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Kat

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

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I honestly didn't have an issue with the way that the wedding night consummation was depicted because I suspect that this sort of thing is/was extremely common in societies where arranged marriages were/are the norm. Any time that you have a situation where someone says, "I am giving you this girl as your wife, and she doesn't really have any say in the matter," you're going to run into situations where the girl will be reluctuant and afraid to consummate the relationship.

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I honestly didn't have an issue with the way that the wedding night consummation was depicted because I suspect that this sort of thing is/was extremely common in societies where arranged marriages were/are the norm. Any time that you have a situation where someone says, "I am giving you this girl as your wife, and she doesn't really have any say in the matter," you're going to run into situations where the girl will be reluctuant and afraid to consummate the relationship.

Also, I hear it was really common to do it from behind back then... :rolleyes:

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Folks.

Consents are not all equal.

Consent extracted by force of coercion is not meaningful.

That's the point with regards to the book depiction. Dany said "yes," but it's not a meaningful "yes."

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Also, I hear it was really common to do it from behind back then... :rolleyes:

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

I want to edit to add that eventually Dany asserts herself and makes him let her get on top and she begins to take contol of her relationship with Drogo, but the lows are important for the growth to be meaningful.

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It seems there are two different issues with this scene. 1) It varies from the book and 2)people wanting to apply modern legal and ethical standard that don't apply and cannot be applied.

It has to vary from the book for two main reasons. They only have so much time to get the characters introduced and get the "starter plots" going. I agree (someone else mentioned this earlier) that they have condensed the early Drogo/Dany scenes so they can get into her developement quickly. The other reason this scene varies is because it is very difficult to give the character's internal thoughts and motivations without it coming across all wrong. Let's face it, to convey everyone's thoughts in the first 9 chapters the show would be about 6 hours long with 3-4 hours of meaningful soap opera stares shile the actors read their thoughts to us. We all like the books, but that would have been way too much for any of us to sit through. They had to convey who and what the characters were through actions and dialog. Since Drogo and Dany didn't have a lot of dialog early on, they had to go with the action between them to show where the relationship started in order to give it depth as it progresses.

This brings us to the second issue with the Drogo/Dany scene. We cannot apply our modern laws and context on this situation. It takes place in a society where the woman was an object, was a possession, and did not have any more rights than the husband gave her. In this case, Dany has no right to refuse, unless Drogo allowed it. This is the case in the books. He allowed her to come to grips with it, but it was going to happen reguardless. In the 1st episode, they just took away her option of coming to terms with the consumation. As far as the society that she lives in is concerned, her consent was given when she became Drogo's wife. By most legal systems in the world today, she didn't say yes so it was rape, but our laws and standards do not apply to the situation in either the books or the TV series. Trying to apply our laws and moral standards to this situation is really kind of silly. I think some of the issue is that in medieval times these situations really did occur and we hate to see this one time reallity visually depicted.

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This brings us to the second issue with the Drogo/Dany scene. We cannot apply our modern laws and context on this situation.
No. This is 100% false.

The scene only has value if we apply our modern mores and standards. If we don't, it makes no sense for Dany to cry. Why should she cry? Shouldn't we be viewing this as her duty, and complaining that she needs to suck it up and deal?

No, that's clearly not the authorial intent and it's clearly an idiotic pose to take. We're meant to have sympathy for Dany. We're meant to see how shitty this situation is for her.

Now, does that mean Drogo should be vilified for this? Probably not. It's very understandable what he did and why, in the books and the movies. But that doesn't mean we can't reasonably call it rape or understand that this kind of powerlessness and vulnerability and fear is the sort of thing Dany likely felt here. Again, in the books she thinks about killing herself in part because of Drogo's treatment of her. In the show she's clearly very upset; this is the only time in the entire show that she shows that level of fear and pain. Saying that it isn't judgeable by our current mores is wrong and misses the point; it's mandatory that we judge it by our current mores.

Now, if you're trying to say that people shouldn't want it not depicted, that's another thing. Yes, it would be bad to whitewash this. I don't want it not shown because it's squicky or makes people uncomfortable; as you say, this is how it happened. GRRM makes a good point of this in his interview about arranged marriages and the like. It should be shown. But it shouldn't be accepted.

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No. This is 100% false.

The scene only has value if we apply our modern mores and standards. If we don't, it makes no sense for Dany to cry. Why should she cry? Shouldn't we be viewing this as her duty, and complaining that she needs to suck it up and deal?

No, that's clearly not the authorial intent and it's clearly an idiotic pose to take. We're meant to have sympathy for Dany. We're meant to see how shitty this situation is for her.

