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Topic: Brienne of Tarth - A Non-Reader's Perspective

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Mistress Of The Coin
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Brienne of Tarth - A Non-Reader's Perspective
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Someone asked me what my thought were on Brienne, and I was sure I had already written about her, but I can't find the post.  I have a real affinity and great sympathy for Brienne.  Much like Arya, she could not live her life as a noblewoman, even if she wanted to.  She is true to herself, and she is lucky to have a family that has obviously allowed her to pursue her passions.  And yet, she has chosen a path where she will never fit in or truly be accepted.  Her skill alone got her to Renly's kings guard.  And you can be certain that she had to be many times more skilled than the men around her to make it so far.  After all, she beat Loras, and Loras beat Jaime...  And we see her incredible skill on display with the three Stark men.  Without such talent, her life would be even more tragic.

I don't know what Brienne saw in Renly or why she followed him.  He wasn't much of a leader, got queasy at the sight of blood and had no rightful claim to the throne. 

Spoiler
  I wonder if Renly's willingness to give her an opportunity to prove herself is the reason.  And perhaps the fact that Renly is homosexual helped him see her differently than other men do.  The lack of judgment by Renly is the only reason I can conjure up why she would follow him.  And she obviously loved him a great deal, based on her reaction to his death.  

Brienne's willingness to follow Lady Stark is somewhat puzzling, but could have the same explanation as above -- that Catlyn was willing to accept her when she feared no one else would.  Or maybe she was so lost for what to do next that she agreed to follow Catlyn, rather than wander aimlessly.  I don't think it's a need to follow another person's leadership.  I really thing it was a hunger for acceptance and a sense of belonging somewhere that prompted her actions.

Brienne has clearly had a sad life, full of mistreatment and bullying by men (and certainly many women).  You could see in her face that Jaime's reaction was not uncommon.  No man has ever wooed her or loved her, although she has managed to get the respect of some men.  She has always been alone.  Her reaction to the women being raped and hanged spoke to the abuse she has suffered.  She became Justice, personified.  But no number of murdering rapists' deaths will fill the emptiness inside of her or erase the scars of her suffering. 

Brienne has a strong sense of honor (which again makes it strange that she followed Renly).  Her code of honor is not entirely in step with Ned Stark's, which I consider to be the highest and most stringent, but she is principled.  I wonder whether she would compromise those principles in exchange for acceptance.  I hope not, but the basic human need for companionship is stronger than principles in most cases.

Which brings me to predictions for season 3 and beyond (I hope).  I have hope for Brienne, even though my hope is held in check by GRRM.  I believe she has gained some measure of respect from Jaime based on her fighting skills, hopefully enough that he will stop being such an ass.  It is my hope that in season 3, Jaime will stop seeing her as a woman and see her instead as a fighter.  A friendship or mutual respect of that sort could have interesting repercussions for Brienne's future.  If they make it to King's Landing, Brienne is as good as dead...unless Jaime intervenes.  Jaime could also make her life considerably easier by showing her the respect she is due in front of others or stopping abuse aimed her way.  But nothing will fix her social awkwardness and the way people initially react to her.  Poor girl. 

I have no expectations of any sort of romantic entanglement for Brienne (unless she meets Hodor wildlings or the hill tribes or other more egalitarian people).  It is too much to hope for that she could find someone in Westeros who can accept and love her as she is to the point where she can let her guard down with that person.  But she may well find her place in Westeros.  It will be interesting to see whether she is able to avenge Renly and whether she eventually returns to Catlyn's service.  Or whether she dies, of course.  

One thing I would love to see is Brienne fight one of the real badasses like the Hound, the Mountain or Bronn.  The Hound is entirely possible, since he may well be heading north.  And I suspect that the Mountain may still be around Harrenhall in season 3, so that is also a possibility.  Even if she makes it all the way to King's Landing, I don't see her having a showdown with Bronn.  hmm 

What I really don't want to see is Brienne suffer overly much...not mentally, anyway.  And I really want to see her in action again.  I've developed quite a fondness for her.  She's like my socially awkward older sister, and I'm going to beat up anybody who messes with her (not that she needs any help).

