(This post initially started as a post about the increase in blatant misogyny in general – however, the rant about its underlying presence in Season five of Game of Thrones went on longer than I expected.)
If you follow me on Twitter, then you will know that I am currently incredibly passionate about and incredibly annoyed at the progression of the Game of Thrones storyline. Apart from the fact that it detracts from the books in respect of the general storyline, there have been several changes that have strong undertones of misogyny. The exclusion of two strong female characters, Lady Stoneheart and Arianne Martell (who is a point of view character), for me was the worst because, apart from the fact that they’re two of my favourite characters, their presence in the story is significant as issues that GRRM explores in the book cannot be explored through other characters. Lady Stoneheart isn’t a vengeful ghost – she represents the aftermath of someone who has lost all that is dear to her in the most brutal way possible. All the prettiness is stripped away to reveal the cold, hard and bitter truth. She is justice and she gives the Brotherhood a worthy cause. Arianne isn’t another insignificant player in the games – she represents those who have attempted, and failed, to play the game based on manipulation and emotion rather than viewing the game from a birds eye view. She had, as she put it, played the Game of Thrones ‘like a drunkard’. But she, unlike many others, has been given a chance to make up for her mistake and is guided by the mentorship of her father. This is where we start to see the combination of character growth and flaw, and I am so excited to see what GRRM has in store for her in The Winds of Winter.
Another character we see growing in the series to become a strong player with a different strategy is Sansa Stark, or rather Alayne Stone. She grows from the victim we saw her become in Kings Landing to a player who stays under the radar, much like her current protector Petyr Baelish. She plays the quiet, intelligent game and in the Alayne chapter from The Winds of Winter, we see her start to beat Petyr at his own game. We see POSITIVE things from Sansa!!!
So why the on earth do D&D ship her off to Winterfel to marry one of the most cruel characters in this series? To revert her to the victim she was in Kings Landing? We needed the Jeyne Poole storyline, we get that. But why Sansa? Because she’s conveniently nearby? Why have we reduced Sansa to a plot device? Apart from the fact that this is incredibly lazy script writing, D&D have once again trampled over another female character’s development and storyline to convenience themselves.
|GRRM about Fanfiction.
This show is now so uncanon, it’s a fanfiction; you can read all about GRRM’s opinion on fanfictions here
While we’re on the topic of D&D’s disregard for female significance in the series, can we please talk about how they’ve reduced Dorne to some tropical Southern paradise and the anti-climatic Sandsnakes. One of my book-burning friends comment on the Sandsnakes was that they were lame. Honestly, I don’t blame him, given their portrayal in Season five. In the books, the Sandsnakes are such a force to be reckoned with that Doran has them locked up before they can avenge their father’s death. In season five, we got this anti-climatic tug-o-war between Bronn and Jaime (wth is he doing in Dorne) and the Sandsnakes over Myrcella and an excuse for nudity. WHY ARE WE REDUCING THE EPIC SANDSNAKES TO LAME FIGHTERS AND ‘SEDUCTRESSES’ TO FILL D&D’s NUDE SCENE QUOTA? Oh, and Ellaria has been reduced to a bloodthirsty, vengeful woman who lost her lover in the series, because that’s easier than portraying her as a woman who loves her children and would rather keep peace to ensure they are safe and that some sanity remains in Dorne. More lazy screenwriting and female character reduction, curtesy of D&D.
Back to the topic of Dorne, the ‘Kingdom of Acceptance’, where base-born children are loved and not looked down upon. Where next in line to the throne is not determined based on gender but rather on age. Where the Martells are actually ‘Nymeros-Martells’ due to the significance and influence of Nymeria of Rhoyne. Why have D&D given us a summer island holiday resort instead of the only kingdom that didn’t bend the knee, but joined the Seven Kingdoms through marriage. Why aren’t we shown why the Martells, who rule Dorne, are ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’?
Why is it so difficult for the show to portray the women of the series as strong individuals, instead of reducing them to victims, manipulators and nude scenes, incapable of being worthy players in the game of thrones?
PS: Please do not use Dany to defend D&Ds misogyny. Half her storyline for this season has been cut, meaning book-burners don’t get to see her full descent into madness (yaaaay for more female plotline reduction). Plus, in the tv series, she watched, with a straight face, her dragons burn alive and eat a fellow human being. She has no claim to the Iron Throne. Apart from the fact that she lost that claim after Robert’s Rebellion, she knows nothing of Westeros or its people. Granted her own ancestors conquered Westeros with the aid of their dragons, so anything is possible – however, she would fly to Westeros with vengeance in her heart and claim that which she believes was taken from her. There are other, less selfish players who would serve the realm better than she would.