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Headscratchers: Rome
  • (Moved from the Death by Woman Scorned page): According to Roman custom at the time it was not only Vorenus' right to kill Niobe for her infidelity, but it was also what honor demanded (and Vorenus is constantly shown to put Honor Before Reason). He grabs a knife but doesn't seem like he will be able to actually kill her, so she flings herself off a balcony and takes her own life as a final act of love. The oddities begin when his children spend the rest of the show hating his guts for having killed their mother, even though they were raised in the culture which dictated that he should kill her, and Vorenus never sets them straight about the fact that he did in fact not kill her. Why doesn't he just tell them she killed herself? Suicide was not stigmatic back then the way it is now.
    • Because he blames himself for driving her to it. Also, just because it was culturally sanctioned for a man to kill a cheating wife doesn't mean anybody involved would have been happy about it. He loved her; he didn't want her to have cheated on him or to kill her; and she had an excuse in that she'd thought he was dead when she slept with the other guy. As for the kids, they liked her much better than him — she'd raised them, and then he came back from the war this gruff, unapproachable, temperamental stranger who turned the house into Dysfunction Junction, despite (well, some of the time) his efforts to the contrary. It was not a pleasant situation for anyone.
      • All of that is true, however it still gets spun out beyond all reason. As I recall, Vorena doesn't begin to forgive Lucius until Titus Pullo tells her that her mother killed herself, in what I think was the last episode. It seems like Can Not Spit It Out for the sake of drama. After learning that, she forgives him amazingly quickly, of course.
      • To be fair, Vorenus DID tell them he didn't kill Niobe, but it was in the middle of a frenzied argument; she wasn't exactly inclined to believe him.
    • Similarly, does anyone have a good explanation for why Pullo holds fast to the secret of Caesarion's true parentage? Obviously, he could not disclose it while Caesar was alive, and had no reason to bring it up for most of the remainder of the series. But in the waning episodes of the series, why doesn't he tell Octavian? Perhaps the knowledge that Caesar was (probably) not Caesarion's father might have moved him to spare the boy as an irrelevant bystander like Antony's children, and thus not a real rival to Octavian. In all likelihood, Octavian would have delighted in the knowledge, since it would have aided him in his attempt to present Cleopatra as (on one hand) an eastern harlot and (on the other) a sly mastermind who is the real brains behind Antony. Admittedly, Octavian still might have wanted Caesarion dead because of the slim chance Caesar is his father, and because that's the context in which the people of Rome know him, true or untrue. But disclosure on Pullo's part surely would not have increased the risk to Caesarion, so why didn't Pullo at least attempt it?
      • This is just me speculating but Pullo might have figured it would be a bad move to reveal that he had slept with Cleopatra because it was a form of betayal against Caesar. If it was made known that Caesar might not even be the father of Caesarion he would lose a lot of face even after death. It could have made Octavian feel like he had to punish Pullo to preserve his adoptive father's honor, not to mention it could have made Octavian wonder if he could really trust Pullo. Pullo knew Vorenus would do everything he could to get Caesarion to safety and he probably figured the smartest move was to try and smuggle the child out of Egypt and keep Octavian's trust.
      • Because there is zero, zero, zero reason to think that Pullo would be the father historically. And there's also fairly little about Caesarion's parentage being disputed historically. So its to maintain historic plausiblity since Octavian would probably have seized any remotely credible story for his own political purposes.
      • This is, of course, true, though it's dismaying that character motivations should be contrived to avoid compounding existing historical violations.
      • More importantly though, Octavian would have exactly ZERO reason to believe it; or even if he did believe it, he still would have to kill Caesarion simply for being perceived as a son of Caesar in the public mind, and therefore a challenger for legitimacy. So why would Pullo and Vorenus tell Octavian something that would have no effect on his actions, but would expose Pullo as being not as completely reliable as Octavian thinks he is? The fact that Octavian trusts Pullo implicitly is pretty much the only reason he got away with bullshitting Octavian at the end of the series.
  • When the show starts Octavian is around twelve, Vorena the elder is thirteen or fourteen I believe (it's mentioned but I can't recall), Vorena the younger is at least eight (she had to be conceived before Vorenus left for Gaul) and Lucius is a baby. Roughly two years later in the show's timeline Caesarion is born. When the show ends Octavian is around thirty, Vorena Elder should be in her thirties but is still played by her original actress, Vorena Younger should be in her mid-twenties but is also played by her original actress (not yet a teenager), Lucius should be in his mid-to-late teens but is portrayed as a child at around ten, and Caesarion should be a teenager but looks like he's about the same age as Lucius. Are we to believe that only Octavian aged? Or that all the events on the show took place in a span of about five years (since Vorena Younger ages by that much at the most) and Octavian defeated Antony at the age of seventeen? The timeline is screwy to say the least and it's such a pointless error. Why not simply recast all the children (except possibly Vorena Elder) with actors in the appropriate ages?
    • Finding good child actors is difficult, and the second season lunged forward chronologically because HBO pulled the plug and they needed to wrap things up.
    • Except they wouldn't need child actors which is kind of the point. Vorena the elder should have been played by someone in her thirties, Vorena the younger by someone in her mid-twenties and Lucius and Caesarion by teenagers (and with Dawson Casting they could have just gone with twenty-something actors).
    • Screwed by the Network: The second season was supposed to cover a far shorter time period than it ended being, but after HBO decided not to renew the series for a third season (just as Heller was halfway writing the second season), Heller crammed in plotlines that were originally planned for the third and fourth seasons so the series would not end with No Ending. Perhaps the kids not aging as they should is because their actors were still under contract for a number of episodes under the original second season guideline.

  • There's probably a simple answer to this, but it really bugs me that Eirene is shown to be comepletely comfortable keeping slaves. She was a slave herself, so what sort of disconnect is there between sher being a slave in Niobe's house, and treating her own slave Gaia so rotten? I can understand if she were to treat Gaia well, as she knows what it's like, but she treats her like dirt.
    • Easy. Roman and Greek culture found the status of slave disgusting and horrible, but the institution was so prevalent as to be impossible to think of its abolition or inherent evil; even the most humane of philosophers thought only of improving a slave's conditions, or allowing them to buy their freedom. If you used to be a slave, you were now free; and free people are, especially in the Republic, immeasurably superior to the most well treated slave and more than capable of exercising their rights to own property... including slaves. As to why Eirene hates Gaia... wouldn't you hate a person who gives you lip like that, even if you'd otherwise feel sympathy for them?
  • Vorena the Elder got married to a drover in the first two episodes. What happened to him?
    • It's briefly mentioned after Vorenus gets chosen as a magistrate that they were going to have to find her a new husband, because a drover was "far too low" class for the daughter of a magistrate.

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