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[Spoilers] Episode 104 Discussion


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2 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Others have said that the brothel scene is a bit too explicit even for the GoT universe.

Which is ridiculous as it was a few flashes of breasts, some queer content, and mostly smoky darkness.

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I think the controversy over Rhaenyra seducing Cole is just a product of our current cultural climate, which is something that’s been discussed on here quite a bit regarding the books. Hopefully we eventually get to the place where we have a more enlightened view of power dynamics in the real world while also accepting that depiction is not endorsement and that people in the past weren’t necessarily monsters because of what we believe now. But unfortunately, we just aren’t there yet.

Agreed, and I would add that it’s stupid to condemn sexual relationships merely because one party is richer/more powerful than the other. Billions of people have married up or down, since humans invented marriage.

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1 hour ago, IFR said:

However, his vows were also meaningful to him. He acted with great hesitation numerous times during this sequence. More importantly, this wasn't a typical situation of your boss making sexual advances towards you. If Cole rejected Rhaenyra, it would be entirely possible that she would slander him to her father, jeopardizing his life (and it wouldn't be out of character for her either). This creates a highly coercive power dynamic, regardless of whether a part of Cole wanted to have sex with Rhaenyra.

For such a scenario we should see some kind of implicit or (better still) explicit coercion, blackmail, or threats. Instead, all we get there is a playful and quite innocent seduction thing. The whole helmet theft is making this thing seem like mid-teens getting down to business for the first time.

Criston likely is awed by the fact that the blood of the dragon wants to fuck him of all people ... but it is more like Julia Roberts hitting on Hugh Grant in Notting Hill than a princess commanding her servant to fuck her.

The Mushroom version of events - especially the double version having one episode in 111 AC with Daemon being around to train her and then basically the same thing happening later shortly before her wedding - would imply that the spurned Rhaenyra who went to great lengths to be attractive to Criston and to be able to physically seduce and pleasure him might get really angry about the humiliation that his rejection there would have been.

Part of the many reasons why this version of events is nonsense is the fact that Criston continued as sworn shield of the princess after 111 AC - which he likely wouldn't have done if she had tried to seduce him. He would have asked the king to asign him to himself, to Alicent, to Aegon, etc. so that he would not have to suffer this kind of thing again.

What you can really read as total and utter consent there is the time he takes in removing his armor and cloak, which symbolically makes him a man again ... which he isn't allowed to be as a knight of the Kingsguard.

35 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Which is ridiculous as it was a few flashes of breasts, some queer content, and mostly smoky darkness.

Yes, during the rewatch, I could barely see what was going on, especially between Daemon and Rhaenyra but also in the brothel background.

The scene between Criston and Rhaenyra was mostly great, although the focus on female pleasure could have been more pronounced.

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19 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

For such a scenario we should see some kind of implicit or (better still) explicit coercion, blackmail, or threats. Instead, all we get there is a playful and quite innocent seduction thing. The whole helmet theft is making this thing seem like mid-teens getting down to business for the first time.

Criston likely is awed by the fact that the blood of the dragon wants to fuck him of all people ... but it is more like Julia Roberts hitting on Hugh Grant in Notting Hill than a princess commanding her servant to fuck her.

The Mushroom version of events - especially the double version having one episode in 111 AC with Daemon being around to train her and then basically the same thing happening later shortly before her wedding - would imply that the spurned Rhaenyra who went to great lengths to be attractive to Criston and to be able to physically seduce and pleasure him might get really angry about the humiliation that his rejection there would have been.

Part of the many reasons why this version of events is nonsense is the fact that Criston continued as sworn shield of the princess after 111 AC - which he likely wouldn't have done if she had tried to seduce him. He would have asked the king to asign him to himself, to Alicent, to Aegon, etc. so that he would not have to suffer this kind of thing again.

What you can really read as total and utter consent there is the time he takes in removing his armor and cloak, which symbolically makes him a man again ... which he isn't allowed to be as a knight of the Kingsguard.

