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Damon_Tor

GoT and Feminism: What Happens Now?

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I had to check myself this episode... felt myself feeling sorry for Grey Worm whilst simultaneously angry at Dany. Their emotions were pretty much the same just Dany had a bigger weapon. Grey Worms crimes shouldn't fly under the radar and be forgiven just because he is a man.

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Totally agree on the Brienne point, she just gets fucked and chucked and is... crying about it? Seems to betray the character IMO. 

Also, why was it parroted so much that Cersei's redeemable trait is her love for her children? She has shown consistent callousness on that front -- she didn't grieve for Tommen, even saying 'he betrayed us' to Jaime. She didn't care for her child by Robert. She didn't really care for Myrcella from what we've seen on screen. It seemed to me like a cheap white-washing of her character so we can compare her to Daenerys (now that's she's 'mad' and all) in an ill light. Is it all alright because she is a mother? Is that the best a woman can hope to achieve in (this) world? Surely Arya and Brienne are counters to this. I feel like there is a wider point to be made here about the show, but I can't be bothered to delve into that right now.

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D&D obviously got so caught up in Dany becoming a cultural phenomenon that they forgot giving her build up to turn into the Mad Queen. 

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I don’t find the idea that women can be villainous misogynistic. 

I find your (OP) reading of her character in this way as more misogynistic. Why is it that her father being a mad king wasn’t a negative stereotype of men? Why can a Male character do something and it’s just a part of the story and their gender doesn’t matter and then a female character does the same thing & its misogynistic? Do women not equally have their own personalities, feelings, desires, motivations and back stories just as much as men? 

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, quite frankly, if rape was such great character building...

1

Excuse me? I did not ever say that. What I said is that it is how victims compartmentalize and take power back from the experience. The best I could ask for of show writers is to talk to survivors and try to understand how they deal with the experience later and use that knowledge to write for Sansa's character. And Sansa's character echoed what literally hundreds of rape survivors said to me personally.

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1. Martin has amazing female characters that naturally drew attention to what I suppose we call a feminist fanbase.

2. The moment Martin's writing stopped, so did the feminism. Even before that, there were some very clear distinctions that separated two works.

3. Drogo raped Daenerys then we had Jaime raping Cersei (remember when they didn't know they filmed a rape scene) and we had Ramsay and Sansa (thanks to them, we are reminded that Sansa matured by being raped). So, if four main female characters, three were raped, and for two the rape was part of formative experience. Needless to say, you get the problem.

4. Then we had understanding of the femininity. Cersei and Margaery were seductress, women who gained power through sex. Sansa was supposed to be the feminine one without that, but watching Sansa in the last few seasons leaves a bad taste. Simply, she is harsh, antagonistic and aggressive in scenes where there is no point. It seems that face that Rowling once described as "having something smelly right under the nose" shows us empowerment.

5. The problem in Daenerys becoming Mad Queen is in the way it was done. None of the losses she suffered, none of the traumas and emotional hits were left to breathe, even the acknowledgement of Jon's popularity and her loneliness was crammed into one scene. That is why people are so angry. They have forgotten the key element of the story - human drama. I don't think losing control is something that we can attach only to women, we have seen many men in the series losing  control. It is this crime that simply can't be overlooked that was dropped on people without a proper lead-in.

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5 minutes ago, Wildling Queen said:

Excuse me? I did not ever say that. What I said is that it is how victims compartmentalize and take power back from the experience. The best I could ask for of show writers is to talk to survivors and try to understand how they deal with the experience later and use that knowledge to write for Sansa's character. And Sansa's character echoed what literally hundreds of rape survivors said to me personally.

But it isn't what happened to the character in the material these people were adapting. Although Dany certainly is such a case.

Keep in mind that the show Sansa is completely inconsistent in her history. She actually sort of becomes a player long before Ramsay rapes her. She turns the table on Littlefinger in season 4, I think, when she lies for him and starts to use manipulation, too.

That all evaporates when she allows herself to be sold to the Boltons by Littlefinger. Which makes it clear the talk between her and Ramsay is just crap. It doesn't even work in the show setting.

It is good, I guess, if this show accidentally is not contradicting to the stories of some abuse/rape survivors but I very much doubt that this was done on the basis of such knowledge or with the intention of accurately reflecting such experiences.

