Cersei Lannister takes the stage.



If you’re a Game of Thrones viewer, and you haven’t seen the S5 finale yet, come back later.  If you have, please carry on.


Cersei Lannister. Being smug.


Cersei, Cersei, Cerei, Cerei.


I’ve seen a  number of posts in the past few days, some loving this last GoT episode, some hating it.  One observation has been made that, pretty much every person in power right now (save Jon Snow and the new King of the sea-people, but that may change) in Westeros and it’s surroundings is a woman.

But what I *haven’t* seen anybody notice is that Cersei is now playing a Man’s game.

She has been the not-so-subtle, behind the scenes power since Season One. She has been playing what most of us recognize as the “woman’s game”.  You’ve heard this old saw before, “Behind every great man is a good woman.” Cersei has been that woman, she has ruled (with middling effectiveness) though her husband and children as proxy up until the point that the Tyrell family moved in.  Then they out-woman’d her.

Over the course of the show we have seen Cersei grind her teeth in frustration at being a woman, at being treated like a woman.  When the city is being attacked and she is told she must hide in the tunnels rather than stand on the walls.  When her father informs her that she is to be married off again, her only value being in the binding of other houses to his through matrimony.  This has been a long time coming.

Once she was cut off from Tommen, she was effectively out of the game. She was relegated to the sidelines, shut out of every meeting, told more or less to her face that she was done.  Over.  Powerless.  No longer worthy of fear.

Sunday night was her fait accompli.  It would be easy to say she’s simply gone mad.  That losing the last of her three children to this grand Game was the final straw.  But I don’t think that’s it.  She SEIZED power in a grand and clear gesture.  Much like those who sat the Iron Throne before her, she has proven herself to be ruthless.  To be willing to blow the h*ll out of a sizeable chunk of the city in order to cow her enemies, take her revenge and seize the throne.

Cersei is the experienced one out of this entire group moving forward.  She’s been observing and playing this Game her entire d*mn life and now the gloves are off.  She is no longer using men as her proxy, she is WIELDING POWER as she has always seen it wielded.  She is a ruler in the traditional sense of the word (the guy who beat up all the other guys to get to the fancy chair).

The really interesting question is going to be whether Dany and her “leave the world better than we found it” philosophy is going to be able to stand up to that when the parties finally meet face to face.




Farewell to the CowCat










I had to bury my cat today.
I attended to it before I took out the garbage
It seemed right as an order of operations
as acts of importance go.
The ground was hard
in all the wrong places
Like it wasn’t quite ready to take him in.
I had to say goodbye to my cat today.
He was quite bad at being feline
Fell off the ledge
Played fetch
Would rather go under than over
He had no fear of home repairs
or power tools.
When the baby cried
he was the first to the door
hoovered up goldfish crackers
dropped green beans and cereal.
I had to bury my cat today.
He came to say goodbye
played swats over the food dish
with the kitten.
Had a lick-face-fight
with the hunter.
Napped on my lap late into the evening.
Checked on each family member in turn
then sauntered out into the dark.
I found a spot for him, down by the garden
where the sun always pauses.
I had to bury my friend today
and my world got a little bit smaller.

Tropes and Time


I’m working on rewrites to my upcoming novel this week, and I’ve been doing quite a bit of noodling on character motivations.  Combine that with the recent online panic about Captain America turning out to be a sleeper-agent for Hydra (in the comics) and I’ve been banging my head against tropes, subversion or tropes and all the different ways you can explain a character to a reader (or a viewer, or a gamer).

I get that these tropes exist for a reason.  They’re a shorthand (not always a good shorthand) that taps into the shared experience of everyone who has been consuming media for the past 20 years.  Notice I only say 20.  We humans have a notoriously short lens.  Take an English class sometime and read through anything written before the turn of the 19th century.  Notice how much time your teacher has to spend on setting the context?  Explaining the cultural canon of that timeframe so that you can appreciate the actual depth of the books you’re reading?  Once you know things like; the term “nose” as a common metaphor for “penis”, your understanding of a works can change on a very fundamental level.

The point is that this body of trope and metaphor, what is often referred to as the “cultural canon” is constantly changing and updating.  The tropes of 50 years ago are, by and large, unintelligible to the incoming audience.

But what this means is that these things that we are railing against, these shorthand pieces of storytelling that tap into the cultural canon to cut out hours of work and exposition, these are temporary.  We have the chance to change and direct where they go and what replaces them if we start putting the extra work in now.  There will be fits and starts, of course, there will be throwbacks and reversions to type, but we are already pushing the canon in a new direction.  The idea of a villain with a sympathetic backstory?  That’s NEW, that entered the canon within the past 30 years.  The idea that hero can fail, then *return* to being a hero again?  That’s also NEW.  So while it’s disappointing to see one-note throwbacks, we need to keep in mind that those are on their way out.  As long as we keep pushing to create the new canon, replacing those older, now negative tropes with an easy to use toolkit of new ones, we can keep this evolution moving forward.