Female Badassery On Game of Thrones: Margaery Tyrell

I feel like she is so slept on as a character and I would loved to have seen more of her. She is smart, determined and stunning, so if you don’t already love her then I will be doing my best to convince you otherwise.

On first opinions, when Margaery came in a sly smirk on her face, I immediately did not trust her.

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However, that quickly changed when her true colours were shown — that she want “to be the queen”. I loved her for it, by all accounts it can be perceived as cheesy and it is not a noble cause. But the girl knows what she wants and she is going for it. That I can respect.

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We see that she is not dimwitted and very aware of the people around her. First seen when she offers to bring her brothers lover (her brother, Loras) in the bedroom. She knew Renly was gay and did not care. She knew she was happy to do all it took to achieve her goal.

Then when it went to shit, she got the fuck outta there.

Her plan changed to where she could achieve her goals, because that is where loyalties lie. Not to a house or to a saying but to yourself.

When she came to have some influence, she helped the poor and in turn, gained the love of the people. People will argue with this — as she may have done it for her own personal gain, nevertheless however, she did it. She did good.

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Cersei had every right to be scared of Margaery, who fits the bill of “someone younger an more beautiful”. She not only gained the approval of the people but managed to manipulate Joffrey. Played him like a fiddle, or used him like a crossbow, if you will.

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She had a great relationship with her family. Her and Olenna (Queen!) spoke about things you wouldn’t expect such as how Olenna used her feminine wiles to gain her husband, we see where Margaery gets it from.

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She also made nice with Sansa (which you know I appreciate from my last blog post). She gave her, not only a friend, but also an escape route. Sansa was alone and scared but now she can dream of Highgarden, away from Joffrey. That sisterhood, even if she gained something, was kind.

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Even when Sansa could not be her sister-in-law, she still provided her solace. Reminded her of who Tyrion was, except just a Lannister. Proving once again that she was not an innocent girl.

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The look of disgust she gave Joffrey perfectly matched the viewers at home.

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She then managed to marry a King for the third time. Expertly reading and manipulating Tommen, in a manner completely different to how she did with Joffrey.

Once again she was super accepting of her brother but scolded him when he was not being smart.

She sasses Cersei. On multiple occasions. AND did it with a smile on her face.

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Now, we move into the High Sparrow debacle. Margaery was taken prisoner, like Loras (and for him) but when he was beaten and broken, she was not, still managing to sass Cersei in her weakened state. Protecting her family was her number 1 priority, she would not sell out her brother.

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She continued her expert manipulation, with the high sparrow. She didn’t need a man’s help to leave, even if that man was the king. And left with her robes very much intact, unlike another Queen we know.

Even when we thought she had bent her will, we get this subtle reminder of how strong and determined she is — family comes first.

Finally with a heavy heart I must mention this. In her final scene, she was the first to realise that Cersei was up to something. When she was dismissed, she died holding her brother.

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Total vanity bonus: the banging outfits.

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Female Badassery on Game of Thrones: Sansa Stark

There are plenty of examples of women not being treated right on Game of Thrones but this is not that kind of post. I will be talking about two specific women I love but I feel like get a bad rep. [I have genuinely been defending her with all my strength,]

Yes, Arya is not on this. This due to her being everyone’s favourite and the thick plot armour she possesses, therefore making her kind of boring to me now.

Sansa Sassqueen Stark

There is a stigma around femininity; feminine qualities and liking feminine things is weak often perceived as weak. Further perpetuating the women hating women cliche. Sansa is a Lady, who likes all the pretty things along with all that this title holds, she grows to see the flaws in her idealised thinking but still holds true to being a woman.

Besides her name, she is not extraordinary in any way. She is not trained to be a faceless man, she is not the princess who was promised and does not have dragons. She is by every definition of the word ordinary, yet she has survived in a world that wants her dead, eventually rising to a leader.

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There are only so few characters who can have such a subtle development over the seasons. She starts of as a child, a spoilt naive child, who honestly I hated because she said shit like this:

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Despite the red flags and warnings, she still wanted this. Her dreams were quickly taken away and when she was no more than a child begged for her father’s life and was close to organising a plea deal for him. When tragedy hit even harder she still came back with some zingy one-liners but not bad enough to get her killed.

