Reviews, Recaps, and Personal Thoughts on All Things TV

Archive for April, 2014

The Rape of Cersei Lannister


A lot has been said about this past Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones entitled, “Breaker of Chains.” The episode depicts a famous scene from book three of the A Song of Ice and Fire series from which the show is based, yet changed one key element from the book, and caused an internet uproar.

The scene in question involved Cersei and Jamie Lannister, twins and lovers. In the book, Cersei stands in a Sept (a holy house in this universe) over the corpse of her dead son (fathered by her brother, Jamie). Jamie, who until that point had been kidnapped and tortured and absent from King’s Landing for quite some time, arrives on the scene. Cersei is overcome by relief at seeing Jamie and passion because she’s all hot for her brother. And although at first she thinks it would be wrong to have sex with her brother in a holy place beside the corpse of their dead son who was the product of incest (and I would agree with her for so many reasons), she willingly and consensually and happily does end up having sex with Jamie. She also is on her “moon blood” during the process, meaning she has the Westeros equivalent of a period and the whole scene in general is gross for every reason I just listed above.

The show took this exact scene and changed one very important part: The part where Cersei gives consent. In the book Cersei literally guides Jamie into her with her hand. In the show, it was nothing short of rape, with Cersei consistently saying no and trying to push Jamie off of her, to no avail.

People are not happy, but maybe not entirely for the reasons that you would think.

My initial reaction to this scene was one of shock followed by anger. The scene itself was very difficult to watch (as all scenes of rape should be) and I was quite flabbergasted and confused as to what I was witnessing, as I am someone who has read the books.

I was really excited when I saw Cersei in the Sept and it looked exactly like I pictured it. Then Jamie walked in, just like in the book and everything was going kind of word for word, and I was sitting on the couch crunching on potato chips and thinking to myself, “I wonder if they’re going to be bold enough to show her moon blood” and then all of a sudden Jamie is raping her. And I’m sitting there wondering when it’s going to turn consensual because that’s what a reader of the book would expect but it never does. And as soon as the scene ends, I turned to my roommate aghast and said, “THAT didn’t happen in the book!”

Which seems to be the predominant reaction that people are having: That it didn’t happen in the book. This article from The A.V. Club posed the question that I immediately asked as well which was: While inevitably television or movie adaptations of books have to change scenes in order to work in a different medium, why change this particular scene? Everything else was exactly the same as the scene in the book except for the question of consent. But what was the motivation behind taking an act of consensual sex and turning it into an act of sexual violence? Because upon doing so, the showrunners have changed the very integrity of the characters themselves.

In the books and the show, at this point Jamie is well into his redemption story. He is a man who has done terrible things but is beginning to recognize that about himself and take measures to change. He is misunderstood in a lot of ways, and although his relationship with his sister is incestuous (and therefore really gross), he is honorable in his love and devotion to her. The choice on the part of the show to have him rape Cersei throws a wrench in all of that previous character development. And I understand why fans of the book are angry because it is my belief that Jamie would never rape anyone, especially not Cersei, no matter what other horrific things he may have done. The show essentially destroyed the very integrity of the character with this one very violent and disturbing scene.

Granted, the show is in no way required to stay so close to canon, but it’s disturbing because the motivation behind altering the character in this way is unclear. And while it’s possible that in the coming episodes it will become clearer why they chose to take this character in this direction, as it stands it’s a hard pill to swallow.

This article from Wired included a quote from the director of the episode, that suggested that the scene they filmed wasn’t even really a rape scene (at least not to their knowledge), but a power struggle, with Cersei ultimately wanting it, and one that ended in consent. This is disturbing in so many ways, because it suggests that the power that the showrunners wield (which is to entertain and influence an audience of millions of people) is abused in ignorance of the scenes that they are portraying. Perhaps when it was filmed it was a power struggle and not a rape scene but that’s not how it was edited and not the final product, as the scene cut away before Cersei ever consented (if that was a thing that was supposed to happen). Game of Thrones is a show that depicts a lot of violence and a lot of sex, often for no other purpose but to be exploitative and titillating and shocking. I would hate to think that this scene was used for the same purpose, or to prove that this is how the world of Westeros works—it’s a dark and particularly dangerous realm and the rules of existence are different there.

