I don't think that I acually hate Ros.In fact, I may be starting to like her a little. This
episode proved to me that Esme Bianco is more than capable of acting and thus
is not personally at fault for my initial disdain for her character.
I think that our slightly misdirected
rage comes from two different places:
1. Game of Thrones has a
nakedness problem. It often contains an over-abundance of
"Sexposition" (a term coined by Myles McNutt) or else some straight
up "Hey! Boobs!" (an idea put forward by Mo Ryan).
Ros has been
involved in some of Game of Thrones' least necessary nudity. She was at the
heart of the show's most controversial example of sexposition, namely the
whole 'Littlefinger Presents: King's Landing Idol - Brothel Edition!!!'
ordeal. It seems like she exists for the express purpose of filling HBO's
episodic boob quota. Why even bother having her around? Boobs are fun and all,
but honestly, I'm trying to enjoy me some Game of Thrones. If I wanted to
watch softcore porn, I would find some softcore porn to watch. Not to mention
the awkwardness of watching this show with your friends and their parents.
That's always a good time.
Regardless, there's certainly a larger discussion about the necessity of
nudity in television to be had; however, due to a lack of space and time
constraints, in short, I stand firmly on the side that favours nudity for the
sake of realism. If main characters are having sex, then nudity should be
fine. Tyrion and Shae come to mind, as does this episode's Melisandre/Stannis
scene. Also, if you enter a brothel, nudity should probably be happening.
Should we enjoy 30 seconds of sexy times before making our way over to the
plot? Probably not (although I'd have to look at each situation on a
case-by-case basis; setting the mood is sometimes both interesting and
The rather long-winded point I'm trying to make is that we don't actually
hate Ros personally. We hate unnecessary nudity. Up until now, she has largely
been involved in the worst of it; however, her two scenes so far this season
have turned that idea completely on its head. She hasn't yet appeared naked,
nor has she had sex on screen. She was present during a Hey! Boobs! moment
last episode, but I would argue that it was a somewhat hyperbolic use of
nudity to set the mood for imminent baby brothel murderings. It also served to
show us that she had become the teacher (in direct contrast to the
aforementioned Littlefinger training scene).
Littlefinger unloading his back-story while auditioning whores was probably
unnecessary. Littlefinger existing in his brothel, only to have a fully
clothed scene with a PTSD-suffering Ros is fine by me. Especially since Ros
has been portrayed as such a strong individual. Aiden Gillen made Littlefinger
come across as more than just a fake-smile-bearing mastermind and Esme Bianco
added some depth to an otherwise one-dimensional character. Littlefinger is
legitimately the world's biggest creep and, one would imagine, more than a tad
emotional baggagey too. He honestly doesn't care about any of these women, nor
does he see them as people. He isn't a papa-bear-style whorehouse owner
leaping on the men that mistreat his women. If those men can pay for the
mistreatment, it's all fine by him. He wants her to stop crying so that she
can make him more money. If not, he'll find a way to make more money at her
While some more Littlefinger/Varys confrontations would have been exciting, I
would argue that this scene revealed a lot more about Littlefinger's character
than another of those encounters would have offered at present. It definitely
could have used some shortening here and there, but all in all, I was quite
pleased with how it turned out. Any complaints about nudity lie with
Littlefinger (well, no, with the writers), not Ros.
Conclusion: Don't shoot the messenger!
2. If you've read the books,
there's certainly some merit in being concerned about any character NOT from
the novels appearing on your screen. Especially when, like mentioned before,
said character seems to exist for the sole purpose of meeting HBO's boob
quota. It also detracts from the amount of screen time given to better
characters, such as Tyrion. And believe me, I am more than acutely aware of
the irony inherent in me writing an entire article about Ros to the detriment
of an actual review of the episode.
Regardless, I believe that these fears are completely unfounded (at least as
of the the start of the second season). The most important point that I think
I can make is that Ros seems to be taking on the role of Chataya. As such, we
can't actually argue that she isn't someone from the books. We knew that, with
a cast of several hundred characters, we were going to have to make some
compromises for the sake of television storytelling. We knew that certain
minor players would be combined into a single character and that others would
be dropped entirely. The only real complaint that I would levy in the
direction of the casting directors is that Ros becoming Chataya effectively
white washes the character (Chataya was black in the novels). I won't get into
that now, but issues surrounding diversity casting are absolutely worth
Why then not simply cast a new character in the role of Chataya, since Ros
seems to have stirred up some visceral hatred? I would argue that, having
followed Ros all the way from Winterfell to King's Landing, we now have a much
stronger connection to the character than we ever did with Chataya in the
novels. Ros slept with Tyrion, Theon, Grand Maester Pycelle, and is now
working for Littlefinger. She witnessed the murder of one of Robert's Bastards
first-hand. Even moreso than the comet, she serves as a strong connection
between several key men of power. Instead of having random whores present
during each sex scene, I think it's better stroytelling to include a single
character to be developed in her own right. If we hate Ros as she is now,
imagine how we would feel about a huge number of different prostitutes.
You might argue that we don't actually need any sex-with-prostitutes scenes
at all, but I think that placing characters in vulnerable positions is a great
way to find out more about them. Grand Maester Pycelle was revealed to be much
less of a senile old man than we had been led to believe, Theon has control
issues, Littlefinger has too many issues to name, etc.
Conclusion: Ros is a useful storytelling tool.
A final point I'd like to make is that we should really calm down about the
existence of new characters. If they have nothing to offer us, then
absolutely, hate away... but the initial gut reaction causing us to scream
'SHE ISN'T PART OF THE CANON SO GET HER OFF MY SCREEN' is something that we
all ought to fight. This isn't the novel, nor could it ever be a direct
adaptation of the novel.
Conclusion: Let's see what television has to offer!