Credits to this amazing thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/freefolk/comments/b3yl5j/i_dont_think_sansa_gets_enough_credit_for_sassing/

She used the “Joffrey is my one true love” line and it is what kept her alive.

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She dealt with a lot of abuse from Joffrey, Merrel and Cersei but was resilient. When she met Margaery, she took to her like a sister and once again, dreamed of marrying her prince (Loras). There was plenty wrong with that set up and yes, it may even be stupid for her to have hope, but I think it speaks volumes. She is still kind to people and led to saving Dontos’ life. She has compassion, a quality which often time is shunned.

The two major issues I had after this point was (1) her treatment of Tyrion and (2) why she didn’t go with the hound when she could escape. These can be justified upon further thought.

  1. As far as we the audience know, Tyrion is not a bad guy. However to her he is another Lannister, a scheming bunch who so far have been terrible to her. Despite this, they did grow to have an understanding and a mutual respect.
  2. As much as she feared Joffrey and King’s Landing, there were lines that people could not cross due to her influence. Cersei is fundamentally a bad person but Sansa knew what she would and would not do. She knew nothing of Sandor and feared him, which is understandable. She knows what he is capable of and even if he would never hurt her, he can not guarantee her safety

What I like as well is that for a long time Sansa was still a brat, her development was a slow burn, which is shown more later. She is still a brat, especially to Shae, but once again they started to have a pretty good relationship.

Finally, when Sansa had a real opportunity to escape she took it. Again, judgement-wise she was not smart for trusting Dontos but she sure as hell didn’t trust Petyr Baelish.

Up to this point, she has been observing everyone. She even knows Cersei better than Tyrion and has learnt by observing Tyrion how to survive by using your brain. The same goes for Baelish.

When Lysa died, she had no problem concocting a story to ensure her survival. She knew what she was doing. She came back ready to slay.

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However, this lead to her only facing a hell worse than the one she just escaped. I’m not going to get into what she endured but focus on her escape. She ESCAPED hell. Again. And it was no easy feat but she never gave up.

Then she forgave Theon.

Once again, she is ready to kick ass. She is the one who wanted to take the North because as she said no one is safe as long as Ramsay is around. Further proven when he kidnaps Rickon, who Sansa wants to save.

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Also when Jon agreed to fight for their home, he ignored her battle plan which is much better than his. Further showing that she is much smarter than everyone gives her credit for.

She was finally grown up enough to make amends.

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When hope was lost, she saved the Jon and was the victor. She won the battle of the bastards.

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This line doesn’t hold up well because of the circumstances in which she says it but she is not wrong.

She played Baelish like a pro then delivered her most iconic line.

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In the latest season, she’s the only one calling out Jon. stating that the people of the North made them their king and he gave it to Danaerys purely because he loves her.

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She also was ready to give the loyal families a reward but Jon didn’t listen to her and surprise surprise — they betrayed them once more.

She has shown she knows how to be a Warden of the North, ensuring that armour is being made properly, rations are given out and ensuring that people get rest before going into another battle. She cares about the North and the people.

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Finally, as pandering as I thought this was, she knows how to rock a crown.

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Depersonalisation

A small disclaimer: this is what I once felt and the rest of the clarity is defined by the internet. If I am wrong call me the fuck out.

My closest experience: I had a period of, well I am not sure. First it started off as anger, which I guess I always had, later this turned into sadness. I would have the odd brief moments where I felt good, then quickly I just wanted to cry and hide for no reason at all. It then manifested into nothing. I would be with my friends or family but everything felt so surreal, as if I were watching my life and wasn’t living it. It was all very odd to say the least.

I am not saying I had depersonalisation but it was the closest thing I could find and with my vague experience and the internet, it will help me write my characters.

Depersonalisation Disorder (DPD) is experiencing things as unreal or detached from a situation, it can also be the abundance of emotion. People with this disorder feel disconnected from themselves (leading to a disruption of self-awareness and resulting in emotional numbness). [In some cases it can feel as if the individual is watching their life as a movie rather than being part of that world.]

People often experience DPD during a panic attack, as this is their peak level of anxiety. It acts as a coping mechanism during high levels of stress.

It can be due to stress, trauma, depression or use of recreational drugs, sometimes even personality traits. It is not uncommon, affecting 1-2% of the population.

