c.e. taillefer

February 11, 2013

i cum deo, papa


We are the Church, we’re c-coming out
Got my Mass on it’s true, need that service with you
It’s so ecumenical,
We’d be so theological.

Brocade and lace, Vatican glamorous,
You know what it means, worshipping the Deus
God paid the price, now you serve the light,
‘Cause you know that Benny, I

I’m your biggest fan I’ll follow you until you bless me,
Papa, Papa Ratzi
Benny there’s no other Cardinal you know that you’ll be my
Papa, Papa Ratzi
Promise I’ll be kind, but I won’t stop until that blessing’s mine,
Benny you’re so holy chase you down until you bless me,
Papa, Papa Ratzi

I’ll be your girl, backstage at St. Pete’s,
Linen cloths and patens, yeah ’cause you’re my Pope,
Between Matins and Compline, candles and antiphon,
Incense is burnt, purple smoke and we bow,
Phos Hilaron end of day, the Magnificat I say,
You know the price, just bless me I pray
‘Cause you know that Benny, I

I’m your biggest fan I’ll follow you until you bless me,
Papa, Papa Ratzi
Benny there’s no other Cardinal you know that you’ll be my
Papa, Papa Ratzi
Promise I’ll be kind, but I won’t stop until that blessing’s mine,
Benny you’re so holy chase you down until you bless me,
Papa, Papa Ratzi

Real saintly, we confess at the kneelers,
Hail Mary and Glory Be like Theresa of Avila
Don’t stop till we’re done,
We’re Roman but we still have fun!

I’m your biggest fan I’ll follow you until you bless me,
Papa, Papa Ratzi
Benny there’s no other Cardinal you know that you’ll be my
Papa, Papa Ratzi
Promise I’ll be kind, but I won’t stop until that blessing’s mine,
Benny you’re so holy chase you down until you bless me,
Papa, Papa Ratzi

September 7, 2012

Meli Maenomenon – Honey Sweet, with a Hint of Dear Leader


[Content Note: Critical examination of the flaws of safe spaces]

My feminism has evolved a lot since the days I was able to first name it, and most of it came from others around me.  I picked up one book on feminist theology once, got an essay in and put it down before I dropped it into the tub from laughing too hard.  The lessons, while as varied as the women who taught them to me, were simple: talk less and listen more, the value of the lived experience, how to struggle against a world that hates you, the importance of connection to one another.  Feminism is not a solo struggle.  This last one, more than anything.

I did my stint on the big internet forums of the world with Scarleteen, first as a dumb scared teenager and later, I was lucky enough to serve on their volunteer moderator squad for four years.  I learned a lot from the website, both in the fields of sex ed, and also the kind of delicate abrasiveness that you get when dealing with teens.  The rules at ST were pretty simple: as long as you weren’t using slurs, or abusing the users or mod team, we were willing to tackle – and be challenged by – almost any topic in the realm of relationships and sex.

When I ended up on Livejournal, I spent maybe one day in the community vaginapagina, hoping to learn some things and give useful information if I could.  This, the rules proclaimed, is a safe(r) space. The problem: in cultivating this safe space, the moderators of VP were often cracking down on nearly all criticisms of dangerous activity or incorrect information.  Commenters were able to support posters but not critique them. I didn’t last long there, but leaving the community doesn’t fix the general problem, hey?

I struggle a lot with the idea of trying to make feminism accessible and fun. Pat Robertson did a pretty good job when he pitched us as single lesbian women determined to break down the nuclear family unit and practice witchcraft, but that doesn’t pull in the numbers you’d think it would anymore.  But the message that fun feminism sends is that feminism is a big sleepover party, where you do each other’s nails, try out different makeup and wax your legs – because EVERY choice is feminist, didn’t you know?  When it comes to organizing or protesting or donating, you start seeing the same faces over and over again on the ground, with new recruits nowhere to be seen.  And yeah, those old guard are hard working and do great things – but we need fresh blood and new experiences, not an echo chamber.  It’s a very weird to walk out of a talk on feminism with the unsettling feeling you’re too radical for university feminists.

