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alienarea

GRRM vs #metoo

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With some of the reactions claiming  Season 8 ep 4 to be sexist and even racist because of Missandei's death, and the direction the arcs of Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Arya take towards the end of the show, I wonder whether

a) this is a general discussion we need to have

b) this is another reason for the books not being finished

GRRM has created a series with a strong presence of incest, rape, sex with minors and bestiality under the cover of being a medieval fantasy.

In the light of #metoo and similar debates I doubt that the books were to be received the same way as when they were originally published.

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its a fantasy novel. . set in midevil times when that stuff was common.. 

People that have issues with being unable to understand that can go to thier safe room circle and hold hands with thier fellow snowflakes. 

or.. they can go write thier own novels with thier own morals applied and see how well those sell. 

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

With some of the reactions claiming  Season 8 ep 4 to be sexist and even racist because of Missandei's death, and the direction the arcs of Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Arya take towards the end of the show, I wonder whether

a) this is a general discussion we need to have

b) this is another reason for the books not being finished

GRRM has created a series with a strong presence of incest, rape, sex with minors and bestiality under the cover of being a medieval fantasy.

In the light of #metoo and similar debates I doubt that the books were to be received the same way as when they were originally published.

I am not sure about #metoo specifically, because I believe that's largely about sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus far I haven't heard anything about harassment of female writers or actors in the production of Game of Thrones. So you can discuss sexism in the TV show and the books, but not #metoo specifically unless I'm misunderstanding. 

I think it's been quite sexist since the show's decline in Season 5. Part of this is down to the internal monologues in the books -- Cersei thinks of her own sexual abuse, and Brienne thinks of how she's not accepted. But a lot of characters are rather simplified. For instance, Cersei, who cares far more about her children and is a complete monster after Tommen commits suicide -- it frames motherhood as the only aspect of humanity worth caring about. Or Dorne, where all the female rulers and heirs (Lady Blackmont, Myria Jordayne, Arianne) are cut out, replaced with male rulers, and the only female rulers assume power via a coup and are kinslayers.

17 minutes ago, Bradam said:

its a fantasy novel. . set in midevil times when that stuff was common.. 

People that have issues with being unable to understand that can go to thier safe room circle and hold hands with thier fellow snowflakes. 

or.. they can go write thier own novels with thier own morals applied and see how well those sell. 

First of all, it isn't our "medieval times." 300 Years after Aegon's Conquest did not happen in our world. Moreover, we did not have dragons in the Middle Ages, nor did we have winters that lasted for years. A Song of Ice and Fire has those things, so it could have cut out sexism if it wanted to. Do I think George RR Martin should have cut that stuff out, though? No, it works well to a certain extent at criticising sexism. It isn't perfect, but it does the job to a good degree most of the time.

Furthermore, look at Dorne in the novels if you want an example of GRRM making a society without most sexism. And there are quite a lot of fantasy books that feature a gender equal world, and worlds where women are more powerful than men in some circles, if you would like to browse the genre a bit more.

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TBH, the sample chapter with Arya from TWoW is too close to child pornography for my taste, and writing a fantasy series set in medieval-like times doesn't make it ok.

The things Ramsay does to Jeyne Poole suggest beastiality.

How old was Daenerys supposed to be in Season 1, episode 1?

 

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

TBH, the sample chapter with Arya from TWoW is too close to child pornography for my taste, and writing a fantasy series set in medieval-like times doesn't make it ok.

The things Ramsay does to Jeyne Poole suggest beastiality.

How old was Daenerys supposed to be in Season 1, episode 1?

 

13 in the books (she turns 14 and realizes she's pregnant while crossing the Dothraki Sea), 17 in Season 1.

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So what are you proposing?

Do you wish for censorship or forced changes to the books? Or are you just stating that a book makes you feel uncomfortable with its subject matter? I am not trying to be a jerk here, as a parent I have a hard time reading some books set in our world that have kids abused or sexually mistreated.

