Houseofthedirewolves

Why Dany and Khal Drogo’s Wedding Night Is So Bitterly Disappointing.

61 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

GRRM always claimed that he wanted to make his characters and their situations as realistic as possible, and have them face realistic obstacles with real consequences, so why is Daenerys (a major POV character) one of the most unrealistic characters in the series?


 

When readers are first introduced to Daenerys, she comes across as a believable, frightened, and timid child. A thirteen year old girl who is abused and controlled by her older brother, and who is about to be sold of into a marriage that terrifies her. It is a sad story. But it is a real story. It’s a story that thousands of young girls have been forced to live out throughout history. Some of these child brides have even bravely stepped forward to share the tragic tales of their situations, and their stories make it glaringly obvious that Daenerys Targaryen does not in anyway represent the true stories of real child brides.


 

Daenerys’ story quickly went from real to fantasy in a matter of pages. She dissolved from a believable child character into a completely unbelievable one that responded UNREALISTICALLY to a very real situation. And yes, I am talking about the unrealistic portrayal of Daenerys wedding night and how Daenerys’ actions suddenly turned inconsistent with the frightened child that we were introduced to a few short pages prior.

 

This line between Illyrio when he’s speaking to Tyrion makes an important point. “Daenerys was half a child when she came to me, yet fairer even than my second wife, so lovely I was tempted to claim her for myself. Such a fearful, furtive thing, however, I knew I should get no joy from coupling with her.” Why would he not get any joy? Because Daenerys was fearful and furtive. In other words, she was a traumatized, frightened, and abused child who if put into a sexual situation would either 1) be petrified with fear leading her to be completely unresponsive in bed or 2) shrivel up and withdraw within her mind to cope with what’s being done to her.

 

Illyrio’s observation is REALISTIC. His observation nails the reality of what happens with real child brides when they are forced into premature sexual situations. But unfortunately, GRRM chose to delve away from this grim reality of child brides and take the path of transforming Dany from a believable child victim, into a character who became completely UNREALISTIC.


 

Not only did Daenerys’ story of being a child bride take an unrealistic turn, but Daenerys herself became unrealistic. She went from a frightened child bride, terrified of the marriage that she was sold into --> She felt like a child once more, only thirteen and all alone, not ready for what was about to happen to her…

 

and was suddenly transformed into this? –→ “He stroked the soft skin underneath until it tingled. He circled her nipples with his thumbs, pinched them between thumb and forefinger, then began to pull at her, very lightly at first, then more insistently, until her nipples stiffened and began to ache. He stopped then, and drew her down onto his lap. Dany was flushed and breathless, her heart fluttering in her chest. He cupped her face in his huge hands and looked into his eyes. “No?he said, and she knew it was a question. She took his hand and moved it down to the wetness between her thighs. “Yes,she whispered as she put his finger inside her”

 

*Face Palm*

 

Just to make it clear to people with this mindset (GRRM), it doesn’t matter how long a stranger strokes a frightened child that is terrified of him, SHE IS NOT going to get turned on. Matter of fact, a formerly abused child bride is NOT going to get turned on even after a week or a month of being married, but she will learn to comply or participate if only for self preservation. But for the sake of fantasy as people will be quick to point out, let’s move on.

 

But that leads me into my next point. Dany went through this major development of transforming from an abused and traumatized child into a sexually aware and confident character in... the flip of a page?... With absolutely no journey to get there? Okay.


 

It’s one thing if the wedding took place at the end of the book and was proceeded by a novel length journey in which she underwent character development that resulted in her blossoming from the frightened child that we met at the beginning of her story, to the sexually aware character that she was during her wedding night. That would make sense. I would even be willing to move past her age and accept the development that she went through to reach this point. But the problem is that there wasn’t any development.


 

There wasn’t any attempt to make her wedding night realistic. GRRM seemed more concerned with forcing an empowering moment for Daenerys (forcing because it did not happen in a believable way) that he was willing to suspend reality and believability and resort to romanticizing the tragedy of a child sold into marriage. By having Khal stroke her as if he was a lover engaging in a sexual act with another consenting adult that married him willingly; and having Dany respond as such, it glosses over the pain, fear, and tragedy of real child brides.


 

Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding night was not romantic. Nothing about a child being forced to marry an adult should ever be attempted to be portrayed as romantic. There are documentaries, books, interviews from dozens upon dozens of child bride survivors that GRRM could have used as research material before he wrote the insulting passage about Daenerys wedding night. What he wrote is a slap on the face to real child brides world wide. The romanticizing of their horror.


