The Climb: Ode to Ros

Book fans back off, Ros is a gem

Controversy and book canon be damned, Ros was fantastic

//Spoilers// Game of Thrones doled out it bleakest episode yet, and left me in a livid, seething rage. I. AM. FURIOUS!

Game of Thrones just killed one of my favourite characters on the show, and in a very poor fashion at that, so I’m going to break with form and devote this review to Ros, the magnificent redheaded whore and the writing (good and bad) on Game of Thrones.

First things first, I liked the Climb as an episode. It was a nice slice of nastiness, and certainly one of the darkest turns on the show at that point in the show (Oh God, episode 9!). However, the virtues of the episode were soured by that grisly murder of Ros.

Ros wasn’t exactly a beloved character, especially amongst the book fans, because she wasn’t lifted from the source material. However, most of the controversy was sparked by the fact that she was blatantly a device for the show to meet HBO’s tit quota – I’m sure it’s an actual thing.

Then something happened come season 2. Benioff and Weiss, it seemed, had finally pinned down the concept of the character as something more than a plot and tit device. She flashed less and Esmé Bianco got to flex her acting chops properly. To great effect I might add, the actress has a wonderful presence.

The Naked Plot Device

As a plot device, Ros is a stroke of genius, even in season 1. Theon showed how bitter he really is when he got naked with her, and in Littlefinger’s case, her scene with him in season 2 illustrated his depravity much better than backstabbing Ned ever did. And of course, who can forget her threesome with Joffrey, a scene that took the monstrous boy king to the next level. To take the character and run with it was a great decision on Benioff and Weiss’ part. By fleshing out her character, they anchored the horror of the awful things she was witness to.

Scenes like this was what justified Ros' screentime

Scenes like this was what justified Ros’ screentime

It also served another purpose that is quite close to my heart. They gave a name, a face and a voice to the multiple random sex workers on the show. You see this so often in the media, and it’s actually nice to see a prostitute who’s more than a set of orifices. Ros does this better than Chataya did in the books, and much better than Shae, who we’ve never actually seen as much of a whore. Ros’ ‘whorishness’ isn’t played down, we see her flagrante so many times, and yet she remains a sympathetic and interesting character, and respected too. At least until The Climb. Because Benioff and Weiss doesn’t respect their own creation in this episode, and I’m furious they screwed it up so badly.

So what’s wrong with pincushions? 

Let me just be clear here, it’s not about the fact that she was killed. It’s not even about the extremely disturbing nature of her murder, though a lot can be said of that. My big issue with this is the fact that Benioff and Weiss killed her off in such a random manner. Sure, she was a minor character, but plenty of minor characters have had a great exit on the show, like Maester Luwin’s devastating death or Yoren’s badass and brutal end. Ros wasn’t even in the episode before she showed up like a pincushion in Joffrey’s chambers.

Was it seriously too much work to include just one scene of her getting confronted by Littlefinger? Or if they wanted to keep her death under wraps till the last moment, why not just a small scene to refresh the emotional link with her character before she’s strung up like meat at the butcher? Well at least we didn’t get to see Joffrey murder her, just saw the aftermath. Small mercy.

Game of Thrones do not shy away from brutality, and in many ways I enjoy that. It doesn’t sugar coat the violence – it’s an ugly thing. However, this death felt too cruel, and yes, the overtly sexual nature of her murder is deeply unpleasant. Do we really need to see her nipples? Or that Joffrey has used her vag as a target?

It doesn’t really serve a proper narrative point either. Sure, Joffrey is shown like a monster again, but we already knew that, and we knew it from a scene with Ros too. We don’t need it spelled out again. Instead, Ros’ murder just feels like a frankly lazy and convenient discard of a character that I at least (and a lot of others too judging from the internet reactions) have come to care a lot about.

Not well played Benioff and Weiss.

Now, let’s finish of with a video from Ros’ innocent, sexposition beginnings, if only she’d been headed towards better things

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