they're the driving force of the show and are treated as such

Power, Honour, Love.

So I’ve been thinking about foil characters a lot recently (who am I kidding when am I ever not thinking about foil characters) and y'know I think my favourite pair might be? 

Cersei and Brienne. 

I see these two “compared” a lot because of the whole Jaime thing but y'know what who even cares about Jaime? (I do, I care a lot about Jaime, but not right now okay) Cersei and Brienne are so interesting as a pair of characters entirely independent of who they’re shipped with and I really think we all need to stop this reductive characterisation of both of them to qualify one ship or another.

I think this pair of quotations really sums up the brilliance of these two as characters who are simultaneously foils and mirrors: 

She had a warrior’s heart, but the gods in their blind malice had given her the feeble body of a woman. [Cersei, AFFC] 

You have a man’s strength in your arm, but your heart is as soft as any maid’s. [Brienne, AFFC] 

Both women feel as though their hearts are at odds with their bodies. Cersei feels like she ought to be a warrior, but finds herself armed only with her beauty and her wits. Brienne, personality wise, has many more traits traditionally associated with femininity (her romantic view of the world, her maternal instinct (which Cersei has, but specifically for her own children), her love of songs and beauty) but has a large, mannish body which is a cause of great insecurity. Both have to adapt their given temperament to suit the body they have, and the way their bodies are viewed by the society they inhabit: Cersei learns to use her sexuality to her advantage, and Brienne steels herself for the battle that she has realised is less painful than attempting to be “womanly”.

This is why I adored the scene the show gave us between the two of them; I’ve already written meta on that but the crux of the matter is that when Cersei says ’You’re Lord Selwyn Tarth’s daughter, that makes you a lady whether you want to be or not' those are Tywin’s words, words spoken to Cersei when she would swap clothes with Jaime to train with the boys. Brienne has the freedom that Cersei has always wanted, the ability to fight her own corner and refuse to marry. Of course, what Cersei cannot know is how difficult it is for Brienne to move in the male-dominated circles she inhabits; constant mockery and threat of rape are the cost of such freedom. At the same time, the beauty and grace that Cersei possesses is everything Brienne has ever wanted. After years of being humiliated and reviled for her ugliness Brienne looks at Cersei and sees the daughter she wishes she could have been, rather than ‘the freakish one, fit to be neither son nor daughter’. Just as Cersei cannot comprehend the hardships of Brienne’s life, Brienne cannot fully appreciate what Cersei suffers both as Robert’s wife and Tywin’s daughter. Each woman therefore encapsulates what the other wishes they had, even if neither can fully appreciate the difficulties of having it. 

 Perhaps it is this aspect of their personalities which shapes their respective approaches to love. One of Cersei’s most famous lines from the show is ’the more people you love, the weaker you are' and Brienne serves both to illustrate the truth of those words, and to dispute them. The way that Cersei and Brienne view love is actually more similar than one might initially imagine: Cersei says outright that love is weakness, and thus she guards herself against this. Brienne does this as well, though her motivations are different: Cersei fears love because it has the potential to make her act rashly or without regard for her own preservation, where Brienne fears the emotional pain that loving is liable to cause her. Almost as soon as they meet, Catelyn notes that ’there are walls as high as Winterfell around that one’, and this is hardly surprising considering what we later learn about Brienne’s past, both romantic and familial. Of course, due to her soft heart and her youth, Brienne is less adept at guarding against love than Cersei is. It is Brienne’s love that both puts her in terrible situations, and gives her the power to overcome them. It is her love for Jaime that gets her hanged by Lady Stoneheart, and her love for Pod that causes her to agree to kill Jaime, however we also know that it is Brienne’s desire to do right by those she loves that is her driving force, keeping her going through all the hardship she endures as she searches for Sansa. For all that Cersei despises the idea of weakness, and sees love as a weakness, she herself also proves that love can be a strength; during her walk of shame it is the thought of Tommen that helps her to keep going, since ’every step brought her closer to her son and her salvation’. Once again these two women both contrast and compliment each other; the way they love is both vastly different and very similar. 

