Jeyne or not JeyneEdit
Regardless of what her true name is, the show is clearly going with her being 'Talisa' for the time being. So that's the only entry we should have. If it does turn out later on she's really a 'Jeyne' we can deal with that at the time. We have to be very careful of spoilers here.--Werthead 16:08, April 23, 2012 (UTC)
I think the ComicBookMovie.com's news article about Chaplin playing Jeyne Westerling is not a reliable source considering that HBO never gave out any other name for the character than 'Jeyne' even when pressed for it, and Chaplin refused to reveal the character's name in all her interviews. Whether she in the end is Jeyne Westerling or not is beside the point, the writer of that article clearly only assumed Chaplin would be playing Jeyne Westerling but did not confirm it in any way.--RitariKnight 00:30, April 25, 2012 (UTC)
Official Answer: "The discrepancy was later explained by Chaplin's character originally being conceived as being similar to Jeyne Westerling from the novels, even named the same, but then moving further and further away during rewrites. Eventually George R.R. Martin himself suggested they just rename her and make her a completely new character. Martin himself came up with the name."
It would appear that on a level of "if you're going to ream me up the a$$ you should have the common decency to give me a reach-around", Martin felt that they changed TV!Jeyne so drastically that she was functionally a different character, so they might as well acknowledge this outright by renaming her, and giving her a slightly altered backstory.
The "Talisa is a Lannister spy" theoryEdit
Okay, this fan theory has been circulating around for a while, but I only really started paying attention to it recently, when in "Kissed by Fire" she said she *didn't know where Winterfell was on a map*. The thing is..."Talisa" was portrayed so badly that I haven't really been rewatching any of her scenes out of disgust. That, and George R.R. Martin publicly offered up an explanation; that whole thing about that they changed her so much he felt they should at least rename her because she isn't really "Jeyne Westerling" anymore.
This post will contain full spoilers from the books, biggest spoilers of all:
So I actually sat down and rewatched all the Talisa scenes, and the fan theories' lists about odd things she does - I've pared this down to things based on facts.
- Talisa's scenes in "The Old Gods and the New" are very intriguing: she's in the middle of an army camp writing a letter, and openly jokes to Robb that she's a Lannister spy sending in reports to Tywin. Joke by the writers? Quite probably...but it's also the "Purloined Letter" method of hiding in plain sight. Plus the simple fact that they referred to it. Anyway, we do know that the Lannisters are getting spy reports - not that unusual, this is a war after all and they have "scouts", what army doesn't? But it's that whole thing that Tywin says at Harrnhal that they can't defeat Robb militarily so they have to find another way...by sending in the old Honey Trap ploy and having Talisa seduce him?
- Next, Talisa's backstory has been bizarrely inconsistent....POSSIBLY due to the last-minute name change, I get that. But if they were going to make her "from Volantis", you'd think they'd at least put more effort into it; if you're going to make a change, go all-in, accurately portray her as a "foreigner" from Volantis. Instead, we've barely gotten a few stray mentions about Volantis from her...and no way of corroborating them. Particularly by Season 3....granted, she hasn't had many scenes, but you'd think they'd round her out more; she's the love interest of one of the main characters, KING IN THE NORTH Robb Stark...why wouldn't they devote more scenes to fleshing her out. You see we just assumed it was bad writing....maybe it was intentionally flimsy.
- An example of this inconsistency is that Talisa makes it a point to emphasize that she is "a foreigner"...to the point of extreme naivety; as if she is trying too hard. Saying "I don't know what the terms of nobility are in Westeros?" It's simply "Lord" or "Lady"...or King/Queen/Prince/Princess if you're a royal. That doesn't that that long to figure out. But okay, maybe that was just weak writing....but the point in "Kissed by Fire" when she says she can't find Winterfell on a map? Hasn't she ever seen a map of Westeros before? The most basic maps would at least point out the regional capitals. However, consider that in Season 2, she actually knew where Lannisport and [[[the Crag]] are. Granted, they were in the Westerlands at the time, and these are local areas, so it isn't that much of a stretch to say "hey we're on the road to the Crag, are you getting surrender terms from there?" or "hey wow, Lannisport/Casterly Rock is the capital of the region I'm in at the moment"
- And for someone who is allegedly "foreign" to the point that she doesn't know basic terms of nobility - which aren't all that complicated - why would Talisa speak with no discernible accent, even though most characters from the Free Cities do? (except Illyrio, but he's had heavy trade contact with Westeros). Not all have a pronounced accent, maybe they just thought it would harm the drama, but still odd.
