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[personal profile] lierdumoa
So I got caught up reading GoT comment threads on [ profile] ohnotheydidnt. I know, I know, why do I do this myself?

Anyway, I read some interesting fan viewpoints on the Daenerys/Drogo scenes in the first two episodes.

Firstly there's the fan sentiment that Drogo is "more tender in the books" and the show makes a departure from canon by depicting the sex as unnecessarily "rapey."

Uhm. I haven't read the books but let's look at some non-negotiables. She was sold like chattel. She was not given a choice. How is it any less rape if he's "gentle" and she gets wet? He doesn't give her the option to refuse. Or are we so backwards we still haven't figured out that arousal ≠ consent?

Another fan felt that the show was glorifying rape.

If anything it sounds like the books were glorifying rape by implying that because Drogo is gentle and works in some foreplay he's not actually raping her. The show goes out of its way to make it clear that the rape scenes are rape scenes. They're uncomfortable to watch, and they're pretty obviously supposed to be uncomfortable to watch.

Or are we assuming that depiction of rape automatically implies tacit approval by the author? That's an awfully dangerous assumption to make.

That same fan stated that citing historical accuracy was not a legitimate excuse for depicting rape because this show is a fantasy, not a history. However, that statement makes the assumption that all fantasy is escapist, which is patently untrue. Especially in a situation where an author specifically chooses to base his fantasy universe on medieval society because of how deeply flawed medieval society was.

Now I'm not saying that rape is okay as long as it's contextually relevant. I am saying that writing/filming rape because it is contextually relevant does not necessarily mean that the person doing the writing/filming thinks or means to imply that rape is okay.

Of course, authorial intent is a hard thing to discern. Some audience members will percieve authorial approval where others will percieve authorial condemnation, where yet others will percieve authorial neutrality.

The same fan again felt that Daenerys's choice to seek out advice on how to "make Drogo happy" in bed was the show's way of saying that Drogo was absolved of his crime since his victim ultimately consented. However, there are certain details within the show which I think contradict that particular interpretation.

Specifically: The advice itself. Daenerys asks her maidservant for advice on how to please Drogo. However, she doesn't actually receive advice on how to please Drogo. She doesn't learn how to give a kickass blowjob. She doesn't learn how to make the sex more pleasurable for herself or for Drogo. She doesn't even learn how to feign arousal.

Rather, the advice she receives is advice on how to shift the power balance between herself and Drogo to her advantage.

In the rape scenes, Daenerys is positioned on her hands and knees whilst Drogo mounts her from behind. Daenerys' maidservant advises Daenerys to, "Always look him in the eye" -- because it's hard to treat a human being like livestock when you're looking that human being in the eye. She tells her to "get on top" because it's hard to look down on someone when you're literally looking up at them.

Daenerys' maidservant is essentially telling her: "This is how Drogo took your power away. This is how you can get some power back." Any educated person, including the show's authors, should know that rape is entirely about power. One could potentially argue that this episode reaffirms the fact that Daenerys was raped by acknowledging the power dynamics of the situation.

Are there going to be assholes who look at the rape scenes in this show and think they're edgy and cool and fun wank material? Probably yes. Are these assholes the show's intended audience? I doubt it.

In conclusion, having watched two episodes, I don't think this show is particularly misogynist. It could perhaps be considered gratuitously graphic, but then, so was Germinal. I do think it's pretty racist, but that's a discussion for another day.
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