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[personal profile] hummingbirdmadgirl
This post is going to have spoilers so if you haven't seen the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, just keep on scrolling.


So GoT took a huge departure from the books this week and had what was pretty clearly a consensual sex scene turn into something that could easily be construed as rape. The showrunners call it rape though the director seems to be vacillating between it being a rape scene and a "well it started out as rape and then she decided she wanted it" (which imho is even worse). I'm not going to post all the links because they're easy to find and they all seem to contradict each other anyway so there's no point. My take on it is that the writers wrote a rape scene (they say as much in the video that I linked to) and the director decided to turn it into the fucked up fantasy of it starting off as rape but being so awesome that she got into it anyway because non-consensual power struggles are hot.*

The scene is obviously pretty divisive between people who have read the books or only watched the show, since in the books, Cersei protests at first, mostly due to the locale (being in a church next to her dead son) but quickly relents because it is the first time she's seen her lover in over a year...and weirdly the scene needs to bring up the fact that she's also on her period, which makes me believe that GRRM thinks period sex is icky and that that was just the horrific icing on the twincestual sex in a church next to a dead kid scene and that for whatever reason, that wasn't enough for the show (or who knows, maybe depicting menstruation sex -was- too much for the show and that's why they went the way they did)

the show went a different route. the writers state that Jamie is angry about being constantly rebuffed by Cersei (who in fact essentially broke up with him in the first episode of the season) and takes advantage of her and her grief and even though she resists, forces himself on her. it's pretty cut and dried as a rape scene, she never consents, she fights him every step of the way in regards to having sex, repeatedly tells him "no", "stop", "please, this isn't right", and the scene ends with a shot of her hand with a death grip on a piece of fabric that is hanging off of the altar that her son's body is laying on.

yes, she kisses him,she loves him, he's been the only person aside from her children that she's ever loved. the idea that her kissing him makes the scene less rapey is disgusting. this scene is a pretty accurate depiction of date or marital rape. she knew him, she trusted him, they'd had relations before, and yet when she said she did not want to have sex, he didn't listen. some people have suggested that she didn't fight back hard enough, as if cersei suddenly turning into some sort of westerosi rambo would've made sense, as if some rape victims -don't- stop struggling after a certain point due to fatigue, to lessen the physical attack on their body, or just because they don't want to elicit any more violence or because they just give up or are in such shock over what is happening that they don't know what to do, sort of a psychological version of fight or flight.

what is bothering me isn't the fact the scene happened. the writers have taken liberties with the story previously, and have even turned consensual sex scenes into rape scenes before. i admit that i'm anxious about how they've derailed jamie's character growth since in the books he was trying very hard to become a better person, envisioning himself as redeeming himself from the kingslayer into jamie the gold...what is freaking me out is that the writers have said it was rape, the director has sort of see-sawed on what it was but learning more toward the horrific "it was rape but then she got into it and it wasn't rape anymore" trope which is just terrible in and of itself, the author of the books has said it was a huge departure from what he wrote, and yet people are still debating whether or not it was rape. It worries me even more because honestly, in a bunch of arguments that I've seen on FB or Reddit, women have been the majority of people calling it a rape scene, and men have been in the majority for defending it as not at all rape, with the usual arguments that she physically responded to it, that she kissed him, that they'd had sex before. that is just really upsetting to me because it seems to imply that we as a society expect rape to be exactly how it is portrayed on SVU or in that movie Irreversible where the victims end up dead or braindead or at the very least horrifically scarred for life both physically and emotionally by their experiences.

it's frustrating because at times i find bemoaning rape culture for the sake of feminism to be kind of tiresome. i don't agree that a dude smiling at a woman on the T is rape culture, i don't agree that getting a compliment on your appearance from a stranger is necessarily rape culture (obviously it depends on the compliment, "you're very pretty" is fine, "i could drill you all night long", not so much), so in a lot of instances I find myself vehemently disagreeing with a lot of what proponents of rape culture define it to be because honestly, i've seen a lot of inconsistencies. I've seen women elated when a cute stranger compliments them and outraged when they get similar attention from someone they don't find attractive...and that to me is hypocritical and confusing and at the end of the day it should be clear what is rape, what isn't rape, and that we all know that rape is bad.