Because the rules are different when watching a show about a fictional universe. The world of Game of Thrones is filled with war and ruthless murder and rape. With the killing of children, with the marriage of siblings and 13-year-olds to 30-year-old savages, with eunuchs and slaves. There are also dragons, and zombie-like creatures that can only be killed by fire. It’s mystical and twisted and dark. It’s also completely fictional and therefore I think it’s a safe space to examine something I found very interesting about the reaction to this episode.

I’m very interested in the reaction of the audience to violence in Game of Thrones versus violence against women in Game of Thrones. Particularly the dichotomy between the reaction to Joffrey’s death and the reaction Cersei’s rape. Because by all accounts Cersei is a terrible person. She is cruel and manipulative and hateful. She has murdered and she would step on anyone to rise to the top, including her own younger brother, Tyrion. She has an incestuous relationship with her brother, all of her children were the product of that relationship, and she helped to murder her husband in order to keep that secret. Basically everybody in the audience hates her. And the same was true for Joffrey. He was a spoiled, sadistic brat who murdered and tortured. He was cruel and impulsive and maniacal. And when he was killed last week, everyone in the audience cheered and celebrated.

Now before I continue remember that I am speaking here entirely of a fictional world. I don’t think that anyone deserves to be raped. I don’t even think Cersei deserved to be raped, and she’s a horrible person. But I thought that Joffrey deserved to die, and I’m pretty sure everyone else did, too. Are we not the same audience that just last week threw a Twitter party upon Joffrey dying in a truly gruesome and graphic and horrific fashion? But in this fictional world where the rules are different, we feel outrage at Cersei’s rape. If Jamie had walked into that Sept and stabbed her in the heart, we would be celebrating again this week. But because he raped her, we are angry.

And don’t get me wrong, I think we should be angry. But where is the source of that anger? We are desensitized enough to violence that we applaud it when distributed upon a truly heinous character. But sexual violence is enough of a taboo in our culture that there is a public outcry when a character who most would say deserves to die is raped. I think it is very interesting but I also see it as problematic. Because if rape and sexual assault are such a taboo that it pains us to witness fictional characters who we hate experience it, then why is it that when you pull back and examine real-life rape in our society, victim-blaming and other facets of rape culture still run rampant with not as many people as the audience of Game of Thrones (which is millions) caring as much about real rape as they do about Cersei’s rape. You would think that the outrage on behalf of a fictional character would translate to outrage in the real world but it really doesn’t.

If we believe as an audience that rape is inexcusable no matter what the crimes of the victim may be, then why doesn’t that concern for a horrible person of a female character extend out of pop culture and into our own culture towards real-life victims of sexual violence? Do we care more about the fictional rape of a fictional person than we do about the actual injustices that happen to real people?

I don’t know the answer to that. But I am happy that so many people are asking these kinds of questions and talking about depictions of rape in popular culture and storytelling through the medium of television. I think it’s important to hold showrunners accountable for their choices, because it seems to me that they chose to have Cersei raped for no other reason except they kind of didn’t even realize that’s what they were doing? Which opens a giant can of worms regarding misogyny, the way rape is viewed in America, and the treatment of women on Game of Thrones especially. This show has come under fire for this before, which is such a shame since George R.R. Martin’s female characters in the book are some of the strongest and most complicated female characters I’ve ever read, and they’re written with respect.

But I also think we should see where they take these characters this season. Because rape as a storytelling device isn’t inherently wrong and can be used to a very powerful effect, but it’s very tricky to do so, and I feel that it is often used lazily and as a throwaway character arc for women. Perhaps this particular rape scene will create an excellent story for Jamie and Cersei’s characters (though I wouldn’t count on it) and we should wait to see if that happens (but I really doubt it will). In the meantime, I hope the discussion about rape depictions in popular culture continues because while I think the showrunners have done all of it inadvertently, they opened a really great national dialogue, so applause to Game of Thrones for doing something great by doing something bad, while both were probably unintentional.

A final interesting thing to note: Author George R.R. Martin posted something about this episode and this scene in particular on his blog, in response to fan criticism over the whole thing. In his response, GRRM spoke of the difference in where the characters were in the books versus the show (in the book, it was the first time Cersei was seeing Jamie in a long time, and in the show he had been there with her for a few weeks with mounting tension). He also said the scene in the book was always intended to be disturbing and that he wasn’t brought into discussion for this episode but that he apologizes if anyone was disturbed by either scene.

