Sexism in Game of Thrones
July 31, 2015 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Depiction vs. Endorsement and Sexism in GoT: How Game of Thrones presents a sexist narrative when A Song of Ice and Fire doesn’t (spoilers through GoT 5x03 and the books). "The world in which Martin set his A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) is a terribly sexist one. But George R.R. Martin is not sexist. The books are not sexist. The show…is. And here’s why: where Martin actively forces the reader to address the problematic treatment of women in his series head-on as an overarching theme, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D) actively incorporate sexist tropes and demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the source material." posted by homunculus (132 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's like you designed this post to make my brain explode and my blood pressure to rise. The books are indeed sexist in much the same way that the show is! I say that as a big fan of both the show and the first couple of books. But I will walk away until my temper returns to its default state of "angry".
posted by Justinian at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


I've posted on this general topic a couple times:

* Daniel Mendelsohn on The Women and the Thrones
* On depicting vs. endorsing sexism, and again
* Pithier

Personally, I have been happy to defend the books, but I think the show is a distinctly weaker creation, and I am quite ready to believe that it fails where Martin succeeds. (But I don't follow the show, so I'm not up to date on the more recent controversies.)
posted by grobstein at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


In short:
Martin: "I shall use the rape scenes to bring it into the open the vile treatment of women in fantasy and history." *

*(whether he did that well, or was just pandering, is another matter. That's his line, at least.)

D&D: "Rape scenes? Sexy sexy rape scenes? Ratings galore! Bro! Bro! Bro! Bro!"
posted by happyroach at 11:56 AM on July 31, 2015 [18 favorites]


The contempt that the author of those tumblr links holds for the show (hell, he/she even calls his/herself a booksnob). Having read the links it's obvious that the author only hatewatches the show and a lot of the criticisms are off-base. It's like if I criticized Twilight in this amount of depth. I hate it so much that everything would be subject to my scorn, deserved or not.
posted by Justinian at 12:00 PM on July 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


Of course the books are sexist. They are all about a world which is utterly sexist, and in which everyone is prone to abuse those who are of lower rank, including women, and specifically prone to rape. D&D simply exploited the sexism and rape culture George R.R. Martin built into GOT.

And our FanFare comments and at least some MeTas about this have covered this quite well already, too.
posted by bearwife at 12:03 PM on July 31, 2015


Rather than just declaring what you already think about the books being sexist, it might be more helpful to engage with the linked pieces and explain where they are wrong.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:06 PM on July 31, 2015 [26 favorites]


The author makes some important analytic distinctions. Claims about sexism in representation change in subtle but substantial ways depending on where you locate the sexism you decry: the fictive world itself, what characters say about it, how the author arranges the matter of the text, etc.
posted by clockzero at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Of course the books are sexist. They are all about a world which is utterly sexist, and in which everyone is prone to abuse those who are of lower rank, including women, and specifically prone to rape.
I have no opinion on either the show or the books, because I haven't read or watched either, but you can definitely depict sexism without being sexist, so that doesn't make a lot of sense.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:10 PM on July 31, 2015 [41 favorites]


Well, look, in part 4 the author (can somebody tell me what pronoun to use here? "The author" is going to get old) is complaining about Melisandre being sexualized in the show. But that's absurd, book Melisandre is the same way. Sure, we don't have a camera lingering on Carice van Houten's boobs but that's because the books are not a visual medium. Nobody has ever accused Martin of being unwilling to describe in lascivious detail the perky breasts of young women. Had he a camera, it would be all up in there.

Then the author goes the other way and complains about Brienne being de-feminized? Has the author read the books? And says "Show!Brienne has no complexity." That's absurd. Show Brienne is one of the best characters and I can't take this seriously.

Nobody gonna defend the show's Dorne scenes, though. Not that the book stuff wasn't boring and tedious and awful, but it was less sexist.
posted by Justinian at 12:12 PM on July 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


I watch the show and read the books - heavily prefer the latter but until recently enjoyed the former. I've read dozens of articles comparing the two, and the analysis in the linked post is by far the best I've seen. Not just on the subject of sexism but in general - the degree to which D&D miss the mark on deeper character motivations has become increasingly apparent as they venture further afield, and it's at least twice as bad on a topic as precarious and nuanced as gender dynamics.

Excellent read, threw a lot of things that I felt but couldn't adequately express into painfully sharp relief. Especially the show's horrific handling of Sansa and Catelyn as characters, which frequently threatens to tip from incompetent to outright bad faith.
posted by Ryvar at 12:14 PM on July 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


(can somebody tell me what pronoun to use here? "The author" is going to get old)

It's right on her about page:
26 years old, running on EST. She/her works fine
posted by Ryvar at 12:15 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Anybody else just dripping with anticipation of booksnobs sweet, sweet delicious tears when the show passes the books in 9 months?
posted by Justinian at 12:15 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anybody else just dripping with anticipation of booksnobs sweet, sweet delicious tears when the show passes the books in 9 months?

Nah. I read/watch both and don't see the point in going overboard in the opposite direction.
posted by rewil at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched GoT or read the books, but it is interesting that most popular historical fiction and movies portray and ask us to identify with the people who are most privileged, while ignoring the misery and horror of everyday existence back in olden tymes.
posted by Nevin at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2015 [11 favorites]


GRRM's writing of Sansa is fucking terrible. Like, the degree to which GRRM has no sympathy and no interest in writing about women who conform to societal expectations for performing femininity? It was enraging, and the entire theme of how feminine girls must be punished and degraded and brought low until the audience can sympathize with them?

Yeah, no, it's disgusting, and that's even before you get to GRRM writing ridiculous bullshit about thirteen year old child brides falling in in love with rapists and/or having sexy sex lesbian sex times with their handmaidens.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2015 [18 favorites]


Nevin,

Well first, GoT is not historical fiction.