I’d recommend further reading in the form of: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/depersonalisation-my-four-months-of-terror/#.XJ_x_pj7TIU

Now lets lighten the mood with some trivia:

  • The word “depersonalisation” was first used in a 1880 Journal Intime entry by Henri Frèdèric Amiel
  • A movie called Numb starring Matthew Perry was released in 2007, which deals with the directors (Harris Goldberg) experience in battling DPD
  • People often associate Van Gogh’s “Scream” with DPD

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Is Self-Love Enough?

I love myself, it has been a journey but I truly do.

Sure, there are features about myself I don’t like but I wouldn’t change it.

However, as my as I love myself, I don’t think I am “beautiful”. Because I am not and that’s okay. So when someone compliments my appearance or calls me beautiful, my immediate reaction is that voice in my head shouting “liar!”

And I think back to the boy who called me ugly when I was 12. So why am I so quick to assume he is right?

Is the fact that I love myself and think I have other redeemable qualities enough? Or do I need to think I have it all, when I don’t?

Is self-love the absence of self-loathing?

The Midnight Healer

This is from the first chapter of my WIP, which is a story within a story.
The story told of a healer, so great at her job, that it was believed she could grant wishes and cast spells. She would credit her herbs which were harvested under the moon, she claimed the moon amplified their medicinal qualities. She was well-known for abilities, along with the immeasurable kindness she carried in her heart. Thus making her beauty incomparable to any, causing many suitors to swoon after her despite the fact she was a widow with three young children. She could not bear children with her only love, the irony that the only thing she could not cure was his infertility. She was a mother without children, the cruellest trick life played on her. Alas, she was not discouraged and would later bring in the strays which came to her.
After the loss of her great and only love, suitors flocked to their lonely island to meet her, despite the deserts and oceans crossed, she would decline every opportunity presented to her. Coming from far and wide, all more impressive than the last; rich men, beautiful men, famous men. None of these mattered to the woman, not even when a prince was among one of these well-travelled types. A spoilt, dastardly prince, nonetheless, called this by his own people but he hoped that with the proposal, he would finally garner the approval which would gain him his throne. After yet another rejection, the rude prince cursed the healer, referring to her as a “clear commoner”; much like the many born in his village. Suffice to say the prince was run out of town after he tried to strike her.
Another account told of a traveller, who washed upon their lonely island. He had nothing; nothing to live for, not even memories to rely upon, his consciousness didn’t even return until a week of being on the island. The woman nursed him, as she had done for many others. When he awoke, looking into her kind eyes, he was driven to insanity by his perceived love for her and without even knowing what belongings were, he knew he must have her.
It is important to note that despite the differing accounts, this particular part has a unanimous ending. The amnesiac faced countless rejections and in his disillusioned state he started to believe she would become his if she could understand his loss. In that epiphany he set ablaze to her house, the flames consumed the home that her past love had built, containing the many memories that her family provided her and her almost-magic herbs. The house taken hostage by the inferno, also imprisoned the most precious lives she had come to mother. The soft-spoken peaceful lady immersed in a blind rage and drove the nearest sharp object through his heart, killing him where he stood. In the dead of the night under the brightest of stars she wept, mourning the life she lived and the children she raised. Every soul in the village heard her, even the animals were startled by the sound of a mother mourning her children. Despite the loud cries, not one person saw her, not that night nor the nights which followed. Even when sky was clear, the moon could not be seen, disappearing in the night along with the healer. Each night they would search in complete darkness. Finally one night, long after her children’s bodies were extracted and buried, the weeping which struck sorrow in the hearts of every man, woman and child stopped and with that the moon was finally sighted, radiant and alive.

Eternal Damnation Has Never Been So Sexy

Every piece of vampire fiction since 2008 and the emergence of a certain book has caused the same carbon copy of every plot to exist in the same way. A handsome “high school” vampire falls in love with an average sad girl who will later entangle into a love triangle. This is no shade to any authors because this gave my preteen years so much excitement to gush over these stories with my friends. The annoyance of this to me and the apparent number of people who are sick of it could be summed up in one word: consistency. After this has been repeated so many times, overkill is the only word I can think of. By the end of a trend when people jump on the bandwagon it results in repetitiveness and lazy writing.

