Game of Thrones – Aemon Targaryen

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“What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms, or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”

It was necessary to make this the next priority in the ‘Portraits of Westeros’ project. Sadly actor Peter Vaughan – who portrayed the noble and wise blind-man Maester Aemon, formerly a Targaryan and now a man of the Night’s Watch – passed away on December 6th, 2016. Vaughan breathed life into this role with generosity and finesse. There was an honesty and a subtlety to his portrayal that is rarely achieved. He was a prolific actor in British television, cinema, and theater. He will surely be missed by those who knew him, and we are certainly saddened to learn that the flame of his talent has been extinguished.

Aemon Targaryen, whose character has quietly disregarded his own surname, is the maester at Castle Black and is an important adviser to the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. When Maester Aemon is first introduced, he is elderly and frail, blind, but clearly intuitive, wildly intelligent, and serves under Commander Jeor Mormont.

Aemon is the last known Targaryen in Westeros, the great-uncle of Daenerys Targaryen. Unknown to all of the principle character of ‘Game of Thrones,’ Maester Aemon is also the great-great uncle of Jon Snow, a tremendous irony given Aemon’s affinity to (and advocacy for) Jon Snow’s ascent within the ranks of the Night’s Watch.

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Game of Thrones – Catelyn Stark

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Born into House Tully of Riverrun, Catelyn Stark was initially introduced to audiences as the wife of Eddard (Ned) Stark, as the Lady of Winterfell. Her marriage to Ned was arranged, but it’s clear from the beginning of the series that this is an arranged marriage that has experienced unique success; the love between Catelyn and Ned is apparent, and they have a brood of handsome children as proof.

Proud, strong, kind, and generous, Catelyn also flexes her political and diplomatic skills after the death of her husband and the ascension of her eldest son, Robb, as the King In The North. Like other prominent female figures in Westeros (especially as a foil for Cersei Lannister), Catelyn is predominantly guided by the desire to protect her children.

Little good that does Catelyn. Little good that does for Cersei, for that matter.

Despite her abrupt and tragic end, fans of the novels were hopeful that Catelyn would be resurrected (as she was in the books). None of us would be so lucky, it seems, but actress Michelle Fairley won critical acclaim for her final performance in “The Rains of Castamere” in season three.

We love and miss you Catelyn.

Let me know what you think about House Stark in the comments. And don’t forget to Like LenseBender on Facebook and Follow Me On Twitter.

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Game of Thrones – Cersei Lannister

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Volumes could be written in the analysis of Cersei Lannister, one of the most interesting and complex characters in Game of Thrones. From a haunting childhood prophecy to the conclusion of season six, we have seen her character travel into ever-colder and devious territory. With her three children deceased, the prophecy has proven itself to be accurate; as the series moves toward its conclusion, we will have to remind ourselves that the final part of the prophecy includes her being killed – strangled, in fact – by her younger brother.

The real question is whether Tyrion will be the one to end her life, or if it will be Jaime?

Cersei has won the throne after the destruction of the Sept of Baelor and the suicide of her last living son, King Tommen, but she has few allies in King’s Landing, and fewer still in the rest of Westeros. Not even The Mountain can protect her from the forces that will be descending upon King’s Landing as the narrative moves forward.

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Game of Thrones – Brienne of Tarth

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“Brienne’s ugly, and pig-head stubborn. But she lacks the wits to be a liar, and she is loyal past the point of sense.”
~Jaime Lannister

The distinctly un-feminine Brienne of Tarth makes her first appearance in the second season of Game of Thrones, besting Loris Tyrell in a tourney and winning a seat in the kingsguard in the service of Renly Baratheon. Because of her stature (standing at six-foot three-inches), Brienne is considered extremely unattractive by Westerosi standards, and she is often mockingly referred to as “Brienne the Beauty.” But the tall, muscular woman with straw-colored hair is one of the most honorific characters in the entire series.

Like Eddard Stark, her sense of honor and duty often works against her interests.

Her character, much like Samwell Tarly’s, is a sympathetic one. As a child, she was met with mockery when attempting to dress and act like a proper lady. Once she turned to a career more suited to her talents as a warrior, she likewise received contempt and resentment because of her gender, despite her obvious and considerable skill. Having spent most of her life as an object of scorn and rejection, Brienne yearns for respect and acceptance, and she easily gives her love and loyalty to those few who treat her with courtesy.

Renly Baratheon, Catelyn Stark, and Jaime Lannister are the primary objects of Brienne’s friendship, love, and service.

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