The Latest News
Connect with Us

Notable Releases
From the Store
Game of Thrones Embroidered Targaryen Beanie
Game of Thrones Embroidered Targaryen Beanie
HBO US
Featured Sites
License Holders

Jump to content


Photo

[BOOK & TV SPOILERS] Dany and Drogo's relationship


  • Please log in to reply
112 replies to this topic

#21 Ser Greguh

Ser Greguh

    Avatarless Wonder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,472 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:28 PM

The point is that if Drogo is just another person controlling Dany like Viserys or at least establishes himself as that in her eyes during their first encounter, it makes the transition to the person who "gives her the wind" a lot less believable. In the books, he's like the first person ever to allow her some control of her destiny, and he establishes that immediately on their wedding night. It's a small thing but it's meaningful to her and goes a long way to explaining why Dany could come to love Drogo the way she did.

None of which means that the relationship didn't grow out of a dynamic that was positively horrific. Dany was on the edge of suicide by the time she found the strength (in large part from the connection she felt to her dragon eggs) to adapt to the lifestyle of the Dothraki; the freedom she briefly felt from her wedding night was long gone, and she was trapped in yet another prison, this one more immediately brutal and seemingly impossible to endure than anything she'd experienced before; while Viserys was controlling and nasty, he never approached the level of brutality that Dany experienced in her first several weeks with the Dothraki, very much including (and amplified by) the nightly sex from Drogo.

The fact that love grew out of that awful beginning had very little to do with the relative pleasantness that she was finally allowed to feel on her wedding night. Yes, Drogo represented freedom from her previous prison, and yes, in some ways he showed that potential on their wedding day and night, but far more important was the fact that, when she began to take charge and to renegotiate the terms of their encounters, he responds positively, and changes to suit. That was why she fell in love with him, not because of any specific characteristics he showed on his wedding night.

The dynamic that the show is setting up is more or less the same, just without the added complication of Dany's sexual awakening coming from a relatively pleasant wedding night. The relative brutality (although, I hasten to add, not nearly as objectively brutal) of their later encounters was transferred to the wedding night, probably in the spirit of expedience and to give her a similar place to grow from. I don't see how that transference makes it somehow less believable that she comes to love him, period. No matter how you slice it, book or show, their love grows out of a place that is brutal and uncomfortable to modern eyes.

Edited by Ser Greguh, 18 April 2011 - 11:29 PM.


#22 Tadco26

Tadco26

    Hedge Knight

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 267 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:31 PM

The main point is they don't have time to make it convincing for non-readers that she goes from dreading him, to consensual in the very limited screen time she gets with no internal monologue to let us know her thoughts. It worked in the books with a lot more exposition and time spent on the wedding, but it probably was not believable at all for most non-readers in the context of the show. They covered 9 chapters in just over an hour. With so many characters and so little time, the characters need to seem consistent. So I suspect they felt this was easier for the viewer to follow, rather than stay true to the books and have her say "yes", and then go to the events in chapter 23 where Drogo forces Dany against her will to the point that she is considering suicide, then turn that relationship into love...

Without internal monologue for the point of view character's thoughts, their motivations need to be more consistent so they make sense to the viewer and easy to follow from episode to episode. Without seeing the rest of the season it is hard to judge how successful that change is, but in the context of what was shown I think it makes sense.

#23 neutronicus

neutronicus

    Freerider

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 65 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:55 PM

Lest we misunderstand the book's portrayal of Dany and Drogo's relationship ...

Yet every night, some time before the dawn, Drogo would come to her tent and wake her in the dark, to ride her as relentlessly as he rode his stallion. He always took her from behind, Dothraki fashion, for which Dany was grateful; that way her lord husband could not see the tears that wet her face, and she could use her pillow to muffle her cries of pain.


To me, that's rape or as near as makes no difference. The wedding night was the exception in the book, and rape was the rule. The TV show just got rid of exception.

#24 corbon

corbon

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,483 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:21 AM

Lest we misunderstand the book's portrayal of Dany and Drogo's relationship ...

Yet every night, some time before the dawn, Drogo would come to her tent and wake her in the dark, to ride her as relentlessly as he rode his stallion. He always took her from behind, Dothraki fashion, for which Dany was grateful; that way her lord husband could not see the tears that wet her face, and she could use her pillow to muffle her cries of pain.