Speaking as a fellow reader of FIRE AND BLOOD, George actually did a remarkably good job of writing it so that I fully believed EVERY account of Ser Criston Cole was a complete lie. The actions of Ser Criston Cole like killing Laenor's lover and almost crippling Ser Harwin as well as his insane betrayal of the Queen (becoming a Kingmaker is the worst betrayal of a Kingsguard until Jaime Lannister) all make the most sense if Criston Cole is a spurned lover acting out of intense spite. Her having sex with Cole and him falling for her HARD only to have her reject him later (particularly if he asks her to run away with him) is the most logical for his character's later actions.

Part of the oddity is also that Septon Eustace writes of it as a great romance and tragedy while Mushroom plays Cole as celibate.

Edited by C.T. Phipps
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10 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Agreed, and I would add that it’s stupid to condemn sexual relationships merely because one party is richer/more powerful than the other. Billions of people have married up or down, since humans invented marriage.

Is this part of the reason why age gaps and the like are seen as inherently bad these days? Sure enough, there can be very experienced and manipulative older people exploiting younger folks ... but there are also insecure and unexperienced folks in their mid-twenties or thirties.

And especially in the context of wealthy or powerful people they more often than not fall for people they spend a lot of time with - how many riding instructors did Lady Di fuck? There is always a power imbalance there, but that kind of thing is often enough real romance/love for people stuck in loveless arranged marriages (Lady Di again). Vice versa, people getting close enough to royalty to be noticed by them are also rarely innocent or without ambition.

Criston Cole had the chance to remove Rhaenyra gently from the door and wish her a good night. He didn't. And as I said - he had an ever greater chance to act completely passive and show that he wasn't interested in sex. That is a huge a turnoff, especially when you deal with a young person who very much wishes to be desired.

4 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Speaking as a fellow reader of FIRE AND BLOOD, George actually did a remarkably good job of writing it so that I fully believed EVERY account of Ser Criston Cole was a complete lie. The actions of Ser Criston Cole like killing Laenor's lover and almost crippling Ser Harwin as well as his insane betrayal of the Queen (becoming a Kingmaker is the worst betrayal of a Kingsguard until Jaime Lannister) all make the most sense if Criston Cole is a spurned lover acting out of intense spite. Her having sex with Cole and him falling for her HARD only to have her reject him later (particularly if he asks her to run away with him) is the most logical for his character's later actions.

Yes, that is the best version of events, and it is actually kind of the one we get in ASoIaF proper, namely, when Criston Cole is discussed by Arys and Arianne in AFfC.

There are folks who come up with all sorts of outlandish arguments and justifications why chaste Criston or Cécile de Volanges Rhaenyra do make sense ... but the most straightforward take on this thing is that he is a spurned lover. They didn't have to have sex, but it makes more sense that way since it allows the more nuanced, less corrupt show Criston to actually blame Rhaenyra that he broke his vows and soiled his cloak.

Book Criston is said to have been so comely that he was very popular with the ladies at court, not just Rhaenyra, so he may have had other affairs before and after whatever happened between these two. This is also part of the reason why people suspect or like to assume that he may have become Alicent's lover later on.

Such a man might not have had more problems with Rhaenyra rejecting him than with breaking his vows.

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21 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I watched the BTS for a change, and I was surprised to hear them confirm that a) Daemon doesn't care about Rhaenyra and just wanted to get back at Viserys, b) Daemon is abusing Rhaenyra, and c) Rhaenyra had sex with Criston Cole solely because he was the only person around. The director made Daemon sound even more sociopathic by saying that he lost interest once he realized she was into it.

This explanation confuses me. So Daemon is totally surprised that Rhaenyra might actually be into it. Like he didn’t even consider it could be possible, especially knowing his niece. That seems odd to me.

I figured he couldn’t do the deed because he felt guilty.

