Jack was an easy baby. He rarely ever cried, and when he did it was usually because he was over-tired and cranky. His favourite pastime seemed to be quietly staring up at his parents with those big blue eyes of his, cracking smiles and breaking into an occasional fit of giggles.
He was a bubbly kid, always full of energy and always ready to join his dad out on their backyard rink. More often than not Alicia had to bargain with him to get him off the rink and back inside in time for dinner. He could get a little moody about it but thankfully never for too long.
Jack used to cheer and clap loudly whenever Bob was on television. He tried to watch every game and Alicia was usually very generous in letting him stay up past his bedtime. As the years went by, he grew quieter, watching his dad’s games with an intense, focused air about him and an ever-present frown, like he was always deep in thought.
It was the same expression he wore when he himself played, and at times Alicia was taken aback by how much it made him look like an adult despite his youth.
Then Jack went away to play in the major leagues, and Alicia was forced to realize that her relationship with her son had been long distance for a while already.
A part of her would always blame herself, would always think she should have seen it coming. She remembered that day with unsettling clarity and it was a memory she would carry to her grave. She remembered feeling crushed, like the worst failure, but most of all so, so frightened.
All of a sudden the future seemed bleak, and Jack’s expression mirrored that. She was grateful for the coaching job, if only because it gave Jack a reason to smile, even though it was taut and stiff around the edges.
She saw him off to Samwell hoping it wasn’t a mistake, that sending him far from home wouldn’t end in disaster again. But Jack was older then, older than his years. He still played like he had something to prove, but he knew his limits. He had spent the past two years learning himself all over again; Alicia hoped it would be enough.
It wasn’t until his last two years at Samwell that Jack truly grew into himself. He had a great team, who in turn taught him how to be a great teammate. Her baby was smiling again, and Alicia was thrilled.
And yet, half a year into his rookie season in the NHL, she finally saw a look she had for so long hoped to see on her son’s face. One she had almost given up on, thinking half-smiles and contentment could be enough. It was a sweet blond boy with a golden heart who proved her wrong, and for that she would be eternally grateful because she finally got to see Jack happy.
Right now I’m working on an essay about Eyes Wide Shut (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1999) and its origin text, Arthur Schntizler’s Dream Story (1926). I’m discussing the texts through close readings focused on psychoanalysis, dreams and the unconscious, and how that informs sexuality in both the film and the novella.
I just have one tiny thing to say about Lyanna Mormont’s speech. I’ve seen quite a few people go after her for this particular line:
“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me.”
A lot of people have said it was very anti-feminist and an insult to women, which I understand where they’re coming from, but Lyanna wasn’t mocking those women. She was mocking the rigid gender norms placed upon girls and women in her society. It was decrying the social construct that dictates women cannot fight their own battles and are only good for what society deems ‘feminine pursuits’. Lyanna’s speech was deconstructing what it meant to be female at that time and declaring that women do not need men to fight their battles for them; that they are perfectly capable of fighting their own battles. We, as modern day women, cannot define her speech by our understanding of feminism today. Feminist discourse would have been largely unheard of in that period of time. What women of that day value most is incomparable to what we as modern viewers value now. For such a toxic patriarchal society, giving women autonomy over their own futures, and thusly their own battles, was a far more needed pursuit. The comment about knitting by the fire was not to say those who do knit and enjoy it are weaker and thus unworthy of being a woman, but rather it was to decry these archaic gender roles placed upon them. Women are capable of far more than society has given them the chance to display.
It’s completely unfair to view Lyanna’s speech through our twenty-first-century lenses because the circumstances are different. It’s the same argument we use when we apply feminist theory to literature. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, if read through modern day goggles, would not be considered as groundbreaking a novel as it was at the time of its publication in 1847, but it very much was.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer.“
To us, these quotes would not be that powerful. As beautiful as the language is, the concept that women feel just as men feel is not revolutionary for us. But at the time, Bronte’s Jane Eyre was certainly revolutionary in its attempt to dismantle this cultural imposition on women over their need to be the passive and submissive “Angel in the House” (a concept of the penultimate feminine ideal described by Coventry Patmore in his poem published in 1854).
Imposing twenty-first-century notions of feminism on a culture that has yet to actually experience any wave or trickle of feminism is unfair. Contextually, Lyanna’s speech was for its time revolutionary and so was Jon’s decision to have both men and women fight. Even Sansa, who is not a fighter, acknowledges this by her smirk during the speech. It is not a slight towards those who are more domestic, but a slight towards culturally imposed notions of what it means to be feminine by men who see women’s worth as only mothers, caretakers and nurturers, without acknowledging them as a whole human that is far more complex than these strict roles allow them.
And for each woman, the question of femininity is always going to be different. For Lyanna, her fight has always been against those who underestimate her right to lead and the power she commands, and that is what she specifically addresses. There’s a famous conversation by lecturer and professor of literature and gender studies Ann Snitow in her 1989 essay ‘A Gender Diary’.
Her friend says in regards to the feminist movement:
“Now I can be a woman; it’s no longer so humiliating. I can stop fantasizing that secretly I am a man, as I used to, before I had children. Now I can value what was once my shame.”
In contrast, Snitow said:
“Now I don’t have to be a woman anymore. I need never become a mother. Being a woman has always been humiliating, but I used to assume there was no exit. Now the very idea of ‘woman’ is up for grabs. ‘Woman’ is my slave name; feminism will give me freedom to seek some other identity altogether.”
It’s always been these contradicting ideologies that simultaneously fuels feminism as a movement and hinders it. Feminists for decades have struggled to reconcile both ways of thinking, but personally, I believe neither is wrong. For me, feminism is the freedom to believe in either.
This is why I don’t see Lyanna’s speech as being particularly anti-feminist. Saying so is too black and white of a statement, which has never been something you can attribute to feminism. The movement itself is too nuanced, as are most movements.
The EAC model is very useful in the world that is lie-detection. EAC stands for Eye Accessing Cues, this is when one can see what someone thinks about, just by looking at their eyes.
This is the model:
When someone looks upwards to the left they remember an image, however, up to the right they construct an image.
If they look in a horizontal line to the left, they remember a sound, if they do this but the right they construct a sound.
Down to the left, they have an internal dialogue and down to the right, they experience a kinesthetic feeling (can also be smell and taste).
Something many seem to believe is that this is a very safe method, it is not extremely reliable. It requires some control questions.
Control questions are any questions that are like these:
Did your breakfast look tasty this morning? (To remember an image - up and to the left)
How do you think it would sound if your favourite band would play at a concert near you? (Constructing a sound - horizontally to the right)
How would you feel if you happened to hurt your best friend? (Emotion - downwards to the right)
How would you articulate a speech at your best friend’s wedding? (Inner dialogue - Down to the left)
When you ask the control questions it should be in an atmosphere that’s
calm and comfortable, otherwise, the person will probably stare into
your eyes or just look away. Don’t tell them that you’re going to ask
them control question. Try this model and see that it’s fun.
This does not apply to every person, but if you ask the control questions and observe the eyes, you know if they do follow it. One thing to add is that left-dominant people seem to do the opposite of what I’ve explained.
Now if you want to see if someone is lying with this method make sure they follow this model. If they construct an image or sound when they should remember an image or sound, then this could point to a lie. If they say something like “It felt so horrible” but they look down to the left for an internal dialogue, they could be lying. But you should always try and find out more before accusing someone of lying.