Written to Win: The Queen of Fortune
As you may have guessed since the last post, Margaery Tyrell has gained fame and has risen to the top of the food chain in a few episodes of Game of Thrones. She is the Queen of Westeros married to Renly Baratheon at first, Joffrey Baratheon second, although now married to Tommen Baratheon, the King of Westeros. Becoming closer to the Iron Throne has allowed her more power with the people and a better seat to watch the world around her. With all these power moves, there are always hindrances to that climb to power. Margaery, at this point in the books and the show is being held captive by the Faith Militant, a radical religious group that is taking control of the capital to make sure the leaders of the kingdom are following the Gods. She has been put in prison because of her knowledge of her brother’s promiscuous escapades with men, which is not allowed in the kingdom. Her knowledge and refusal to reveal this truth has made her a target by the Faith Militant in their effort to weed out corruption in the capital. Cleverness was able to gain her the role of the Queen, but deceit has landed her in a prison cell waiting for her family to rescue her.
Margaery shares a close relationship to her grandmother, Lady Olenna Redwyne of the House Tyrell. Lady Olenna is described as a wizened, cunning old woman with a wicked wit and a sharp tongue, earning her the moniker of ‘Queen of Thorns’. This sharp attitude and wit has been passed down to her granddaughter, Margaery. As has been stated, Margaery’s brother, Loras is interested in men and has been shamed by all except his family, her father is considered an ‘oaf’ by her grandmother, and her mother Alerie Hightower is tall, dignified, and handsome, with long silver hair. Narratology is about stories; who writes them and what point of view they are told from. The idea of narratology is that the hero is written to follow certain steps, almost the same as the heroic journey. Margaery’s narrative is told in two different Points of View, from that of other characters in the books, and that of herself in the show. In the books, an “external focalization is shown in which the viewpoint is outside the character depicted, so that we are told only things which are external or observable,” (Barry, 224). The characters who’s point of views Margaery’s story is told from include Catelyn Stark’s, Cersei Lannister’s, Sansa Stark’s, Jaime Lannister’s, Tyrion Lannister’s, and Eddard Stark’s. This disconnect from Margaery’s true feelings makes me wonder why she is not a main character. She has gotten herself to a place of high prominence in the world of Game of Thrones, but she is not written as if she is as important as some others. In contrast, in the show, Margaery has many more scenes that focus around her and her grandmother, as well as some of the main characters of the series. “This internally focalized representation of her; it reveals her normally unspoken thoughts and feelings, which you could be completely unaware of even if you were standing next to her,” (Barry, 224). Because this entire story is basically “meta-narratives,” which are tales within a tale, the storylines only allow for certain characters to have chapters and scenes completely dedicated to them. While writing, George R.R. Martin was not able to write a chapter for every non major character, which makes it obvious that Margaery is not a major character. Margaery is almost made to be the character that is always in the right place at the right time.
Margaery was born of a royal family. She may not have been part of a family that was royal to the realm, but royal in itself. Originally, Margaery had been arranged to marry Renly Baratheon, who had been fighting to become the king of Westeros. After his death, she was directed toward Joffrey Baratheon. During this wedding, she became the Queen of the kingdom, but as the marriage celebrations went on, Joffrey was poisoned. Once married to Joffrey’s younger brother, Tommen, Margaery has finally found someone who will not die within days or moments after marrying her. Margaery writes her own story by making political moves to bring herself to more power. But as she does not have chapters in the books dedicated to her, she has no portrayal of motives or goals for that matter. All we can tell is that she wants to be The Queen, and for nothing and no one to stand in her way. Margaery is shown to be a motherly figure of sorts. She helps Sansa by giving her hope of an arranged marriage to her brother Loras. She goes into the slums of Flea bottom in the capital and speaks with the children to give them hope of one day being more than just poor folk. She also has had scenes with her husband, Tommen, where she acts as a wife and a mother at the same time, since he is much younger than her. Is Margaery portrayed as a more feminine character because of this motherly aspect? Does George R.R. Martin want to show that she is different than all those in the capital because she seems kind and approachable? Margaery is not displayed as a weak woman although she is seen using her mind and her wit more than her physical strength.
A quote from Westeros.org describes this flea bottom scene well with my analysis. “Making her an orphan-hugging philanthropist feels like a very modern, 21st century insertion into the story. Did nobles provide alms for the poor in our own history? Surely, as they do in Westeros. But visiting orphans, ignoring the muck as she enters the sept, giving out toys personally—it feels distinctly unsubtle, taking a lazy approach to trying to make her more appealing to the audience. That there may be a political purpose behind this—to win the hearts of the people—is certainly something to be appreciated, as politics are never far from the surface in King’s Landing, but one could have wished for something that felt authentic to the setting. As it is, Margaery’s scene in Flea Bottom was an annoying reminder that the expansion of characters who get attention doesn’t always work out,” (http://www.westeros.org/GoT/Episodes/Entry/Valar_Dohaeris/Book_Spoilers/). This scene could show another side of Margaery that we normally do not see, which is the motherly side. This could also be a ruse used to gain the people of flea bottoms’ trust and admiration. Cersei was unhappy with Margaery’s earlier actions and admonished her boldness; reminding her that her impromptu charity work took place on the same streets where the royal party was assaulted weeks earlier. This action by Margaery was defended by Joffrey and made Cersei realize that she was being out maneuvered by the Tyrells. As a reader, we are skeptical on what her true motives are and this makes us enjoy reading about her more. As a viewer of the show, I believed she was acting as a kind hearted person with no larger motives than just to give the people the Queen they deserve.
Another scene in which Margaery is shown as a feminine figure is when she is just married to Tommen and they have intercourse that night. This scene was very controversial because of the age difference between Margaery and Tommen, but it happened and it worked really well.
“Did I hurt you?”- Tommen after having intercourse.
“No, no, no, you’re very sweet. The sweetest king who ever lived.”- Margaery
“This is all I want to do, all day, every day, for the rest of my life.”- Tommen
“Ha ha. Wouldn’t that be glorious? Ha ha.”- Margaery
Watching this scene is intriguing because we can tell that Margaery is playing Tommen and that she is toying with him to gain his trust. As she talks to him after their ‘fun’, she gives him reason to believe that they will rule together and that their relationship will grow strong and last long. She is asking him about himself and he asks what it is like to be queen; her response it priceless if you understand her past. She admits it sounds strange being called the Queen, although she says this sarcastically because this is what she always wanted. As the conversation continues, Margaery tries to turn Tommen on his mother by reminding him that if he wants true freedom, his mother cannot control him anymore. At this point Margaery becomes the alternate mother for him.
Here is a scene which shows how much Lady Olenna cares for her grandchildren and it shows her wit.