For Millennials. By Millennials.
The final season of Game of Thrones left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. After all, the show defined a generation. Everyone was expecting it to say farewell in flying colors, but that wasn’t to be. However, the downfall wasn’t just in the final season. It was progressive and involved many other factors. One of them was sexism. Therefore, let’s take a look at how sexism ruined Game of Thrones.
We get it – HBO loves some steam
Now, I understand that HBO shows are notorious for their steamy scenes. Some fans even took to Reddit to complain about explicit scenes in Westworld. But, that’s their policy and many shows have handled it pretty well. Those include The Sopranos, The Wire, Westworld itself, and many others. Moreover, HBO has worked hard in making those scenes safer for their artists through intimacy coordinators after #MeToo. So, what went wrong with Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones had too many explicit scenes. Even more than the books!
Believe it or not, the show had too many explicit scenes. Sex was a major part of almost every episode. So much so that it outnumbered the books by quite a margin. This was one way with which sexism wasted precious screen time of the show. Let’s take a look at some of the explicit scenes that were in Game of Thrones, but not in A Song of Ice and Fire:
When Podrick Payne pleased professionals
As sad as it sounds, this never happened in the books. He was hardly 13 and George RR Martin never gave him a perspective chapter or much importance either.
Tyene Sand never flashed Bronn
We all remember that scene of “Bad p**sy” really well when Tyene Sand flashed Bronn. But, in the books that scene never happened. Bronn became a Lord after marrying Lady Lollys Stokeworth, and never went to Dorne. Moreover, the sand snakes were VERY different in the books, but we’ll get to that in a while.
When Margery failed to seduce Renly
The purpose of this scene was only to show how Renly didn’t like men. But, it never took place in the books. We only got to hear about Renly’s homosexuality in rumors, but nothing took place because the two were never got any perspective chapters.
Renly and Loras never got naughty
In the books, the two were never this close. We only hear of Renly’s preferences in passing from Jamie Lannister and Stannis Baratheon. But in Game of Thrones, they were a lot more than just ‘close’.
Grey Worm and Missandei? Nope. Not a chance
This simply didn’t happen in the books. For God’s sake, Missandei was 10 in A Song of Ice and Fire!
Remember Viserys creeping on Daenarys’s body? Never happened
He did try to steal her maidenhead in the books, but Illyrio Moptas’s guards were there to fend him off. By then, she was betrothed to Kal Drogo. So, nothing happened, but that’s not how it went in Game of Thrones.
Margery and Tommen couldn’t possibly do it in the books
I mean, in the books Tommen was 9 and Margery was 17. Do I even need to say anything else? Tommen simply had to wait.
Melisandre never revealed herself to Stannis or Gendry
In the books, Melisandre never came close to Gendry. She was on another one of Robert Baratheon’s bastard, Edric Storm, and she didn’t do anything with him. She might have tried it because she told him to “give in to the fire”, but Stannis didn’t allow it. He was okay with the leeching though.
Speaking of which, Stannis never had a go at Melisandre in any chapter. But you heard about it only in rumors.
Jamie and Brienne? Nope, not yet at least
In the 5 books released yet, the two never got to that level with each other. But, it might happen in the future. Although, the chances of it happening are slim.
Arya and Gendry? Yeah, chances are very slim
Watching Arya and Gendry together in a compromising position was one of the most awkward moments in Game of Thrones. It felt like you were seeing a young family member and it did not feel right at all. Thankfully, you’ll be happy to know that it never happened in the books.
So, these are the explicit scenes that were a part of Game of Thrones, but not in A Song of Ice and Fire. And these are just the notable ones. There were a lot more explicit scenes in the show that were never a part of the books. For some reason, David Benioff and Dan Weiss never thought that they could have replaced these scenes with some meaningful insight into the history of Westeros. They could have let Samwell Tarly go into great depths in the history of the Seven Kingdoms with Gilly. Instead, they wasted that time with meaningless explicit scenes that only objectified women. But, the problem was deeper than just using sex as a filler. Sexism bled into some precious female characters too, which completely ruined them.
Many amazing characters were destroyed!
The biggest example of this in Game of Thrones was the Sand snakes. The show focused on Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria Sand. However, Oberyn Martell had four other illegitimate daughters in Dorne who were all collectively called Sand Snakes. However, they weren’t as David Benioff and DB Weiss showed them in Game of Thrones.
