If you have not seen Game of Thrones TV show Season 5 Episode 6, first run aired on HBO on 17 May 2015; please do not read any further. If you do; you are polluting your experience with spoilers. What I have to say relates directly to the latest episode. Be warned. I am not reasonable for your actions beyond this point.
I saw this article yesterday: http://uk.businessinsider.com/game-of-thrones-loras-2015-5
And the thing that stuck out the most is that Loras is referred to as a gay cartoon. The real crux of the matter is; Loras is the only worthwhile gay character in the Game of Thrones storyline right now.
First I will do some disclaimers. I am not gay. I in no way speak for the gay community. I have very few friends none of which are gay. That is by circumstance not design. I do know gay people. I interact with gay people with no problem. I bear no ill will toward homosexuals or homosexuality. I don’t want to come off as something I am not hence this disclaimer
Second disclaimer. I have not read one word of any of the books in the series A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF). I have read things on wikis which I acknowledge is not reliable. My main source for ASOIAF information is http://www.awoiaf.westros.org . I have heard things on podcasts and from other Game of Thrones (GoT) TV Series fans. But I don't have knowledge derived directly from the books. I don't plan on reading the books either. I am a TV series only fan. Once again this shows my perspective on this issue.
Now that is out of the way; I have seen Loras in a completely different light than some. From the first season on he has shown his cunning. He has shown he is smart. He has shown he is an able fighter in battle. And hopefully I will show he has shown something more important that I will try and demonstrate throughout this post.
He has shown he is willing to be a player in this Game of Thrones. How much of a player is he? Not too much. But he does not want a lot. He doesn’t want all the power. He wants something a lot simpler. Still Loras is in the game. Just as a strong pawn not a knight or rook. Of course keep in mind a pawn can win the game.
As for his storyline's strength; I suspect Loras has more screen time in GoT then is warranted by his story in ASOIAF. Once again I have not read the books. But the producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (B&W) have made Loras into something more than his character in the books. As in ASOIAF, Loras is a pawn in this game the producers are playing too. Using him in ways that are important.
We have seen plenty of characters get cut from GoT. Most of the Greyjoys. The Griffs, Young and Old. Countless others are cut and their importance (if any) is melded into other characters. Some storylines are cut all together since they don’t fit into the end game as George R.R. Martin has allowed B&W to craft. B&W are basically making GoT into fan fiction of ASOIAF. The books may have a lot of differing facts. We know that Sansa’s storyline is vastly different more than just being morphed into Jeyne Poole/Fake Arya’s fate. My point; plenty of characters don’t make the cut in GoT.
In the Tyrell family particularly; two older brothers are cut out of GoT. Willas the heir to Highgarden is not in GoT. Neither is Garlan who has more of a claim than Loras in ASOIAF. Loras is regarded as the heir to Highgarden in GoT. Assuming that Willas and Garlan simply do not exist. Doesn't that give Loras more stature from the start? I believe that the High Lord of the Reach has more importance in the storyline than his sexuality no matter how he is depicted on screen. Loras is there for a reason.
Tywin and Olenna use Loras to maneuver their own positions in this Game of Thrones. That is only possible because he is the heir to Highgarden. Otherwise he is insignificant if he was a third son as he is in ASOIAF. I know this isn't direct screen time for Loras but it is equally important. He is not a POV character in ASOIAF so what happens to Loras is told through the eyes & words of others anyway. His worth is determined by what and how he is mentioned. Same here regarding Loras’ worth in GoT.
Cersei has conversations about Loras with Tywin, Jaime and Tyrion when their own pending nuptials are discussed. Loras is interesting enough to be used in GoT as a pawn. Discussed by the Lannisters; one of the main families in the struggle. That seems more important than his sexuality.
After the Battle of Blackwater; Loras really should have gone back to Highgarden. He wasn't needed to guard Margaery Tyrell singly. He does serve as loyal companion to Margaery. Also a "possible" suitor to Sansa after she is disregarded by Joffrey and before she is wed to Tyrion. I think his discussion with Sansa about a wedding is probably the most cartoonish depiction of Loras.
