Day 527: Game of Thrones Rape

“The scene was always intended to be disturbing,” says George RR Martin, “but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.” In a brief response on his own blog this week, the author has addressed the recent uproar over Cersei’s shocking rape by her brother and lover Jaime on Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones” – a plot twist very different from the narrative in his own books. And boy did it disturb, all right.
In it, siblings Jaime and Cersei are sharing a moment with the body of their murdered son Joffrey that turns swiftly from grief to ardor to anger to, ultimately, rape. For a show that’s featured already incest, torture, amputation, rape galore and at least two monster baby births, you’d think a little brother on sister sexual assault might not have raised so many eyebrows. It’s not that the scene wasn’t unnerving; but in the context of a series that’s featured a Herod-like child massacre, within an episode that features another character bragging to a little boy, “I’m going to eat your dead mama, and I’m going to eat your dead papa,” what happened Sunday between the maimed Jaime and Cersei was not exactly an atypical event. Yet the sudden and violent turn, from a character who, okay, sure, pushed a kid out a window in the first episode but has taken a more humbling road in his subsequent narrative arc, provoked a more powerful reaction than almost anything the show has done in its entire button-pushing run. Writing in Salon Monday, Roxanne Gay called the scene “sensationalized rape” and said, “The show, and the books, reveal the disturbing and cavalier facility with which rape becomes a narrative device.” Jezebel called the scene “some despicable shit”and on Vulture, Margaret Lyons called it “a new low for the deeply violent series.” - Salon

I do not understand.

I do not understand the outrage over this rape scene when there are so many more horrific scenes in Game of Thrones alone - and that's not even talking about the events that actually happen in the world every day. Things like torture, massacres, betrayal and more happen without someone so much as batting an eyelid, but have a brother rape his sister and lover in the chapel where the fruit of their incestual relationship lies dead and suddenly everyone's moral compass goes haywire. This is a very clear indication that our morals are seriously skewed. If we find this rape more outrageous than any of the other horrifying events in the TV series - not to mention the horrifying things that happen in real life - then we are in some seriously murky moral waters. Why are we not "disturbed" by the things that happen all around us on a daily basis?

Why are we only disturbed when a fictional character, in whom we have vested some sort of emotional attachment, does something (in his fictional world) that is contrary to our idea of him?

I do not understand.

I do not understand how one scene from one fictional TV series causes more outrage in people than poverty or climate change.

I do not understand how, in just a couple of days, more energy has been put into this one fictional event on a global scale than has been been put into the genocides that take place right now in recent years.

I do not understand humanity's capacity for cruelty and even more so our capacity of deliberate ignorance of said cruelty.

I do not understand.


  1. Me neither but people also like the fact that Peter Dinklage is a vegan whoop de foo!

  2. Actually I heard they are opening a vegan restaurant at the wall in Game of Thrones for people of his stature.... The feature vegan dish is called the Wall Dwarf Salad


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