Game of Thrones Discussion

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by eselle28 on Mon May 18, 2015 4:57 pm

Sigh. Okay, Game of Thrones, I get why you decided to merge Sansa with Jeyne Poole, if not least because you needed to give the actress who plays Sansa enough scenes to keep her as a series regular. But was the scene last night really needed? Is showing the sexual torment of a minor character the same as heaping some more on a female lead who's already been shown to have suffered plenty already? Sansa has already moved past that and to a place of comparative security and power in the books. It's Theon who got the character development from the scene, and couldn't that have been provided to him in some other way? Showing women being raped for the sake of male characters' development is a card you've already played so many times on this show. It's not just sexist. It's getting boring.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Conreezy on Mon May 18, 2015 11:58 pm

^Yeah, I didn't like that change either.  Destroying poor old Jeyne Poole in the books was bad enough, but lots of people get screwed over in Westeros, and Sansa at least seems to be headed towards something other than eternal marital torment.  Why deviate from that?  We already have Theon/Reek as the go-to character for torture-porn.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Tue May 19, 2015 5:00 am

I really think this may be the episode that broke an already weak season's back.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Andrew Corvero on Tue May 19, 2015 9:36 am

I was actually expecting Sansa to have hidden a knife up her sleeve, kill Ramsey and enlist Theon's help to sneak out of Winterfell.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Tue May 19, 2015 2:32 pm

Nope, because they just have to have their shock scene. Honestly, I could even have let it go if it had faded to black with Sansa's dress getting ripped, barely. I'm sorry but that scene echoes heavily to a similar one with Joffrey. So we're saying that Sansa, who is now grown up and in charge of her destiny and a master manipulator who's going to retake the North no longer needs to be saved by the Hound, she'll just get raped instead.

What did this scene serve to establish that we didn't know already? Ramsay is a bad, bad person. Yeah, got that. Theon/Meek is completely broken and cowed by Ramsay. Got that. Sansa is a strong character learning to play the game. Completely contradicted that! Oh, but hey, we got to get the audience all excited at a potential Sophie Turner nude scene! That's subscribers, baby!

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by eselle28 on Tue May 19, 2015 3:05 pm

The shock scene aspect of it was what irritated me the most. For better or worse, the show changed this plot, and Ramsay's wife isn't meek, middle-class Jeyne Poole pretending to be someone else. Sansa is a much more powerful character and one whose allegiance is much more important to the Boltons, and including the scene required that both her and Ramsay's motivations be tweaked.

Obviously Theon needs a turning point, but I think it could have just as easily been achieved by him and Sansa having a conversation where he revealed her brothers were still alive.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by bomaye on Tue May 19, 2015 3:12 pm

There was nothing about that scene that conveyed anything new to anything about the plot or the setting.

They were trying to be edgy, but being edgy is just that, edge-y, like an edge, getting close to the edge and peering over it and thinking about the gravity of the fall. This was more like leaping clear off the edge for no other reason but to have people talk about how crazy you are tomorrow, except most of the talk is about how stupid it was to leap over the edge like that.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by reboundstudent on Wed May 20, 2015 11:35 am

bomaye wrote:There was nothing about that scene that conveyed anything new to anything about the plot or the setting.

They were trying to be edgy, but being edgy is just that, edge-y, like an edge, getting close to the edge and peering over it and thinking about the gravity of the fall. This was more like leaping clear off the edge for no other reason but to have people talk about how crazy you are tomorrow, except most of the talk is about how stupid it was to leap over the edge like that.

For me, one of the biggest points of Game of Thrones is that's a deconstruction of fantasy/romanced-history tropes. The hero doesn't always win; violence is cruel, awkward and dishonorable. And one of those tropes I've observed is that the sympathetic heroine is threatened with rape/sexual assault, but it's never followed through with (unless it's a more historic story in which a heroine's rape will inspire vengeance in the hero or demonstrate how strong the heroine's commitment to her chastity/honor is.) Rape, goes the trope, is for lesser characters, or unsympathetic women as a form of punishment.