Speaking of love, I lied: I’m going to talk about Jaime. Because actually I think their relationships with him represent a really important aspect of both their personalities. For Cersei, Jaime is quite literally the only person in the world ever who, since Joanna’s death, has seen her as a human being. Okay, he has a warped view of who she is, and she him, but to him she is not just another asset (as she is to Tywin) or a baby-making-machine (as she is to Robert). Jaime was willing to give up Casterly Rock to be with her, would abandon civilisation to marry her openly, and while she dismisses this as stupid, it’s also part of why she loves him; she is his priority, she in herself is important. 

Similarly, Brienne loves Jaime (and you can interpret that love as platonic or romantic as it suits you) because he sees her as the knight she aspires to be. In giving her Oathkeeper and trusting her with his “last chance for honour” he places her among the gallant knights of the tales she so adores, even if she herself doesn’t believe she belongs there. He doesn’t treat her like a freak or a novelty, but like an equal, a brother-in-arms. And we’ve seen with Renly and Catelyn how easily Brienne gives her heart away to people who treat her with respect. 

This need for respect that Brienne and Cersei have is, for both of them, also reflected in their ambition. Tyrion says of Cersei that she is ’greedy for power, for honour, for love,' and while he doesn’t always get Cersei right, he really hits the nail on the head here. The thing is, this quote might just as easily be applied to Brienne. Once again she doesn’t want these things in the say way that Cersei does, but they are probably three things she most values; while Cersei seeks political power, what Brienne wants is the power to make her own decisions, to rule herself; Cersei wants the honour of others, to be honoured, where Brienne seeks to be honourable; Cersei wants to have the love of others because of the power it gives her over them, where Brienne wants someone who can love her as wholly and completely as she herself loves. I think it’s this point that really sums up why Cersei and Brienne are such a brilliant pair of characters, because they desperately want similar things, apparently for different reasons. However, though these reasons appear to be opposite, they share a root in the way Cersei and Brienne react to the treatment of their gender. What both of them desperately want is recognition that the gender role they have each been assigned is too narrow; Cersei does this by lashing out and adopting a very male aggression in her feminine role, and Brienne by using her femininity to be a better knight than any man. 

So while on the surface these two women absolutely could not be more different, many of the struggles they face are similar, as are the things they strive for. Oh, they go about it in different ways and in terms of personality they are polar opposites, but there’s more to this pair than meets the eye. They aren’t the Madonna and Whore (looking at u Kingslayer), they are both multifaceted, ambitious, intelligent, strong women who, in their own ways, subvert gender expectations and assert their own identity in doing so. 

doomhamster  asked:

FWIW I would read that Rey/Kylo fic. And am so, so sick of the way fandom treats him, not because I really like him that much (though I would like to know more about his backstory which is apparently the same thing?) but because... people aren't mocking him for being a murderer or a patricide or working for a genocidal regime? They're mocking him for having feelings, basically, and his being a bad guy is supposed to make that okay.

YES YES YES.

Actually?  They’re mocking him for being unmasculine.  And okay, the beauty of Kylo Ren in the movies is that it takes souped-up hypermasculine rage and shows us that in reality, it’s not all badass and fearsome–in reality, it’s infantile and pathetic.  So I love that!  It’s what canon portrayals of MCU Loki really lacked.  Whereas TFA went out of its way to show us stuff like the two Stormtroopers figuring out Kylo was having a tantrum and backing away slowly.

But you solve a problem like Kylo Ren by leaning more into his feelings, by helping him figure out what’s really bothering him and addressing it.  Whereas I feel like if he just “manned up” and was all stoic and badass and had no moments of weakness, fandom wouldn’t be nearly so critical.

And okay okay I get that humour is how we deal with discomfort and problem spots and it’s a legit coping mechanism for people BUT WATCHING THEM DO IT DRIVES ME UP THE WALL.  

Because everyone would like to say that he’s whiny and like a teenager who doesn’t appreciate his loving parents, but, well… we all KNOW the Jedi’s approach to emotion and attachment is fucking toxic!  Luke could handle it, but Luke reached adulthood before he lost his loving and stable caretakers.  And Han and Leia are great people but seriously, I grew up near an Army town and most of my friends were Army brats, it is a known fucking fact that even if great people are fighting for the noblest cause in the world, if they have to raise a child in an environment of chaos where parents are at frequent risk of disappearing or dying and nobody prioritizes the child’s emotional health, it will have consequences.

anonymous asked:

Are they pushing the Ray thing too fast to get to the Olicity stuff, because they are having her moving on and rationally I get she wants to be happy, but it seems a bit quick, I want a foundation to a relationship, more than just intelligence and mutual attraction. Also seems to me that the final mid season cliff will be sex with raylicity, after the spoiled stephen, emily acting they're chops off, and oliver beaten by Ra's. No hope for Oliver right now it seems.