Maybe they are received not as great nowadays, I don't know. But to me it doesn't take away from the book. It's still a phenomenal series, that yes may have some awful things happen in it and make it tough to read. But I would never want to change it or censor it or anything....

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I agree that these books have sexist writing in them, from the most superficial to the disturbing. It has nothing to do with~~medieval accuracy~~ since this is not the Middle Ages, it's a fantasy land created by a man who is certainly guilty of sexist and racist writing. I don't think it's a reason for the books being delayed. And while Martin can't change the previous books, he can do one thing: try to do better. 

And i second @Vaith's post. 

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Yes, the world may have become more aware of these issues in these days. If Martin would get into problem for people being angry at him trying to write about sensitive stuff with a heavy hand then perhaps it would be best if the next two books were not released, or written at all. That way no one needs to get offended or into problem and GRRM don't need to feel compelled to write stuff in a different way than he would like to write it.

Personally I hope the next books do come out and even if there's been some blunders in the past, and that people will give GRRM the benefit of doubt in regards to his attempts to write dark fantasy. Everybody makes mistakes and GRRM is part of "everybody".

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4 hours ago, Bradam said:

its a fantasy novel. . set in midevil times when that stuff was common.. 

Incest was really not common in medieval times, certainly not brother-sister stuff. Marriages between cousins was more common, mainly because a lot of lowborn people never ventured more than 15 miles from where they were born in their entire lives, so everyone in a given area was distantly related after a while, unless there was a forced migration or war.

Marriage between minors was was also incredibly rare, because it was gross, contrary to Catholic teachings (GRRM massively lowballs the real influence of religious teaching in medieval life) and also quite exceedingly dangerous at a time when fit and healthy women in their twenties and thirties could easily die in childbirth if the slightest thing went wrong. George's influence for that seems to be from a specific period in the Wars of the Roses when the ongoing, multi-generational carnage meant that families married off sons and daughters at increasingly ridiculously young ages, but before and after the war it was extremely uncommon. 16-18 was a much more common age for marriages at that time, and sometimes rulers kept their heirs unwed well into their twenties until they found a good match. GRRM's specific inspiration for marrying Daenerys off so young was Margaret Beaufort, who was married at 7 - fortunately unconsummated - and again at 12 - when it was and she almost died giving birth to her son, the future King Henry VII, and left her unable to have any more children.

"That's how it was back then!" is a lame excuse, because it mostly wasn't.

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It all depends on how it's handled. I think George R.R. Martin has a better grasp on writing about sexual harassment, rape and the role of women than the showrunners do.

Both the show and the books are pretty unflinching when it comes to depicting uncomfortable and appalling acts of violence, murder, rape and abuse of power. However, Martin really delves into these things in a more in-depth way than the show does. He does have the luxury of being able to take his time and give us the viewpoints of several diverse female characters and paints them as complex characters with many contradictory motives and personality traits. He doesn't try to suggest that such and such character needed to be raped to become a stronger person (looking at you showrunners) and there are long visceral passages of abused women in the books - that while difficult to read and sometimes more graphic than the show  - really show the horrors and after-effects of war. It's explored in a meaningful way.

Meanwhile, the show has depicted rapes that didn't exist in the book such as Dany and Drogo (which I'd imagine was changed because they wanted to shock viewers out the gate by their gritty pilot and doubling down on Dany's misery), Jaime and Cersei (to hit viewers over the head with how toxic / dysfunctional they are) and Sansa and Ramsay (to have Sansa "experience a gothic horror story" and really become a hardened woman). Not to mention the attempted rape scene they threw in there so Sam could be a hero for Gilly. They stopped with these needless rape scenes after Season 5 but only because it got so much backlash. This isn't to mention quick montages of guards smacking women about or women being raped with breasts exposed in the background while "compelling minor villain" Karl "Fooking" Tanner makes a badass monologue in the foreground.