To me, that's rape or as near as makes no difference. The wedding night was the exception in the book, and rape was the rule. The TV show just got rid of exception.


No. It is painful sex. There is no hint there of a lack of consent on Dany's part.
Sex isn't optional in a marriage in this society. The purpose of the wife (initially), especially the wife of an important man, is to give heirs. Dany understood this, even if she didn't understand what it entailed, which is why she does not 'refuse' to play her painful part. She doesn't hide, she doesn't run away, she is just grateful that her husband doesn't feel cheated by the way she is fulfilling her duties. I'm not saying that this is ideal, I'm pointing out that this strongly implies that she consents to the sex, even though it is painful.

Another way of looking at it is that it is essentially a business deal. She gets status, possessions, security etc in return for basically one task. But she has to do that task even if it is considerably less pleasant than cleaning out the latrines.
Refuse the task, lose all the benefits. Lose all the benefits and she has nothing to stop her from a vastly worse fate.
This isn't a modern marriage where a woman can essentially bring or build her own status, possessions, security etc and so has the right to say no. She is enjoying the benefits of the contract, she has to pay the price.

#25 Social Justice Darkstar

Social Justice Darkstar

    I am of the social justice night

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 36,590 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:29 AM

The only hint of a lack of consent in the show, as you put it, is her crying. It is exactly the same as the description above. If it's rape in one case it is on the other, and consenting to it once is not consent for all time. Similarly, consenting to sex after an hour of foreplay isn't the same as consenting to get ridden hard after a long day of hard riding.

#26 Bastard of Godsgrace

Bastard of Godsgrace

    Scourge of the Desert

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,334 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:27 AM

As I alreadz mentioned in other thread, I was led by reading the people on the forum going: ZOMG a rape scene! to expect something far more brutal, so seeing the actual episode was somehow anticlimactic, which was a relief since too explicit scene in the first episode could harm the series, IMHO.

OTOH, leaving the Drogo saying "no" without Dany saying "yes" was bizarre and because of this the whole scene did look somewhat as rape.

#27 Venardhi

Venardhi

    Landed Knight

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 466 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 04:14 AM

Even if she had tears in her eyes as she whispered "yes", it would have worked much better in the sense that she has accepted her new role to at least a minor extent. The "No" exchange didn't feel like a man trying to communicate his understanding here, it was a command without pity or remorse.

The worst part was his body language though. He was eying her in the casual way a rich man looks at a car in a showroom, running his hands over her as an object rather than as a person. That could be either Momoa's choice or the Director's but either way it is just wrong for the scene and wrong for both of the characters.

#28 Mazikeen

Mazikeen

    Commoner

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 15 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:31 AM

This has been debated to death and yet some points still don't seem to come across.

First, the term "rape" has no place in the context of the setting, regardless of how brutal or non-consensual the scene in the first episode may seem to our modern sensibilities (not that I think it was particularly brutal and they did a pretty good job with it). Dany was Drogo's wife now, he owned her. To refuse him or resist him was unthinkable for both of them, simply not done. This goes for pretty much every other marriage in the books. Sex with your husband is very much expected and as a woman you have to go through with it, even though it will likely be painful and scary and unpleasant.

Second, I think the scene in the series is much more in line with the Dothraki culture and Khal Drogo as seen by Dany herself in the books:

Dany looked at Khal Drogo. His face was hard and cruel, his eyes as cold and dark as onyx. Her brother hurt her sometimes, when she woke the dragon, but he did not frighten her the way this man frightened her



While the scene in the book is nice and romantic and all, I always thought it clashed with the image of the Dothraki and Khal Drogo as a war leader. The Dothraki are a hard people who value strength and Drogo is feared and respected, for good reason. I don't really see him going all soft and gentle with a girl he knows nothing about (and has no respect for yet). He's not stranger to sex with young girls, so why make an exception for this one, especially that she is now his to do with as he pleases. Does anyone really think that he would have waited for a better time had Dany said "no" in the books? The loss of face with his warriors and fellow khals would have been huge.