11-dino said:  Did you see the new promo for Arrow? Besides that it was awesome there was a Raylicity kiss in there or not? I do like Ray (i tried not to but he does treat her right and what she deserves) never thought it would happen that fast we haven’t really seen any feelings between than yet but I take it this is a first season half trailer so it might not happen in the next few episodes. And when i am on it. Stumbled6on your plot causw of the defense of felicity smoak piece and reread a lot on your poot

 Time to combo these bad boys.

 Yes, I saw the promo. The next four episodes look awesome! Can I be honest…I completely forgot Ted Grant is Wildcat. He’s showing Laurel his “lair” and I all….”OH!!! Oh yeah!!!” hehehe. The mind is a strange thing.

 Anywho, no I don’t think they are pushing Raylcity too fast. Why? Because it’s Arrow. Arrow slices through plot like a shredding machine. Zip zip zip.

First of all….everyone BREATHE!!!! I told you it was going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Ray Palmer is the worse. We knew this was going to happen.

Have they been pushing romance with Raylicity? Eh, not really. I think Felicity connected with Ray on an intellectual level, she views him as a coworker. Every time he turns around she’s crying so he’s tried to be kind to her.

But now is the time they are cranking up the heat. My guess is that “work” date leads to actual sparkage and maybe a kiss.  There’s a great line from Shawshank Redemption “Get busy living. Or get busy dying.”

This is Felicity LIVING. Yes, Oliver is trying to figure out a way to be both Oliver & The Arrow. Yes, the seeds have been planted but he’s MILES away from being anywhere near ready. He’s still very much focused on The Arrow. He loves Felicity and the reconnect they had in 3x05 is important but in all reality…NOTHING has changed. He was telling her again that he loved her but he wasn’t offering to BE with her. For Felicity, just loving her isn’t enough. She wants more from him. She deserves more from him.

So it’s time to get busy living. Also…she is completely heartbroken do not let her fool you for one damn second. The rapid succession of dates, the kissing…this is serious REBOUND. But rebound can turn into a legitimate romance. It didn’t with Barry but it will with Ray.

For Oliver, he’s still making the choice to get busy living or get busy dying. He’s leaning towards living and that’s an important step but he’s still far behind where Felicity is at. They’ve got a gulf the size of the ocean between them.

You know why I chuckled at the people who say “this story line is so cliche”, “love triangles are so stupid” “or “this is so predictable"…because the storyline IS WORKING. Like I knew it would.  Was it predictable that Raylicity would happen so soon? No. We’re all in a twitter over the PROMO of Felicity kissing Ray. The point of this story line is to evoke emotion from the audience. And it is working.

Without Ray Palmer…it could take Oliver YEARS to finally decide to get busy living and that’s not fair to Felicity. Ray Palmer puts more of a clock on our boy and you know what? It’s necessary. Oliver needs a good swift kick in the ass. 

Never, for one second, forget the point of Ray Palmer’s existence. He is another option for Felicity. A life outside of Oliver Queen. So she can DECIDE that the life she wants…is the one she has with Oliver Queen. But she can’t know that for sure until she explores one without him. Or rather…she’s being FORCED to explore one without him.

And for Oliver…Ray Palmer is the mirror that will force Oliver to take a look at his own life and his choices. Yes, he let Felicity go…but he hasn’t truly lost her yet. Is he prepared to do that? Is that the cost of life as The Arrow? Or will he decide to get busy living and accept BOTH sides of himself?

Like Slade was, Ray Palmer is just another catalyst to drive these two apart so they can find their way back to one another. They NEED a catalyst or nothing will change. They will forever be in a state of limbo. That’s not fair to either one of them.

Ray Palmer is an obstacle. Difficult to overcome? Yes. But not impossible.