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Game of Thrones

(18 Posts)
TheHeirOfSlytherin Wed 24-Oct-12 17:49:03

I've recently read the first book in this series, so apologies if this is "old news" but it has left me uncomfortable but I don't think I'm able to articulate why exactly.

I understand that the misogynistic situations and issues female characters experience are true to the time frame the book is set in, even though it's an alternate reality/world, but what I don't like is the way there doesn't seem to be any challenge to this from the author's point of view. I expect the characters to act in a way that is appropriate to their gender, society etc but I don't think I expected the same message from the author. The way it is written doesn't make me feel like the reader is being told "this is wrong".

Sorry if that doesn't make much sense and I fully expect you all to say "No shit Sherlock!" or something along those lines, but I'm just trying to establish in my head why the book made me feel like this.

LibrariansMakeNovelLovers Wed 24-Oct-12 17:51:45

I felt the same - the women are all powerless and the emphasis on male sexual satisfaction and prostitutes also grates.
I've recently watched the television series so far and another thing that annoys me is the lack of pubic hair on all the women. Especially as it's something that comes up in the book.

CailinDana Wed 24-Oct-12 18:06:15

It does get better. I think as the series goes on the author does a very good job of showing how women are constrained in this society and how they suffer for it. I think in many ways it contains a strong feminist message in that it shows the women are made weak by their position is society while in fact they are every bit as strong and clever as the men, in many ways cleverer. The women who go against their prescribed roles - particularly Dany and Arya - are the ones who thrive, while those who fit their roles - like Cersei and Sansa, suffer greatly for it. Even Cersei, who is a deeply unsympathetic character, is shown to be in many ways a product of the world she has been brought up in and it is strongly suggested that she would be a far nicer character if she hadn't been forced to play the games she had to play in order to be a powerful woman.

I have to say though I found the tv series really disappointing. It had far too much gratuitous sex and nudity, and as Librarian said, there is a distinct lack of pubic hair which is really odd.

sashh Thu 25-Oct-12 05:36:23

Stick with the books.

Arya is independant and resourceful.

Denerys becomes the first female Dothraki war-leader, frees slaves and generally ignores people who say she can't do things because she is a woman.

Brienne kicks some serious ass.

Asha Greyjoy comands her own ships and leads men into battle. Much to her older brother's chagrin.

mrsfuzzy Thu 25-Oct-12 06:57:10

spitting feathers after reading yesterdays 'daily mail' article on a new programme called 'girls' akin to 'sex and the city' the lead character, hannah, is described by the article author as 'chubby', that 's not very nice for a start, but a linking item describes her as being size 12/14, maybe i missed the point but there will be girls/women reading that and there in black and white is another 'image, don't want to look like this, as the average size is 16 in this country it seems very wrong to me.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 25-Oct-12 06:58:03

I tried to read them and felt the same. It feels a bit voyeuristic to me.

I love the TV series but I do find bits of it quite hard to watch. I think it's because it crams in so many kind of 'kinky sex out of history' bits all pushed together, you get the impression he wanted to write a fantasy to justify it.

I do love characters like Arya and Cersei (despite her being Not Very Nice), and Shay. But it is quite dubious sexually/racially.

mrsfuzzy Thu 25-Oct-12 06:59:09

sorry op, thought i'd started a new thread.

mrsfuzzy Thu 25-Oct-12 07:01:49

sorry op what on earth have i done with this thread? i'm not trying to hijack it, i,ve pressed a wrong button and made a real mess of things really i am very sorry about this.

mummybare Thu 25-Oct-12 07:15:07

I agree with sashh - stick with the books. I read them aaages ago, but I do remember them seeming fairly 'feminist'. By which I mean that the female characters are just as interesting, sympathetic (or not!), intelligent and, in some cases, and despite the patriarchal society, powerful as the male ones.

The TV series is inevitably sexed up a bit. Although I guess there's quite a lot of sex in the book too... I don't remember it being described in a particularly mysogynistic way, but I could be wrong. Mind you, I also don't remember pubic hair, or lack of it, coming up in the books. At what point is that mentioned, just out of interest?

