“Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.”—Pat Barker, Regeneration (via elucipher)
“We thought, ‘Wait, it has to be all women, don’t even ask anyone else. If we can fill the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance with these incredible women singing Nirvana songs, then we’ll have achieved our own revolution.’ It also added a whole other dimension to the show. It added substance and depth, so it didn’t turn into a eulogy. It was more about the future.”—Dave Grohl on inviting only female singers to perform with Nirvana (Rolling Stone, 2014)
One of the greatest parallels in The Lion and the Rose is that between what Sansa and Theon are made to endure. Of course Theon’s torment is more physical than Sansa’s for numerous reasons (first and foremost being that Theon himself is guilty of great crimes and is tortured by a man even crueler than Joffrey and with more of the means to cruelty at his fingertips/fewer social mores to protect his victims) but there’s a clear line drawn between the two.
In Theon’s scenes, he’s tortured by Ramsay physically and psychologically and made to endure this torment and the news of sorrow and the loss of the one man he’s ever respected and loved without faltering. But the thing about Theon’s tale is that it’s supposed to tell us that no matter how horrifying and horrible you have been, you never deserve what Ramsay has done to him, ever. No one deserves to be dehumanized and tortured the way that Theon is.
And Sansa endures great tragedy and torture and constant threat to her mind and her person with a grace and elegance no one else could ever dream of. But what’s more is she endures it and manages to maintain the quality that is most essential to her - her kindness. Even after years of being psychologically destroyed and sold off to a monster who’s family murdered hers, of being forced to smile as the death of her mother and brother and father are bandied about as jokes, and profess her loyalty to the man who had them all done in, that she can still find it within herself to be kind is what makes her so spectacular.
Theon spent all of season 2 telling you why he deserved better from this life, but Sansa never did. The truth is she doesn’t whine and she doesn’t tell you how hard her life was because it wasn’t. She was a beloved fairytale princess until she wasn’t. She thought she would marry a King until the day she started praying that she wouldn’t. All she wants is to go home.
And at the end of the day, that’s what Theon wants as well. They both want to go back to Winterfell. They both want to return to the life that they always dreamed themselves beyond. And that’s what makes their parallel stories so powerful.
Notice how the seemingly similar questions struck different chords with the INTP.
As a Te user, I'm interested in implementation and application. "What they should have done was-" and "If this has been communicated more clearly," is my language. The question isn't so much "Is this movie good?" but "Is this movie effective? Does it accomplish its purpose as a movie?" I can see poor quality in terms of failed strategies and goals, and then I want to repackage my criticism into instructions.
But the INTP is a Ti user. Ti performs system analysis and conceptual order. The question is "Is this movie well-constructed? Does it make sense within itself?" They see a conceptual flaw and how it corrupts the system, in a big picture perspective. Function wise, INTPs do not naturally fix problems, but they are excellent at spotting them, as well as weaknesses that an INTJ may skim over.
In summary (Ni), the INTJ desires a "perfection of action," to fix. The INTP desires a "perfection of thought," to analyze. In a team, the INTP makes the diagnosis and the INTJ writes the prescription.
For many of these women, the reading experience begins from a place of seething rage. Take Sara Marcus’ initial impression of Jack Kerouac: “I remember putting On the Road down the first time a woman was mentioned. I was just like: ‘Fuck. You.’ I was probably 15 or 16. And over the coming years I realized that it was this canonical work, so I tried to return to it, but every time I was just like, ‘Fuck you.’” Tortorici had a similarly visceral reaction to Charles Bukowski: “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Emily Witt turned to masculine texts to access a sexual language that was absent from books about women, but found herself turned off by their take: “many of the great classic coming-of-age novels about the female experience don’t openly discuss sex,” she says in No Regrets. “I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, ‘I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t. It was like a pile of Kleenex.”
This isn’t just about the books. When young women read the hyper-masculine literary canon—what Emily Gould calls the “midcentury misogynists,” staffed with the likes of Roth, Mailer, and Miller—their discomfort is punctuated by the knowledge that their male peers are reading these books, identifying with them, and acting out their perspectives and narratives. These writers are celebrated by the society that we live in, even the one who stabbed his wife. In No Regrets, Elif Bautman talks about reading Henry Miller for the first time because she had a “serious crush” on a guy who said his were “the best books ever,” and that guy’s real-life recommendation exacerbated her distaste for the fictional. When she read Miller, “I felt so alienated by the books, and then thinking about this guy, and it was so hot and summertime … I just wanted to kill myself. … He compared women to soup.”
Here’s a fun thing you learn when you study literature: the western canon is not universally beloved. Those books are not the Truth any more than the New York Post is skilled journalism. The main reason they’re held in such high esteem is because they were written by boring white dudes with rage fantasies and boring white dudes with rage fantasies also happen to be largely in charge of deciding which books are deemed classics and taught forever in the American school system.
So if your boyfriend tells you he loves Kerouac then you tell your boyfriend Kerouac was a fucking second rate hack who wrote Beat style because he didn’t have the skill or talent to write any other way, which is probably also why he just copied every adolescent male wanderlust story since the beginning of time. That shit’s derivative and boring.
I remember going into fits of rage in high school when we had to read Catcher in the Rye and were told THIS IS THE GREAT AMERICAN ADOLESCENT NOVEL YOU SHOULD ALL IDENTIFY WITH HOLDEN CAUFIELD and I was like, Holden is a whiny. misogynistic brat who complains about a girl who won’t sleep with him. I ended up writing my paper about this and why I hate the book and thankfully got an “A.”
When Stannis was a kid he nursed a wounded hawk back to life and called her Proudwing and she never flew that well or that far and his asshole brothers made fun of him so eventually he tried a new hawk.
And if the image of teenage Stannis, with his perpetual scowl, nursing a wounded hawk back to health isn’t the cutest mental image ever then get outta my face.