Like I really don’t want to pretend I’m not sympathetic to the argument that Jaime challenge’s readers’ perceptions whereas Cersei confirms them. There’s certainly gendered implications to which sibling gets that story, in the same way that ATLA’s choice of Zuko getting a redemption over Azula had its own implications, and there’d be some things we’d be raising our eyebrows at had it not been for the existence of Katara, Toph, Suki, among others.
As Julia and I said in our Cersei Lannister podcast, this would have been a problem if this was the only female PoV he had. But situated in the pattern of who he writes, in my mind, he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Especially given that Cersei’s internalized misogyny is the key to her character, and that has incredibly feminist implications (for the reader I mean). Plus the whole “self-delusions” thing is rather a hallmark of the Lannisters. Tywin included, peeps.
We also go on for some time about this idea that she was scripted “differently” in the first three books. Just…no.
But idk, the fact that people can read Dany’s chapters and her struggle with identity, and her series of moral concessions, that is so in direct parallel to Jon it’s almost silly to point it out, and come away with the impression that Dany is an impulsive, shitty leader? She’s trying to do the most good for the most people, she carefully weighs the council she receives, she makes the best decisions she can with the information she has at the time, and she has a moment of realization that she’s compromised too much to the point where she can’t even recognize herself. Which is conveniently when she solidifies her symbiotic relationship with her dragon.
Of course it’s not perfect, how she navigates the situation, but honestly given the ridiculous complexity of it, she does pretty damn well.
With Arianne, I do 100% understand where those misconceptions come from, because I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of digging and reflecting on his material to realize the whole “Arianne is Doran” thing, that this isn’t the tale of a daughter cowed into submission by her father, and that the QM plot was so not some random impulsive thing but something she basically felt backed into because of a shared Shakespearean flaw with her dad. There have quite literally been times where Julia and I have been annoyed with how difficult Martin made this for the reader to see.
Though this idea that Arianne “gave up her leadership” when her plotline is all about the exact opposite is kind of mind-boggling to me.
Just all in all, I think Martin does pretty damn well. Especially given how one of the major, major themes throughout his novels is the toxic effect of the Westerosi patriarchy on everyone, which again…there’s an incredibly strong feminist narrative running throughout this series as a result.
Plus the fact that people accept a whole lot of fandom assumptions at face-value (Littlefinger the mastermind? Really? His plan hinges on a dwindling bottle of hair dye.) and then use those to cast this judgement onto his writing? Idk, I guess I’m only sympathetic up to a point.