Huh? Dany pretty clearly thinks it's a shitty situation without recourse to a 21st century RL perspective. Duty or not, it's still horrible for her.

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Huh? Dany pretty clearly thinks it's a shitty situation without recourse to a 21st century RL perspective. Duty or not, it's still horrible for her.
Right, but from the perspective of their world that shouldn't really matter. It's still her duty to go through with this arranged marriage, it's still her wifely duties to acquiesce to whatever Drogo wants. If we're looking at it from the prism of Dothraki culture or even Westerosi culture we should be chiding Dany for being so weak.

But we see her cry. We see that vulnerability. Why show that if (in Westerosian terms) this would be a negative thing? Because it's not in Westerosian terms, it's in ours, and in ours we see a young woman being forced to marry a frankly scary dude who doesn't speak her language and is forcing her to have sex for the first time. That's the perspective we're meant to see the scene as, I think. Without our morals and values the scene completely changes; it goes from her being all this to her being a weak vessel for the seed of the Khal.

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Right, but from the perspective of their world that shouldn't really matter. It's still her duty to go through with this arranged marriage, it's still her wifely duties to acquiesce to whatever Drogo wants. If we're looking at it from the prism of Dothraki culture or even Westerosi culture we should be chiding Dany for being so weak.

Hmm, I don't think their cultures are quite so black-or-white (well maybe the Dothraki are, but that's for the other thread). You can see something as a duty yet still feel sympathy for someone who finds it painful to live up to that duty. I may be misremembering, but I think there are plenty of characters in the books who show some sympathy for the plight of women in their society, even if they ultimately think it's a woman's duty to be a pawn in political alliances regardless of their feelings.

I agree with you that it looks much worse from our perspective than it would to any of the characters in the book, and GRRM certainly wrote the scene with our views in mind. But I think you're going too far when you say her tears wouldn't make sense if we didn't look at the scene from our perspective. I mean Drogo seems to understand pretty well why she's crying, and he feels enough empathy with her situation to try to be nicer than usual on their first night.

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I hate to get into this hornet's nest but I had some thoughts after reading all the comments.

I think there are a lot more subtleties to this scene than you get at the first viewing. If you think back to the scene in the show Drogo actually seems to give Dany the opportunity to protest. He says "No" to her several times, rather gently, indicating that he clearly understands the word and its meaning. At the time to me seemed odd, but it could be read as him giving her a chance to say "no" or protest in some fashion. It would be acceptable for a Khal to simply take her without this exchange but it is there and I think its meant to convey he gives her a choice. Now did she really have a choice, no. She was sold by her vile brother (loved Viserys as played by Harry Lloyd, he just dripped with ick) who made it very clear what was expected of her... "make him happy."

I think it also says something about Dany's character. She knew very well what was going to go down. She even responds to Drogo's "no" with questions and looks at him directly. She was terrified but she didn't scream and she didn't try to run away, she showed great bravery and strength of character despite her situation. She doesn't panic, she faces her fate and does what is expected of her, despite how she feels about it. Yes she cries and she doesn't say "yes" but I think it would have been off if she did. After all she really, really did not want to be there, and turning her suddenly into a sex-kitten with Drogo as some Fabio-ish lover would have been silly.

Now did Dany consent to any of it, hell no. In the context of how women were perceived in this world, it really didn't matter. Women were property, Cersei and Catelyn were not brought into marriage much differently than Dany was. Minus the sociopath brother.

On a side note: I, actually didn't see what was brutal about it, they cut away before anything happened anyway so it was more up to the viewer's imagination to fill in the blanks. Guess my definition of brutality is more associated with violence. I suppose it's subjective and could be seen either way. No doubt losing her virginity to Drogo would be very painful, it always is and a guy Drogo's size would be doubly so. It's an uncomfortable scene to watch but its supposed to be. There was nothing pleasant about it and to pretend or sugar coat it does a disservice to Dany's upcoming character arc. She really begins from the bottom which makes her climb to the top much more powerful and compelling.

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after some reflection I actually think the movie make more sense then Drogo's extended seduction of his 13 year old child bride. (very romantic that).

Drogo in the book,gave me the impression of being more then a "savage beast" as Momoma describes him to control such exceptionally large khalassar he must have some social skills.

There is no reason for him to go lovey dovey over his postorder thropy wife just as it's poor politics to go out of his way to treat her ill.

So he tries calming her down, does his thing and moves on. Must any affection Dany develop for such a man be a result from "stockholm syndrome"?

I don't think so.

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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."

