June 16, 2014
First of all, DOUBLE SPOILER ALERT: This post will ruin both GoT and OITNB for you if you haven’t finished them. Don’t be a fool.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into it. On last night’s season finale of Game of Thrones, a lot of shocking stuff happened. I was most shocked, though, by the moment in the bathroom. You know the one — Tyrion was holding a bow and arrow, and Tywin was taking a shit? Yeah, that one. As Tywin skillfully tried to talk his way out of being murdered, I was struck by how familiar his manipulation sounded. And then I remembered where I’d seen it before: in one Vee Parker, the resident villain of Orange Is The New Black, season 2.
As I thought more about it, I realized that the two characters, though vastly different in appearance and life experiences, are actually kind of the same person. Here’s proof.
1. They both have a fucked up view of what “Family” means
Tywin is constantly talking about protecting the family, and keeping the family in power. What he really means, though, is keeping himself in power, family be damned. Let’s look at the facts: he tries to have his own son killed, he tries to marry off his daughter so that she’s separated from her children, and he won’t even deal with the obvious incest situation that’s happening between his kids. Family is obviously not an actual priority.
In the same vein, Vee uses the word “family” very loosely. She claims to be the mama to a brood of parent-less kids she’s taken in, but really she’s just using them as drug peddlers. In prison, she invokes “family” as a threat: either you’re in or you’re out, and if you’re out you’re in danger. She obviously doesn’t understand the actual concept of family.
2. They both prey on the weak
Vee spots Crazy Eyes the minute she gets to Litchfield. In Crazy Eyes, she sees someone who’s needy, and she capitalizes on that right away. Immediately, she starts a system of providing Crazy Eyes with encouragement and love in exchange for her loyalty. By the season finale, it’s very clear what Vee has been prepping Crazy Eyes to do.
Tywin does this more obviously; I mean, preying on the weak is essentially all the dude does. He keeps Tyrion in a position of weakness his entire life — in fact, he tries to keep all of his children weakened so that they’ll depend on him and do what he says.
3. They both care only about staying in power
Again, both Tywin and Vee talk a big game about their motives. Vee’s motive is to keep the family safe; Tywin’s is to keep the family at the top. But the real motivation, for each of them, is just to be the god damn, motherfucking boss.
4. They both use gifts to maintain control
It’s a pretty epic moment when Vee sits down in front of a big sheet cake, cutting slices for whoever will join her. As her new gang gathers around, it’s clear that she’s gotten what she wants. The cake is just the first of many gifts Vee exchanges for power; there are cigarettes and drugs and uno cards where that came from, and she uses it all to keep her status — and the status of her underlings — secure.
Tywin’s not so bad at this game either. For example, he knows when to step in and give Jaimie a sword (i.e., when Jaimie only has one hand and won’t be able to use it; also, he delivers the sword along with the news that Jaimie must leave the kingsguard).
5. They’re both master manipulators
This one is slightly problematic, only because while Tywin is definitely a manipulator, and a very effective one at that, I don’t think anyone can come close to matching Vee’s manipulation skills. After Red’s failed attempt at strangling Vee, didn’t you kind of buy her laughing it off and shaking on being friends again? Because I kind of did, because that woman is a fucking INSANE MANIPULATOR. Her friendly, let’s-put-it-all-behind-us face is so convincing that she even fooled Red. Vee knows how to get what she wants.
Tywin, on the other hand, isn’t so successful, despite his best efforts. Did you really believe him when he told Tyrion that he would never let him die, that it was all nonsense? It was tempting, but Tywin didn’t quite have the acting skills to pull it off, which is why SPOILER ALERT he ended up dead.
Then again, in the end, Vee’s skills ultimately fail her, and she meets the same fate as Tywin (at least, most likely). So maybe their manipulation techniques are actually pretty on par.
Bonus: They’re both cool with sleeping with their “children” or their children’s former girlfriends
Vee sleeps with R.J. — who she took in when he was a child and essentially raised — the minute she sees that it will benefit her. Tywin sleeps with Shae — who used to be his son’s long-time lover — the minute he can, just because he wants to. Gross, guys.
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