- Also, for someone who is foreign and claims not to know how to use the titles "lords and ladies", she knows that every castle has a Maester, thus the Crag should have a Maester with medical supplies (albeit, this is a basic fact of securing medical supplies which a field medic would have found out relatively early on, so it's not too suspicious).
- Finally, Westeros.org's reviews have noted that she simply doesn't match the Volantenes that well; i.e. it is unlikely that a noble would ever encounter a drowning slave, the nobles are segregated off in their own internal city. Also, she doesn't look like an upper-class Volantene; they look like Valyrians, who looked like the Targaryens, generally. Lys is also primarily Valyrian stock as well (it was founded from scratch by them, not conquered) so the overall "Valyrian" look is blonde to white hair, and brightly colored (blue to purple) eyes. Yet Talisa has brown hair and brown eyes and a Mediterranean complexion. Now of course, this could be simply explained away in that Oona Chaplin was cast to play Jeyne Westerling - who does have brown hair and eyes, and does have some partial descent from the Free Cities through her grandmother. So this might just be another result of the last minute name-change. Particularly, the Maegyr family is one of the Triarchs of Volantis, okay maybe it's a common name with many branches, but still very odd choice unless in desperation she just picked the first name that came into her head (a la The Usual Suspects).
- The problem is that, according to GRRM's comments, the other writers had already decided to make her "from Volantis", he's the one that suggested making a name change because she's so different. So it was not that at the last minute they said "screw it, make her from Volantis" - that was an early idea. So it doesn't quite explain the haste in her backstory. I mean, logically, why not have her say she's from "Myr"? Myrish people are described as olive-skinned, they still have slaves, etc.
- The only comment we've gotten from any of the writers on why they made her specifically from Volantis...was a vague explanation that "we'd just finish A Dance With Dragons" which prominently features the city of Volantis, so they wanted to work that in. Sounds suspicious on closer inspection.
So the short list is:
- She is writing letters in Robb's camp, openly joking that she's a spy when asked about them, possibly as a "hide in plain sight" strategy.
- She keeps stressing that she's "a foreigner" and doesn't know much about Westeros...to the point that she makes shockingly naive claims, such as claiming she doesn't know the basic terminology of "lord" and "lady", and that she doesn't know where Winterfell is on a map...even though she apparently knows the basic location of Lannisport and the Crag (granted, this was when she was nearby in the Westerlands).
- She doesn't look like a Volantene noble; and she oddly picked the name of a prominent leader people would know of.
After reviewing this evidence, I've decided that Talisa being a spy is at least plausible within the TV series.
First, we do know that Oona Chaplin was announced as playing Jeyne Westerling, and then her name was changed later. At the time a theory circulating around, which I even believed, was that she really was "Jeyne Westerling" and was using a fake name out of fear of being captured and ransomed.
...but maybe she will still be revealed to be the actual Jeyne Westerling, daughter of a Lannister bannerman, just pretending to be a foreigner? She could still be a spy and not be "Jeyne" though.
Now there are two big things that really made me connect the dots, after hearing that "lady doth protest too much" line about "I don't know where Winterfell is on a map":
First, executive producers Benioff and Weiss have promised things in Season 3 which will explicitly shock even book fans. This far into the season, can any book-readers out there think of anything particularly shocking?
Yes there have been condensations, but anything along the lines of Doreah helping Xaro Xhoan Daxos to steal Daenerys' dragons? Or of Will, not Gared, being killed by Ned Stark?
The first real shock to me was when Ross died in "Kissed by Fire" - certainly "shocking" because they'd been using that recurring character for a while...but she wasn't in the books to begin with, so why would that shock book-readers? (although by definition, even book readers would be shocked, because we weren't able to predict that).
So it occurred to me that the TV writers might want to ensure that their TV adaptation is still "shocking, even for book fans" by making Talisa/Jeyne a spy and traitor.
Second, HEAVY BOOK SPOILERS
HEAVY BOOK SPOILERS
HEAVY BOOK SPOILERS
Jeyne Westerling's own mother Sybell Spicer was actually plotting with Tywin & Co. in the books. It wouldn't be that big of a stretch to say that they just condensed Jeyne with her mother from the books, would it?
A problem is that Jeyne wasn't even much of a character in the books themselves; Robb isn't a POV character, so we see even less of his wife.
Nor has Jeyne really been in the two most recent books, other than to say that she's under heavy guard to make sure she doesn't have an heir: Martin *has* confirmed that they didn't swap Jeyne with her younger sister to escape; his description of her physical appearance simply shifted between the two books.
So the problem is if TV-Jeyne (Talisa) is a traitor, what will happen to book-Jeyne? Is it that big of a stretch if Martin reveals that even book-Jeyne was actually meant to seduce Robb? We do barely see the girl afterwards. And it's entirely possible that they'll make TV-Jeyne (Talisa) a traitor even if book-Jeyne is not, as they don't intend to use her that much for many seasons, just condense her out.
