Guest Post on Salon.com: Loras Tyrell as “Gay Cartoon”

How "Game of Thrones" ruined Loras Tyrell: HBO's “gay cartoon” is so much more in the books

I have a new essay up on Salon.com about HBO’s Game of Thrones, this time about the show’s handling of Loras Tyrell’s storyline. Note: I didn’t choose the headline.

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26 thoughts on “Guest Post on Salon.com: Loras Tyrell as “Gay Cartoon”

  1. Benjamin Holm says:

    Yeah i’ve never understood why the showrunners decided not to have Loras clash with Brienne. It would seem to make a lot of sense. Both were going to be on the show for a while. And it gives Loras something beyond just being gay, and doesn’t seem to detract from anything. I was hoping that when Brienne finally returned to King’s Landing there was going to be a clash between them, but alas. What a waste.

    • Bail o' Lies says:

      I don’t watch Game of Thrones (so i don’t know everything that happens in the show) but I have several friends that watch it and talk about it. I’ll bring up three thing his interaction with Brienne, his preferences, and how Cersei removes him from the board.

      His interaction with Brienne in the books after Renly death is that he immediately wanted to kill her but was stop by Jamie. Who then locked Brienne up in a room and told Loras to go talk to her and her her side of the story about what happened at the tent before decided whether she should die or not. Later on Jamie asked if Loras had talked with her and he while not believing the entirety of her story. He did believe through how sincere she was that she did not kill Renly. So he decided that she shouldn’t die and later on Jamie gave her oathkeeper. (it was something like that in the books) Someone better at explaining character development and other things like could explain how important this was to those three characters,

      For the show my guess is the writers didn’t know who important this was or didn’t care or didn’t have the time so they cut it out. Also if what people tell me how most plots end up in the show either Loras would not rest until he killed Brienne becoming completely obsessed with killing her no matter what, or they would team up and next episode they would be at the wall trying to kill Stannis.

      In the books he was in love with Renly his “sun.” After he died Loras felt he would never love again.

      In the show he is a gay character so he needs to be shown constantly having sex with other guys to show how progressive and tolerate the show is.

      In the books Cersei uses his thirst for glory and his desire to help his family to send him to Dragonstone to help end the siege to remove from King’s landing and get him away from Tommen. Where because of those two thing he leads an assault that gets a thousand of his men killed and him in critical conditions.

      As for the show either they can’t afford to do a minor battle like that or they don’t like that Loras was remove by that way and wanted him to be remove by some more political backstabbing way. In this case he a gay guy and their is a religious moment happening, and we all know by now what D&D think of religion and religious characters.

  2. Andrew says:

    I was ticked off about the Loras arrest plotline too. I saw it as a cheap way to gain Loras’s sympathy, and get the viewer to despise the HS by piggybacking on the gay rights issue.

    The showrunners shouldn’t have excluded the Ironborn plotline and Loras’s brothers, and would do well to make as few changes as possible when adapting the series onto the screen. The Ironborn plotline touches several character arcs from Theon and Asha to Sam and Dany. They would do well to read all the books available first then decide which changes to make.

    • Bail o' Lies says:

      Ironborn plot line… you know I haven’t heard anyone talk about it yet has Euron Aeron and Victarion appear yet and have they had the kingmoot yet? By the Rate the show is going it has to happen this season.

  3. Allenips says:

    Nice assessment of the show’s Loras plot. Minor thing though, I think you used High Sparrow where you meant to use High Septon in the line about the parallel of septon Ollidor.

  4. Winnie says:

    Another great essay Steve, and I’m happy for you that Salon is employing you.

    I agree they haven’t done Loras justice the last couple seasons, but ironically I felt tonight was a bit better, with his combination of arrogance and rage at his hearing-there was the hot blooded Knight of Flowers from earlier seasons!

    Of course everything else I liked about the episode was spoiled by the ending. What is with the endless sadism to women in general and Sansa in particular?!?

  5. Sean C. says:

    A good assessment of the situation.