 

It is disturbing when people ooh and aah over Daenerys and Khal Drogo. But unfortunately, this is what GRRM encouraged by choosing to romanticize such a horrific situation. Instead of shedding light about girls that are sold off to grown men, it encourages fanfictions about child bride characters falling in love with the adult men they’re sold off to. And suddenly, something that should be looked upon with horror gets turned into a love story.


 

So I say again, Daenerys Targaryen is an unrealistic character, and even her most human struggle (being a child bride) was turned into a fantasy from the beginning. Hers is a story that encourages fans to defend a child bride marriage rather than denouncing it.


 

I am aware that many fans hate the TV show’s adaptation of Daenerys’ wedding night, but I have to disagree with those that do. The TV show told the true, grim, and dark story of how wedding nights tend to end for the unfortunate child that was sold into marriage. They end with rape. They do not end with the child enthusiastically leading the adult’s hand to her privates and further encouraging the sexual interaction as the book portrays. That is a fantasy. A sick fantasy.

Edited by Houseofthedirewolves

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Hmmm reading all of this wow i do agree, but i always took it as fantasy so it didn't really cause me to say yea i call BS, but when you put it like that cookie for you.

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Yes I agree entirely! I think that scene is the most cringe-worthy in all the books.  I personally think all sex scenes in ASOIAF are awkward, but this one is just awful. What makes it even weirder is that after this scene, Drogo does start having rape sex with her, so why not make the first a rape as well? 

Or alternatively (preferably) have her not be turned on, and answer "no", and have him actually listen. That would make Drogo a more appealing character, and it would also make Dany's growing love for him a bit more believable. She could still grow into a stronger person, due to the respect she gets from the khalasar and Jorah, develop sexual curiosity and have Doreah explain things to her, and then decide to have sex under the stars with Drogo on the night they make Rhaego. I could look past the creepy age difference and all that jazz if it would've been written in such as way. The whole marriage bedding doesn't fit into that point of her arch at all. 

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The impact of forced and young marriage on girls is well explored in the series. It is an absurd belief that there is only one way a person may react in a sexual situation and anything else is unrealistic. The scene had a purpose, it just wasn't yours.

 

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Daenerys could've developed some kind of Stockholm Syndrome; I can't remember where, but I read once that teenagers who have been abused and/or mistreated for most of their lives tend to quickly develop a strong attachment to someone who is very nice and tender to them, because they are not used to someone treating them nicely. Because this person treated them nicely, the abused teen is willing to go to any length to make that person happy, even if it is detrimental for themselves. Unfortunately, this means that the abused teen is very easy to take advantage of and will put up with serious abuse.

We see this in Daenerys; Viserys has been abusing Daenerys all her life and then suddenly Drogo comes along and isn't the brute she initially thought he was on their wedding night and actually cares about her consent. She is now his khaleesi, which is a very respected status. He is big and strong and can very effectively fight off anyone who wants to harm her and gives her courage to stand up to Viserys.

But she also puts up with the fact that in the beginning of their marriage he ignores her most of the day and the only time he gives her attention is at night, when he rather brutally rapes her (I refuse to say it is anything other than that). She later comes to enjoy having sex with Drogo, even though we, the readers, are personally disgusted with what is going on.

We very clearly see this pattern in Daenerys, which I personally think makes her very interesting.

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Actually, sometimes bodies do respond as if aroused to unwanted sexual advances. And I have little trouble believing that Dany allowed her wedding night to continue, or that she wasn't a quivering mess. She has been groomed by Viserys to be subservient and allow abuse, after all. The problem, I think, is framing. The wedding night is definitely romanticised, and seems to have been written to convey that Drogo is a sensitive savage, which isn't the right approach to take when it's sex between 13 yr old and a 30 yr old.

It's all over the place though, because he sometimes also comments on how twisted it all is, like when he brings up that Dany had just turned 14, right after she found out she was pregnant.

 

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1 hour ago, chrisdaw said:

The impact of forced and young marriage on girls is well explored in the series. It is an absurd belief that there is only one way a person may react in a sexual situation and anything else is unrealistic. The scene had a purpose, it just wasn't yours.

 

You can defend the fantasy that was written, but don’t try to claim it as believable or realistic. Real little girls go through this and their stories were all about horror. Your argument only proves that you should take some time to do some research about the tragic stories of child brides along with George RR Martin.

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12 minutes ago, Hodor the Articulate said:

Actually, sometimes bodies do respond as if aroused to unwanted sexual advances. And I have little trouble believing that Dany allowed her wedding night to continue, or that she wasn't a quivering mess. She has been groomed by Viserys to be subservient and allow abuse, after all. The problem, I think, is framing. The wedding night is definitely romanticised, and seems to have been written to convey that Drogo is a sensitive savage, which isn't the right approach to take when it's sex between 13 yr old and a 30 yr old.