Actually, what Drogo did (rape/forced sex in marriage - both the book and TV version, although the TV version far more of course)) wouldn't have been illegal or a reason for prosecution right up into the Seventies, or 1993 in North Carolina's case, as sad as it is. Consent of the wife? Very much optional right up to our parents generation.

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I've read through most of what you folks had to say, but I think you're all missing something critically important here. So let me copy & paste from something I posted on my personal blog. Some of it hashes over some of what you've already discussed (is or is not rape) but you're all missing the critical element of the psychology of a rape victim, and how HBO scenario is just NOT realistic, and how it's gonna fuck up the storyline as a whole:

---

I feel like these HBO writers, they just don’t get women, rape, or rape victims.

Some people disagree with this, but it has ALWAYS been my contention that Dany and Drogo’s first interaction in the book was fully consenting. He asked her the question “No?” and she said “Yes…” and welcomed him sexually. Of course,it would have been better had Viserys not sold her and put her in the position in the first place. And yes, she was afraid at first. But Drogo’s body language in that scene is not forceful, and not intimidating, and by asking the question he is giving her the option to say no. She says yes. THIS IS IMPORTANT… it proves to Dany, and to us, as readers, that Drogo is not exactly the simple barbarian than Viserys sees. He’s more complex…. because heaven forfend George write any character that simple.

It’s true that there later follows a period that is less… gentle and loving. She’s constantly sore from the riding… both the silver’s AND the khal’s. Hence the tears and the screaming into the pillows. I don’t get the sense, though, that she’s feeling terrorized by Drogo. She doesn’t seem to fear him. She’s confused, exhausted, and having trouble finding her place in this new weird world, and the sex is painful and bad. If she had her way, I’m sure she’d skip that sex part. This, however, isn’t the what the show does AT ALL… but I’ll get into that in a bit.

Later, as she finds her place, comes into her power, and comes to respect Drogo, the foundation that was set due to him respecting her in the beginning makes it reasonable that they could have an actual believable relationship grow from it. And yes, sex. Then, the love she bears him leads to the blood sacrifice that sets the wheels in motion… the life of Mirri Maaz Duur for her dragons.

HBO WRITERS SAY “LET’S TOSS ALL THIS OUT THE WINDOW!”

In the show, Drogo IS the dumb Conan-clone Viserys sees. He DOES rape her after the wedding. After the first ep, I was waiting to see what they’d do. I was unhappy about the first ep, but thought maybe rather than try the subtle approach above, which is awfully internal and could be hard to portray, I thought maybe they’d try to show them growing together gradually. NO. Instead he rapes her consistently and repeatedly, and then she turns to her handmaids and says “HOW CAN I MAKE HIM HAPPY?”

WUT.

NO.

Nearly every male friend I talk to keeps saying “Well, you see, she’s feeling powerless and this is her way of regaining power over him.”

NO.

Look. A rape victim does not want to get power over her rapist by giving MORE AND BETTER SECKS.

A rape victim wants to STAB HIM IN THE THROAT WITH A KNIFE. She does not want to look her abuser “in the face.” She wants to CUT HIM. Or, alternately, she may want to run away a whole lot. But, either way, my point is that there is not a chance in living hell that she wants what HBO is showing, to make her abuser "happy," and it makes me ill thinking about it.

There is nothing here for Dany and Drogo to build a relationship on, unless it’s Stockholm Syndrome. So how are they going to explain the sacrifices that eventually lead to the dragon eggs?

I'll still watch, because the rest of the show is awesome enough to carry it, but I'm pretty upset with it. Way to shit on one of my favorite plotlines, HBO.

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I'm gonna regret stepping into this minefield, but...

Look. A rape victim does not want to get power over her rapist by giving MORE AND BETTER SECKS.

A rape victim wants to STAB HIM IN THE THROAT WITH A KNIFE. She does not want to look her abuser “in the face.” She wants to CUT HIM. Or, alternately, she may want to run away a whole lot. But, either way, my point is that there is not a chance in living hell that she wants what HBO is showing, to make her abuser "happy," and it makes me ill thinking about it.

Of course your entire argument centers on the assumption that she feels like a rape victim. I don't see that.

Sure, she doesn't like it. (Same as the book!) But she knows that this is her role, like it or not. (and she doesn't like it, but accepts it) Marriages were expected consummated on the wedding night. She knew that, she knew it would happen.