It also destroyed the idea of monster stories, they’re no longer a homage to terror. Now, if these monsters were not sexy or a romantic interest then they are reduced to a mindless one dimensional villain. So when did monster stories not become scary, when was it better to be the monsters we once feared?

Therefore in preparation to me wanting to write a vampire fiction which I want to read, here are plot devices I wish to no longer see in vampire fiction:

Issue #1: They only attend high school:

Before anyone @s me, I know exactly why they take place in high schools; it is aimed at kids these age however it makes no sense. If you were 100+ there is no way anyone would want to redo high school over and over. The first time was bad enough, I imagine the tenth just gets even more tedious. There’s nothing knew to learn and you are spending time around people who are in a completely different place. They are too much of your junior who have high school problems which you can’t relate to. As someone in my 20’s I find my teenage problems trivial, so someone living for at least a century must find it grating. You are so out of touch and honestly it will make you hate yourself an humanity even more.

I’m not even going to delve into how predatory it is to be involved romantically with someone 90 years your junior, especially when they are not even adults.

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Issue #2: Love overcomes everything with no struggle:

The male vampire in his natural habitat is a soulless cold killing machine but quickly switches to a big cheesy fluff-ball with no development simply with the love of a good woman. Cute, right? WRONG . Let us not forget the endless killing these beings have done and pain they have caused to mostly innocent people but we feel sympathy for them and root for them because they are in love. They are not good people still, there is no guilt and no struggle. This gives two additional points which are wrong with this. Firstly, the time scale, they haven’t known each other for long at all but are willing to risk it all. Secondly, is the ill writing of the woman, who is portrayed as so bland and void of nay personality, an object created purely to with the sole purpose to fall in love with him, which eliminates the anticipation if they are going to be together.

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Issue #3: The absence of any weaknesses:

The general tropes for all vampires have gone and they have quickie solutions as to why they are seemingly indestructible. Some of the older tropes were pretty cheesy, let us not lie to each other, the most iconic and hilarious being garlic or sleeping in a coffin. There’s no reason for this besides aesthetic. but there seems to be no real threat if vampires lived among us because sunlight doesn’t hurt them and holy water is a myth. They aren’t creatures of the night or eternally damned because humanising them is important.

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Issue #4: The sudden appearance of every other mythical creature:

It tends to be predominantly werewolves and then this results in a rivalry between them which often times develops into a frenemy relationship. This isn’t limited to werewolves, there are witches, doppelgangers, and mixes of all of these, the inter-species breeding is something else as well. One can apparently not exist without the other and it often distracts from the main issues. It gets a bit tedious and ineffective having undeveloped characters of different creatures and heavily rely on gang wars for no reason, the overkill is real.

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Issue #5: Immortality is always deemed as a good thing:

I have never been able to relate to this. They always think of immortal life as a goal, they believe in souls and know they are damned but every lead human is fine with this. Immortality would mean watching your loved one die and not seeing them because they will see you do not age. The main characters often times do not have terrible home lives and a loving family but are willing to give it up easily. I am not going into detail about the idea of living forever because it sounds depressing. There will be a point where you are content for it to end. Also the idea of actually living as a vampire doesn’t sound great; no taste of food, having to drink blood, fighting this and then hurting people.

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Issue #6: Family is of the utmost un-importance:

Aside from the person they are going to fall in love with, everyone else in their life is irrelevant. I would get it more if they had a terrible home life, no aspirations and future, which meant vampirism is the best option but that is hardly ever the case. The main characters usually have pretty good home lives and if not they have other things going for them. Family hardly ever makes an impact on their decision and I find that hard to understand and believe.

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Issue #7: BEING SEXY!

They are always the best looking in the room, stand out good looks, models. The talk of the town. Is there a requirement that you have to be a certain level of attractive before you can be turned or does turning make your bone structure reconstruct itself and become automatically thin? They never talk about them being average let alone plain. But seriously if I saw someone pale, translucent almost, and thin, never fluctuating in weight, I would think they were sickly. Especially if people hardly see them eat, or function as a normal person. But hey, sex sells.

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(Of course, I am putting in a gratuitous shower scene as the last image.)

 

I Guess This Is My Life Now

Eyes fluttering open before dawn,

Continuing the endeavour till way after dusk,

I sometimes forget what that fire looks like,

How much it burns,

It’s so odd how the memories feel so distant,

What if this isn’t the life I wanted?

