Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

greensleeves

[No Spoilers] Is the third season now 2-0 on the Bechdel Test?

Recommended Posts

So what? If someone wants to make a film about the "missing history", which they'll largely be inventing because of the of the lack of records, that's fine. But the fact is that in those patriarchal societies, men are going to have been the primary movers of major events that people may find of the most interest.

Or they may not find them of interest. They may find the missing history of interest instead. They may find the Great Man theory of history overrated overexposed and tired. They might even write a huge epic fantasy series that makes efforts to present (fictional) world events beyond the prime movers and shakers, or show how women were movers and shakers in it too.

Why is that a good result? If you're talking about something that is intended to be primarily educational, that's one thing. But generally, we're talking entertainment. And particularly in historical dramas, the less interesting/more mundane something is, the more under-voiced it is going to be. At least we hope. The daily lives of peasants, or weavers, or dye-makers,are all "under-voiced" historically, because the focus is generally on the nobility/military who drive major events. I want to hear Henry V's speech at Agincourt and see the battle, not listen to a farrior and blacksmith haggling, or every dye-maker and tanner bitching about their jobs. By the same token, I don't want to listen to Caesar's wife discuss what to set out for a banquet if it means missing a conversation with Cicero.

Because empathy is a wonderful thing and just because you don't give a shit for Caesar's wife doesn't mean I don't, and I'm a consumer too, no less a default consumer than you in a right world. So are others who find it important to have themselves reflected in their fiction, even if they're *gasp* not men.

Gasp and le shock, I don't find it entertaining that women are shut out of pop media. I find it a good thing that people acknowledge that even the undervoiced need their entertainment too, even if it's not your idea of entertainment. It's a marketplace of values, and slowly but surely Hollywood is realizing that ignoring women for so long has cost them buckets of missing revenue. In the long run Game of Thrones can choose to be on the side of the future or of the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I just re-watched the episode and was impressed again by the level of female presence. It seems like most of the scenes have at least one important female character and the female characters had some real time to shine. We had these conversations:

Bran's dream (w/ Robb, Jon, Jojen, Ned)

Bran-Osha (& Hodor)

Robb-Talisa-Lord Bolton

Robb-Catelyn

Theon-torturers

Jaime - Brienne (& Random Guy)

Cersei-Joff

Shae-Sansa

Sansa-Loras

Sansa-Marg-Olenna

Robb-Karstark

Catelyn-Talisa

Mance-Jon

Mance-Ygritte-Jon-Orell-Tormund

Sam-Night's Watch

Bran-Osha-Meera-Jojen

Arya-Gendry-Hotpie-BwB

Shae-Tyrion

Marg.-Joff

Theon-torturers

Bran-Jojen

Meera-Osha

Arya-A bunch of guys in a bar (and the Hound! yay!)

Jaime-Brienne (& Bolton men)

Nevertheless, according to the responses, it seems like most say the episode fails the traditional Bechdel Test. There are 3 conversations that pass the reverse test (4 if you count Bran's dream).

I think that I still like my version of the test (counting fragments of long conversations... I realize this sets a low bar even lower, but I like it for consistency across works). This seems like it still passes the original wording of the Bechdel test (talk to each other about... something besides a man).

Note: Thanks to the mod that helped delete the one-line trolls (previously about 20% of the thread)

Edit: I hear the people saying that the test should include some deeper analysis, and I agree that when judging an individual work the Bechdel test is not enough. However there is *a lot* to be said for ease and clarity when applying a measure to a large sample.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Game of Thrones does pass the Bechdel test. Its addition of Shae and Sansa's relationship has been a success in my opinion. Sansa and the Tyrell women were a good example of the books themselves letting female characters have interactions, and the show enhances this because they have made Margaery more prominent than she was in the books, thus making her interactions with Sansa more prominent too. Talisa and Cat really haven't gotten to the point where their interaction was anything more than exposition, but that could change.

(BUT just because the show is somewhat good about giving female characters interactions with each other (and they have an uphill battle here given the source material and its inspirations) doesn't mean they don't have other problems. A piece of fiction can be "feminist" in one way and sexist in another at the same time. It's perfectly possible that Game of Thrones has given us more legitimate female-female interactions than what we had in the books and that they have given is shitty sexposition scenes have at least on a few occasions used female-female interactions as mere titillation. That goes back to the Bechdel test being just one of many tools.)

Sansa is involved in a lot of great (or interesting) female-female relationships: Arya, Catelyn, Cersei, Shae, Septa Mordane,... and now Margaery and Olenna.

The other major female protagonists have become largely isolated from other women. Arya hasn't really been around other women since she escaped the King's Guard, but even before that the most of the female interaction she had was with Sansa. After the the original parting at Winterfell, Catelyn seems to only be able to have at most one current female relationship at a time (Season 1: Lysa, Season 2: Brienne, Season 3: Talisa). Dany lost all of her female companionship in Season 2, but we were introduced to a new woman in her arc this last episode.

It just seems like Sansa's at the nexus of most of the female-female relationships. Margaery might change that though.

I'm not sure if I would say that the show's improved on the books in terms of female-female relationships. They did add in Shae-Sansa, but they've cut out or killed other female characters.

I also think that by the strict definition this episode does fail, although I'm with you that there is a decent chunk to both the garden scene and Cat/Talisa that would pass until later. I think a more meaningful way (or perhaps just alternative) to look at it is rather than looking at whether a man is mentioned, it should instead examine whether the scene is furthering the characterisation of or is about a man or something else. Under this criteria I think all of the scenes in question would be passes.

The Catelyn scene is very much about Cat, if anything baby Jon in that scene is being referred to just as a proper to further the characterisation of Cat. The garden scene was similarly about Sansa and her opening up and admitting out loud what Joff is, with a secondary aspect being the reactions of the other two. The scenes are furthering the female characters, not just serving as off screen characterisation of males which another important thing to look at. Are the female characters in this story fleshed out, realised characters. Of course through that lens all of GoT gets a resounding pass.

Thanks for the input. I really liked those scenes too. I understand the concern some have about how the Catelyn-Talisa scene reflects on Catelyn's character as a whole, but in this case I choose to view the two mediums (books and tv) as separate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×