That said, I find the fact that the scene from the last episode could even be remotely up for debate as to whether it was consensual or not could be seen as an example of rape culture influencing how we view things. because it wasn't violent enough, because she physically responded at first (even though some victims orgasm during rape), because she was ok with kissing, because they'd been intimate before, all of these excuses seemingly ignoring her saying no from the beginning. Even the director said it was essentially ok because she was clearly into kissing Jamie which just lends itself to the very dangerous trope of rape turned consensual...and the fact that in this day and age we even need to argue whether or not that concept is total bullshit is honestly really terrifying. seeing so many women on so many message boards essentially saying that that scene more closely mirrored their experience than not and STILL being ignored by people (again predominantly male) was just really alarming. it's alarming because the group of people that statistically are most often the victims of rape are saying "yeah woah, that was totally a rape scene, that was rape" the the group of people who are most often accused of rape are saying, "no that totally wasn't rape, look at how she responded during these 3 parts of the scene". it's frightening because it seems to be completely illustrative of the fact that there's a pretty big disconnect going on between how people are viewing rape, and anecdotally it seems to fall pretty firmly across gender lines that tend to have different experiences when it comes to rape.

it's frustrating because while I'm a feminist, I'm not Andrea Dworkin. I don't look for the potential to turn any scene into something about the patriarchy or about rape and i don't think that penetrative sex is the devil's work...as it stands, while I'm annoyed about Jamie's potential character derailment, I don't even mind the inclusion of a rape scene in the series because it's not like Westeros is the land of puppies and kittens where nothing ever bad happens. No, this is a series where children have killed, men mutilated, babies get used as sacrifices, loads of people murdered, tortured, raped, killed, fed to rats, fed to dogs, fetuses have been stabbed, it's clearly not a -nice- world, but up until the Jamie/Cersei sex scene, at least everyone could agree on the fact that the images that we were seeing were in fact, quite wrong.

Who knows, maybe all of this will be addressed next week and it will eliminate some of this argument.

The other thing that bugs me is that I was really psyched that this season is doing such a great job portraying a poly couple as loving and stable, and possibly the most sane and healthy couple in Westeros at this point. they don't have any of the power struggles that many of the other couples have, in fact they come from dramatically different backgrounds with one being a prince and the other a bastard. yet they don't care, they genuinely seem to love one and other and they take genuine enjoyment out of seeing each other experience pleasure, even if it's with another person. On top of all that, they're both bisexual and -still- not portrayed as kinky deviants who have no concept of right or wrong. So it's kind of a bummer to see this excellent portrayal of individuals who don't adhere to traditional relationship models intertwined with a really confused portrayal of what is or isn't rape.

*this isn't to throw shade at people who find consensual power struggles hot. there's clearly a difference between role playing and actually struggling and for whatever reason, scenes like this try to pretend it's a thin line, when really it's a line about 100 miles wide.

Date: 2014-04-22 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
Actually I think the her being on her period might have been a symbolic thing actually since the period signifies the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one, and well, that's the last time they're intimate, if I remember, and after that Jaime starts subverting a lot of the shit she tries to pull. But it's entirely possible that GRRM thinks period sex is icky.

But you're right about a lot of the gender divide. I had a friend who fast forwarded it because she was so disturbed by it, and I felt sick to my stomach (though I still watched it twice because I was like, There's no way this is how it went down.). If they wanted to show her enjoying it, I mean they've shot scenes where women enjoy sex before so it's not like they don't know how. Hell there was a scene like that in that very episode, which I enjoyed very much! I doubt it'll get addressed, though, because they're not going to make Jaime hate himself for the rest of his life and they obviously think they did an outstanding job shooting that scene, so it just kind of puts a damper on the show for me right now. They just really dropped the ball and I think actively hurt some of their fanbase (as in, emotionally hurt) so I guess we'll see what happens.

Rape (or the threat of rape) as a plot device or aid for character development really needs to stop though.

Date: 2014-04-23 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
i really like that idea, but i just can't view GRRM as the type of writer who would rely on a metaphor that complex, just because all the other subtleties of the series "the starks are connected to their wolves!" "jon snow is probably not really ned's kid" are pretty heavy handed.

but yeah i'm just really bothered by how this turned into a debate that seems heavily biased by gender because wow, if that's really the case, if that many men didn't see this scene as rape, we have some epic problems in terms of what we view rape to be... and i almost think that is something that i, at times, have a problem with in regards to the whole rape culture thing, since that essentially can (depending on who you talk to) turn all sorts of behaviors into some form of sexual threat and takes attention away from, you know, rape.

but yeah, this scene hasn't turned me off from the show, but it has turned me off from the fanbase to a degree. because at this point i'm still hoping that they are going to address this in some manner that will make sense...if that doesn't happen, then i'm not sure how i'll feel.

it sucks though, i have a friend who is a book reader and she -loves- jamie and this has totally ruined the show for her, which is totally understandable.