Second, that was at least ostensibly one of the thing Martin was trying to address. He was trying to show how shitty things would actually be for people high and low in a traditional "epic fantasy" world. The misery of the people is an important issue in the books.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:22 PM on July 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: It's like you designed this post to make my brain explode and my blood pressure to rise.
posted by tecg at 12:24 PM on July 31, 2015 [30 favorites]


and that's even before you get to GRRM writing ridiculous bullshit about thirteen year old child brides falling in in love with rapists and/or having sexy sex lesbian sex times with their handmaidens

That's where the sorts of analysis in the links breaks down. They will point to the show depicting Drogo's rape of Dany as being a sexist change from the depiction of Drogo and Dany's loving first lovemaking without seeming to understand that the bullshit depiction in the books of a 13 year old girl having loving sex with her rapist isn't inherently problematic and sexist. The very fact that it isn't depicted as what it is (rape) in the books is itself terribly sexist.
posted by Justinian at 12:28 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


The author makes a number of good points in the first article, but ultimately comes off as someone who just loves the books and can't cotton to the changes in the show. Which brings up a number of points:

1. The book and show are different. They're different mediums done by different creators. This is a seemingly obvious point, but there are some GOT book readers that come off as incredibly snobbish and book clingy in their observations. Martin lovingly describes naked underage girls at times, to the point of discomfort, so defending him as no sexist is an odd stance.

2. The author almost seems incapable of picking up some of the nuances in the show. Brienne has no depth? Show!Sansa's depiction is head scratcher? It's similar to the books thematically, just done differently, because we can't read Show!Sansa's thoughts.

3. There's the classical mistake of berating unfavored creators for one action, while ignoring similar actions in a favored creator. Sure D/D gave no real agency to most of Crastor's wives, other than as rape objects. But can it truly be said that GRRM never does this throughout the books?

4. I think Game of Thrones is written for a broad audience, so it kinda dumbs things down at times. Hence the side splittingly bad depiction of the Black Brothers at Crasters Keep. Come on, drinking out of an enemies skull? The rapes in the background? It was just so over the top, but I'm guessing the creators think it's needed to quickly get the point across.

5. Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones is dark. It's meant to be dark. GRRM has pointedly said he wants to dismantle heroic tropes in SoIaF. There's going to be all sorts of ugliness to come and one might as well make peace with that. It's a ugly fictional world.

6. Books are different from tv/film. Harping about the show changed something strikes me as petty fool's errand at this point. Go find something you enjoy watching.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:38 PM on July 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


The author makes a number of good points in the first article, but ultimately comes off as someone who just loves the books and can't cotton to the changes in the show.

That's my feeling as well. The author isn't looking at things objectively and reaching a conclusion but rather starting out with the axiom that the show is crap and looking for things to be used as support for that given.
posted by Justinian at 12:43 PM on July 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, she's decided that the show is sexist and the book is not, so yeah, the show is particularly troublesome for her.

Which is understandable, there are a lot of problematic aspects of the depiction of women on the show. But there's nothing in that first article to convince me to read the others, since her reasoning is flawed in that initial piece.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:48 PM on July 31, 2015


It's like you designed this post to make my brain explode and my blood pressure to rise.

Well, I knew you weren't going to like it, but I swear by the old gods and the new I intended no harm to you or your house.
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on July 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


The show is sexist in the base level that it's perfectly happy to show full nude female bodies but does everything it can to tease that you're going to get to see peen but then choreographing the movements of the actors and camera so it's only always a tease and never happens. (The one exception is the revelation of Hodor's nearly thigh-length member, but that in and of itself is prejudicial, due to long standing (not current but historical) tropes that the less intelligent are better endowed.)

That's pure base sexism right there. Women are sexual objects worthy of full body exposure for prurient purposes. Men are not.
posted by hippybear at 12:58 PM on July 31, 2015 [23 favorites]


There have been a few more penises on the show; Theon, memorably. As well as one or two during Cersei's Walk of Shame and some other bit parts in other seasons. Bit parts? Get it?
posted by Justinian at 1:11 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


How is penis depiction in the books? More? Less?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


For that matter, how many plot exposition conversations in the books happen while the description of the action in the background is "naked women bathing/conversing/engaging in homosexual behavior"?
posted by hippybear at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


How is penis depiction in the books?

If I do this I am no better than Dareon, Sam thought, but it felt too good to stop. And suddenly his cock was out, jutting upward from his breeches like a fat pink mast. It looked so silly standing there that he might have laughed
posted by Drinky Die at 1:17 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


There have been a few more penises on the show; Theon, memorably. As well as one or two during Cersei's Walk of Shame and some other bit parts in other seasons. Bit parts? Get it?

Doesn't balance with the number of topless or naked women shown on camera in various ways, as well as sexposition scenes.
posted by zarq at 1:17 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, that's true. For whatever reason (hint: patriarchy) society has decided that showing men's junk is a rubicon. That's true of every show. Note that they picked the one season I believe there was no men's bits but the point still remains for other seasons; television shows do not show fully naked men, particularly erections.
posted by Justinian at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


THE WATCHWORD FOR SEASON SIX IS WANG PARITY
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:21 PM on July 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


>it is interesting that most popular historical fiction and movies portray and ask us to identify with the people who are most privileged, while ignoring the misery and horror of everyday existence back in olden tymes.

I call this the "no one's a serf at the Renaissance Fair" principle.
posted by DGStieber at 1:24 PM on July 31, 2015 [33 favorites]


Justinian, let's be generous and say they showed ten naked penises across five seasons. Are you seriously trying to argue that the impact of those ten penises is greater than the sheer amount of naked female flesh on the show? Especially with all of the show's sex scenes, including the scenes with partially or completely naked women who have been raped, such as the scene with the woman being raped in the background at Craster's Keep? Including Cersei's extended, naked Walk of Shame?

I don't think that's accurate.
posted by zarq at 1:25 PM on July 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


She's way way more generous to GRRM than I would be. I mean:

And as a feminist, there is no part of me that thinks for even a second that Martin is an advocate for the mistreatment of women.

Ok, well, that's a pretty low bar--almost to the point of irrelevancy.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:28 PM on July 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


Justinian, let's be generous and say they showed ten naked penises across five seasons. Are you seriously trying to argue that the impact of those ten penises is greater than the sheer amount of naked female flesh on the show?

Er, I specifically said that for reasons of patriarchy TV shows very rarely show penises, particularly erections. I don't see how I can be clearer.
posted by Justinian at 1:31 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, well, that's a pretty low bar--almost to the point of irrelevancy.

In fantasy/science fiction that may actually not be a particularly low bar, in general.
posted by Ryvar at 1:32 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Basically I think they're both sexist and in addition to being sexist, the show is exceptionally heartless about it. That is perhaps the author's point, although I don't think she makes it perfectly.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


How is penis depiction in the books?

