Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, June 12, 2015

Game of Thrones

A lot has been written about how dark this season has been, how unremittingly bleak.

The two biggest examples of this are the rape of Sansa Stark and the burning of Shereen Baratheon at the stake.  They are both fairly beloved figures, though Sansa has always seemed rather dull to me.

I don't think these criticisms are especially valid, and let's start with Sansa.

I've always found the eldest female Stark child to be a bothersome, weak-willed bore.  Coming from two such parents as she did, she was remarkably weak and passive.  After the poisoning of Joffrey and her escape from King's Landing, she seemed to come alive a bit.  Her brutal "marriage" to arguably the most loathsome creature in Westeros is harsh, unpleasant and cruel.

But it shows how power works in that world.  Marriages were done for title and alliances.  That Ned and Catelyn Stark were in love was a happy coincidence borne of each other's basic decency.  Robb turned his back on an arranged marriage and it got him killed, along with most of his House, his mother and pregnant wife.  Was the rape of Sansa really worse than THAT?  Plus, that storyline isn't over yet.  Will Sansa kill Ramsay?  Will Brienne?

Because one of them will.  Ramsay has embraced the first sin of Martin's universe: ambition.  By rising above his bastard's birth, he's placed himself in the crosshairs of fate.  Ramsay will die and die awfully.  The only question is who will do the honors?

As for Shereen...THAT was truly awful on so many levels.  And sadly that scene was really about Stannis.  Stannis had always been an unlikable character.  He was no Joffrey or Tywin or even the Hound.  But he was cold and a little nuts.  But his awkward bond with his daughter - which they played out so beautifully a few episodes back - was his one redeeming quality.

That he would sacrifice that for power is what has sealed his doom.

A lot of critics have called these twin atrocities "gratuitous".  Nothing could be further from the truth.  These are the essential themes of GoT.  Power may or may not corrupt.  But pursuit of it clearly does.

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