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Kat

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

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This seems to be a pretty popular topic, so I'm moving discussion here since this will probably extend past the first episode only. Discuss away.

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In the book i took it to be way more consensual than it was protrayed in the show. show leaned a lot more toward the rape side. Where as in the book, you could make a argument on both sides, in the show i felt it was way more one sided.

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Kat: Your link went by pretty quick and you put this in General, instead of Episode 1. Not sure if I should complain or compliment this strategy in the Game of Controversy!

I'm still trying to figure out the mod controls and whether I can put a link to this as a thread in the Episode 1 forum. <_< But I figured I'd put it here because their relationship will evolve over the course of the show. The preview for Episode 2, for instance, showed Doreah instructing Dany on how to have good marital relations, so I assume their relationship, and Dany's view of it, as portrayed by the show, will start changing as early as next week.

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I said this on another forum, but the point that the book gets a bit too highschool fantasy is a good one. Without seeing into Dany's head, it's much harder to have Drogo start fingering her and her getting all hot without it looking pretty porny and cheesy and ultimately insulting.

It makes sense that Dany - a person who has been basically sold into a marriage that she explicitly has stated she does not want - would be upset with having sex for the first time with a guy who is huge, scary, and knows exactly one word of her language. It seemed clear to me that he wasn't being rough with her, at least by Dothraki standards. That he was somewhat trying with her. But at the same time - why would that be enough? She's got her own issues and own problems. She doesn't fight him, doesn't stop him, but her going all 'ooh, you ARE a real man' and whatnot? Bah.

In the next ep she'll get into the handmaiden parts and figure out how to please him and how to enjoy herself. Then it'll make more sense. But even in the book, they talk about how he barely speaks to her, takes her roughly to the point where it's painful to ride, and she's having a hell of a time with it. Does that sound 'loving' or sweet? Not to me.

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If Drogo did this in Connecticut in 2011 (or heck, 1811) I'd be all for prosecuting the guy for rape, but I think it's pretty unilluminating to call the situation as it took place in both the book and show "rape." This is something that happened to most upper class girls in both Martin's world and the historical periods it was inspired by. I have no problem saying that it is a horrible cultural practice, but most people aren't moral philosophers or cultural revolutionaries and do what their society expected of them.

Drogo did what he could within the expectations and traditions of his society (and his own social abilities) to at least minimize the terror of the experience for Dany. This I think is what touched Dany in the long run, Drogo was kind to what extent he knew how to be kind. Other people in Dany's life, such as Viserys, where intentionally cruel or callous.

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In the book, we had the luxury of reading all of Dany's thoughts and feelings. Here, we have only visual cues (which, thankfully, she is able to give us in spades thanks to her wonderfully expressive face). We also don't have a whole heck of a lot of time to devote to the development of her relationship with Drogo from one of fright to one of adoration.

To get down to specifics, she is accepting at the end of the scene in the book ("Yes.") but this is after a VERY long session of intimate touching and preparation on Drogo's part. In an episode that spans almost a hundred pages in an hour, we don't have time for lots of intimate touching. So we have to forego the "coming around" for now and watch it progress later.

Drogo's behavior with her is very gentle - for a Dothraki - but still not quite the romance-hero kind of lurvins Dany would have hoped for if she'd had the option of having a normal life. So a viewing audience will see that, while it isn't an ideal situation, he is trying to show some sympathy for her. Eventually this can (and hopefully will) become genuine affection for both parties down the road.

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Ser Pounce, I agree with your interpretation of what happened very well, in accordance to how Khal Drogo tried to put Dany at ease to the best of his abilities, without demeaning himself or his culture.

Secondly, people need to stop thinking of the relationship in the modern western way. Romantic love was a concept that began only a few hundred years ago. In general people married for many other reasons in the past, and then love grew between the couple. Whether the father saw the groom as trustworthy, he had a farm, he coud provide for the daughter, or that the husband was a ruler etc. These things were of more importance. Many other cultures TODAY do not see romance as a must. Therefore trepidation on the wedding night is STILL common.

Any virgin girl who grows up with a brother like Viserys of course would be scared of marrying a huge hulking warrior like Drogo. Viserys terrorized her, her whole life. Dany grew up to be a nervous shy girl, with low confidence and a fear of men. I don't think there would be many men Dany would have 'liked' to marry. But this man in reality was perfect for her.