There's at least two to three hundred pages alone on Tyrion's cock.
posted by Ber at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


In fantasy/science fiction that may actually not be a particularly low bar, in general.


Yeah but I don't care, "doesn't advocate horrible shit happening to women" is insanely low bar and I refuse to grade ASOIAF or GRRM on a curve just because the genre as a whole might contain totally shit people.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:35 PM on July 31, 2015 [11 favorites]


Where did the whole [Modifier]![Character] thing come from? I always want to read it as "not".
posted by Ralston McTodd at 1:38 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


The first thing I thought of when I read the headline was the line from book 4: "Was there ever a woman with nipples so large or so responsive?” Which the author tries half-heartedly to defend, but I mostly wanted to point out because it is in fact the dumbest sentence ever committed to print.

There's a lot of people who just really don't like it when movies/shows are made out of their favorite books. The idea of making a serious effort to defend the gender politics of a book that described the vaginal wetness of its thirteen year old heroine in book one is a non-starter. You're allowed to like the books despite their problematic sexism, you're allowed to dislike the shows because of their sexism. But pretending the former is innocent while the latter is guilty is frankly ridiculous.
posted by skewed at 1:41 PM on July 31, 2015 [12 favorites]


Er, I specifically said that for reasons of patriarchy TV shows very rarely show penises, particularly erections. I don't see how I can be clearer.

I said that the the appearance of penises didn't balance with the sheer volume of female flesh and sex shown on screen. You disagreed with that. "But Patriarchy" doesn't make them balance.
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on July 31, 2015


Reread my comment I said "that's true". I suspect you read "that's not true".
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on July 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know, I take pretty strong exception to the idea that GRRM only shows rape in the books in order to show the vile treatment of women.

Take, for example, the way he portrays Dany's wedding night, for example -- as Justinian points out and I should have made clear, it's not that thirteen year old girls don't sometimes fall in love with the people who are sexually abusing them. Instead, it's the way it's portrayed. The whole scene is written in some pretty C-grade Harlequin bullshit, complete with soft sunsets and the only word Drogo understands being "no." It is portrayed as completely consensual and completely not a problem because Danerys is ~ into it ~.

Another pretty good example is the rape of Cersei by Jaime with the dead Jofrey as set dressing. If you actually go back and read the scene in the books, Cersei is pretty adamantly shoving Jaime off and telling him she doesn't want to have sex. He persists, physically picks her up, puts it in her while she's saying no no no

annnnnnnnnnnd suddenly Cersei is just really into him banging her brains out, now with enthusiastic vocal consent.

This particular bit, by the way, nicely illustrates just how complicated it can be to assess whether the book or the show is more sexist. The scene in the books is pretty goddamn rapey, complete with Cersei trying but being unable to physically push Jaime off her while telling him repeatedly about all the reasons why it's a bad idea and they shouldn't do it. It's made infinitely more creeptastic by the way GRRM writes Cersei being suddenly sUPER TURNED ON WOW once Jaime's penis is inside her, and just needing a little of the big D in order to make her realize her true desires.

Throw in GRRM being straight-up in saying that he thinks it's up for debate and that in the book, Cersei is "as hungry for him as he is for her", and well. I'm grossed out.

Then, though, as Headey and Waldau played it on screen, it was rape, and inside the scene, it was framed and portrayed as rape. It was awful, and it was frightening, and Headey was fucking great at conveying Cersei's emotions during it. So does that mean that the show was less sexist and shitty than GRRM in portraying it? You'd think so, based just on what we saw onscreen

annnnnnnnnnnnd then the director was like IT'S NOT RAPE! IT'S NOT RAPE! UP UNTIL THE POINT HE RIPS HER UNDERWEAR OFF AND SHE STARTS TELLING HIM NO NO NO AND PUSHING HIM AWAY, SHE IS KISSING HIM BACK, SO IT'S NOT RAPE!!!

In case you think I'm exaggerating, welp.
also, the other thing that I think is clear before they hit the ground is she starts to make out with him. The big things to us that were so important, and that hopefully were not missed, is that before he rips her undergarment, she’s way into kissing him back. She’s kissing him aplenty.
tl;dr: both the show and the book have stuff that is really, really awful about rape, and sometimes, some people on the show are awful, and sometimes, some people aren't, but in general, it makes me livid when people claim the books are "good" about rape.

They absolutely, absolutely aren't.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:45 PM on July 31, 2015 [26 favorites]


Well first, GoT is not historical fiction.

Second, that was at least ostensibly one of the thing Martin was trying to address. He was trying to show how shitty things would actually be for people high and low in a traditional "epic fantasy" world. The misery of the people is an important issue in the books.


Yeah, that's what I gather from the books. However, even though I know it's not the purpose of the series, the sex and nudity in the series seems slightly pornographic (I have not seen the series).

I think the Sopranos had the same sort of problem. A fair amount of gratuitous T&A just because, well, just because.
posted by Nevin at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2015


It's made infinitely more creeptastic by the way GRRM writes Cersei being suddenly sUPER TURNED ON WOW once Jaime's penis is inside her, and just needing a little of the big D in order to make her realize her true desires.

That's straight up John Norman Gor series slave heat bullshit right there.
posted by hippybear at 1:55 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there is some sort of Rashomon effect going on with ASOIAF/GOT. First we have the books, the exact text. Then we have how our own brain filters and imagines them. (Then we forget 10000 details because the books are long and take forever to come out) Then we have a show. A lot of us filter that through the books, but also even in a visual medium imagination can change and obfuscate things. At a certain point, what we actually read in the books becomes something else entirely in our memory.

The Cersei/Jaime scene is a great example. I didn't remember it as rape but then when I look back at the text? Yup. I feel like our own memories have made it a situation where in a lot of ways when we discuss this story we are describing our own experience of it more than what it objectively is.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:57 PM on July 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


He was trying to show how shitty things would actually be for people high and low in a traditional "epic fantasy" world.

This argument in defense of the books has been made many times but it's not very convincing, in part because it misses a large part of the criticism.

The problem isn't just that G.R.R.M. included rape as one of the consequences of the shitty world he created; it's how he included it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:08 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I do this I am no better than Dareon...

