For this third day of celebrating the brilliance that is Rose Tyler I wanted to focus on what I see as a major turning point for the character. For most of series 1, she’s just been going along for the ride, often finding herself in need of rescuing, but in this scene we can see how much she’s changed from that directionless girl she once was. Now she has a purpose and meaning in her life.
Rose: Two hundred thousand years in the future, he's dying, and there's NOTHING I can do.
Jackie: Well, like you said - two hundred thousand years - it's way off!
Rose: But it's not! It's now! That fight is happening right now, and he's fighting for us! For the whole planet, and I'm just sitting here eating chips!
Jackie: Listen to me. God knows I have hated that man, but right now, I love him - and d'you know why? Because he did the right thing. He sent you back to me.
ROSE: But what do I do every day, mum? What do I do? Get up - catch the bus - go to work - come back home - eat chips and go to bed? Is that it?
Mickey: It's what the rest of us do.
Rose: But I can't!
Mickey: Why, 'cos you're better than us?
Rose: No, I didn't mean that! But it was... it was a better life. And I - I don't mean all the travelling and... seeing aliens and spaceships and things - that don't matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know, he showed you too. That you don't just give up. You don't just let things happen. You make a stand. You say no. You have the guts to do what's right when everyone else just runs away, and I just can't—
-1x13 “The Parting of the Ways”
When we first met Rose, she was just going along with life with no motivation or direction, but after traveling with the Doctor and seeing what he does she just can’t live like that anymore. She can’t just let things happen. When bad things happen she has to do something about it. So she does. She doesn’t exactly know WHAT she’s going to do, but she’s going to do something. She comes up with a plan to open the Tardis up and get back to the Doctor that way and it works.
This speech and the subsequent scene where Rose fights to get back to the Doctor sets up where she is going to go as a character over the course the next series. I’m going to talk about this development more in a later meta, but I just wanted to highlight this scene as a turning point for Rose’s character so we could appreciate how great she is. She’s a fighter and she’s starting to own that role.
If there are two decisions that Catelyn gets criticized the most for, it is probably the capture of Tyrion in A Game of Thrones and the release of Jaime in A Clash of Kings. Personally I love the (intentional?) symmetry of these two big moments of Cat demonstrating her own agency having to do with the capture of one brother and the release of the other. Cat’s decision in both of these cases are tied to the well-being her children and fandom tends to declare that these decisions show how ‘emotional’ she is. Firstly, can I just say, I hate it when a women is dismissed as being ‘emotional’? UGH. Anyway, through this meta I hope to demonstrate Cat’s thought process in these situations and show how these decisions were not recklessly rash, but rather something that Cat had good reason to feel needed to be done.
Let’s start by examining the capture of Tyrion Lannister. I have seen people point to this incident as the root of the war and thus blame Cat for everything since it is this incident that prompts Jaime to attack Ned on the street and sparks the troubles in King’s Landing. To that, however, I must point out that Cat had absolutely no reason to believe that Jaime would do something so idiotic. Cat doesn’t capture Tyrion without fear of repercussion, but she believes that Tywin will go after HER. She thinks that he will send his men after her which is why she heads to the Eyrie instead of Winterfell where Tywin would go looking for her. But that’s not what happens. Instead Jaime is an idiot and breaks the King’s peace by attacking Ned which is a huge deal because he actually has to flee the city afterwards or else Robert would be forced to punish him. There was no way that Cat could have foreseen Jaime being so stupid and impulsive. Secondly, the fact that Tywin retaliates by attacking the smallfolk in the Riverlands is something she could not have predicted either. Basically, the Lannisters act way outside of the norm in response to Cat capturing Tyrion and there was no way for her to reasonably think that these things would happen. She is not responsible for the Lannister’s reaction. She is not responsible for starting the war.
Secondly, it has been pointed out that Cat should just have done nothing, but I think that would have been even more foolish in the end. Cat has no reason not to trust Petyr. She has not been at court. She doesn’t know Petyr’s scheming reputation. All she knows is that she grew up with him and loves him like a brother. She has no reason to believe that he would lie to her. And so she takes what he says on faith which seems to strongly implicate the Lannisters in the pushing Bran out of the window. What is she supposed to do when she runs into Tyrion at the inn? At first she does try to stay out of sight because the best case scenario is for her go continue on to Winterfell without her movements being broadcast the world at large. However, when Tyrion sees her he now has evidence that she’s up to something. If he brings this news back to King’s Landing, things could go badly for Ned. He’d be under more suspicion and Cersei might decide that she needs to get rid of him. But if Catelyn takes Tyrion into her possession, then word of her movements will still reach King’s Landing, but now she will have Tyrion as hostage and a bargaining chip to keep her husband safe. Additionally she’ll be able to question Tyrion and hopefully find out the truth of what happened to Bran. Given this situation, once she was spotted, capturing Tyrion was really the best thing she could have done.
Now let’s move on to Cat releasing Jaime in order to trade him for her daughter’s lives. As far as Cat knows two of her children are certainly dead, but here in front of her she has the opportunity to possibly save at least one of her daughters, but Robb refuses to do anything about it. I do not blame Cat one bit for what she does here. Cat is not about to lose another child. Not when she could do something to save Arya or Sansa.