First of all, George, you are the father of the REALM, you bow to NO ONE. I’m not into the idea that artists should apologize for their work (though that seems to be happening a lot lately). But more than that, people SHOULD be disturbed by those scenes, whether it was the one in the book or the one on television. People SHOULD be disturbed when they’re watching a rape scene! If you’re not disturbed then you’re probably a rapist or the director of this episode. Furthermore, if GRRM is going to start apologizing for things in his books that disturbed me, I have a LONG list starting with his synonyms for “vagina” which include “lower lips” and “the wetness between her legs.” Please apologize for that, forever. Thank you.


Thoughts on ‘Insurgent,’ Featuring the Chewbacca Defense


Buckle up, because this is going to be a rough fucking ride

I know that this is not about television but I have so many scathing feelings about this book that I need to release them in a safe space. Also, an unbelievable amount of spoilers follow, so if you haven’t read Insurgent yet and you want to, probably don’t read this or DO WHATEVER YOU WANT I DON’T CARE.


The tagline of this book is “One choice can destroy you” and it’s never more true than if your choice was to read this book.

Everything that happened in this book made me want to SCREAM, starting with Tris and Tobias’ relationship. ESPECIALLY their relationship. I really liked Tobias/Four in the first book. I liked that he admired Tris’ bravery, believed her strength was unquestionable, trusted her judgment and her ability to complete a task, and loved her for herself. This book is like a 180 and I don’t understand it.

I understand that you need to create conflict between 2 characters to make a story interesting, and I understand that usually in the second book of a young adult trilogy, the characters are fighting or apart for much of it. But in this book, the author seems to have just made the characters fight because she needed to find conflict SOMEwhere between them. It felt forced, ridiculous, and untrue to the characters as I understood them in book 1. There were so many times where I was like, “Wait…is this a fear simulation?” because I couldn’t imagine Tobias would call Tris an idiot or they would fight over something SO UNBELIEVABLY STUPID to the point where they don’t speak to each other for a week.

Tris’ major struggle in this book is her guilt over killing Will in book 1. It consumes her. Which is actually an interesting plot. Tobias is angry with Tris because she can’t communicate to him the depth of her guilt and grief (um, she’s 16), and she can’t understand how to move forward (um, she has PTSD). Her guilt is compounded by her additional anguish over her parents both dying to protect her, and her in-the-moment decision to save Hector instead of Marlene during one of Erudite’s simulations (um, hello, Christina was standing right there and she saved NO one, and seems cool with it. Tris, how were you supposed to save 3 people?).

Because of this, Tris has a death wish. In fact, she straight-up says she wants to join her parents in whatever great beyond exists. She has so much of a death wish that she sacrifices herself without even considering the very stupid thing she is doing and the inevitable consequences her choice will have. Again, this sounds like an interesting plot but the PROBLEM is how god forsakenly annoying Tris and Tobias are throughout all of it.

In this book, Tobias is angry that Tris won’t communicate with him all of her emotions over killing Will and watching so many people die. Tobias just yells at her about how much she sucks at communicating when he sucks even more at it. It doesn’t make sense. Tobias sees that Tris can’t even pick up a gun, and he (okay I guess I understand this) get’s angry at her that she continues to put herself in dangerous situations without any protection or regard for her own safety. And yes, that’s a problem, but the real problem is how he doesn’t seem to address her desire to die—first at all, and then with any kind of gentleness. In fact, he gives her an ultimatum at one point and says that unless she stops wanting to die he’s going to break up with her. And, like, okay, but also WHAT?!?!

Tobias no longer sees her as brave because he sees her as reckless. But throughout the two books, we’ve read about how in Dauntless there sometimes is no difference between the two. Tobias says he fell in love with the Divergent Tris—the one who wasn’t only one thing but was many things. But this is unfair. Because Tobias admits, while under the Candor truth serum no less (oh my god, what is my life), that he truly believes he belongs in Abnegation, and that the only reason he chose Dauntless was to protect himself from his father. Tobias leans heavily toward Abnegation and is a weaker Divergent than Tris, yet resents Tris heavily leaning towards Dauntless when I fail to see the difference between what they’re both doing.