I personally find the series version of the early Dany/Drogo relationship far more believable than the bizarro situation that GRRM sets up. (I seem to recall reading that he also regrets writing it that way, but I can't remember where) Drogo is not a gentle person - at all - unless you measure him by purely Dothraki standards. The scene, as written in the novel, is just a weird bizarro romance novel love scene that just completely contrasts with everything else GRRM sets up in AGOT. IMO it is one of the worst parts of the otherwise great novel.

And guess what... If you take out that abnormal scene (compared to what is shown before and after), the show's Dany/Drogo relationship actually is very close to the book.

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^Agreed. That whole 'rape victim' bit is completely wrong for very obvious reasons. Drogo isn't some stranger in a dark alley. He's her husband, and her only chance of returning home. Therefore, by understanding her role and trying to make the best of a shitty situation, she is actually doing a very smart thing that would be hard for most women to do.

As for their whole relationship and whether it's rape or not...what do you think will happen when you get married and go into a tent alone with your husband? Spooning? She is clearly afraid because she's a virgin and about to have sex with a guy she just met, but to call it rape is to define it by modern consent standards where it's actually possible to be raped by your husband. As someone pointed out earlier in the thread, as of just 20-30 years ago it was legally impossible for a woman to be raped by her husband. Didn't matter if the wife says no, it's not rape because by being married you also consent to the dick.

I'd say this was a very common occurrence a few hundred years ago, and especially in arranged marriages. To me the basic thought comes back to, if you're married, it's not rape. You know what you signed up for.

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^Agreed. That whole 'rape victim' bit is completely wrong for very obvious reasons. Drogo isn't some stranger in a dark alley. He's her husband, and her only chance of returning home. Therefore, by understanding her role and trying to make the best of a shitty situation, she is actually doing a very smart thing that would be hard for most women to do.

As for their whole relationship and whether it's rape or not...what do you think will happen when you get married and go into a tent alone with your husband? Spooning? She is clearly afraid because she's a virgin and about to have sex with a guy she just met, but to call it rape is to define it by modern consent standards where it's actually possible to be raped by your husband. As someone pointed out earlier in the thread, as of just 20-30 years ago it was legally impossible for a woman to be raped by her husband. Didn't matter if the wife says no, it's not rape because by being married you also consent to the dick.

I'd say this was a very common occurrence a few hundred years ago, and especially in arranged marriages. To me the basic thought comes back to, if you're married, it's not rape. You know what you signed up for.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. Congratulations, Gentlemen. You just set the women's movement back 40 years with this pair of posts.

"Drogo isn't some stranger in a dark alley." Are you saying that women only get raped by strangers? And that by being married, it isn't rape? Allow me to edumacate you. Note the last one. 2/3 of rapes are committed by SOMEONE THE VICTIM KNOWS. AND YES THIS INCLUDES SPOUSES AND BOYFRIENDS AND DATES. 2/3 is an awfully large percentage.

Though, honestly, as we see him in the show the Khal almost might as well be a stranger in a dark alley. We, and Dany, know nothing about him. He's some giant barbarian she can't even talk to who just comes into the tent to rape her and then leaves. So this almost invalidates my own argument by HBO's own storytelling laziness, but I had to quote you that statistic since you appear to know so little about actual rape.

Anyway, modern consent standards aren't even the issue here. I don't care about legal definitions of who the Khal is and whether them being married matters or not. I care about psychology; how a woman's going to be THINKING. And there's nothing modern about that; emotions don't change. Regardless of what you want to CALL it, she's going to FEEL terrorized by this situation.

Whether she has a ring on her finger or not, there is a man repeatedly forcing himself on her without her consent. She is NOT going to think "oh, well, we're married, he has a right to that." I don't care WHAT time period this it. Even if she did think it, it wouldn't help. Emotional trauma cannot be rationalized away that way. ESPECIALLY when coupled with intense physical pain, which it would be when done doggy style (which really sucks if you're not ready for it, trust me on this) combined with the pain of riding all day, which she was not used to. Over and over again. It doesn't matter that it was "legal" at the time.

You guys are going to argue she should be ok with that? A ring on her finger should make it alright? And at what point, precisely did she "consent to the dick?" In the show, that I saw she consented to NOTHING. She didn't actually consent to the marriage. If you think she did, you're watching a different show than I am. She also didn't consent to the fucking, and she sure didn't consent to the repeated rapes to follow. So I don't buy this argument.

I really am not sure how you can see Dany as anything but raped. Sorry, guys. Being married, in ANY time period, doesn't make difference. Just because they wouldn't have CALLED it rape doesn't mean she wouldn't have emotionally ACTED like a woman who's been raped. We feel the same inside. If someone pushes you, and you break your leg, whether you wind up suing them because it's their fault or not, it still fucking hurts the same. The legal definitions of culpability are irrelevant to the pain involved.

