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S. D

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  1. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    Yeah, I hope GRRM doesn't go for the show route. Also here's the revised HealthinessTM scale: 1. Is there violence? (3 - 5 depending on severity) 2. Is there rape? (defined as when the wife is actively resisting, or when she hates the act while the husband doesn't) (5) 3. Does the husband love and respect the wife? (3) 4. Does the husband ask/value the wife's opinion? (3) 5. Does the husband have the well- being of the wife in mind/ does he care for her as a person? (2) 6. Does he force her (often) to do things she doesn't want to do? (3) 7. Does he consider his wife -her well- being, not putting her in danger- in his decision making? (3) 8. Does he have mistresses/does he cheat on his wife? (2) 9. Does the wife come from a powerful family? (3) 10. Is the husband close in age to the wife? (3) 11. General: does he take advantage of his power over her (how often)? (what would be considered taking advantage of his power? (1 to 3 depending on severity).
  2. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    Since I've highlighted just how unjust this world is, as was my intent, I think I'm done here. I hope people will have a bit more nuance when talking about "imbalanced" couples in the series, as they would be hypocrites if they didn't condemn the married couples as well. And I hope GRRM doesn't go for the "Mad Dany" route.
  3. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    Another way men can exercise power over women in the setting is by packing them off to the Silent Sisters or the Faith: “Marriage is not for you,” Theon decided. “When I rule, I believe I will pack you off to the silent sisters." -ACOK, Theon II Marriage will soften her, I have no doubt. A firm hand and a quiet word.” “If not, there are the silent sisters.” -ADWD, Davos II "Which brings us back to the five remaining daughters of Elys and Alys. The eldest had been left terribly scarred by the same pox that killed her sisters, so she became a septa. Another was seduced by a sellsword. Ser Elys cast her out, and she joined the silent sisters after her bastard died in infancy.” -AFFC, Alayne II (Big thanks to Asoiafuniversity on tumblr for providing me with most of these lol).
  4. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    If I didn't add + points, even reasonably healthy couples (i.e as much as possible that can be healthy in an instrinsically flawed system) would end up getting a very low score! But you're right, it should get more points overall. I'll make it 5 instead of 3. Ok, if you put it that way, I can see where the difference lies. If we're grading Ned and Cat, I'm sure Ned has no interest in political gain, and he has his family's wellbeing in mind first and foremost. Still, he was bringing his family into a dangerous zone when he didn't have to. He could have betrothed Sansa to Joffrey and let her go to KL only when she got older. He didn't have to bring Arya or Bran either. But since making her stay in Winterfell doesn't put his wife in danger, I'd say yes. +3 As for Robert, he has no interest in political schemes either, but he doesn't consider Cersei's wellbeing at all and would jump at the chance to get rid of her. So no -3 I'll bump Love/Respect up to a 3 too, cause that shit's important. And asking the wife' opinion/caring about her as a person to 3 as well, so that the overall score is an odd number. And since Catelyn feels like Ned cheated and Ned doesn't pretend otherwise, -2 4. Yeah you're right, -3 then. 10. Let's give this a score of -3 then (since "taking advantage of his power" is very vague and hard to define, and plenty of things can fall under that, we'll give 3 for maximum offenses and 1 for minimum). I think I'll change it to "does the wife come from a powerful family?" instead. As you said, Robert clearly fears the Lannisters, even though he's the king and there is no one more powerful. So +3 for Robert and Cersei. If Tywin wasn't so powerful and Robert so conflict averse I'm sure he would have sent Cersei to Casterly Rock already or not let her get her way in matters dealing with the court so much. Revised scores: 27/35 for Ned and Cat 6/35 for Cersei and Robert
  5. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    Cersei's speech to Sansa touches a bit on this - but I agree there could have been more on the other after effects of sexual violence - PTSD, flashbacks, depression, body image issues, shame, etc. Jaime has disassociation and PTSD from his time spent as Aerys' Kingsguard, we could have seen something similar to this from female characters. Sansa's wrong recollection of the events when the Hound assaulted her and put a knife to her throat can be seen as her mind protecting itself by creating fake memories. Yeah Dany really bothered me a lot - it almost seemed like her relationship with Drogo empowered her instead of the opposite. Gilly also doesn't seem realistic to me, though maybe I don't actually know enough to judge. I think Shae was pretty realistic. In one scene she mocks