FYI, this post will spoil yesterday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Laws of Gods and Men.”
Oh, poor Tyrion. He stands falsely accused of murdering his vile nephew Joffrey, and he’s now on trial as the Crown introduces “witness” after “witness” sealing his fate. There are, of course, several people (Cersei included) who can testify to how much Tyrion openly and vocally despised Joffrey, and the Maester (long Tyrion’s enemy) mentions that Tyrion took his poisons, but the truly damning testimony comes courtesy of two supposed allies who unexpectedly turn into enemies.
First up is Varys, the Master of Whispers who has spent the previous seasons aiding Tyrion, providing cover for him to see his girlfriend, Shae. Varys purposely takes quotations out of context in order to make it sound as though Tyrion directly threatened Joffrey. He also suggests that Tyrion was “sympathetic to the Northern cause.”
And then there’s the whammy: Shae herself, the lover who previously experienced what appeared to be a genuinely loving and happy relationship with Tyrion, which went downhill when Tyrion tried to send her away for her own safety. She refused, and Tyrion pulled a Harry and the Hendersons by telling her she was nothing more than a whore to him. He then sent her to a ship, accompanied by his faithful (!) sellsword companion Bronn. Bronn reported to Tyrion that Shae boarded the ship safely and left Westeros (an obvious lie and a third betrayal).
Shae takes the stand and lies, straight up painting Tyrion as a monster and saying that he plotted to murder Joffrey as a way to woo his wife Sansa. She’s clearly angry on the stand, referring to the fact that Tyrion sent her away as nothing more than a whore. It’s unclear whether she was also under any threat from Cersei or Tywin to testify but she looks very nervous and it stands to reason that she knows how dangerous the Lannisters are and would probably have chosen to just leave town had she had the option.
Having read the books, I knew this was coming (or at least, I was fairly confident it was coming – Shae’s character is very different in the books, so her plot could have been changed). I also knew that the Internet’s reaction was coming, and I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. The betrayal of all those characters, and Shae in particular, is shocking and upsetting. I wonder how people will react on social media?
https://twitter.com/kawanprather/status/465675210927382528 (It appears the user has deleted this one, but it linked to an instagram photo stating that Chris Brown was right. I’ll try to find an archived image. It was at http://instagram.com/p/n4SbtXNcgb/)
— Danny Toma (@tomadanny) May 12, 2014
Shae you insufferable cunt. I never liked you. #GameOfThrones
— Fidoz (@Fidoz) May 12, 2014
What a lying, conniving little twat. Little cunt. Fucking Shay #GameOfThrones
— tah-tah-tuquisha (@cyndyrene) May 12, 2014
This Shae bitch needs to be cunt punted
— Ms. O (@Bitchadelphia) May 12, 2014
Here’s one that goes a step further to attack the actress who plays Shae (Sibel Kekilli, who once worked in pornography):
Shae is such a cunt she's a whore on and off screen #fuckyou
— Amy Friedman (@anicolefriedman) May 12, 2014
Now let’s be clear: fuck Show-Shae. Seriously. Not because of what she did at the trial, but because it all happened due to her turning jealous of Sansa, which is frankly ridiculous. (I won’t address Book Shae here, but let it be known that I don’t think her character is necessarily better, there. Just different.)
Shae is a woman with zero options who rose up from being a common camp follower to a royal handmaiden and consort to the King’s Hand in, like, a few months. There is no way that a woman who has lived Shae’s life would suddenly get jealous because her lover is forced into a marriage with a child who hates him, just like everyone in the Seven Kingdoms is constantly forced into marriages. That shit is a fact of Westerosi life.
But once we accept the fact that the writers made her into a jealous girlfriend trope ages ago, her actions at the trial make absolutely perfect sense. From her perspective, the man she loved turned on her and called her a whore and told her to leave forever, and on the way to the ship, she was apparently kidnapped by the most powerful people in Westeros and forced to testify. Would a smart woman in that position suddenly do the heroic thing and sacrifice her own life for the man who spurned her so coldly? No – a smart woman would do what she’s told and get the hell out of town as soon as possible. And Shae is a smart woman – those are the only sort of women who get along in the Game of Thrones world.
So anyway, that’s my mild defense of Shae as a bit of a chaser to the raging misogyny. Feel free to discuss her character and what is sure to be an ongoing and ever-strengthening anti-Shae hate fest. But (on that note), please, book readers, don’t spoil further than this episode for the non-readers!
Also feel free to talk about how Peter Dinklage is the greatest actor on that show and he fucking nailed it.