Drogo is not brutal in the TV scene, but he is firm. A few people made the remark that he treats her like a skittish mare and not a person, why yes, that's exactly it. That's their culture - the men have to be strong and have a firm hand with women, children, slaves and animals.

Edited by Mazikeen, 19 April 2011 - 07:32 AM.


#29 Eugene V. Debspalm

Eugene V. Debspalm

    Barbarism and Decadence, Fuck Yeah.

  • Board Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,965 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:46 AM

First, the term "rape" has no place in the context of the setting, regardless of how brutal or non-consensual the scene in the first episode may seem to our modern sensibilities (not that I think it was particularly brutal and they did a pretty good job with it). Dany was Drogo's wife now, he owned her. To refuse him or resist him was unthinkable for both of them, simply not done. This goes for pretty much every other marriage in the books. Sex with your husband is very much expected and as a woman you have to go through with it, even though it will likely be painful and scary and unpleasant.


I rather take the opposite approach - given the circumstances, and the insurmountable power imbalance between men and women, and Drogo and Dany in particular - the dry legality, the extraneous political circumstances, the sheer physical discrepancy, their respective psychologies - all sex really is rape. "Yes" is meaningless when "no" is simply not an option.

I guess what i'm saying is, I didn't mind that the scene was more brutal (and it looked brutal to me, not 'firm') - its probably more realistic in its way. But in the books, having built the ultimate patriarchy, GRRM still tried to fill it with humans - Dany's choice, Drogo's gentleness and even vulnerability (the bit where she unbraids his hair is maybe the one I miss most in the whole thing) are all utterly symbolic - the night was going to go through one way or another - but they speak to character in a way the tv scene dosen't.


I can't make up my mind about which portrayal is more feminist though. Or less less feminist, anyway. They're both extremely problematic, in some ways - greater autonomy for Dany in the books balanced by the bodice ripper fantasy, while in the show Dany's more clearly a victim and the medium by default is much more objectifying. (though the book is really not innoccent of this either. It still plays out worse visually though, IMO.)



#30 CryFenril

CryFenril

    Squire

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 177 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:47 AM

In the books, she showed acceptance by saying "Yes." In the series, she showed acceptance by standing still, talking to him briefly, and letting him do as he wished with her without openly objecting. She cried, naturally, because she was a terrified young girl who had NO idea what to do.

That doesn't make it rape, especially by the standards of the people around her.

The whole time he's examining her beforehand, he is walking circles around her and giving her room to move away. It's not until he has established that she's not going to bolt that he steps in and undresses her. Her resistance (covering her breasts) is momentary and quickly goes away. When he puts his hands on her shoulders to bend her over, she doesn't resist that either.

There is minimal tenderness on his part, and none on hers. But the sex is NOT forced. He gives her the opportunity to reject him physically, and she does not. Whether or not she accepts him verbally doesn't matter - her body language says it for her.

It is not the long, slow process we see in the books, but as has been stated before, we don't have time for that here. We have to establish that she accepts her marriage (whether she really wants to or not) because she has little choice in the matter. And that is done quite neatly without the need for abuse or violence. He is firm, quick, and to the point, but he is NOT brutal or violent. He gives her a chance to reject him, and when she does not he takes what is "his". Not romantic, by any stretch, but again, not a forcible rape by the social standards set forth by the series.

Kind of like the difference between squealing and leaking around the eyes a little when you donate blood, and punching out the nurse.

Another important change - up to this point, the only sexual contact between ANY partners that we have seen has all been impersonal (Tyrion and his whore-pile) or animalistic (Dothraki wedding/dancers). Ever Cersei and Jaime are going at it the same way. The fact that Drogo takes her in this fashion will make her "This night I would look upon your face" statement down the road even more important.

The only lovey-cuddly action we've seen at all so far is Cat snuggling up to Ned in bed, fully dressed. Seeing Dany and Drogo engaged in anything even remotely romantic at this point would lessen the impact of their romance developing later in the story. We have to see it grow, not just pop up in one night of groping.

Drogo has never seen anything like Dany in his hard life - right now he is fascinated by her, but he doesn't love her. It isn't until she begins to come out of her shell, and grows into herself, that she assumes a sort of ascendancy over him and can control their interactions. Right now, at this point, his control of their relationship is not only perfectly understandable, it is necessary to her transformation.

