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  1. Nuclear testing facility Straight Male
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    Default Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    SPOILER WARNING through S5 E6 (and maybe 7) of GoT. No ASOIAF spoilers thus far, just general comments.

    So I could have easily put this in "current events" since everyone is talking about it, but I'd prefer a broader discussion than I can get in the usual outlets. The rape "scene" with Sansa has really riled some people up and I'm interested on getting SouthPerricans' take on the inclusion and portrayal of rape in GoT and ASOIAF.

    For those interested, I found this article particularly insightful.

    I am an avid reader and frequent watcher of the show. For me, George RR Martin's inclusion of ubiquitous rape scenes is just one component of his "realistic" style. The books are effectively set in the Middle Ages and Fantasy novels almost always ignore the gritty details of politics, war, and yes rape during this time period. I found ASOIAF to be remarkably compelling because of these details and the way they contribute to character motivations. That said, they don't always actually contribute to the plot or character meaningfully and merely serve as decoration. There are more instances than I can recall where a minor or even nameless female character is pointlessly raped. And that's kind of the point. Many critics, especially since the show is so mainstream, think ubiquitous rape is fundamentally insensitive and misogynistic. However, this perfectly illustrates Martin's point.

    "To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the book: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves.”

    Some of the male characters are evil. Some of the female characters are evil. Many more of them are just people that do "evil" things because of the world in which they live. This isn't meant to be an excuse and I don't think either Martin or the GoT writers are portraying these violent sexual acts as appropriate. In fact the world's heroes like Dany and John Snow are militant (har har) in their opposition of senseless violence and sexual abuse. I actually think that it's interesting that male heroes, especially in GoT, are most significantly (this characterization may get me in trouble) fighting the systemic sexual abuse. The male heroes protect not just one but multiple women from sexual abuse. I can't think of a single instance, off the top of my head, where a female character protects another female character from sexual abuse. I could easily be mistaken in this and it seems like Dany should have done so at some point. But characters like Cersei, who could arguably exert some influence to prevent acts of sexual violence, are the worst (or best) examples of victim shaming. Now it certainly occurs to me that the protector role is more easily filled by men as they control more power in the GoT universe, but the omission of any (?) instance seems telling. Even if I'm not entirely sure what it means in the larger scheme of things.

    As I'm writing all this, it now occurs to me that Brianne may turn out to be exactly such a counter example in the coming episodes. We can talk about her masculinity and impotency (oh the innuendo!) as the plot unfolds.

    All of the discussion heretofore has been academic. I treat literature and television as both art and entertainment. In that spirit, I recognize the writers' intentions, but cannot ignore the emotional implications. I do react differently to sexual violence on screen versus in print. In ASOIF, the rape (and sex in general) actually became so frequent that I was desensitized to it. I literally skimmed the words, especially if it was only a minor character. On screen however, the violence is both more difficult to ignore and more disturbing. I've never really understood the "trigger" mentality, but I do think there are ramifications to these kinds of portrayals. For instance, I think the GoT characterization of Sansa is FAR more interesting than Martin's because her character actually displays both depth and agency. I really hope she takes matters into her own hands in the coming episodes.

    Oh and there's tons of things I could say about the complete neutering of Dorne as a very sex neutral kingdom society in the books and then turned into just another desert in GoT, but I'm too tired to continue at this point.

    So the question becomes, what do you think of rape in both GoT and ASOIAF? If you dislike or disagree with the portrayal how would you do it differently while maintaining Martin's intended theme?
    Last edited by VerrKol; 2015-05-28 at 01:50 PM.

  2. Donator Straight Female
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    Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    I think people are strongly overreacting to Sansa's scene.

    Did they forget that Danaerys was basically raped in season 1? I mean rape's never a good thing but it happens. They are watching game of thrones, for pineapples sake, how are people really making such a big deal about this?

    Do they not realize that what happened in the books around this time is what I consider to be much worse? Sure, it happened to Jeyne Poole and not Sansa but since Jeyne was cut from the show it's fallen on Sansa.

    Seriously though:


  3. Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    I think the reason people are so upset is because Sansa is a character they essentially grew up with, so to speak. They watched her grow into the person she is now. So it hurts a lot more to see her raped 5 years into the series than Daenerys, who was basically raped in Episode 1 (or did they wait until 2?). Basically, the opposite transition happened between the two characters.

    Daenerys started off weak and a device, and grew into a powerful figure.
    Sansa started off strong (in that her family was strong and she was in a place of power), and has been reduced to the point where she gets raped and has no control what so ever over the situation. Additionally, this nearly happened 2-3 other times in the show alone and was always able to escape it. So the fact that she finally hit a situation where she was unable to escape really hits some people.