Another recent victim of the safe space ideology is Shakesville (nee Shakespeare’s Sister), with whom I’ve had a few run-ins over the past weeks, beginning with a post entreating the community for advice on a user having problems with a child racking up serious dollars on their phone streaming porn.  I was banned from that post for a series of four comments, most of which was suggesting that other commenters were out of line in telling the mother watch a porn video with her child and explain why it is pornography is harmful. Not only was I banned, but the assumption was that I couldn’t possible be someone new who was disconcerted by the suggestions a mother sexually abuse her son but a sockpuppet of a former Shakesville troll.

So: issue #1 with this safe space: It’s only for people who advocate absolutely terrible, scarring and illegal actions in childrearing.  For what it’s worth, I know mothers can’t win with most shit – every kind of parenting they do is wrong.  But there’s paternalistic sexism couched in the guise of wanting what’s best for the child, and there’s straight up WRONG.  Guess which one this fell under? And yet, guess which comments were not deleted?

If you’re still not convinced, how about yesterday’s post re: Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC.  There is a lot of what the kids today are calling squeeing, until someone brings up that as a survivor they’re uncomfortable with the glorification of a man who was under pretty heavy fire in the 90s for being a serial sexual harasser.

Okay, look, there are a lot of problems with feminism. Buckets. Truckloads.  You would need the Curiosity and ten years to scan all the issues within feminism.  One thing that should be a given is sensitivity to the needs of women survivors.  it’s something we share with 1/3rd of the world’s population of women, and at the very least, we can get that right, and have frank and honest discussions about the glorification of the sexual abuses by men in power, right?  It’s not like this presidential election race hasn’t been under heavy scrutiny for the “legitimate rape” debacle, the “life begins two weeks before conception” thing, pretty much every law passed in Arizona about women in the past four years.  It’s not like Kristen Stewart isn’t getting the coal-raking of her life for entering a consensual (if adulterous) relationship in the media right now, a double standard that positively saturates the messages women absorb.

If you guessed Have a Frank and Earnest Discussion about Clinton’s Sexual Misconduct, sorry!  The right answer is “tell the survivor she’s deliberately ruining the carefully cultivated safe space of Shakesville.”  How dare you call them sycophants! That word should be reserved for people who constantly jump to defend the indefensible. Wait a second…

Look, this sounds a lot like the Grudge 2: the Grudgening and in a way it is.  Because this continued broken ideal of safe spaces continues the old saying “so open-minded their brain fell out”.  It’s not working! It’s driving away the very people feminism should be seeking to reach? Is it any wonder that many WoC feel uncomfortable with feminism when its advocates do ridiculous things like write about Scottish persecution in a Pixar film?  Or that survivors don’t want to be part of a community where rigid rules don’t allow for their experiences to be heard?  This is not a small problem; this is a symptom of a huge problem, and it’s front and centre because this site is often one of the first recommended to young feminists interested in reading and participating more. Not only does it do a disservice in teaching young women about feminism, there is often the sense of the same kind of gently done guilt-tripping associated with the best of manipulators.

Revolution isn’t safe.  The only safety women, POC, people with disabilities, LGBT people have had is in the strength of numbers, solidarity and speaking truth loudly.  Driving people away with a false ideal of safety only serves to hollow us out until the privileged smash us to pieces.  Come on. Let’s make a real safe space out of the world.

October 29, 2011

Rick Mercer: Greatest or Greatestest?

Also a great post on this video can be found right here.
August 22, 2011

RIP Jack Layton


You were so much more than a cool mustache, and pulled off something great in your last election. You were the most constant feature of the political field of my youth.  I’m going to miss the hell out of you in the years to come.

Beam up my heart Scotty 🙁
July 29, 2011

Mononucleosis is the kissing disease/it’s very hard to shake but you catch it with ease


Now that I’ve officially made my dad proud by quoting Allan Sherman, let’s talk about where I’ve been.  which is to say, nowhere, really, except a one-way ticket to monoville.