This is the first time I can remember a media portraying a rape of a main, sympathetic female character that's presented as having similar motivations to the rape of lesser characters. What I mean is, Game of Thrones has portrayed rape as gratuitous violence, done by the power or those in authority against the powerless (the rape of the wildlings.) For Sansa, too, it was portrayed as something awful done by someone in power; it was not sexual, romantic, or even that remarkable. Moral goodness is no longer a shield against that particular kind of violence; it can happen to any woman who is less powerful than the people around her.

I feel like one of the most enduring aspects of rape culture is that women "ask for it" by not being virtuous/sympathetic enough. I feel like the trope I referenced earlier (that a sympathetic character will either never be raped, or will only be "raped with purpose") helps reinforce this attitude. Rape in our media is not portrayed as either wide-spread or without any purpose beyond power/control.

I won't argue that the rape scenes in GoT aren't gratuitous. But five seasons in, it's fairly clear that gratuitous violence (physical, sexual) is their raison d'etre. i mean was there any reason to show the viewer a direwolf's head on Robb Stark's body beyond "edgy" and "shock"? I completely understand if the gratuity isn't comfortable with folks, but I'm a little surprised that there are only widespread complaints about it now.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by bomaye on Wed May 20, 2015 12:24 pm

It's not necessarily the gratuity, because that's part of the built-in audience. It was the meaningless of it.

- Theon feeling guilty/afraid of Sansa was already established by other means
- Sansa learning of Ramsay's cruelty was already established in how she saw Theon, how the dinner went, what Miranda told her during the bath. She also already hates them for murdering her family.
- We've already had a ton of "Ramsay is cruel" torture porn.
- The "cruel husbands take their property-wives regardless of consent in this universe" thing was established in the first season, in the [first episode or early on at least]

To add to that, Sansa is a stand-in for a completely different character, in a season where the books and show are going to diverge more than ever. So "the books did it" isn't a valid excuse.

So, the only reason it happened, was specifically exploitation. Shock factor for the sake of it, to drum up controversy to keep people talking about it.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by reboundstudent on Wed May 20, 2015 12:42 pm

bomaye wrote:It's not necessarily the gratuity, because that's part of the built-in audience. It was the meaningless of it.

- Theon feeling guilty/afraid of Sansa was already established by other means
- Sansa learning of Ramsay's cruelty was already established in how she saw Theon, how the dinner went, what Miranda told her during the bath. She also already hates them for murdering her family.
- We've already had a ton of "Ramsay is cruel" torture porn.
- The "cruel husbands take their property-wives regardless of consent in this universe" thing was established in the first season, in the [first episode or early on at least]

To add to that, Sansa is a stand-in for a completely different character, in a season where the books and show are going to diverge more than ever. So "the books did it" isn't a valid excuse.

So, the only reason it happened, was specifically exploitation. Shock factor for the sake of it, to drum up controversy to keep people talking about it.

But my point is you could make that argument for pretty much ANY of the rape or violent scenes throughout the series. We didn't need to see a lot of violence the show has shown us for purposes of plot or character development. We didn't need the rape of the wildlings; we didn't need the site of Robb's body. We didn't need to see the dragons ripping apart a burning body. Like I said, shock and exploitation has long been the standard of this show. I get people saying GoT is gratuitous and that much of what they show is unnecessary. But why say it now, is my point.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by eselle28 on Wed May 20, 2015 12:51 pm

I can understand the point about subverting expectations of rescue, but I think some of that could have been done with the wedding itself, which viewers would be crossing their fingers wouldn't happen at all. I also think people are getting a bit exasperated with the increasingly long list of questionable incidents.