    I think the scene is bad, but more because of the scenario where Theon/Reek is forced to watch. Someone who literally watched her grow up from a girl is forced to watch said girl get raped and there's nothing he can do about it. Additionally, I feel like the scene is a reverse on her character development. She's supposed to be becoming strong, able to hold herself up, and able to manipulate others to her needs. That's supposed to be what she learned from Littlefinger, and she started exhibiting this at the end of Season 4. But then, it all gets abandoned suddenly. She doesn't even make a single attempt to defend herself, which you'd think she would have learned to do by now in some way (secreted knife in that giant dress somewhere?).

    I think the argument that people use is bad (in that they are just plainly disgusted at the showing of rape on the show), because it's been done before and I would be surprised if it doesn't get done again. However I do think that in its own way the scene was anti-climatic to Sansa's story. When she's finally in a position to utilize the experience Littlefinger gave her, she doesn't, when she was clearly showing signs of learning how to do things differently.

  4. Nuclear testing facility Straight Male
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    Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    I think you've made a great point there Polantaris. As a damsel in distress, I couldn't care less about Sansa. One of the few significant changes made in GoT that I liked was her relationship with LittleFinger. I'm really hoping that her impotence is temporary and merely and that she will be left without Brianne's help. She really ought to just be able to stab the bastard or better yet manipulate someone else into doing it for her. It seems like she's already begun playing him off against his father. That will certainly come to a bloody conclusion.

    If she just ends up getting rescued I'll be severely disappointed and she'd be no more interesting than her ASOIAF counterpart.

    Daenerys' scene is much more ambiguous. I think the show actually portrayed it as much closer to rape than ASOIAF did. Drogo had a longer introduction in the novel and Martin very deliberately added some details to show Drogo wasn't intending to hurt her and had some empathy. It emphasized the language and customs difference along with Daenerys' youth rather than violence or impotence. Their eventual love also undermines the rape narritive in both media.

  5. Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    people need to stop worrying about rape in a show where a dude was killed by having molten gold poured over his skull and another dude got his head literally crushed


    like pineapple grow up, murder's way way worse and we see that in droves.

  6. Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    Every bad scene they add that wasn't in the books, especially the Dorne parts which are simply atrocious, is a rape scene in my eyes. T.T

    In all seriousness this was pretty tame instead of having Reek be forced to lick a 12-13 years old girl before Ramsay rapes her.

  7. Donator Straight Female
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    Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    and don't forget about the dogs!

  8. Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    Pretty much sums it up, the show is VERY tame compared to the books. Since they obviously can't show most of the crazier pomegranate even if they were using CG, because of laws against snuff, child pornography and whatnot. In the first place it's only getting all the attention because it's a popular series, there are plenty of series even in the high fantasy genre that have a lot worse pomegranate happening in them than aSoIaF, but god forbid people read a book or something, so they wouldn't know that I guess.

  9. Default Re: Rape in GoT and ASOIAF


    I like the fact that she's finally starting to actually use that training with Littlefinger to good effect as of the most recent episode. It's definitely where her character was aiming towards after last season. Considering the amount of time that transgresses between the point where she lies for Littlefinger at the end of last season to the point where she is married off to Ramsey, I feel like she just isn't showing proper character development. It has to have been at least three or four months between the two plot points, but yet in all of her scenes minus Episode 7 she's been exactly the same character. It's like the end of Season 4 never happened for her.

    It's really my overall problem with her character in general. She really hasn't changed, in any way, what so ever. And yet, she's been in more than one perfect situation to change. If the objective for her character was to be the same whiny spoiled brat from S1E1, then I think they're doing a pretty good job with that. But if her character was supposed to grow into someone who can really play the Game (which is clearly what is supposed to happen with her), then they've failed utterly and completely as of right now.

    Maybe it's just because I haven't rewatched since the beginning of the show, but I honestly can't say I've noticed any major character development for her, especially after the rape scene, which bothers me more than the scene did. I really hope that she saves herself, too. If she doesn't at least give a massive amount of effort towards it, I'll be completely confused as to what they plan to do with her character next Season.

    Daenerys' interactions with Drogo are pretty interesting. I think pretty early on she was shy, but had a powerful mind. I think the major plot point of her story in the first season/book isn't that she was raped, but that she used her situation completely and utterly to her advantage. Add in the fact that she started to love Drogo, which also helps her tremendously. For her Season 1 plot, it wasn't so much about that she was essentially sold off and raped, but that she was growing into a figure of power. That's why people don't really care so much, because it turned her into the character they love today.

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