     



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Wielder of the Baratheon BANHAMMER
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Great analysis BaS!
Many people like book 3 as Brianne gets a lot more "screen time" and I predict the same will happen in the Tv show.

You are right to assess that she has a lot of honor, she has more honor than most knights in the realm, but sadly she would probably never receive such a distinction, a "warrior maid" was the nicest thing most men would say of her.

Probably becoming a member of Renly's Kingsguard was as close she has gotten so far, and you could see that she was honored by it. I don't think she knew of Renly's orientation, and since she has not much romantic experience with men, she had a bit of a fangirl moment when she chose her for his guard.

She (and you) are in for a hell of a journey, can't wait for you to experience it.

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Lady Of The Blue Winter Rose
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Well done, Lady! Brienne the Beauty or Brienne of Tarth is one of my fav female characters in GOT.  She is a true badass. She also claims that she will not marry anyone who can not best her in battle.  So, figure if she were to marry, it would be someone who could best her at combat.  She has honor, but not necessarily for her house.  That is so amazing.  Most are so loyal to their house or whom ever is on the iron throne.  Not her.  She is like a "knight for hire of honor".  Soooo good.  Well done! clap.gif



-- Edited by Lyanna Stark on Sunday 7th of October 2012 01:10:13 AM

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Mistress Of The Coin
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Awww, thanks Lyanna. If she won't marry anyone who can't best her, she has completely set herself up for failure in the romance department. The likelihood of her finding such a man who will also look beyond her perceived deficiencies as a woman is miniscule. Very sad, although it makes sense based on her personality. Again, the questions is whether she could hold to that proclamation were she to meet the right man who could not best her...

I hadn't thought about her having honor for her house. I assume she must have received at least some support from her house in order to become the skilled fighter she is. I also assumed that her family was most likely not thrilled with the path she has chosen. What Westerosi family would be? But it had not occurred to me that she had dishonored her house in any way, other than by her very existence.

She does seem to have the ability to bind herself to individuals, but not their causes. She doesn't seem to particularly care about the bigger picture. That truly is a rarity, although I can't judge whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. My sense is that she has been hurt so badly and so often in the past that she does not bind herself to anyone other than individuals she believes she can trust.

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High King and Conqueror of the Seven Kingdoms
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I'll just fill in some of the non spoiler blanks about her history for you which the show sadly does not elaborate on due to time constraints. 1 and this has been mentioned in the show, several men have tried to rape her, but they never succeeded, she remains a virgin.
2) She is the only child of Selwyn Tarth, her older brother having died at the age of eight. This will explain why her father allowed her to receive martial training.
3) Of all the suitors or men to come to her father's court, Renly was the only one to dance with her and treat her with respect. 4) One of her suitors was really silly and really greedy and she challenged him to a duel before plonking him on his arse and declaring she will never marry a man unless he can beat her with a sword in hand.

Hope this helps you understand her better, doubt this will make it into the show.

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Priestess of R'hllor
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Oh this is a beautiful thread.

I've developed quite a fondness for her. She's like my socially awkward older sister, and I'm going to beat up anybody who messes with her (not that she needs any help). 

Same here. I think she's the character I feel most protective of, though we share nothing in common. But I hate bullies, and reading her chapters was often torture for me, precisely because of that. As you very well guessed, she meets a lot of those. 

I don't know what Brienne saw in Renly or why she followed him. 

There's a very simple answer to that, but I'm not going to give it to you, because there might be a moment in the show where she'll expand on that, and - if it follows the books - that should be almost heartbreaking.  

PS: Oh Aegon already responded to that. (this would have made a nice confession moment in the show, Aegon! *pouts*)

I don't think it's a need to follow another person's leadership.  I really thing it was a hunger for acceptance and a sense of belonging somewhere that prompted her actions. 