The scene doesn't just stand on its own. I became less patient with the show's handling of rape after the scene with Cersei and Jaime, which had absolutely no narrative payoff. It made me less willing to trust that the show knew what it was doing and that even its most unpleasant scenes had a purpose and would lead back into the things about the show that I found interesting and pleasurable. Frankly, I'm a little less trusting that even scenes that aren't unpleasant will lead back to things I find interesting and pleasurable. The show has been kind of low on rewarding plot developments this season, which makes me suspicious that it's using rape as a substitute for other kinds of excitement.

I also think the show generally handles Ramsay terribly. Joffrey was an evil, widely-hated character, but he also had scenes that weren't pure terror, and viewers seemed to enjoy hating him. Everyone I've watched the show with has been unhappy when Ramsay has appeared on screen (and he's on screen often, well past the point of demonstrating to the audience that he's awful), because it means we're in for another dose of torture porn. The combination of all those things may have been why this was particularly irritating to me in a way that the scene with Dany and Drogo years ago was not.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Andrew Corvero on Wed May 20, 2015 1:10 pm

An interesting article by Amanda Marcotte on this subject

I’ve defended the scene, and I will note that my argument remains unchanged: It comported with the way the series exists, above all other things, to subvert common fantasy and adventure tropes that glamorize war by twisting certain cliches that we’ve become accustomed to, including the cliche that sexual violence is always thwarted at the last minute by a brave act of heroism.

If we already know that Ramsay is a sadist, then wouldn’t it have been terrible writing to have him suddenly and without cause start acting of character by not raping Sansa?

I think a lot of us were wondering that, too. Certainly, we have been conditioned by most narrative fiction, particularly adventure and genre stories, to believe that this is the moment where our hero finally overcomes and, in one last act of will, saves the day. That’s the cliche that we see over and over again.

But that’s what Game of Thrones does: It takes those cliches and expectations of the audiences and turns them on their head. The fact that we’re surprised every single time—every time a Ned Stark or Oberyn Martell dies—shows how much we are trained into certain rhythms of storytelling, including the daring last minute rescue. There’s nothing wrong with those cliches. But if those cliches are all there is or is allowed to be in storytelling, then that’s going to be stale.

I think that she's got a point. The scene is hard to watch, and you keep hoping that something or someone saves Sansa, but it would have been out of character for Ramsay to act in any other way, and GoT is indeed all about showing the raw, horrible nature of violence in all its aspects (including sexual violence) with no fake-outs like the last-minute rescue.

She's also right about the nature of the GoT society making an open rebellion pretty much impossible, as much as we, the audience, expect it.

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Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed May 20, 2015 1:38 pm

Here's the thing, at the end of the day I watch GoT to be entertained. Telling me that the past sucked isn't challenging. Watching Ramsay take away several seasons of hard earned agency from Sansa is not entertaining. I don't want to watch a show that makes me feel sick to my stomach on a regular basis. I saw Requiem For A Dream once and I can appreiciate that its a good movie while never wanting to see it again.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by eselle28 on Wed May 20, 2015 1:54 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:Here's the thing, at the end of the day I watch GoT to be entertained. Telling me that the past sucked isn't challenging. Watching Ramsay take away several seasons of hard earned agency from Sansa is not entertaining. I don't want to watch a show that makes me feel sick to my stomach on a regular basis. I saw Requiem For A Dream once and I can appreiciate that its a good movie while never wanting to see it again.

That's basically where I'm at. And, no, I'm not going to say that what I find entertaining is always perfectly consistent or predictable. I found the Red Wedding to be hard to watch, but ultimately was entertained by some of the aftershocks of it and with the way it changed the status quo in Westeros. This wasn't entertaining to me in the same way, at least in part because I don't know that the show will do anything with this to make it worthwhile to have sat through that.

I'm guessing other people have different breaking points. I know some people who stopped finding the show entertaining after the Red Wedding, and there are plenty of others who decided it wasn't for them after an episode or two.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Andrew Corvero on Wed May 20, 2015 2:09 pm

This wasn't entertaining to me in the same way, at least in part because I don't know that the show will do anything with this to make it worthwhile to have sat through that.

