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[BOOK SPOILERS] Shae and her parents

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Sorry if I'm potentially rehashing a discussion somewhere about this, but I did a quick search and couldn't find anything. I'm confused about TV Shae. I've read all the existing books a good few times, but I can only recall Shae mentioning being treated like a kitchen wench by her father and nothing much else, so the rather bitter way she talked about old mum and dad in Episode 9 of the TV series was a bit confusing. Is she lying about her parents? Is she meant to be someone significant?

Is this something new, or something I've forgotten from the books? If it's the latter, can someone point me towards a chapter?

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For the TV-show they created some interesting background for her. TV-Shae is not a common westerosi whore, but a foreigner, and she also hints that she is of noble birth, if I recall correctly.

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For the TV-show they created some interesting background for her. TV-Shae is not a common westerosi whore, but a foreigner, and she also hints that she is of noble birth, if I recall correctly.

I'm unsure if she said her parents are of noble birth - rather she is insistent that her mother was not a whore.

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I'm unsure if she said her parents are of noble birth - rather she is insistent that her mother was not a whore.

What I had in mind is this:

T: So what's a lowborn girl to do?

S: Drink.

T: Are you sure...

S: Drink!

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Yes, they way the scene was filmed seems to make tv Shae noble born (Shae was about to drink when Tyrion mentioned "lowborn", and then she passed the cup to him). It may be that the adaptation is trying to add a surprising revelation to the books, which wouldn't be bad by itself.

Normally we'd be suggesting potential parents among the entire Westerosii nobility, but the problem is she is foreign now. So, who her parents could be? Illyrio? Some Qartheen nobles that we'll see next season? Mmmm...

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I have a theory, and some fans of the books won't like it.

I think "TV Shae" is a Sand Snake, possibly there to check out the Lannister strength or for revenge. Although I have not actually read or seen it myself, it is said elsewhere on this forum that George RR Martin confirmed that a minor character who dies later in the series of books, will die in the first series of the TV Show. I think it will be Shae that dies in the last episode. Whether it be an actual death, or just the alter ego, remains to be seen but I'm pretty convinced it's going to happen.

I think Shae's role in King's Landing will be taken by Ros instead.

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As far as I recall, book Shae was nothing more than a common girl who decided to become a camp follower. There was nothing inconsistent with that assessment of her.

The idea of Shae as a sand snake is interesting, but then everyone from Dorne would have to have a German accent too :)

If she's from one of the free cities, it's possible for her not to be lowborn, as Westeros considers the term. Westeros is basically lords of various tiers then the lowborn subjects from what we've seen. The free cities have ruling classes, but the structure there seems like it could have more of a merchant middle class than we've seen in Westeros. Maybe that's what they're targeting for Shae.

As for the character who dies in season 1 instead of 3, I doubt that's Shae. There would be no reason to even bother introducing her if Roz is just going to be Tyrion's KL whore. Also, GRRM implied that it was very minor, and I don't think any book reader would consider Shae to be a near inconsequential character.

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I don't think TV Shae is a spy. Any spy worth that name would lie in a drinking game without a second thought. Covering your ancestry with a veil of mystery instead of having a cover story prepared? Bad move.

If Shae was a spy, her mother would have been a whore and her father would have left when she was very young.

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Yes, they way the scene was filmed seems to make tv Shae noble born (Shae was about to drink when Tyrion mentioned "lowborn", and then she passed the cup to him). It may be that the adaptation is trying to add a surprising revelation to the books, which wouldn't be bad by itself.

Normally we'd be suggesting potential parents among the entire Westerosii nobility, but the problem is she is foreign now. So, who her parents could be? Illyrio? Some Qartheen nobles that we'll see next season? Mmmm...

In the unspoiled TWoP some people are speculating she's Jorah's ex wife :laugh:

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GRRM said that the character who dies two seasons early is a really minor character. I wouldn't call Shae a minor character.

I wonder whether they decided to give her a non-Westerosi background because they chose a non-English actress for the role, and they had to explain her accent somehow, or whether decided to make her foreign born, and were looking for someone with an accent suring casting.