Getting mono is one of those things that changes significantly from childhood to adulthood, like getting your appendix out.  Getting mono in middle school is fucking amazing for your cred: you got it because you had hot make-outs with someone, you get to miss a week or two of school and play video games, and you come back with a sexy story about fighting at death’s door and beating the odds.

Getting mono as an adult sucks.  You feel kind of gross for a week or so, figuring it’s probably due to the humidity and month-long drought the county’s been suffering.  You make it through the work day just sort of skating on the pile of urgent stuff, while the less urgent stuff piles up in drifts around you.  You eventually sort through the less-urgent piles searching for things that are now urgent.  You go home to sleep, and wake up three or four hours later, sweat-soaked and dry-mouthed. And you think well this sucks, but it’s normal.

After a week of the work->bed->couch->bed cycle, a couple of rashes, eventually you wake up one morning with the lymph nodes in your neck standing out like goose eggs and you’re like “Well, shit son.”  I’ve mentioned this before, but a few years ago I tested positive for ANA, one of the markers for lupus, but I didn’t have any of the usual other problems (aside from fatigue) that point to a diagnosis.  But when things start acting up, I decided to go to the walk-in clinic.

“No, it’s not auto-immune, I don’t think,” the doctor says, “Looks like mono to me.”  She sends me off to get blood taken, the results of which will take two weeks to arrive (aw bless your face Canadian health care). “In the meantime, is there anything I can do?” I ask.  “Nope!” she says cheerfully, “Viral infections don’t respond to much. Sleep as much as you can, take lots of fluids.”

So that’s what I’m continuing to do, in between still going to work, because here’s the thing about adulthood – very few jobs let you take a week or two off to sleep off an unconfirmed diagnosis of an illness while your friend brings you homework to look at, laugh and go back to sleeping with a PS2 controller in your hand.

Although, my desk does have a sweet overhang that would create a perfect napping nook…

July 5, 2011

Doing the Research (also some reviews)


When I was in university, I put off writing creative fiction, because essay-writing was so time-consuming, I didn’t have the energy to put pen to paper at the end of the day.  But I never stopped reading at night before bed.  I figured if I wasn’t writing, at least I wasn’t letting my creative brain wither and die either.  (And to be perfectly honest, the nights I went straight from the computer or TV to sleep ended with horrible, repetitive nightmares about IM or video games.  You ever try to attend a morning class after spending all night catching every single pokemon?  YEAH.)

If only I had caught one of these before bed…

Reading while writing creatively is an interesting exercise however.  Like writing research papers, you’ve gotta keep current and do the research.  You’re not taking notes the way you would for a paper, because you’re not going to be citing someone verbatim in your story typically, but you are keeping track of what’s useful and what isn’t for the future.  You have to tightrope walk a line where you’re keeping up with the genre you’re working in (for me historical fiction/fantasy), but at the same time you don’t necessarily want it to be too similar lest you find yourself reaching for phrases as you write, and coming out with stuff from the book you just read rather than your own grey matter.  Or you find yourself thinking about your story while you read, often in situations (like late at night) when you can’t exactly put down the book you’re reading and go whomp out a few chapters. At least not when 7AM comes hard and fast in the morning.

I had spent some time getting caught up with ASOIAF in anticipation of the new book dropping this month, and actually it’s a good compromise: GRRM’s world is historical, in that it’s a fantastical re-telling of the War of the Roses but also contains magical elements.  I’ve read the whole series a couple of times, so it’s easy to just let the words carry me away as I read, and pick up on neat clues I missed my first or second read.

One of my favourite historical fiction authors, Margaret George, published a new book recently as well, Elizabeth I. To my surprise, it covered only the Golden Age period of Bess’ life – 1588 to her death in 1603, dealing mostly with the Spanish invasions, and the Earl of Essex’ total bumblefuck in Ireland and his subsequent rebellion.  While exciting in concept, the reality of Elizabeth’s experiences both with the Spanish Armadas and Essex were pretty remote – all of the fighting happens away from court, where she is safely ensconced for the bulk of the novel, and the novel is written in the first person.  George is tirelessly faithful historian in this instance.  It doesn’t always make for an exciting book, but her skill at writing means Elizabeth I was still incredibly compelling.  And of course, first person POV historical fiction is of especial interest to me right now.  In fact, one of George’s earlier books, Mary, called Magdalene is one of the books that got me thinking about writing my own historical novel set around the time of Jesus’ ministry.