Hats off, Drinky Die, for getting that quote in less than 4 minutes. Truly, MetaFilter is a place of wonders.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:14 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Basically I think they're both sexist and in addition to being sexist, the show is exceptionally heartless about it.

That's pretty close to how I see it. GRRM is sexist in a 1970s pseudointellectual fantasy writer style. D&D are sexist in a 2000s fratboy turned Hollywood director manner.
posted by happyroach at 2:15 PM on July 31, 2015 [13 favorites]


I mostly wanted to point out because it is in fact the dumbest sentence ever committed to print.

It's pretty dumb, but you must admit, it has quite a mountain to climb. I am not sure it quite beats out "'Kill kill kill' cried the Killers," for example, but tastes may vary.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:18 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


At this point, as someone who has read all the books and seen all the episodes, I just can't understand how someone could have consumed all this and not longed for all the characters, especially the "best-loved" ones, to die in a horrible all-consuming fire and never ever come back. GRRM's reputation for killing off major characters is horribly undeserved; he hasn't done it in a decade. It would be nice if he just actually killed them all and started over. He almost tried to do that with the best of the books, but then ended up having to return to the people everybody adores, and of course everyone roundly curses the book with new characters as "boring" and "unimportant filler" blah blah blah. Here's the deal: ANY MORE PAGES ABOUT TYRION WILL BE BORING AND UNIMPORTANT FILLER. Let him die. Let the rest die. Hamlet was brilliant, and he died in less than two hundred pages. A character can't live forever. Kill the ones you've got and start over. The whole thing is just a soap opera at this point. It'll take something drastic to make me care again.
posted by koeselitz at 2:46 PM on July 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Or, instead of starting over with even more characters, perhaps the series could reach some kind of conclusion? I know it's a crazy idea, but it might just work.
posted by Pyry at 2:54 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]




He's making an analogous claim to Truffaut there. You can't make an anti-war film because the mere fact of depiction on screen lends itself to glamorization. Except with misogynistic violence instead of wartime violence. Which is a defensible position if not one I can go along with completely.

(For those who don't read the link; he doesn't watch the show because he can't suspend disbelief after having appeared in it rather than as any sort of objection to content).
posted by Justinian at 3:27 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Say what you will about it, at least the Wheel of Time series isn't sexist. Boring, but not sexist.
posted by Pendragon at 3:32 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Despite the rape so shortly into the first book, the Thomas Covenant series is also very not sexist.

I would argue that most of Donaldson's works aren't sexist, but their depictions of male brutality toward women is pretty awful. Basically in every series he wrote, the women are the ones who win, even while the men brutalize them.
posted by hippybear at 3:35 PM on July 31, 2015


And that's a major derail, I just realized.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on July 31, 2015


Too bad, because I was wondering how you square that opinion with The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


GRRM's reputation for killing off major characters is horribly undeserved; he hasn't done it in a decade.

A Dance With Dragons came out four years ago, more or less. It had at least two pretty significant deaths of characters who had been prominent throughout the series, as well as one death of a main PoV character introduced in that book. So, yeah. Still killing major characters, albeit not in as spectacular fashion as the Red Wedding.

The Game of Thrones actor has turned his back on Hollywood and grisly TV epics—he doesn’t even watch the show anymore—to focus on a family stage show with friends from college.

The more I learn about him, the more interested I am to see what he goes on to do in life. That is a rare thing, with celebrities.

Here's the deal: ANY MORE PAGES ABOUT TYRION WILL BE BORING AND UNIMPORTANT FILLER.

In this thread we were discussing an interview in which Michael Moorcock described Martin's stuff as soap opera, and I think it's a valid point. For some people, following the Further Adventures of Tyrion Lannister is, in fact, rather enjoyable. I remember re-reading A Feast For Crows and realizing that I was actually enjoying just hanging out with various characters as they wandered around Westeros, achieving jack-fuck-all.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:38 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, um... have you read the other 4 books in that series? Because that is the first act of a very long drama that ends with Morn showing that she has strength that neither Nick nor Angus have, and she ultimately wins in a way that changes everything for everyone in the entire sphere of the story.
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


In this thread we were discussing an interview in which Michael Moorcock described Martin's stuff as soap opera, and I think it's a valid point.

The endless soap opera is what is causing me to lose interest in GoT on HBO. If they manage to pull their shit together and make things interesting soon, then they'll win me back. As it was, Season 5 was mostly a "oh, yeah, this is happening" sort of feeling for me instead of a "wow, holy fuck, this is amazing" feeling.
posted by hippybear at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


But by that rubric (to bring it back on topic) we can't actually judge whether the show's treatment of Sansa is sexist because we don't know if she will later reveal that she has strength that others lack. Which I might agree with but doesn't seem to be a statement that most people (including you maybe?) would agree with.
posted by Justinian at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's impossible to judge a story when you don't know the ending?

That's the most I have to say about that.
posted by hippybear at 3:44 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eh, you said that Donaldson's treatment of Morn in the first book wasn't misogynistic because in later books some stuff happened. The obvious corollary is that stuff in later seasons/books could make the show/books treatment of Sansa not-misogynistic.
posted by Justinian at 3:47 PM on July 31, 2015


That has nothing to do with how the television adaptation is obviously sexist in the most casual of ways. The major character story arcs have been strong so far, and if Sansa ends up sitting on the Iron Throne because of some honest character development and believable story arc, with her past behind her, would you still judge the series as sexist?

I would, because all the bullshit happening in the background and much of the minor character (and NPC) arcs have shown that women are just sexual objects in the world of GoT.
posted by hippybear at 3:48 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would probably still judge it as sexist (almost all popular culture is to some degree sexist because the culture is) but then I also think Donaldson's treatment of Morn is sexist. I was simply trying to see how you reconciled those two opinions (Donaldson - not sexist, Martin - sexist). But 'nuff said.
posted by Justinian at 3:51 PM on July 31, 2015


Morn is horribly maltreated across all 5 books. Do I think that Donaldson isn't working through some horrible misogynist fantasies while he's writing this? No, I don't. I think what he's writing is pretty sick and depraved, and listening to the series on audiobook was even more horrifying than reading the words on the page.

