Here’s a continuation of our ongoing GoT discussion!
Amanda: I think I hate this book – in part because of the hype. I thought I’d love it right away.
Holly: Do you just think everyone is the worst? Because they sort of are.
Amanda: Yeah I think I hate everyone except Bran and Jon Snow. Maybe Ned. I don’t hate Ned.
Holly: Oh, Ned.
Amanda: Also, why is this mf’er so LONG?
Holly: It doesn’t get any shorter.
Amanda: Catelyn just called out Tyrion. This might have just gotten more interesting.
<interlude for more reading>
Amanda: I hate this book because nearly no one except Neddie and the kids (so far) is who they’re supposed to be. It’s getting tiresome. Maybe Dany, but she’s so minor right now I just don’t know if I care – 45% in.
Holly: I think that’s true, but it’s not necessarily a problem for me. The whole story is really about the Starks: Starks v. Lannisters, and Starks v. the whole f’ed up kingdom. I hated that the men were complex characters while the women and girls were all one dimensional…but that seems to change. Or else I am developing immunity.
Holly: Hmmm like I am profound?
<interlude while Amanda considers my profundity. Or continues to hate-read.>
Amanda: Yes, Holly I always find you to be profound!
I admit I’ve given up at this point. I will go back because I am afraid of you. Just a little. Since that one time you punched me. Or I’m mostly just afraid that if I don’t finish you won’t read anything else I might try to make you read. And since your life will not be complete if you don’t read Quintana of Charyn, I’ll finish this monstrosity.
But I’ve realized a new issue that I have due to all the hype around this book – Rape Anxiety. I just don’t want to read about it. And due to all the facebook posts and tweets about the show and the books, I know it’s coming and I just could do without reading about rape.
I know I’m a total nut for Seanan McGuire, but she wrote a great blog piece about why sexual violence doesn’t have to happen in her books and I love her even more for it. I think we hear enough about situations in real life in which women have their power taken away from them due to sexual violence. and I don’t need it in my fiction too. I’m not saying I don’t read books where rape happens or that I put down books because of it, because I don’t. But when its an issue enough that people who don’t read the books or watch the show Game of Thrones are talking all about the rapes, I think it crosses a line for me.
Holly: Don’t worry sister! As I was waxing poetic about the library , I searched to see if they had Quintana yet, and they do. So, that should be waiting for me to pick up soon.
However, now I sort of feel between a rock and a hard place – because I do want you to read GoT, but I also can’t really defend against the rape aspect. Obviously, I wrote a whole post about how I felt George R.R. Martin hates women, and at least 45% of the statements that come out of my mouth can be directly linked to a feminist-worldview, and well, the other 55% are probably less than 6 degrees away.
So I get it. And I shall respond very very carefully.
What bothers me in GoT, and in any book, is when rape is used as a characterization – like, we are supposed to understand something about the Dothraki culture based on the preponderance of rape among Dothrakis. And among the wildings. And even among the brothers of the Night’s Watch, which is an escape outlet for rapers.
Not cool, George.
On the other hand, sometimes terrible things happen to the people in the GoT world, rape included. Daenerys’s sexual experiences are integral to the story, and to her development as a character. And the way her story is written seems…realistic, for lack of a better word, for a 13 year old married to a warrior several times her age. For a non-GoT example, think about Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium Trilogy – there is a really really awful rape scene in that book, which plays a pivotal role in Lisbeth’s life. Fun to read? No, obviously. But I don’t think that negates the rest of the story. And, I’ll add that it is possible to write about rape in a way that neither normalizes or excuses it – see Froi of the Exiles…which you demanded I read, no?
For what it’s worth, the storylines in the books really run the gamut in the s-e-x department: consensual sex, sex with prostitutes, young love & young lust, (unexpected) protection against rape, and women using their sexuality as a weapon.
And well, if all else fails, just take your tips from this brilliant piece of satire. You know, turn off that feminist consciousness for a minute, kick back, and read: http://www.theonion.com/articles/woman-takes-short-halfhour-break-from-being-femini,35026/
Also, oh dear. Did you just tell the internet that I punched you one time? For the record, I think I was 6. I have since learned healthier ways to deal with anger. I swear!
Amanda: You are the funniest person I know over the age of 3. Back to reading I go. Heavy sigh.