This isn't to say that I think Benioff and Weiss are gleefully writing rape scenes, just that they're more intent on creating a badass entertainment show without really looking at the optics. I think Martin is keenly aware and has studied issues like this and is much more careful and reflective on how he writes such harrowing things. Martin's not perfect - a few times, some of his writing about Dany's body / sexuality is a little creeper-y but some of the writing about her body / sexuality is quite progressive.

As for them killing a POC character like Missandei off in the show, I don't think George will go that same route. For one thing, Missandei isn't Dany's mostly silent, barely developed galpal like she is in the show. She's an advisor taken into Dany's service but most of Dany's arc in ADWD is how isolated she is. Also while Martin could certainly do better on POC and especially given Essosi characters that aren't Melisandre a POV, he does have several minor women of colour still alive in the books like Missandei, Irri, Jhiqui and Sarella as well as various Summer Islander women. I highly doubt the beheading of a chained black woman will be used as a plot device to drive Dany mad in the novels.

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6 hours ago, Bradam said:

its a fantasy novel. . set in midevil times when that stuff was common.. 

People that have issues with being unable to understand that can go to thier safe room circle and hold hands with thier fellow snowflakes. 

or.. they can go write thier own novels with thier own morals applied and see how well those sell. 

I'm sorry but the "It happened during that period!"  is a lazy argument to defend heinous and gross scenes in fictional stories. 

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7 hours ago, alienarea said:

With some of the reactions claiming  Season 8 ep 4 to be sexist and even racist because of Missandei's death, and the direction the arcs of Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Arya take towards the end of the show, I wonder whether

a) this is a general discussion we need to have

b) this is another reason for the books not being finished

GRRM has created a series with a strong presence of incest, rape, sex with minors and bestiality under the cover of being a medieval fantasy.

In the light of #metoo and similar debates I doubt that the books were to be received the same way as when they were originally published.

I definitely agree that it is a conversation that needs to be had. As much as I love George and I think he was an author ahead of his time, I think his work was still a product of 80s/90s fantasy where there was a lot of racism and sexist undertones. It's especially noticeable when you compare his work to some contemporary fantasy authors who have their work also set in the middle ages. D & D also haven't made anything better in the way they have portrayed POC and women in their television series.

I'm not against authors writing about sensitive topics, however, for a modern audience, said topics have to be shown/written with substance rather than just for shock value or to show people that your work is "edgy". Sansa's rape scene, for example, was one of the most pointless sexist scenes of the television series.

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24 minutes ago, Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍™ said:

I'm sorry but the "It happened during that period!"  is a lazy argument to defend heinous and gross scenes in fictional stories. 

I don't see how that's lazy, a lazy response would be "if you don't like it go watch Disney movies"  One of the more interesting parts of this show was initially the show started out adding serious consequences to bad actions and a serious lack of plot armor.   Granted all that went out the window later on but that's more the show then the books.

I don't get why people treat fiction as if its really happening.  Part of the purpose of fiction is to explore those areas and what if's you would never go to in the real world.  

Now if they went the GI Joe cartoon route of giving a PSA after the episode but it was Sansa saying "okay now everyone go home and rape people to make them stronger!" Yeah then you have a point. 

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13 hours ago, Bradam said:

Part of the purpose of fiction is to explore those areas and what if's you would never go to in the real world.

Yes, this.

https://www.thefandomentals.com/watsonian-and-doylist-the-eternal-struggle/

Once upon a time, as a reader of genre fiction, I was an unabashed Watsonian. This was easy to do. The words in the story were all you had to go by.

Skip ahead a few years, and such things as fandom and worldcons and TV & movie adaptations are beginning to break down the separation between creator and consumer. Fast-forward to the present day, and it's a full-on immersion bath. I wonder what Ray Bradbury would have thought, had he been exposed to the pop-culture environment we inhabit now.

