Game of Thrones Gets More Gratuitous With Near Rapes When King’s Landing Riots
By Alex Cranz
When I was fourteen the height of hotness was The Saint. You know exactly which part of the film of which I speak. He’s soaking wet and dying from coldness and she’s just smuggled them into some crawl space in a Russian apartment building and the only thing that will save his life is for them to get naked and huddle for warmth.
Elizabeth Shue is forever Ms. Smooth in my book for that one scene and it became adolescent Alex’s defacto “hot factor” from there on out. So imagine my surprise and delight when sad sack Jon Snow (SMILE SON) meets Ygritte, can’t kill her, chases her down and is then forced to huddle for sexy warmth as night falls.
And then, because Ygritte is smoother than Elizabeth Shue she does a little wiggle into his crotch to irritate him and delight herself.
She knows something Jon Snow, the way to my heart.
Arya too knows the way to my heart. Her adventures at Harrenhal have fast become some of the most satisfying portions of the show. While many plots and storylines nod their head to fantasy and relish in their grit, her storyline has become a perfect marriage of the two. Despite how awful her circumstances are and that she is stuck in a nest of vipers, there’s still something naively optimistic in her story. Maybe it’s because she has a magical assassin who will grant her three deaths. Or because she has long, imminently watchable scenes with Tywin Lannister that almost make him likeable and fill me with the desire to see these two go on the road with a show. Gendry can come and be half-naked and pose in the background while Arya and Tywin solve murders and crack jokes about death and also Jaime’s dyslexia.
Littlefinger can be there too, but only so Arya can artfully dodge his knowing looks before eventually bashing him on the head with a pot.
I’m just glad Arya didn’t stick around in that meeting with Tywin and Littlefinger because you know when he started talking about meeting with Catelyn that he would have then started bragging about banging her (because he always does even though she wouldn’t touch his little finger with a ten foot pole). And if Arya heard such a gross lie from Littlefinger she would have definitely lost her cool and sent her assassin after him and then we wouldn’t have his irritating presence in later episodes and we would lose the potential of seeing Cersei school him on power at some later date.
Speaking of Cersei, she gets a lot of flack for being evil, which–valid. Woman is pretty evil. She is, in fact a villain, but she’s also a little likeable which the best villains always should be. So it was nice to see her so upset as her daughter was shipped off. She really hates Tyrion and not because he’s so smug about his giant brain, but because he ships her daughter off and then refuses to acknowledge how awful it is to sell a young girl off in order to gain more troops. Make no mistake. That’s why he did it. He can pay lip service to “sending her away from harm” as much as he likes, but in the end he sold his niece off to help the war effort and then gave his sister some gnarly side eye when she pointed it out.
It’s a wonderful example of how villains can be sympathetic and how heroes like Tyrion can be major asshats.
But after the sale the whole family decided to take a leisurely stroll through the dirty and crowded streets of King’s Landing. A place filled with the sick and starving. Because they are idiots. Then some beautiful bastard hit Joffrey in the face with a cow pie.
And he demanded the murder of every person there. Because, as Tyrion says, they’ve had vicious kings and idiot kings, but Joffrey is their first vicious idiot.
This all leads to a riot and then to a major event that felt gratuitous. No, not the part where the crowd turned into zombies and ripped a holy man APART.
Yes, the part where Sansa was nearly raped. Rape isn’t the same as a physical assault (though armless guy would probably disagree?). It’s a succinct destruction of a person’s perceived power and if you’re going to put a heroine or hero into a rape or near rape scenario you really need to think about it. Why are you doing it? What comes from it? Will you handle the sexual assault and the aftermath realistically and responsibly or are you just putting a character in really dire straits because it’s easy to write? If every episode of your show is about how men have the power and women do not do you REALLY need to reinforce it with the near rape of a 15 year old girl and one of your primary heroines?
I’m not a writer in the Game of Thrones writing room. I can’t tell you what they did or why they did it, but I can say that I’m super tired of watching women get raped on television and that I’m very tired of the constant sexual assaults women suffer on Game of Thrones in particular. There comes a point when it no longer supports Martin’s intent of showing the horrors of patriarchy and instead just appears to be a whole bevy of creative types on the show missing the point.
Was Sansa’s sick burn earlier when she pointed out that she’s seen Joffrey cry great? Yes. Was the aftermath of this scene where she and Shae find common ground and she’s reminded that she can trust no one great? Yes. Were all those folks that want her to hook up with a forty something mentally ill knight delighted when Sandor rolled in and eviscerated dudes for her delighted? I’m sure?
Was I really entertained by her nearly being raped. Fuck no.
You can slap Joffrey as many times as you want and make Arya a bad ass and have Ygritte do delightful wriggles all day long but dang guys, stop already with the rape. WE GET IT. Westeros really sucks. If you’re a woman you have no power whatsoever unless you’re a Lannister or have Brienne walking behind you. The rape card on the show is officially played out. I’ve spoken.
- Catelyn had a small part this episode. She cried when word from Winterfell came and also she made this face while cockblocking her son.
- Robb’s flirtatious lady friend was back! And she baled when Catelyn started asking questions while doing that face above. It was delightful. Did she bale because Catelyn is a scary mom or because Catelyn is a savvy political operator that could see through her lies?
- Osha/Tonks got naked. I turned five. Then I turned sad because Theon kept his clothes on. Then Osha used her sexuality to overthrow the castle and escape with them littlest Stark boys and Hodor. She is a champ, also fans of the books will note that she has now taken on the role of two other characters who likely are no longer on the show.
- Alfie Allen and Isaac Hempstead Wright KILLED IT. From Theon’s frantic beheading that he desperately did not want to do but had to to Bran’s desperate please. Just pitch perfect and absolutely gut wrenching.
- Also when Theon took the castle and demanded Bran yield and he just asked “why?” It was so much about young boys suddenly thrust into circumstances they’re too young for.
- Rodrik’s final words to Theon before his death. Chills man. There was so much affection, sadness and betrayal in his voice.
- Daenerys is the MOTHER OF DRAGONS y’all. She spent the episode getting mad that people don’t kiss her ass and then running into her free home and finding her dragons stolen. I mean. Sadness. Especially because Irri had to die and she’s been in more episodes than Sean Bean and Dany couldn’t be bothered to mourn her because DRAGONS. But still. Dany. Get it together. Stop moping around Quarth.
- Also book fans will wonder why Irri, Dany’s only lady friend of color, bit it when in the books another, whiter character bit it. I’m puzzling that out myself and it has left me displeased.
- Next Week: “FIND MY DRAGONS.” Also Brienne and Jaime might throw down. I just squealed in delight.