Not to mention throughout the books, the characters discuss how maybe there is little difference between selflessness and bravery, and so how much difference is there really between the core values of Abnegation and Dauntless? Whenever Tris actually points out obvious and semi-intelligent thoughts like this, Tobias flies off the handle, at one point even telling Tris that she didn’t understand the Abnegation-kind of selflessness that he did. Except for all Tobias’ claims that he’s truly Abnegation, he acts more like a freaking Dauntless than anybody (again, what is my life, how am I writing these sentences).

Tris winds up risking her life in the dumbest way possible, to the point where I wanted to reach into the book and freaking smack her across the face. She marches into Erudite headquarters to turn herself in as Divergent, to ensure that no more Dauntless are killed. Except, TRIS YOU ARE AN IDIOT (I guess Tobias was right, but I don’t support a boyfriend calling his girlfriend a mean word like “idiot,” even if he IS right). Tris, what do you think the Erudite want with a Divergent? They want to experiment on you, fool, so that they can control the other Divergent. You think this is going to save anyone? No, you’re just helping the enemy make it worse.

And, of course, Tobias follows her like 7 hours later. But instead of being angry, he’s all loving and sacrificial. He tells her that he has a plan to get them out of there and asks her to hold on for 2 more weeks. He also tells her that he can’t stop her from deciding to die but that he knows that she won’t, because she is too selfless to leave everyone behind. Then he touches his lips to hers (they do a lot of lip-touching in this book. I assume it means kissing but I kind of picture a lip fist-bump of sorts and it’s only one of the many instances where Veronica Roth’s writing is a bit perplexing but I digress). Tris’ thought is that Tobias is wrong and she actually wants to die very badly and can’t wait. THIS IS SO MESSED-UP AND PROBLEMATIC. Her character is depressing and personality-less and oh my god I have like 100 pages left to read.

But, OF COURSE, at the moment they’re about to kill Tris (except not really, obviously, that sneaky asshole Peter can’t be in Tris’ debt and has a plan to save her life), Tris actually realizes, “WAIT. I WANT TO LIVE.” She screams her desire to live in her own head as she believes she’s dying and realizes that it would be a much better way to honor those who have died (especially the ones who sacrificed their lives for her, hello) to just continue living. And obviously Tobias has known this all along so why didn’t he just TELL her? (That last part is my thought, not Tris’.)

So after they escape Erudite headquarters it seems like FINALLY we have some character development. Tris has her revelation, Tobias loves her, and it’s time to move the plot forward.

Only Tris disagrees with Tobias’ course of action to move ahead in this war, so instead of talking to him about it, she just goes behind his back. She lies to him. And then she aligns herself with Tobias’ abusive father to learn integral information. Understandably she is afraid to confide in Tobias that she believes his father and is choosing to follow him in this way—Tobias hates and fears his father more than anything. And I understand how Tris feared she would lose Tobias because of how much of a betrayal Tobias might view this act. But if I were Tris (and I wouldn’t be, because I’m not a moron), I would much more prefer Tobias be angry and betrayed at something I tell him I’m going to do, than be angry and betrayed at something he learns I lied to him about doing.

Tris does it anyway, aware that she will lose Tobias if she moves forward, but seeing it again as another selfless act, and the only way she can get the important information they need for the war. Just when I thought Tris and Tobias could learn to communicate, Tris makes the same freaking mistake she has made, having learned nothing, as if the past 270 PAGES NEVER EVEN HAPPENED JESUS CHRIST.


So beyond the horrifying character development, there is also just the flatness of the characters in general. They’re really not interesting, and lack much of a personality. Anything that’s supposed to be funny—like a group of characters just joking around with each other—just…isn’t funny. It’s part of the problem with Veronica Roth’s writing. Tris narrates the story in first person present tense yet seems to have access to things a first-person narrator wouldn’t have access to. She’ll close her eyes but then see Tobias do something. She’ll meet a character and then 3 sentences later talk about how the character did something “uncharacteristically.” Tobias and Tris’ love scenes are strange too. Mostly chaste, they wrap their hands around each other’s necks a lot (not in a strangling way, I presume), which is a strange place to put your hands when you’re kissing someone (or touching lips or whatever the hell they do). They put their hands up the backs of each other’s shirts (not the front? Why not the front?), trace each other’s necks with their unnaturally long fingers, and touch lips. It’s bizarre.

