From virgin-shaming to begging: Why Brienne Of Tarth deserved better in GoT S8 Ep4
Several things went wrong in the first four episodes in terms of storyline and war strategies. But nothing else was as infuriating as the way Brienne of Tarth was projected!
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If you haven’t yet watched the fourth episode of Game Of Thrones, season 8, The Last of the Starks, turn around now. For the piece is long — and full of spoilers.
If you have, however, and are feeling particularly shitty and torn, take a seat.
Let’s have a chat.
Ever since the fifth season of Game Of Thrones, back in 2015, the show has successfully outrun George RR Martin’s books, which put a stop to “the book is better — no, the show is better” debate. The audience would not be divided between the ‘show watchers’ and the ‘book readers’ anymore, though the book readers always had an advantage, given they were better equipped to understand certain references, dialogues, premonitions or foreshadowing.
Come season 8, and these two feuding groups have never been so much in agreement — and that’s because the makers have “just ruined the ending of the show!”
Well, there are several things that went wrong in the first four episodes in terms of storyline, war strategies, or sometimes even with basic slips that cannot be accepted in GoT-dom.
But no other slip has been quite as infuriating as the way the character of Brienne of Tarth was projected, especially in the fourth episode.
For me, unlike what the title suggests, the fourth episode was about Brienne — not the Starks, not the Targaryens, not the Lannisters, but Brienne. Not because she saved the day like Arya in the previous offering, but because she was the most-wronged. And creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss better clarify!
Brienne deserved better. So much better! (Source: YouTUbe screengrab)
The fourth episode opens on the day after the war — pyres of dead bodies to be burned, a grand feast must be had to boost the survivors’ moral, and more importantly, future strategies need to be planned. One of those feasting scenes has Brienne, Jaime Lannister, Tyrion Lannister and Podrick sitting across each other, drinking wine and playing a game.
The game, as show watchers know, invented by Tyrion, has you make an assumption about the person in front. If the assumption is right, the person in front drinks, and if it is wrong, you drink.
“You’re a virgin!” Tyrion makes a statement about Brienne. It is now up to her to drink, proving it right, or not, proving it wrong. But clarification she must offer, for a woman’s virginity is of utmost importance. Locker room banter, this is, that’s all. And, of course, the men have been seen indulging in far worse.
However, it's not the language used, but the way Brienne reacted — from that moment till the end of that episode — that felt wrong.
Surely this was a clear case of virgin-shaming — if men are applauded on the number of women they have bedded, the reverse with a woman not having found a suitable suitor to bed her is obviously meant to evoke shame.
But then, too many suitors would also be shameful — psst, slut-shaming, remember?
And yes, Twitter has outraged enough over it.
My hot take is that Brienne of Tarth does not need to fuck...anyone? It's OK if a person is a virgin? Leave her alone? #GoT— alanna bennett (@AlannaBennett) May 6, 2019
But what was Brienne made to do at this point? She awkwardly got up and retired into the comforts of her room — unlike the Brienne we know, who'd respond with anger, albeit restrained anger, but anger, and draw your attention to the fact that as a fighter that's all that matters — the fighting.
Most of us have wanted Jaime and Brienne to end up together, especially since the bathtub scene between the two in Season 3, episode 4, Kissed by Fire. That episode saw the two finally trust each other completely, and resurface in love with each other — the kind of love that comes from mutual respect. And we instantly knew that the King slayer’s road to redemption was through Brienne.
Little did we know that when they finally ended up together, it would be due to a kneejerk reaction to being virgin-shamed!
It doesn’t end there.
Did Jaime just get up and leave as men do after a one-night stand? (Source: Youtube screengrab)
If reducing the love, respect and admiration Brienne felt for Jaime to an after-party hook-up scene wasn’t enough, Brienne, by the end of the episode, was reduced to a melodramatic Hollywood actress from the 1960s, when she begs Jaime to not leave her for Cersie!
Yes, love makes you do all sorts of things.
And yes, it is natural for even the forever-proper Brienne to succumb to her heart once in a while.
But yes, she deserved better.