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10 September 2011 @ 08:02 pm
womenlovefest day 2, meta, ASOIAF: three things Brienne of Tarth is  
aand, welcome to the follow up to yesterday's meta and to day two of my Brienne appreciation week for womenlovefest.

Spoiler warning stays the same - up to AFFC.

Three things Brienne is:

1. One of the most resilient persons in Westeros: and I love her for it. The amount of psychological abuse she remembers going through is insane; apart from no one taking her seriously enough, all her betrothals go wrong (proving her septa quoted over there) and the one who wasn’t forty years older than her basically told her in her face that she was too ugly to deserve more than a flower for him and the others all wanted her to quit swordfighting (aka the one thing she’s happy doing). Then she gets in Renly’s army (and I’d note that she’s described as being beautiful exactly two times in the books – in Jaime’s dream and when she gets Renly’s cloak – I can only imagine how happy she was then) and everyone starts treating her nicely just because there was a bet on who’d take her virginity first (and when she learns it she’s told to go home and marry – as usual). The fact that she was in love with Renly because all he did was a) being courteous to her and b) dance with her is actually frightening in that sense. (Sorta OT: which, passing by, is half of the reason why I ship Jaime/Brienne – he didn’t do anything to be nice to her or say anything but his opinion, but he still really came through for her and gave her a sword and a mission; at least he gave her actions that he meant instead of words and courtesies.)

And even with all the self-esteem blows she got and not counting all the shit that hit the fan after Renly died, she hasn’t faltered except when she thought she was useless after the Red Wedding, and then Jaime gave her the sword and she didn’t think twice about accepting his offer. In AFFC you get enough of her doubts about what she’s doing, but when told to just go home she refuses. All the crap that is pulled on her does have its effects, but they don’t kill her resolve or send her home with a handful of flies. And one thing that I love is that when she takes a blow she’ll give it back instead of just taking it. IE: when the only betrothed of hers that would agree to marry her wanted her to quit swordfighting, she remembers having to overcome her shyness to tell him she’d marry him only if he could beat her in a fight. Then she proceeded on putting him KO. She’s learned to be her own knight in shining armor and I love her for it. Even when she feels the blows, physical or not, well enough every time, and they leave signs, she’s still somehow above it. And she deserves props at least for this.

Small aside: for all the times she’s been threatened with rape, I love that the one time it actually came close to happening instead of laying back and thinking of whatever could make it easier as Jaime had suggested without fully knowing who he was talking to, she bit off Vargo Hoat’s ear. She just won’t go down.

2. A genuinely decent person: which is apparently a trait that for a lot of characters in ASOIAF seems to go hand in hand with boring. (IE: Davos is apparently the most boring POV in the entire series for a lot of people, which I don’t get either.) Point is: considering the average of ASOIAF, and considering what being a genuine decent person usually brings you in Westeros (a quick death if you’re lucky), being a genuinely decent person and keeping on being that for me feels like an achievement of major proportions. In AFFC Brienne is definitely not the same person she was in ACOK, but even if she went through things that would have killed anyone else’s resolve not only she’s still around trying to find Sansa knowing that it’s the same thing as finding a needle in a haystack , but she’s still following her morals. (And she has morals that would make Ned Stark’s eyes turn into hearts.) She still helps people when she can because it’s what a knight should do, she’s a better person to Pod than Tyrion ever was, she isn’t as horrible to Hyle as I’d have been in her place. In ASOS she gave Jaime that speech who convinced him not to let himself die when she still didn’t like him and not just because she thought she could bring him back to King’s Landing still. And after he told her about the real reason he slew Aerys she could overcome her prejudices towards him – there’s a reason that he told her and not anyone else. She probably doesn’t know how to be genuinely mean to someone if they have a redeeming feature (for her standards). And sure, she isn’t interesting or compelling or entertaining the way Tyrion or Littlefinger are, and I doubt she’d have patience for politics or scheming, but I don’t even expect her to deliver that kind of smarts.

3. Realistic: if there’s something I’ve always appreciated about Brienne, is that nothing about her is false or ever felt false. All her reactions always felt viscerally real to me, starting with her first appearance. She was described as ugly with maybe one redeeming factor, but to Catelyn (who had thought she was an unfortunate creature ten seconds before) when she smiled the second she got her cloak she was beautiful. For that reason it was a bit that felt very real to me, but then you notice that everything she does, she does genuinely. She also can’t lie for the life of her and when she’s introduced she’s nowhere near ready for all the crap that’s going to happen to her later, but there wasn’t a point when she double crossed anyone. She always means what she does or says. She meant her vows to Renly, she meant them with Catelyn (and she meant them even more after she died), she meant to bring Jaime safely to King’s Landing, she meant to find Sansa and she meant to restore Jaime’s honor, exactly as she means everything she says when she talks about her oaths and her knighthood. I kind of like how she doesn’t really share voluntarily how much she doubts and what’s going on inside her head – it’s a quiet way of dealing with crap happening at you. You can see it because before getting her POVs she’s seen through Cat and Jaime who are both fairly observant, but you don’t get the extent until you see the world through her eyes. I can’t help finding her the easiest person to relate to because for me her actions are very believable. The way I see it, a character that has all this behind them isn’t there just to serve others or to please some readers or to bore the reader because te writer is wrong in thinking that someone would give a shit about what goes on inside her head.

