Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Personal Taste...of Thrones

People are fascinating.

I could watch them all day, listen to their ideas and beliefs, chat with them about what makes them tick...and then tell them why they are wrong.

He has a point...
Do I do that? I guess sometimes I do and sometimes it's a deliberate action designed to get the other person to actually consider their position a bit deeper, maybe at the slight risk of imagining a different point of view.

I don't believe everything I say, I am mostly trying to be diplomatic and ease a tension or make people think. I'm certain not always right, despite what the t-shirt says...and who am I to question a t-shirt!?

So with all that in mind, I want to examine a topic that has cropped up lately relating to the most recent episode of Game of Thrones where the unfortunate Sansa Stark is raped on her wedding night.

You know the words...sing it with me...

Social media and the less social form, regular media, is awash with commentaries, far more eloquently presented than this, discussing the scene and how it is proof perhaps that the show has gone too far. We, as viewers, are to be questioned or frowned upon for enjoying such a program with all it's offensive material.

Are we condoning such behaviour, such violence and attacks on women?

Are we accepting it as part of "entertainment" and thus diminishing the seriousness of rape?

This article suggests it may be the case Game of Thrones reduces rape to Entertainment.

Game of Throne is a character driven story.

Think about the entire beginning of Star Wars, you are immediately drawn in to the main character's (Luke) predicament because his aunt and uncle are murdered and the bad guys are after him, he also putting his faith in an old man who he barely knows. You immediately are on his side and feel something for him.

Game of Thrones is very much the same, you were instantly (in the series anyway, I haven't read the books), drawn in by the characters, a complex smorgasbord of good, bad, sort of good, sort of bad and eh? type people, all of whom seemingly have a similar goal or desire. To claim the Iron Throne.
There are others on the way, families etc, who are made to suffer or are killed and your feelings for these characters and their plight are touched. But unlike regular stories, things happen where you think "well, it'll all work out for the best....wait.....they just killed them!?" and you are forced to rethink, forced to reassess what you think is going to happen.

It's also, by now, kind of hard to know who is actually the goodie and who is the baddie. Even good people do bad things and the bad ones occasionally redeem themselves.

But I like that. There is something refreshingly pleasing about a tv series where you DON'T know what's going on, where the clich├ęs are mostly thrown out the window and you, the viewer, are treated like you have a bit of intelligence and are worth it.

So while the violence is occasionally intense and the brutality and horror is on show, in my opinion it helps a well-developed, character driven story to elicit more emotions and feelings for situations and people, because it's not predictable nor pedestrian.

The same episode had a gay man being prosecuted by a religious order for being gay. He's going to be put on trial and possibly killed because of it, and yet, nothing has been said about that. It's not even casually glossed over in the article.

As individuals I guess we each have things that spark a sense of outrage more than other things, not diminishing the other things, just a personal hierarchy of concern. For me, it would be hurting animals etc. And there has been a bit of that in the series too. But I know it's not real, I know it is designed to form opinions of characters and I know it could be seen as a cop out of sorts, pin pointing things that trigger emotions in people rather than leading them there on their own.

However...

If people are only offended now, season 5, episode 6...they have a strange place to draw the line given what's happened in the previous 45 episodes. 

You tell 'em Willy...oh god, a knob joke, sorry...

The rape of Sansa Stark happened off-screen and was not a pleasant thing to think about or have presented to us. It wasn't gratuitous, it made an impact, as seen through Theon Greyjoy's eyes.

But does watching the program with it in it mean we accept rape? Does it mean we have reduced it to entertainment? Does it mean we up until this stage accepted murder, incest, genocide, animal cruelty and killing, religious persecution, genital mutilation, debauchery, other rapes!

No, it doesn't.

Rape isn't entertainment, but then it isn't in the book or the tv series to entertain.

Just like life, tv shows are entertaining, but occasionally confronting and make you think about things you may not have thought about before.

And then, we talk about it, discuss how it made us feel, discuss how much we despise the already despised, Ramsay Bolton.

It has elicited emotions in us, feelings towards characters, sympathy for Sansa and a strong desire for hopefully some sort of comeuppance for Ramsay.

But then, I kind of felt that way when he cut off Theon's penis.

Whoa indeed
I must have missed the articles of outrage regarding that.

Perhaps he deserved it?

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