Men’s Lives Have Meaning, Part 4: The Prince Who Came Too Late
Series so far here
“King Quentyn. Why did that sound so silly?”
There’s a moment in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, when Travis Bickle is in the process of realizing he irreparably blew it with the girl of his dreams, that ranks among the most powerful camera moves ever performed: it moves away from him. Travis’ hunched form disappears on the left, and the camera comes to halt on an empty corridor. We still hear the conversation, the story keeps going, but the camera motion stands out as a direct authorial insertion–the storyteller couldn’t bear to watch.
Of course, if Scorsese were given the option to tell someone’s story from ASOIAF, he’d probably be more drawn to any given Lannister than Quentyn; the director specializes in making us empathize with people like Travis even while showcasing their sins and dysfunction. (Hell, Scorsese even uses lion imagery in multiple movies. How has he not made a movie about Tywin?) Nevertheless, that camera move comes to my mind when considering Quent’s appearances in other POVs’ chapters in between “The Windblown” and “The Spurned Suitor.” GRRM can’t bear to be in Quent’s head for this, so he moves the POV camera away.
And after all, it’s always interesting to view POV characters from another POV. After spending time in her or his head, with intimate access to their thoughts and feelings, we suddenly see them from the outside, as the world sees them, as we would if we actually met them. Done right, it fills out the character and puts them in context.
Such is the case with Quent’s arrival in Meereen. While the previous essays in this series covered his own POV chapters (“The Merchant’s Man” and “The Windblown”), this one will deal with his successive appearances in other people’s chapters: Dany VII & VIII and Barristan’s “The Discarded Knight.”