Aug. 29th, 2017

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Thought I’d chime in on Game of Thrones & the ‘Jonerys’ thing. Of course, this is just my opinion, & everyone is entitled to theirs. I’m not trying to shame or invalidate anyone’s opinions, ideas, feelings, etc. I might be a bit critical of the writing (likely the show’s, not the books, since I haven’t read them & don’t know how much of what I’m criticising does or doesn’t come from George R.R. Martin, himself). Oh, & SPOILERS for GoT & a bunch of other shows/movies.

While, in the “real” world, I don’t condone the practise of incest (quite the opposite, in fact – I find it repulsive), I am not averse to seeing it in a fictional work, IF it works within the narrative. (Heck, I’ve even written a bit of it into the past of one of my own fictional characters.) But there need to be structured & established boundaries, in terms of the world & its attitude. What kind of society are we being taken to? Is incest commonplace or specific to one set of characters? Is it condoned or frowned upon? Are some variations more acceptable than others? From what I’ve read of others’ comments, the books seem to establish this far better than the series does. I’m not sure I can recall any major instance of the show doing it at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, to my recollection, the most prominent incestuous relationship in the series is Jamie & Cersei’s. And that is very much kept either secret or whispered as rumours, their possible truth looked upon unfavourably by just about everyone except Jamie & Cersei. It seems that Dany’s family is somewhat known for it, at least in the books – though it seems to also be thought of as an underlying factor in the ‘madness’ that pervades her bloodline, from what I can gather. Other families in the world of these tales have had cousins & whatnot intermarry (I believe I read somewhere that Ned’s parents were cousins); indeed, all of this has historical precedent, as many royal families in certain cultures were known to do such things, to preserve the ‘purity’ of their bloodlines. I’m not disputing any of that.

I also realise that Jon & Dany are fully unaware, at this moment, that they are related. Same thing (SPOILERS!) happened in the movie Oldboy. In fact, that was the gut-punch of that story. And while, given the story is presented as a movie, with a much more constrained time limit than a 7- or 8-season drama series, there was not only an established setting & attitude toward incest (modern day/modern sensibilities), but it also established the couple. It built them up over the course of the events, as gradually as a couple can be within an approximately 2-hour time frame. A series, being slower in its pacing, needs to take a lot more time to build to the climax of a couple getting together. (Not counting headcanons & ships not directly suggested by the story.)

So why is it not a gut-punch here? Why are we not devastated, like we were in Oldboy? Is it the timing of the reveal of one character’s relation to the other (R + L = J)? Is it the specific relation one of them has to the other, does that make a difference (aunt/nephew as opposed to brother/sister)? Is it because some people know of the books & their pre-established, somewhat-historically-based notions of incest compared to our modern or real-world attitudes? It this pairing perceived as the antithesis of Jamie/Cersei, both of them (though, these days, Cersei far more) being antagonistic figures? I’m trying to understand. Actually, given the villainous nature of Jamie & Cersei, one can almost give them a pass for their relationship, in a weird way: it’s almost as if no one else in the world would or could have them. But even that is changing over the course of the show as Jamie is breaking away from Cersei. (Even early on, Robert was known to have had children with other women, & his & Cersei’s marriage was most likely convenience & politics rather than anything akin to love on either of their parts – again, correct me if I’m wrong here.)

Perhaps it is because the show is being brought to something of an abrupt conclusion – no longer 10 episodes per season, & now, a limited run to its definite end-point (season 8 is going to be something like 7 episodes, & the storyline is not exclusive to these 2 characters), but one of the things that rubs me the wrong way is how rushed this is. Maybe there’s a love-at-first-sight sort of thing being implied here, & that can work in the right context, too, but their first meeting didn’t go tremendously well, if memory serves. (Of course, many fictional relationships have been known to evolve out of bad first meetings.) Now, at season’s end: ‘I’ve shared a couple episodes with this guy, we went through some stuff together. I respect him, I don’t want something bad to happen to him.’ I get those sentiments, & yes, over time, they could lead to deeper feelings. There are people in the Walking Dead fandom who discount the possibility of a Carol/Daryl romantic relationship, which has gradually been built into a deep, abiding bond over 8 seasons, yet, somehow, there are those who accept the half-a-season Jon/Dany pairing (if anyone harbours both of these attitudes, I’d like to know the thinking process there). Again, I’m not an uber-shipper when it comes to Daryl/Carol, but I wouldn’t be put off in any way whatsoever by it happening, because it would make sense. It’s a long-established, natural progression.

