T o begin, I should probably make it clear that I hate Game of Thrones and I think it’s trash. I will state this upfront so that people who love the show can quietly exit this tab, rather than attack me for having an opinion on the internet — which seems to be the knee-jerk reaction in the wide world of the web.
I hate Game of Thrones because it’s sexist. And no matter how many of the actors or actresses suddenly dangle from the sky on puppet strings to tell me it isn’t sexist, I will go on acknowledging that it most certainly is.
And why wouldn’t the actors and actresses defend the show? It puts food in their mouths and badmouthing their own bread and butter would be incredibly stupid.
Especially if the person in question is an actress rather than an actor. It’s amazing how quickly a woman can be blacklisted in Hollywood for pointing out the obvious: that Hollywood by and large is incredibly bigoted in many ways.
But I’m not here to argue about whether or not Game of Thrones is “problematic,” to use an unfortunate buzzword. Most people with any remote understanding of sexism know for a fact that it is.
No, I’m here to talk about how the ending of the show didn’t surprise me whatsoever: Daenerys was evil the whole fucking time.
I remember I started watching Game of Thrones just to see what the hype was about. Unfortunately at the time, I was still running on enough of society’s programming that I ignored my instincts and kept looking at a show that was only further damaging my brain.
Daenerys (who I will from now on refer to as “Dany” for the sake of my poor fingers) is raped by Khal Drogo not once but multiple times in the very first season, just as any number of women on the show. And this is put forward as entertainment.
The pain and subjugation of women is entertainment.
This is what people are talking about when we mention “violence against women” on the show. We’re talking about sexual violence.
Rape is violence.
Even if it’s not physically violent, it still wages violence spiritually and emotionally on a human being. Someone’s body and soul are violated anytime they are treated as less than a person, and there are millions of people eating popcorn and getting a kick out of it!
Kinda like those graphically violent slave films that people seem to enjoy so much. If they’re black or female, their pain is your pleasure!
I should have stopped watching the show after Dany’s rape scene, but as I said, I was running on society’s programming. I told myself that pornified rape wasn’t a big deal. I made all the excuses that most sexist men make when talking about the graphic violence so often depicted against women in fiction: “it’s realistic,” “it’s gritty,” “it’s grimdark fiction,” yada yada yada.
Men get raped too. That’s realistic. And yet, for some mysterious reason, sexual violence against men is never depicted graphically on screen. Not even when the source material depicts it.
These are fantasy stories. They’re completely made up. Saying we need women to be raped because it’s “realistic” alongside dragons and talking nymphs is a transparently absurd way of justifying ones need for rape porn.
Because that’s what it is. These scenes exist to titillate the men in the audience. They aren’t about character development remotely and are unnecessarily graphic to boot. There is no reason for the actresses to be exploited and exposed like this while the males are protected with clever camera angles.
Yes, Kit Harrington was naked in one episode but we (thankfully) never saw his dick on screen. His dignity remained mostly in tact. Can’t say that about the vast number of randomly naked female characters on the show.
And why do women always need to be raped to develop as characters???
Why is it so impossible to imagine a world where women are treated like people and not sex objects??? It’s not. In fact, it’s because of this narrative that I wrote my fantasy (not “medieval”) book, Time’s Arrow ( →Shameless Plug←), as a world where women aren’t constantly raped and strangled or else absent entirely.
It’s a pretty entertaining story and manages to be interesting without the need for “realistic” rape porn. In fact, there is a scene where a woman is almost sexually assaulted, only for the man to get shot in the face while unbuttoning his pants — my subtle way of saying my books don’t do that shit. They don’t need to.
Sorry to go off on a tangent (too late . . .), but because I was still a brainwashed zombie, I shoved my discomfort to the back of my mind and kept watching the show for a few seasons.
Aside from the continuous objectification and degradation of women, there were other things that pissed me off about the show.
Dany herself was an imperialist tyrant, literally propped up as a White Savior.
It forever pissed me off that she did so many unspeakable things, and yet they were presented as “good.” Or rather, they were interpreted that way by many fans.
This was largely because Emilia Clarke was a babe. Had Dany been a six foot dude in pitch black armor with burning coals for eyes, people would have been (rightfully) screaming that she was evil.
Crucifying 163 slavers without proof that they had anything to do with crucifying the slaves was so messed up. That would be like killing a bunch of impoverished whites during America’s slave era with the assumption that all whites owned slaves. While plenty of impoverished whites were indeed racist, would they deserve to be crucified for it???
And even if those people were guilty, crucifying them was still insanely evil. What Dany did was cold-hearted revenge. Justice would have seen those people given quick, clean executions. Torturing them was wrong, cruel, and completely unnecessary.
It’s possible to fight the bad guys without becoming the bad guys, you know? I don’t really care for that grim Batman-Dark-Knight shit.