Not to mention that a proper handling of that concept in a world where marriages are arranged by the parents (which essentially is always abusive) is not exactly a good idea. A proper feminist handling of such a topic would be in a realistic modern setting in the real world, not in a twisted world where the viewer/reader is supposed to actually put oneself in the shoes of teens who married against their will, etc. Or at least such settings to raise awareness for this problem. But these morons even made Cersei originally love Robert back in season 1.

5 minutes ago, Risto said:

3. Drogo raped Daenerys then we had Jaime raping Cersei (remember when they didn't know they filmed a rape scene) and we had Ramsay and Sansa (thanks to them, we are reminded that Sansa matured by being raped). So, if four main female characters, three were raped, and for two the rape was part of formative experience. Needless to say, you get the problem.

In AGoT Drogo doesn't brutally rape Dany in the wedding night - but he repeatedly brutally rapes her for weeks thereafter. People tend to forget that. And it is of course rape or sexual abuse to touch somebody against her will and stick your finger into her vagina until his manliness makes her all so wet and horny. In fact, the entire scene reads to me more like a male rape fantasy than a realistic depiction of a 13-year-old in the night of her unwanted marriage. And I think that's very evident in the fact that the chapter ends at the point it does and Dany's actual thoughts during the touching and after her 'yes' are never given.

5 minutes ago, Risto said:

5. The problem in Daenerys becoming Mad Queen is in the way it was done. None of the losses she suffered, none of the traumas and emotional hits were left to breathe, even the acknowledgement of Jon's popularity and her loneliness was crammed into one scene. That is why people are so angry. They have forgotten the key element of the story - human drama. I don't think losing control is something that we can attach only to women, we have seen many men in the series losing  control. It is this crime that simply can't be overlooked that was dropped on people without a proper lead-in.

It is also a cheap ploy to basically make the female lead character another emotionally unstable woman who cannot keep herself together under pressure.

The way the show dealt with Dany is making her the kind of women George gave us with Catelyn (in AGoT after Bran), Cersei (after Joffrey and Tywin's death) or Rhaenyra. Women that are, presumably by virtue of being a woman, incapable of dealing with things the way men are. I mean, Jon doesn't even care that he died...

The fact that Dany would just be a Rhaenyra 2.0 if she even remotely acted the way she did in the show in the books makes it exceedingly unlikely that this kind of thing is what George has in mind for her. She might do cruel things, she might even be hated by people, but she won't *snap*, and she won't be incapable of dealing with the pressure. And she most definitely won't to cruel things for basically NO FUCKING REASON!

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

In AGoT Drogo doesn't brutally rape Dany in the wedding night - but he repeatedly brutally rapes her for weeks thereafter. People tend to forget that. And it is of course rape or sexual abuse to touch somebody against her will and stick your finger into her vagina until his manliness makes her all so wet and horny. In fact, the entire scene reads to me more like a male rape fantasy than a realistic depiction of a 13-year-old in the night of her unwanted marriage. And I think that's very evident in the fact that the chapter ends at the point it does and Dany's actual thoughts during the touching and after her 'yes' are never given.

OK, I don't know how this pertains to what I said. I would agree that the entire Drogo/Dany situation is not handled as one would like, but there are at least some sort of tenderness from Drogo's side at being presented to reader. We didn't go from rape to seduction in two scenes.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is also a cheap ploy to basically make the female lead character another emotionally unstable woman who cannot keep herself together under pressure.

Would any man keep themselves together under such pressure? We have seen Robert cracking because of Lyanna. We have seen Tyrion. It is not about male v female, it is a notion that sometimes humans do crack under pressure. And we have so many examples in the story.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The fact that Dany would just be a Rhaenyra 2.0 if she even remotely acted the way she did in the show in the books makes it exceedingly unlikely that this kind of thing is what George has in mind for her. She might do cruel things, she might even be hated by people, but she won't *snap*, and she won't be incapable of dealing with the pressure. And she most definitely won't to cruel things for basically NO FUCKING REASON!

The issue I have with the show is that they so epically failed in presenting Dany's mindset. I do believe that Dany will be pushed to the dark side, first by people choosing Aegon, then by people choosing Jon. And perhaps just like in the show, it will be a tragic thing because she would do all in her power to get people love her, but to no avail. I can see her unleashing Drogon on KL and at one moment being unable to stop making them pay for whatever they will have done to her. Even in show, they tried to show how Dany expressed her pain and anger over everything that has happened to her since she came to Westeros. I feel as she couldn't just accept the surrender, which may have looked to her as an easy way out.

