Friday, June 7, 2013

Femme(companion)spiration Friday: Brienne of Tarth

There are two kinds of people reading this post right now.

The first is the kind of person who does not watch Game of Thrones. If you belong to this particular group, you're probably experiencing a range of emotions: Confusion, perhaps disinterest, and almost certainly the delicate mix of deep vicarious embarrassment and schadenfreude that comes with finding out someone you know watches a show about warring kings in a made-up medieval universe. Please bear with me as you struggle with this reality.

The second kind of person reading this post is the kind who does watch Game of Thrones. If you belong to this group, you're probably also experiencing a rainbow of feelings, most notably a creeping sense of exposure and vulnerability. Admit it: You're interested in a post about a character in a fantasy show. A fictional woman created by a fat, bearded man who looks like he moonlights as a serial killer is of actual interest to you, and this makes you uncomfortable. It's like you've walked into a party wearing a green velvet cape that you can't seem to take off, and everybody who looks at you knows that you have a collection of decorative swords.

It hurts.

But even you, cape kid, can work through your shame to pursue your curiosity: Brienne of Tarth, glorious butch in literal shining armor, as femmespiration? 

...Well, no, not exactly. 

When Melina asked me to write a Femmespiration Friday post for today, I'll admit that I was fresh out of ideas. As you know, Ursula is my main bitch, and as someone who is tenuously femme at best I can't say I have the greatest repertoire of inspirations to draw from. It occurred to me, then, that I might perhaps be best served by speaking from the heart, by discussing someone who isn’t femme per se but instead, like me, is a top-notch FEMME COMPANION.

Let me start with a cursory introduction to femme companionship. This is an identity I have only recently started to articulate, but which resonates strongly with me despite the battery of inapplicable scenarios the phrase sometimes conjures. I am not a nursemaid to a convalescent femme. I am not paid by the state or by private employers to accompany a femme in any capacity. As a veritable lesbian Adonis, fountain of obvious and irresistible sexual energy, I clearly have nothing to do with the impotent, flaccid euphemism “female companion.” So set those associations aside, dear readers, and contemplate the femme companion as a positive identity all its own.

Femme companionship, it should be clarified, is not the exclusive purview of those sexually involved with femmes, nor does it necessarily identify participants as butch. A femme companion – as defined by me, so take this shit with a grain of salt – is a non-femme who derives pleasure, fulfillment, a sense of purpose or other positive feelings from the company of her femme friends, who she assists in various tasks with respect and without any weird chauvinist-chivalrous bullshit. Sewing sequins on shit, carrying extra shoes, studying online hair tutorials and clipping cosmetic coupons are some examples of femme companion activities. Unsolicited actions, including the carrying of femmes over puddles of water, the explanation of sporting activities to femmes, and the management of a femme’s household repairs are some examples of douchebag activities, and should not be lumped into the same category.

This brings me back to today’s inspiration, Brienne of Tarth. Brienne is a badass lady knight sworn to protect Catlin Stark (current complicated mother figure, former HBIC) and charged with the safe return of high-profile captive/resident nancy boy Jamie Lannister. Her character is played by actress Gwendoline Christie, who coincidentally is super cute:

Anyway, Jamie Lannister is, first and foremost, an incestuous little shit, but as is revealed throughout his journey to the capital with Brienne, he’s not all bad. In fact, he and Brienne develop a relationship that many on the vast and treacherous internet are quick to categorize as romantic – I would never suggest this, given that Brienne is CLEARLY batting hard for team homo, though the high holy golden rule of hetnorm recuperation suggests that they’ll probably bang at some point. That said, whatever their connection, it is obvious to anyone that Brienne would throw down for her femme friend Jamie, and is deeply committed to returning him to palatial luxury so that her other femme, Catlin, can get her kid back (spoiler alert: this is a horrible plan). Brienne will raise a sword to anyone who threatens the pretty-boy kingslayer, and is equally comfortable kicking ass in a pink dress as she is in a suit of shimmering armor.

What makes Brienne a phenomenal femme companion, though, is not her willingness to take up arms for her femme buddy, but her understanding that this relationship is reciprocal. She is not so slavishly devoted to ideas of masculinity and femininity that she refuses help from her more feminine counterpart; in fact, he saves her ass from a giant fucking bear:

This, friends, is what a femmepanionship should look like. It’s not about clothes, or about physical strengths or inclinations – it’s about reciprocity, respect, and getting the motherfuck away from enormous carnivorous animals.

xx Ali


  1. You are too funny, Ali. Your posts bring me such joy.

  2. Absolutely perfect. I could have also enjoyed a post that was just pictures of Brienne, but that might be for a different blog. As an aside, I feel that Brienne is to Jamie as Timbaland is to JT on the astoundingly popular 2006 hit "Sexy/Back." Does that make any sense?