Monday, April 18, 2011

Regarding Game of Thrones (spoilers)

So I thought that the first episode of Game of Thrones (which I watched on youtube) was mostly good.

Except for one part which I find really, intensely irritating.

It was after Dany weds Khal Drogo and they go on their ride, which preludes their sexual intimacy. Well, if it can be called intimacy.

It sucks being a wife/female and all in Westeros, we'll put it that way. And because of that, it just makes what the writers' change all the worse, in my opinion.

Here's the scene in the book (though they skipped the part where Dany unbraids his hair):

He began to undress her.

His fingers were deft and strangely tender. He removed her silks one by one, carefully, while Dany sat unmoving, silent, looking at his eyes. When he bared her small breasts, she could not help herself. She averted her eyes and covered herself with her hands. "No," Drogo said. He pulled her hands away from her breasts, gently but firmly, then lifted her face again to make her look at him. "No," he repeated.

"No," she echoed back at him.

[. . .]

After a while he began to touch her. Lightly at first, then harder. She could sense the fierce strength in his hands, but he never hurt her. He held her hand in his own and brushed her fingers, one by one. He ran a hand gently down her leg. He stroked her face, tracing the curve of her ears, running a finger gently around her mouth. He put both hands in her hair and combed it with his fingers. He turned her around, massaged her shoulders, slid a knuckle down the path of her spine.

It seemed as if hours passed before his hands finally went to her breasts. He stroked the soft skin underneath until it tingled. He circled her nipples with his thumbs, pinched them between thumb and forefinger, then began to pull at her, very lightly at first, then more insistently, until her nipples stiffened and began to ache.

He stopped then, and drew her down onto his lap. Dany was flushed and breathless, her heart fluttering in her chest. He cupped her face in his huge hands and looked into her eyes. "No?" he said, and she knew it was a question.

She took his hand and moved it down to the wetness between her thighs. "Yes," she whispered as she put his finger inside her.

In the television version, Drogo skips the foreplay, never asks her permission, and, most importantly, Dany's agency is never acknowledged in the HBO version when she says yes.

I find this very problematic for me on all sorts of levels.

1. It completely removes Drogo's complexity. In the telly version, he's just a stereotypical savage who wants what's "his." He just takes off her clothes and bends her over. He's just a type--and a really harmful cultural stereotype at that, too.

2. I don't really understand why they toned down the brother's physical abusiveness (pinching her nipple, primarily) -- though, in fairness, they did get the emotional abuse spot on -- and increased Drogo's. I just think that there was a difference between the two in how they treated Dany as a sexual woman, and that the Writers-that-Be completely removed the difference by not showing the rest of the scene.

3. Dany is so awesome. None of her dialogue should be removed -- ever! (I'm only half-serious, but they really shouldn't have axed the "yes," imo).

Everything else was amazing. I love the guy who plays Jaime -- the look on his face at the end, when Bran discovers them. It's not really until later in the series that Jaime becomes one of my favorite characters because, in Game of Thrones, you don't really see his complexity. But here -- with a real actor being able to show it, without the filter of a little child's eyes, you see it plain as day. And that's beautiful.

They covered a lot of ground in a short while. Dany's final scene with Drogo (grumble grumble) is on page 85 of my book and the closing scene with Bran is on page 71.

One more caveat -- Robb? Theon Greyjoy? I'm not sure if Greyjoy made an appearance, but I think the guy who plays Robb (who I think is Robb?) would make a better Greyjoy. I never pictured Robb as being so douchey.

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