SPOILERS FOR BOOK FOUR OF A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BELOW.
Me: The reason I dislike Cersei so much has nothing to do with cruelty and everything to do with stupidity. She doesn't think before she does things. And she always assumes she has power when she does not. And she's rude.
Jeanne: That's so funny! Especially the rude part. She's definitely not as cunning as other Lannisters. She's easily seen through and doesn't recognize it.
Me: Like Melisandre; I love her.
Jeanne: I don't remember if I like Melisandre in the books. Definitely not in the show...
Me: If she were cruel and smart I wouldn't mind her at all.
Caleb: Yeah, no one has ever claimed that you didn't like a character because of their cruelty. If anything that endears them to you.
Me: Hahaha. Rude.
Caleb: Arg. I never want to say too much, but I think your opinion might change. I think mine did. I felt like you when she was talking to her uncle. Assuming that has happened.
Me: Ah. Ok. Yeah. You're with me. I thought she was a fool.
Caleb: I felt like she was a flat character there. Felt like bad writing to me. No depth or nuance to her in that scene but also in general... she just wants power and assumes she is in charge. Because she is hot. And although that's sort of true for many hot ladies, no one is that one-dimensional. Or if they are, they aren't very interesting characters.
Me: Yeah. I find her rude and presumptuous and precipitate. She assumes she has power where she does not. And she doesn't bother trying to win people's loyalty. She never wants to bargain.
Me: Cersei has this friend whom she is manipulating. She put this woman's husband on the council. And she tells her that she was in love with some trader or pirate or something and Cersei thinks Yes. You're all whores in the free cities. Now, I have nothing against sex or whores at all, but, like, what a hypocrite Cersei is! She was sleeping with her cousin and two different Kettleblacks. Not to mention her brother.
Jeanne: But that's different. Hahaha. She's definitely not self aware, that is for sure.
Me: I don't understand what people like about her.
Jeanne: Who likes her? No way! Well, she just continues to get more pathetic to me.
Me: Yeah. She is the new Catelyn for me. Before at least I didn't have to hear her opinions about everyone. I could hate her from afar. But now everything is from her idiotic perspective. I cheer when things don't go her way. Like Kevan Lannister telling her where to go.
Jeanne: Hahaha. You are too funny. You just can't stand stupidity. And the lack of self awareness. She definitely struggles to manipulate intelligent people.
Me: Loving Brienne in this book!
Catie: Right??? So good!
Me: I am going to pray to the drowned god for help.
Caleb: Those who have drowned can never drown again?
Me: What is dead can never die!
Caleb: Once you get to the middle of book 5 let me know if you start feeling fatigue. Not that the stories have always been simple, but by then you just have to ask yourself How many stories can I really care about?
Me: Oh I am sure I will. The iron-born are zzzzzz.
Caleb: Eh. I am mixed on them. But it might be because I know that things get more interesting... but still. There's a limit to the number of characters and intrigues one can care about. And I feel that he keeps trying to top himself with gross depictions of death. And unusual sex acts. That's all fine, but really, it's not a contest, GRRM.
Me: Also, more dragons please. If the iron born wake a mother fucking Sea Dragon then they will redeem themselves. The trouble with book 4 is that Brienne and Jaime are the only interesting characters.
Caleb: I feel that Brienne is cliché, no? Jaime is interesting, but Oh I am a badass woman who has never been treated as a lady until Jaime is nice to me... Eh.
Me: It isn't that he treats her as a woman. They're, like, drawn to one another and they don't know why. That's cool. And Brienne's chapters have Podrick Payne. Sorry, I didn't mean that they are the only interesting characters. I meant that theirs are the only interesting storylines. I'm into Samwell and Arya and the Martell woman too, but they're barely in it.
Caleb: Honestly I had forgotten he was a person. I had to look him up to remember.
Me: Haha. I like him.
Caleb: Why? His loyalty? I can't see you caring about the loyalty of a character. That's all I see him as.
Me: I think he's funny. He's stupid but intrepid and surprising.
Caleb: Here's the wiki picture of him. Perfect, in my opinion.
Me: Hahahaha. Poor Pod. I miss Sansa.
Caleb: Why do you love the characters that I hate?
Caleb: I don't hate Sansa, but what a washup. I mean, again: cliché. Oh I want to be a princess and I'm surprised to find out that the world isn't a fairy tale.
Me: But she adapts.
Caleb: Yes, she grows, but so do all of the characters. I wouldn't say that makes her more interesting.
Me: Growth is not normal for Starks. Arya and Sansa excepted.
Caleb: Uh, well... I can't say what I want to about that. But know that it was witty and cutting. But also revealing.
