Sexual Violence in TV Series: Fostering Discussion or Gratuitous Violence?

In light of the latest step of sexual violence galore in Game of Thrones, with Sansa’s rape, I am among the many who are disgusted by the writers’ decision to go down this path. Since the third season, it has felt as if the writers must always bring sexual violence to the forefront, especially when it is against women.

I am by no mean saying that rape can’t be included in story lines, but the problem is that Game of Thrones uses it as a cheap trope.

I haven’t read the books but have talked with people who did and have educated myself in how certain scenes and story lines happened in the novels. I have been left shaking my head at how the writers turned scenes into rape since the first season when there was no need to. The two worst things have been Cersei’s rape by her brother in season 4 and Sansa’s in season 5. I can’t get why the writers went this way when they already had plenty other opportunities to talk about sexual violence.

Much has been said about these developments in Game of Thrones and it made me reflect on how other TV shows brought up the topic of sexual assault, which is a grave issue in our society.

24

In the first season, Jack Bauer’s wife, Teri is kept captive with their daughter Kim. When one of the men looks into raping Kim, Teri offers herself instead. She does this to protect her teenage daughter. The rape scene isn’t shown but Kim hears what happens.

Once Teri and Kim are rescued and go to get a medical check-up, Teri asks the doctor not to tell a word about her rape to her husband.

Battlestar Galactica

The second season arc with the Pegasus‘s crew, led by Admiral Cain brings rape to the forefront. Both victims are Cylon women, who are considered less than humans by the female Admiral.

The first victim, Gina, is shown shackled and beaten up after having been assaulted multiple times, with Cain’s blessing. The other victim is Sharon Athena who is kept aboard the Galactica in decent conditions. Cain’s men accidentally alert Helo – who fathered the child Athena’s carrying – and Tyrol about how others are going to “have fun” with Sharon. The two men are able to stop the rapists as they’re assaulting Sharon.

Both Gina and Sharon must deal with the scars these assaults have left on them and Gina eventually kills Cain at the end of the Pegasus arc.

Gina Inviere. Source: Battlestar Galactica Wiki.
Gina Inviere.
Source: Battlestar Galactica Wiki.

Dollhouse / Stargate Universe

These two shows make little case of the notion of consent. In Dollhouse, the way men and women (mostly female characters are focused on) are blank slates to become whoever a client pays, including in terms of sexual activities, tosses consent out of the window. Regardless of how the “Dolls” don’t remember what happened to them, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

In a similar way, Stargate Universe presents body swaps as a regular plot device. Due to communication stones, two persons can switch bodies. Several times, characters get intimate while one of them is in someone else’s body. It isn’t a business like in Dollhouse and people don’t know what happened to their bodies while they were in another one. Yet, it is the same kind of abuse. Using someone’s body for sexual activities they didn’t agree to partake in tramples consent.

Farscape

In the fourth season, high ranked Peacekeeper Grayza captures John Crichton and sexually abuses him. Grayza’s pregnancy in the final miniseries, Peacekeeper Wards, never confirmed or denied whether John was the father of her child. Yet, it is a common theory given the timeline. Crichton gets tortured several times in the course of the series, but Grayza is the one who brings sexual assault to the table.

Once Upon A Time

This show isn’t graphic at all but still deals with psychological violence and abuse topics. Coercing someone into having sex like the Evil Queen did with the Huntsman or Zelena with Robin Hood is abuse. The same way, Hook admitting that alcohol helped with several of his female conquest, shows that consent didn’t always mean much to him.

Regina and Hook have been working on putting their dark ways behind them. It doesn’t change what they did but them addressing their dark past is a significant aspect of their story lines. As for Zelena, she has shown no remorse about masquerading as Robin’s wife. She did this so he would agree to have sex with her, which resulted in her getting pregnant with his child.

***

This list isn’t exhaustive but it shows other options to depict and denounce sexual violence. It is important to talk about this problem. Depicting sexual violence must have meaning and not just become a pattern for writers who don’t know what else to do with their female characters.

What TV shows do you think have done a good job at fostering discussion about sexual assault issues?