In conclusion to this probably too long ranting: Brienne isn’t there to serve anyone’s story and she’s so much very awesome in what’s probably an understated way, but it doesn’t make her pointless when she has her own story. I very much like her own story. I’ll be happy to wait until I’m thirty to see how it ends.

In the next meta episode, probably another way too long post on how Brienne’s POVs aren’t boring and aren’t a drag, and how she surely doesn’t deserve to die for having so many.
 
 
feeling: okayokay
on rotation: handle with care - traveling wilburys
 
 
 
alterrhodealterrhode on September 10th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Very nice. At my discussion group, I basically say everyone in the series has a polar opposite- and she is Cersei's. Shes helped Jaime grow up quite a bit.
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> brienne 1.0janie_tangerine on September 11th, 2011 09:11 am (UTC)
Thanks! :D I think that Brienne vs Cersei would require ten pages of meta alone, but lol considering that I liked Cersei maybe three times in the entire thing.. ;)
ysarmaysarma on September 10th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
Very good, I agree with you. And really don't understand all these Brienne haters...
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> brienne 1.0janie_tangerine on September 11th, 2011 09:09 am (UTC)
Thank you! And me neither. I don't know how can you dislike her as much as some people seem to. :/
fauxkarenfauxkaren on September 11th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
Brienne's story and character arc is not as "in your face" as other character's stories and as such I think her journey gets overlooked a lot, but she definitely has her own story
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> brienne 1.0janie_tangerine on September 11th, 2011 09:08 am (UTC)
I have a tendency to like stories that aren't in your face a lot more than less understated ones so that's probably why I'm so interested in hers, but reading that people would be okay to lose Jaime if GRRM decided to kill him along with her because they'd get rid of her boring, dragging self makes me wish they'd get the difference between understated and redundant. :/
Scilascila on September 11th, 2011 03:55 am (UTC)
Thanks for this. I agree with it in every way. Just because people think she's boring, they are harsh on her, and that's totally unfair - I think Danny, Jon's (how many times do Yigrite has to say "You know nothing!" GAH) Bran's chapters are completely boring sometimes, but I don't go and hate them for it. :/
the female ghost of tom joad: asoif >> i dreamed of youjanie_tangerine on September 11th, 2011 09:02 am (UTC)
Meh I have no idea about how Brienne's chapters are apparently boring. They were my favorite part of AFFC hands down! And ugh Dany's chapters in ADWD were a drag and the only one I liked was the last, but I don't go around in forums being like 'oh you know, Daenerys is the hugest bitch in Westeros and deserves one of her dragons to eat her' (which I read - ew). Then again I have a tendency to like people that are labeled as boring everywhere (IE Davos), but I still don't get how Brienne's chapters could ever be described as dragging. Or mean that she's boring herself. :/
(Anonymous) on September 11th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
I don't know... I think I understand why her chapters would seem boring to some - everyone knows where Sansa is, and that Brienne is just not going to find her. That can be frustrating, especially in a book like a AFFC that didn't have any "flashy" characters that are the "favorites". What people fail to separate is that frustration with the character and that fact that ARE people that find Brienne and what's happening in her mind interesting. AFFC is my second favorite book (after ACOK) because of her POV chapters and Jaime's, I just find them much more "real" and grounded than Tyron constant bitterness (hid behind his witty retorts, but still there), Jon's teen angst and Danny's journey to Mary Sueness (I love her, but her chapters sometimes...).
Scilascila on September 11th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
I don't know... I think I understand why her chapters would seem boring to some - everyone knows where Sansa is, and that Brienne is just not going to find her. That can be frustrating, especially in a book like a AFFC that didn't have any "flashy" characters that are the "favorites". What people fail to separate is that frustration with the character and that fact that ARE people that find Brienne and what's happening in her mind interesting. AFFC is my second favorite book (after ACOK) because of her POV chapters and Jaime's, I just find them much more "real" and grounded than Tyron constant bitterness (hid behind his witty retorts, but still there), Jon's teen angst and Danny's journey to Mary Sueness (I love her, but her chapters sometimes...).