There was no way on this earth that he raped her. It was just a very very harrowing experience for her. Rape is not gentle or caring. Drogo was both these things. He knew how hard this was to be for her. And he cared for her amazingly, and knew how to bring her out of her shell, as we see later in the storyline.

I have to say though Emilia played the part amazingly.

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The other reason I can think of for the departure from the book is to ease some of the complexity of Daenerys's journey. In the books, sex with Drogo goes from welcome (on the wedding night, at least after hours? of foreplay) to very unwelcome (from the very difficult acclimation to the lifestyle - "not in the mood" is the understatement of the year), to eventually welcome again as she acclimates herself. It works, because it establishes from the wedding night forward that sex with Drogo is something she is interested in in the abstract, but not ready for in the full reality of her situation. It's aided by the several paragraphs of explanation that we get that are devoted to it, which we don't have the luxury of in the show.

So for the show, it makes sense for the translation to make that transition simpler, simply from unwelcome to welcome.

I think the questions of "how could she possibly grow to love her rapists?" are a bit bizarre, at least for those that didn't have the same impression of the books. However we might categorize the wedding night as depicted in the show, I don't see how some of the depictions in the book are not far worse:

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. When he was done, he would close his eyes and begin to snore softly and Dany would lie beside him, her body bruised and sore, hurting too much for sleep.

So if one buys into that interpretation, I think there has to be some sort of bizarre rule in place that it's okay to grow to love your rapist, but only if the first encounter is gentle and consensual. The situation between the two is not simple, nor is either character viewing it from our modern lens. To apply our labels to it and then to presume that their reactions to their situation should be comparable to how we view relationships to which we apply that label seems shortsighted at best.

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Thank you, guys, for saying more succinctly and politely what I was trying to convey all day. :)

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I said this on another forum, but the point that the book gets a bit too highschool fantasy is a good one. Without seeing into Dany's head, it's much harder to have Drogo start fingering her and her getting all hot without it looking pretty porny and cheesy and ultimately insulting.

It makes sense that Dany - a person who has been basically sold into a marriage that she explicitly has stated she does not want - would be upset with having sex for the first time with a guy who is huge, scary, and knows exactly one word of her language. It seemed clear to me that he wasn't being rough with her, at least by Dothraki standards. That he was somewhat trying with her. But at the same time - why would that be enough? She's got her own issues and own problems. She doesn't fight him, doesn't stop him, but her going all 'ooh, you ARE a real man' and whatnot? Bah.

In the next ep she'll get into the handmaiden parts and figure out how to please him and how to enjoy herself. Then it'll make more sense. But even in the book, they talk about how he barely speaks to her, takes her roughly to the point where it's painful to ride, and she's having a hell of a time with it. Does that sound 'loving' or sweet? Not to me.

It's doesn't have to be "loving" or "sweet" to not be a brutal rape of a crying, unwilling girl. Which is what it looked like on the TV show. In the book, it wasn't sweet or loving or any of that bullshit, but he clearly gave her time to compose herself and be ready and only took her after she said, "yes". That could've been depicted without anything pronographic. I don't understand why they felt the need to change it, and I'm not sure how I can buy into what their relationship evolves into (at least, what it evolved into in the books) given that now it starts with him raping her without compassion.

Edit: Look, all I'm saying is that there's a difference between a bit of touching that looked more to me like a butcher prodding the animal he's about to slaughter than a man caressing a women he intends to be his sun and stars and the scene we saw in the books. It's a huge difference, and I think it puts their relationship in a different light.

The way I understood the interaction in the books, Drogo basically communicated that he cared for her and would treat her well but at the same time, he was a Khal and would act accordingly. Dany gave her consent (or perhaps acknowledgement is a better word, since she could've really have said "no"), and thus their relationship was born. An agreement was reached between the two of what their relationship would be. I got none of that in their encounter in the TV show. No accord, no mutual engagement. It was all Drogo being like, "Ooo. This looks nice. I'll touch that. Okay, done. Time for you to bend over." Not good, IMO.

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It's doesn't have to be "loving" or "sweet" to not be a brutal rape of a crying, unwilling girl. Which is what it looked like on the TV show. In the book, it wasn't sweet or loving or any of that bullshit, but he clearly gave her time to compose herself and be ready and only took her after she said, "yes". That could've been depicted without anything pronographic. I don't understand why they felt the need to change it, and I'm not sure how I can buy into what their relationship evolves into (at least, what it evolved into in the books) given that now it starts with him raping her without compassion.