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I think a minor hint that Daemon may intend to kind of set Rhaenyra up with the whole brothel visit is the fact that he arbitrarily removes her cap when they enter it, not only revealing her identity as a girl but also her Valyrian hair. That is why Mysaria's little spy can identify her.

The Daemon-Mysaria scene must lack material and context, though, since we neither understand why Daemon is as drunk as he is nor where he went to get drunk. Did Mysaria's people find him? Did he search for her? We just have no clue. The whole thing just doesn't fit together at all.

5 minutes ago, Ramsay B. said:

This explanation confuses me. So Daemon is totally surprised that Rhaenyra might actually be into it. Like he didn’t even consider it could be possible, especially knowing his niece. That seems odd to me.

I figured he couldn’t do the deed because he felt guilty.

He could have been surprised about her reaction, her desire to actively participate to the degree that she did. But I guess the better explanation is that he just on a whim decided he did not, in fact, want to take her maidenhead there.

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2 hours ago, RumHam said:

No different from the main novels really. Almost everyone sided with the Starks for some reason. Few people had sympathy for the people plotting to steal the throne. It's weird!

Except of course none of the Starks murder children and innocent people. And as discussed at length (and no, I won't go into it again), it's delusional to say the Dance of the Dragons is as clear cut of a case of usurpation as is Cersei and Joffrey's. Even in ASOIAF, the Lannister camp has Tyrion, clearly GRRM's favorite, Robb's declaration of independence (well, the bannermen's) causes a lot of problems, Jaime has something of a redemption arc,  etc.  

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Agreed, and I would add that it’s stupid to condemn sexual relationships merely because one party is richer/more powerful than the other. Billions of people have married up or down, since humans invented marriage.

I think that eventually we’ll reach the place where people will come to accept that. I think a lot of the discourse going on nowadays is an overdue course correction to the sexual revolution, which didn’t make people as happy as they thought it would (originally it was thought that this was what the Religious Right of the 80s and 90s were, but that was a coalition that was never on board with the sexual revolution in the first place. What we’re seeing now appears to be more of a direct backlash). But these things take time to sort out. And one of the problems with the books being unfinished is that this is not the best climate for a series like ASOIAF.

Edited by The Bard of Banefort
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9 minutes ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

Except of course none of the Starks murder children and innocent people. And as discussed at length (and no, I won't go into it again), it's delusional to say the Dance of the Dragons is as clear cut of a case of usurpation as is Cersei and Joffrey's. Even in ASOIAF, the Lannister camp has Tyrion, clearly GRRM's favorite, Robb's declaration of independence (well, the bannermen's) causes a lot of problems, Jaime has something of a redemption arc,  etc.  

I'd argue it's more so because Robert, himself, was a usurper.

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I got the impression that Otto, by sheer coincidence, had spies in the establishment Daemon and Rhaenyra visited, not that he was actively having Rhaenyra surveilled. To me that makes more sense because if Otto was having Rhaenyra tailed wouldn't he be in even bigger trouble with Viserys I for not acting to stop her? Also, to me its more tragic that Otto's dismissal comes as a result of him telling the truth (so far as he knows it) without any ulterior motive for once. (I think Condal says in the BTS that Otto sees Mysaria's missive as an opportunity but the impression I got from watching the scenes is that he feels its his duty to tell Viserys but he very, very much does not want to. Not only do we get a closeup of Otto's face beforehand wherein he expresses a rather uncharacteristic lack of poise (the weary eyes, the long breath, etc.) but in the actual scene where he tells Viserys he keeps trying to avoid spelling it out almost as if doing so is too uncomfortable.

As for the bedroom scene with Alicent and Viserys, while I understand what they were going for thematically, I'm not sure that's a good adaptation or depiction of Viserys I, who, from the limited information F & B offers, I've always imagined would be concerned about his wife's sexual desires as an extension of his anxiety over being a people-pleaser.

