Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Game of Throne's annoying, unbelievable Mama Bears

So I caught up to the past season of Game of Thrones through the battle of Blackwater.  As before, I'm liking it, with serious annoyances/reservations.  Speaking of which, one thing stood out in both episodes 8 and 9: the inability of the series' two matriarchs to deal intelligently or believably with their children.

In episode 8 (spoiler alert) Kat Stark releases the Kingslayer in a forlorn hope to free her daughters.  This is shown as a kind of Maternal breaking point, but I'm not sold on it -- maybe because of the writing and maybe because of the acting, but I'm dubious as to why a woman who bore her children into a brutal world, knowing that they would be married off, die in childbirth and killed in battle, would betray her remaining son/king because she was wanted to protect her children.

In episode 9, the Queen Mother orders her son off the battlements and into the safety of the castle, in so doing ensuring his disgrace and presumably threatening his kingship (while already unpopular with the people, cowardice disgraces him in front of the nobiltiy, making it likely that nobels will defect to a more warlike pretender).

As individual actions, neither is egregious, but considered in the context of how the mothers in the series have been shown (protective and, with exceptions, ill-adjusted to the realities of motherhood in the world they live in).  Kat and Cersei are the -less- crazy-protective mothers of the series, compared to Kat's sister.  There's no counterbalancing noblewoman who regretfully but resignedly marries off her daughters and sends her sons off to be killed because that's the way things are done.  Not to mention a mother that could set aside her maternal instincts and think with her brain for a second.**

More generally, this shows one of the greatest weaknesses of the series' characters -- with a few exceptions they act more like modern people shoved into a pseudo-medieval world rather than people that have been fully socialized with that world's values and ethos (the exception to this are the various two-dimension cultures that live by some sort of contrived 'code' which is a trope with its own problems; the Dothraki, the Iron Islanders).  Cersei and Kat act as we might act -- they feel the weight of custom as something external, not as something within themselves.  The same can be said of most characters in the series.

**I suspect this is an example of Martin's cited inability to write a well-done adult woman.

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