I briefly tried reading Philippa Gregory’s The Red Queen, another book about the War of the Roses, but reading five massive books about politics and machinations has thoroughly burned me out, so instead i moved to Lauren Oliver’s YA dystopian novel, Delirium, where love is considered a disease of the nervous system, and a cure has been created for all people over the age of 18.

Wow. I haven’t read Divergent yet, and I’m only half-way through Oliver’s book, but if there’s a spiritual successor to the Hunger Games out there, I think Delirium is going to be it.  The writing is tight and intense, and the gradual release of details about the history of the protagonist’s family, but also the society she lives in is really satisfying.  Also, to appease the world-building dork in me, each chapter begins with quotes from books, songs and government pamphlets – not enough to drown the reader, but to give a creepily realistic feel to the culture Lena lives in.

So there you go.  To understand why I write, I’ve got to understand why I read. This is only a small part, but an extremely important one.  Without excellent writers out there showing me the way, I might not have known there was a way.

Posted in: Uncategorized
June 5, 2011

I’m not dead yet!


Things have been alternately hectic and slow as molasses lately, so updating my personal blog has been on a back burner. However, there are a couple of exciting things coming up:

1) a project I’m working on with some guildies for Warcraft, which requires me to finally use my MacBook for more than just looking cool at Starbucks. This is one of those ‘stunning in its simplicity’ type ideas that someone came up with and I’m excited to be a part of it. Hopefully I can post in more detail about it soon!

2) The first chapter of Talitha Cumi will be posted here within the month, after it has gone through the grinder that is beta + critique group.  I would’ve loved to have it up as soon as I launched this blog, but I think the polishing up process has really made a difference so I’m glad to have waited.

In the meantime, summer is here, the weather has been gorgeous and I’m slowly becoming bffs with my new Kitchenaid mixer. Life is good.

Posted in: Uncategorized
May 26, 2011

I’d like a sweet workstation and a mecha suit. oh, and cancel the order for the mecha suit


A few years ago, I went to see Iron Man 2 in theatres with some friends. I never saw the original Iron Man but I figured it would be a fun popcorn flick (which it was!)  But what really captivated my attention was Tony Stark’s workstation.


As a writer, I admit that ways to move and store ideas are always something I’m on the lookout for and if they’re 3D, all the better.  My first hope towards a Tony Stark-esque work life was the First Else, a now-defunct phone project that featured intuitive menus that would move features you used most to the top and cool-creepy features like alerts to let you know you had an active grocery list and you were passing by a grocery store.  I’m not surprised it didn’t make it – Emblaze mobile is a relative no-name in a pretty competitive field, but I would’ve loved to try the Else.

Fortunately, Adam King has my radial organizational needs on lock with the Daily Rind planning method.  I love pen and paper planners, so this is a big plus, as well as the fact that my work organizational tools are not compatible with my phone or home planner.  This allows me to smoosh everything together into one sheet a day and gives me at least one set routine: each day I sit down and plan the day to come, but gives me the flexibility of changing plans or adding things in.

The other tool in my repository that lets me move things around to my tastes is Literature and Latte’s Scrivener.  I LOVE THIS PROGRAM SO MUCH.  The outlining system lets me easily move scenes from place to place to give a narrative a smoother flow.  It’s got chapter word counts, and document word counts, and colour-coding.  There are so many doodads and features I know I haven’t found them all yet.  As of yet, there is no feature allowing me to virtually crumple something up and toss it but it’s coming. I CAN FEEL IT.

How do you organize your workstation and tasks? Do you like your methods? What would you change if you could?  Are you, like me, eagerly awaiting 3D interactive holograms?

