If there are two things I care about in this world, it’s a person’s consent to sex and Game of Thrones. Definitely in that order. That’s why I’m starting to get a little fed up with the unnecessary rape scenes thrown into Game of Thrones that were not included in the book.
I’m definitely not the only one who feels this way. There has been an outcry amongst fans after last week’s episode “Breaker of Chains” included a very blunt rape scene between Jaime and Cersei Lannister (yeah, they’re brother and sister. We got over that in season one). The biggest problem amongst fans of the series is that this encounter was definitely consensual in George R.R. Martin’s book, A Storm of Swords. In fact, here’s the direct quote from the book to prove it:
“’Hurry,’ she was whispering now, ‘quickly, quickly, now, do it now, do me now. Jaime Jaime Jaime.’ Her hands helped guide him. ‘Yes,’ Cersei said as he thrust, ‘my brother, sweet brother, yes, like that, yes, I have you, you’re home now, you’re home now, you’re home.’ She kissed his ear and stroked his short bristly hair.’"
Once your gag reflex gets over the fact that Cersei is moaning about her brother, it seems pretty obvious that she is consenting to that sex. The other big change from book to show was the rape of Daenerys Targaryen in the first season of Game of Thrones. Yeah, the poor girl has just been married against her will to a giant brute of a man who doesn’t speak her language, but based on Martin’s book, the consummation of their nuptials was consensual. Khal Drogo is careful of her boundries and literally asks Dany if she wants him to stop multiple times before even getting down and dirty. At one point she even gives an enthusiastic “Yes” which is basically your textbook example of how to consent to sex.
Leave it to HBO to make a romantic love scene into a difficult to watch rape. Even last night’s episode, “Oathkeeper” had some difficult moments where we had to watch a slew of Night’s Watch mutineers rape Craster’s wives.
It seems like we’re not done yet. Sophie Turner who plays Sansa Stark recently divulged to news sources that she accidently brought her parents to watch her film a rape scene for this season. Not my Sansa! She’s endured so much already!
So why would HBO want to change love scenes to rape scenes? Rape is a dangerous plot device that even Martin doesn't use in his books; it can flip a plot instantly or change the way you look at a character. However, it also garners attention and usually forces the audience to feel for the victim. The point that HBO is missing is that these women are strong, independent, and in need of no pity. It’s almost as if HBO is worried that by presenting women as power-hungry beings they’re somehow less relatable. Newsflash: The point of the show is that everyone wants power. We can handle it if women want it too.
Despite these queries, the fourth season of Game of Thrones has been its best rated yet. Is it possible that HBO is succeeding in using rape as a catalyst for entertainment value? As long as people keep raising questions about the necessity of rape scenes in the show, hopefully the writers and producers will begin to see that we don’t need to see unnecessary sexual assault in Westeros.
Images Courtesy of HBO