But in the end, taken together with Mordant's Need and the full 10 volumes of the Covenant series, I really cannot say that Donaldson is a misogynist or a sexist. Or maybe he's a reverse-all-that. He seems to truly believe that women have the power, and men might seek to use them but in the end the females are the ones who prove true. Maybe that is also sexist, but it's certainly not misogynist.
posted by hippybear at 3:53 PM on July 31, 2015


I have not read any of the SOIAF books. I am only basing what I'm saying here on the TV show.
posted by hippybear at 3:54 PM on July 31, 2015


Where did the whole [Modifier]![Character] thing come from? I always want to read it as "not".

I've heard that the association with "not" is intentional. The convention came from fanfics labeling their characters as not-canon in a specific way, e.g. evil!Dumbledore is a Dumbledore who's non-canonically evil. TV Tropes has more info.
posted by Rangi at 4:17 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


"'Kill kill kill' cried the Killers,"

ring ring ring went the bell
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:54 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's "ding, ding, ding, went the bell."

SHEESH
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:05 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Wheel of Time series isn't sexist? It's been a while since I've seen someone make that argument. I thought people had switched to "it was a product of its time."

To be honest, it's weird to come back to this thread to find several comments in a row where men have decided to declare that certain works aren't sexist. Nope, they just aren't. If anything, they are sexist against men!

I had to scroll to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting some kind of metafilter metajoke.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:16 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd welcome a detailed conversation about anything I've said in this thread, but I'm not sure this thread is the right venue. Maybe MeMail me, and we can pursue our varied viewpoints?
posted by hippybear at 5:20 PM on July 31, 2015


From the very first episode of GoT creeped me out; it's not just the sex(ism), but also the violence against children and the somewhat arbitrary selection of which reprehensible characters receive narrative sympathy. I've continued watching occasional episodes at friends' watch-parties because they love the show (also, tbh, sunk costs at this point) but I've always figured it just wasn't for me.

Watching long-time fans alternately defend and hand-wring in response to new episodes has been weird. SOIAF seems like such a trivial thing to stoke Metafilter conflict (compared to abortion, Israel and other topics MF "doesn't do well") and yet these threads turn into minefields and have indirectly led to the departure of at least one ( maybe two?) long time Mefites.

I can't read GRRM's or D&Ds' minds and have no idea how their work accurately reflects their intention or how much respect they actually have for women. But I'm beginning to think rape, the idiosyncratic nature of affection for those in sexually abusive relationships, and society's oppression of women are simply not the best topics for certain types of art. An episodic fantasy TV series that tries to maintain a popular audience while simultaneously trying to depict the extremes of human cruelty AND eschewing traditional heroic morality is probably not the best place to jump head first into these topics.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:22 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


SOIAF seems like such a trivial thing to stoke Metafilter conflict

Love it or hate it, it's clearly the most important show on TV right now. Sure "important television show" doesn't hold a candle to the real-world political issues you list; most things don't. But people have been passionate about their entertainment since Ogg murdered Ook for making fun of his inability to draw feet on his cave paintings.
posted by Justinian at 5:30 PM on July 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Clearly the most important show on TV? By what metric?
posted by koeselitz at 5:55 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


By the metric of people not watching Banshee.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:05 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Clearly the most important show on TV? By what metric?


Number of people waTching it, amount of media focused on it and the Blatcher Index of Stuff to Watch on Sunday Night.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:24 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the Motherhood trope link:

Selyse, who had done nothing but talk about how much she hated her daughter for four seasons, pulled a character 180° and broke down as Shireen died, ultimately killing herself the next episode. Stannis looked upset, but was focused on his “ambition.” He didn’t cry, nor did he break down; in fact, he barely moved a muscle as his daughter was set on fire, despite being the one to have been shown bonding with Shireen the entire season. Only Selyse and her motherly weakness could be the one to break-down and react to her screaming, suffering child.

“In that moment, she finally becomes a mother again.” -Dan Weiss

Note “finally.” She “finally” assumes the role she “should” have. And Selyse apparently wasn’t a mother before in the scenes where she was mean to Shireen. Because mothers are idealized and there’s no space for abusive mothers in D&D’s world.


That was one of the biggest clangers of the season. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but to watch the child hater suddenly start sobbing and then commit suicide? What the hell was that all about? It was such a big mistake that it pulled me right out of the moment and reminded me that I wasn't experiencing life in a fantasy world, I was watching a scripted show on TV. (Which also happened when all the T&A was on display. "It's HBO! we would cry")

And speaking of T&A I got royally (hah!) pissed off every time Daenerys was wearing a hooker gown. She's the fucking queen for fuck's sake. Sometimes she appeared regal, wearing clothes that portrayed her as powerful and set apart. Then the next scene she would be dressed as though she was available to anyone for the right price.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:39 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hey, I love me some Banshee and its complex allusions and fussy aesthetic will always have niche appeal. But only niche. Thrones, as BB says, is right at the nexus of viewership, critical acclaim, media coverage, and influence.
posted by Justinian at 6:39 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the books Dany's Mereen clothes actually expose her breasts. So they've toned it way down for the show.
posted by Justinian at 6:42 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Walking Dead regularly gets double the viewers of Game of Thrones. Personally I'd say the characters are better drawn, too; at the very least TWD has done more interesting things with what it has, though I guess it doesn't really have the epic sweep of GOT. Mind, I'm not saying either is really my favorite show - though I know that's not the question, it's just a difficult but interesting question to try to say what the most important show might be.

For my part, I guess I have to admit that GOT and TWD are at least in the running for "most important show on television," which makes me feel as though this thing people keep saying about this being a "golden age of television" is probably mostly hype.
posted by koeselitz at 6:58 PM on July 31, 2015


In the books Dany's Mereen clothes actually expose her breasts. So they've toned it way down for the show.

See, the show is more sexist than the beautiful books D/D have shamelessly defiled with their lowly version.

I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but to watch the child hater suddenly start sobbing and then commit suicide?