This is an interesting point you brought up. I agree with you, I think Brienne sees this knighthood business as a form of belonging somewhere, because sadly she didn't feel that way growing up. I doubt we will get more info on the show on her background, so I'll just say that her father seems to be a pretty decent man, and Brienne definitely loved her home. She resembles Arya in a way but I don't think she despises womanly things, like Arya does. I think she only felt she looked ridiculous in that posture, and didn't want to be mocked, so she chose a different path. It speaks volumes about her that she managed to keep her honor and idealism in spite of all she must have known of men and the way they treated her. I think knighthood offers her a possibility to help other who can't help themselves, and she sympathizes with them. The show offered a slightly more "badass" version of her so far. In the books, Brienne made her first kill much later, and it meant something for her. I think the change came from the fact they needed to speed things up, and I imagine they also wanted for the audience to realize early on that she's not a woman toying at being a knight, that she's actually the real deal. There's still character development for her, so I don't think that took away too much of her complexity.

What I really don't want to see is Brienne suffer overly much...not mentally, anyway.  And I really want to see her in action again.Well she won't die in the first ep. of S3, that much I can tell you , so you'll have at least one good battle scene with her. And I'll just give you another hint: there is a scene which had some of us going nuts, when we found out that it was being filmed for the show. It's a major scene, which I'm sure will leave you shouting at the TV. 



-- Edited by Macha on Sunday 7th of October 2012 02:33:44 PM

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Braavosi Water Dancer
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Wow, I can't believe I missed this thread! It was me who asked you to do it, BaS! wink.gif

And I am so happy you did! clap I enjoyed reading it very much and (as usual) it was very insightful. I particularly liked this...

I don't think it's a need to follow another person's leadership.  I really thing it was a hunger for acceptance and a sense of belonging somewhere that prompted her actions.

She is indeed devotely loyal to people, not causes like you said. People who have shown her kindness and acted honorably by her. I really don't want to say much more about her personality, because hopefully we'll get a season 3 that will fill in lots of the blanks. Will be able to talk more after that, I'm sure.

So quoting Don

"She (and you) are in for a hell of a journey, can't wait for you to experience it."


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Mistress Of The Coin
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I love Brienne's story so far. She finally gained Jaime's respect, admiration and love. Not in a romantic sense, but on a deeper and certainly more meaningful level. HE has entrusted her with his vow. Thankfully, she has enough honor for both of them. Her quiet strength in being sent away by him...ugh, it tore at my heart. How many times do they have to go through these painful, silent goodbyes? I love the two of them and their awkward admiration for one another. Would it kill them to voice what they feel? Ugh.

Not that she's off on Bri and Pod's excellent adventure, I'm really wondering why she's letting Pod call her "My Lady." It seems out of character. But I like the duo of Brienne and Pod. It's almost like Pod has to go through the same process Brienne had to go through with Jaime. Hopefully he will eventually earn her respect. And hopefully they won't add a sexual angle to their relationship. I don't think the show has set up the two of them just for some comic relief. What I'm hoping for is a showdown with the Hound, since she is heading north. Wouldn't it be fun to see those two square off against each other? And Arya could find a true mentor in Brienne, who could hopefully set her on a less dark path. So that's my hope. Brienne, Arya and Pod, heading north together to save Sansa.

There are a couple of other possibilities, but I'm hoping for that scenario.  The alternatives are that Bririck/Podranne meet up with the Brotherhood.  I wonder what their reaction would be to her.  In any case, I don't think they're honorable enough for her to join forces with them.  But maybe she could find out from them that Arya is still alive.  I doubt they could tell her any more than that.  The other possibility is that Stannis actually gets his act together and starts to head for the Wall.  I could see her torn between the desire to avenge Renly and to get to the Wall to find Sansa.



-- Edited by Black as Snow on Sunday 11th of May 2014 12:07:56 AM

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Defender Of The Realm
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I always liked Brienne / Jaime interaction. They just seem to need each other on an emotional level with some kind of intensity that I haven't quite seen in GoT so far. I know mine is a Sullied look but I agree with Lady Black's first paragraph above and wanted to say it.

As for why she's letting Pod call her "My Lady" teehee. I think Brienne recognizes in him an unadjusted and awkward soul. And I don't think she has the heart to correct him. He's odd enough as it is for a squire.

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