    Unrelatedly, good thing D&D are wise enough to see that Sansa’s storyline was criminally lacking in rape, and they took the opportunity to remedy that.

    • We should have seen it coming the moment Sophie Turner turned 18.

      Fortunately, I stopped watching the show a few weeks ago, halfway through episode 4. I realized I simply found watching the show a chore and could not be bothered to watch it.

      • Sean C. says:

        On some level, I want to do the same thing, but I try not to make empty threats, and I know I won’t be able to follow through on that. Once I get invested in a show, and in the actors on the fandom level, I find it virtually impossible to stop (I watched Glee almost to the very end, even though it repulsed me on both a moral and artistic level by about midway through).

        • Son of Fire says:

          LOL
          I was trying to use a jedi mind trick on reek to make him slice ramsay’s throat !
          Poor sansa

        • winnie says:

          Its the same here. I’ll keep watching out of a masochistic need to see it through to the end. But I’m not counting down the hours until the next episode anymore. …unless it involves Sansa taking bloody vengeance on the Boltons. It still wouldn’t make me forgive them but I could get excited again.

      • Bail o' Lies says:

        I was dreading it since my friends told me Sansa was going North and none of them knew who Jenye Poole was.

    • starkaddict says:

      I haven’t watched the episode yet and now I don’t feel like watching the damn thing anymore. Sansa Stark is another token ‘maiden in the tower’ character that we are suppose to look at and sympathize. Not someone who is standing on her own legs. Seriously, she is just waiting to be rescued all over again. And now we are looking at good old reek to be her saviour. What was the point of the whole pitstop in ‘Vale’..?

      • Bail o' Lies says:

        My guess they did the pit stop in the Vale because it happened in the books. They have been told by GRRM the basic outline of what going to happen in the books. So they know Sansa get the Vale to follow her someway or another. But either they didn’t want to hire people to do the Vale Lords. Then make up a plot for how Littlefinger gains control of the Vale then Sansa kills him and take the Vale for her self and uses it to help Jon. Which is why they just had Waynwood and Royce appear for one scene and say they will follow Sansa then go off to who knows where.

        And instead decided to to turn Sansa into Jenye Poole because they generally know how that plot is going to happen.

        Ramsey tortures his wife and Reek. Stannis leave the Wall to get the Mountain men…he get them in the show right? The Northerns are not to happy about their new overlords and want to/are planing on killing them. Mance goes to Winterfell. Reek breaks free of Ramsey control and rescues girl. The Pink Letter. Jon dies. Jon revives.Jon learns about his parents at some point. Or is told he is the chosen one. Jon goes south with a wildling force, kills the Bolton, and gain the Northern houses. After that he either goes back to the Wall or continues to go South. Where he then gains the Vale through Sansa. The Riverlands through Edmure after the Riverlords and the BHWB kill the Freys. So of thew iron Islands through Theon and Asha. Then hopefully the book will be out by then and everyone can stop guessing what the plot will be up to this point at least.

        • Bail o' Lies says:

          “Some of the Iron Islands”

        • Bail o' Lies says:

          So the reason why they are doing this story is simple either they couldn’t afford to hire so many people to do a Vale arc. Or more likely they can’t think of a good story for that arc and would rather take the easier way out and turn Sansa into Jenye. Since they at least know how that plot will most likely turn out.

          • winnie says:

            I’ve heard speculation that they *may* have known Sansa’s story arc in the Vale involved her being deflowered/raped too so they decided to just transfer that element to the North.

            Doesn’t make it any better but a little less unfathomable. After all even if Martin was planning to heap even more trauma on Sansa there’s no reason D&D had to include it since they’re willing to change so much else. And freaking Ramsay?!?

          • Sean C. says:

            GRRM has said he has no interesting in writing rape POVs, and his livejournal post this morning on this story is a thinly-veiled disavowal of the whole thing.

          • winnie says:

            Then now I *really* don’t know what they thought they were doing. They had to know fans would hate it. They easily could have avoided it. There are plenty of Shocking Moments for the last half of the season anyway.

