Brienne Of Tarth Deserved Better Writing
This will feature Game of Thrones spoilers. Get out now if you have not watched Season 8 Episode 4.
Being a female character in fantasy is challenging. Being a real human woman is equally as challenging. Enter Game of Thrones, a series of books now a television series where female characters are quite powerful, strong, diabolically clever, and not taking any man’s shit. Sure, the show is full of a plethora of naked women and sex but, looking past that, the main female characters are tough as dragon scales. I was thrilled to see so many smart, clever female leads that stand up after being put through the ringer again and again. The women of this story are practically indestructible at this point.
Brienne of Tarth is one of my favorite characters and has been since reading the books years ago. A woman who wants to become a knight and is a better fighter than most of the Kingsguard. She is noble, loyal and doesn’t put up with any bullshit. Until Season 8 Episode 4.
Brienne and Jamie Lannister have had what I think the best relationship in the entire story and show. I have adored it terribly since they first met when Brienne was put in charge of bringing Jamie back to King’s Landing to trade for the Stark girls. It was tumultuous at first and they bickered and snipped at each other constantly. Brienne was skillful at ignoring Jamie’s insults and would snap right back when she saw the opportunity. Then shit got real and Jamie lost a hand and Brienne almost got eaten by a bear and they looked at each other in a new light. They became vulnerable and exposed and bonded in an engaging and richly honest way.
They had always respected each other which I admired and thought was great writing. Even though they were on different sides, there was something special between them from the start. Jamie clearly respected how good Brienne was and vice versa. They found they needed and saw each other in ways others could not. Brienne saw Jamie was a good man deep down and Jamie saw Brienne was a great fighter who deserved knighthood. He, in fact, knighted her after she stood up and defended him when Daenerys wanted his head. I cried during that scene. Their friendship had blossomed into something unique. It was far from the typical fantasy relationship of a male and female character. There was a deeper love without the sexual attraction. It was a gorgeous friendship that I hoped every episode would survive.
Then they ruined it.
Having Brienne and Jamie sleep together was one thing. I was not on board at all for that and the above should be reason enough. Why can’t we just have one loving friendship that is just friendship? Why does everyone have to have sex? The first half of this episode was everyone banging which I guess is fair since they survived fighting an army of the dead but seriously, you’ve got two episodes left, let’s not distract ourselves here. We don’t need that fan service. Did the showrunners read all the message boards and put together all the ships the people wanted?
It wasn’t only that. I can get past that. It was a sweet little scene, well performed as always by the two of them, their chemistry off the charts. It was what happened after that infuriates me. The last shot we have of Brienne possibly ever is her crying in a bathrobe over Jamie fucking Lannister.
Are you for real?
This powerful force is sobbing because he won’t stay with her? That’s not the Brienne of Tarth I know. The Brienne I know would have slapped Jamie and told him to get it together and that he is shameful if he gets on that horse to go to his sister. She would have stood tall and walked away, sad but strong. I am all for crying; I do it all the time including at least six times this episode but to have her standing there crying like some weak fantasy female character who only lives for a man made me scream.
Women deserve better. Brienne deserves better. George R.R. Martin gave you the tools and you took Brienne (and like, everyone else. Seriously what was this episode? Opposite day?) and pushed her too close to a stereotype for my liking. We didn’t need her and Jamie to have sex. We needed her and Jamie to be there for each other as they always had been and fight to the end like the warriors they are.
I do not know where this show is going but I was severely disappointed this round. I do not mind them wanting to shove two characters together like a ‘will they won’t they’ sitcom but please, don’t make Brienne stand in the cold crying over a man who is clearly not worthy of her and I know she knows that and the writers should, too. I haven’t a clue what they are doing with Jamie, one of my favorite characters because of his growth and his love for Brienne. He’s conflicted and so is she and I guess that means they need to sleep together but to me, it feels sloppy to leave her that way. It lacks the imagination Game of Thrones is beloved for.
I thought we were in a new age of female characters, especially with this show breaking the mold for women in fantasy. But they took one of their best back to square one. I’m sorry, Brienne. You deserved better writing.
Also, Jon, you go back and you pet your damn direwolf who stood by your bedside when you were actually dead. Who are these people now?