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Look, if we apply modern consent theory, it doesn't matter whether she says "yes," nothing, or even "fuck me like a wild stallion, baby!". She is a minor at 13 and therefore cannot consent to sex with Drogo. Without applying modern consent theory, there is really no argument that this is rape.

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I care about psychology; how a woman's going to be THINKING. And there's nothing modern about that; emotions don't change. Regardless of what you want to CALL it, she's going to FEEL terrorized by this situation.

That is wrong. Emotions are no mere-instinctive triggered reactions, they are also cognitive reactions. Therefore, they incorporate a lot of socio-historical "reflection". In other words, yes, emotions are different in different social contexts.

Whether she has a ring on her finger or not, there is a man repeatedly forcing himself on her without her consent. She is NOT going to think "oh, well, we're married, he has a right to that." I don't care WHAT time period this it. Even if she did think it, it wouldn't help. Emotional trauma cannot be rationalized away that way.

Again, wrong. Emotional trauma itself depends on your model of your self and your environment, and the coping strategies with those different traumata depend on that as well.

You guys are going to argue she should be ok with that? A ring on her finger should make it alright? And at what point, precisely did she "consent to the dick?" In the show, that I saw she consented to NOTHING. She didn't actually consent to the marriage. If you think she did, you're watching a different show than I am. She also didn't consent to the fucking, and she sure didn't consent to the repeated rapes to follow. So I don't buy this argument.

She know what she was doing at that wedding, she knows perfectly well she is married to that huge stranger brute. She knows that by not even trying seriously to prevent the marriage, that means agreeing to it. And she knows that by agreeing to the marriage, she will get fucked by that stranger. She has no idea some people in another universe believe that is wrong. She doesn't like what is happening - she hates it and is terrified by it, but she knows that this all happens according to "social norms". However, I'm pretty sure she hates her brother much more than her husband for what is happening to her. Her husband does what she thinks is his right to do, even though she hates it. But it all happens because her brother forced her into this. And he had not that much of a right to do that.

I really am not sure how you can see Dany as anything but raped. Sorry, guys. Being married, in ANY time period, doesn't make difference. Just because they wouldn't have CALLED it rape doesn't mean she wouldn't have emotionally ACTED like a woman who's been raped. We feel the same inside. If someone pushes you, and you break your leg, whether you wind up suing them because it's their fault or not, it still fucking hurts the same. The legal definitions of culpability are irrelevant to the pain involved.

Again, no. If you are a slave and you are pushed and break a leg, you feel the same physiological pain, but the emotional pain is completely different. As a (long-term) slave, you usually have no idea of a right of physical integrity. How can you evoke emotional reactions trigged by the injury of a right you have no idea about having?

I know, what I'm saying here is horrible: It basically means that all those women, probably 90% of all women that ever lived on this planet, were raped, but didn't feel as awful as a contemporary western women when she is raped. But that is the psychological state of the art point of view.

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Whether she has a ring on her finger or not, there is a man repeatedly forcing himself on her without her consent. She is NOT going to think "oh, well, we're married, he has a right to that." I don't care WHAT time period this it. Even if she did think it, it wouldn't help. Emotional trauma cannot be rationalized away that way. ESPECIALLY when coupled with intense physical pain, which it would be when done doggy style (which really sucks if you're not ready for it, trust me on this) combined with the pain of riding all day, which she was not used to. Over and over again. It doesn't matter that it was "legal" at the time.

You guys are going to argue she should be ok with that? A ring on her finger should make it alright? And at what point, precisely did she "consent to the dick?" In the show, that I saw she consented to NOTHING. She didn't actually consent to the marriage. If you think she did, you're watching a different show than I am. She also didn't consent to the fucking, and she sure didn't consent to the repeated rapes to follow. So I don't buy this argument.

Well, if you REALLY want to go there... How is this different than the book? By your definition doesn't Drogo repeatedly rape her after her wedding night, when she consented? (In the absurd cliche' fashion) He was extremely rough with her for a long time after that, causing her a lot of pain. Just because she "consented" the first time, do you think she did "consent to the dick?" by default?

Or... does a "ring on her finger" make it alright in the book, but not the show??? And really, in your opinion, is a 13 year old capable of producing a meaningful consent? (By your argument, it would seem like you think this is the case) The show at least has the decency of making her 16/17.

We clearly seem to differ on this... But in practice there is very little difference between the book and the series in this regard. Want to be upset? Be upset at the source material and GRRM.

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