“And your sisters?” Catelyn asked sharply. “Will they deserve their deaths as well? I promise you, if any harm comes to her brother, Cersei will pay us back blood for blood-”
“Lannister won’t die,” Robb said. “No one so much as speaks to him without my warrant. He has food, water, clean straw, more comfort than he has any right to. But I won’t free him, not even for Arya and Sansa.”
Her son was looking down at her, Catelyn realized. Was it war that made him grow so fast, she wondered, or the crown they had put on his head? “Are you afraid to have Jaime Lannister in the field again, is that the truth of it?”
Grey Wind growled, as if he sensed Robb’s anger, and Edmure Tully put a brotherly hand on Catelyn’s shoulder. “Cat, don’t. The boy has the right of this.”
“Don’t call me the boy,” Robb said, rounding on his uncle, his anger spilling out all at once on poor Edmure, who had only meant to support him. “I’m almost a man grown, and a king-your king, ser. And I don’t fear Jaime Lannister. I defeated him once, I’ll defeat him again if I must, only...” He pushed a fall of hair out of his eyes and gave a shake of the head. “I might have been able to trade the Kingslayer for Father, but...”
“...but not for the girls?” Her voice was icy quiet. “Girls are not important enough, are they?”
Robb made no answer, but there was hurt in his eyes. Blue eyes, Tully eyes, eyes she had given him. She had wounded him, but he was too much his father’s son to admit it.
That was unworthy of me, she told herself. Gods be good, what is to become of me? He is doing his best, trying so hard, I know it, I see it, and yet... I have lost my Ned, the rock my life was built on, I could not bear to lose the girls as well...
-A Clash of Kings
Strategically, the girls might not be worth it, and Catelyn understands this, so she does not push the issue initially, but once she learns of Bran and Rickon’s deaths, she cannot be idle any more, and she sends Jaime to King’s Landing in Brienne’s care in hopes of saving at least one of her daughters. Honestly, I can’t blame her for making the decisions she did. She’s not a hysterical woman. She’s not doing this impulsively without thinking. She knows what she’s doing and what the consequences could be, but she decides to free Jaime anyway because the possible cost is worth the price of seeing Sansa or Arya alive again.
But what were the actual consequences of Cat’s actions here? The direct result of Catelyn freeing Jaime is the loss of the Karstarks to Robb’s cause. Jaime had killed two of Lord Karstark’s sons and he wanted his vengeance. But even this perhaps could have been prevented if Robb had publically punished Catelyn and demonstrated his displeasure with her. Instead Robb forgave her which is a fact that Lord Karstark throws back in his face. To blame only Catelyn’s actions in freeing Jaime for Robb’s downfall is completely unfair. There were so many other factors, some of which can be traced back to Robb himself, and it is ridiculous to suggest that this one action of Catelyn is single handedly responsible for Robb’s problems.
Freeing Jaime was not the action the ruined Robb’s cause. Yes the loss of the Karstarks hurt him, but the fatal blow was Robb’s marriage to Jeyne Westerling. So I hope that through the course of this meta I’ve show Cat’s actions not to be the reckless actions of a hysterical women, but rather calculated decisions that made after considering the options. Yes, there is love for her children that motivates her choices, but she is not making her decisions completely independent of ration and logic. And in the end, it is not Catelyn’s choices that lead to Robb’s downfall.
Wesley: It's just I... - I'm not used to...
Angel: He is not used to the new you.
Cordelia: I know what's out there now. We have a lot of evil to fight, a lot of people to help. - I just hope skin and bones here and figure out what those lawyers raised *sometime* before the prophecy kicks in and - you croak. - That was the old me, wasn't it?
Angel: I like them both.
-1x22 “To Shashu”
This quote touches on the idea of acceptance in two major ways. Firstly, it shows how Cordelia, the girl who was never truly accepted the the Scoobies and who felt all alone even though she was one of the most popular girls in school, finally finds people who accept and love her. Secondly, it demonstrates Cordelia’s acceptance of her visions.
I love that Angel asserts that he likes both Cordelias- old and new- because I think it’s tempting for the viewer to look at Cordelia’s change and be like “well she’s awesome later, but she sucks in the beginning”. So I love that Angel reaffirms that Coredlia is still the same person. Sure she is growing up and maturing, but she’s not all of a sudden worthy of being liked. She always was. Even before Cordelia’s revelation and new determination, Angel calls Cordelia family. And she really is. This new Cordelia is great, of course, but the old one was just as deserving of love and friendship.
But arguably the most significant thing about this scene is that Cordelia is finally embracing the visions. Previously she had resented the visions, trying to pass them off onto someone else, but after experiencing all that pain and seeing all the terrible things out there in the world, Cordelia is determined to do something to help people. It’s not 100% smooth sailing from her and she sometimes doubts her mission (see: “That Vision Thing” and “Birthday”), but in the end her mission is so important to her that is willing to be made a partial demon in order to keep the visions so she can keep helping Angel and all the people out there in the world who need their help.
This is definitely a turning point for Cordelia and marks a significant moment in her character journey, but at the same time she isn’t a completely new person. There was always something inside of her that deserved to be loved, even if the people around her didn’t see it.