Advertisements

55 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. I don’t watch any shows that show sexual violence, period. I saw the movie, Saturday Night Fever, and understand that John Travolta did not want to do the rape scene (where Annette was raped in the back of the car). It was traumatic and it was depicted as such in the movie. Having been a victim of sexual violence, I will never ever trust a serial TV program to depict it as the horror it i under the guise of being “educational.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t like graphic scenes generally speaking. They can do without them most of the time while retaining the plot/psychological consequences. I understand how sexual violence can be part of some narrative arcs but being graphic about it isn’t necessary in my view.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh god, Dollhouse…that was a twisted show. The concept itself was interesting and highly disturbing. It raises the question of consent. Dolls get loaded with a persona who will consent to whatever is asked of them, while the original personality isn’t even considered as they signed their bodies and minds away in a contract.

    Dolls are both consenting and not so at the same time, because while they do consent to anything they have to do, it’s not a choice they made but something they programmed into them. In essence they are nothing but sex-bots.

    Stargate Universe if I’m not mistaken actually deals with that lack of consent in an episode where the stones fail mid-visit, while someone is ‘mid coitus’. I might be mistaken but I do remember something similar. IT was at least mid-kiss. And again it’s a similar case to Dollhouse, raising the question of consent when the mind isn’t the body’s original one.

    True Blood for those that suffered through it, had insane levels of sexual abuse and violence, just for the shock of it. And without any intention of showing the danger or making a statement or at least serving in character development. Nope, just forced sex…because. One in particular is Jason Stackhouse’ rape by wereleopard hilbillies, to introduce him into the local gene pool. Not only was the scene disgusting, but the creators attempted to sweep it away by claiming that it wasn’t rape due to a combination of A) they’re not fully human, B) Jason’s a dude, C) he has a history of promiscuity. As if that would convince anyone that saw the scene.

    Game of Thrones is senseless violence at this point, sexual or otherwise and it’s getting more tasteless as the show goes on. While the Sansa rape scene is perhaps the most tasteful of those presented in the show before, there was no reason for it. What does it do for the character development? She’s already gone through so much that piling on the misery and pain will do nothing for her as a character. It’s just sexual violence for violence sake. It’s pointless and just for shock value.

    More shocking to me is how TV/Cable still manages to fumble or make light on the issue, or just use it for shock when books and comics have been handling these topics masterfully for years. From serial rapist villain Doctor Light in DC comics, to show how the ‘heroes’ mindwiped him as punishment after he raped one of the heroes’ wife and claimed to have done so to many more, to using Bruce Banner’s sexually abusive father as a means to explore his multiple personalities, the duality of Hulk/Bruce and help the character grow, face and slowly begin to overcome some of his traumas.

    In novels: While the Anita Blake novel series has many issues it has dealt with sexual abuse in many ways, and while a lot of them get brushed under the rug, one character’s entire story is nothing but abuse after abuse, to the point where, when we meet him, he places so little value in himself that he’s extremely submissive and allows people to do anything to him, even if can be lethal, exploring the trauma of the abuse and the feeling of worthlessness that developed in the character.

    Then why, if we consider some or most TV writers to be of the same caliber as other writers, can’t they ‘properly’ use sexual abuse? When I say properly I mean in the context of storytelling. It’s a sensitive and quite appalling subject and should be used delicately to convey either a sense of how bad the world is, why a character behaves a certain way, or as a character development device. Just using it for shock value is to make light of it, to treat it as inconsequential, unimportant.

    Sorry for the rant, but your article brought back all these memories and I had to write it all down.

    Terrific piece and one I will definitely share!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No problem with the rant! The whole point of this was to start a discussion about how sexual violence is used in narratives. Even after I finished writing the post I had so many other examples in mind but it would have turned into an extremely long list.

      There were interesting aspects to Dollhouse but yes a lot was very disturbing. The show could have gone further into discussing this question of consent but I think that the later episodes partially tackled. The question of consent wasn’t really at the forefront (as far as I recall) but dealt with reclaiming body and original mind at least.

      Yes, Stargate Universe did have the stones bug a few times, including during a sex scene. I also remember an episode when two male characters discussed how one didn’t want the other being intimate with the woman in his girlfriend’s body. The scene mostly read as “she’s mine, not yours” making little case of how it was wrong by the girl whose body was used, and that it was wrong even for the other woman borrowing her body to engage in anything sexual.