Lollys' gang rape - which is of course, a terrible thing to do, but victims of sexual abuse often distance themselves from their abuse so that it doesn't overwhelm them. Her becoming a prostitute also makes sense, as a side effect many people become promiscuous and attention seeking (though in Westeros, she couldn't get a job any way else). Oh great. We'll rate it like this, adding or subtracting points if they count as healthy and unhealthy. I'll just mash 4 and 7 together as they're basically the same, and add 3 more points: 1. Violence (3) 2. Rape (question is of course, when is it rape?) (3) 3. Love/respect (3) 4. does the husband ask/value the wife's opinion? (2) 5. does the husband have the well- being of the wife in mind/ does he care for her as a person? (2) 6. Does he force her (often) to do things she doesn't want to do? (2) 7. Does he have mistresses/does he cheat on his wife? (2) 8. Does the wife come from a family which has equal or more power than the husband's family? (3) 9. Is the husband close in age to the wife? (2) 10. General: does he take advantage of his power over her (how often)? (what would be considered taking advantage of his power? (Only 1, as its almost impossible for the husband not to abuse his power in a such a system). Let's take Ned and Cat and Robert and Cersei. Ned and Cat: 1. No (+3) 2. Now this is a very hard thing to judge, because entering a marriage where you can't say no to sex means you can't say yes to sex either. But if we reduce rape to its simplest terms, where one partner forces themselves on the other without the other's consent, and no attempt at dissuading would prevent it - I'd say, No. (+3) 3. Yes (+3) 4. Yes (+2) 5. Yes (+2) 6. Ned keeps Jon in Winterfell against Cat's wishes and ordered Cat to never speak of Jon's origins to him - given that Ned could have Jon fostered elsewhere and had been a bit more kind to Cat given her situation, so yes, and there's also this: Yes,” Ned said dully. He seated himself in a chair by the hearth. “Catelyn, you shall stay here in Winterfell.” His words were like an icy draft through her heart. “No,” she said, suddenly afraid. Was this to be her punishment? Never to see his face again, nor to feel his arms around her? “Yes,” Ned said, in words that would brook no argument. “You must govern the north in my stead, while I run Robert’s errands. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Robb is fourteen. Soon enough, he will be a man grown. He must learn to rule, and I will not be here for him. Make him part of your councils. He must be ready when his time comes.” Sansa would shine in the south, Catelyn thought to herself, and the gods knew that Arya needed refinement. Reluctantly, she let go of them in her heart. But not Bran. Never Bran. “Yes,” she said, “but please, Ned, for the love you bear me, let Bran remain here at Winterfell. He is only seven.” “I was eight when my father sent me to foster at the Eyrie,” Ned said. “Ser Rodrik tells me there is bad feeling between Robb and Prince Joffrey. That is not healthy. Bran can bridge that distance. He is a sweet boy, quick to laugh, easy to love. Let him grow up with the young princes, let him become their friend as Robert became mine. Our House will be the safer for it.” He was right; Catelyn knew it. It did not make the pain any easier to bear. -AGOT, Catelyn II So, yes, he does force Cat to do things she doesn't want to. (-2) 7. No (+2) 8. Yes (+3) 9. Yes (+2) 10. Uh....this one is hard to answer. Would raising Jon as an equal alongside his children count as taking advantage of his power over Cat, as she can't do anything about it? I say Yes. (-1) So let's see, 20/23 in the healthiness scale. Pretty healthy. Robert and Cersei: 1. Yes (-3) 2. Yes (-3) 3. Nope (-3) 4. He let's her nag him until she gives in to his demands - does that count? Yes.(+2) 5. Lol no (-2) 6. Yes (-2) 7. Yes (-2) 8. No, he's the king and there is no higher authority. (-3) 9. Yes, she was 17 and he 21 when they married. (+2). 10. Yes, he orders her to shut up or to leave at times, and also the rape, whoring and beatings. (-1) So 4/23 on the healthiness scale... The only example of a truly equal couple I can think of though, is Dany and Hizdahr. And that's because she has dragons.
  6. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    Well there is one example. We do see inside Cersei's head, and how Robert's rape affected her. We see her enact the same sexual violence against Taena. I agree GRRM could do better in this regard though.
  7. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    That's part of the reason why I brought this topic up. People criticize relationships with uneven power dynamics in the series, which is fair, but seem to have cognitive dissonance when it comes to married couples which aren't transparently awful like Cersei and Robert. I just meant the traditional Christian wedding vows: "Bride: I,_____, take thee,_____, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth." -Wikipedia And no, the husband doesn't pledge to obey the wife. But what I mean is these vows aren't taken literally and seriously anymore (at least I think they're not).
  8. S. D

