About a year ago, a highly imaginative vidder named Coolcia produced this little diamond in the very, very rough of a fanvid. Set to Muse’s outrageously erotic Time is Running Out, its goal is to imagine what the ‘most unconventional pairings in the whole Westeros’ would be. The consequently crazy result is the hooking up of Cat and Jon, Ned and Cersei, Sansa and Viserys, Arya and Jaime, Robb and Daenerys and Littlefinger and Renly. Once I’d pulled myself back onto my chair after falling off it, I began to think, as I do sometimes. Actually lots of times. So would any of these pairings work? Let’s take a look.
Cat and Jon
Older woman falling for someone who could have been her son, whom she detests and whom she treats with awful cruelty because of his being a permanent reminder of the adultery her husband allegedly committed? The potential is there for one gigantic explosion of Phédre-like guilt and self-destruction, hate chemistry, sadomasochism and all the usual mischief associated with forbidden love, on both sides. This could work.
Ned and Cersei
Two characters that detest each other and happily contemplate murdering each other falling in love is always positively delicious, usually because they’ll feel an affinity, do everything to destroy each other, then want to destroy themselves when they’ve accomplished that goal. Cersei being a lot more into destruction than Ned, you can sense that most of the destruction would come from her side and that she’ll barely have time to congratulate herself on having him arrested for treason before his head gets chopped off and she’s seized by a horrible, hysterical grief at what she’s done, à la the Marquise de Merteuil. Ned being such a stubborn lump, he’d probably place honour and the truth above love and therefore not think twice about threatening to expose her to Robert, which would probably make him feel righteously awful and would only increase her eagerness to take him down. This could work.
Sansa and Viserys
Honestly, what is it with Sansa and inbred blond sadist arseholes? If Sansa was stupid enough to fall for Joffrey in season 1, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t fall for Viserys were she ever unfortunate enough to be introduced to him. Like Joffrey, Viserys is perfectly capable of acting like an angel when he feels like it, and marrying him also carries a promise, though less certain than Joffrey’s, that she would someday be queen, ‘a prospect that once delighted you,’ as Cersei would say. As for Viserys, he certainly wouldn’t be averse to Sansa if he met her, and would probably see her as yet another pretty thing that he could conquer, torture and eventually destroy. What’s interesting about this is that this relationship would eventually precipitate exactly the same character development in Sansa as her relationship with Joffrey does, which seems to suggest that the poor Lady Stark is more a victim of her own innocence and stupidity than that of Joffrey’s cruelty. So yes. This could work.
Arya and Jaime
Sorry. I just fell off my chair again. Coolcia’s fanvid puts Jaime in a similar position to Syrio, which is a fantastic idea. It would create a deep identification between them early on, grounded on respect rather than ridicule for Arya’s ambitions, a common love of swordfighting and the mutual, unacknowledged love that often characterizes a good master-pupil relationship. Personality-wise, it’d be a spectacular case of opposites attract, Arya being reckless hellfire, revenge and anger 24/7, Jaime permanently reckless but hardly ever motivated by blind anger: he’s too experienced for that. There’s also opportunity for a show-stopping, perhaps permanent bust-up i.e. Jaime having thrown her little brother out of a window and all the hellish Stark versus Lannister stuff during the war. Could either represent a possible reconciliation between Stark and Lannister or make the whole feud a lot worse, probably the latter. This could work.
Robb and Daenerys
Despite Robb’s being battle-hardened and experienced in war, you can’t help feeling that Daenerys, having been trained for queenship among the Dothraki, would eat him alive: she’s done too much and changed too much to willingly chain herself to a King. On the other hand, Robb has also grown up with parents who have a relatively egalitarian relationship, so it doesn’t seem likely that he would try to make his wife submit to him. Chemistry-wise and personality-wise, this doesn’t seem like a good fit. The losses that House Stark suffered under Daenerys’ father King Aerys are a definite obstacle, and you don’t really get the feeling that a marriage would stop the North from remembering. Then again, both of them have been known to fall suddenly and violently in love with inappropriate people, so a marriage would not only be possible, but could also pave the way for a difficult reconciliation. This could work, but probably wouldn’t be the best idea.
Littlefinger and Renly
Renly hates Littlefinger, Littlefinger only sees Renly as being a pawn in the Game and a mild annoyance to boot. While Renly’s status as a pawn would leave him open to sexual advances cf. Sansa Stark, it doesn’t really work, firstly because Renly isn’t a defenseless girl, and secondly because imagining him and Littlefinger at it is very difficult. The chemistry isn’t there. Despite his love of throwing balls and jousts left, right and center, Renly is a sentimentalist: he has sex for love, a feeling that he definitely doesn’t cultivate towards Littlefinger and probably never will. Plus, the only whiff of homoerotic energy that ever comes off Littlefinger happens when he’s dealing with Varys, and the mutual disrespect/disregard between Littlefinger and Renly comes from slight annoyance rather than hate, which makes it difficult to conjure up chemistry. This would not work.
Yes, these combinations are crazy and not all of them work. But the fact that we can talk about them, entertain them and refute them only serves to reinforce the might of GRRM’s creative genius and his powers of characterisation.