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April 22, 2011

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Adrian

THANK you.

Robert Stanton

I think you have wasted wonderful thought on an author whose middle name is apparently "RailRoad," and on a very silly and expensive TV show.

Mac

SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 2:


The way this plotline developed in episode 2 suggests that the adaptors want to keep Martin's dynamic between the two characters, but make it happen more gradually, over the course of several sexual encounters. This approach seems to address the concerns of those holding the second and third perspectives, while still not losing sight of the fact that it's a crappy situation overall for Danaerys. A more expressive/nuanced actor for Khal Drogo would've helped, though.

Isaac

I should also probably have noted that it's not like the sections in the book about Danaerys work well on gender/race or for that matter quality grounds. They're the weakest part of the series and thus a place where some smart adapting could be good.

Ludwig Van

In your assessment of both the television series and the novel you apply modern standards. This largely invalidates your whole argument, because from a modern perspective, Daenerys' wedding night as written in "A Game of Thrones" is an act of rape, too.
Firstly, she is 13 years old and thus unable to consent to any kind of sexual interaction. Secondly, she has no real choice - her brother has already married her off, the public ceremony has already taken place. Drogo will have sex with her in any case - the social conventions framing their encounter leave her no choice whatsoever. Thirdly, there is a vast power imbalance (social as well as physical) between Daenerys and Drogo: Any resistance would be pointless, as he could overpower her with ease, and resistance would be considered a breach of socuial conventions, too.
To sum up: All Drogo does in this scene (as written in the novel) is to make her feel more comfortable and less coerced. Martin thereby subverts readers' expectations since Drogo and his whole culture appeared very cruel and uncaring before. But it doesn't change anything about the fact that, fom our modern perspective, Daenerys is sold into marital slavery and subsequently raped - she has no real choice in any of it.

Ludwig Van

"I should also probably have noted that it's not like the sections in the book about Danaerys work well on gender/race or for that matter quality grounds. They're the weakest part of the series and thus a place where some smart adapting could be good."

It would be interesting to read your arguments (if there are any) in defense of this judgement. I expect that rather than Martin's actual writing of those POV-chapters, your own bias formed by political correctness is at work here.

isaac

Ludwig,

I think you've misread me here. My problem is not with the existence of sexual violence within the story. I understand the narrative, political, world-building purposes it serves. I'm not trying to apply modern moral standards to the narrative. Actually, you'll note that, amongst other things, I mention the possibility that the new version corrects the oversentimentalization (And eroticization) of arranged marriage. My problem is with the decision to turn the sex scene into something very, very different and what the implications of doing that are to the characters and to the narrative. I have additional political concerns about it. I dont' think the choice to have one of your characters raped (or for that matter, murdered) should be taken lightly.

On another note, I don't like the Danaerys sections in the first book not because of their politics, but rather because I think they're poorly written. Her voice doesn't ring true to me and Martin's portrait of the Dothraki feels hackneyed in a way the rest of the book doesn't (an editor should've told him, amongst other things, that the idea of a race who all have sex using the same position is absurd).

Blackfish

I think Martin's POV structure allows for a bit more subtlety than people sometimes give him credit for - remember that we get our initial glimpse of the Dothraki from Dany's perspective, who was terrified of being wed into this alien culture, and whose knowledge of the Dothraki probably comes almost exclusively from Viserys and Illyrio at that point. And those two are just the kind of people who'd sneer at the 'savages' as they see them.

Emme Adams

Just curious... have your feelings changed about how the relationship between Danaerys and Drogo has developed in GOT, now that we're a few more episodes in?

isaac

Emme,

Not really, but I think the actress playing Danaerys is good enough that as long as you don't stop and think about it, it works. It's kind of like "oh, I know less than a month ago you were marital raping me, but now that I'm pregnant, it's all good and we're in love!" In fact, I often find with GOT (which I'm digging in a lot of ways) the acting is done with such panache that it kind of rests on that sometimes. I mean, visually and musically, for example, the show is 100% generic. It has no style whatsoever. But it's hard to care when the story is as compelling (and generally as well written) as it is, or when Peter Dinklage is clearly having the time of his life playing Tyrion.

Lately, the only scene that really bothered me was the completely gratuitous girl on girl aciton during Littlefinger's monologue. It's like they didn't trust us to pay attention of two hot chixx weren't getting it on in the background. It was embarrassing all around.

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Dany and Drogo's FIRST sex scene in the books is consensual, sure -- but AFTER their first time, I seem to remember Dany thinking about how Drogo no longer bothers to take such care with her, and her thoughts about their subsequent sex make it sound much more like rape. So perhaps the series is just preserving that aspect?

Also, while Dany's 'yes' to Drogo on their wedding night is, in many ways, her first step towards claiming her own sexual and personal agency, that seedling of power is snatched right back again until she has that little chat with her handmaiden about how to give pleasure/take control during sex -- and that part IS preserved by the series.

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I have read a number of posts of yours, but this is the one that I like the most. So expecting some more ideas from your side. Thanks !

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