      Oh God, True Blood… I suffered through a few seasons before giving up on this. And yes, Jason’s rape wasn’t excusable at all! This could have been a great narrative to denounce how 1) men can be raped too 2) promiscuity doesn’t mean that someone deserves to be raped. They had an opportunity and they wasted it. I never liked Jason in the show but I was still horrified by what happened to him (just as I never really cared for Sansa but was disgusted by her recent rape).

      Agreed on how Game of Thrones treats sexual violence. Sansa’s rape didn’t serve her character development at all. She had enough happening to her already. And I still don’t get how Littlefinger could just give her away like this and having no idea of the psychopath Ramsey is (which all viewers already knew). This show has just been using sexual violence against women to get attention. At the same time, when the writers can say that Jaime raping Cersei ended as a consensual scene and told Sophie Turner that Sansa would get a “love interest” in season 5 (who turned out to be Ramsey), you know there is a problem.

      I don’t know much about comics so thanks for mentioning these examples too! I admit that save for recent movies/TV shows (and not all of them), I don’t follow DC and Marvel characters.

      Anita Blake is another book series I gave up on after reading 10 or 11 books. I believe you are talking about Nathaniel, when it comes to the character who was abused over and over again? (I read the books a few years ago). He was an example of dealing with the post abuse trauma that made sense and did bring character development. This shows that certain examples can exist. Of course, one may wonder why most of the other sexual violence occurring in these books were easily brushed away.

      I am glad that you found the piece interesting! Thank you for your comment and sharing the post as well!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yep. referring to Nathaniel.

        I still haven’t stopped with the Anita Blake series but the last book I read of it was Kiss the Dead and I found it appallingly bad. I will read the one that followed, Affliction and if I find it just as bad, then I’m quitting the series.

        And yeah, a lot of sexual assaults get brushed off in Anita Blake under the excuse “The ardeur made me do it.” At the time this thing was introduced it helped the character grow, but now it’s the “let’s take consent out the window” wild card.

        And agreed with True Blood. I found Jason’s character flat overall but the scene was bad. And even worse they wasted that opportunity you mention.

        And I saw that Cersei/Jamie scene, there was no consent there whatsoever. Submission yes, resignation, definitely, but consent? Give me a break. I think it was a cheap way of making the audience feel/realise that Jamie wasn’t a good guy. Because up to that point Jamie had always been one of the ‘nicer’ characters, honourable as far as Lannisters go.

        Handing Sansa over to Ramsey make so little sense in terms of Little Finger’s characterisation. Very little to gain from handing her over to a complete lunatic.

        DC comics is usually better at dealing with these kinds of issues than Marvel. At least that’s been my perception. For example, if you’ve seen Arrow, the character Roy Harper in the comics was called Speedy, and was Green Arrow’s sidekick and with him DC touched on drug abuse and they went full speed down the spiral with him, to the point were he became erratic and a danger to those around him as a superhero. They shocked the world with that development but managed to use it to build a better character while giving their readers a powerful message.

        I mentioned using sexual violence to build a world and the example in my mind for this is a Manga/Anime called Berserk. In the entire thing I only saw one rape scene but pretty much every character has suffered some form of sexual abuse in their life. The main character at certain points had nightmares about his childhood abuse. They don’t show it, but do make it obvious to pick up what happened.

        The one sexual abuse scene you do have is first not really graphic, which is good, and happens during such a horrific event for the abused character, that the trauma causes her to regress to a child-like state,completely oblivious of things around her and with no memories of what happened. It’s heartbreaking and disturbing because Caska is such an amazing character, a strong female lead. But that event fuels the main character’s actions and his ‘quest’, while at the same time telling you more about the horrible world they live in.

        Back to Stargate Universe, very true. They touch on the subject but didn’t take the chance of fully exploring it and it’s a shame because the stones gave them ample opportunities for that. But who knows, maybe it’s something they would have explored had a season 2 been greenlit.

