Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Jeyne Substitutions

The show-runners of Game of Thrones made many changes from the the books of A Song of Ice and Fire. Changes are necessary because of the different art forms. Of course, Martin's books are nothing if not sprawling; deletions and consolidations of characters and plot lines are also required.

I've probably liked more changes than I disliked.  But I reacted more to the changes I disliked.

Let's get to the Jeynes.

Jeyne Westerling appeared out of nowhere in A Storm of Swords. She's very vague. So is Robb, since he's not a point of view character. But Jeyne is removed from the action twice over. There is no point-of-view character anywhere near when she and Robb marry. The story is that Jeyne comforts Robb after the "deaths" of Bran and Rickon. Robb marries her to protect her honor after comforting leads to sex. She does not attend Edmure's and Roslyn's wedding.

Apparently Jeyne wasn't exceptional enough for the show-runners. They created a  special woman who isn't like the others: Talisa. a foreign beauty and a feisty healer. I remember an interview with George R.R. Martin. He was discussing the problems with feisty peasant girls in medieval fantasies. He said the feisty peasant girls would be raped. Talisa was a high-born woman, not a peasant. But otherwise, she seems the epitome of the character Martin mocked. At best, she's snarky with Robb at their first meeting. I'd characterize her as disrespectful and rude. Robb is intrigued, but not everyone would be so forgiving. Talisa is lucky Roose Bolton wasn't in command that day. He has no problem with rape. At least, Bolton would force her to work only on the Northmen and restrict her movements.

Robb's marriage to Talisa is much more short-sighted than his marriage to Jeyne. I understand how a teenage boy could break his vow to the Freys--he is trying to live up to his ideals as an honorable man. TV Robb--a grown man--is just selfishly stupid, instead of honorably stupid.

I've written about the Red Wedding here. The fetus stabbing bothered me for several reasons, especially the idea that the death of fetuses is worse than the death of live persons. I get the idea of potential innocent life and the next generation of Starks, but it's hard for me to divorce the death of the Stark fetus from today's political climate.

Then there's Jeyne Poole. Jeyne is Sansa's best friend. According to this wiki, she appears in Game of Thrones. I remember a scene from the Winterfell banquet in an early Season One episode, but don't remember Jeyne appearing again. What if Jeyne had been an example of a little person hurt by the battling lords, instead of Ros? Maybe Jeyne wouldn't be believable as one of  Littlefinger's top aides, but she would have been a true innocent hurt by the war.

Instead the show-runners ignore Jeyne and replace her with Sansa as Ramsay's wife/victim. I was shocked when I heard this. At the end of Season Four, Sansa appeared ready to take her place as a player apprentice if not a player herself. She had learned how to read people and how to hide her own feelings when necessary.

Despite the show-runners' assertions that she is now pro-active, I think she was played by Littlefinger. He even smirked when she agreed to go to Winterfell to marry Ramsay Bolton. Believe me, I tried to convince myself that it wasn't a smirk, but a smile of pride. It was a smirk.

I get the appeal of replacing Jeyne with Sansa. As many have noted, it raises the stakes; Sansa's story stalls at the Vale.

But Sansa is not Jeyne. While it may have happened off-screen (or off-page to be more accurate) Jeyne is a broken woman. She lost her family as and when Sansa did, but she had no name (or brother with an army) to protect her. She had no hope. Littlefinger sent her to one of his whore houses and who knows exactly what she was subjected to.

However rough Sansa had it, however many times she felt alone and frightened, she had the name of Stark. There were some that respected that name.

There are still some that respect that name. If the Boltons need a Stark to legitimize their claim to the North, they can't afford for Ramsay to mistreat/abuse that Stark. Characters in A Song of Ice and Fire were angry enough about the fake Arya--and many knew she was a fake. Abuse of a real Sansa would create more anger.

Sansa has already dealt with the attentions of a sadist in the first three seasons--Joffrey. It's a step back for her to be in the same position again, even if the show-runners try to sell at as Sansa being pro-active.

They're full of shit.

I cursed Benioff and Weiss as I watched Sansa's rape. I considered turning off the show for good. I couldn't do it. Claire McCaskill did. Rhiannon won't recap it any longer. I'll miss her recaps and analyses.

Going forward, I'm not sure what I'll do. Each season, I've felt less psyched for Game of Thrones. It's still must see TV for me. Damn, I watched a season marathon on Memorial Day. The rape scene was as bad as I remembered. I hate rape as a cheap tool of empowerment or revenge motive. I can't expect much from Benioff and Weiss, but I still hope for something better.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Week Derailed

On Sunday when I thought about the upcoming week, I told myself I would have to plan and be well-organized to get everything done. Things ended up okay though getting here was tough.

