(WARNING: SPOILERS ON EVENTS DURING SEASON FIVE OF GAME OF THRONES)
After the conclusion of what I feel was a strong season, I believe it is now time for reflection on a show which has not shied away from controversy. HBO’s story telling powerhouse Game of Thrones has become extremely notorious for its presentation of sex and women. this was expected from a network such as HBO. ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ both have a solid reputation for realism and a strong depiction of sex. GoT following suit was almost inevitable. This season, the scene which has caused a mass media outrage was the rape of Sansa. Many have argued that the show went way too far with the explicit nature of the scene. Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair has asked:
“Did they really need to go there on Game of Thrones? Did we really need to see Ramsay Bolton rape Sansa Stark?” Robinson later concludes “No, we absolutely did not”.
This is not the only growing act of frustration towards the show. Senator Claire McCaskill went to Twitter to express her frustration.
Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones.Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.
These two examples were put to George R.R Martin who defended his original material and the show in telling Entertainment Weekly:
“If you’re going to write about war, and you just want to include all the cool battles and heroes killing a lot of orcs and things like that and you don’t portray [sexual violence], then there’s something fundamentally dishonest about that. Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today”
Mark Cassidy of comicbookmovie.com is one of many who support Martin and the show. He has stated:
Of course you don’t have to be okay with any of it, but that’s the point: Game Of Thrones is a brutal, bleak show where more often than not the weak and the gentle-hearted suffer the most. If that’s not for you, then don’t watch, but why act as if it’s only now veered off into unsavory territory?
Viewers of the show were also in fury after the brutal execution of Shireen. When Stannis Baratheon agreed to the killing of his young 15 year old daughter the internet exploded creating a stigma circulating around the show much like when Sansa was raped earlier in the season. But is this stigma necessary? Many have argued in the its defense that the show is a “revolutionary attempt to honestly portray a character driven story”
I guess the main question here is; Does the show deserve to be negatively judged by those who watch it? Or should those who do negatively judge the show stop watching it and let those who do enjoy the show, enjoy the show?
Please note that to have a view is personal preference, it ultimately comes down to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to decide as whether the inclusion or the gratuitous nature of the scenes explored above is necessary. But I do believe the audience have a very strong voice on the matter. If you believe the show has gone too far, then should HBO take your opinion into account as the show continues? Then there are those who are relatively neutral on the matter who will tell you to just turn the channel over.
However the way you view the points explored above, I would love to hear from you. Has Game of Thrones overstepped the boundary? We will be discussing some of the best (or worst, depending on your viewpoints) scenes in our next collaboration piece, which should be posted in the next few days so be sure to keep an eye out for the thoughts the HBOWatch writers have on this very issue.