I realize there’s a difference between doing what’s necessary and doing what’s right, but what Dany did to those slavers was completely unnecessary.
Dany’s cruelty continues when she forces Hizdahr zo Loraq to marry her. She doesn’t seem to give a shit that she murdered his father, who was a good man who was actually working to abolish slavery.
Instead, she and her lover childishly torment Hizdahr with threats against his life.
Hizdahr is essentially trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage to the woman who killed his father and enjoys emotionally abusing him everyday for her own amusement.
It’s amazing that he never tried to have her killed, and it says a great deal about his character: Hizdahr, the slave owner, was a better person than Dany.
People believe Hizdahr led the Sons of Harpy, but I don’t believe that. Not on the show, at least, since he is killed by the same group he supposedly leads.
Meanwhile Dany ignorantly blunders her way through destroying the culture and tradition of a people she knows nothing about.
Not everyone in Meereen sees Dany as a savior. Her dragons frequently eat and slaughter their children and livestock, while Dany herself seems hellbent on destroying their culture and way of life.
Abolishing slavery is one thing (it’s good!), but forcing people to give up their other traditions just because Dany doesn’t understand them? Bad.
Instead of bothering to try and learn about the people’s culture, Dany just sneers on it and outlaws it. Naturally, the people are outraged and fight back.
I’m not just talking about the Sons of Harpy (who wanted a return to slavery) but other people who rebelled against what was basically an invasion of their home.
That’s what imperialism is. It’s rolling up in someone’s home, taking control through violence (and sometimes bio warfare), and then forcing the people you have conquered to live in a way that you consider best for them — as if they were children or dumb inferiors completely incapable of governing themselves.
Think the Thalmor in Skyrim.
Remember that episode, The Book of the Stranger, when Dany burned a bunch of Dothraki men alive?
And for what? Because one guy insulted her (back) after she called his dick small.
She could have just quietly escaped the nunnery, but no. She had to burn the whole fucking place down.
I remember being disgusted by the entire episode. She didn’t like the Dothraki’s traditions, so she shrugged and killed them all? I’m not saying that the Dothraki were right for locking away widowed khaleesi like trinkets that had lost their value. I’m saying that killing them for it was wrong.
Lots of men are misogynistic and treat women like shit. Should we just go around setting them on fire?
Dany was dangerous and out of control.
To further drive my point home, Star Trek (in a way) was about the dangers of imperialism.
The Prime Directive stated that the members of Starfleet were not to interfere with the natural development of alien civilizations.
This was about respecting other people’s ability to evolve, learn, and grow on their own — rather than rolling up and going, “Yo, you filthy barbarians are doin’ it wrong!”
People have to make the choice to be better and evolve on their own. Forcing someone to change is wrong. Forcing what you think is right on another culture is also wrong. And what you think to be right might actually be wrong for that entire people!
Of course, given that Star Trek: The Next Generation frequently handwaved the Prime Directive, they might be a poor example.
So, for another nerdy example, take 2014’s Dragon Age Inquisition, a video game that’s all about imperialism.
The Inquisitor starts off with good intentions and — just like Dany — winds up with her fingers in too many pies and overstays her welcome in certain countries long after her help was needed.
Though the Inquisitor’s initial intentions were good, she ultimately winds up policing Thedas whether Thedas likes it or not. This is imperialism! And because she realizes she is wrong (unlike Dany) and that her policing has turned into ruling, she disbands the Inquisition in the game’s DLC, Trespasser.
All that being said, I read about the ending (I stopped watching the show several years ago), and I don’t think the ending was sexist, just very tragic and sad — which it was supposed to be.
In the earliest seasons, Dany was just a child with a child’s black and white mentality. She had no business trying to rule nations. With the proper guidance, she had the chance to become an amazing ruler, but most of her advisers were shitty, and all the good ones kept getting killed.
I think people mostly followed her because — as I said above — she was beautiful and powerful, and we silly humans are drawn to beauty and power. It’s why there’s so much fascination with dragons to this day.
Dany was a tragic, flawed character and pretty well written, and because of this, I don’t see the ending as sexist. Everything that happened before it? Sure. But not the ending.
Dany was never meant to be a hero.
A person has to be amazingly arrogant to think they know what’s best for everyone else, to the point that they brutally usurp their entire country and then tell them how to live.
And Dany was arrogant. As well as cruel, selfish, and destructive . . . just like a dragon.
Though I’m not a fan of the books (I don’t hate them, I just don’t read them), I believe that was the entire point of the Targaryens. They were said to have the blood of the dragon (or something) and so they behaved like dragons.
And like dragons, they were beautiful, wild, sometimes kind, but mostly dangerous.
As much as Dany tried to do good, ultimately, she gave in to her dragonlike nature of dominance and destruction and chaos.
She is supposed to be beautiful and tragic.
And there’s nothing sexist about that.