being sent to the wall where he finally became a „manly man“ (sort of). It shows his story goes in the opposite direction of Arya, Brienne and Asha. I'll do.. later this evening or tomorrow. But you're right, I should stop derailing. /edit Created one:
  6. But you won't tell us what?
  7. But the threat title suggests it's also about the gender bias. We have three POV women who constantly get in fights (Arya, Brienne, Asha) but none is maimed. Or has Brienne's face been permanently disfigured by the Biter? I'm can't remember... Other female POV's could have been hurt as well even though I admit it's much less likely. I just remembered why I never considered Sam. He is female acting but his journey isn’t about embracing this feature but about „manning up“. He becomes slayer and Jon forbids him to call himself a coward. At this point we don’t know where his story is going but it seems to be heading in the „becoming a man“ direction. Maybe not a warrior, but an intellectual which is also deemed a male virtue. On the other hand, Asha, Arya and Brienne all strive to be accepted as male-acting women. Arya doesn’t want to marry and have kids, Brienne wants to be a knight and Asha wants her Queensmoot. With Brienne and Arya there’s also a lot of gender-confusion going on with both being taken for a man/boy at times. Their stories are great but it’s strange that there’s no male counterpart. One could argue that in a feudal society nobody would want to be perceived as female if they weren’t born female but… really? Would it be so hard to imagine a knight tired of fighting who’d like do the housekeeping while his wife goes to war? (basically the crackpot ending I imagine for Brienne and Jaime) Or a boy who envies his sister for all the praise and attention she gets for being pretty while he has to prove himself constantly? (Lady of Whisperers is still right about Sam’s character in general) I intended to make a thread on this subject but I’m not sure if anybody else would be interested.
  8. You're right, I never considered him. So the new ratio is 3:1. It would be interesting to take non-POV characters into consideration but that would be a lot of work especially since it's highly subjective whether one considers a character male- or female-acting. I wouldn't be able to classify Dany for example. Sometimes she's a girly girl and sometimes she's the opposite. There are some female characters who wish to be men even though they aren't male acing. Cercei for example. Did a male character ever express the wish to be a woman? I don't think so. Though that's probably realistic for a feudal society.
  9. Tragic, ironic and beautifully written A Game of Thrones - Bran (p.154) “But I never fall,” he said, falling.
  10. I’m glad somebody else noticed this! It’s really weird how many men get mutilated compared to the female characters. Another imbalance is the amount of male-acting/ tom-boyish female POVs (Arya, Asha, Brienne) vs. feminine-acting male POVs (zero). Overall Martin is a very progressive author but he has some really strange gender biases I'm not saying it's "problematic”, only funny. Might be an entertaining subject for a psychoanalyst. Maybe... but if you focus on the POV characters all men have been mutilated in some way or another, except for the new Dorne and Iron Born POVs, JonCon (if we don't count greyscale) and Barristan. The male POVs from the first two Books have all been mutilated except for Sam. Davos should be added to OP's list.
  11. Wow, that's very interesting, thank you for sharing.
  12. I know the feeling you describe. Martin might experience the same but he might also lose interest. The latter isn't my opinion, it's what I draw from his statements. In an interview he said “As you know, I don’t outline my novels. I find that if I know exactly where a book is going, I lose all interest in writing it.” The statement could refer to how the story is written as you said. But it could also refer to the ending. Martin has already changed the story a lot. Surely you read his 90s draft... Jaime is not the main villain, Arya and Jon have no romance (and hopefully never will) so why should Jon's parentage be the one thing that's save from modifications. I really hope he sticks to his plan. But I'm trying to prepare myself in case things don't go as expected. Anyway, I don't want to ruin this thread. The discussion you guys had earlier was really insightful.
  13. Thanks! That was quite an interesting read. I assume most of the information comes from AWoIaF? Don't think I'll ever be able to read it as I'm already having a hard time with the pseudo-historical style of The Princess and the Queen (I know it's meant to be this way but I’m a historian so it feels like work ).
  14. I created a true masterpiece. Turns out I can only post the link...
  15. On what exactly? I only said he might change his plans but I hope he doesn't. I assume you think he won't so how do we disagree strongly? I'm afraid I missed something