On Sunday night, Spike's "stomach" problems took a turn for the worse. I had to treat carpet stains, do an unexpected load of laundry and take Spike to the vet on Monday. I already had to drive to a Stamford pharmacy to get Spike's Chinese herbs, so half of my day was gone before I knew it. On Tuesday I went to Motor Vehicles to get my license renewed; that was about two hours out of my life. I also tutored or taught every day.

I did get a break--one of my deadlines was extended from today to Tuesday. Surprisingly, I have free time this weekend to work on that deadline. A few tutoring students decided to wait until the fall instead of taking June tests.

I just need to keep plugging.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


It's been a few weeks since I've written about the Mets. During their magical early season winning streak, I wanted to praise them daily. Then it ended. I really wished for one more win. Then the Mets would have established a team record winning streak.

I was annoyed that it was the Yankees who stopped them. But at least that loss didn't hurt the Mets in the NL East standings.

Unfortunately, the Mets have played pretty poorly since then. They lost series to the Yankees, Marlins and Nationals. They won the next two series against the Orioles and the Phillies. But then the Mets were swept in a four game series at Wrigley Field. They returned home only to be shut out 0-7 by the lowly Brewers (now 13-24.) I couldn't even finish watching Friday night's game. It was just too much.

When we turned on the game last night, the Mets were leading 1-0. So far, so good. Then the Mets exploded for a 10-run fourth inning. They eventually won 14-1, giving Jacob deGrom a much needed win and a season record of 4-4. deGrom got in on the offense himself, going three-for-three.

As I write this, the Mets are up 5-0 in the top of the fifth. They are tops in the National League East, leading the Nationals by a half-game. Several players remain on the DL, including Captain David Wright and starting catcher Travis d'Arnaud. The Cardinals are heading into town for four games: this week will be the biggest challenge of the season to-date.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Lovely Day...

Today was a good day. Why? There was no great news today. Instead, it was some good little things that added up. I thought it was important to acknowledge the good things. Usually, it's the small bad things that bring me down.

The weather cooled down. Monday and Tuesday were warm and humid. I didn't want to complain about heat about our bitter winter, but I was happy when it cooled down. Spike took me for a long walk. As I've said before, that's a good sign that he's feeling well.

Then I had a great workout for the second consecutive day. I used free weights both days. I then cooked and prepped meals. I made lentil salad and carrot jicama salad.

The biggest downside of the day was when Spike refused to get into the car to go to the dog park.

Silly boy.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Math Madness and Reading Rigor

The redesigned SAT will be launched in March 2016. Because I'm an active tutor, I'm among the first group in my company to be trained for the new test. I'm glad because the live training will be in the second half of June, a traditionally slow time. Unfortunately the flip side is that I have to take a redesigned SAT practice test now when I'm busy with SAT and ACT students prepping for tests in early June.

I mistakenly thought this test would be relatively easy for me because I'm already certified to teach the ACT. The writing is similar to the ACT, but the rest is different. The new SAT math is tougher than the ACT's. Apparently, the reading is also tough: I've only finished one passage.That means SAT reading is on my agenda for today. And the redesigned essay.

What fun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hooray for Spike!

Today Spike is 14-and-a-half. I taught a class tonight, so took him to the dog park around lunchtime. It was a nice day. Spike seemed reluctant to get into the car, but was happy to get to Taylor Farm.

I took a few pictures of him with my cell phone, but wasn't happy with any of them. So here's a favorite taken at Taylor Farm a few years ago.

It's especially nice to celebrate Spike's half-way day this year. There were times when we questioned whether he would make it.

Happy Half-Way Day Spike. We love you.

Monday, May 4, 2015

DPF and Summer Clothes

Jeff was working from home on Friday; I was finishing an editing job. As 5 PM drew near, we talked about going to the dog park. I was hesitant--I still had some work to do, but decided to go. I had already picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner, and Jeff agreed to make the sides.

We saw a few friends there who decided they couldn't wait any longer for our first dog park Friday. The weather wasn't ideal--somewhere around 50 degrees--but we needed to kick off the season.We had some wine and caught up on the news.

This morning I couldn't find a blouse I wanted to wear. I realized that I had put it with the summer clothes in the closet of the second bedroom. So I moved heavier long sleeved blouses and pants into the second bedroom, and brought back the short sleeved and sleeveless blouses.

Winter is finally banished.