So, do I believe she will snap? I do believe that at some moment she will say "screw it, burn them all". Will it be a natural progress of things that happen to her or just too much things for her to bear, we'll see. Whatever happens, I do think she will have a reason. 

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On 5/13/2019 at 10:01 AM, Damon_Tor said:

So the last positive female characters we have left are:

Sansa?

Doubt it.  She killed Littlefinger for pitting family against family.  She's done the same now.

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On 5/13/2019 at 7:22 AM, Lord Varys said:

Any genuine feminist long abandoned the show long before the present development.

I mean, rape literally used and referenced as character development? Case closed.

This show has been misogynistic since at least the first 'sexposition scene'.

Nope.

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On 5/13/2019 at 7:36 AM, Lord Varys said:

Some talk about dragons which didn't exactly move the plot forward.

 

Uhmmm.... "Some talk"? 

Your importance meter is broken.

"Brave me didn't kill dragons. Brave men rode them."

It's as important to the plot as the Fremen and their relationship to the sandworms in Dune. 

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4 hours ago, Risto said:

Drogo raped Daenerys then we had Jaime raping Cersei (remember when they didn't know they filmed a rape scene)

1. Drogo doesn't rape Dany in the books. 

2. Cersei isn't raped by Jamie in books (or show.) 

The books are written via Unreliable Narrator. Each chapter has a name, not a number, and is from the perspective of a specific character's head. It's a brilliant way to tell this story, complete with each character's biases, but an impossible way to illustrate in a visual medium like television/film. 

1. Drogo: In the books, we understand Dany's arc from her wedding night (at 13) to later wanting to please the Khal, because we're getting the information straight from Dany. In the show we don't have that intimate luxury. Changing it to Dany getting assaulted, (obviously Drogo doesn't view it that way, in that scene - which is also a giant change to his character since he's the one who pets her for hours on their wedding night in the books) because it gives both of them arcs of growth to who they both become because they fall in love with each other that we miss not being in Dany's head, because their book wedding night is unfilmable as written due to time (the scene is hours in the books) and it's all happening in Dany's head. Right or wrong, it gives both characters more for a visual storytelling medium.

2. Jamie & Cersei: It's very clear in the books. She objects to the location of the Sept ("it's not right" because it's the Sept, and they could get caught which would be a huge problem, since Tywin is still alive at this point.) In the show maybe the only mistake was not giving Cersei her final line of, "hurry" when she gives in to him, probably because they thought the visuals of what Cersei was actually doing.... grabbing his face and kissing him, then putting her hand on the back of his neck, pulling him toward her... wrapping her legs around him... would communicate she wasn't fighting off her rapist. 

Go watch it - only first time through, turn off the sound, and watch what Cersei does. Jamie touches her face with his cold golden hand, and she flinches away from him... but up to that point, she's all in. Once he rips her clothing, they slide down to the floor, she shakes him, "stop it", then she grabs his face, kissing him, puts her hand on the back of his neck, and pulls him in...etc...  They know they didn't film a rape scene, because it wasn't a rape scene.

Jamie & Cersei in the Sept.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I don’t find the idea that women can be villainous misogynistic. 

I find your (OP) reading of her character in this way as more misogynistic. Why is it that her father being a mad king wasn’t a negative stereotype of men? Why can a Male character do something and it’s just a part of the story and their gender doesn’t matter and then a female character does the same thing & its misogynistic? Do women not equally have their own personalities, feelings, desires, motivations and back stories just as much as men? 

I agree with you and I'll add: the show gets a lot of accusations of being misogynistic, but many people doing so have obviously not read the books properly because they've fucked up men as well. If anything, that's quite egalitarian if you ask me.

Of course, we can say that they seem to be fascinated with women and rape, but we should not forget that they also got Theon and Gendry raped on screen, made Jaime die next to the woman who he has learned to hate, told Theon to simply shrug away his traumas, and got Doran and Trystane killed to give the Snakes more spotlight.

 

ETA: Martin has also said he's not a feminist, that he doesn't consider himself that (I remember it was mentioned here that he later said he has some feminist beliefs, but these come from the Second Wave, not modern feminism). His books have strong female characters, but that ain't feminism: that's just female empowerment. Not the same. No character is "feminist", in the sense that they are looking for female equality and representation. Dany isn't trying to win the throne because she's a woman in the same sense Aegon isn't doing it because he's a man. The only character who is somehow feminist and believes women deserve equal rights is Arianne and they didn't even bother casting her. I mean, people believing Cersei is a feminist icon is absurd: she hates women and hates being a woman.

