Political Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 3, on Salon.com!

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It’s another Monday, so I have another essay up at Salon.com on the politics of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The theme of today’s essay is alliances – Roose and Littlefinger, the fracturing of the Tyrell/Lannister alliance, the new alliance between the Queen Regent and the High Sparrow, and how they compare to the historical practice of dynastic alliances in Medieval Europe.


20 thoughts on “Political Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 3, on Salon.com!

  1. winnie says:

    Another great commentary Steve. I hope your predictions about Sansa come true.

    Loved that episode and “The North Remembers” gave me shivers.

    • David Hunt says:

      It’s a great line. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to get to see Wyman Manderly in the TV show. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a dramatic turnaround in my views on a character as when he revealed his plans to Davos. That line appears in one of the greatest speeches in the whole series, where we see a man who portrays himself as an overeating oaf reveal s that (the first helping of) revenge is a dish best served cold. Further helpings are later revealed to be best served as hot meat pies.

      • I know. It’s very sad. And an example of why adaptation isn’t always for the better – the show might be more streamlined, but the books are richer.

        • winnie says:

          True but in the books we dont get see some of the character interactions we get on the show.

          And while I mourn the Manderly scene as well I will be able to give up a LOT if I can see Sansa be the one to turn the tables on the Boltons.

          I am pleased by the way the show is steadily moving the action Northward and weaning us off KL…and how they keep reminding us that none of the Red Keep intrigue is gonna count for much once what’s behind the Wall moves South.

          • John says:

            I mean, I’m happy to trade Wyman Manderly for getting to see Sansa interact with Theon and the Boltons and Brienne and Podrick with Stannis. The books delight in not letting characters interact with each other. The show makes as many connections as it can and sees what happens, which is terrific.

  2. illrede says:

    Nice one.

    I wonder if Cersei would be better off establishing herself in Casterly Rock; I can’t see a Queen-Consort doing better than Cersei herself has, and if that isn’t secure power as Cersei sees it, losing to Margery and going Percy has its benefits. It would come down to if a Margery entrenched in Kings Landing would begin eroding her power in the Westerlands from that prominence. The traditional method I think would be in a few years Tommen has the wonderful idea to marry his widowed mother to a Tyrell cousin and pursues it with the power of the Throne and House Lannister’s own political capital if Margery knew enough to keep some sinecures flowing West and cultivate Kevan’s branch as a rump faction. I am not certain either way, and Cersei prejudiced or not cannot afford to be wrong, so just musing here.

    • Winnie says:

      I actually agree that Cersei might have more real power as Lady of Casterly Rock…but she’s not going to leave Tommen’s side. (Not now-I think she’ll flee to the Rock later on though.)

      Also, if Cersei weren’t Cersei, she might be willing to consider the possibility of a good marital alliance herself to expand her power base.

  3. Crystal says:

    I had to smile at Sophie Turner towering over Iwan Rheon as he bowed to her. She is supermodel-tall! I would love to see her play a young Queen Elizabeth I some day.

    Considering that the mountain clansmen were frothing for blood because of how “Ned’s girl” was being treated – when they heard about it secondhand – no matter what Sansa goes through (and it better not be as bad as Jeyne’s fate in the books. That turned my stomach, and I think it would be far worse seen enacted by actors than on the printed page) it sounds like it will rally the people of the North to her as she is Ned’s girl (for real this time!), especially as there will be plenty of witnesses in the castle.

    In the books, Sansa and Theon do not interact at all. In the show, it looks as if they are going to have to. I can’t imagine THAT will go well – “so, about that betrayal of Robb…?”

    • John says:

      I’m *really* interested in possible Theon/Sansa interactions. I remember that in the books, Theon always kind of thought he might end up marrying Sansa. I think there’s tons of potential for interesting stuff there.

    • Fourten says:

      This is why LF’s admission that he knows little about Ramsey rings hollow to me, I know he’s been reckless in the past but I suspect that he knows exactly how Sansa will be treated by her newest husband and is counting on it to rile (to action) the North against the Boltons and at the same time play savior to his one-gen-removed crush object.

      Makes about as much sense as anything LF’s done in the last two years.

  4. djinn says:

    Curious how it’s actually possible to bypass Moat Cailin by land. Brienne just figured it out how to conquer the North with one look! It’s not just the Golden Tooth that has a ”magic goat trail” issue any more.

    • Winnie says:

      Of course to be fair, it could be that there are paths available via land for two lone travelers and their horses that might not be plausible for entire armies to use. Like how the Eyrie is designed so no matter how big your army is only a few men can pass through the gates at a time, making them easy targets for archers.

  5. Lann says:

    Did anyone else get the feeling that Littlefinger is biting off more than he can chew in that episode?

    • winnie says:

      Definitely but that’s Littlefinger for you. He always goes for the big gamble and keeps reaching too high. So far he’s been able to get away with it but I think his luck is about to run out….if not here in the North then with the storm brewing in Kings Landing.

  6. Roger says:

    Th wedding of Fernando de Aragón and Isabel of Castilla DIDN’T create the Kingdom of Spain. The two kingdom remained diferent entities with their own Parlament, laws and boundaries. Only in the XVIII century Spain became an united kingdom.

    • In the legal sense, you’re right. In the practical political sense, it did. The resources of both kingdoms were now directed at the same state objectives.

      • Roger says:

        No, they weren’t.
        Phillip IV had real troubles to get any money from the Catalan parlament,That was one of the reasons of the Catalan Revolt of 1640. And the other kings have similar problems.

  7. Fourten says:

    Brienne’s oath…would it extend to Rickon? With Davos already at The Wall…well, you know where I’m going with this.

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