“Game of Thrones”: The history of rape, sexual violence and nudity on TV show

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Posted on Oct 17 2017 - 7:13am by admin

Criticism over nudity, sexual violence, and rape has always been significant in the conversations around “Game of Thrones.”

The show has constantly come under attack for its depiction of sexual violence against women – in a total of 67 episodes, there are 17 cases of rape or attempted rape.

The show doesn’t shy away from graphic depictions of brothels or of  armies raping women after they have conquered their land.

Ramsay Bolton and wife Sansa Starkplay

Ramsay Bolton and wife Sansa Stark

(HBO )

In the first season, a 15-year-old Daenerys was raped by her husband Khal Drogo. Recently, a clip of Jason Momoa who played Drogo joking about raping “beautiful women” on the show resurfaced.

There was also the marital rape of Cersei Lannister by her husband, Robert Baratheon in season one.

In season three, after Littlefinger found out that Ros – a prostitute working for him  –  was doubling as a spy for Varys, he handed her to King Joffrey, who tied her up and shot arrows at her naked body until she died.

Theon Greyjoy‘s vicious castration by Ramsay Bolton was labeled “torture porn” by critics.

play Theon Greyjoy was castrated by Ramsay Bolton (HBO)

In season four, Jaime Lannister raped his sister Cersei in the Sept of Baelor. She repeatedly told him to stop, but he went ahead to violate her body next to the body of their dead son.

There’s also the scene at Craster’s Keep, in which the men of the Night’s Watch raped Craster’s daughter/wives.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the upsetting rape of Sansa Stark by her sadistic husband, Ramsay, who also forced Theon to watch the act.

play Jaimie raped Cersei over their son’s dead body (HBO)

Many described the scene as an “unnecessary” one that indulged misogyny and rape culture. A US Senator, Claire McCaskill, described the episode as  “disgusting” and “unacceptable” and even called for a boycott.

Culture blog The Mary Sue also announced that it would no longer write about “Game of Thrones” after the scene.

 

“Game of Thrones” has also been accused of depicting a brutal world where horrible things happen to its characters in an overtly sadistic manner.

Defending the show, author George R. R. Martin told Entertainment Weekly that the books the show is based on reflect a patriarchal society based on the Middle Ages that were not a time of sexual egalitarianism.

“Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It’s not a strong testament to the human race, but I don’t think we should pretend it doesn’t exist,” Martin told EW. 

Also defending the controversial rape scene, Sophie Turner who plays Sansa said, “This sort of thing used to happen and it continues to happen now, and if we treat it as such a taboo and precious subject, then how are people going to have the strength to come out and feel comfortable saying that this has happened to them?’

play Arya delivered vengeance on Lord Frey (HBO)

 

Following the season five backlash, subsequent seasons have toned down on the portrayal of rape and sexual violence with seasons six and seven having no case of onscreen rape.

GOT went from raping and sidelining women to handing them a  substantial amount of power. There’s Lady Mormont, the brave 10-year-old leader of Bear Island who isn’t afraid to fight. Arya finally got her revenge on House of Frey and Littlefinger for the Red Wedding.

Cersei ascended the Iron Throne. Sansa got to save Jon Snow during the Battle of the Bastards and finally exacted her revenge on Ramsay for raping her.

Game of Thrones season 7play

Jon Snow and Dany in Game of Thrones season 7

(HBO)

 

Except for the much anticipated sex between Dany and Jon, which happened in season seven finale, “Game of Thrones” has become less about sex and more about forging allegiances and defeating the White Walkers.

In the real world, incest and sexual violence are abominable acts. But “Game of Thrones” is a show that succeeded in turning sexual violence, rape and incest into mainstream entertainment.

The show subtly convinced the same viewers who think an incestuous relationship between Cersei and Jaime is disgusting to shamelessly root for Jon Snow and Dany.

Amid its controversies, “Game of Thrones” is a pop culture phenomenon that has sparked conversations about rape, sexual violence and incest.

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