#31 BigFatCoward

BigFatCoward

    Party for your right to Fight

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,124 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:57 AM

i must admit after all the hooha before i watched the show i was expecting it to be much, much worse.

#32 JackintheBeanstalk

JackintheBeanstalk

    Freerider

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 34 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:17 PM

Again, then, how do you reconcile this opinion with the fact that subsequent sex scenes in the book are considerably more brutal than the wedding scene as depicted in the show? (Not only is she crying throughout, he is causing her considerable physical pain, something definitely not directly inferred from the show). Why is the first time they have sex so much more important than the next several times, in determining what is and is not an acceptable place from which to grow into loving someone?


The pain and tears involved in the subsequent book sex scenes were caused by saddle sores and cramps resulting from the unfamiliar ordeal of riding a horse from morning to night. Sex under those circumstances would be quite painful, especially given that he mounts her from behind, where she is the sorest. This implies that he has no patience for her to toughen up to the point where she can endure the rigors of riding, but it does not imply that he was brutal to her during sex. He uses sex as entitlement, not a punishment or a power trip. Indeed, she very quickly does strengthen and toughen up, both mentally and physically. Once the saddle sores heal up, she enjoys his nightly visits.

She knows that he never once intended her harm or humiliation. It never even occurs to her that forgiving him for his indifference to her initial lack of toughness is necessary.

#33 Social Justice Darkstar

Social Justice Darkstar

    I am of the social justice night

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 36,590 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:19 PM

That's not really supported by the books in any way, Jack. It's a reasonable interpretation but it's certainly not the only one - and given that Dany's actions are to show Drogo how to make her happy, it doesn't really make sense, either.

Another way to put it is this: if Drogo knew that foreplay is good before, why did he forget later?

#34 Ser_Pounce

Ser_Pounce

    Commoner

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:38 PM

I rather take the opposite approach - given the circumstances, and the insurmountable power imbalance between men and women, and Drogo and Dany in particular - the dry legality, the extraneous political circumstances, the sheer physical discrepancy, their respective psychologies - all sex really is rape. "Yes" is meaningless when "no" is simply not an option.


There's not a single person, male or female, in their world who would have called this "rape." Applying modern western criminal law to the situation is beyond silly. According to our laws, Eddard Stark also "murdered" the deserter from the wall. There was no jury of his peers, no opportunity to present evidence in his defense, etc. But to call that incident "murder" would just be ridiculous, he was abiding by the laws of his land and the traditions of his people.

#35 Social Justice Darkstar

Social Justice Darkstar

    I am of the social justice night

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 36,590 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:42 PM

There's not a single person, male or female, in their world who would have called this "rape."

So?

We're not in their world. We're not of their culture. To us Dany absolutely, 100% was raped. She didn't want to have sex, she was put in a position where she would either have sex or face serious physical and economic consequences. She didn't seem to enjoy the idea much either. That doesn't mean that it means the same thing to Dany, but let's not beat around the bush. In our language, rape means a certain thing - and that certain thing happened to Dany.

Eddard would also agree with you that he murdered that watchman, so I'm not sure where you're going with there. It's hard on him too. To be fair, he did break a very specific law with a very specific consequence; it's like saying you need a trial to determine that you did indeed breathe air.

#36 Ser_Pounce

Ser_Pounce

    Commoner

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:53 PM

Eddard would also agree with you that he murdered that watchman


No he wouldn't. "Murder" is an unlawful killing, Stark would say that he carried out a lawful execution. The difference is huge.

I'm not going to continue this, you obviously have a great deal of difficulty understanding the mindset of people from cultures and traditions different from your own. Neither Dany nor Drogo see the world in general or "rape" in particular the way that you do, and therefore their reactions to events are going to be very different than what your "common sense" tells you they "should be."

Edited by Ser_Pounce, 19 April 2011 - 12:54 PM.


#37 Xenophon

Xenophon

    Inquisitive not Intelligent

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,409 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:07 PM

In the HBO Khal Drogo character feature, Jason Momoa says that his character's story arc is about Drogo gradually opening up to Dany as she shows him a world he'd never seen before.