I completely understand this point of view. I guess that it's a very subjective thing, because I still think that sooner or later Sansa is going to find a way to become the ruler of the North and that Ramsay will pay for everything that he's done.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed May 20, 2015 2:24 pm

I agree with that but I feel like taking a scene out of her arc to explicitly strip her agency and put her in a situation she's been in before, only this time with no one to stop it, runs counter to the arc everyone thinks is coming.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by reboundstudent on Wed May 20, 2015 2:37 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:Here's the thing, at the end of the day I watch GoT to be entertained. Telling me that the past sucked isn't challenging. Watching Ramsay take away several seasons of hard earned agency from Sansa is not entertaining. I don't want to watch a show that makes me feel sick to my stomach on a regular basis. I saw Requiem For A Dream once and I can appreiciate that its a good movie while never wanting to see it again.

I understand that to a certain point, but then the nagging question I have is why is this the breaking point? A particular breaking point may be meaningless; I got to the 3rd episode of Daredevil and decided I just didn't want to deal with that show's particular tone and style. There was no real motivation behind it, no big "Aha, this scene" I could point to, I just finally felt tired and not entertained by it. So someone saying "There is too much violence here for me to enjoy this entertainment" makes sense to me.

What nags at me is using that particular scene as that breaking point, instead of more of a general, overall sense of violence-exhaustion. If that scene happened to just be the straw to the camel's back, all right, but for other comments I saw, it was that this scene (or only the rape scenes in particular) was the big problem with the show. Not all the other violence, not all of the other gratuitous rape scenes, or that this scene was somehow worse than the other scenes like it.

That bothers me, because it suggests that rape is either all right so long as its done to minor characters (who are dehumanized by virtue of their minor character status) or done to less sympathetic women (like Cersei), or it's all right so long as it occurs off stage. There's just something uncomfortable for me that we consider extreme violence entertaining, but rape scenes (which are similarly tools of violence) are not entertaining in the same way.

It's partially why I actually kind of appreciate this show; while the violence is gratuitous and unneeded, that's also kind of the point. Violence is gruesome and awful and look at what we humans do to each other. It's entertaining only in a dark, cynical sort of way, a ever-slipping slide of seeing people lose their virtue, their humanity, and their hope. That scene of Robb Stark solidified, at least for me, that this was a show that was going to shove your face in the very darkest corners of human nature to ask "Are you not entertained?"

Maybe the difference is I don't really expect the show to "win back" any good will or trust from me, especially if staying true to GR Martin's vision, because for me, since that very first scene of Eddard killing Sansa's direwolf, there has been less and less hope and goodwill. If this show ends with King's Landing razed to the ground, with Littlefinger laughing insanely in the ashes while everyone else succumbs to the White Walkers, I would not be in the least surprised. The purpose of this story, I've always figured, was to stare into the soul of hopelessness and evil and see how long until you blinked and looked away.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Guest on Wed May 20, 2015 2:52 pm

RBS, for me, it's that this scene seems to derail Sansa's arc, rather than supporting it.

Theon had an arc in the books that they wanted to take to the show. And they didn't want to bring in the character from the books that supported that arc. So they looked around, and said, "Eh, who do we have that we can rape for Theon? I guess Sansa will work? Can we make that happen?"

I mean, say what you want about the horror and violence of everything else, I've always felt like the main characters were at the center of their own stories. Ned, Robb, Cersei, their horrors have always been their stories.

