Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When Women Play the Game: Lady Olenna Redwyne and Margaery Tyrell

Olenna by by Elia Fernández
Lady Olenna is feared and known as a spidery woman, full of secrets and wickedness, despite her small stature and pleasant, sophisticated demeanor.  Her grandson Loras tells Sansa after she asks if the Queen of Thorns  is her name: “It is. You'd best not use that name in her presence, though, or you're like to get pricked” (A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6).  Even to the reader, she may be deceiving to the point that she acts more decrepit and handicapped than she is.  She firmly believes that to fear someone is to do what they say.  She had wanted to beat her son more often so that he might heed her words.


Olenna aims to see original intent to the end.  It's not hard, considering Margaery's famed beauty, much like that of Margaret of Provence, who also served as a mediator to those in power.  She started the quest by marrying Margaery to Renly, whom they thought would be the next king, but Renly was murdered by his brother Stannis, and she was forced to wed someone else in power, the next likely to gain the Iron Throne and keep the Iron Throne.  The answer was in the little shithead Joffrey, which led Sansa to be free from marrying Joffrey.  Poor Sansa had been played.  She could have escaped King’s Landing and the relentless grasp of the Lannisters had she not told a soul of her arranged marriage to Willas Tyrell, a handsome, smart, sweet man, but in no way knightly anymore.  Sansa had been on the fence about this, but Olenna had been adamant about seeing it through.  With this marriage, her family would gain the North and the rest of Westeros, given House Martell in the South was already leaning towards siding with Renly therefore the Tyrells, despite the animosity of the Tyrells towards the Martells.  (It seems to be because the embrace of bastard children and the lifestyle that creates them.)

Margaery by Elia Fernández
However, Olenna learned how cruel Joffrey was from her spies and from Sansa, when she won her trust.  Sansa had, in part, seen a bit of her mother in Lady Olenna when she told Sansa, “There is entirely too much tut-tutting in this realm, if you ask me. All these kings would do a deal better if they put down their swords and listened to their mothers” (A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6).  Joffrey could kill Margaery anytime and diminish House Tyrells swelling power.  So Olenna takes it upon herself to not only murder Joffrey but to stick Joffrey’s murder on Tyrion, Sansa’s husband (with the help of Petyr Baelish, of course).  Unluckily for Sansa, she decided to flee King’s Landing that night, making her a suspect as well.  The way the cards fall is just as important as character choices.  Olenna then arranges Margaery to marry Tommen, who inherits the throne.  Much to Cersei’s dismay, Margaery learns to be a queen the people love and a queen who pleases her husbands.  She wins the right to marry Tommen because of this and the power of Highgarden, especially after Loras’ sacrifice at the battle against Stannis.
Margaery by ElinJ

Olenna holds a great power over the Lannisters, and the Lannisters know it, which is why they bend to her will (but plot against them behind their backs).  I should refrain from saying that Margaery is a pawn in Olenna and the Lannisters’ game of thrones; she is fully capable of deciding for herself, and she clearly wants the power.  She just is just having help from her family.  Sansa noted her liking to her grandmother Olenna, despite her gentle and sweet demeanor.

Olenna is the sassiest and quippiest of the characters beside Tyrion.  My favorite Olenna line is: “I hope they play "Rains of Castamere." It's been ten minutes since I heard it last; I've forgotten how it goes.”  She makes sure that she trolls the Lannisters while having her kin marry one of them.  No one is above her and her sharp tongue.  Whatever happens next, Olenna and Margaery are a force to be reckoned with, and they are surely women who will rid of evil if they get the chance.  They aren’t necessarily good, but they are opportunists.

Previous entries in When Women Play the Game:
Sansa Stark
Brienne Tarth
Daenerys Targaryen
Catelyn Tully Stark
Arya Stark

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