        As you can probably tell, I have a very wide range of interests…and watch too many things at the same time.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I remember Nathaniel being one of my favorite characters in the books! I must have read up until after the ardeur was introduced. I felt that the books were running around in circles after some point. Good luck with reading Affliction!

          I can’t stand the “let’s take consent out of the window” wild card. It is a harmful, gratuitous and doesn’t make things progress at all.

          Jason didn’t deserve to be raped, nobody does. And people making fun of this isn’t a good thing either. Making fun or sexual violence isn’t appropriate, no matter the angle one wants to take.

          No kidding that the Cersei/Jamie scene was rape. Period. What annoyed me regarding Jamie, was that in the third season he had begun to grow as a character. At least, he had in my view. I didn’t care for him in the early seasons but started to find him potentially interesting and getting character development. And then, hello rape scene! I found it counter intuitive, because I could never look at Jamie afterwards, no matter how he evolved, without thinking back about how he raped his sister. Once again, Cersei, like Sansa or Jason, isn’t a character I care much about, but I still didn’t see what the rape brought into the narrative.

          Littlefinger handing anyone else than Sansa to Ramsey wouldn’t have surprised me. Handing Sansa over? No.

          I tried to watch Arrow but it didn’t catch my attention. I’m glad to hear that they did a good job with the character you mention. This proves that it is doable!

          I remember a friend of mine used to read Berserk but I didn’t read it. I’m glad that you’re bringing so many other examples to the discussion! There is no need to get graphic to explore traumatic story lines. Glad to hear that they seemed to do well with picking up what happened!

          Stargate Universe is a show whose cancellation I’m okay with. I only saw its two seasons earlier this year. They could have done better with the stones even within these two seasons but well, missed opportunities are common, though it doesn’t excuse brushing problematic topics away as if they were nothing.

          Yeah, I can tell you have a very wide range of interests! That’s awesome! Don’t get me started on my to watch/play/read list. It would be the topic of a whole other post!

          Liked by 2 people

    2. They sort of wave it away on Dollhouse with the idea that the dolls consent ahead of time. A blanket consent for whatever happens while they’re a doll, when they sign up. Given the overall theme of the show, and the regular conversations they do have about consent, including the fact that so many dolls were manipulated into their “consent,” I find it problematic on the creators’ part that they didn’t actually address consent more fully. Like a lot of these other examples, it seems mostly sensationalistic. (Although the presence of the themes, even if they weren’t fully addressed, indicates to me that at least there was an effort.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed about Dollhouse. The way they first mentioned how the dolls gave away their consent for whatever before becoming like this was acceptable at first. But from the moment they brought up how several ones were manipulated/forced to sign up to be dolls, the thematic became much more problematic.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I could believe TV shows/books/movies do this to bring awareness to how wrong abuse, sexual abuse, rape, torture, etc. is, but it’s rarely handled in that way, instead it’s used to get ratings, attention, and publicity.
    The latest Game of Thrones rape was especially bizarre and heinous and was purely for sensational purposes because they got so much buzz from the last rape scene. Frankly, I can’t see myself watching it anymore, it didn’t make any sense, it was just used for attention, well, they got mine, I’m bored and disgusted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The rarity of discussion springboard type of sexual abuse narrative is depressing. Violence of any kind can make sense in stories but they shouldn’t be used as gratuitous tropes to get attention. I very much agree with you.

      I have almost given up on Game of Thrones a few times since season 3 and at this stage the only reason I’ll continue watching is because it’s in my field of research. I’ve stopped watching it for personal enjoyment a long time ago.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “Depicting sexual violence must have meaning and not just become a pattern for writers who don’t know what else to do with their female characters.” Yes! Absolutely!

