I’m getting really fucking tired of rape scenes being used as plot devices. I’m especially tired of consensual scenes in source material being swapped out for nonconsensual scenes in the show (a la Game of Thrones).
I haven’t been triggered yet, but the likelihood is much greater when I don’t know a rape scene is coming. I watch Law and Order: SVU, but I know there will be scenes involving rape or assault. I can be mentally prepared, and it helps me be objective.
When I watch Game of Thrones, I expect nonconsent only where the book described it. When the writers of the show swap a completely consensual sex scene for graphic rape, it catches me off guard and makes me really uncomfortable.
I also get angry with the addition of extreme abuse of women (Joffrey and the sex workers) in the show. There’s no reason for it! We already know Joffrey is a piece of shit, you don’t need to give us a visual blow-by-blow (literally) of two women being forced to beat each other with clubs.
It’s completely unnecessary, and it’s a shitty writing tactic. I don’t much care about the other changes being made to the show, but find some other way to cause conflict between your characters, please.
Violence against women in the show that doesn’t happen in the books
A list off the top of my head:
- Prostitutes forced to beat each other
- Prostitute given as a gift to be murdered and strung up in a way that sexualizes her death
- Dany raped
- Sansa almost raped
- Catelyn killing Frey’s wife instead of his grandson
- Cersei raped
- Soon, apparently, Sansa raped “beautifully”
There’s probably a lot more. I haven’t watched through it recently. I’m sure this has really added to the show’s entertainment value.
I don’t think I can keep watching this show.
It’s hard to shake the idea that Game Of Thrones, the show, doesn’t see a problem with pushing a scene from complicated, consensual sex to outright rape. It would be easier to accept that idea if it were clear what the show was trying to do with those changes. Rape is a tricky thing to use as character development, for either the victim or the rapist; doing it twice raises a lot of red flags. It assumes that rape between characters doesn’t fundamentally change the rest of their story—and it assumes that the difference between consent and rape is, to use the parlance, a “blurred line.”
Unfortunately, the show is wrong, on both counts. Changing a scene from consensual sex to rape is not just a pedantic issue of accuracy—it’s a problem with story. The Daenerys Targaryen who falls in love with a man who granted her respect when no one else would is different from the Daenerys Targaryen who fell in love with her rapist. It changes that relationship. (Dany falling in love with Drogo, and calling him her “sun and stars,” makes a whole lot more sense now, doesn’t it?)
Similarly, Jaime is a figure of chivalric love in the books—despite his arrogance and ruthlessness, his devotion and sense of duty to Cersei, the only woman he has ever loved, is so fervent as to border on adoration. Admittedly, the show can’t rely on his point-of-view chapters, as the book does, to communicate that love. But given what we have seen Cersei Lannister capable of—her ex-husband is hardly the only man she’s had killed—is it even conceivable that she would stand for it? Jaime raping Cersei is a major anomaly for these two characters—even based purely on what we’ve seen in the show. It’s just not something that either character would do.
I don’t smoke but all my clothes stink like cigarettes from sitting with others. How did the smell reach my undies/bra????? Amazing