 

 

But am I

smart enough

strong enough

bothered enough

to break out this perpetual circle of disdain and futility

Why Are We So Afraid of Feeling?

I know this is not true for everyone, especially since I am posting this on a site for writers who live off emotions and empathy. Also some people are more emotional than others and are more willing to share this with others; which I admire in a strange way. I am often quite taken aback by this, I wonder how they can be so open with someone who they still deem to be a stranger, yet still are willing to disclose such intimate details of their lives. In contrast to myself who, for the longest time, wasn’t able to share with my closest friends that I couldn’t be around them sometimes because I would rather be at home in solitude, staring at the ceiling as tears ran down my face. Even to this day when I mention these less than amusing events, I laugh it off as a joke. That doesn’t sound healthy but that is how I cope. That is how I don’t fall back into that state because it beats not acknowledging it at all.

The only way I recovered from those times was by talking about it, and even if I talk about it in a lighter tone, it helps. But why was I so scared of talking about it prior to this? Why was I so prideful not to talk about my emotions and prefer to sit in a dark room rather than come to terms with my own emotions?

Did I think I was weak for having these emotions?

Did I think I was strong to not accept these feelings?

Was I worried people would think I was weak?

Why did that matter?

Since when was acting like a human a bad thing?

It seems that basic things such as emotions and empathy are deemed as weaknesses.

And I struggle with this preconception so much.

However I’m learning.

Slowly.

The Loss of Innocence

I remember back in the day when I first started to write, my mind would wander and go to the same grotesque and predictable story line so would often just go to a random word generator and use these words to create a story. With the lack of inspiration but need to write lead me to try this once more. The words were as follows:

  1. achieve
  2. proper
  3. glimpse
  4. swarm
  5. retired
  6. temptation

The golden years that I once lived were now dead and buried. The words echoed in my youthful ears: untapped potential. Layabout. Nothing to achieve. No reason for being.

I remember being young. I remember the colours and the hope. Everything was once so vibrant, so new. With plenty of experiences to look forward to. Even the most mundane people were interesting. The teacher the kids would run up to and hug. The family friends who used to come bearing gifts. Even a simple passerby. There was no past, nor a future. It was the now. I lived in the now. I lived.

Those were the times of innocence. The times of purity. When no one could fault me. Even as I grew and learned to be proper with age, I knew that innocence had not left me. Not yet. The feelings were still wrapped in purity, in the form of stolen glimpses and passed notes.

The end of the innocence came too soon, in that moment I finally realised nothing would be the same again. It involved a car, carrying my loved ones but before they could leave it,  it began to fill with screams and fear instead. I remember the blood and the smell of a smokey metal. The men in the neon uniforms which now looked grey, they found me clutching the corpse of the people who protected my innocence for so long, who prayed that I never grow up without them. Those people were never to be seen again by a freak accident or God, or any higher force beyond any comprehension.

Therefore a child of only eleven stands with a suitcase of the few belongings and the weight of the world on their shoulders. I stood at that doorway expecting a swarm of people who used to greet me in my old life but instead an empty room with strangers filled with empty promises. Those people who once bore gifts, only offer hollow apologies. They remind me that I am alone.

Finally at the door is another chance of a place to call home. A promise for the future. A newfound innocence. A family that promised a home after so many declined.

There was the moving from the life I knew to become the new person they want. The abandonment of the past, of the possessions, of myself. Assuming a new identity as a thinly veiled attempt at a new start.

When finally I settle in. The parties start. The memories gap. Those weeks that just become a blur. And these strangers are the ones I call my family. Even though I don’t remember them without a cloud of smoke. The visits with the man with clipboard stop because they don’t seem to care. He has retired or most likely died but like many things I guess I will never know.

As the number of cigarette burns increase, the number of empty bottles scattered around the mattress on the floor. The number of places I have called home has diminished but the places I’ve slept have increased exponentially.

Finally not long after those teen years end in the fast lane, I am used up and broken from the life I now live. The amount of intoxication couldn’t blind me from the hurt or the inevitable self destruction. As I look over at the last bottle of pills on the 23rd floor of a strangers apartment complex and the temptation for the end just intensifies.