    There’s this adolescent sexuality pervading the genre, and it just doesn’t need to be that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If writers stopped making sexual violence a plot device for sensationalism’s sake, a gratuitous devaluation of human beings, there would be room to talk about how wrong abuse is and how important consent is, including for adolescent viewers. TV shows or any other mainstream media should foster discussion, even in families, where they might be springboards to talk about important matters.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I know this has been a hot topic on FB. It makes me angry as well, but I’m not at all surprised. Women have been a commodity since the dawn of time.
    I can think of a ton of shows and books where sexual assault is thrown in just because the character is female.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There has always been sexual violence in Game of Thrones, but since season 3, it has only increased and as it was pointed out several times, it is just expected in the show, which shows how bad things have become. As you said, it’s sadly far from being the only TV show ( or movie or book) doing so.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So, I haven’t seen the episode of GoT yet (I’m not sure that I want to)… but my question- if you- or anyone here- have read the books beforehand how this compares to the Ramsey storyline in print. Ramsey’s character is basically the sickest f*** I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about (and I would have put down the books by the time came on the scene, if I weren’t so invested in the other characters by that time). There’s no secret that Ramsey is forced to treat his wife better than the nameless victims he can dispose of… So I’m angry about the plot twists that have shifted so Sansa is the one suffering in this instance (and baffled by the implications it has about the other characters who allowed it to happen, but maybe that’s because I’m behind on the show), but, also a little bit curious that fewer people have brought up the point that he’s been doing nothing but torturing and raping whoever he can get his hands on for as long as he’s been in the story. I know, I know, we’ve known Sansa since she’s a child- but for me- and lots of us- the unexpected twist was not the violence only the identity of the victim. Which raises some questions about how much anyone would have objected if it were a less privileged character who suffered the abuse.

    I am disappointed as this comes at a time in Sansa’s (written) story when she seems to be growing into less and less of a victim and the show has chosen to beat her down even more than the books…

    But perhaps not quite as angry as I was about them re-intrepreting the scene between Cersei and Jamie as rape, because of the extent to which that deviated from their relationship. Or, even worse, because the director didn’t see it as rape, saying it “becomes consensual by the end” (http://www.vulture.com/2014/04/game-of-thrones-director-on-the-rape-sex-scene.html) which raises some serious questions for me about whether these guys ever bothered to read the definition of “consent”. They most certainly never read through the “Consent, as demonstrated by a cup of tea” metaphor (http://www.theloop.ca/this-woman-just-explained-consent-with-the-most-perfect-metaphor/) Or, perhaps, because I haven’t had to watch it yet.

    Further, while I’ve mostly enjoyed the books- the show’s sensationalism has been poisoning my memory of the characters I used to care a lot more for…

    This reply has grown quite out of hand, but I can’t write my own post without having watched it- and who knows when I will be able to make that happen (This is not a show I want my toddler to wake up and see bits of!), so I’m afraid you will have to be stuck with my ramblings here!

    In regards to your list- I would just like to add: Dollhouse was a very uncomfortable show, all around, for that issue!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have never stood Ramsey who is one of the sickest characters of the show (I haven’t read the books but have talked with people who did and read excerpts as to know better what I was talking about). I know that the creators changed Sansa’s storyline so she took place of another one who was to marry Ramsey. I would have been equally horrified if it had been another character. I have never really been invested in Sansa as a character in the first place.

      The show has been increasing sexual violence since season 3 (it existed before, including with Daenerys’s first night with Drogo, which I remember reading was a weird but more consensual scene in the books).

      I don’t think the creators of the show understand what consent mean, especially since reading about their ideas of what the Jaime and Cersei scene was. It was rape! And changing Cersei’s lines from the book who says “yes” three times to saying “no” three times on the show, if that’s not rape, I don’t know what this is.

      When I also read how the creators told Sophie Turner about Sansa’s storyline this season, prior to giving her the script, saying she was “getting a love interest”, I was horrified again. Even as a joke, it wasn’t appropriate at all! It is just harmful and disgusting.

      The show didn’t make me want to read the books at this point. I might read them down the road, but the show has been getting so much on my nerves that I’m dreading reading the books.

      No problem about the rambling, as you can tell, I am doing the same.

      In Dollhouse, most “dolls” were women, but generally speaking, another problematic point was how the “dolls” reverted to a child like state in between missions, turning what was done to them as abuse of both adult and child in a way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. After the combo of books 4 and 5 and the long wait for anything new, I’ve lost faith in George RR Martin’s vision and won’t recommend the books anymore, until he does something to take ownership of the characters back from the show’s team. I feel like he’s retiring & just leaving us with however HBO chooses to finish it- and their version was always just a little “too much” than I really want from my tv shows!

