Comments on: A Game of Thrones and Sex and Violence /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/ A feminist pop culture adventure Thu, 21 Apr 2011 11:14:50 +0000 hourly 1 By: Sarah Cook /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1233 Thu, 21 Apr 2011 11:14:50 +0000 In reply to Jenni.

@Jenni – deal.

By: Russell /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1232 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 19:18:02 +0000 In reply to Stephen B.

Rob – you’ll notice that I intentionally avoided making such a reductive statement, and I am sure that there were people of a wide variety of ethnicities in Actual Medieval Europe. What I was intending to point out was that such individuals would not have formed part of the ruling classes/the nobility, and that this social group is largely what is depicted in both the TV show and the books. I would never knowingly make such a reductive statement which I know would have been incorrect. And yes, you are allowed to bring up Catherine of Aragon to refute my claim if you like, but she is at least later than medieval.

Yes, it is a fantasy land, and indeed the author can do whatever he likes – and does. He creates racial/ethnic groups we have never heard of – Robert Baratheon is explicitly named as King of the Andals and the First Men, who are pretty obviously two new and different ethnic groups. I’m sure there were others throughout the books. My point really being that confusing ethnicity and skin colour is a little reductive in itself.

I’m not going to deny that the show was very white, and I would rather have had more diversity where I felt it was appropriate – Drogo and the Dothraki could have done with being much more visually distinct, and wearing a little less eyeliner. However, where I wasn’t bothered was with the ruling elite of the Seven Kingdoms.

I’d like to bow out, now, and I hope no-one has been offended by my views on this issue. I’m aware it’s a touchy subject and also that I’m speaking from a position of privilege. However, I also feel that where I have an opinion it’s important to state it so that I can engage with other people about things I care about. :)

By: wererogue /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1231 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:19:12 +0000 I had similar feelings about the race issues. I hope that like the books, we will see more of the women and the other cultures as the show goes on – there are definitely civilized non-whites and savage whites in the books.

I always felt that the women in the books began in quite traditional roles (Arya aside) and developed, so I have high hopes for better representation later on.

I did sit there thinking “wait, what?” with the consummation. Not right and not good.

All in all though, I’m very happy with the pilot.

By: Jenni /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1230 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:21:30 +0000 In reply to Sarah Cook.

You can have Sean Bean if I can have Jaime Lannister?

By: Miranda /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1229 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:09:38 +0000 In reply to Sarah Cook.

He also wins the BEST PUN prize for the title of his post. *salutes*

By: Sarah Cook /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1228 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:01:37 +0000 Game of Thrones contains Sean Bean.
Therefore it is made for me.

I am a woman.


That’s the sum total of my argument.

Mmm. Sean Bean.

Also, friend of mine on the totty-count of GoT suggests that those who enjoy a pleasing man-shape might be interested.

By: Stephen B /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1227 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:48:47 +0000 While we’re talking about race, this did make me think of Ursula Le Guin. She has said she makes her characters people of colour because of *probabilities*, that it’s simply likely on balance that they would be.

She also neatly avoids being a white writer writing about (for example) people from India without knowing anything about Indian culture, because she is inventing the entire setting. That was available to GRRM too, but with the Winter-theme and snow I never felt that the books were biased on skin colour.

There are already covention fans who want to be Dothraki. Admittedly they’re mostly ex-Klingons. If HBO can hold off the OMGBEWBS long enough to do a decent job of portraying a warrior nomad culture, I think it could be a lot deeper and textured than we’ve seen so far.

By: Miranda /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1226 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:43:21 +0000 In reply to Russell.

I think Rob’s pitched his tent further down the road from the “accusing HBO of racist intent” camp. I think he’s more commenting on how this episode almost unintentionally seems to comply with some rather whitewashy cinematic trends in general, and adding that for him this felt awkward, because on his own read of the books there is presumably more room for casting manoeuvre than he feels was apparent. I don’t think anyone’s stated that these are conscious decisions, but that doesn’t make it not worth examining in this review.

Similarly, Rob is at liberty to return to the series as it progresses and revisit his points – I don’t think he should have excluded these ideas from his review, which ends “still worth sticking with, though”, just because he was only reviewing episode 1. These are his first impressions, not a set-in-stone judgement. I haven’t asked him whether he wants to keep writing about the rest of the series but I think that would be interesting! :)

I think your point about Mad Men is really interesting. I’ve often pondered the double edged sword of “showing gritty reality” while also, in doing so, coming up against those issues around humour and offensiveness.

By: Stephen B /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1225 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:39:37 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

I’d watch Patterson Joseph play any character. And Lennie James.

I’m okay with the people in Northern-Land-of-Constant-Snow being pale. What I’m hoping is that the first ep is doing the overly-savage act deliberately, so we can see later that the Dothraki have a rich culture and are just as civilised/inhumane as the other factions. D finds a place amongst them where she chooses them (and Drogo) over everyone else, so they HAVE to be sympathetic at some point.

This ep seems to have been focused on pushing her powerlessly into a scary, alien situation and I do understand the drama in that – and it HAS put me more firmly on #teamDaenerys than I was from the books. But they’re going to have to move focus quite a lot in coming eps to get away with it and not be the opposite of the original storyline, and to avoid lazy racefail.

By: Russell /2011/04/20/a-game-of-thrones-and-sex-and-violence/#comment-1224 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:29:16 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

I was going to say something about Rob’s comments on the “noble savage” thing but I cut it out, but thinking about it, it is largely the point: the “noble savages” are far more civilised and well-behaved than the more civilised “savage nobles”, who do things like push children out of windows, murder their own friends and family, and sleep with their siblings. I question to what extent the Westerosi actually *are* more civilised in any case; does “living in a castle and dressing in dead animals” equate to more civilised as opposed to Nomadic horse-lordship? Note that I’m not suggesting the Dothraki are the height of civilisation – they clearly aren’t, it’s just that suggesting the Westerosi are more civilised by virtue of having castles and kings is a little short-sighted when you look at their behaviour, which is no better or worse than the Dothraki. This is exemplified by Viserys’ comments to his sister about letting every Dothraki and all the horses have her if he thought it’d get him his kingdom back.

I take no issue with cross-casting, but once you’d cast Sean Bean as your lead you effectively didn’t have a lot of choice if what you wanted was authenticity. You could just as easily have case Paterson Joseph as Ned and had everyone in Westeros be black for all I care, but you do have this struggle of maintaining some kind of consistency and balancing that against how far people are willing to suspend their disbelief.

As far as comparisons go, “Madmen” is another show that features a mostly white cast and is often praised for using that to examine the nature of white male heteronormativity, but also to an extent creates a cult of humour around the offensive proclamations of its male characters. By showing us that the “civilised” people are actually just as barbaric in their struggle to get ahead as anyone else, “Game of Thrones” is doing the same thing, but likely without the casual “funny” racism or homophobia.

I don’t really think I’m trying to defend the indefensible here, but I don’t think there was a racist intent going into the creation of this show, and I think it’s a massive misinterpretation to suggest that there was on the basis of the first episode. There’s lots more to come and it may well allay your concerns.