(Sorry I forgot to log on!!)
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> jaime 1.0janie_tangerine on September 11th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
I guess that if you only care about how fast the story moves forward then I get why you'd think Brienne's stuff is boring - she's there wandering around and not managing to get where it matters. But there's a lot of good stuff in there, from all the people she meets to the fact that for once you see the effect of the war on commoners, and then you meet/meet again a bunch of characters and idk apart from caring about backstory I really, really enjoyed her parts. Same for Jaime. It might be that I stopped caring about whoever ends up on the throne as soon as Robb died, but I love seeing the smaller picture. (Also thankfully in AFFC I had four characters I love being POVs - Brienne/Jaime/Sansa/Sam, so I didn't miss anyone else.) I think I was more bored with Dany's stuff in ADWD than I could ever be with anything going on in AFFC. :/ and I say it liking Dany. (And as much as I love Tyrion, by next book he needs to quit feeling sorry for himself and wondering where whores go... ;) )
i want to huggle you (and your little dog, too): WINTERblue_fjords on September 11th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
Oooh, number two! I am still reading "Dragons" and I have to say I'm bogged down by all the Daenarys, Jon and Tyrion chapters. And I love Tyrion and don't mind the other two. I just love AND like Brienne and I want to know what happens w/ her, I want to see her interact w/ Jaime, I want to see her succeed in her quest. I love that she hasn't lost her moral compass despite everything she's been through, I love that she's a decent person! There are so many people in Westeros and environs that just make me weep for humanity. It's great to have Brienne. She's not a Mary Sue, she has her faults, but I love her so!

Yay for your Brienne posts. :)
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> brienne 1.0janie_tangerine on September 11th, 2011 08:58 am (UTC)
WORD, WORD, WORD. I was okay with the plethora of Jon chapters because I happen to have a soft spot for him, but all the Tyrion and Dany ones dragged too much imo (at least in Jon's shit happened). Then again my favorite part of ADWD was Theon so go figure that one out, I'm still baffled by my newfound love. ;) That said BRIENNE, MORE PLEASE. I want her to succeed so hard - she deserves to succeed. Also if she was a Mary Sue everyone would love her and she'd be oh-so-pretty and petite with a very straight nose. ;) And yeah she isn't perfect by any means but there's some stuff that's said about her which is totally unfair. *waves team Brienne flag*
kem_viva: Mary Crawleykem_viva on September 14th, 2011 01:55 am (UTC)
The only reason I can understand Brienne's chapters being called boring/dragging is because you know she is not going to succeed so you just want to get to the next chapter because you don't know what is going to happen there. Obviously this doesn't account for everything because even then you still don't know where Brienne's story is leading, but it at least makes sense. I admit myself to feeling Davos chapters were dull, but upon reread, when you know already what is going to happen to everyone it really levels the playing field and allows you to appreciate characters who don't do as much. That said I found Dany, Victarion, and Tyrion's chapters in ADWD the worst in the series. Dany's just because of how much I don't care about Meereen and Tyrion (and Victarions) because OMG how can someone be such a bitter asshole. I would rather have a million of chapters about boring but kind Brienne and Davos than suffer through them being awful again.

Brienne's resilience is amazing, I don't know how she can get through the stuff she does, and she doesn't just get through it and become bitter and horrible like so many characters do in the series, she stays a kind and good person.
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> brienne 1.0janie_tangerine on September 14th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
I sort of get that too but... idk it might be that I stopped caring about throne-related things the second Robb bit it, but I just really loved how Brienne's chapters were about the effects the war had on the country and while they were understated how much they showed about the places she was visiting. I found it the kind of understated storytelling that also gives you insight about the character and I guess that I didn't care that she wasn't going to find Sansa at that point. Also I do get how Davos chapters might not seem as flashy (and they could do with describing so many ships XD) but geez you're so right that I'd have rather had Davos and/or Brienne being supposedly boring but thoroughly decent rather than 90% of the Dany or Tyrion stuff in ADWD. Dany's parts dragged so much and totally needed a damn lot of editing - Brienne's or Davos' never got to that point. At least they always had something going on. Also total word on Victarion - he isn't really my kind of character and he's been irking me since the previous book enough. and while I do like Tyrion I was ready to be done with him feeling sorry for himself/bitter at the so cruel world after the tenth where the whores go mention. I'll take someone supposedly boring but, y'know, nice and not so damn self-centered over that any second.

I just love Brienne for a) not having gotten bitter even if she had all the reasons and b) not having felt sorry for herself in the Tyrion way for a second. I have no idea how she does it but I'll always love her for it. I like that instead of wallowing around in self-pity she actually goes on without necessarily becoming cynical.