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GRRM said that the character who dies two seasons early is a really minor character. I wouldn't call Shae a minor character.

I wonder whether they decided to give her a non-Westerosi background because they chose a non-English actress for the role, and they had to explain her accent somehow, or whether decided to make her foreign born, and were looking for someone with an accent suring casting.

From comments in other threads, my understanding is that it's the former. They really liked the actress, but she had a German accent so they changed the character to fit.

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Yes, they way the scene was filmed seems to make tv Shae noble born (Shae was about to drink when Tyrion mentioned "lowborn", and then she passed the cup to him). It may be that the adaptation is trying to add a surprising revelation to the books, which wouldn't be bad by itself.

Normally we'd be suggesting potential parents among the entire Westerosii nobility, but the problem is she is foreign now. So, who her parents could be? Illyrio? Some Qartheen nobles that we'll see next season? Mmmm...

I took that to be entirely her messing with Tyrion, not that she was about to drink when "lowborn" came out. The whole scenario Tyrion was fleshing out about her was wrong, not just the lowborn part. Doesn't rule out nobility of some kind, but I don't see anything to support that it was the lowborn part that was false.

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In the unspoiled TWoP some people are speculating she's Jorah's ex wife :laugh:

And others seem convinced she's a Targaryen o.O

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If she's from one of the free cities, it's possible for her not to be lowborn, as Westeros considers the term.

Agreed.

I can't help rolling my eyes when I read here and elsewhere that TV Shae is "totally different!!!11!!!!" from the book version. Oh, please. There's absolutely nothing we've heard or seen that contradicts the books, because we learned almost nothing about her background despite the many, many pages spent on her. (Even the television version's "foreign" accent can be argued as a case of omission in Tyrion's POV, rather than us being told that she spoke with a clear Riverlands accent, or something.) It's entirely possible that the two Shaes will more clearly diverge at some point, but it certainly hasn't happened yet.

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Agreed.

I can't help rolling my eyes when I read here and elsewhere that TV Shae is "totally different!!!11!!!!" from the book version. Oh, please. There's absolutely nothing we've heard or seen that contradicts the books, because we learned almost nothing about her background despite the many, many pages spent on her. (Even the television version's "foreign" accent can be argued as a case of omission in Tyrion's POV, rather than us being told that she spoke with a clear Riverlands accent, or something.) It's entirely possible that the two Shaes will more clearly diverge at some point, but it certainly hasn't happened yet.

Rubbish. Already we've seen her challenge and correct Tyrion more than we've seen in all the books. She's a considerably more assertive character in comparison to the books' one which immediately went into the pleasing mode. To suggest that they've not already diverged is bizarre.

I'm not passing judgement on the change as i will have to see how it plays out first but seriously if you can't see the differences already...

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Rubbish. Already we've seen her challenge and correct Tyrion more than we've seen in all the books. She's a considerably more assertive character in comparison to the books' one which immediately went into the pleasing mode. To suggest that they've not already diverged is bizarre.

I'm not passing judgement on the change as i will have to see how it plays out first but seriously if you can't see the differences already...

I was talking about biographical data, not characterization. In any case it's hardly fair, or precise, to compare the characterization of an important secondary character that appears throughout ~2500 pages with one episode's worth of dialogue, especially when a plurality of her sentences are one word: "Drink". If we see Shae later help Tyrion kill Tywin, or seduce Sansa after becoming her maid, well, that's another story.

As a poster stated in the episode-discussion thread:

Changes to Shae. I don't care. She was a whore in the books whose only purposes were to create a "love interest" for Tyrion and then to betray him later. There isn't anything to suggest that they couldn't accomplish that with this version of Shae. Give her a chance.

As the immortal Bahimiron also stated in that thread:

I agree with this. Without the intricate and layered background that GRRM created for the book Shae the TV Shae will be a soulless automoton, incapable of playing her role in the series as whore, lover, maid, traitor and victim. When one realizes what a buttress to the entire series the role of Shae plays, how key a support her existence is to every scene that follows, removing her is like removing the keystone from an ancient bridge and the whole of the epic tale will fall apart around those who continue acting out their hollow part to play, unrealizing the ultimate purposelessness in their own part now that the ground on which their story is built has turned to sinking sand.