Date: 2014-04-23 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
I dunno about the "Jon Snow is probably not Ned's kid" being all that obvious for a good portion of the books; I think it's mostly just accepted by the fandom that that is the case. There is some decent evidence that he is, even though I don't personally believe he is. But I get what you mean.

I don't know how I'm going to feel about the rest of the show. I guess it depends on what else they change that they didn't need to change. But I would be seriously, seriously surprised if they addressed it, considering they don't feel like they did anything wrong.

Date: 2014-04-23 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
i don't think they can address it in show, since i think the entire season is already wrapped. though if they release a statement that in and of itself would mean a lot

Date: 2014-04-23 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
I wish they would, but... I just don't think they will, considering they can't even agree on whether it's rape and think it's the best scene they've ever filmed (which I literally gagged when I read that).

Date: 2014-04-23 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
see, then i read another interview with the director where he said he felt the best scene he'd directed was the one between tywin & cersei, just in terms of her non verbal acting. this is one of the shortcomings of releasing 1 large interview and then having it copy & pasted all over the place since things (possibly) get taken out of context

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Date: 2014-04-23 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spitcurl.livejournal.com
Period sex = big nono in catholic medieval europe. So menstrual, incestuous, funeral, church sex = WORST SINNERS EVAR. Far far worse than a man having his way with a woman (in the eyes of church, medieval europe, or Westeros).

It was also illegal in medieval europe to have sex: during Lent, or for so many weeks after the birth of a baby, or during the Christmas holidays, or any number of times of the year. It was probably meant as a form of planned parenthood/good hygiene as much as sinfulness.

But then again, it was also sinful and illegal to "Knead Bread Dough with One's Buttock's" or "Put Menstural Blood in your Husband's Food." (Those crazy catholics!)

Date: 2014-04-23 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
i did not know about kneading dough with your butt. that's pretty impressive

Date: 2014-04-23 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
Eh, I never considered any part of Westeros to be really Catholic. I get what you're saying, having been Catholic for a good portion of my life, but I don't get that vibe from any of the churches really. If that were the case, a good number of people would be dead just for that.

Date: 2014-04-23 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spitcurl.livejournal.com
Not really Catholic, but the newer head of the southern church of the Seven seemed far more Spanish Inquisition-like, at least in my memory of the last few books and Cersei's punishment (of which I am foggy on details it turns out).

Date: 2014-04-23 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
oh right, because she brings back some hardcore sect because they have money or something, right?
i think my memory of the series completely falls apart after book 3

Date: 2014-04-23 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
Fair enough. But yes what ends up happening to Cersei is quite Inquisition-like, now that you mention it, and yeah, this whole deal is going to make that hella awkward.

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Date: 2014-04-23 02:08 pm (UTC)
nepenthedreams: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nepenthedreams
I'm upset for all the same reasons.
And angry at the showrunners for not knowing WTF they are doing.

I definitely perceive Jaime in a negative light now. I don't care how much Cersei sucks - that was an awful scene and uncomfortable and scary to watch. Realizing that they made other scenes non-consensual when the scene in the book was consensual is even more upsetting - why are they doing this?

People who don't get that it was clearly rape may not be bad people - it could be that they just don't want it to be rape, as it wasn't in the books, and rape would invalidate Jaime's character change, and they just can't believe it. You know? I had to have a moment of cognitive dissonance where I kept thinking - this isn't happening, this isn't happening....I know I was in denial when Alli said "that was f'ed up" and I said "Oh, lots of people have sex after funerals." My brain just couldn't accept what had happened on the screen and I retreated to what had happened in the books.

Date: 2014-04-23 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
that's the other thing, people are trying to excuse what happened based on how much cersei sucks, or the fact that she's a malicious bitch somehow means that she, of all people, should've found a way to get out of that situation.

i've had/seen some insane arguments regarding this scene online. again it's almost all men and they seem to flatout refuse to believe this is a rape scene based on the fact she wasn't clawing his eyes out or kicking him the balls (those are literally examples that were given as to why it -wasn't- rape) so i don't think it's solely character investment. i -do- think that for people who have read the books, that yeah there was bias going into the scene that it was consensual (if slightly cloudy at first) but all of the excuses i've seen for why it -wasn't- rape have made my skin crawl.