        You are right about Dollhouse, too. I don’t think it was Whedon’s best.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I can answer some of this. I haven’t read the books myself, but I regularly converse about the book versus show storylines with people who have.

      Sansa seems to have replaced Jeyne Pool’s role in the book, but that also forces other changes—and I agree with you that some of them are out-of-character. It makes sense for Littlefinger not to feel bad about leaving Jeyne Pool there and have everyone believing that she’s Arya. He really has few compunctions.

      But it doesn’t make sense for him to leave *Sansa* there. He was too in love with Catelyn, and Sansa looks too much like her for him to easily discard. and I have a difficult time believing that he doesn’t know what Ramsay is up to. The going theory is that he has no idea Ramsey is a torturer. But how would he not have heard about that? And would he really have given Catelyn Stark’s daughter to him and then fled? It just doesn’t fit for me.

      The scene itself seems to be quite like Jeyne’s marriage night scene, from what I’ve heard book-readers say. I’m having a difficult time discerning why, if we can discard Jeyne as a character, we still had to fulfill that storyline at all: why not, instead, use the opportunity to actually surprise viewers, do something new?

      *sigh*

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This! I hate Littlefinger but it makes zero sense for him to give Sansa away like this! She is the only person he’d try to protect (even in his own weird/twisted ways). And Littlefinger *not* knowing of Ramsey being a psychopath? I don’t buy it one second at all.

        I agree that if they discard Jeyne Pool as a character, they didn’t need to use Sansa instead. It makes little sense, save for “oh, we can get another character raped! Let’s shock the viewer” without getting that many people were expecting this to happen, with how the writing has been done for the past while.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. What is a bit problematic for me is that I can see, based on how certain plots progress, how Sansa’s suffering will probably be “consequential”… but not for her character, for male characters shortly down the line… So it’s essentially like saying Sansa doesn’t count, but the guy who this will affect does. (Except for Littlefinger. This does not fit with his “print” character. He couldn’t be dumb enough not to know about Ramsay, and he’s far too possessive of Sansa to leave her unguarded like that)

          I’m also bit uncomfortable about this turn of events for a particular reason, from a difference genre. It’s quaint to admit this now, now that most of them have gone off the air, but I grew up watching a soap opera. My grandmother watched it, and my mother watched it. Everything was always handled in a very PG manner so my brother and I were allowed to see it, even as kids, if we wished. So even in this female dominated genre, where all issues of sex and violence were handled in a way that could be aired on daytime, network television, the shows would hit this road block with girls who had been on since they really were GIRLS. So they’d have this kid grow into a young adult… And she’d obviously have to be a virgin, right? (All the good girls are) So, how do you bump this sweet girl into the pool of characters who were sexually active (hence had more viable story lines)… without loosing her “sweetness”? The answer, too many times, was to have her first time be rape. That way her character couldn’t be maligned for actually choosing to give up her virginity- a choice that could call her “good girl” status into question, even if she was engaged in a loving and supportive relationship. Afterwards, she could be as promiscuous as the other character’s without judgment, but that first time…

          It happened often enough that as a teenager, I rolled my eyes whenever another virgin was raped on daytime TV (sorry! I realize how inappropriate this response was now!). As an adult, I became much less casually cynical and alarmed by the larger implications of that trope.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I can see Sansa’s rape being consequential for male characters instead of her too. It is sickening. Her rape is used for shocking value and uses her twice as commodity in this case: the actual rape and making her a plotting device for a man’s development, leaving her be stuck and victimized again.

          I never watched soap operas so thanks for bringing this up! I am always surprised how “good girls” are often depicted as virgins, at least in American TV. In France, we don’t see really have this trope. And it’s horrible to have a “good girl” lose her virginity via rape so she can stay a “good girl”. This is is so wrong!

          Liked by 2 people

        3. I attended a Catholic school between age 10 and 17 (last elementary school year to the end of high school). I never heard a word about abstinence (I discovered it was a type of sex ed when I read about the US in the past few years). Okay, our sex ed was pretty limited but the teacher gave scientific facts. I’m actually going to write a post about French perspective on birth control and sex education within the next month.