It's all over the place though, because he sometimes also comments on how twisted it all is, like when he brings up that Dany had just turned 14, right after she found out she was pregnant.

 

George RR Martin could have realistically portrayed Daenerys 'allowing' the abuse by having her lie still and accept what was happening to her without crying or resisting.

Even if her body had responded, it would be more realistic for her to feel guilty or ashamed because she is a child that is ignorant of sex and a stranger touching her privates would bring about shame, especially if her body responds to it. But I have accepted that George chose fantasy for her wedding night rather than realism.

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22 minutes ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

Daenerys could've developed some kind of Stockholm Syndrome; I can't remember where, but I read once that teenagers who have been abused and/or mistreated for most of their lives tend to quickly develop a strong attachment to someone who is very nice and tender to them, because they are not used to someone treating them nicely. Because this person treated them nicely, the abused teen is willing to go to any length to make that person happy, even if it is detrimental for themselves. Unfortunately, this means that the abused teen is very easy to take advantage of and will put up with serious abuse.

We see this in Daenerys; Viserys has been abusing Daenerys all her life and then suddenly Drogo comes along and isn't the brute she initially thought he was on their wedding night and actually cares about her consent. She is now his khaleesi, which is a very respected status. He is big and strong and can very effectively fight off anyone who wants to harm her and gives her courage to stand up to Viserys.

But she also puts up with the fact that in the beginning of their marriage he ignores her most of the day and the only time he gives her attention is at night, when he rather brutally rapes her (I refuse to say it is anything other than that). She later comes to enjoy having sex with Drogo, even though we, the readers, are personally disgusted with what is going on.

We very clearly see this pattern in Daenerys, which I personally think makes her very interesting.

Stockholm Syndrome is realistic, but that doesn't develop in a matter of minutes. Even that takes times. It doesn't just happen a few paragraphs after Dany expresses her terror of him. If her wedding night had taken place after knowing Khal Drogo for a few months and developing an attachment to him because he treated her nicely, that would be understandable. But it wasn't. 

It was an unrealistic response from a traumatized child towards a frightening stranger that she just met. Their relationship was rushed. The development was rushed. George RR Martin really took liberty with the fantasy when it came to Dany/Drogo.

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I completely agree, never liked Khal Drogo, dothrakis, nor Dany after that. There was no excuse for that writing, not Stockholm syndrome and not even the excuse that people get aroused when forcefully touched. Whenever I bring this up, people always say it's their "culture."

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38 minutes ago, Houseofthedirewolves said:

You can defend the fantasy that was written, but don’t try to claim it as believable or realistic. Real little girls go through this and their stories were all about horror. Your argument only proves that you should take some time to do some research about the tragic stories of child brides along with George RR Martin.

To look at only the stories of child brides through the scope of tragedy seems rather myopic. It could lead me to thinking that only one outcome is plausible, that only one reaction is possible, that only one interpretation correct.

I think a wider scope would be more beneficial in order to ascertain "realism", particularly with regards to historical societies. And then I think it would be pertinent to study further how societal expectations shape one's own.

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I also completely agree. Then afterwords as they are traveling 13 year old Daenerys is actually "thankful" that Drogo gives her a pillow to cry her screams of agony into as he savagely rapes her from behind every night. It always disgusted me and I had a hard time reading those chapters. I never liked Drogo and never thought of Dany and Drogo as some epic love story some people believe them to be.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

47 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

To look at only the stories of child brides through the scope of tragedy seems rather myopic. It could lead me to thinking that only one outcome is plausible, that only one reaction is possible, that only one interpretation correct.

I think a wider scope would be more beneficial in order to ascertain "realism", particularly with regards to historical societies. And then I think it would be pertinent to study further how societal expectations shape one's own.

I am taking Daenerys’ unique situation into account. She is a child that has been poor, orphaned and forced to sell all of her possession to survive. A child that has been brutally beaten and terrorized by her brother her whole life. A frightened child that trembled when her brother was displeased.

The fearful and withdrawn child that Illyrio observed when he spoke to Tyrion. The girl that wanted to run and hide when she first lay eyes on Khal Drogo but is frozen by fear of her brother hurting her. The child that climbed atop her horse shaking and afraid of the situation that was awaiting her.

As terrified as Dany was of her brother, Khal Drogo frightened her MORE. Marrying him terrified her more than her nightmare of Viserys beating her and kicking her until blood ran down her thighs.


And that is another major reason why it makes absolutely no sense for her to be turned on when he touches her sexually. Her WORST NIGHTMARE is touching her in private places. Why would she getting turned on? For no real reason other than George RR Martin wanted her to.

