Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Monthly Dose of Westeros-Part 3: The Lannisters and King's Landing

Since Game of Thrones is currently on an eight month break, I will be providing my thoughts and predictions for one storyline every month until the show’s return. Since I have read the books, I know what should happen, but several plots seem to be taking turns away from the original material, while others are almost spot on. I will examine these apparent changes/accuracy, and do my best to avoid spoilers in “A Monthly Dose of Westeros”.

And now, the family everybody loves to hate: the Lannisters. This will end up being a mega-post as it will focus on a whole bunch of characters. I’m mostly going to focus on the three Lannister children (who are all POV characters in the books), but also a few other important characters such as Joffrey Baratheon, Margaery Tyrell, Brienne of Tarth, and Tywin Lannister.

I figured it would make the most sense to start off with one of the books’ most important, famous, and popular characters, everybody’s favorite dwarf, Tyrion Lannister. Most of the way through episode 9
The god of tits and wine himself
of season two, everybody thought things were going alright for Tyrion. Pretty girl, Hand of the King, good friends to protect him. The only thing he had to deal with was his sister. And then that very sister paid a man Tyrion thought he trusted to chop his head off during the battle of Blackwater Bay. Of course, that did not work so Tyrion now gets to live with a beautiful scar. Things just keep going downhill for Tyrion by season three; he’s demoted from Hand to Master of Coin, he doesn’t get any credit for his part in Blackwater, and he’s forced to marry Sansa Stark. Oh, also, his father tells him that he was on the verge of killing him when he was born. Father of the year 274 AL. The end of season three shows Tyrion trying desperately to make Tywin understand that the northerners will not forget the brutal murder of Robb and Catelyn Stark (starring Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, directed by Tywin). Tywin then yells at him for not getting Sansa pregnant by now and
Best wedding ever?
Tyrion returns to his wife to find her crying over the deaths of her brother and mother. Tyrion is the "only one" of a lot of things: he's the only one who talks any sense is King's Landing, he's the only one who cares about Sansa's well-being, he's the only one who has the balls to stand up to his father, he's the only one who takes advantage of the fact that he can yell at Joffrey with no consequences. Nobody realizes how necessary Tyrion is, except for maybe Varys and Bronn, but I think we can all agree it's time he gets his due. We’ve already seen so much Tyrion that there isn’t much else to cover in this post, as we’ve already been presented with his flaws and strengths, while his siblings are taking on a more important role in the show now.

It didn't take long to go from this...
Almost the polar opposite of his brother, nothing goes right for Jaime Lannister since his capture at the hands of Robb Stark. He made a bunched of failed escape attempts, had to be secretly freed by Catelyn Stark, lost a hand, and made an awkward friendship with Brienne of Tarth. By the end of season three, Jaime finally returns to King’s Landing after a very eventful buddy trip from Riverrun with Brienne. We had one short glimpse of him, with the only word spoken in the scene (not by a market vendor) being “Cersei”. In the book, Jaime returns much later, after one of the book’s most important events. Assuming he will be present for it in the show, this could explain why his arrival was changed so much. this
The books show Jaime returning through the main gate of the city recognized by many people and celebrated, whereas the show brings him through a side gate, not recognized by anybody and pushed aside as a “country boy”. In my opinion, the writers made his arrival like this to show how much Jaime’s star has really fallen. He was captured, shamed, crippled, and dirtied. Nobody knows who he is because he is not the Jaime Lannister everybody knew. He isn’t the arrogant Kingsguard man who can beat anybody in a fight. His loss of a hand and friendship with Brienne has humbled Jaime and changed who he is and what he stands for. Jaime's complete rehabilitation is, in my mind, one of the most amazing changes in television/book history. We see a guy who throws a little boy out of a window in the very first episode of the series go from despised to a fan favorite. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau does an absolutely wonderful job of portraying both sides of Jaime, especially during the scene when he tells Brienne why he really killed the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, one of the season’s best moments. 

Another change that was made was Jaime and Cersei’s reuniting. In the books, Jaime goes to Cersei in the sept and they engage in...activities...right away. It’s possible that this happened in the show and they just did not show it, but due to the timing of Jaime’s return. Cersei also does not notice Jaime’s stump until he shows her, but in the show it was right there for her to see. Either way, she is amazed to see her brother/lover again. Unfortunately, Jaime’s personality changes will also change his relationship with his family in the next season. Jaime’s complex personality is what made him one of my favorite characters from the books, and I really hope the writers are able to show enough on screen to make him a favorite of non-readers.

And now we get to one of the most complex, evil, and terribly depressing characters in the
show...Queen Cersei Lannister. We all know Cersei wants power and for the majority of the series, she has had it. Her son is the king, she is the queen regent, and that puts her basically in charge of the Seven Kingdoms. She assumes she's smarter than Tyrion, so she acts like she as all the power during his reign as Hand of the King. Unfortunately for Cersei, Tyrion was the only link to any power she had. After her brother's wound at Blackwater and her father's arrival, Tywin takes over as Hand and takes any power Cersei had away from her. On top of that, she has to deal with the arrival of Margaery Tyrell. Since the Tyrells helped to win the Battle of the Blackwater, Ser Loras asks Joffrey to marry his sister. Due to this arrangement Sansa is free from her betrothment to Joffrey and Cersei's world is turned upside down.

Margaery Tyrell is a smart, beautiful girl and she knows how to manipulate Joffrey more than Cersei ever has. Cersei never had to worry about Sansa
No touching!
marrying Joffrey because Sansa was easily manipulated. Margaery is, instead, a master manipulator and uses Sansa’s information about Joffrey to get in his head and start to pull him away from Cersei. So now, the woman who everyone had feared is now losing her power, her son, and her title. Something very important in the books that, if I recall correctly, is not mentioned in the show is a prophecy Cersei received as a child. She went to visit a woods witch with her friends and this foresaw Cersei’s future: she would be a great queen until a younger, more beautiful one comes to take her place. It seems that Margaery is here to fulfill that prophecy. Not to mention she was almost forced to marry Loras Tyrell.

Here are my predictions for the Lannister children’s storylines next season:

Season three had less Tyrion than the first two seasons, but that’s mostly because his most important contributions to the book were not in the first half. Season four will bring a ton of Peter Dinklage to our screens and absolutely should put him up for a bunch of awards. It’s impossible to give a preview of Tyrion’s story in the next season without giving away major, major spoilers, but if the writers do it right, there will be a lot of fighting, a lot of wine, and a lot of Tysha mentions. He even makes a new friend! Oh, and I want everybody to think about Tyrion’s life up to this point and remember...a Lannister always pays his debts...

I have no idea how Jaime’s story will start out. He’s home earlier than in the books so there will be some certain changes. He'll be present for events that he was not present for in the books, which hopefully won't affect them too much (if at all...). Jaime’s actions later in the season will surprise many people, as he helps one of his siblings out in a huge way and betrays the other. I’ll let you speculate which is which.

Cersei is going to lose more and more power over Joffrey, lose more and more power in general, and eventually start losing her mind. I mean, who wouldn’t at this point? There are some shocking moments coming up in the next few seasons for Cersei, and since she is a POV character in books 4 and 5, look for her character to become even more prominent in the coming seasons.

As for other important characters in these storylines, Brienne will begin a new mission later, but will stick around King’s Landing for a while.

Varys continues his spider thing. Littlefinger continues to hang out in the Eyrie, at least for the beginning of the season. Pycelle keeps being old. 

Tywin will continue to control everything. 

Margaery is even more influential over Joffrey, the two get married, and all I have to say about Joffrey is: don’t worry everybody.

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