Ultimately Loras stays in King's Landing because of Love. In fact, Loras is the manifestation of positive gay love in the show. Bear with me as I try to demonstrate what I mean.
Loras stays with Queen Margaery because he loves her very much. Not like Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s sibling love. But Loras does want all the best for his sister. Loras does not seem to have any real ambition of his own. But he is always ready to help his loved ones fulfill their own ambitions. He will do the maximum to make sure that it happens. For Margaery; that means helping her become queen.
Loras also loves Renly Baratheon. Loras encourages Renly to fulfill his maximize potential. Loras pushes Renly to make a claim to the throne. Loras forms the alliance with his family to back that claim.
Well before the War of the 5 Kings; Loras loves Renly. Not just sexually. Loras feels a true affection for Renly. That is why he works so hard for him. Loras shows the audience a true and fundamental love between two men.
That is something that B&W could have easily skipped over. B&W could have treated gay sex as just sex. But Loras and Renly’s relationship forces Love into the equation. These two men Love each other. This is an important issue.
Keeping in mind; ASOIAF began in the 1990s. It was not popular to talk about gay sex back then. Less popular to talk about gay love. Now GoT can deal with that. Loras is the ongoing embodiment of both.
Now most gay characters are depicted as hedonists in other venues. Would that be so horrible here? Have Loras be depicted as the most important gay man in the realm. Wouldn’t there be some merit in that?
I say that in a realm that had so many vices on display. Littlefinger is famous and rich because of brothels. Tyrion is famous for going to brothels. Also famous for his drinking like his sister Cersei. The queen turned queen mother is famous for her own incest with her brother and debauchery with Lancel Lannister, Robert Baratheon and others. So vice is hardly something to be shied away from if you are fan of either ASOIAF and/or GoT.
I contend that Loras is just one indulger in a sea of affluent indulgence. The focus of Loras’ form of vice is no different or worse than anyone else’s. But there is not enough supporting story to include much more. He is a side character. There wasn’t more. They gave Loras a more important role. Not as gay cartoon character. As gay love character.
There are other gay male characters in GoT too. One is the High Septon prior to the High Sparrow. He breaks his vow of celibacy (probably safe to say again). Hardly a good gay man. Not someone who can serve as an example.
Another is Olyvar. Olyvar serves as a prostitute in one of Littlefinger’s King’s Landing brothels. It is not explicitly depicted but implied that Olyvar takes over the role that Ros served in the years prior. Running the brothels and all the prostitutes in it. But those duties as a manager are not really obvious.
Really no gay character is depicted in a fully positive light. That is in keeping with all characters in GoT. Very few characters are shown as all good or all bad. So is it wrong when gay characters fit that same mold?
Take the evidence making scene with Olyvar and Loras together. Isn't that just a relationship scene? Does it matter that it is a gay relationship? Also makes leeway in the debate about male nudity : http://www.bkmag.com/2014/04/11/where-are-all-the-penises-why-the-lack-of-male-nudity-on-game-of-thrones-is-a-problem/ . Even celebrities are in arms about it : http://www.4029tv.com/video/buzz60/anna-kendrick-fed-up-with-lack-of-male-nudity-on-game-of-thrones/32379998 .
The problem is, male nudity and female nudity are depicted the same in the show but perceived very different. Female nudity is usually about breasts. So it is not actual nudity but rather toplessness that is at issue. When thinking about it equally; shouldn’t it be about the number of topless scenes for males? I bring up this point without knowing if male and female toplessness is equal. But as a viewer of the series; it seems like toplessness is pretty close.
Since there are very few vagina scenes in GoT as well or at least as far as I can remember. Sorry for the aside but this is a depiction of how these GoT points go. They are not based in what is really the issue; in my opinion.