I did notice they imply Alyssa Targaryen lived longer than she did in book canon, which could have...interesting consequences. (I've always firmly maintained that not having Aegon, son of Baelon, live to take part in the Dance was a mistake on GRRM's part.)

Given the show's depiction of Viserys, I really wonder if (and how) they're going to portray Trystane Truefyre.

The bit where Criston does a double-take at Rhaenyra storming into her room after he wished her good night to be a rare (and appreciated) moment of humor.

Finally, while I am one of the people who prefers the chaste Criston theory book-wise, I don't so much mind the show's interpretation given the other changes its made (aging up Rhaenyra, Cole being part Dornish, Rhaenyra asking Cole if there has ever been a woman in his life, etc.).

Edited by The Grey Wolf Strikes Back
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46 minutes ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

Except of course none of the Starks murder children and innocent people. And as discussed at length (and no, I won't go into it again), it's delusional to say the Dance of the Dragons is as clear cut of a case of usurpation as is Cersei and Joffrey's. Even in ASOIAF, the Lannister camp has Tyrion, clearly GRRM's favorite, Robb's declaration of independence (well, the bannermen's) causes a lot of problems, Jaime has something of a redemption arc,  etc.  

Don't both sides in the Dance murder children and innocent people? I think a lot of what the blacks did was terrible but it doesn't change the fact that Rhaenyra was clearly the appointed heir. It seems pretty clear cut to me. If you don't want to go into it again could you point me to where you went into it the first time?

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1 minute ago, StarksInTheNorth said:

Can someone please explain why there were a bunch of river lords in the Storm Lands?

So GRRM can dump on the Brackens. (At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in the contract GRRM slipped in "once per season, minimum, a Blackwood must chump a (jerkass) Bracken." Seriously, even when the Blackwood's a kid and the Bracken a grown man, the Bracken still loses!)

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11 minutes ago, StarksInTheNorth said:

Can someone please explain why there were a bunch of river lords in the Storm Lands?

The answer is, "Because it was meant to be in the Riverlands."

But the audience I assume is meant to infer she was doing it there and she just got to the Riverlanders.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Don't really think a female director moved away from the male gaze there. There were still lots and lots of naked female asses to be seen. The Alicent scene did a good job of depicting bad sex from a female perspective ... but they failed to actually sexualize male bodies to a point, which would be part of what would like to see if we watch things through the eyes of a horny teenager. Criston Cole should have been all attractive body parts once his armor was off ... just as Daemon should have been pretty much naked in the brothel so Rhaenyra (and the audience) could feast her eyes on him.

I wholly disagree with this. As a generalization, men are more likely to be stimulated by straight-forward visuals (body parts) but women prefer more emotional connections. We got that throughout the entire scene, especially with the gentle, close focus on their intimate touches as she removed his armor

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

Agreed, and I would add that it’s stupid to condemn sexual relationships merely because one party is richer/more powerful than the other. Billions of people have married up or down, since humans invented marriage.

But not when the subject is their employee, which would be more the case for Cole.

And I wouldn't even say that encompasses the power dynamic. It's more equivalent to when Lavrentiy Beria gave his interests a "choice". Obviously Cole is more willing than the women Beria preyed on, but the potential consequences of refusal are all the same.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Criston Cole had the chance to remove Rhaenyra gently from the door and wish her a good night. He didn't. And as I said - he had an ever greater chance to act completely passive and show that he wasn't interested in sex. That is a huge a turnoff, especially when you deal with a young person who very much wishes to be desired.

He could have risked the consequences of rejecting Rhaenyra, sure.

Anyway, who is to say whether the suggestion of skewed power dynamics was intended or not by the writers and director? As has been observed, their own accounts of what is happening conflict. If it wasn't intended, it was an oversight because that skewed dynamic was present.

If one party in a sexual interaction has control over the livelihood of another, this is coercive in nature even if the subject to the advancement is interested in sex. If the subject is of a more ambiguous mindset, then it's even more problematic.

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