Sansa as a character was always treated like a pawn, shoved around on the board. The fact that the writers apparently see her as an interchangeable part in this way disheartens me.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed May 20, 2015 3:03 pm

Both what Eliza said and it is the breaking point. This season has been weak compared to the others. The acting frequently feels off, the characters don't feel nearly as much like living people. They've got more of that Frank Herbert/Steven Moffat "let's move the pieces so they can do the things I need for this clever plot" thing going on. Its based on a part of the books that was also slow and hard to slog through. So when they did the "its not rape if you yell 'SURPRISE'" scene, a scene that could have been done a hundred other ways to establish Reek's motivation, it was the last straw. I felt like a lot of other things in the show were equally excessive. Reek's torture comes readily to mind. The thing is, I was enjoying the rest of the show at the time. After this season, Arya's the only one left that I can muster any fucks to give about.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by reboundstudent on Wed May 20, 2015 3:05 pm

ElizaJane wrote:RBS, for me, it's that this scene seems to derail Sansa's arc, rather than supporting it.

Theon had an arc in the books that they wanted to take to the show.  And they didn't want to bring in the character from the books that supported that arc.  So they looked around, and said, "Eh, who do we have that we can rape for Theon?  I guess Sansa will work?  Can we make that happen?"

I mean, say what you want about the horror and violence of everything else, I've always felt like the main characters were at the center of their own stories.  Ned, Robb, Cersei, their horrors have always been their stories.

Sansa as a character was always treated like a pawn, shoved around on the board.  The fact that the writers apparently see her as an interchangeable part in this way disheartens me.

I guess I disagree that it derails her arc, because I read her arc as slowly peeling away her ideals of the world. The way I read the scene was Sansa was kind of expecting this. I think of her scene with Myranda: "This is my home and you can't frighten me." She didn't seem really surprised by anything Myranda said; even in the bed chamber, she seemed nervous but resolved to expect the worst with Ramsey. She is not afraid. The thing that pushes her is Ramsey forcing Theon to stay. She shed her romantic ideal with Joffrey; now she has to shed even her ideal that Ramsey won't make her suffer if he can. She never quite reaches the bottom of the barrel; there's always something worse. That, for me, is Sansa's arc-learning just how deeply the bottom of the barrel is.

As far as scraping the character who it actually happens to (and thus helping facilitate Theon's arc), that goes back to my discomfort with people objecting over Sansa's rape but largely accepting other rapes in the story. Why is Sansa a pawn to be raped, but Jayne Pool is not? If anything, Jayne is even worse, as that is the full extent of her story-as a tool for Ramsey to torture and for Theon to save. Sansa, at least, has more character and more history (and more history/connection with Theon) to give her some kind of agency. Sansa doesn't have to necessarily relay on Theon for saving; she has other options. She has a choice in a way Jayne never did.

You could take the rape out completely, but that would be just as weird for Ramsey's character. Viewers seemed to accept as just part of the overall violence of the show when Ramsey sexually tortured Theon (after all, he's a sociopath!) So either we have a character dissonance with Ramsey, or off-screen rape, or it's a minor character whose rape isn't as troubling. Either direction the story turns it seems problematic.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by eselle28 on Wed May 20, 2015 3:10 pm

I have to say I'm a little disappointed with this season generally as well. I'd actually had high hopes. The source material is less interesting or hasn't been written, but often the show has done quite well when it's had some creative freedom to deviate from the books (Arya and Tywin, more lines for Oleanna, some of Cersei's backstory). It seems like it's a bit lost this season, though, and maybe that just makes the objectionable parts stand out more.

The last episode had one interaction that I found interesting or moving. That was Tyrion telling Jorah that his father was dead, and I think my enjoyment was mostly due to the acting. Arya's arc was fine but would have been the slow part if it had been in a better episode. Everything involving Jaime, Bron, and the Sand Snakes was ridiculous. So it's possible that I was already cranky and less inclined to let things slide by the time the rape scene made its debut.
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by bomaye on Wed May 20, 2015 3:13 pm

It's because Ramsay is numbing. His material is so extreme that you can't help but shut down from it. He passed the point last season where a revenge killing of him makes the time spent worthwhile, and he's managed to drag Theon and now Sansa into that episode death slot. And even worse, Sansa was just a blatant attempt at attention.