EmmelineGoulden Thu 25-Oct-12 10:46:39

I got the impression with Game of Thrones and Rome on TV that one of the things the producers and directors were looking for in the historical setting was an excuse to use women as sexual possessions. I like both series but that aspect of it really grates with me.

mrsfuzzy Thu 25-Oct-12 11:37:13

haven't read/seen these but from what is being said they sound sexist, demeaning and utter crap, will definantly give them a miss.

LibrariansMakeNovelLovers Thu 25-Oct-12 11:42:40

Daenarys also ends up losing everything (except her dragons) and has to marry. I read them all and will read the next one when it comes out but it does make me very hmm at times.

TheHeirOfSlytherin Thu 25-Oct-12 13:42:16

I think voyeuristic is the word I was looking for.

Don't know if it applies to this time frame but at some point in history, didn't women shave off pubic hair to avoid catching lice and other nasties?

I am finding myself feeling sorry for thoroughly nasty characters such as Cersei simply because I feel she has to be a ruthless cutthroat bitch to survive!

CailinDana Thu 25-Oct-12 14:15:40

That's something I definitely like about the books TheHeir - the sense that even the evil characters have some redeeming qualities. No one is 100% evil - it's very clear that Cersei adores her children (though she shows it in odd ways) and has been deeply damaged by being forced into a loveless marriage. Even the strong "good" characters make bad decisions and end up in the shit. It's not the straightforward good vs evil bollocks you get in a lot of fantasy fiction.

But as I said I'm not sold on the tv series, even though it is quite faithful to the books, and it is the gratuitous sex that puts me off. It's not like there isn't a massive amount of plot that could fill the screen time yet they waste so much of it on people shagging. In the vast majority of cases the woman is either a prostitute, is being raped, or isn't particularly enjoying the encounter, and that sort of unnecessary depiction of women being degraded in a titillating manner really gets to me. I really had a go at DH about watching "Spartacus" - which is almost 50% rape porn. Soft porn, but porn none the less.

FloraFox Fri 26-Oct-12 07:16:45

Too much incest and underage sex for me. Mr FF said it isn't as bad in the later books but I can't get past 13 year old Daenarys.

Greythorne Fri 26-Oct-12 08:33:21

There are some fab female characters...
Arya who learns to master a sword, runs away from the people who are keeping her sister hostage, she's clever and devious.

Catelyn who is a loving force (husband, children) and generally does "the right thing" although it sometimes backfires. Her love for her children (esp Bran) is palpable and very touching.

Asha Greyjoy is good, intelligent, strong although she toys with her sexuality, even going as far as flirting with her own brother to achieve her ends.

The problem is tbat there is so much "women as chattels" stuff on the periphery....prosititutes, maids who started in the pleasure house at age 11, Daenarys being sold to her Dothraki husband by her brother, entertainment at her wedding comprising a spectacle of rape, etc.

One redeeming feature, I find, is that the traditional anti-women stuff is presented in a very complex universe. Men are also presented in a negative light, everybody is shaded in grey, nobody is a goody or a baddy. Except maybe Joffrey.

Even Ned Stark is a harsh father, adulterer and ruthless killer, and yet he is pretty presented in a rather sympathic way. But clearly not all good.

That's what redeems it for me. Everybody is nuanced and then men are not presented in a traditional hero frame throughout.

And i love it, for example, when Tyrrion exceeds everyone's expectations which are horribly disablist.

grumpyinthemornings Tue 06-Nov-12 17:39:02

The way most women are treated in the books is true to the time. It sucks, but women were possessions. Of course, Arya learns to fight as well as any boy, with the sword given to her by her (clearly not sexist) older brother. Dany becomes essentially a queen, and after her marriage refuses to let anyone tell her what to do. Brienne...well, she's a knight, enough said. Honestly, most main female characters are strong in their own way, even Sansa (to stay a proper lady despite it all - impressive). Prostitutes etc are treated the same way in the books as they were in reality, and it adds to the realism.

At least it highlights how far we've come as a society grin

Cortana Tue 06-Nov-12 17:46:45

This "The women who go against their prescribed roles - particularly Dany and Arya - are the ones who thrive, while those who fit their roles - like Cersei and Sansa, suffer greatly for it.". Cailin summed it up more eloquently than I ever could smile.

Tyrion was bloody brilliant too. His points about how if it wasn't for his privileged birth he wouldn't have survived. He fights with brain rather than brawn and I think that's a great message for men and women.

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