Edited by JonCon's Red Beard

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8 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

I don’t find the idea that women can be villainous misogynistic. 

I find your (OP) reading of her character in this way as more misogynistic. Why is it that her father being a mad king wasn’t a negative stereotype of men? Why can a Male character do something and it’s just a part of the story and their gender doesn’t matter and then a female character does the same thing & its misogynistic? Do women not equally have their own personalities, feelings, desires, motivations and back stories just as much as men? 

I think this is being pretty uncharitable to the OP. No one is saying that women can't be villainous or that having female villains is misogynistic. 

In the real world, we don't have people saying "Men are more emotional than women, ergo women are more rational, ergo women are more fit to be leaders." We usually see the opposite. So Dany snapping for seemingly no reason other than in the past two episodes she's just gone crazy out of nowhere falls into sexist tropes, even if that wasn't the showrunners' intention. The social implications of having Mad King Aerys as background worldbuilding versus seeing Mad Queen Danaerys mow down fleeing civilians with no nuance or contextualization aren't equivalents. There's nothing wrong with Dany being villainous, just that the way we got there reads too easily as "Hysterical woman scorned can't be allowed near the nukes!" 

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2 hours ago, JonCon's Red Beard said:

I agree with you and I'll add: the show gets a lot of accusations of being misogynistic, but many people doing so have obviously not read the books properly because they've fucked up men as well. If anything, that's quite egalitarian if you ask me.

Of course, we can say that they seem to be fascinated with women and rape, but we should not forget that they also got Theon and Gendry raped on screen, made Jaime die next to the woman who he has learned to hate, told Theon to simply shrug away his traumas, and got Doran and Trystane killed to give the Snakes more spotlight.

 

ETA: Martin has also said he's not a feminist, that he doesn't consider himself that (I remember it was mentioned here that he later said he has some feminist beliefs, but these come from the Second Wave, not modern feminism). His books have strong female characters, but that ain't feminism: that's just female empowerment. Not the same. No character is "feminist", in the sense that they are looking for female equality and representation. Dany isn't trying to win the throne because she's a woman in the same sense Aegon isn't doing it because he's a man. The only character who is somehow feminist and believes women deserve equal rights is Arianne and they didn't even bother casting her. I mean, people believing Cersei is a feminist icon is absurd: she hates women and hates being a woman.

JonCon is probably lucky that he wasn't included - although I think the lack of the Aegon plot line has probably contributed to some of the problems in this last season particularly.

As a feminist, I don't want perfect female characters. Complex, interesting and varied would be my preference. I love book Cersei in all her narcissistic. rage-filled, villainy. That said, I am a little disappointed that the only two women who become queens in their own right both end up as crazy villains. I have no issues with a darker turn to Dany's story but I guess I did hope that she would have some redemption against the White Walkers, rather than being killed by her boyfriend (if spoilers are correct).

Dany is also one of the three main protagonists, with Tyrion and Jon. The show added some harsher scenes to Dany's story that aren't in the book, like locking people in a vault to starve and burning nobles before forcing Hizdar to agree to marriage. Meanwhile, Tyrion and Jon have had a lot of darkness and complexity in their characters taken away. I wasn't a fan of the way the latest episode suggested that Dany was 'too strong' for Jon and someone who needed to be reigned in by her much more reasonable male advisors. Book Tyrion has his own dark and vengeful side, while I'm not sure that book Jon will come back from the dead just a bit more gloomy and even more heroic.

I do agree that a lot the male characters have been poorly served as well (see above) and the showrunners seem to have the sensitivities of two blocks of wood when it comes to things like PTSD.