They were completely different in the books
In the books, the Sand Snakes were lethal warriors trained by Oberyn himself to survive by themselves. They were so dangerous, that Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne had to lock them in the tower of Sunspear. If they were left to roam, they could have triggered wars. After all, they were enraged by their father’s death. But, they weren’t barbarians. They weren’t going on a killing spree, but instead were scheming to have King’s Landing attack Dorne, where they will take advantage of their home turf. This was because Dorne had a difficult terrain. Other than that, the three main sand snakes had distinct personalities and traits different from each other.
However, Game of Thrones wasted the Sand Snakes. And a lot of it was because of sexism and objectification of women. David and Dan just depicted them as hot-headed teenagers also driven by their hormones. They would never kill Myrcella in the books. I mean, even in the show Oberyn told Cersei:
We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne
But, somehow David and Dan forgot their script somewhere. And that needless explicit scene where Tyene bears herself in front of Bronn? That can’t possibly happen in any of George RR Martin’s books. Because his characters have a lot more depth in them than what David and Dan could ever show. Instead of giving them proper characters, they were treated as sexual objects. The show ended up objectifying women, and sand snakes were the biggest casualty of this kind of sexism.
But, that’s not all. The show used rape unnecessarily too.
Related: Three-Eyed Raven From Game of Thrones Was A Targaryen Bastard!
A couple of unnecessary forced scenes
Daenerys, Sansa, and Cersei were three major characters that were raped in the show. It’s interesting to know that all three of these never occurred in the books. Kal Drogo never raped Dany (she was 13 however, so it does count as statutory rape but this is Game of Thrones we’re talking about so the standards are very low). Other than that, Ramsay Bolton never raped Sansa either. Instead, Ramsay was married off to a fake Arya Stark, who was Jeyne Poole. However, Ramsay did brutalize her several times. And the scene between Cersei and Jamie in the sept? It did happen in the books, but it wasn’t rape. Cersei only complained about the location in the books and it was consensual.
These were three major characters in the show, but it felt like the show added rape for their character growth. Sansa and Dany repeatedly mentioned it in their dialogue as if they needed to be forced upon by someone to project them as strong women. Now, rape victims are some of the strongest people one can ever meet. But, a woman can be considered a strong character without getting raped. George RR Martin was able to do that in his books, then why couldn’t David and Dan?
Related: 10 Steamy Game Of Thrones Scenes
In short, sexism played a part in the show’s downfall
So far, we can see that sexism wasted precious screen time of the show, destroyed characters, and brutalized them unnecessarily. The repeated explicit scenes just objectify women, and never achieve anything important for the plot. Moreover, regressive and sexist plot devices only destroyed some amazing female characters. If it wasn’t for this kind of sexism, Game of Thrones could have been a completely different show. Sexism wasn’t the only reason the show failed, but it played a major part.
my guy, what does renly and loras being canon in the show have to do with sexism? and clearly you have not read the books in a long while because while their relationship is never made explicit, it’s heavily hinted at and loras literally pledges celibacy after renly dies, saying “when the sun has set, no candle can ever replace it.” you wouldn’t describe that as “close”?
the double use of “while” in that sentence … not my finest writing moment.
This is not only absurd, it’s factually incorrect and it’s a bizarre attempt by the author to ingratiate himself to the toxic #MeToo crowd. It’s just a bunch of criticisms recycled from dumb “think pieces” on sites like Jezebel, but the author of this story, culturally separated from the issues discussed, doesn’t understand the particulars of the criticism or the cultural nuance, so he thoroughly bungles all of it.
The ASOIAF books were orders of magnitude more graphic and disturbing than Game of Thrones, and anyone who actually read the books would know that. One glaringly obvious example is Ramsay Bolton’s rape of Sansa, which was brutal in the books, involved a different character, and was not shown in the TV show. All the horror comes from Theon’s reaction, but we see nothing.
Rather than an example of sexism, it’s an example of the showrunners understanding when a scene on the page is too disturbing for TV.
Second, to say the show “ruined amazing characters” and then cite the Sand Snakes is hilarious. Yes, they were locked in a tower in Dorne. That’s the extent of their participation in the plot events of ASOIAF, and it’s been that way for 12 years now because George R.R. Martin can’t bring himself to finish his books.