I try to take a story on its own terms, separate from the zeitgeist of my own time & place. It is a straightforward matter when the fictional world is created with imagination & flair; when the characters are intelligent & engaging; when things happen with internal consistency & logic. When fiction is done well, I tolerate much more easily the exploration of scenarios which might horrify me in real life.

I've read elsewhere that GRRM himself doubted that Ice and Fire could be successfully translated to the screen. In regard to in-universe cruelty toward women (and not just them), GoT the show has mostly let the viewers down. It's just not sufficient to the task. A written account can put the reader inside the character's head. We know what she is thinking and feeling. We see whether she is closing in on herself and giving up hope, or whether she's angry and thinking of striking back. The show, I think, did very well with Theon when he was held captive by Ramsay, much of that success due to Alfie Allen's skill as an actor. I hope he gets a few cheerful comedy roles in future!

The violence done to Arya as part of her so-called training in Braavos, on the other hand, was sickening to watch because it made no freaking sense!! in the context of the story. And looking through the detached eye of the camera as barmaids are groped by soldiers, and captive sex slaves are fondled by sailors, is not in any way subversive. It's voyeurism, pure and simple.

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22 hours ago, alienarea said:

With some of the reactions claiming  Season 8 ep 4 to be sexist and even racist because of Missandei's death, and the direction the arcs of Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Arya take towards the end of the show, I wonder whether

a) this is a general discussion we need to have

b) this is another reason for the books not being finished

GRRM has created a series with a strong presence of incest, rape, sex with minors and bestiality under the cover of being a medieval fantasy.

In the light of #metoo and similar debates I doubt that the books were to be received the same way as when they were originally published.

How many rape scenes are there in the books? I honestly don’t remember them to be that many. Among the named characters, there’s Cersei who alludes to being raped by Robert, of course there’s Jeyne Poole, there’s the reference to Tysha being raped, Brienne’s near rape... Then of course there’s all the small folk being raped or talked of being raped. As for the sex scenes with under age girls (whether it be Dany or Arya in the mercy chapter) this is a world where a girl’s flowering is sufficient for her to be considered appropriate to have sex. So I don’t see why readers should be appalled or not be able to understand the context. The more intelligent and thinking man in Martin’s world like Tyrion refrains from having sex with Sansa cause he has the sense to see her as a child.

GRRM’s writing is colorful at times but I never felt it to be gratuitous like the show. His women are strong, well fleshed out characters. In showing them as flawed like  their male counterparts, he’s not diminishing them and he most certainly isn’t sexist. 

This is Martin quote on how he perceives feminism: “To me being a feminist is about treating men and women the same. I regard men and women as all human - yes there are differences, but many of those differences are created by the culture that we live in, whether it’s the medieval culture of Westeros, or 21st century western culture.” 

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5 hours ago, teej6 said:

As for the sex scenes with under age girls (whether it be Dany or Arya in the mercy chapter) this is a world where a girl’s flowering is sufficient for her to be considered appropriate to have sex. So I don’t see why readers should be appalled or not be able to understand the context. The more intelligent and thinking man in Martin’s world like Tyrion refrains from having sex with Sansa cause he has the sense to see her as a child.

And this is a problem in today's world with the internet and good and bad things spreading faster than you can say 'shuck' without context.

When the books were written there weren't platforms like reddit or 4chan where anyone can post anything for clicks. And even though rape and underage sex happen in a fantasy world, they get circulated without context. And this fuels people to try this for real, like in that scene from 'Less than Zero' when one character wants to see the worst.

I am against censorship or self-censorship, still this is problematic and if GRRMs quoted comments aren't ripped without context, he doesn't get it, which is sad.

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Rapes are reality.

So is sexism, so is racism.

To ignore these realities, to write about a medial world without these things...would be not only far from realistic, but wrong just because it would be... denial. And I don’t see how denial can be useful.

You do not improve women by denying that they can be raped.

You don’t help those who unfortunately are raped even nowadays, by telling them that “strong women don’t get raped”. Quite the contrary.

And so on.