Date: 2014-04-23 02:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spitcurl.livejournal.com
Yup.

Even if she "wanted it", even if she loved him and was turned on and would have under most circumstances, it was acted, shot, and edited clearly that she didn't want it there, or then, and no means no, so it's rape.

It also changes the later punishment she receives for the act into one far worse, because then it'll be a clear case of victim blaming & harassment, as opposed to pious justice for her kinky and incestuous crimes.

I don't understand why HBO would do this, on so many levels.

FWIW, I found the rape of Danaerys on her wedding night to be just as horrible if not worse than this one. In the books, Drogo was gentle, kept asking Yes & No until he got a clear YES, even though those were the only words he understood. HBO just made it a violent pedophile rape.

Date: 2014-04-23 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
I watched the first season before reading the books and when I got to that scene in the book I was like, "Wait... Why did they make this wedding night scene a rape? This is much sexier and almost romantic in a weird way." Ignoring of course the age issues. I don't understand either that change or the more recent Jaime/Cersei change at all.

Date: 2014-04-23 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
so far it seems like everyone is trying to blame it on the fact that Jamie showed up at King's Landing way earlier in the show, but that seems like a cop out and if anything makes the scene worse since in the first episode Cersei essentially broke up with him.

As for the Dany/Drogo thing, I'm assuming they went with rape vs statutory rape for convenience? like, if they had Dany played as a 15 yr old (or played by someone age appropriate) I don't think they could show her nude and she was naked a lot in the first season (i just remember reading all the problems they had shooting Lolita in the 90's due to the fact that the actress either was or was supposed to be underage and that as a result they ran into a boatload of problems in regards to what they could and couldn't show) or even actually show her having intercourse since that could potentially skirt a lot of child pornography laws?

Date: 2014-04-23 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crystalns.livejournal.com
No I agree, the show makes it worse because Cersei tells him no several times (and that he disgusted her) before that scene, so it makes it even clearer that it was rape because she had consistently not consented. I don't really care that Jaime is "more frustrated" in the show, unless we're going to say he's suddenly cool with what happened to Tysha and Elia and Cersei and what almost happened with Brienne, I don't think they can argue him coming back to King's Landing earlier is really a factor.

That line of reasoning doesn't make sense to me. She's 18 now, in season 4, so she was like 14 or at most 15 in season 1, so regardless of whether it was consensual or not they showed her boobs at least once and showed her having both consensual and nonconsensual sex way back when she was "14." I mean she does have consensual sex with Drogo later in that season (maybe season 2?) so they could have made it consensual the first time. At least in my opinion. And let's face it, they didn't HAVE to show her having sex. They could have just shown her consenting and then panned out.

Date: 2014-04-23 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
i did some reading and apparently it's illegal to show simulated sex with a minor even if the actor in question is not a minor, just the implication of filming fake underage sex is a felony (http://news.cnet.com/Law-on-fake-child-porn-upheld/2100-1023_3-202322.html) which is why i'm guessing they upped her age and changed it from statutory rape to nonconsensual rape...afaik we don't know dany's age in the show ever, do we?

plus for real, she was naked a lot in the first season, they wouldnt have been able to show her scene with the whore, the scene where she changes drogo's positions, stepping out of the fire naked, pretty much the whole empowerment of dany thread would've been out the window if they had her character be the same age she was in the books.
Edited Date: 2014-04-23 05:19 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2014-04-23 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
the only thing i'm wondering about is if they were uncomfortable filming a statutory rape scene between Dany and Drogo since in the book she was what, 13? 15? So even though she consented, it still fell under the header of rape, however it might've been one that the show didn't want to touch for a myriad of reasons (hiring a young actress and dealing with all the legalities of shooting a sex scene with her, dealing with Dany growing at the same rapid rate as Sansa or Bran, showing her nude, etc) and that's why they just went for a more "traditional" rape scene, even though -that- also derailed Dany and Drogo as far as him being the first person in ages to treat her like a human being and making her falling in love with him seem rather twisted.

part of me is seriously wondering if the showrunners were uncomfortable dealing with statutory rape and sex while menstruating* as being the questionable elements of those scenes, and instead decided to make them just straight up rape to ensure that they still maintained some questionable element that wasn't up for debate, though clearly if that is the case they failed terribly, especially with the latter

(while i love the idea of menstruation as a metaphor, i can't give GRRM enough credit to have thought that up since while I enjoy his storytelling I don't see him as complex enough of a writer to go there)
Edited Date: 2014-04-23 03:57 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-23 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spitcurl.livejournal.com
So, violent rape is more acceptable than romantic, willing, statutory? :/ That seems rather twisted. It also makes Dany's later falling in love with him seem more like Stockholm Syndrome than the two-way mutual respect it was meant to be.

