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Monday, April 28, 2014

Is that one rape the worst thing that's ever happened in a Game of Thrones episode?

We are one season behind in the Game of Thrones series at our house, so I only just saw the red wedding episode last week. Although I did cheat and watch a YouTube clip of Jaime raping Cersei, so that I could judge it for myself. I have read so much about the fans' outrage about this rape, including the vows of fans never to watch another episode because of this rape, that I feel compelled to comment on it. Which nobody asked for and which few will read. Still, here goes.

Who cares?

That's what I said. Who cares?

Who cares if, on a show where they slaughtered a roomful of people by slitting their throats and letting blood spurt all over the room, where Goffrey tortures and kills women with a crossbow in his bedroom for  perverse sexual pleasure, where the royal family degrades and humiliates a member of their own family on a daily basis just because he was born a dwarf, where mysogeny is practiced as often as breathing by most men in the seven kingdoms, where a 14 year old girl is forced into marriage, where Theon hangs and burns innocent children to gain control of Winterfell and prove he has power...

I hope you get my point.

Rape is a horrible crime. I know this first-hand. I know how it can destroy a woman's sense of self and safety, and how it is a violation of her mind as well as her body. I know rape is about power and domination and pain, and that the sexual part of rape is just the weapon used to commit the violation. And it should not be celebrated in popular culture. 

There are a lot of things that happen in the series Game of Thrones that should not be celebrated in popular culture. So why, then, is this particular rape the thing that people suddenly care enough about to be offended? Why wasn't it Jaime and Cersei's history of incest? Why wasn't it that Goffrey promised to rape Sansa on her wedding night? Why wasn't it just Goffrey's behavior in general? Why wasn't it the constant deceits and betrayals of Little Finger? Or the torture of Theon (which I personally find very hard to stomach)? Why wasn't it Craster, who raped all of his daughters and granddaughters and killed all their male babies? Or the fact that the men of the Night's Watch killed Craster, not because of the way he abused his daughters and granddaughters and killed babies, but because he withheld food from the men of the Watch and made them shovel pig shit? I mean, COME ON!

There are so many, many moments in this series that cause me to wait days or weeks before watching another episode, that make it almost impossible for my wife to really watch it at all. It is hard to imagine that one rape scene would really trump all of those other cruel, disgusting, horrifying things. I mean, aren't fans watching this series BECAUSE of all of those things? Because we are both disgusted and horrified and fascinated by them? Because we want to know what happens when winter and the White Walkers finally come? Because we are still rooting for the Starks and the men of the north? Because we are waiting for Daenerys to finally arrive and bring goodness and light and her scary but loyal dragons into King's Landing? Because we are waiting for the Lannisters to finally be punished for all of their crimes against the good people of the Seven Kingdoms?

Why then, is everyone so upset about this one rape, of the many that have either happened or been threatened or implied in this series? Did anyone really believe that Jaime was too good of a person to do something like this? Or that Cersei hadn't already been raped by Robert on their wedding night after being forced to marry him when she was probably only a child herself? I mean, how did we imagine she became such a bitter, vengeful person in the first place?

I don't care if people stop watching this show, or why they stop. I just don't understand how fans could be okay with so many horrible, disgusting things, but then shout "this rape is the limit!"