How our characters react, the “moral” that we should learn it’s another thing.

The one that matters. 

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On 5/8/2019 at 6:26 PM, alienarea said:

With some of the reactions claiming  Season 8 ep 4 to be sexist and even racist because of Missandei's death, and the direction the arcs of Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Arya take towards the end of the show, I wonder whether

a) this is a general discussion we need to have

b) this is another reason for the books not being finished

GRRM has created a series with a strong presence of incest, rape, sex with minors and bestiality under the cover of being a medieval fantasy.

In the light of #metoo and similar debates I doubt that the books were to be received the same way as when they were originally published.

I feel sorry for you. It took you over 3000's post to fail to understand that fantasy doesn't necessarily mean Disney movies.

And a more serious response: GRRM like any other good author, for example SK use the fantasy element to draw people into the book, and then focus on the human drama of it.

Did you never bother to ask yourself why the others being all that magical, took so much time to get over a wall? He needed to tell the story, and the story is medieval drama. Bad things have been happening to people for thousands of years, especially women.

It happens, and portraying it isn't a call to justify it, or a rally call to rapists and murderers and what not. It's simply to reminded you off the world you're living on.

That's what a good book does.

 

 

 

 

 

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5
 
 
 
On 5/8/2019 at 7:25 PM, Bradam said:

I don't see how that's lazy, a lazy response would be "if you don't like it go watch Disney movies"  One of the more interesting parts of this show was initially the show started out adding serious consequences to bad actions and a serious lack of plot armor.   Granted all that went out the window later on but that's more the show then the books.

I don't get why people treat fiction as if its really happening.  Part of the purpose of fiction is to explore those areas and what if's you would never go to in the real world.  

Now if they went the GI Joe cartoon route of giving a PSA after the episode but it was Sansa saying "okay now everyone go home and rape people to make them stronger!" Yeah then you have a point. 

Yes, those areas can be explored but they shouldn't be written: "just because". Sexual assault like rape still occurs in our modern world and yet they aren't overexposed in modern stories. If you are writing a story (whether TV or book) involving such topics it is on the onus of the author to add substance such as exploring the post-trauma the survivor went through and exploring how they overcame said trauma. The fact that Sansa's rape was just brushed under the rug shows that D and D did it for shock value.

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On 5/9/2019 at 1:52 PM, Gendelsdottir said:

I've read elsewhere that GRRM himself doubted that Ice and Fire could be successfully translated to the screen. In regard to in-universe cruelty toward women (and not just them), GoT the show has mostly let the viewers down. It's just not sufficient to the task. A written account can put the reader inside the character's head. We know what she is thinking and feeling. We see whether she is closing in on herself and giving up hope, or whether she's angry and thinking of striking back. The show, I think, did very well with Theon when he was held captive by Ramsay, much of that success due to Alfie Allen's skill as an actor. I hope he gets a few cheerful comedy roles in future!

I think that cinematography can certainly be used to show an internal thought process. The Handmaid's Tale, for example, has things where the camera will pan to a pair of shears when they're getting ground down by the villains -- so we know that, at the moment, the character is thinking of potentially murdering people to get out of the system. Game of Thrones, however, has usually used quite boring techniques like shot-reverse-shot in character interactions -- there is some great direction on the show, but it's usually during the big battles and not during the intimate moments (or just the general gist of being able to see anything on your screen...)

15 hours ago, lalt said:

Rapes are reality.

So is sexism, so is racism.

To ignore these realities, to write about a medial world without these things...would be not only far from realistic, but wrong just because it would be... denial. And I don’t see how denial can be useful.

You do not improve women by denying that they can be raped.

You don’t help those who unfortunately are raped even nowadays, by telling them that “strong women don’t get raped”. Quite the contrary.

And so on.

How our characters react, the “moral” that we should learn it’s another thing.

The one that matters. 

In a world of dragons, does our 13-14 year old female protagonist really need to be maritally raped by an older man in order for those dragons to hatch?

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