What do you guys thinks? At first I was incredulous about it, but now I think it's "plausible"...in the sense that Talisa's writing and characterization has been so cringe-inducingly bad and inconsistent, that you start to wonder if it sounds flawed because it's supposed to sound flawed, i.e. no one is stupid enough to not know where Winterfell is on a map. Cons against this are that in "Kissed By Fire", Talisa actually agreed with Edmure and Catelyn that killing Karstark would be a mistake; if she were a spy she'd be giving bad advice, but then maybe she just knew when not to overplay her hand.
Given the choice, I'd actually rather have Talisa turn out to be a traitor, than believe in the lousy love story they wrote...though above her being a traitor, I'd rather that they had used the book version in the first place (Robb does like Jeyne, but it isn't this cheesy fantasy romance).
Of course, what I'd be upset about is that as Cogman said, the shift was from that Robb's failure in the books was his adherence to honor (marrying Jeyne Westerling after having grief-sex with her because it's the honorable thing to do), but his failure in the TV series was his adherence to love. If Talisa is a traitor, it almost removes some of the blame from Robb, marching headlong into a trap because he felt his enemies would never honorably resort to such lows. If Talisa is a traitor...it's still his fault for falling in love with her, but still shifts some of the blame from him.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 19:34, May 11, 2013 (UTC)
Okay, she was conspicuously writing a letter yet again in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" - they lampshaded this by using the plot excuse of bringing up that she's pregnant, and by pointing out that she's writing in Valyrian, so people don't know what she's writing.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 03:47, May 13, 2013 (UTC)
- I am one of those fans who believe she is a Lannister spy. If you search youtube for "Talisa Honeypot" a video basically explaining everything you discussed is there. It's very intriguing. I am interested to know exactly WHO SHE IS. If she isn't this Jeyne girl (I don't read the books) then I would really like to know who Talisa is and where she came from. QueenBuffy 17:23, May 13, 2013 (UTC)
Well, that's two Admins who think she's a spy - no one is this inconsistently written and denied a fleshed-out backstory, it's too conspicuous. Interestingly, David J. Peterson on the Dothraki.com blog said that he did indeed provide a translation for her letter - which Cat Taylor then simply transcribed (he assumes it's not in glyphs for the simple reason that he hasn't gone through the trouble of inventing entire entire writing system of Valyrian glyphs yet) - HOWEVER, he said he isn't going to give the English translation until after the season ends. He should have just not mentioned it at all, really: his conspicuous refusal to give a translation right now strongly indicates that it isn't just an innocuous letter to her mother.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 17:53, May 13, 2013 (UTC)
- Or perhaps, this is a huge mind-fu*k by the writers, wanting us to assume she is indeed a spy, and she isn't after all. Perhaps the letter, in the end, will truly read "I love him" or some shit. lol But I seriously doubt it... this girl is fishy fishy. QueenBuffy 18:00, May 13, 2013 (UTC)
On Hold/Season 2 rewatchEdit
I always had "do full writeup on Jeyne to Talia change" on my official To Do list. However, a large amount of time has passed, and I never managed to thoroughly read through every possible information source in the first place - primarily the DVD commentary itself, I've never had access to those.
I did a more full writeup on the "characters significantly changed" page, with GRRM quotes.
Either way it's not really worth investing the time to incorporate the two pages at this point; it would take so long and the issue is so delicate that I might as well refocus on the long-term goal:
The wiki was just getting kind of started in Seasons 1 and 2, and I was never able to thoroughly "exhaust" the DVD commentary for all possible nuggets of information. One of my long-term goals when the "To Do" list is finished is to Rewatch the entire series, slowly and methodically one episode at a time, and using library copies of the Blu-ray sets to thoroughly listen to all commentary tracks. Everything until then on every episode article is sort of a stop-gap measure.
So I've just realized, I can't really say I "thoroughly researched everything" if I don't even have access to the DVD commentary for Seasons 2 and 3.
Therefore I am putting the issue on hold. Or rather, I'm crossing "Research Talisa" off of the official "To Do" list I keep.....though only in the sense that I'm folding it back into the more general goal of "eventually on a scale of years methodically rewatch Season 2, including all DVD commentary, and thoroughly document and analyze all of it". It isn't just a matter of rewatching a clearly defined list of scenes -- any information about the change from Jeyne to Talisa was avoided, only gleaned from stray comments, so I can't really research it "in isolation", but thoroughly go through EVERYTHING in the hope to find a stray clue here or there - which can only be done in the process of researching all of Season 2.