I thought the Jaime/Cersei thing was fucked up, but the show and characters cartoonishly played it off like nothing happened and nothing ever became of it. "Well, that was dumb, but these characters still have a lot more going for them." The rest of them were at least plot points in the story, which is how GRRM uses his characters anyways, expecting anything more out of him is expecting too much out of too little
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by eselle28 on Wed May 20, 2015 3:20 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
You could take the rape out completely, but that would be just as weird for Ramsey's character. Viewers seemed to accept as just part of the overall violence of the show when Ramsey sexually tortured Theon (after all, he's a sociopath!) So either we have a character dissonance with Ramsey, or off-screen rape, or it's a minor character whose rape isn't as troubling. Either direction the story turns it seems problematic.

I do think you have a good point about people being problematically inclined to care about horrible things inflicted on major characters. I think Cersei's rape attracted a good bit of negative attention, especially compared with Dany's rape and Roz's abuse, and I think some of the difference was that Roz was always a minor character and Dany was a new character that people who had read the books knew little about. There are even multiple TV Tropes related to this. I think it's certainly a moral flaw in human beings, probably the same one that makes society as a whole care a great deal about individual suffering children whose stories are publicized but indifferent to systemic problems that cause the deaths of millions of children.

As a writing flaw, I'm not sure how to address this tendency. I suppose one way would be to write works that are kinder to minor characters, though I think this series doesn't have that as a feasible option. If nothing else, I'd push for a Bread and Circuses route and would suggest a little less Ramsay, period, and a little more well-executed material about the written-out Arianne, the Sand Snakes, and Dany. At his best, I think that Martin knows that people can only take so much horror before they need to read material that's not so unmitigatedly dark (of course, at his worst, he drags us off with Bran and bores everyone to death). But I admittedly read the series a little differently than you do. I haven't seen it as a pure exercise in looking at human evil. I tend to see it more as a moderately but not entirely subverted fantasy, and I suspect its ending will involve at least one noble sacrifice, a royal wedding, and restoration of stability to the land. As such, I tend to judge it a bit more when it comes to how far and how long it asks its audience to watch characters being abused (which admittedly is a subjective standard).
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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed May 20, 2015 3:55 pm

Well, as a viewer:
Cersei and Jaime was a bone headed misrepresentation of the books that was supposed to (but didn't) convey that it was consensual. Dany's rape is, if memory serves, completely implied. The prostitutes being used as target practice or beating each other is implied. In both cases we're left to deal with the effects without having to be complicit witnesses to the cause. If Sana's scene had cut off at "Reek, I told you to watch," I'd still be unhappy with it but I'd be more willing to hang around and see if Sansa's situation is analogous to Dany's, where she takes a bad situation and turns it on its head.

Instead, the scene just. . .kept. . .going and where it was going was right back to the throne room scene. It was going there with the camera teasing "mayyyybe this is a Sophie Turner nude scene! She's 18 now, you know!" So yeah, this is the price Sansa has to pay and she's willing, I get that. This is what turns Reek around and I get that. You don't have to make me as a viewer feel like Reek being ordered to watch an unable to turn away. You don't have to hold the rest of the series hostage to my willingness to be beaten down by the producers the same way Reek was beaten down by Ramsay.

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Re: Game of Thrones Discussion

Post by reboundstudent on Wed May 20, 2015 4:52 pm

[quote="eselle28"]
reboundstudent wrote:
As a writing flaw, I'm not sure how to address this tendency. I suppose one way would be to write works that are kinder to minor characters, though I think this series doesn't have that as a feasible option. If nothing else, I'd push for a Bread and Circuses route and would suggest a little less Ramsay, period, and a little more well-executed material about the written-out Arianne, the Sand Snakes, and Dany. At his best, I think that Martin knows that people can only take so much horror before they need to read material that's not so unmitigatedly dark (of course, at his worst, he drags us off with Bran and bores everyone to death). But I admittedly read the series a little differently than you do. I haven't seen it as a pure exercise in looking at human evil. I tend to see it more as a moderately but not entirely subverted fantasy, and I suspect its ending will involve at least one noble sacrifice, a royal wedding, and restoration of stability to the land. As such, I tend to judge it a bit more when it comes to how far and how long it asks its audience to watch characters being abused (which admittedly is a subjective standard).