          Liked by 2 people

        4. That will be a good read! I will say- I grew up in the tristate area and was technically raised Catholic (two things I have in common with George RR Martin, just to tie in to the earlier discussion). Abstinence as a form of sex Ed is widely considered ridiculous in this part of the country- even by the families who sent their kids to CCD (the Catholic equivalent of Sunday School). But I think sex education is considered much more the responsibility of the parents, so administrations are protected from parents who are very far to the left or right of the issues.

          I have been fascinated, because I’m a new mother, by different cultural attitudes on breastfeeding. (i.e. Other cultures don’t seem to be as worked up about it as people in America are) I’ve been trying to resurrect my high school French and have been getting French picture books out of the library to read to her. My daughter went nuts for this boring almost reference book called Le Bebe and I realized that, after a year of reading picture books, it was the first time we had encountered a baby breastfeeding- which, of course, she thought was totally natural (being a baby) but was excited to see her reality reflected in her books. So, basically, another instance of us Americans making life harder for ourselves.

          Liked by 2 people

        5. In France, most of sexual education is left up to the families. Sex education is minimal in schools for the most part, though when it happens it is normally biologically accurate. When I was a teen, it was common for us, even in Catholic school, to have a fairly decent understanding of how things worked and at least know about condoms and the pill. The first book I ever had that talked about how babies were created was when I was very young. It was a book written by kids for kids (with teacher’s supervision of course). So to me, talking about sex was normal if it showed up in the conversation.

          Breastfeeding is an option in France but not made a big deal off. I was raised on formula by a stay-at-home mother and I turned out well (I think so at least!) I have mostly known women who raised their children like this though a friend of mine who had kids a couple of years ago breastfed them during their first year. We have maternity leave well organized in France but mothers who don’t breastfeed are no big deal.

          Liked by 2 people

        6. I haven’t read them yet either, but my assistant and others I know has. Either he doesn’t know, or more possibly, he didn’t think the marriage would ever take place because he thought Stannis would have attacked before then, found Sansa, and made her Lady Stark. Stannis however, is taking his sweet old time.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. I can’t picture Littlefinger gambling that much with Sansa’s fate (and I highly dislike Littlefinger and was never really interested in Sansa). No kidding about Stannis!

          Like

        8. Neither can I seeing how much in love with her he is, which is why the only explanation is that he never dreamed Stannis would take so long, or that the wedding would take place when he wasn’t there.

          Also, I hate Littlefinger.

          Liked by 1 person

    3. First off, I haven’t read the books yet, however, I have to say, I wasn’t the least bit surprised either based on Ramsay’s actions since he’s been introduced on the show. He is indeed the most sadistic character I’ve ever seen. How could you not think he’d rape his wife, whoever she was? As for changing who it is, I agree that was the twist, not the rape.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. It makes this rape even more gratuitous. Ramsey’s already been established as one of the most sadistic characters in the show and Sansa already suffered from abuse and sexual assault, so there was no development.

        Like

        1. I think the development might be that Reek/Theon might have finally had enough. He did not look happy. And he seems to already be struggling to resist Ramse’s orders. As for Sansa, she was practically warned by that darn maid! And where was the old maid of hers? She should have hidden a knife on herself somewhere, like up her sleeve so that when she unlaced the sleeve she could pull it out. Her mother should have taught her to defend herself better instead of just teaching her to be a proper lady. Arya never would have let that happen to herself without a fight.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I have the impression that Sansa’s rape will simply made for Theon’s development, which is even more disgusting. Sansa has grown enough that she would have tried to defend herself. It would have made sense for her to kill Ramsey, or at least hurt him in defense. Sansa shouldn’t be defenseless at this point, after what she has gone through. The writers victimizing her again erase the development she has had so far.

          Like

      2. The more I’ve been discussing it with my wife, though… We haven’t been the biggest fans of some of the choices GRRM was making in the last two books, so maybe he was going to kill her off without enough fanfare and maybe the show runners have a plot in mind that will at least give her a moment of triumph first? Sighs.