And then there is who Veronica Roth chooses to kill. Which so far is like basically every minor main character. And it feels more like she’s doing it be like, “Hey, this is going to be that kind of book that is shocking because I’ll kill anyone, no one is safe” more than to be like, “Hey, this is the cost of war.” Because she chose to kill Marlene when there were 2 other minor characters standing right there that she could have killed instead. One of the characters you just met in THAT SCENE. But no, she chooses to have Marlene, one of the few characters with a bit of a personality, throw herself off a building during an Erudite simulation. And she has Tris choose to save someone she barely knows, over her friend. Why? I can’t see the motivation here. It felt like the seventh Harry Potter book all over again, where J.K. Rowling was like, “Well, let’s just kill people.” Like, okay, I get why Dumbledore had to die but Dobby? DOBBY?

(It also feels like The Walking Dead, with Roth taking the time to make you like a character just before she kills them.)

The only thing that saves this book is the climax and the end. The climax where Tris actually does some badass stuff not because she wants to die or because she aims to be selfless but because she believes it’s the right thing to do, no matter the consequences. This is a character I can get behind. Even better than that, Tris FINALLY tells Tobias off, yelling at him and calling him out on his bullshit. Hallelujah! Tobias ends up seeing the error of his ways I guess but he never says sorry. Their make-up scene is pretty quick, like 3 pages before the end, with Tobias just telling Tris that she was right (eh, I’ll take it).

The ending was…confusing. But at least it was interesting. There is much of this dystopia that doesn’t really make sense to me, but the ending was interesting enough (that there is an entire society out there, separate from Tris’, where humanity has crumbled and people have lost their minds or something) that I’m willing to give the third and final book the benefit of the doubt. Though I do know the giant spoiler part of how that book (and the series) ends and I’m already mad about it so we’ll see.

At least the Divergent movie was pretty good. And by “good” I mean Theo James is really hot.

Theo James

Especially with non life-threatening facial wounds

Series Finales Bring Us Together…But Mostly Just in Hate


Last night on Facebook, I watched an interesting phenomenon unfold before me on my news feed: That of the instant status reaction to a series finale. I always love when this happens (also applicable are season finales and any game changer episode), because the reactions are so varied and colorful in their sameness. There are the people who hate it so violently they just blurt out what happens, and the other people who angrily admonish them in the comments (“Nice spoiler alert, asshole”). There are those who praise it for its perfection or just defensively and defiantly state, “I liked it.” And there are also those who are sort of just checking in to let us know they watched it but, y’know, aren’t sure how to feel about the whole thing just yet.

Last night, on the heels of the How I Met Your Mother finale, there was really only one camp cropping up. While I know the other exists, the majority was leaning heavily towards, “That finale was a piece of shit and I am angry in ways I never thought imaginable.”

And this led me to think about series finales in general, and whether as a whole they are more widely hated than they are loved.

A bit of background: How I Met Your Mother is a show that I have never watched but have been forced to listen to people quote Neil Patrick Harris’ character lines from it for, oh, it feels like a million years. It’s one of those shows, which, when mentioned, I usually responded with a disinterested, “Oh, is that still on?” Personally, I could care less that it ended or even that it existed in the first place, such is my neutrality on the matter. But today, my friend and co-worker gave me a recap of the whole finale and now I concede that, yes, that was a terrible finale. Granted, her recap was dictated to me intermittently between vitriol-laced expletives and wild hand gestures, so the fact that I feel anger about the finale now should be viewed through that lens. What I’m saying is: How I Met Your Mother folks who are angry? I get your pain. I am on your side here.

But back to series finales in general. I polled the Facebook community at large: Name a series finale that you actually thought was good. What resulted was an 82-comment thread that proved that there are good series finales out there. It also demonstrated how varied we can each feel about a particular series finale. There are series finales that seem universally liked and ones that appear pretty universally hated . And series finales that are so polarizing, people may never stop talking about them.

But how does that work?

Demanding a series finale that leaves everyone satisfied is like asking a funeral to have a happy ending. It just won’t happen, unless maybe you’re a sociopath. No one will be happy if the ending is too happy. No one will be happy if the ending is too sad. No one wants it to end predictably. But no one wants it to be a cliffhanger, either. No one wants to accept that a character might die. But you also can’t just have some characters live out their lives after what they’ve done either. It needs to stay true to the story, the integrity of the characters, and the overarching theme of the show. It needs to move you and provide closure. It needs to do a lot of freaking things in not a lot of time and if the show winds up just wrapping things up like a half-eaten Chipotle burrito and tossing it in the back of the metaphorical refrigerator that is the hearts and minds of the fans at home…well then, people will not be pleased.