 

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3 hours ago, ShadowKitteh said:

1. Drogo doesn't rape Dany in the books. 

2. Cersei isn't raped by Jamie in books (or show.) 

1. Most undeniably, she is raped in the books, too. Not on wedding night, but later for many days, when Dany said that she has been "ridden without mercy from behind"

2. Without any doubt, that was a rape scene. It wasn't in the books, no one said it was, but in the show, it was.

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm not a woman, so my feminist critique won't hold as much value as someone who has the lived experience of a woman, but my main critique isn't, personally, the fact that Daenerys turned mad (the writing surrounding it was awful though), but rather the constant repeated notions by characters who we are supposed to think are intelligent that Jon would make such a better ruler than her because he's more empathetic, kind, competent etc. Like...acknowledging just the show, Jon is a pretty big idiot, and we only need a few examples to make this clear to us; Battle of the Bastards, for instance. I feel really uncomfortable with the continuous regurgitations that Jon, the ideal archetype fantasy male hero, is somehow more capable than Daenerys when the characters realistically would have no conceivable notion that she'd end up burning innocents. She did end up committing genocide of course, but the show didn't build this up enough to make me believe that characters doubting her beforehand is warranted, and the show's portrayal of Jon doesn't lead me to believe he'd be any kind of competent ruler either. I don't think it was intentionally sexist, and is probably instead just a lazy way to further vilify Dany in the writing without earning it, but it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Not to mention the other hit and misses of the season, such as Sansa's "I wouldn't be the strong, independent woman I am today if I wasn't raped and abused..."

Edited by Little Bird of the North
grammar

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3 minutes ago, Risto said:

1. Most undeniably, she is raped in the books, too. Not on wedding night, but later for many days, when Dany said that she has been "ridden without mercy from behind"

2. Without any doubt, that was a rape scene. It wasn't in the books, no one said it was, but in the show, it was.

 

1. Yes. You're right. I was referring to the wedding scene.... apologies.

2. I disagree. Please do not misunderstand what I'm saying. As the victim of more than one sexual assault, I'm not condoning it, and believe me, you don't kiss, draw in, wrap your legs around the person assaulting you. #MeToo. Or do you honestly not see Cersei doing what she's doing? 

It's a Jamie chapter in the book, and even from Jamie's POV, she fights him off more in the book than in the show. He rips her clothes just like in the show. They end up on the Mother's alter instead of the floor, and she talks a lot more, both in her protestations before he rips her clothes, and encouragement after, "hurry." It's a much longer scene in the book with her trying to convince him to kill Tyrion... 

Perhaps I'm just not seeing what you're seeing? As a female, I'm seeing her through female eyes, and I don't see her resisting, fighting, or lying passive once he rips her clothes. I see her participating and encouraging, just like in the book, which is not something you do when you're being sexually assaulted.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wall Flower said:

I am a little disappointed that the only two women who become queens in their own right both end up as crazy villains.

So much this. We know that as smart as Cersei is, Tywin is right, she's not as clever as she thinks she is. That is literally her biggest flaw in that she doesn't ever think far enough ahead for multiple possible outcomes and what those events will then cause... Instead, she sees the future she wants and creates a path to get there, even if that path is full of holes, impossibilities, and impossible odds.... (the sequel to The Book of Mormon... A Lannister Just Believes.... ) and that seems to be it. No plan B needed. Case in point, she never once imagines she was born first, and Jamie could possibly be the valonqar. It never occurs to her.

Whereas, sure, we've seen Dany's ability to dance close to violent madness since season 1, I have no problem with that part. But she's not an idiot. My biggest frustration is her blindness to the fact she's given a gift in Jon's true lineage, by making her family claim to the throne infinitely stronger with Jon, the guarantee of uniting not only the North, but likely the entirety of Westeros against Cersei with Jon. And they're already an incredible team and in love. OMG, just get married and let's do this!! If there's ever a no-brainer biting your face off - it's this.

Yet her ego gets in the way? What? If she loves Jon, how could she not be thrilled at how much everyone else loves him too? So for her to go down the, He's More Popular Than I Am pout-road, feels at odds with everything we know about her - at least to me. 

I get the rage over Missandei and Rhaegal. But the Jon chasm is entirely her fault. Of all people to ask to live a lie..... you ask the most honorable guy on the continent? I hear Miranda Priestly asking, "did you fall down and smack your little head on the pavement?" Did she forget him being honest about not pledging to two queens at the Dragon Pit? 

Making Dany stupid, and turning her into Cersei 2.0 just seems redundant. 

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10 hours ago, Theda Baratheon said:

Why can a Male character do something and it’s just a part of the story and their gender doesn’t matter and then a female character does the same thing & its misogynistic?

EXACTLY

Why?! All this feminism babble is mostly nonsense. 

Equality is given if the gender is not worth discussing anymore. Whoever discusses the gender is the true anti-feminist.

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