Posted in: Uncategorized
May 24, 2011

Hunger Games Race-Fail


(Note: this was originally posted at my old dreamwidth blog)

I have a secret: I love YA novels.  Some of my favourite books and series fall under the umbrella of young adult: Garth Nix’s Sabriel, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling/Fire, and particularly, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games.  This last one is causing me no end of grief, because of this recent news about its casting.  This article from Racebending is a great summary of the problems I’m seeing. Hollywood’s no stranger to white-washing; you’d pretty much be living under a rock if you didn’t hear some of the brouhaha over M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender complete failure to respect the original material.  N.K Jemisin, one of my favourite authors ever, has tons of links of various ways Hollywood lets down women, people of colour and other underprivileged groups at her blog.
In short, Katniss Everdeen, the main character of the Hunger Games, is a woman living in a dystopian future Appalachia, where many inhabitants are bi-racial or tri-racial, drawing from First Nations or black heritage, or both.  Moreover, she’s described as being at least bi-racial: having dark skin, long black hair and grey eyes, like most of the inhabitants of The Seam – the poor, coal mining region of her District.  Her sister and mother look like the upper caste merchant class, from where her mother hails: blond hair, blue eyes, lighter skin.  After the success of True Grit, Hailee Steinfeld was bantered around as being a possibility.  But the casting call was for a Caucasian woman, and while I don’t know if Steinfeld decided to try out or not, she’s of Filipino and Jewish descent.  The part has been offered to Jennifer Lawrence, another woman from the Oscars list, in Winter’s Bone.

This quote from Aliya is a great place to begin:

Why would the latter possibility [that Katniss is a dark-skinned white woman] upset me enough to hate the books? Because it disallows compassion and empathy. Instead of Northern readers seeing themselves as in the position of the Capitol, they see themselves as the oppressed, hungry girl from District 12 striving against whatever form their oppressions individually take. This would be a tragedy.
But when you look at it compared to the comments from the director:


There are certain things that are very clear in the book. Rue is African-American. Thresh is African-American. Suzanne had no issues with Jen playing the role. And she thought there was a tremendous amount of flexibility. It wasn’t doctrine to her. Jen will have dark hair in the role, but that’s something movies can easily achieve. [Laughs] I promise all the avid fans of The Hunger Games that we can easily deal with Jennifer’s hair color.

Well, it seems exceedingly likely that Collins is talking about the role people of colour play in her novel. Very distinctly, they are the supporting roles to Katniss’ heroism.  Given that the premise of the story is about young adults forced to kill each other in an arena, it’s not a big surprise that neither black characters will survive their roles.  Add this to the dismissive tone about the hair dye, and it just looks like a hot mess scraped off the sidewalk, and one unlikely to fulfill Aliya’s hopes for a protagonist of colour to be an agent and hero in her own right.  Instead we’ve got subtle affirmation that the latter reading of Katniss as a model for privileged young adults to imagine themselves as rebellious heroes is the one Collins intended.

It’s not a huge secret that Battle Royale is one of my favourite movies. Exceedingly troubled? Yes. Exceedingly troubling? Also yes.  A few years ago, around the time Quentin Tarantino was making Kill Bill, he made noises about how much he loved Takako Chigusa in Battle Royale (and in fact hired the actress to be Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill vol.1) and would give anything to remake it, but a story about children killing each other would never fly in America.

More to the point, we all breathed a sigh of relief, because the monstrosity that was the Shall We Dance? remake failed predominantly because the notion of the tightly-wound Japanese salaryman was not really something most North Americans could sympathize with, and a great deal of the paranoia and fear motivating the writing of Battle Royale (and then later, the filming) is different.

But if Hunger Games succeeds, if America finds movies about children killing each other palatable, what’s stopping a Battle Royale remake with a funky, ironic Tarantino soundtrack and all-white cast?  Japanese remakes have been happening for years – The Ring and The Grudge are two pretty major ones. All the same, a Battle Royale remake would be different than these.  Part of it is not bearing able to hear the dorky, sweet teen dialogue become slick Tarantino soliloquies.  But a bigger part is that, like the Hunger Games changes, it seems to tell young kids of colour that while their stories are tragic, movie-goers really only care about stories when they happen to cute little white kids.

