Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones ended with a rather brutal, off-screen rape scene. Although the show’s creators warned of the scene, and tried to explain how it fit into the subject character’s timeline, Internet feminists, fresh out of comic book movies to complain about, latched on to the series and its writers and are now refusing to let go. Apparently, despite several Game of Thrones seasons depicting brutal violence and objectification (including but not limited to a pregnant woman being stabbed in her belly, eye-gougings, other rape scenes, beheadings, sort-of beheadings, an attack by bears, flayings and floggings), this is their hill to die on.
As Claire McCaskill desires greatly to be relevant to, well, pretty much anything, she added her two cents to the debate over whether Game of Thrones had gone a bridge too far. Of course, she thinks they did.
Not to belabor the show’s plot, but the rape scene, unlike much of this season’s content (including the “water garden” scene that rubbed Claire the wrong way), is in the actual books. The only difference is the rape happens to a minor character masquerading as a major character. And in the show, the rape happened to a major character. But if you have any passing familiarity with the source material, it’s difficult to see how the show’s writers could avoid the incident altogether.
After all, Ramsay Snow, the male, is supposed to be a brutal and sadistic human, and while nearly everyone watching the show wished his victim, Sansa Stark, had had a blade hidden up her dress to slowly torture him with, it was clear the only way he could exert power over his highborn, royal and necesssary-to-his-plot-to-rule-the-land new wife is in a way that isn’t visible to the locals still loyal to her family. He certainly couldn’t let her loose in a forest and chase her with hunting dogs, as he did with his other paramours – at least not until after she produces an heir. And the show itself took care to add an earlier scene, in which Sansa Stark is clear that she knows what she must do to play the “Game of Thrones” with an intent to win: survive.
Of course, taking the original work, and the derivative work, into consideration is far beyond the capacity of knee-jerk Internet feminists, as is, say, gaining this capacity of outrage over the murder of a child still in his mother’s womb, a truly unnecessary act of violence featured to the show’s famous “Red Wedding” episode.
Pretty soon, I think, we’re going to have to start marketing those “clean” televisions and DVRs to feminists instead of to the uber-Fundamentalist Christians who marked the Moral Majority’s era of censorship. We wouldn’t want anyone’s precious female sensibilities to be marred by anything that is even suggestive of violence, or any unacceptable idea.