    Gender relations in Westeros

    If you're saying all of the marriages in Westeros are bound to be unhealthy, I agree actually. Instead of modern, 21'st century standards, I'll correct myself by saying modern, 21'st century, western standards. By our standards, any romantic relationship that imbalanced is unhealthy, which is what I was referring to. Of course we are far from being an equal society, but today, those obligations women have towards men are largely eradicated. There are laws against domestic abuse, marital rape is recognized as a concept, wives still pledge to "obey"their husbands but it's mostly a show of words and not legally binding, etc. Divorce is also available, when it isn't in Westeros. But I also feel it's not very useful to label all of these relationships as unhealthy, there has to be a grading scale somewhere. Ned and Cat would fall under the healthier side of marriages in Westeros, while Robert and Cersei fall under the more toxic end.
  9. Is almost every marriage in Westeros unhealthy by our 21'st century, modern standards? Consider: 1. Wives are pledged to obey their husbands. That was the only time in all their years that Ned had ever frightened her. "Never ask me about Jon," he said, cold as ice. "He is my blood, and that is all you need to know. And now I will learn where you heard that name, my lady." She had pledged to obey; she told him; and from that day on, the whispering had stopped, and Ashara Dayne's name was never heard in Winterfell again. -AGOT, Catelyn II Ned Stark has the power to make Catelyn acquiesce to an order of his; as seen she is pledged to obey him, and when she raised the subject of Jon Snow's origins she was brutally shut down and the entire household was cowed to the point where no one dared speak Ashara Dayne's name ever again. Let's look at one of the powerful women in the series, Alysanne: Her Grace had no power to enact laws, issue decrees, make proclamations, or pass sentences. It is a mistake to speak of her as we might speak of the Conqueror’s queens, Rhaenys and Visenya. The young queen did, however, wield enormous influence over King Jaehaerys, and when she spoke, he listened… - Fire and Blood Losing dragons was a huge drop in the autonomy and agency of the Targaryen women. Even Alysanne had no legal power of her own. Her power comes from her husband listening to her. This is also true of Catelyn, Ned listens to her and respects her and she has power due to that. See also the issues that troubled Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon during her year-long reign as regent for her son Jaehaerys. 2. Husbands are allowed to hit their wives. Rhaegar Frey: Marriage will soften her, I have no doubt. A firm hand and a quiet word. - ADWD, Davos II The right of a husband to chastise an erring wife was well established in the Seven Kingdoms and the doctrines of the Faith of the Seven. - Fire and Blood. Also further illustrating that the husband has authority over his wife. 3. There is no concept of marital rape, and the wife has no sexual autonomy. "I'd waited long enough. I hated watching Robert stumble to your bed every night, always wondering if maybe this night he'd decide to claim his rights as husband." -ASOS, Jaime IX Sooner or later there would always come a night when he would drink too much and want to claim his rights. - AFFC, Cersei VII She wanted to see if it would be as easy with a woman as it had always been with Robert. Ten thousand of your children perished in my palm, Your Grace, she thought, slipping a third finger into Myr. Whilst you snored, I would lick your sons off my face and fingers one by one, all those pale sticky princes. You claimed your rights, my lord, but in the darkness I would eat your heirs. - AFFC, Cersei VII Queen Naerys begged Aegon IV to allow her to be abstinent and he refused, and that was that. - The World of Ice and Fire. He wondered what Sansa would do if he leaned over and kissed her right now. Flinch away, most likely. Or be brave and suffer through it, as was her duty. She is nothing if not dutiful, this wife of mine. If he told her that he wished to have her maidenhead tonight, she would suffer that dutifully as well, and weep no more than she had to. - ASOS, Tyrion VIII As these passages show, a husband has a right to sex with his wife even if she is unwilling. Marriage in Westeros means women are institutionally vulnerable to coercion. 4. Women are not allowed to have sex before marriage or commit adultery, while men are. The High Sparrow has Cersei punished for having sex outside of marriage, but does not do the same to any man. Bastards are seen as par for the course in Westeros, meanwhile: Lysa is seen as damaged goods for having slept with Petyr. Lollys for her gang rape has be married off to Bronn, a lowly sellsword. Even Delena Florent, who was deflowered by and had a bastard with Robert Baratheon, the king, had to marry a household knight. Princess Gael Targaryen who was seduced by a traveling singer and impregnated; killed herself. One of the daughters of Alys Arryn and Elys Waynwood was seduced by a sellsword; her bastard died in infancy and she joined the Silent Sisters. Witness Vargo Hoat’s preoccupation that Brienne “still be maiden” when he was going to ransom her, as though her “virginity” were a commodity, or Arys Oakheart’s concern than Doran find out that he’d “dishonoured” Arianne, as though her consent was not important, this was between two men. 5. And of course, women can't inherit in most cases. "Separate is the situation with the inheritance of the Iron Throne, where “in the eyes of many, the Great Council of 101 AC thereby established an iron precedent on matters of succession: regardless of seniority, the Iron Throne of Westeros could not pass to a woman, nor through a woman to her male descendants”. Even if women do inherit, their inheritance is stolen by their husbands, as in the case of Ramsay and "Arya", Tyrion and Sansa, and the Karstark uncles attempted to steal Alys’s rights as well, also by forcefully marrying her. Or they end up challenged by other males in the family, as in the case of Asha and Victarion. Cersei sums it up: “We were so much alike, I could never understand why they treated us so differently. Jaime learned to fight with sword and lance and mace, while I was taught to smile and sing and please. He was heir to Casterly Rock, while I was to be sold to some stranger like a horse, to be ridden whenever my new owner liked, beaten whenever he liked, and cast aside in time for a younger filly. Jaime’s lot was to be glory and power, while mine was birth and moonblood.”— ACoK, Sansa VI GRRM draws from history, and women were treated this terribly in real life, where they were the actual property of their husbands and fathers. "One of the things I wanted to do with A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE was to make it a little more "real" than most high fantasy. I drew much of my inspiration from history and historical fiction, and immersed myself in the Middle Ages before I began writing. Patriarchy was as much as part of medieval society as feudalism, faith, or swords. I have created other fictional worlds that are more sexually egalitarian — try my novel WINDHAVEN, written with Lisa Tuttle. With ICE AND FIRE, however, I preferred to stay closer to my historical models." - GRRM (Note: I haven't read Fire and Blood or The World of Ice and Fire and got those quotes from online sources).
  10. S. D