Getting back to at least the periphery of the topic; Loras is gay cartoon as much as Talisa was a Queen Cartoon. Talisa Maegyr is another substitute character. In ASOIAF Jeyne Westerling is Robb Stark’s wife and queen not Talisa. Jeyne is Robb’s personal caretaker. Talisa was established as a nurse for all forces fighting in the War of the 5 Kings. But does her profession somehow change from nurse to queen?
Once Talisa gets married; did the viewers ever see her in the field again? Where was the outrage about this issue? Heck her name was changed from ASOIAF to GoT. Talisa’s backstory was changed completely from Jeyne’s where they were not even from the same continent. So I ask; was Talisa a Queen Cartoon? If so; I don’t remember reading anything about that.
So was Loras’ storyline any more perverted than Jeyne’s? Now viewers see the kind of sweet relationship moment was integral to the storyline. Loras with Renly. Loras with Olyvar. Loras as friend to Margaery. All these relationships are an important part of GoT story.
Seeing how the producers didn't want to stick with the ASOIAF reason for why Margaery is arrested. They made a change that in my opinion makes it more dramatic. The link between Loras and Margaery is more important than some lackeys. This way; the viewer has a connection to what is going on. Every aspect of the trial by the High Sparrow and Faith Militant is important to the viewer. If they brought in some extra who we don’t know, why do we care? This way was much more impactful.
Even if some viewers don’t agree.
Has Loras’ storyline truly been perverted? Or is this just something that can be seen as a hotplate issue? How much screen time would he have gotten if it stuck to the ASOIAF storyline? Something tells me this is not a truly valid outrage.
It seems to me that Loras is the only gay character worth following in all the 7 kingdoms. Loras’ homosexuality is celebrated in a way that no other character's is. Everyone other gay character either had to hide or is a prostitute. Leaving Loras as a positive gay man in Westros. Maybe the only one.
More than that; Loras sets a good example for those in the “outside world”. Loras lives out and proud. No man outside a brothel does. Isn’t that a good thing?
I don't count Oberyn in this. He is bisexual. He can hide behind the veil of his relationship with Ellaria Sand. Loras does not have that luxury. He doesn’t seem to want that luxury either.
More remarkably; Loras gets little support for his lifestyle. Margaery and Olenna seemingly are his only support. And Margaery is the only one with him fulltime once she is introduced in season 2.
Everyone else seems to either snicker about Loras. Some are subtle about it. Others are outright disgusted like Stannis, Twyin and Joffrey. Either way; Loras had very few avenues to seek for support of the way he would like to live.
No character or there depiction is perfect. There simply is not enough time. But seeing how B&W have cut so many characters; Loras could have been cut from this show very easily. But he is there. Showing an out and proud and mostly shirtless depiction of a gay man in Westros. A gay man who is not just out for pleasure or profit. Loras is a gay man who loves both his family and his chosen.
Maybe I am out of touch. Maybe this depiction is not in the best interests of the gay community. I would not pretend to be the spokesperson. But there is so much positive coming from Loras’ depiction. His recent troubles are because of the small mindedness of the High Sparrow and Faith Militant.
I hope that Loras can continue on as an out and proud gay knight of the realm. Hopefully something who can rejoice in ruling Highgarden in whatever way he sees fit. Very few people in the realm can be so carefree in the GoT. I hope Loras does not succumb to Valor Marghulis sooner. Maybe they can make something of this. I am counting on them doing just that.
Unfortunately as Ramsay Snow Bolton said, “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.”
Loras is a gay character. And that is perfectly OK. Unlike the many campy gay characters like Mad About You’s “Jack McFarland” or Scandal’s “Michael (no last name on the show, that is how little they have developed him but can assume it is Beane same as his forced husband which is so romantic)” and other campy gay characters, Loras is serious. He is a knight. He is a lord. He has depth which has already been established. Now; he is living as he wants. Unfortunately for him that has ended up in prison which is not by his design. But there is still a story to be written here. Shall we see where it leads?