Ros’ Death Draws the Wrath of the Internet

By April Murk on May 13, 2013 to Game of Thrones

ros-hairThe internet is afire with Ros. There seems to be no grey area for her. People either loved her or hated her. There are some that hated her and then loved her. I figured I would just jump on this bandwagon and throw in my couple of silver stags.

Let us first explore what I see as the central recurring theme that has arisen from Ros’ death.

Misogyny – noun – hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

That word gets thrown around a lot but do people really know what they are saying when they say Ros’ murder was misogynistic? Of course it was but let’s be real. Her role in life only contributed to the misogyny. She was a prostitute and obviously quite proud of herself in her profession.

Now, let’s take a look back at how Ros was treated.

Has everyone forgotten how Joffrey has treated all the women in his life? In season one, he says “they have the weak hearts of women” referring to the mercy requested for Ned Stark by Joffrey’s own mother, Cersei, and his betrothed, Sansa?  Joffrey is a loathsome, ruthless person. (I hear inbreeding makes people crazy.)

Let us also remember that Cersei had Ros beaten when she believed Ros was the whore Tyrion was involved with. I can’t find a mention of Cersei being a misogynist on the internet anywhere. And before you get all argumentative about how women can’t be misogynistic, please refer to the definition I have provided above. There are probably more women that hate, dislike or mistrust other women than there are men that do.


Another point, I don’t recall people getting insanely upset when other sex workers are treated poorly in the show. As it stands, the hierarchy in Westeros ends with the sex workers right at the bottom of the social ladder. Though show only fans may not be privy to it at this point, whores across the realm are, for the most part, at the bottom of the bunch. Some are sex-slaves, others are paramours or courtesans. In the Free Cities, there isn’t a stigma associated with visiting a sex worker though this is probably due to them being slaves.  But keep in mind, none of them “rise to the top”. (For you book readers, yes I know that some of the courtesans in Braavos enjoy higher status and the professional ones are known throughout the realm but there are the dockside street walkers as well. Also, Braavos whores are not enslaved. Ros should have moved there. Would have probably saved me from writing this article. )

Speaking of slaves, before Dany freed the Unsullied, they were treated in such deplorable ways. Where is the uproar about their treatment? They were cut, given a puppy to care for then kill, and let’s not get started on the “kill a newborn infant” training. No internet rage about all of that but maybe that is because Dany freed them.

Does anyone remember the killing of Robert’s bastards??? Frankly, that was more tragic than this random prostitute being tortured. I mean, who defended the poor little babes that were ripped from their mother’s arms to be slaughtered? Not as many as the number of people upset about Ros.


What about all the animal abuse? I do not recall, nor can I find, any mention of Gregor’s horse being decapitated or Sansa’s direwolf, Lady, having her throat cut. Are we saying, as fans of the show, that a whore’s life ending in a tragic way is worse than what these animals went through?

I suppose I am waiting for the reactions to a few upcoming scenarios to play out. Are we going to hear Ramsay Bolton is a misandrist because he tortures Theon? Probably not.  And by now Ros is probably just a distant, fading memory for most Game of Thrones fans.

  • Dómari

    I don’t understand how people didn’t see this coming. Joffrey was exposed as a coward, and he increasingly fetishized death. Margaery Tyrell played to his obvious obsession with such things including the possibility of killing something (or someone) with the crossbow in an oddly sexual way.

    Littlefinger had also been shown to be willing to acquire girls for clients wishing to do all manner of deplorable things to them, and Ros was spying on him for Varys. As shown many times, Littlefinger and Varys always seem to find things out, and Varys was meeting face-to-face with Ros. It really was only a matter of time before Littlefinger found out, but both Varys and Ros were going about it like there was little to no chance that their plans could be exposed.

    Joffrey was clearly moving in the direction of needing someone to murder to fulfill his fantasies, Littlefinger was the obvious person to turn to for such things, and Ros was the obvious target since Littlefinger needed to get rid of her.

    It wasn’t surprising at all, and the actions of all involved fit with their characters. Also, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Joffrey was a misogynist. He clearly hated everyone rather than just women and was demented. He was incestuous Mad King Pt. 2.

  • the god of common sense

    no one gives a shit when women act hateful of men and do cruel things, but when male characters do it you all act like hateful cunts. fuck feminism and its hypocritical bullshit. Joffrey is not a well written character and is extremely misandristic, it just shows how much man-hating society is. Also Arya is a marry sue and token feminist character.

    • Kevin B.

      You’re not entirely wrong and I have no clue why men always act so surprised. We’ve been on top of the pyramid for pretty much all of history, there’s an innate bias against the top. Society doesn’t get outraged when the 0.05% of income earners lose money, get ripped off, fight unfair and just plain stupid regulation or laws either. It’s probably because no one really feels “sorry” for the strong or powerful, which incorrect or not, men get lumped in as. If you’re perceived as having the means to do for yourself no one really feels the need to stand up for you.

