Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Message control. The Lannister Party seeks renewal in Opposition in Game of Thrones S6/E3.

The signs were there in episode two. Outside a Fleabottom hostelry, a previously loyal subject of the former Queen Cersei was bragging about just how explicitly he had disrespected her during season five’s penitent Walk Of Shame. Unfortunately for this bantzmonger, the new enforcer from the Red Keep, the reanimated Mountain, was on hand nearby to enforce a bit of terminal message discipline via the medium of a brick wall. 

Still more violent than The Mountain
In this week’s episode, Cersei revealed the Lannister’s strategic communications plan in full:

"If someone is laughing at the Queen who walked naked through the streets covered in shit, I want to hear. I want to know who they are. I want to know where they are."

Jaime and Cersei also know that the family has to start looking like a ruling party again. So the Kingslayer has asserted his right to sit on the Small Council as Lord Commander of the King's Guard. Sure, Uncle Kevan currently heads it up as the Hand of The King, but he is rather Lannister-lite, after refusing to visit Cersei in her cell, and is the father of Lancel (who has abandoned the family for life as one of the most zealous of the High Sparrow’s faithful).

The initial opposition to Jaime’s joining was squashed under the weight of precedence. Maester Pycelle was forced to admit the Ser Gerold Hightower, Jaime's predecessor, had sat. This is a very common law approach to constitutional matters with no civil law codified in either support or prohibition of Jaime’s appointment. What other precedents will the Lannister’s uncover as they claw back power? The rest of the Small Council is refusing to sit in protest, essentially 'empty chair'-ing the Lannisters. A most Gaullist approach.

King Tommen is also on a constitutional collision course, with the Faith Militant. The Faith and the Crown have been mutually dependent until now. The teaser for episode four hinted at Cersei’s public shaming being visited next upon Margaery, who still resides at the High Sparrow’s pleasure. The now Queen Mother may welcome as justice the equalising humiliation of her rival. But just as sleaze in our own body politic erodes trust in all parties no matter who is the subject, more Shame might further turn the populus of King’s Landing against dynastic rule altogether. Additionally, as Tommen's Queen, Margaery's distress might be the inspiration for disestablishment of the Faith of the Seven. Violently, if necessary; probably inevitably.

Meanwhile, in Essos, Dany, despite being the Mother of three grown dragons, is being held against her will by the Dothraki equivalent of the Women's Institute.

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