Made sense to me. She had already cheerfully given so much to that religion, burning her brother and other family members, encouraging Mellisandre to sleep with her husband, etc. And now it demanded her child. Which she was ok with until the final moment. After than, she had nothing and even worse, she had given it away, usually gladly. Suicide is pretty much the only sane action at that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Number of people waTching it, amount of media focused on it

So Big Bang Theory, then.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:10 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


But with dragons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would pay several hundred American dollars to see Drogon light Sheldon the fuck up.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:44 PM on July 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think that popularity is the only metric along which we can determine "importance." Creativity and risk-taking are two alternatives.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:01 PM on July 31, 2015


GoT is almost certainly the most important show on TV. The combination of popularity and prominence in the cultural conversation is just right: more people watch The Walking Dead, but there isn't a lot to say about it (ironically, as every episode is immediately followed by an hour of people talking about it); Girls and maybe even something like Hannibal are talked/written about passionately, but aren't seen as widely (in the case of Hannibal, it's not even close). But I think GoT is in that position mostly because it's outlived Breaking Bad and Madmen. A new most important show on TV may be along before GoT ends. At the rate things are going, though, GoT may outlive that show, too.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:25 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Game of Thrones is interesting in how invested people are in it, both pro and con. I don't remember people being invested in the same way in The Sopranos, even at the height of its popularity.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:36 PM on July 31, 2015


Which the author tries half-heartedly to defend, but I mostly wanted to point out because it is in fact the dumbest sentence ever committed to print.

Someone has never read Dan Brown.*

*That's good! Keep it that way!
posted by el io at 8:57 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


GoT is almost certainly the most important show on TV. The combination of popularity and prominence in the cultural conversation is just righta

Skiffy fans tend to massively overstate the importance of the shows they like. You should have heard how fans used to go on and on and on about how important Star Trek was. As far as long-term influence, I think one can make a better argument that say, the Amy Schumer show is more important than a couple fratboys' power fantasy.
posted by happyroach at 9:04 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


You should have heard how fans used to go on and on and on about how important Star Trek was

But... they were correct? Star Trek was a massively influential show. I would call it one of the most important shows ever. Your example actually seems to refute the point you're making.

I think one can make a better argument that say, the Amy Schumer show is more important than a couple fratboys' power fantasy

Eh. That seems to fly in the face of all evidence. Mostly I think you don't want GoT to be important because you really don't like it, but I think its inarguable that it's of huge cultural import and influence. Look how closely it is being followed in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and on and on. That some people dislike it doesn't change that.

Anyway, here is one of lots of examples of an article about how Game of Thrones became the most important show on television.
posted by Justinian at 9:23 PM on July 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Someone has never read Dan Brown.*

*That's good! Keep it that way!


I have actually read two or three chapters of The Da Vinci Code and you're right, there were several worse sentences there. I got carried away, GRRM's execrable nipple line is merely the stupidest sentence in the 8000 some pages of ASOIAF, and proof positive that his editors had completely abandoned all pretense of their jobs by book 4.
posted by skewed at 9:32 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


The way to read Dan Brown is by skipping every other chapter. Find a chapter with interesting exposition ("Leonardo believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe..."), and then skip the next chapter, which will be stupid dumb action. The chapter after that will be more exposition.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:21 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


But I'm beginning to think rape, the idiosyncratic nature of affection for those in sexually abusive relationships, and society's oppression of women are simply not the best topics for certain types of art. An episodic fantasy TV series that tries to maintain a popular audience while simultaneously trying to depict the extremes of human cruelty AND eschewing traditional heroic morality is probably not the best place to jump head first into these topics.

Telling artists in specific genres that they just oughtn't deal with certain subjects seems like a complete nonstarter to me.
posted by Maugrim at 10:47 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but to watch the child hater suddenly start sobbing and then commit suicide? What the hell was that all about? It was such a big mistake that it pulled me right out of the moment and reminded me that I wasn't experiencing life in a fantasy world, I was watching a scripted show on TV.

I could accept Selyse's suicide for the reasons Brandon mentioned above. Watching your only child get burnt alive would be a shattering experience for anyone, and her character never seemed exactly stable to begin with. For me the scene where the motherhood trope was so glaring it yanked me out of the show was Karsi's death. I said at the time that I didn't think that would happen with a male character like Tormund, and it turns out that was more true than I knew: apparently in the book Tormund actually did have to destroy one of his own children who became a wight, but of course he survived.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not telling anyone to not do anything. Art is always an experiment and a risk, art is always a challenge. I admire anyone who tries to expand awareness while creating something new. And my comment doesn't even suggest fantasy authors shouldn't deal with rape. It was just an observation that its possible there is no way to sensitively explore the perspective of women in abusive situations in a television show that has the primary aim of reconceptualizing fantasy tropes to reflect the gritty extreme with a cast of nothing but anti-heros while trying to maintain enough sympathy for those characters that anyone will watch it for 8 seasons.
posted by midmarch snowman at 11:48 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


But... they were correct?

No.

Star Trek was a massively influential show.

Nah. Not really. The most we got out of it was a cell phone model and an ipad design.

I would call it one of the most important shows ever.

Well you can CALL it one of the most important shows ever. But honestly, it's not up there with say, I Love Lucy, Friends, The Sopranos or All in the Family, all of which were major games changers and highly influential.

Your example actually seems to refute the point you're making.

Not really- just showing that Skiffy fans have an exaggerated sense of the importance of the fandom.
posted by happyroach at 11:52 PM on July 31, 2015


Pretty sure the iPad design was from 2001: A Space Odyssey. And they're developing tricorders for medical use. Not sure that would have happened without Star Trek.
posted by hippybear at 11:55 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not telling anyone to not do anything.

Sorry midmarch, I wasn't trying to insinuate that you were trying to set rules or anything. I think it's an interesting comment though, because I find that it describes a common sentiment around here. That some people should not try to examine certain things through art because they'll do it poorly, incorrectly or insensitively.

I actually feel that it's the crux of the thread. There's a distinction between bad art and sexist art that has been glossed over. Anyway, I think I'm getting parlously close to a derail, so I'll leave it at that.
posted by Maugrim at 12:04 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that bad art vs sexist art vs clumsy exploration of cultural norms is a derail. There's a lot to unpack there. I had a conversation with a coworker about I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry just last night that was surprising to me because he totally didn't get all the truly egregious things in that movie but felt it was enlightening for him.

Art is complicated and meets people where they are at, and that's not always where everyone is at.
posted by hippybear at 12:08 AM on August 1, 2015


I'm tempted to agree with happyroach and say that I don't think GOT will end up being all that influential largely because I don't see anything that groundbreaking in it; being groundbreaking doesn't seem like the point for GOT anyway.