      There’s a ridiculously immature tendency towards the extremes, which you exhibit fully just as much as the fandom gets outraged when Chris Evans makes a joke about a fictional character being a “whore” as a way of poking fun at terrible fan-fiction. I don’t like that, I don’t agree with it. It’s an ironically consumerist outrage ready to be pulled off the shelf and hurled at any instance of words they heard about from their friends Into to Women’s Studies class without any comprehension or understanding of the concepts. All that needs to be said is some “-ism” or claim of offense and all discussion is shut down leaving no one with any kind of knowledge or comprehension.

      It doesn’t mean it’s always wrong either. There’s a VERY real prevalence of sexual violence in the world. Of course, bourgeois white, western, feminism tends to utterly fail at it’s arm-chair outrage at doing anything meaningful to counter it.

      And…bottom line. It’s A FICTIONAL SHOW. Which by the way is based heavily on the War of the Roses in English history. Much of the society in Game of Thrones is based on Middle Age culture which was horribly misogynistic. You don’t like it? Don’t watch it, don’t read the books. You want to find progressive bogeymen in a story, you’ll find them, any story. Especially any half-way decently written story with any kind of nuance and maybe simplicity and blunt traditional messages are more your thing. If you hate the show that much stop watching and it seems more likely by your post it either went completely over your head (somehow…) or you just plain didn’t really watch much of it or read past the first chapter.

    • Asfalt0

      shut up, fucking retard

      NOBODY says that you can’t react to females hurting males, but the fact that some people do not fucking see what humanity did to women in the last 2000 years on most of the planet (after the major antifeminist religions ruse to power: christianity and the other one fucked up shitty islam) is damaging

      you are like holocaust negationists

  • JT Blueman

    Anyone who can explain why he killed her?
    For a reason or just because he felt like killing?

    • Kevin B.

      Proximate cause? Joffrey is a cold blooded, sadistic and sociopathic little shit. Ultimate cause? She was spying on little finger for Varys so Littlefinger had her executed (basically) for being a “traitor” or spy.

    • Dómari

      It was a growing subplot. Joffrey was humiliated during the Battle of the Blackwater because he’s a cowardly little shit. He could not kill anyone in battle so he obsessed over historical deaths, fantasizing about taking lives, and so on. Margaery Tyrell kept playing to his obsession because she was trying to butter him up. She even held his crossbow while they discussed the possibility of her killing something (or someone) while he watched, and he was clearly aroused by the idea of it.

      Littlefinger told Varys that his “client” wanted to try something new and crazy, and you then see Ros tied up in Joffrey’s room. Her death was the culmination of two arcs: namely, her spying on Littlefinger for Varys and Joffrey’s fetishization of death as a way of dealing with his own cowardice and inability to be the warrior-king he fancies himself as.

  • Fritz West

    The main problem with your article is that you consider Ros a “random whore.” Thats the part your getting wrong in all this. (maybe because your a book reader like me and when Ros appeared you were like “who is this random whore”) But she is a character in the show who is a hero or antihero (if you consider prostitution wrong) who is portrayed in a generally positive light. She’s trying to do what’s best for the realm by helping vary’s. Saying your not upset for her being mistreated and died because so much else messed up in westeros is like going up to someone who knows somebody who just died and saying “well, there are children dying in Africa why should I care about him/her?” People were rotting for Ros. Nobody was rotting for Theon because he betrayed the Starks (not saying he deserves this). Nobody cares about the unsullied because nobody knew them before they were free. Nobody cares about the animals because they don’t have a story. The story is what matters. Also, it is all just a story…

    • Keyser Soze


      “Saying your not upset for her being mistreated and dying because so
      much else is messed up in Westeros is like going up to someone who knows
      somebody who just died and saying “well, there are children dying in
      Africa why should I care about him/her?””

      Actually its more like going up to a complete stranger who knows somebody who just died, and that person who just died is actually a fictional character from a book who does not actually exist in real life, and saying “get over it you pussy its just a tv show”

    • Dave Justdave

      Is it possible to rot for someone?? I cAn forgive one speliing error. Not two

      • TV’s Brendan Davis


  • Jen

    Ramsay is Psychopath. That’s what you would call him. Ros’s death was tragic, sad, and disturbing. You don’t have to compare it to other horrific murders to make it so. It is so obvious I can’t believe you don’t see it.

    • Keyser Soze

      Joffrey, the guy who killed Ros, is also a Psychopath.

  • Namnoot

    I don’t agree with trying to link the killing of a character with any motivations on the writers’ part, or society in general. Joffrey is an insane villain and a cold-blooded killer, and clearly a hater of women as previously established. His killing of Ros was designed to illustrate this, utilizing a character who is not in Martin’s novels and therefore is expendable (you couldn’t have him doing this with Sansa or Margery). The plot gets no thicker than that.