            What. The. Hell.

          • starkaddict says:

            Maybe. But it seemed more a casr of ‘How to shock the viewers than a story arc.’ And now they have to handle a delicate matter of rape victim POV. And wouldn’t that be trouble for D&D, who are lately more miss than hit. Moreover, even now, Sansa’s story is not hers. It is described by the psycopaths of her life. It seemed as if they thought without another Joff her story lacked substance. Which is so untrue. Sansa is one of the characters who sees more growth in 4 books than any other. Her beauty and the beast arc was always about learning the balance between kindness and ruthlessness. Jeyne Pool’s arc was more about Theon than her in some ways, and by replacing it with Sansa, they are playing with fire.

  6. Roger says:

    I agree that Loras had more dept in the books than in the show. The show is only centered in the gay aspect.
    I had a similar disapointment with the Red Viper. They could have said he was a famous warrior. A learned man, educated at the Citadel. A war captain of a sellsword company. But no. Only thing that seemed to matter was he was bisexual.

  7. Petyr Patter says:

    Very well written. I suspect the details for this one has been floating around in your head for a while.

    However, I say most liberal Americans are very familiar with a religiously infused social movement from the left. It happened about 50 or 60 years ago. There was a popular movie than some thought should have won an Best Picture discussing it.

    Yes, the Civil Rights movement, with its leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Continuing today, black churches combine gospel teachings with the ongoing inequity in society faced by black Americans. Obviously we do not have a 1 to 1 comparison here, but the idea that liberals=godless and belief in god=social conservative is just not there. Anyone with a passing interest in history knows about Third Great Awakening and William Jennings Bryan. More than that, I think HBO viewers could have quickly figured out, “Oh, they are a group whose politics I agree with, but also are religious and do things I think are terrible. How grey is Game of Thrones!”

    For example, there was that South Park episode where Stan’s dad blames their societies woes on the fact they made the economy angry. It very quickly became a parody of the Passion narrative, while simultaneously being a parody of recession politics and the corporate behavior that led up to it. In 20 minutes.

    No, I think you are right that the show runners struggled to find a way to set up the Cersei trap for Margaery and had written themsleves out of the obvious, but once they thought of the idea of targeting Loras instead due to sexuality, they never considered other options.

  8. Meereenese Liberation Front says:

    Pretty impressive piece there, Steve! Your observation that, by now, homophobia (its public display, at least) evokes more of a scandal than misogyny gave me something to ponder – I’m pretty sure you’re right, but I’m still not sure how to explain it. A strange triumph for queer theory.

    Speaking of strange triumphs, I don’t quite agree with your description of the Faith Militant. I’m more than willing to believe the show has done everything to portrait it as one-dimensional as possible (I stopped watching after the third season) – but can you really say that, in the books, the FM is more left- that right-wing? Granted, there’s a lot of smallfolk among them, and granted, they’ve got some social justice issues (even if not very high up on their agenda) – but they always struck me as something more akin to the Puritans and Calvinists, i.e. early-bourgeois movements, and those are notoriously hard to pin down on the political scale. Banning adornments, holidays and other excesses and advocating prayer, labour and austerity doesn’t exactly resemble that Land of Plenty the peasants and paupers used to dream of. But what it does lead to, and with some necessity, is sniffing around other people’s sex lives (and women’s bodies especially). Still the best historical assessment, I think, is to be found in Shakespeare’s plays: the emerging Puritans are as much a pain in the neck as the antiquated aristocrats.

  9. Abbey Battle says:

    Well I think it’s safe to say this is a pretty thorny issue whichever way you look at it.

    Shame? Why spoil a perfectly good bit of wordplay with SHAME?

  10. […] (It’s also, and this is something I’m going to tee off of in the Book vs. Show section, absolutely foundational to Loras Tyrell’s character and the fact that Benioff and Weiss have never understood this speaks volumes, about their reading […]

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