Search This Blog

14 October 2013

Game of Thrones: Petyr Baelish's Bastardly Behaviour

I'll admit something. I like Petyr Baelish in the books - he's obviously evil, meticulous, and you don't usually find out that he's behind something until he comes out and says it.

(I would also like to clarify that the meaning of the word "paedophile" - meaning, sexually attracted to prepubescent children. Was Sansa prepubescent when he first started pursuing her? Yes. But that wasn't the reason; it was because she looks like a young Catelyn . His "affection" for her, while creepy, sick, and more than a little wrong, is not paedophilia.)

(For the record, being attracted to children who have hit puberty but are not yet legal yet is also not paedophilia.)

The show... loses a lot of the mystery about him because they felt the need to cut out a lot of minor characters. Remember folks, TV viewers are stupid and can't remember a too many names.

So, in order to save on postage reduce the burden, we bundled a bunch of them together into the prostitute Ros. I don't mind Ros. She's a bit witty, sultry, and has compassion.

So, of course, we find the embodiment of all (mild exaggeration) minor characters working for Baelish.

And now the real spoilers begin.

Baelish's Plan

You see, Baelish has a "crush" on Sansa - he also has a place for her in his grand plans. So, he has designed a way to get her out of King's Landing and into his clutches. He did this by getting a person she sort of trusted, Dontas the Fool (who she saved from Joffrey), and getting him to act as the one with the plan to "rescue" her. In this capacity, he gives her a lovely hair ornament to wear to Joffrey's wedding... which contains the poison that will be used to kill Joffrey. Sansa is then stolen away by Baelish, leaving Tyrion, her husband, to take the fall, and Dontas dead.

Now, in the TV series, while Dontas does make an appearance it's only to show that Sansa is slowly learning to manipulate Joffrey's actions. He disappears after that.
INSTEAD, we have Baelish walk up to Sansa and say he's going to rescue her. And he then spends copious amounts of time with her, at the same time letting the new Madam of his brothel, Ros, in on the plan. This is... not subtle. At all. It's also, from my point of view anyway, pointless for Ros to know.

Now, it becomes relevant to mention that Ros has come into contact with Varys, the spy master. He came and visited her at Baelish's brothel and recruited her as a spy, it would seem. Of course, we could wonder why Varys would do something like walk right into Baelish's brothel, one of the many places the latter gathers information, but we'll leave that for now.

Ros lets Varys know about Baelish's affection for the girl... and then Baelish has her brutally and horribly killed. It also leads to one of Baelish's best speeches in the entire program but still, it was bloody and horrific. I will address it momentarily.

Flash forward to the end of the third season. Baelish has set sail without Sansa, who is still married to Tyrion, all alone in King's Landing again.

... And with no way that I can see to have Sansa unwittingly deliver the poison and to escape unless Baelish magically shows up again (as it is, I think his hanging around her all the time was more than suspicious enough for anyone else who had spies) or we reintroduce Dontas. Which makes the invention of Ros somewhat pointless - and even more so her involvement with Baelish.

So... I have plot issues.

Ros's Death: Varys vs Baelish

Ros's death was painful - she was handed over to Joffrey, tied to the bed posts and used as a live target for his crossbow. It was... brutal. We only saw the aftermath, but the places she was shot was suggestive and misogynistic - it was Joffrey doing the shooting after all.

But what I want to discuss is why. When I first saw the scene, I was horrified. Not because I'm easily startled mind you, but by how completely personal the attack seemed - Ros had been sent to Joffrey once before and came back horrified, and Baelish knew it. He also knew what Joffrey wanted to do to her.

To me it had seemed out of character. However, I discussed it with a friend and they provided me with a new but much more evil idea.

It's obvious by this point that Baelish knew Varys had gotten to Ros. It may even be possible that he knew right from the start - Varys had chosen to go to his brothel after all, his territory. He let Ros into his inner circle - he let her know about his plans. Not because she had a use in them - but because he knew that Ros would feel afraid for Sansa and would tell Varys.

That would provide the opportunity to strike against Varys. Now, from what we know, Varys isn't needlessly cruel. If anything, he seems to try to be kind. So Baelish wanted his act of kindness to backfire - the fact that he tried to "save" Ros from prostitution. And the more pain she felt, the more guilt and horror Varys would feel because if she wasn't his spy, it never would have happened. It was a warning not to mess in his affairs.

Whether Ros was made a good madam because of her qualifications or because it would make things easier, I'm not sure. But Baelish did find out at some point, and her death was to cause Varys pain.

What is interesting about this, is that this casts another perspective on when he kisses Sansa in the snow - could he really not control himself? Or did he know Lysa would be watching, thus triggering the events that would lead to her murder?

Baelish the Bastard

I think that the TV's Baelish is still not as subtle or smart as the book Baelish - he works too much in the open and seems to let petty things get in the way of his long term goals. After all, even in the situation I described above, he involved Ros in his plans to make Varys suffer, resulting in a plan that has not gone as smoothly as the one book Baelish devised.

One thing I do think they have in common is this: despite what some people say, I don't think Baelish is misogynistic. While he runs a brothel, he has also admitted to precuring men for it. He has this business because it is profitable.

Baelish uses people. He doesn't care about their gender or age - to him they are all pawns until they prove themselves players.

He's the ultimate pragmatist.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Throw in your two cents. I certainly have mine!