  • Noel

    This should have been a completely >different article. Not debating what it did, but instead debating the killing of Ros for refusing to do any more nude scenes. What makes it a debate is that, although firing someone for not wanting to continually take their clothes off and engage in various lued acts, she DID sign on to be a prostitute on an HBO series, did she not? I mean, what did she expect? I think that would have made a much better article, and much better debate material that would have garnered more than 10 (11 now) comments.

    • Namnoot

      What’s the source for that claim? I think you have Esme Bianco mixed up with Emilia Clarke, who has stated she is not doing any more nude scenes as Dany. You don’t see her character being killed off.

  • Tanmay Deathberry Pradhan

    I liked Ros. I think she was the most feminist character, more than Catelyn or Cersei, who were married off for politics.

    Ros wanted fame and riches. Unfortunately she ran into a psycho.

    Props for trying. She lived, not beholden to any man. Except for Arya Stark and the Greyjoy woman, all other females are dependent on men. Cersei, Catelyn, Sansa, Shae, Daenerys.

    Daenerys is very middle of the road. She was totally dependent on the Dohthraki men. Now, with dragons and wit, she is a fierce warrior on her own.

    Loved Ros. Loved her tits. Loved her swagger..

    • Guest

      Personally I’m glad they killed her, not because I didn’t like her she was one of my favorite characters. But just because the book is incredible one sided when it comes to killing off characters (and having them stay dead)… they only kill the men which I guess makes since since that was the way it was in medieval times but it makes it fell like nobody is safe.

      • Keyser Soze

        Its the way it still is now. Men are 3x more likely to be the victims of violent crime than women.

        • Guest

          I’m going to assume you meant murder, rather than violent crime.

    • Keyser Soze

      Since when the hell is “wanting fame and riches” the most “Feminist” anything? Are you sure youre not confusing Feminism with Capitalism?

      The fact that you people today think Feminism is supposed to be about women being selfish and seeking material wealth explains a lot about how Feminism seems to be everywhere now and yet women’s actual reproductive rights keep getting easily taken away from them. Modern Feminists dont care about other women, apparently youre all just in it for yourselves and the fame and the money.

    • I love many of the female characters on GOT, Ros being one of them, but Ros was definitely “dependent” on men. Her story was a sad one. I remember little finger threatening to kill her, to give her to men that would do unspeakable acts to her if she refused to make him money. Being a prostitute does not equal freedom. She was practically a slave…

  • Brian Combe

    I think people are more upset because the character seems to have been designed to be a target of misogyny. She isn’t in the books. The horrors perpetrated against many minor characters in the books are inflicted on her in the show. She has already narrowly survived a run in with Joffrey (an already harrowing scene unique to the show) and it seems that her death is just pay off to her distress after the death of baby earlier on. We know Joffrey is vile well enough. We know Little Finger is too so her death seems to be more snuff porn than storytelling.

    • Md

      What are you talking about? She was in the books

      • Warbler

        Read them again. She got some of the lines of minor characters in the books and resembles the unnamed “red-headed whore”, but her character was created specifically for the show. There was some talk of adding her to the book series before this happened but that was probably just to add to the shock value of this scene.

    • Fritz West

      I’m glad they killed her, not because I didn’t like her she was one of my favorite characters. But just because the book is incredible one sided when it comes to killing off characters (and having them stay dead)… they only kill the men which I guess makes since since that was the way it was in medieval times but it makes it fell like nobody is safe.

    • Keyser Soze

      If youre offended by constant depictions of rape, cruelty, torture, and murder, you should probably start watching a different show. Because thats like 99% of all the action in GoT

  • Fe

    “Are we saying, as fans of the show, that a whore’s life ending in a tragic way is worse than what these animals went through?”


    • Education

      yeah… as much as I’m against animal cruelty, to say that we should value a human’s death equal to an animal’s death makes little sense. also, why did you say “a whore’s life” rather than just, I don’t know, “a woman’s life”? are you suggesting a whore’s life is less valuable than some other human being?

      • Keyser Soze

        Uh, yeah? Pretty sure a whores life is worth less than a doctors life. Or a teachers life. Generally, people who actually contribute to society in a positive way have lives that are worth more than the lives of degenerates who contribute nothing but a wet hole for scumbags to pleasure themselves with in exchange for money.

        • molliehow

          Pretty sure no one’s life is worth less than anyone else’s life. Pretty sure everyone’s life is worth the same, being that we live in a world where people are all supposed to be equals.

          • proxy settings

            pretty sure the guy who invented porn’s life is worth more than any doctors…im just sayin..

        • Wow. that’s really judgmental.

  • Are you serious?