As much as I love the Hunger Games novels, I only hope this movie flops as terribly as the ATLA movie did.

Posted in: Uncategorized
May 19, 2011

Game of Thrones: Halftime Discussion


We’re five episodes into the ten-episode season of Game of Thrones. It’s been so successful that a second season was greenlit after the pilot alone, and rumors are out that season three has been signed off on as well.  There’s been a lot of different recaps out there – Television Without Pity and Entertainment Weekly both have recaps each week – but I want to focus less on plot development and more on the character arcs and shifts between novel and show.  ASOIAF is largely a character driven story, and I really want to delve into how these changes affect the characters.  Because this is about the differences between the books and the tv show, be aware there are definitely spoilers for the first book, and likely the next three.

Sansa doesn’t like people spoiling themselves accidentally.

 So far, Ned Stark, Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister have all been pitch perfect.  Ned and Tyrion, as fan favourites of the books, are no real surprise and I’m glad that Sansa, who is definitely not a favourite, hasn’t changed, because I loved her in the books. Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon is wonderful too.

Arya and Bran Stark are both extremely faithful to the books, and they are not characters I loved while reading, but I am loving them now. Both Maisie Williams and Isaac Hempstead-Wright are flawless with perfect combination of childishness and solemnity.

Cersei Lannister:  her changes are subtle, but they’re there. She’s omnipresent in ways that she wasn’t in the books. Though it’s implied that her and Robert visited with Bran when he was comatose, in the show we actually see it and you can’t tell if Cersei is truly reliving losing a child of her own or if she’s casing the joint for the later attempt on Bran’s life or maybe both.  She visits Ned Stark to get a handle on how much he has learned about her and Jaime without tipping her hand overmuch.  We haven’t met Tywin Lannister yet, but you get the sense that she is truly his heir as she believes in the books because she is cool where Jaime is hot-headed and quietly savvy where Tyrion is too smart to know when too shut up. It’s hard to get this sense of Cersei in the early books because she’s not a point-of-view character yet, and by the time she gets her own narrative, she’s going off the rails due to personal tragedy and incompetence.  Her scene with Robert in episode five was, as my husband said, “the first time there was any honest conversation between two people in five episodes.”  It’s a scene we get to see because the show isn’t (and really, can’t) do the unique POV style narrative the books have, and it’s one of the best scenes the show has had.

Catelyn Tully Stark: She has changed from the books, and I’m not sure it’s an arc I liked at first.  In the books, Catelyn is the one who encourages Ned to go south, first because she understands what this new Robert is like before Ned does and refusing him would only cause resentment, and then after receiving Lysa’s letter, so Ned can figure out how Jon Arryn died.  In the show, she is dragging against Ned’s honour every step of the way.  Contrast this with her vicious hatred of Jon Snow in the books, which is toned down quite a bit for the show, and Catelyn’s depth is smoothed out a little too much for my liking.  Like Sansa, Cat’s another one who wasn’t a favourite, mostly because fans love Jon Snow and she doesn’t, so the logical choice is to say terrible things about Cat as a woman and mother.  But consider the world she lives in, where bastards are not only not brought home to live with the family, but are ignored at best or at worst killed without anyone really caring.  Jon gets a family who likes him, training worth of a nobleman in sword and riding, a roof over his head, and a father who respects him. The only one who doesn’t is Catelyn, and it’s pretty clearly shown she is fierce in protecting her family’s interests and Jon directly contradicts those interests.  Also, she has always been loyal in her marriage to Ned and she loves him too, and I think Jon rankles her for those reasons – knowing that no matter how much Ned loves and respects her, there is a physical reminder of something he cannot share with her there. So. Yes, her treatment of Jon is shitty but it’s real, and I respect that.  And of course, from the attack on Bran’s life onward, Cat becomes the BAMF we all know and love. And by all, I mean, the three Catelyn fangirls out there.

