In light of the recent controversy brought on by an old rape joke of Jason Momoa’s resurfacing, I thought I would make a brief statement about this.
There is no room for equivocation. There is no need to defend the show on this particular topic. Game of Thrones, by which I mean the producers, writers, directors, and many of the actors, as well as the broader cultural phenomenon, is a show that is at best, very thoughtless, and at worst, dangerous in its depictions of rape.
The show has capitalized on rape since episode one. It has shown a female rape victim growing agency through the dubious plot point of changing sex positions with her rapist and then falling in love with him. One director has depicted a scene in which a male character physically holds down a female character, rips her clothes, and has sex with her while she is saying “no,” and explained in an interview that the sex “became consensual” by the end. At least one episode has men raping women in the background of scenes literally as set decoration. Another episode concluded with the just-offscreen rape of a major female character, filmed immediately after the actress turned eighteen, and centering the scene on the sad reaction of a male character who was forced to watch.
Game of Thrones is a TV series created by two men, based on a book series written by a man, produced on a network whose board of directors is almost entirely men. Out of 67 aired episodes, women have had a hand in writing three, and directing four episodes. I do not grant these men the benefit of the doubt in their decisions relating to the depiction of rape onscreen. I do not support any of these choices and will not apologize for them. My interest in the series is in spite of, not because of these things. I just wanted to make that absolutely clear.