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A Song of Ice and Fire and feminism.

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Sadly, this isn't an essay on it, rather, a plead for help on the topic. I'm studying Literature for my A-levels, so when the opportunity to make a paper on feminism based on any book I wished, you can perhaps comprehend why I jumped on A Song of Ice and Fire.



A patriarchal world filled with complex and diverse female characters? It's perfect! Maybe there is a better and simpler book to review, but I've always been a firm believer of enjoying the subject at hand. I know I will enjoy writing this coursework very much.



The character I want to focus on is Cersei. If you guys have any objections, please tell me. The reason for Cersei over (what could be considered the *main* female character, Dany) is that I find her a far more interesting character, and by that, I mean she hardly falls into any stereotype. She can be strong, cowardly, protective, selfless, selfish etc... That ebing said, so are all the ASOIAF characters, but I'd like to use her as my main example.



The way I'll tackle this is through using her as the centrepeice and then using the other gal's of the Westeros to compare and contrast etc...



So, what I'd like to ask is this: are there any things I should focus on more than others? Should there be things I should avoid? Are there any 'golden nuggets' hidden in there that I might have missed? Which book I should focus on? (I was thinking AFFC) and the rest of the chant! (Planescape: Torment reference!!!!)



I'd like to apologise in advance for any spelling mistakes or grammar errors. This is the first of January and my head is dizzy, I'm tired and my cock is sore.



Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!! :-)


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Really? Cersei is IMO the biggest stereotype in the books.


She's about the least complex female character you could pick. IMO.


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Go for Brienne or Asha they are far better feminist characters IMO. Even Dany is better up until DWD

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I'm not very well read on actual feminist theory myself but I think with Cersei you could focus on the self-hatred she displays and her Exceptional Woman Syndrome. Effectively, she's lived out her life trying to earn the title of Not Like Other Girls.



Cersei, like several real women in history, is interested not in smashing the patriarchy but in becoming it-she represents a popular trope in Indian soap operas actually, of the mother-in-law who suffered as a new wife so she in turn would get to watch her son's wife suffer. It is an entrapment one might say, the proverbial chicken coop.



So, while Brienne or Asha or Dany are the exceptions breaking away from the patriarchy, Cersei and to a lesser extent Oleanna are bowing to it and playing the system.

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Do you have to focus on just one character? Because I think it would more interesting to compare the female characters.


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Cersei is the most selfish person in the books. Plus I don't think you want to do your report on a chick who is completely insane, idiotic, and hates the fact she is a women. If you want to do your report on a female who plays the patriarchal system, do it on Olenna Tyrell, she is far more intelligent and not in the least bit insane. She is a sexist though. ( thinks men are only good for their reproductive organs )

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Go with Sansa. She's a much better character, and I'm sure you could get a ton of good ideas from the Pawn to Player threads.


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Really? Cersei is IMO the biggest stereotype in the books.

She's about the least complex female character you could pick. IMO.

Go for Brienne or Asha they are far better feminist characters IMO. Even Dany is better up until DWD

I'd disagree with both actually.

In spite of Maggi the Plot Device Cersei is still a complex character and for the sake of a feminist analysis, even the prophecy is a good place to start. It hits Cersei in the only assets society values in her: her beauty and her children. These are the things she has been told are what define her and make her worthwhile. The prophecy, when it threatens to strip her of these two, it effectively leaves her valueless:an old, ugly, childless woman.

This prophecy is one that haunts all highborn women: it certainly haunts Seleyse who feels her lack of sons and beauty and tries to make up for it by being as commanding as possible but to no real avail.

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Cersei is a character that is indeed all over the place, and IMO that is because she is crazy. I digress that she seems to acknowledge things in one place and deny them in another, where its most convenient for her to blame and deflect on others. My roommate is pro Lannister and has a more positive view of her though. She is someone that craves power and perhaps her father's approval to show that even though she's a woman she is just as capable as her male counterparts, but in fact she isn't, in part of her personality, and another being that she wasn't raised and taught to wield power like the male characters. Any education she has in ruling are based off of her concepts and ideals of what it means to rule, which don't match the true dynamics that ruling requires. Her only competence is in court intrigue that she picked up herself, but even then when compared to Varys or LF, she isn't really good at that either. It could be said that one of her good qualities is her devotion to her children, yet IMO, she treats them as extensions of herself to justify her claim to power, said power being to rule a kingdom, make and break houses great and small alike at a whim, and control the lives of thousands. Although even in having these children for a hold on the throne, she even refuses to actually father children with real king putting the risk down the road of loosing a hold on the throne, all out of vengence and spite for Robert. She is a small character playing a big game, finding what she believes an ideal way to go about maintaining power, and when things go wrong finding the scape goat of men are against me, everyones against me, and as with the High Septon, I'm just a woman! I can't be strong! blahblah.