The hook for the books was a new style in fantasy, something grittier and more raw and immediate. That was the hook because there's a tradition and genre of fantasy novels behind it that it's interacting with. But the TV show is not interacting with a genre of fantasy novels; it stands alone, and as such its grittiness and rawness has sort of a different import. But what's the larger context of the show? Fantasy films? The LOTR movies? I'm not sure the show wants to interact with and comment on those things and ultimately remake them in the way the books seem to. It's - well, it's just doing its own thing. It's approaching narrative in a pretty traditional way, none of the cinematography is really stunning or surprising - it just delivers a story and a setting that people find immersive, in ways they find comfortable.

But then I notice that happyroach has mentioned Friends as a highly influential show, and that made me think. Although I see Friends as pretty derivative and shallow, it did end up setting the tone for sitcoms for at least a decade to come, and probably much longer. It didn't do that by being groundbreaking; it did it by taking common elements and forging them together in a way that could be easily commodified.

The older Grantland article that Justinian links is interesting. It makes some arguments for GOT's lasting influence that I actually might agree with. One of them is that GOT eschews what some might consider depth for a populist focus on the stories people are really watching for anyway; as the article notes, the writers on GOT sneer at things like "theme." That does strike me as a characteristic of GOT, and one that could be very influential; one might even say that it already is influential on that count. Another argument the Grantland article makes is that GOT's success means HBO will be more likely to move on projects with relatively new filmmakers if the material is solid and known to them. For this argument, the author mentions the example of The Leftovers, which had then just been ordered - so I'm not entirely sure I can agree there, having seen what was left over when they finished it. But the populist 'focus on the story and characters, nobody really cares about the rest' thing - yeah, I can see that being GOT's legacy, and I can see it being a strong one.

In any case, it's an interesting question: when people say they think GOT will have lasting long-term influence, what do they mean?
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 AM on August 1, 2015


I think it's an interesting comment though, because I find that it describes a common sentiment around here. That some people should not try to examine certain things through art because they'll do it poorly, incorrectly or insensitively.

Thanks for saying that, I notice that sentiment as well and I was hoping I could dance around it by not suggesting GoT would be better if more women involved (because I'm not sure that's true and I have no idea how many women are involved right now).

Also, I don't think this is a derail at all, the difficulty in distinguishing bad art and sexist art is the basis for some people's criticism of these essays.

The point I wanted to make is textual analysis is never going to convince anyone GRRM or DB&DW are misogynists or that they are clumsy authors and that's why GoT is misogynistic (or one medium is worse than the other) when it's entirely possible that the offending scenes/passages are simply the signs that everyone underestimates how damned hard it is to meet all these aims at the same time.

This isn't like the MeFi discussion of Strange Fruit. In that case, a comic on black superhero in Jim Crow south didn't seem like a terrible idea on paper. It was just the execution was just filled with so many loaded stereotypes with so few redeeming perspectives. I'm not a believer in the idea that white authors should stay away from black history or black stories, but situations like that make one very sensitive to the absence of opportunities for black writers to get involved in projects like that (because having one black co-author would've prevented so much of that junk.

In a way GoT reminds me more of Django Unchained, in that accomplishing all of the stated authorial intents seems impossible. So keeping in mind how GRRM set out to show fantasy with a focus on the men and women victims of violence, scrubbing the story of heroes, turning the grit up to 11, and showing even the most reprehensible character's perspective, it not surprising there are clumsy passages. How you feel about GoT or SOIAF (or Django) is a matter of how many of these scenes/passages that you think are distasteful are willing to tolerate. And the answer is an entirely personal manner.

One thing I will say in judgement of GoT that IS a bit of a derail: I think Quentin Tarantino was better at anticipating how risky Django Unchained was. I think if GRRM had known how flipping hard it would be to finish SOIAF or license GoT to HBO without being widely accused of misogyny or alienating a large portion of women in his audience he would've pulled some punches given how unpredictable the results of his "gardening" writing style can be. It seems like the biggest complaint I hear about some of the offending scenes is how they seem needless in the context of the larger character development. I can't really make a strong case for this as I don't follow GoT closely enough, but I wonder if an "architect" would have avoided some of those pitfalls
posted by midmarch snowman at 1:12 AM on August 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Folks, GoT threads have their challenges, and one of them is often a lot of dominating of the discussion by a couple of people, which would be good to avoid. Please keep an eye on the frequency/percentage of your commenting, make an effort to engage with the conversation, and especially avoid just automatic/empty sort of "nuh-uh" comments. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:52 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have actually read two or three chapters of The Da Vinci Code and you're right, there were several worse sentences there.

The trick is to read the Swedish translation, where the translator went "I suppose I got an early draft, it was so full of inconsistencies and obvious editing mistakes that I didn't even bother to check with the author, I just fixed as many of them as I could".
posted by effbot at 4:10 AM on August 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


But people have been passionate about their entertainment since Ogg murdered Ook for making fun of his inability to draw feet on his cave paintings.

Are you saying Rob Liefeld is immortal?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:51 AM on August 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


And they're developing tricorders for medical use. Not sure that would have happened without Star Trek.

Well, they wouldn't be called "tricorders," but ultraportable sensor suites have sufficiently obvious utility that I expect they'd have turned up in one form or another. Might just be called a doctor's smartphone.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:04 AM on August 1, 2015


For whatever reason (hint: patriarchy) society has decided that showing men's junk is a rubicon.
posted by Justinian


It's not really a fair comparison. Showing a full frontal scene of women only shows her pubic hair - her clitoris and vulva are almost always hidden.

This would be equivalent to a male pulling his underwear down enough to flash his pubic hair only but not show the penile shaft / testicles.

I propose the opposite thesis, that it's actually more normalized to show male genitalia on screen than female genitalia.
posted by xdvesper at 7:08 AM on August 1, 2015


The books are some of the most problematically sexist literature I've ever read... Which is saying something.

I'm succumbing to the sunk-cost fallacy, because I really want to finish A Dance With Dragons even though it's **terrible**.

GRRM can barely write three sentences about Brienne without using the phrase "horse-faced.". I finally put the books down for about a month after Asha gets raped, likes it, and goes back for more.

At this point, I'm trying to finish the books just so I can authoritatively talk about how terrible they are.

Oh, and this is to say nothing about the way that gay men theoretically exist in the books, but are never, ever talked about, even in spite of the CONSTANT LESBIAN ACTION going on in the background.

