Posted by : Wendy B Monday, 20 June 2011

I was one of the many who thought along these lines:

Considering the amount of gratuitous sex during the first two episodes of Game of Thrones, HBO would probably have been better served re-titling the series Game of Bones. (You’re welcome, eventual porn-parody producers.) ~GoT: Veering into porn parody territory
I toughed it out and have since been trying to defend the portrayal of several of the female characters down on all fours, bare breasted and taking it hard, to put it lightly. The process served to quickly define the role of women in this realm, but also paved the way for these women to rise above, while making it clear that some used their feminine abilities to aid in this rise. The character of Daenerys Targaryen exemplified this most notably, having been sold to Khal Drogo, the ruler of a race of people who enjoy beastial sex on a regular basis.

It gave viewers an opportunity to connect with her character, to feel her pain. Great character arcs often involve someone overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and transforming a horrible situation into a happy one. And that's where Dany is headed. Indeed, we've already got some payoff to prove it: Later in Sunday's episode, Dany took control of her situation, so to speak, and the result was both romantic and empowering for her. In defense of Game of Thrones sex

In TV and Movie Land, when translating those pesky big books to screen, we need quick and easy plot devices to help move things along. Here, sex is that easy plot device.
The thing is, I have just recently made it through the first 100+ pages of the book which includes two of the sex scenes we saw on screen, namely, Cersei and Jaime and Dany and Drogo.

Those scenes were quite different in the book.

The simplest difference is the fact that neither scene involved doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel. The more complicated difference is that the consumation of Dany's wedding was not about Drogo taking her like a dog like the rest of his people. Instead he shows gentleness that leads to her consent. (To be clear, the process leading up to this point has been about her slavery and abuse. Her happily saying "yes" to Drogo does not justify anything prior.)

Cersei and Jaime? It wasn't just about Bran catching them doing the dirty.

The dwarf, Tyrion Lannister also begins his on screen career with a sex scene in a whorehouse. This quickly establishes his manliness, despite his disadvantages. In the book, there is no such scene - we only hear him speak of his whoring, which evidently isn't convincing enough for television.

Similarly, Dany's brother's treatment of her, resulting in her sale to Khal Drogo isn't enough to make Dany's position as a slave clear enough.

We need her to be raped to understand her subsequent rise.

The book also featured the aftermath of a sex scene between Catelyn and Ned Stark where she discusses a secret message without concern for her nudity, scoffing at her husband and the maester for being modest when the latter had birthed all her children.

No need to see this sex scene on TV because it doesn't serve to degrade anyone. We don't need to see sex between two consenting adults who respect each other.

So I am no longer foolishly defending the artistic choices of the show that gave us show-us-yer-tits-doggy-style plot advancements. Fortunately, this lessened as the episodes went on. Erm. Well, other than the lesbian scene in the whorehouse featuring the whore who was created entirely for the series, played before Littlefinger's epic monologue.

Thankfully, there is a lot more to the story that was translated more appropriately to the screen. I can grudgingly forgive the show runners for those two and a bit episodes where sex plots were just an excuse.

But I expect better.

One Response so far.

  1. I already replied to this on Buzz, but I have to say you have something here your blogging about GOT. I suggest a weekly rundown in the future. :)

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I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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