The menstruation thing—I nearly forgot about it in the books, and that doesn't bother me. How the heck could they even show that on HBO? And given that they made it a rape scene, even if somehow they could find a way to show blood, it would just make it look more violent, not come across as her time of the month.

I think GRRM likely wrote in the menstruation thing because the sex took place in the head church, and in the book Cersei mainly objected due to place, afraid of the Septons, afraid of getting caught being EVEN MORE blasphemous, and it was on those charges that [spoiler] she will later be imprisoned, interrogated, and punished for. Medieval catholicism was very direct that menstrual sex was very sinful; so incestuous, menstrual, funeral, church sex would be THE WORST in the eyes of the church...way worse than a man having his way with a woman. GRRM was pretty historical in his research, I think this scene was meant to be about blasphemy, lust for the forbidden, and symbolism. Instead it just became a weird, terrible, inappropriate and violent rape.

Boo on both counts.

And Boo on re-casting Daario as Sonny from Treme, with season 1-2 Sonny's greasy, junkie screw-up hair & beard. If they could have at least cleaned him up a little, sheesh.

Date: 2014-04-23 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid.livejournal.com
i literally think that casting her as being 15 or 13 or whatever would've caused problems with shooting. like i don't think they could've shown -any- sex scenes or nudity due to child pornography laws, since i think even implied/fake child pornography is still not ok? (it apparently is in fact a felony offense to simulate child porn http://news.cnet.com/Law-on-fake-child-porn-upheld/2100-1023_3-202322.html) so i'm assuming since they couldn't break the actual taboo from the book, they went with what they assumed was the next best thing. which is still stupid because even if dany wasn't underage she still had every right to be afraid of drogo and they could've played that up without having to turn him into a rapist, which totally skews their relationship in my mind

though cersei doesn't get in trouble for sleeping with Jamie, it's everyone else that she slept with that causes problems, she admitted to lancel (where the fuck did he go?) and the other guys, but not jamie because she didn't want tommen to lose the throne

and yeah i'm not loving new Daario at all
Edited Date: 2014-04-23 05:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-23 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spitcurl.livejournal.com
I don't buy that logic. Even if they cast her older because it made sense for a host of reasons, including legality, that still doesn't mean that making a violent wedding night was a necessity. And it was not only unnecessary, it was completely out of character for the progression of their relationship. And the same is true for the Cersei/Jamie scene—it was unnecessary to include violent rape, but out of character for them, and confusing for the plot line going forward.

Huh—I forgot that she didn't get in trouble for Jamie. She got in trouble with the others because they confessed, so their were witnesses against her...but I could of sworn they got her for screwing in the church! Clearly foggy on that part.

I didn't like Sonny in Treme. But they could have at least changed his look to be clean-shaven, more full of vanity & pride and less slovenly. Sonny in Treme was clean-shaven with short hair in Season 3, so I know the actor is capable, and the prior Daario was. I also didn't like the directors' explanation of the new Daario, that, "Oh, he's not just a sex object to distract her, the new Daario is also smart, and can teach her stuff!" Right. Because women aren't allowed to have pure lust distracting them in a male form, but every man in the Seven Kingdoms and beyond can have several boys & girls to distract them? Pbbbthhht.

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Date: 2014-04-25 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adrian-turtle.livejournal.com
In the book, Dany seems to consent to Drogo on her wedding night--he hesitates, she invites him to continue. It's probably less rape-y than she ever expected, and that connects to her growing up and falling in love. But "less rape-y than she expected" is a low bar. In addition to the age difference that makes people think of statutory rape, she didn't have a choice about this marriage. She tells Drogo "yes," but does anybody really think she has the power to say, "No, I won't marry this man?" Or even, "No, I need to wait a few years before having sex with my new husband?" She might get away with saying "wait a few minutes," but that's not very much power.

Date: 2014-04-25 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] goat.livejournal.com
Ugh, I had to stop watching GoT sometime during season 2. It's a story about war, so of course it's going to be violent, but I just could not keep watching rape after rape.

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