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?

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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?

Dany explicitly acknowledges and ascents to the relationship. That MATTERS.

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Dany explicitly acknowledges and ascents to the relationship. That MATTERS.

Was the scene where Dany slowly walked away with Drogo not the same thing? I think people who suggest Dany was raped in the show seem to be forgetting that unless they wanted to see just plain porn, there had to be an effective way to show what happened. And I think the show did that.

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Dany explicitly acknowledges and ascents to the relationship. That MATTERS.

No, she ascents to one encounter, on their wedding night. Are you honestly trying to argue that that somehow justifies all future encounters, as depicted in the book, no matter how brutal?

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Was the scene where Dany slowly walked away with Drogo not the same thing? I think people who suggest Dany was raped in the show seem to be forgetting that unless they wanted to see just plain porn, there had to be an effective way to show what happened. And I think the show did that.

Nope.

And he doesn't need to finger her for her to say "yes". There's nothing but fear in her eyes for the whole of the encounter. Her acceptance of her fate was, IMO, the first step towards her gaining agency of her own, and Drogo giving her that opportunity was about he awesomest thing he did in the whole series.

The way it was depicted in the TV show, he took here away from the wedding, undressed her, said "no" a couple times, and then fucked her. No exchange, no relationship beyond fucker and fuckee. I'm honestly baffled that people don't see the difference between that and what occured in the book.

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The way it was depicted in the TV show, he took here away from the wedding, undressed her, said "no" a couple times, and then fucked her. No exchange, no relationship beyond fucker and fuckee. I'm honestly baffled that people don't see the difference between that and what occured in the book.

Most of us perfectly understand the differences between what was depicted in the show versus the book. It's just that many of us are baffled at some people's insistence that this somehow makes the fact that this transitions to a loving relationship somehow unacceptable, when it was completely acceptable in the books to have them grow to love each other even when many subsequent encounters between the two were FAR more brutal and unloving than their wedding night in the show.

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No, she ascents to one encounter, on their wedding night. Are you honestly trying to argue that that somehow justifies all future encounters, as depicted in the book, no matter how brutal?

I don't even know what you mean when you use the word "justifies". What the fuck is justice in the context of the Dany/Drogo relationship? Our justice? Westerosi justice? Dothraki justice?

And my point isn't even about justice. Christ. It's about Dany's mindset and what her bedding is to HER. If it's just getting raped (which is what it seemed like in the TV show), that's one thing. If it's her acknowledging that this is what her life is like now, that's a very different thing.

In the book, the exchange read:

Drogo- So, now we're married. You know what's going to happen. Are you ready?

Dany- No.

Drogo- How about now?

Dany- No.

Drogo- How about now?

Dany- No.

Drogo- How about now?

Dany- No.

Drogo- How about now?

Dany- Yes.

Drog- Alrighty then! Let's get crackin'!

In the TV show it was

Drogo- So, now we're married. You know what's going to happen. Are you ready?

Dany- No.

Drogo- How about now?

Dany- No.

Drogo- Whatever. Time for you to bend over.

That's different, and the distinction is important.

Edit: See, the second way, he's just another person controlling her like Viserys. In the former, he's someone who let her make a choice. He let her do it when she was ready. Giving her that control is important. She's never had any control over her life, no agency. By giving her that one thing, no matter how small and ultimately insignificant, it made him different from the other people in her life.

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I don't even know what you mean when you use the word "justifies". What the fuck is justice in the context of the Dany/Drogo relationship? Our justice? Westerosi justice? Dothraki justice?

And my point isn't even about justice. Christ. It's about Dany's mindset and what her bedding is to HER. If it's just getting raped (which is what it seemed like in the TV show), that's one thing. If it's her acknowledging that this is what her life is like now, that's a very different thing.

You aren't even reading what I'm writing, and thus aren't worth addressing further. Yes, the scenes are different. Yes, the scene as it plays out in the show is considerably different than it is in the books. The point has been conceded. These angry diatribes miss the point completely.

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You aren't even reading what I'm writing, and thus aren't worth addressing further. Yes, the scenes are different. Yes, the scene as it plays out in the show is considerably different than it is in the books. The point has been conceded. These angry diatribes miss the point completely.

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.

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