Remember when I expounded at length on how easy it would be to be gluten-free in the Game of Thrones universe? I was biting my tongue when I watched this week’s episode. (Mild spoiler alert.)
In a scene that is one of my favorites so far this season, Olenna Tyrell, Queen of Thorns and grandmother of Margaery Tyrell (the queen-to-be), visits Tyrion Lannister at his invitation to discuss “financial matters.”
Olenna lets him know right away she’s displeased: “I climbed all those stairs to discuss ‘financial matters’?” Then she demands figs and explains, “I always take figs mid-afternoon. They help move the bowels.”
Tyrion takes this in stride. I was the only one in my group of friends who found it hilarious. Hm, odd.
Next, Tyrion calls Olenna out for her extravagance in planning the royal wedding during wartime. In response, she ticks off the list of supplies the Tyrells have given to aid the war effort:
What is it, 12,000 infantrymen the Tyrell family has supplied, 1,800 mounted lancers, 2,000 in support, provisions so the city might survive the winter: a million bushels of wheat, half a million bushels each of barley, oats, and rye, 20,000 head of cattle, 50,000 sheep?
It’s a great scene, solidly written, subtly acted, featuring two of my favorite characters on the show. But all I could think was, “Man, I hope everyone in King’s Landing can tolerate gluten.”
Yep. King’s Landing’s not celiac-friendly. I commented on this while I was watching, too. Guess I’ll never sit on the Iron Throne.
I’m sure if you were on the Iron Throne they’d be able to throw in a bushel of buckwheat or two.
Olenna is Margaery’s grandmother, not her mom. Also if you eat gluten your whole life but you can’t tolerate it does that reduce your life expectancy? Not like poor people in Kings Landing had very long life expectancy anyway but just curious.
Too right you are! I edited.
Kings Landing folk with celiac disease would probably have lower life expectancy than average, though I think a lot of the life-threatening illnesses associated with celiac disease might not have enough time to develop in the average lifespan of a poor person in medieval times anyway.
Not enough is known about non-celiac gluten sensitivity at this point to say definitively, though I believe it’s thought that food intolerances cause passing symptoms only, not permanent damage that would reduce life expectancy. Then again, having continual gastrointestinal problems can decrease nutrient absorption and probably lead to other problems, particularly in the absence of decent medical care, so presumably they would have lower life expectancy. Although if they were “invalids” being kept at home in bed they would avoid having their lives cut short by being killed in the war.