Series finales demand that the stories for the characters end right. But they also impossibly demand that there is one singular path that will make everyone happy. That years of expectations for millions of people will pay off in a way that every single individual is left satisfied. You want to leave an image in the minds of the audience that this is where this character went. You want people to stand at the water cooler (do people stand near those anymore?) and shake their heads passionately and say, “It couldn’t have been any other way. This was how it had to be.” But more often than not, series finales leave a bitter taste in many people’s mouths. Fans are divided into post-show camps. Writers make the rounds and give interviews and swear, “This is the way we always envisioned this show ending.” People take to fanfiction to right the wrongs done upon them by the writers and producers. We complain in Facebook statuses, slapping a lazy “spoiler alert” before or after our fast, angry, one-minute-has-passed since the conclusion opinion.

Because what we really want is for the series to never end. Or we wanted it to have ended 2 seasons ago, or before they killed that character, or gave this one cancer, or they switched showrunners. What we really want is for the show to have peered inside our individual hearts and produced an ending that is in a lot of ways a reflection of us. When you love something like this, you claim ownership of it in your heart. This is the reason why, throughout the years, when asked who should direct the next Harry Potter film, my answer was always, “Me.” Because as a devoted fan, you’re the only one who knows how it should look, and the only one who could do it right.

And think about it: We spend the time to watch something, because it speaks to us for whatever reason. But in that process of consuming something, we also allow it to define us in a way. One of the ice breaker “get to know you” questions typically asked is, “What is your favorite TV show?” It appears as a field to be filled out in virtually every online profile you can create. It says something about us. We use it superficially on the surface to help describe to other people who we are. And then we take that acquisition and we project it back onto the thing that we watched, so now the relationship between the show and the viewer is more complicated than you would think. It’s the reason people feel frustrated and angry when How I Met Your Mother didn’t end a different way, and why an emotion as strong as betrayal can creep to the surface when we’re really talking about a television show that we could have actively made the decision to stop watching at any point in the series.

So you watch a show and you feel like you emotionally stake claim to it. But there are also millions of other devoted fans who have their own vision for how it’s supposed to be. And sometimes those visions line up and we have these universally “good” finales. But a lot of the time, there are subtle nuances between personal tastes that can make one person love it and another hate it. And when you look at it like that, it’s a wonder that these television shows can unite an entire audience at all. But this is what’s magical about television (and movies). These stories can make us feel something, and not just that, they can make us feel it all collectively. To make us part of a “we.” It’s why people choose Team Edward or Team Jacob. It’s why we amalgamate two characters’ names because we ship them. It’s why fans of Hannibal call themselves “Fannibals,” why women who love Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead hashtag themselves as “Dixon’s Vixens,” why Lady Gaga formed an entire culture around her fandom simply by calling them “Little Monsters.”

We crave the unity. We want connection. But where we separate is how a story should end. Because finality is unbearable. We have to face finality in our lives all of the time: Breakups. The end of high school or college. Leaving a job. Simple moments fading away. And the ultimate finality of all—death. In media, there is a slighter sense of control, because while we can’t take the helm on how a show might end, we can keep the ending in our mind. So if Ross and Rachel end up together, we can always remember that Friends had a happy ending. And if Walter White dies at the end of Breaking Bad, we can take comfort in knowing that’s exactly how that story needed to end. Betrayal is when we feel that the writers didn’t honor these characters, and the legacy of a show we loved was a disappointing ending that can never be undone.

And that utter finality is why emotions surge higher during a series finale than, say, season 2 episode 11 (although, I don’t know, depending on the show maybe that was a particularly emotional episode for you).

But whether you liked the ending of How I Met Your Mother or you hated it, the important thing is that you emotionally shared an experience with an incredibly large amount of people. People you don’t even know and will never meet. People all over the country, of all ages and races and genders and sexual orientations. Even if you felt something good and someone else felt something bad, you felt it at the same time, over the same thing, at the same moment. And when you stand in awe at that reality, does it really matter what happened in the end? Does it really matter that the mother died?

Yes? Okay, fair enough.