    I feel stupid having to write this, because it’s so obvious I’m amazed you don’t get it, but it’s not the misogyny people were upset about. People are upset because of something that happened to a character they liked.

    You’re very right about your points regarding the recurring misogyny and generally terrible things that happen throughout the show (slavery, rape, women as objects to be traded, castration, torture, class-ism, war, treachery, betrayal, shaming, incest, murder, ritualistic sacrifice… you name it, pretty much). But that’s a separate argument.

    The show takes place in a world where those sorts of things happen (also magical walls, dragons, resurrection, and shadow babies). People are just reacting to the loss of a character they liked. Are they being selective in their outrage? Yes. That sort of stuff exists throughout the show. But they’re just pissed that it happened to a character they like and were starting to cheer for as she tried to raise herself up as a more valuable person compared to the “profitable collection of holes” (-Varys) that she has otherwise been described as. Why would that shock you?

    Or is your entire thesis that people shouldn’t criticize the death as misogynistic (which it most certainly was, as well as being a sadistic murder) because they weren’t going on about the other forms of misogyny in the show?

    I’m having a hard time believing that you are THAT far off from understanding the audience. It wasn’t the manner of her death that they reacted to, but rather the fact of her death and they’re just reaching out for complaints.

    • Anon

      Right on.

    • April Murk

      Reaching for complaints about a secondary character that has been set up to die from the get go. Did the audience, outside of myself apparently, actually EXPECT her to not die? For her to rise in the world of Westeros from common whore to what??? Hand of the King? Lady in waiting? To be married off to a noble??? Head Whore in Charge??
      I understand people get attached to a character and are reasonably upset when that character is killed off.
      I wasn’t addressing that Ros had fans. I was addressing the fact with a simple Google search of Ros’ death leads to multiple complaints of not the characters death but the manner in which she died.
      Clearly, we are not seeing the same things in the internet community. I do, however, appreciate your opinion and thank you for taking the time to reply.

      • Lennay Kekua

        I don’t really care about all this crap you just wrote. I’m just depressed that I won’t get to see those milky supple boobies any longer… life is so unfair

      • Fritz West

        Astapor had a whore queen. Would it not be infamous: no. But she could become someone important. Marry someone, manipulate from the shadows. She could gain power without actually sitting on the iron throne. That’s not everybody’s aim…

  • Isaac

    “There are probably more women that hate, dislike or mistrust other women than there are men that do.” You’ve got that right!

  • Tamara Winfrey

    Unfortunately Ros’s fate is similar to that of many prostitutes in the real world, and that of many women in general throughout the real world even today. Where’s the outrage about that?

    • Keyser Soze

      Men are actually 3x more likely to be the victims of murder than women. And as far as prostitutes living such dangerous lives? Prostitutes are actually only HALF as likely to be murdered as the AVERAGE African-American male.

      Our society is MUCH more dangerous for men than it is for women. Wheres the outrage about that?

  • I have to agree with you on all points, April. I’ve been shocked and a little bit horrified that people are so upset about the treatment of this character. She added nothing to the show, she was a terrible actress and the show will be far better without her stealing scenes from characters that actually matter to the storyline. I don’t see how her death was any different from any of the other events you mentioned in your article. In fact, if she’d actually been a character in the books, I’d have said she got what she deserved. She tried to play a game she had neither the brains nor the experience to participate in and she lost. Just like anyone else in the story, she is a casualty of war.

    Also, the day before she was killed off, almost everyone in the fandom hated her. She dies and suddenly everyone claims to have loved her and pretends to be devastated. Why? Because it’s not politically correct to dislike a victim of misogyny? Honestly, if you can’t take a whore getting killed offscreen, with minimal blood & no gore, you should probably watch something else. Game of Thrones is not for the faint of heart.

    • smartalek

      Uh, ‘scuse me, but…
      If she’s a “terrible actress,” how could she “steal scenes” from more central characters?
      A terrible actress might ruin or spoil scenes that would have been better without her — but that’s hardly the same thing as “stealing” them, which I’ve only ever encountered before as something positive (except from the point of view of the lesser actors from whom the scenes get stolen)?
      (And, yeah, just to be sure, I just checked: Wikipedia and the Oxford English Dictionary are just two of many references that say my memory’s not playing me wrong on this.)

      • Lowe

        I assume they mean she got scenes which added nothing to the show, thereby stealing time which could have been used for the plot or with other characters, rather than that she ‘stole the show’

Find an HBO Series

More HBO

Subscribe to HBO
Countries HBO Is In
Watch Game of Thrones Online
Watch The Leftovers Online
Watch Silicon Valley Online
HBO Premiere & Air Dates
True Detective Streaming
Other Streaming Television
HBO Boxing Live Stream
Game of Thrones on DVD & Blu-Ray
Watch Cinemax Online