But this is Dany we’re talking about. She’s spent far longer with Jorah than Jon. That pairing would make more sense. I’m not trying to make a case for a Dany/Jorah pairing – for the record, while I do like Jorah as a character, & enjoy/appreciate the bond he shares with her, I had come to believe she would remain ‘mate-less’, given the death of her husband, to whom she’d been married for a prolonged length of time in the story’s timeline (& yes, I know, there’s the “R” word hanging over that relationship, & if someone didn’t like it because of that, I can’t fault them, but she turned it completely around, from a brutish, loveless situation into a very loving one where she was on equal footing, changing her husband & his attitude toward his own actions/cultural notions, & I was moved by the tragic end of that story arc). I’ll come back to that idea momentarily.

To continue, Dany had her ‘fun’ with Daario, yes, but she wasn’t in love with him. That was made clear. I wasn’t really into that ‘relationship’, personally, but even during that, she mentioned maybe having to marry for political reasons. In the world of the story, as I understood it, those things made sense. Now, all of a sudden, after just a couple of episodes, a few awkward interactions, some mutual experiences (however tragic), & a bit of respect, she & Jon are in love? Maybe it’s one of those cliché things where someone is upset over a tragedy & ends up being ‘comforted’ by another person, leading to sex? Maybe losing one of her dragon children was just too much, & her own wall of stoicism has come crashing down?

Anyway, back to the ‘mate-less’ thing; just to put this in perspective, Dany is my favourite GoT character (along with Tyrion). I even dressed as her (dragons included) for Halloween a couple years ago. Won the costume contest at my job that year. I was actually debating for a while, whether to go as her, or as Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors. The reason I finally chose Dany was very personal: I admire her, her strength, perseverance, & confidence. Even when she isn’t fully sure what to do, she moves forward, & comes through it. I am not that kind of person at all. And since Halloween is, in some ways, a chance to be something you are not, I thought I might try to channel those qualities, just for a day. With some luck, maybe absorb them just a little bit. Seymour’s a great character, but he’s closer to what I am than what I want to be. Dany is the latter.

Take the line from that recent monologue she had: “Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods, not in myths and legends. In myself.” That’s someone who doesn’t need someone else in order to be complete. Succumbing to this “urge” (because that’s how it comes off to me – no stain on Kit or Emilia, they’re both great in their roles) to sleep with Jon seems, dare I say (& meaning no offense to Jon as a character), beneath her. It takes away some of the integrity they’ve been building up all this time. It’s too much the cliché of someone being a certain way or type of person, & BOOM, they fall in love, & instantly lose who they are.

Take the end of The Faculty, for example – Clea Duvall’s pseudo-Goth girl no longer seems the strong (though slightly stand-offish), independent, Goth-type person she was. She’s instantly somebody else because there’s a guy in her life. Same thing with Ally Sheedy’s character in The Breakfast Club, though Molly Ringwald also contributed to that one.

(And I know what it sounds like; I’m not into this ultra-angry female-centric idea of feminism. I grew up in the 70s & 80s, it’s more equality than any notion of superiority that I favour. But being strong or different or fixed in a set of ideals or personal parameters is not something that needs to be overcome or challenged, in the way it is often presented, cinematically.)

So much for Dany breaking that wheel.

Maybe that’s what’s written on Tyrion’s face as he watches from outside the room. That, I would certainly understand, as I can’t look at either Dany or Jon right now in the same way. That bothers me, especially given how I felt about Dany up until this point.

By the way, is there anything like masturbation in the world of this story? They could, you know, try that. Also, Bran, why didn’t you send a bloody raven? Did you know the outcome of this already? Were you too messed up by the Hodor thing & figured you’d be interfering on some epic level? (If so, are you a Time Lord?)

There’s only one season left, so I’ll watch the series to its conclusion, mostly because I want to see what happens to the dragons. (Can somebody find Melisandre & see if she can resurrect Viserion? There’s gotta be some magick that can fix this.) But I’m disappointed. I know that writers can’t please everyone, & it’s probably wrong to have a set idea of how a character should be & not expect them to stray from that (it’d make them 2-dimensional or, at the very least, predictable), but when it’s been built up as one thing & then seems to take a hard left, a person can’t be faulted for the way that makes them feel, can they?

By the way, I absolutely hated the character of Ygritte (no offense to the actress), who I’ve always called “Jon’s girlfriend who likes to shoot arrows at him”. She just rubbed me every wrong way. Never in a million years would I think I’d miss her presence in the series, but so help me, I do.

I’m just praying the witch from season 1 was right, & Jon, in the words of Ygritte, really does “know nothing”.

Rant over, thanks for your time.

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