(WARNING: SPOILERS ON EVENTS DURING SEASON FIVE OF GAME OF THRONES)
After the conclusion of what I feel was a strong season, I believe it is now time for reflection on a show which has not shied away from controversy. HBO’s story telling powerhouse Game of Thrones has become extremely notorious for its presentation of sex and women. this was expected from a network such as HBO. ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ both have a solid reputation for realism and a strong depiction of sex. GoT following suit was almost inevitable. This season, the scene which has caused a mass media outrage was the rape of Sansa. Many have argued that the show went way too far with the explicit nature of the scene. Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair has asked:
“Did they really need to go there on Game of Thrones? Did we really need to see Ramsay Bolton rape Sansa Stark?”
This is not the only growing act of frustration towards the show. Senator Claire McCaskill went to Twitter to express her frustration.
Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones.Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.
These two examples were put to George R.R Martin who defended his original material and the show in telling Entertainment Weekly:
f you’re going to write about war, and you just want to include all the cool battles and heroes killing a lot of orcs and things like that and you don’t portray [sexual violence], then there’s something fundamentally dishonest about that. Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today”
Mark Cassidy of comicbookmovie.com is one of many who support Martin and the show. He has stated:
Of course you don’t have to be okay with any of it, but that’s the point: Game Of Thrones is a brutal, bleak show where more often than not the weak and the gentle-hearted suffer the most. If that’s not for you, then don’t watch, but why act as if it’s only now veered off into unsavory territory?
Viewers of the show were also in fury after the brutal execution of Shireen. When Stannis Baratheon agreed to the killing of his young 15 year old daughter the internet exploded creating a stigma circulating around the show much like when Sansa was raped earlier in the season. But is this stigma necessary? Many have argued in the its defense that the show is a
“revolutionary attempt to honestly portray a character driven story”
I guess the main question here is; Does the show deserve to be negatively judged by those who watch it? Or should those who do negatively judge the show stop watching it and let those who do enjoy the show,
Please note that to have a view is personal preference, it ultimately comes down to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to decide as whether the inclusion or the gratuitous nature of the scenes explored above is necessary. But I do believe the audience have a very strong voice on the matter. If you believe the show has gone too far, then should HBO take your opinion into account as the show continues? Then there are those who are relatively neutral on the matter who will tell you to just turn the channel over.
However the way you view the points explored above, I would love to hear from you. Has Game of Thrones overstepped the boundary? We will be discussing some of the best (or worst, depending on your viewpoints) scenes in our next collaboration piece, which should be posted in the next few days so be sure to keep an eye out for the thoughts the HBOWatch writers have on this very issue.
HBO Announces New Game of Thrones Blu-Ray Sets With Dolby Atmos Sound
Frankly I applaud everyone involved in the show for their dedication to presenting a fantasy that is not influenced by the Sugar Plum Fairy set. It seems to me that people forget that the show is not about us. It is about a wholly different world with different standards and different mores. If you try to take out the brutality and survival of the fittest then all you have left is us in costumes. There is also the fact that there are people in our world who behave exactly like those in George R. R. Martin’s novels but nowhere will you see that mentioned by the people who are so outraged by show. I love that HBO and the team bringing us this rich tapestry of morality and life have the courage to present it in all its colors from the darkest shadows to the brightest and sunniest. Please continue to keep the show from becoming more mediocre pablum for those who can not handle spice and new flavors.
As for the death of Shireen, that is straight out of Greek history and I do not recall so much as a peep about it in Troy. Nor the brutality in 300. People ya can’t have it both ways!
Anyone moaning about that off-screen rape has far too much time on their hands. The final episode of Outlander featured a graphic male on male repeated rape of the hero by the villain after he nailed his hand to a table. That’s something I can understand being up in arms about, not some off screen sex between reluctant newly weds.
Oh, this is a loaded question. As a book reader and a show watcher, I have a few opinions. Yes, there are some story lines that quite frankly, were stupid or a waste of time. The whole story line with Sansa and Ramsay doesn’t happen in the books, so why did it have to be put in the show? Shireen didn’t need to die but apparently this is something that takes place in The Winds of Winter. I’m not too pleased about that but unfortunately it too, came to pass. As a student of medieval history, I can also attest to the fact that medieval life was grim and harsh. There was nothing romantic about it either. If it wasn’t disease and starvation that didn’t kill you, it was war and its’ aftermath. The threat of rape, unfortunately, has always been present in the past, in the present and I personally wish we didn’t see it on screen. My final opinion in the matter is that it is a controversial show, given all the themes. However, it is also what the writers do with the material – they could curb some of the violent stuff down a notch. We don’t need to see bodies continually being slaughtered, nor do we need to see or hear yet another sexual assault off screen. Just my humble opinion.
“Shireen didn’t need to die but apparently this is something that takes place in The Winds of Winter.”
What about warning us of spoilers for TWOW before writing this?
Very few people know about this, me among them.
There is a spoiler warning underneath the heading at the top of this article…
Well said. You took the words right out of my head.
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