That sounds to me like they've decided to re-envision Drogo and Dany's relationship from in the books, where I never got much of a sense of Drogo changing.

Edited by Xenophon, 19 April 2011 - 01:09 PM.


#38 Thefalconemperor

Thefalconemperor

    Squire

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 189 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:25 PM

I honestly can't believe how much of a fuss is being made out of nowhere. How much worse from your average medieval marriage do you believe that one was? Dany knew pretty much what was going to happen and was frightened by it, but in no moment Drogo is overly violent or anything.

Besides, if you even bothered to watch some pre-release videos at all, you can clearly see the relationship grows to something much more tender.

And that's without mentioning the book clearly states Drogo wakes her up and rides her relentlessly every night. To me, Dany's relationship with Drogo was always more of your typical teenage girl being attached to a boyfriend that hurts and forces her but still cares for her (we all know how common violence in relationships are, specially unequal ones) after a life of being shunned by her brother and just about everyone else.

#39 True Blue Mug

True Blue Mug

    Hedge Knight

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 274 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:49 PM

In the HBO Khal Drogo character feature, Jason Momoa says that his character's story arc is about Drogo gradually opening up to Dany as she shows him a world he'd never seen before.

That sounds to me like they've decided to re-envision Drogo and Dany's relationship from in the books, where I never got much of a sense of Drogo changing.


I really do hope they "re-envision" Dany and Drogo because frankly I feel that this sequence lacked a great deal of nuance. I don't fault the actors who are both suited for their roles, but the way the scene was written, shot, and edited... I think one of the main things about this encounter in the book is that it's Dany's first time and while she's terrified to the be with this presumed barbarian of a man, there's an underlying excitement or desire to her demeanor. Equally, counter to the expectations of certain readers, Drogo is gentle with her. In a way, he is the deeper/wiser character at this point despite appearances.

In the episode, it just felt like the writing was going through the motions. Drogo goes through his "No" spiel and boom! He bends her over and Dany cries. Then hilariously, they just cut from the scene. /laugh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':laugh:' /> The implication is that Dany has a terrible time of it. In a way it undercuts Drogo's character and plays into the stereotype of a barbarian, whereas he elevated himself above that standard in the book.

We'll see... maybe a tenderness or closeness will develop in ensuing episodes.

#40 Maestress Sand

Maestress Sand

    Sellsword

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Posted 19 April 2011 - 02:10 PM

Very interesting to read other people's responses to this scene. I admit, it was the one that I had the most trouble with on first viewing.

I was mildly quesy in the book's wedding night scene, until he finally waited for the "Yes." Did he have to do this? No. Is there actually any way in their world that he even could have "raped" his wife? No. So therefore I read it as an indication that Drogo was somewhat unusual. Although he was still a man in that world (and showed it in the disturbing weeks following the wedding with the oft-quoted Dany's pain with riding and sex passage), it showed the foundation from which Dany's love for him could eventually form. And I think the validity of her love is an important point in the book; no matter how powerless she was on the wedding night, we are supposed to take her as a person of substance and power later on. Someone who loves fiercely and cautiously. Additionally, it also seemed to show a sense of freedom in Dothraki culture. Captives and dancer girls might be open for the taking, but a Khaleesi is a full-fledged Dothraki, someone who wants to be with her Khal. I respected the delicacy of Martin's portrayal of a complicated and brutal situation.

The tv scene, however, made me very uncomfortable. I understand that for tv plot arcs and character portrayals have to be shortened. I assume they're going for a more direct Dany-rising-from-the-ashes-of-her-struggles arc with it by portraying her in such a victimized light in this scene. They seem to be, as someone above said, "getting rid of the exception." And apparently her love for Drogo will grow out of Stockholm's syndrome (only partial sarcasm). Do I like it? No. Do they care? No.

PS: I just want to clear up that if the sexual encounter Dany had in the tv episode happened in our world (even with age differences set aside), just the fact that she didn't "run away" or verbally say "no" doesn't make it any less rape. She was physically manipulated and entered while crying for goodness sake. If there's anyone who questions that the this encounter was not consensual, I kindly and respectfully suggest that they may wish to examine their own sexual encounters more thoroughly. No harm meant.