Daenerys Targaryen: The change that bothered me more than anything was Dany’s arc.  In the books and the show both, we meet Dany as the abused younger sister of an exiled king who seems to be following rather closely in his father’s footsteps as a mad one.  Though the Targaryens marry brother to sister to keep their Ptolemaic bloodlines pure and Dany expects to marry her brother in a few years, she ends up married to Khal Drogo, a fierce leader of the Dothraki horse lords.  An awful situation for a thirteen year old (in the books) or a ~17 year old (in the show.)  But. In the books, during the wedding, Dany speaks to her husband after receiving the gift of a beautiful horse to thank him, and he smiles at her.  Later, during the consummation, though she’s crying and afraid, he takes the time to get her familiar with his body and her own and she says “yes” before sex.  In the show, they don’t speak at all, and even though Dany is crying and afraid, Khal Drogo keeps telling her “no” and pulling her clothes off before forcing her to her hands and knees.  It’s alarming and uncomfortable in both situations, and it’s most certainly rape in both situations.  But the book makes explicit in ways the show doesn’t that thought Daenerys would not have chosen this for herself, it’s a space free from her overbearing, abusive brother, and a place where she can make choices and agency for herself.  This tentative step on the road to self-actualization is what makes her growth stronger in the book.  In the show, it’s just a victim being abused by a new abuser, and while Dany does go on to gain confidence to rebuff her brother and fall in love with Drogo (as she does in the books), you still remember that she started out abused, was abused more and then is on this path to further abuse.  It’s Break the Cutie on a horrific scale. I suppose the argument can be made that since Dany had to be aged upwards for the nudity to fly with audiences, there had to be visual cues of how awful the situation was but I don’t buy it. For one, you still had assholes arguing that what happened on the show wasn’t rape, because she was married (and here I thought marital rape being illegal was common knowledge but there you go), but it’s still pretty obvious she’s being sold into slavery in exchange for an army to a culture that’s portrayed as barbaric and cruel (and I could go into how the wedding of brown people doing awful things to each other and dancing lewdly while white people look on in horror is awful in its own right, but that’s been covered extensively, especially at this great Racialicious piece.)  In short, I am disappointed with this character change the most because Dany has so far to go in becoming Dothraki and this really twists the knife into that.  For more reason, Isaac Butler covers this really well here.

Jaime Lannister: Like Cersei, Jaime doesn’t get a POV narrative until the later books, and like his sister, we see a more ubiquitous and interesting Jaime right from the beginning of Game of Thrones.  You see him share war stories with Barristan Selmy and the king, and Jory Cassel.  He gives us background on what led him to kill Aerys Targaryen and makes it seem like a pretty good idea, actually.  On the other hand, the casualness with which he shoves Bran in episode one is breathtaking, and he takes cheery pleasure in his brutality in fighting the Starks.  It sets up the dichotomy between Kingsguard and Kingslayer Jaimes very early, and given the changes to Cersei’s character as well, it’s only fair Jaime matches her. 

Renly and Loras: more sexy exposition, can’t argue with that.  Also makes explicit something GRRM said was implied in the books, but again, people making comments on Renly or Loras’ preferences in the book are limited in their point of view.  Most of the character changes come from things that are implied or thought to be known in the books, but must be shown explicitly in the show because limited POV narrative is hard to translate to screen (see also: Harry Potter.)  Loras being the one pressuring Renly into kingship is interesting, and because the relationship is made explicit for the show, it means the Tyrells are showing their hand early. I wonder how close Loras is to his grandmother? I heard she’s rather thorny.  I also thought this was a clever nod to why Sansa gets a rose, and yet Loras doesn’t remember her at all.

Minor linguistic quibble: I’m curious as to why Lysa Tully Arryn is know as Lie-sa, instead of Lee-sa, when every other instead of a ‘y’ vowel is pronounced as a short y: Catelyn, Aerys, Daenerys, Tully. It just seems awkward. 

In spite of the problems, Game of Thrones remains one of the best book to screen adaptations in a long time: faithful without being stunted or flattened, original scenes that serve to enhance the story in a suitable manner for a tv show, incredible casting, excellent effects.  Though I’m not happy with it, I’m not surprised that most of the characters that lost nuance were women, and I hope that as the show grows, so do they.

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