        The show has always just always felt so much more violent, the amount that they show!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. For what I read, the writers had had this plot in mind for Sansa since the second season of the show. I hope Sansa can stop being victimized but one way or the other, this rape was useless in the narrative, since she had already suffered abuse before. There was no need for her to be raped to make her story advance. The show has always been violent but I find that since the third season, it’s got worse, which says something!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. On a different- but closely related- note, I’m tired of Melissandre whipping her clothes off every other scene she’s in. I am not her biggest fan in the books, but she argues her cases without stripping every time a man expresses doubt.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Melissandre isn’t my favorite character either (and I haven’t read the books) but it would be great if she could indeed have scenes that don’t include stripping. As far as I know, the writers had to put up with Emilia Clarke refusing to do any more nude scenes after the first season, so if Daenerys can keep her clothes and be a compelling character, it shows that it is possible.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I will allow that Daenerys emerging from the fire with nothing but ash and dragons was a powerful, and empowering, scene. Incidentally, probably the only time it wasn’t about sex!

          Liked by 1 person

        5. This scene was amazing! It was beautiful and I had no problem with it. I think it might indeed have been the one nudity scene that wasn’t about sex! The exception that proves the rule, I guess.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Visual stuff is always more violent I think than the written word. I don’t know why. I think it’s seeing it instead of reading it.

          And I was just thinking, a better choice would have been for Sansa and Tyrion to become at least a semi power couple at the capital. I think with him by her side, with his political knowledge and his knowledge of the players in the game, plus a little guidance and her friendship with Margery, she could have risen to some power, and at the same time gotten allies for the Stark cause. Cersei would always try to keep them down of course, but Cersei’s power is fleeting at best, I don’t think people will put up with her for much longer.

          Liked by 2 people

        7. I had high hopes for Sansa and Tyrion. He treated her right and was willing to do his best to protect her. He showed it a few times during the show. I was hoping these two could develop a semi decent relationship at least. Sadly, things went into another direction.

          Like

        8. I love Tyrion. I was sad that it took her so long to warm up to him, at least in the show. I know in the books he is accused of killing Joffrey, so they didn’t change that, but I still wanted the two become this respected couple at court. Tryion is the only decent Lannister it seems, and I’m glad Jamie is finally starting to become a decent man and get out of his father and sister’s pull. But together, Tryion and Sansa could have been great, he cared about her as a person, and as a woman, he respected her and her family, and knew what she had to do to reestablish power for herself and the Starks. Sansa could have benefited from his knowledge and guidance.

          Liked by 1 person

        9. Yes, yes, yes! Tyrion is one of my favorite characters and I was so hoping that Sansa and him would become a great couple; There was so much potential with these two. Once again, it went poof. I started to find Jaime an interesting character during the third season, but him raping Cersei in season 4 messed it up for me. I can’t look at him now without thinking of Cersei’s rape.

          Like

        10. She’s worse in the books! I actually really dislike the way they changed her portrayal, because it felt watered down. Then I hated the “rape that wasn’t” scene they pulled with her and Jaime. Joffrey, however, was more fun to hate. He was too young to be much of a force in the books.

          Liked by 1 person

        11. I would have hated her tons in the books then! She just annoys me to no end in the show. Don’t get me started (again) on the “rape that wasn’t”. I was this close to just give up on the show then. The only reason I still watch is because it falls in my field of research. it’s not been any enjoyment in a long while.

          Liked by 1 person

        12. You would hate her more… but she’s more fun to hate in the books! I still find her wishy-washy on the show- The difference started in book season 1: in the show, she tearfully relates miscarrying the one baby that was Robert’s. In the book, she describes sending Jaime to get the “abortion tonic” for her, because she wouldn’t let anything from Robert grow in her womb. I thought it was interesting, given everything else the show feels like throwing at us, that it shied away from that. (But you know, meanwhile, here are MORE BOOBS!)

          Liked by 1 person

        13. I’m glad to learn more about the books and the differences with the show (I knew a few but of course, far from all). The show has missed on so many opportunities in terms of portrayal and character development (even for annoying characters!)

          Liked by 1 person

        14. I think I enjoy watching the show so I can rant and rave about the differences. It’s a better way to get out your aggression than picking fights with your spouse!

          Liked by 1 person

Talk to Me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s