It is a literal, a literal slap in the face! How can we stand for this? How? Do you not hear the people? Listen and their voices will be made clear. Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry nerds! It is a music of a fandom that will refuse to go unheard!

Barricades here we come, brothers.

(A hint for you: Bahimiron is being sarcastic.)

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Rubbish. Already we've seen her challenge and correct Tyrion more than we've seen in all the books. She's a considerably more assertive character in comparison to the books' one which immediately went into the pleasing mode. To suggest that they've not already diverged is bizarre.

I'm not passing judgement on the change as i will have to see how it plays out first but seriously if you can't see the differences already...

I agree that there are more changes to her character than similarities. The superficial ones don't bother me such as being older and foreign. The writing on the other hand comes across markedly different. The books make her much more like Ros is in the TV show. She plays the role of being completely smitten and subservient from the start. The dialogue has been significantly altered from the original. Here are the core lines spoken during the same time frame as the show shows in the book:

He cocked his head to one side. “I am Tyrion, of House Lannister. Men call me the Imp.” “My mother named me Shae. Men call me … often.”

“I am a Lannister. Gold I have in plenty, and you’ll find me generous … but I’ll want more from you than what you’ve got between your legs, though I’ll want that too. You’ll share my tent, pour my wine, laugh at my jests, rub the ache from my legs after each day’s ride … and whether I keep you a day or a year, for so long as we are together you will take no other men into your bed.” “Fair enough.”

“Shall I take my gown off, m’lord?” she asked. “In good time. Are you a maiden, Shae?” “If it please you, m’lord,” she said demurely. “What would please me would be the truth of you, girl.”

“Aye, but that will cost you double.”

When Tyrion returned to his tent, Shae rolled onto her elbow and murmured sleepily, “I woke and m’lord was gone.” “M’lord is back now.” He slid in beside her. Her hand went between his stunted legs, and found him hard. “Yes he is,” she whispered, stroking him. He asked her about the man Bronn had taken her from, and she named the minor retainer of an insignificant lordling. “You need not fear his like, m’lord,” the girl said, her fingers busy at his c*ck. “He is a small man.” “And what am I, pray?” Tyrion asked her. “A giant?” “Oh, yes,” she purred, “my giant of Lannister.”

In comparison the HBO Shae comes across as quite insubordinate. Rather than complimentary she challenges Tyrion's boasts about the quality of his company and says he was stupid to believe his wife was not a whore

even though we later find out she wasn't.

She refuses to play his drinking game that she is being paid for(this is a whore who has sex with strangers for money...), threatens him when he asks about her parents and is quite commanding in wanting to know about Tyrion's wife. Based on what happens to other commoners who interact with lords in the books, it seems likely a commoner, much less a whore might be tossed out, beaten or even killed for making such insolent comments to a lord. Besides the impression the books give is that Tyrion is desperately looking for someone to show him love, and Shae is very good at fooling him into believing in the books, but she seems to be much more stand offish in her comments on the show. Clearly she didn't attend Littlefinger's how to be a good whore class.

Even outside the context of what happened in the books, if you were on a first date, and you asked the other person about their parents and they threatened to stab your eyes out if you asked again would you be thinking the date was going well? If they refused to answer any questions or engange in any meaningful dialogue would you be looking forward to a second date? Much less a whore... Would you really call your boss stupid on your first day on the job even in jest? Or threaten them if you were hoping to keep the job?

Outside of the sex I don't see anything she did that could be considered endearing or seductive, while Shae in the books is the exact opposite in doing whatever she can to please Tyrion.

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On the other hand, if they go down the road of Shae becoming less obviously smart-mouthed against him, and appearing to fall in love with him for himself... well, I think a lot of (non-book) viewers may be sucked in by it, just as Tyrion would be. "She was so cold at the start, she must mean it!"

In fact, it would probably be actually showing what that big LF monologue was all about, how people know that maybe they shouldn't trust you, but you make it so that they can't help themselves, and so on.

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