Me: Hahaha. Ok. So noted.
Caleb: How many of the Starks are alive where you are?
Me: The girls. Bran. Jon Snow. Rickon.
Me: I get so excited whenever anyone speaks sensibly in these books. Lady Jenna Frey née Lannister is visiting Jaime outside Riverrun at the moment, and she is being smarter than anyone else has been this whole book.
Catie: Wait... refresh me.
Me: This woman is Tywin's sister. And she is saying things like Tyrion is your father's son; not you. Also anyone who is smart makes me happy. It is one of the reasons I love Jaime so much.
Catie: Oh yeah!!!! Yes. GRRM lets a lady be smart!!! And not naked.
Me: Haha. There are other smart women too. In fact, this book is a whole book about women: Cersei, Arianne, Asha Greyjoy, Brienne, Sansa, Arya. There are only three male narrators, really: Sam, Jaime, and Victarion.
Catie: Everyone hates this book in the series – I found it quite refreshing!
Me: Well, no Tyrion. So that's rough. Also: Cersei. She is the fuckin' worst.
Catie: THE WORRRRRRSSSSSST. Just. Die.
Me: And she is so stupid!
Catie: She is a waste of words. I would rather have to keep up with twenty more characters than ever hear about her.
Me: Seriously. The only bright spot of her chapters is occasionally hearing about the Tyrells.
Catie: Right? If GRRM dies before killing her off — pissed.
Me: Petyr Baelish already said that to Sansa. Something like Some people who think they are queens but are really pawns may just kill themselves. We wouldn't even have to do any work.
Catie: Hahaha. Little Finger.
Me: Little Finger. Almost always on point.
Catie: No pun intended. (Nailed it.)
Me: You're telling me she doesn't fucking die in this book? Somebody has to die at the end, doesn't he? Ugh. I was hoping it was her.
Catie: She hasn't died. Spoiler alert. Shit happens but she. has. not. died.
Me: Maybe it'll be the Crow's Eye. No. Probably not him either. Is he gonna kill anyone?!
Catie: I forget. It's definitely not someone huge.
Me: Oh my god. Arya is a psychopath. She just killed that singer.
Caleb: Yeah. Yeah she did. I mean, he was kind of a dick. But I loved the scenes at the "one-night-marriage whorehouse". I just love that GRRM is pointing out that adultery is all a matter of timing when you have the sex.
Me: Yes! And the mummers are better priests than the priests.
Me: By the way, I still hate Cersei. She is actually insane. I didn't mind her so much before because I didn't have to follow her decision-making processes. I like characters who act intelligently and from a place of reason. She is irrational and delusional.
Caleb:Well hold on. It... gets... different. I think.
Me: I'm almost done with this book. I mean, maybe you are right. But I don't see how right now. She has done so many dumb things.
Caleb: I can't say more, since you don't want to know if she's alive in future books.
Me: Finished Feast for Crows. Cersei finally got some comeuppance. And she is as insane as ever. I love Jaime. Love love love Jaime. And I was into the end. So mysterious!
Jeanne: What happens at the end? I know I should have expected Cersei's downfall, but it totally shocked me! It was so good to see it happen, though.
Me: It shocked me, too! But she was hoist with her own petard as they say. She shouldn't have gotten in bed with the High Septon.
Jeanne: So true. And Jaime – it'll be interesting to see what happens in future books.
Me: The end: Cersei is in real trouble. Arya is blind. Brienne is being murdered by the return of Catelyn Stark. Arianne Martell is going to be in charge of Dorne and Prince Martell is plotting revenge. Asha Greyjoy is who knows where. And Sam is at the Citadel, but the boy who died at the beginning of the book is somehow here at the end of the book. Maybe it's Jaqen H'ghar?
Jeanne: Dude. I love that Jaqen. And I love Arya's story in Braavos. And what is going on in the Citadel? I wanted to know more about those maesters. Brienne. Boo.
Me: Catelyn is just as awful as she always was. But now she's at least (almost) silent. I am sad about Brienne, but I expect that she hasn't quite died...? I'm the most sad about Podrick Payne. And Loras Tyrell.
Jeanne: Dude, you never know with GRRM. Hopefully she's not. Lady Stoneheart is nt in the show, and I'm kinda bummed about it. I find it interesting.
Me: Not yet. That happened at the end of the third book. And the show hasn't done all of the end of the third book yet.
Jeanne: Yeah, but the actress's publicist said that she wasn't doing it... at least not season five. The actress is back, per IMDB. I think they are doing flashbacks this season to show some of the background.
Me: Well, it would make sense that Lady Stoneheart wasn't the same actress, maybe.
Jeanne: Hmmm. Good point.