I tried my best not to go on a I Hate Cersei as a human being rant, so I hope you enjoy my perspective.


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Go with Sansa. She's a much better character, and I'm sure you could get a ton of good ideas from the Pawn to Player threads.

Milady of York actually did a wonderful comparative analysis on Cersei and Sansa for a PTP project that might help. See here.

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I'd focus on Arya and Sansa. They were brought up by the same parents in the same place and with the same preceptors yet are opposite sides of the same coin, quite! How did they turn out so different? Is there something latently feminist in Sansa? What do there different approaches say about their survival thus far and their possible outcomes? Is it nature v nurture? Does the loss of Lady, indirectly caused by Arya, affect Sansa?



Now all this might be more a topic for a D-Phil than A-levels, nonetheless it is a deep but rich vein for you to mine. It might give you scope for an A+, which is becoming so vital these days. Cheers and good luck!


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I think Cercei would make a more interesting subject for a paper on mental illness rather than feminism. She basically blames all of her shortcomings on the fact that she unfortunately wasn't born with a penis.

I think Dany or Sansa, or even Asha, would make a better subject.

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I think Cersei is the most psychopathic character in the book. Read The Psychopath Test and see if you think she fits. I think one off the reasons she seems to not fit stereotypes is that when people write psychos they tend to write evil geniuses or angry murderers while in reality they see more likely to be incompetent risk takers with delusions of grandeur so it's fresh to see a realistic portrait of such a personality.

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I think doing a comparison between different female characters may be good for a feminism essay, with references to how age, family, culture upbriging etc contribute to female oppression and whatnot. For example, you have Sansa who comes from an honourable well respected House who is beaten down time and again by various males (first Joffrey, then Tyrion to an extent although this is more because Sansa percieves that she needs to fear him, then Petyr) despite the female influence in her life (her mother, female friends, septa). Then you have Dany without female influence in her life who has gone on to throw aside the idea of a patriarchal society by becoming Queen of Meereen, only.to potentially undoing all of that work by marrying Hizdhar and leavig ruling to him. Also got Cersei and the various problems there (penis envy), Asha the desired heir of the Iron Oslands by her father...

I definitely think a comparison is a good plan, and i advise you to look at Pawn to Player threads for some thought provoking

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I would say Sansa, Arya, Brienne, and Asha are the most feminist characters in the series. I might have added Daenerys to the list, but her Slaver's Bay arc gives me second thoughts. Cersei is not a feminist character, but she's very useful for critiquing the patriarchy due to how badly its damaged her life and mental health.


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I don't see why Cersei being paranoid, selfish, crazy, etc. means she's a bad choice for being analyzed from a feminist perspective. Living in a deeply patriarchal society has played a huge role in what she is.



Another interesting topic would be warrior women (Asha, Mormont, esp Brienne) and the struggles they face in Westeros.


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1. Don't just do an analysis of Cersei, compare her to at least 2 or 3 other characters, and explore how they fit and break stereotypes. I'd suggest Dany, Brienne and Catelyn.



2. If Cersei is the centrepiece, some things you might want to look at would be the Walk of Shame (possible comparison to Brienne's bathhouse encounter with Jaime), her alcoholism, her relationship with Robert (Catelyn/Ned) etc.



3. You will want to clearly define some overarching point about Martin as a writer, and maybe also look at the real world consequences of characters such as these.



Good luck! I did feminism focussed literature during my A-levels and I was in a class full of girls :cool4: :worried: It was terrifying at times.



One of the books I studied was Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and I think if you read this you would find it very helpful as a point of comparison for Cersei, even if you just reference it in passing I'm sure your teacher would be impressed.


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Cersei epitomizes the dumb blonde stereotype, albeit in a reversed way : the dumb blonde is supposed to be nice and generous at times. Cersei is nothing but vain, vapid and promiscuous. The valley girl stereotype maybe ?



The constraints of the patriarchal society is the most common argument to clear Cersei of every responsibility and flaws.


Cersei oversized ego may be Tywin's fault, but she is responsible for everything else. She's always complaining she isnt treated with all due respect etc but she never did anything to obtain respect.


She had 14 years to improve her political skills but she didnt because she pretends to be a perfect leader.



When Arianne learned about Cersei's becomming queen Regent, she was delighted, she thought it was the perfect chance for a woman to prove her as a worthy leader.


Then she was horrified when she learnt Cersei plotted the murder of Trystane.


Cersei is not a feminist character, she's probably the most anti-feminist.


She's not a Margaret Thatcher but Elena Ceausecu, and just deserve the same fate.


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Uh I don't think Cersei has ever been selfless.

second

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