    Robb/margaery pairing?

    Robb could legitimize Edric Storm who would have a claim to the throne, and marry him to Margaery in exchange for his support.
  11. S. D

    Characteristics of a good ruler

    I'd like to mention that Ned was only mentioned to write letters to Stannis once, it wasn't multiple times. And Stannis didn't receive it because the communication was controlled by Pycelle.
  12. When did I say it was obvious? Oh, never, that's right. I also never said I was puzzled that other characters didn't come to the conclusion that Cersei might be sleeping with her brother. Stop putting words in my mouth, please. And I'm sure Renly would be able to figure out that Gendry is Robert's bastard. He looks exactly like him. Maybe not /all/ cases, but consider how Steffon Robert and Stannis' kids all inherited their looks. Cersei and Robert fought in public, it's not like it was this big secret that they hated each other. There were also rumours that Cersei killed Robert's bastards and sold their mother into slavery, so her cuckolding the king isn't actually that extreme compared to that. I'm just saying with all the factors combined, it's not put of the realm of possibility that someone might put the pieces together.
  13. Who said anything about proof?
  14. Lol. I already mentioned that that's not the only thing. Edmure didn't live with Catelyn. Theres also: 1. The bastards 2. Baratheon genes being dominant in all cases 3. Cersei and Robert's trainwreck of a marriage 4. Cersei is queen, so her lover would have to be someone who's either a servant or a relative 5. Jaime is the only person Cersei really spends time around I can't believe you find it ludicrous that anyone would be suspicious when Stannis himself undertook an investigation precisely because /he/ got suspicious. And Stannis has black hair and blue eyes, so your joke doesn't really work.
  15. Edmure wasn't Catelyn's constant companion and Cat and Ned didn't have a terrible relationship with each other.
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