And that's a fair read, as at this point, it's not established which direction he's going (bleak but ultimately hopeful, or cynical about the never-changing nature of humanity.) So far the material has been getting either bleaker or more boring; the books are certainly meandering. But that's been a weakness with GoT from the start. If you kill off all the characters viewers like or identify with, you begin to lose your audience. But part of Martin's storytelling is based on killing off those characters. The twists of the bad guy always winning was, I believe, at least partially why the TV series has gotten as big as it has. The sadism/masochism of the viewer is built right into the structure. Why else would there be gleeful video reactions of new fans' reactions to the Red Wedding? It's the double-edged sword that took off Eddard Stark's head; we want ever-shocking twists, but we want a predictable happy outcome in the end too.


Gentleman Johnny wrote:Well, as a viewer:
Cersei and Jaime was a bone headed misrepresentation of the books that was supposed to (but didn't) convey that it was consensual. Dany's rape is, if memory serves, completely implied. The prostitutes being used as target practice or beating each other is implied. In both cases we're left to deal with the effects without having to be complicit witnesses to the cause. If Sana's scene had cut off at "Reek, I told you to watch," I'd still be unhappy with it but I'd be more willing to hang around and see if Sansa's situation is analogous to Dany's, where she takes a bad situation and turns it on its head.

Eh I guess I'll have to disagree about Dany. In the book it was more ambiguous, but the actual scene in the show was absolutely rape, and was portrayed. The look on her face as Khal Drogo starts from behind her, to me, stated it very plainly that I was absolutely a witness to this horrific act. In fact, Dany and Khal Drogo becoming a fan-favorite romantic couple always made me very uncomfortable because of that scene. And the books have their own awful interpretation, since I believe Dany was 13 in the first book.

Gentleman Johnny wrote:
Instead, the scene just. . .kept. . .going and where it was going was right back to the throne room scene. It was going there with the camera teasing "mayyyybe this is a Sophie Turner nude scene! She's 18 now, you know!" So yeah, this is the price Sansa has to pay and she's willing, I get that. This is what turns Reek around and I get that. You don't have to make me as a viewer feel like Reek being ordered to watch an unable to turn away. You don't have to hold the rest of the series hostage to my willingness to be beaten down by the producers the same way Reek was beaten down by Ramsay.

As I said above, it is probably just my interpretation, but I always kind of felt that was the point of Game of Thrones. Tropes, fantasy and history-romantic in particular, are overall comforting and good-feeling: the good guy always win, honor triumphs over treachery, the hero is never given more than he can endure, things will always turn out right in the end. Essentially, that fantasy worlds may have their dangers and their not-happy parts, but they are overall fun escapes. My reading of GoT was that Martin intends to subvert all of the tropes, including the fun escapism. The world of GoT is meant to be a mirror of those tropes, in that the happy and enjoyable parts are small and bleak. I took Martin's storytelling as incredible cynical and jaded fantasy fan, like someone took one of those "7 Ways Fantasy World X is Actually Horrifying" and made an entire series out of it.

I've mentioned before that I hated "The Magicians" series for exactly this reason, that it felt as if the author was punishing me for liking fantasy and fantasy tropes. The small bit of entertainment or joy I got from those books was gained only by enduring countless scenes of existential angst, violence, rape, and privileged assholes. I think part of the reason I can stand it with Game of Thrones is that I thought Martin was a lot more up front about the fact that you maybe aren't supposed to enjoy his world, that this is not a world to be entertained by but contemplated about (especially with its strong parallels to our own Western medieval history.)

For another parallel, I just started watching the first season of True Detective, and I got a very similar feeling from it. I can't say the show has entertained me for even a second, but it has given me a lot to think about.
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