A child like Dany would shut down in that situation. If George RR Martin was actually attempting to be realistic.

Edited by Houseofthedirewolves

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1 minute ago, Houseofthedirewolves said:

Why would she getting turned on? For no real reason other than George RR Martin wanted her to.

Posters above explained the scene for you so thankfully I don't have to.

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7 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

Posters above explained the scene for you so thankfully I don't have to.

I have provided a response for all of them. I guess that you lack a rebuff of your own for the points that I just made. Cool.

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I’ve really struggled with Dany’s personality changes, too. I agree with the OP, but I’ve noticed other changes, too and suspect the dragons might be the cause.

She started out as very meek but extremely observant. Once married (and upon receiving her dragon eggs), her meekness begins to slide away and she becomes more resourceful deciding to make the best of her marriage, unfortunate as it was. She was clever in observing Drago and Dothraki culture and using this information to improve her station. Once the dragons hatched though, I saw a lot less of that cleverness. Instead of thinking, the dragons always became the answer. I didn’t feel like I was reading book 1 Dany (post-marriage) until the HOTU vision where she was separated from her dragons and had to use her wits to manage her situation.

A lot of the mistakes attributed to Dany in the slaver cities I felt like book 1 Dany (again, post-marriage) would have been clever enough not to have made. The slaver city characters which seemed unrealistic and cartoonish when told by Dany became much more realistic seen by Barristan and Tyrion indicating the degree to which Dany had apparently just checked out which seemed so unlike the observant Dany in book 1. At the end of ADWD, she concludes that she can’t rule, but when I read book 1 Dany navigating her way through Dothraki culture, then I disagree as I think pre-dragon Dany would be a competent ruler given more time and life experience.

For me, Dany’s big personality changes coincide with:

1. Receiving the dragon eggs

2. The eggs seeming to come to life from stone

3. The eggs hatching

4. Two of the dragons being locked up (Dany checked out in Meereen)

5. When Dany finally bonds with Drogon who is out in the wild being very dragon-y, suddenly she’s fire-and-blood-dragons-plant-no-trees.

The warg bond and the dragon bond are not completely unalike. Bran is warned not to spend too much time in Summer or the wolf may take over the man. I’m really wondering if the same isn’t the case with dragons.

 

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3 minutes ago, Houseofthedirewolves said:

I have provided a response for all of them. I guess that you lack a rebuff of your own for the points that I just made. Cool.

I respond where there's something worth responding to. Things like "GRRM wanted her to" deserves less than an eye roll, that argument could be levelled at anything in the series and is wholly worthless. You've said nothing that would make one suspect you understand what the scene was actually portraying much less rebuffed it.

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Posted (edited)

19 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

I respond where there's something worth responding to. Things like "GRRM wanted her to" deserves less than an eye roll, that argument could be levelled at anything in the series and is wholly worthless. You've said nothing that would make one suspect you understand what the scene was actually portraying much less rebuffed it.

It was a worthless scene that did not move the plot along in anyway. In fact, both characters REVERTED back to their original characterization after the useless romanticization of the situation. Khal Drogo ceased caring for her feelings as he brutally took her from behind, and Dany went back to sobbing in terror and pain into her pillow.

The wedding night scene didn't move the plot along in any way. It didn't change the characters in anyway. It didn't make them closer to each other. This scene could have been altered and the story line would not have been affected in anyway other than making it more realistic.

So, yes, I stand by my claim that there was no reason for it to happen other than George RR Martin wanting to rush an empowering moment on Dany while sacrificing realism, believability, logic, and storytelling. It was written to be written. 

Edited by Houseofthedirewolves

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2 hours ago, Houseofthedirewolves said:

George RR Martin could have realistically portrayed Daenerys 'allowing' the abuse by having her lie still and accept what was happening to her without crying or resisting.

Even if her body had responded, it would be more realistic for her to feel guilty or ashamed because she is a child that is ignorant of sex and a stranger touching her privates would bring about shame, especially if her body responds to it. But I have accepted that George chose fantasy for her wedding night rather than realism.

You're applying generalities to Dany's situation, without consideration of the character's mindset or the context. For Dany, Drogo isn't a stranger, he's her husband, who she is expected to please, and bed that night. She would consider arousal a good thing, not something shameful. Though, yes, I do think Dany poking his finger up her snatch is a step too far. I don't know wtf GRRM was thinking when he wrote that.

Where GRRM stuffs up is not showing the rest of the scene, which was undoubtedly unpleasant, and in doing this, he unfortunately frames the wedding night as romantic. As I mentioned before, I think this was intentional - the scene wasn't so much for Dany's character as it was to show that Drogo had a softer side. And that is where I take issue.

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