At this point, I'm hoping Hodor gets the throne as the last human alive in Westeros.
posted by schmod at 8:43 AM on August 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Davos would make a nice king
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:15 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just finished reading The Cartel by Don Winslow.

It is a gruesome book at times, and features many of the themes common to GoT - the ruthless exercise of power and brutality - and is also a window into what life must have been like in Medieval Europe, and before the re-emergence of a strong central state. The book is also (from my point of view, anyway) sympathetic towards women.
posted by Nevin at 9:36 AM on August 1, 2015






In the books Dany's Mereen clothes actually expose her breasts. So they've toned it way down for the show.

I just can't get my head around why a female character would willing expose her breasts for no reason. Being sexy is a good reason because being sexy can lead to attaining power. But just to let your breasts flutter in the breeze? Breasts are very vulnerable and unless you have implants or have small breasts they are soft and juggly and bounce up and down. Not great if you are riding horses. So why a queen (who already has all the power she needs) feels like running around with her breasts out or halfway out is perplexing to me. No to mention sunburn. Ouch. I get the idea of the fierce warrior goddess riding into battle without some chest covering but I doubt that ever actually occurred in real life.

I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but to watch the child hater suddenly start sobbing and then commit suicide?

Made sense to me. She had already cheerfully given so much to that religion, burning her brother and other family members, encouraging Mellisandre to sleep with her husband, etc. And now it demanded her child. Which she was ok with until the final moment. After than, she had nothing and even worse, she had given it away, usually gladly. Suicide is pretty much the only sane action at that.


She had already made up her mind before they even left the Wall that the firegod had a purpose for her daughter. She said as much to someone (can't remember if it was Davros) when asked why Shireen was accompanying them on such a dangerous trip. If the firegod has plans for you it usually means being burned alive. Then she didn't even stick around to see if the sacrifice would work. It was just too abrupt an about face to me but YMMV obviously.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:43 AM on August 1, 2015


I just can't get my head around why a female character would willing expose her breasts for no reason.

Not necessarily no reason - fashion, social mores, etc would be perfectly possible reasons. Certainly this has happened in a number of cultures historically. There was some amount of it in Tudor times apparently but you can likely come up with various other examples.
posted by biffa at 12:18 PM on August 1, 2015


Al Swearingin would also make a good king.

Gotta be some kind of Greyjoy. Just look at him.
posted by Justinian at 12:22 PM on August 1, 2015


"Al Swearingin would also make a good king."

As long as you pay him enough.
posted by clavdivs at 1:19 PM on August 1, 2015


Gotta be some kind of Greyjoy. Just look at him.

He cleans up nice. Could be Randyll Tarly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on August 1, 2015


I propose the opposite thesis, that it's actually more normalized to show male genitalia on screen than female genitalia.

Interesting, you're right. I can think of only one instance in truly mainstream media -- Basic Instinct.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:56 PM on August 1, 2015


> They will point to the show depicting Drogo's rape of Dany as being a sexist change from the depiction of Drogo and Dany's loving first lovemaking without seeming to understand that the bullshit depiction in the books of a 13 year old girl having loving sex with her rapist isn't inherently problematic and sexist. The very fact that it isn't depicted as what it is (rape) in the books is itself terribly sexist.

To be fair, the author of the linked piece doesn't claim it's a sexist change from the book, on the contrary she credits D&D with understanding how exploitative Martin meant the situation to be. And she does think that Martin's portrayal of it was problematic in the first place, though she still gives him the benefit of the doubt. She clarifies that further here.
posted by homunculus at 1:16 AM on August 2, 2015


> Well, look, in part 4 the author ... is complaining about Melisandre being sexualized in the show. But that's absurd, book Melisandre is the same way. Sure, we don't have a camera lingering on Carice van Houten's boobs but that's because the books are not a visual medium. Nobody has ever accused Martin of being unwilling to describe in lascivious detail the perky breasts of young women. Had he a camera, it would be all up in there.

I don't think she's simply complaining about Melisandre being sexualized for the show in ways she wasn't in the books, I think she's objecting to how the character was reduced to just her sexuality this past season, which sounds like a legitimate complaint, especially as far as Melisandre and Jon are concerned. I haven't gotten to that point in the books so I don't know the details of their relationship yet, but I gather there's more to it than a ham-handed seduction scene. At the end of Season 4, the last shot of Melisandre and Jon noticing each other left me really looking forward to seeing them together this year, but all we got was strained masturbation fodder and it was pretty underwhelming. It felt like the brief Jon/Melisandre arc was just an excuse for the showrunners to show off Carice van Houten's boobs again. I really hope there's more to it than that in the books, as the author of that piece suggests.
posted by homunculus at 2:40 AM on August 2, 2015


I dunno. I think Martin has good intentions with his depictions of sexism and often fails in the execution. A good editor would be helpful there but it's mainly on him to get better educated now that he's been made aware of where he's gotten it wrong. I try to remember that it's been 20 years since he started writing this and the parts I find worst are relatively early in the story. But if you're going to examine and deconstruct fantasy tropes, you need to do your research on both current and historical concepts of sex and gender, not just fill in with current non-fiction tropes instead.

The show, on the other hand, I find very patchy and increasingly crappy in terms of sexism. I suspect the aspects I find well done are due to the actresses nailing the complexity (Brienne, Cersei), while the worst parts seem to come from the oblivious directors (Jaime & Cersei's relationship, Gilly the former child-wife of Craster deciding to sex up Sam after a rape attempt). They show no interest in even trying to improve in this area because they don't think there's a problem.

I'm still watching and reading because the value I get from the non-sexist parts is worth it for me. But I completely understand readers and viewers who've walked away because they don't find the other parts of the show interesting enough to outweigh yet another sexposition scene. Life is short and there's too much fiction out there to engage with to be able to consume it all. Triage is essential and sexism is as good a reason as any to move on to a different story.
posted by harriet vane at 3:44 AM on August 2, 2015 [4 favorites]






Also relevant: these pieces at maisiewilliams.tumblr.com (not the actual Maisie Williams) on GOT’s war against women.
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna tag this link Fark style.

(Unlikely) Natalie Dormer: Men Objectified ‘As Much As Women’ on GoT
posted by Drinky Die at 2:27 PM on August 12, 2015










A Bechdel fucking test.
posted by homunculus at 10:31 AM on August 31, 2015 [1 favorite]




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