Being partial to horror, I was disappointed that they killed off King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) so soon. In the beginning, he was a petulant teenager, but he had matured into such a fine sadist! I enjoyed the intrigues and, of course, Peter Dinklage, but it’s getting quite repetitive. Game of Thrones is the series everybody has been raving about. It’s the adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels (which were probably written just to be made into a series) about the struggle for the throne of two houses (Lannister and Stark), plus some woman with dragons. It’s very loosely inspired by the War of the Roses between the House of York and the House of Lancaster so it has medieval flavour (=what popular culture believes is medieval). I’ll make just one sociological-historical point.
Sexism: in the first season in particular, women are mostly naked and used for sex. Women are shown fully naked, while male nakedness is mostly limited to their naked torso. The pathetic excuse that it’s set in a (fantastic) medieval time doesn’t cut it for two reasons: firstly, the programme is aimed at a 21st century’s audience not a medieval one; secondly, it disregards completely medieval gender structure. The ‘medieval’ setting tends to be more what we today think the Middle Ages were like than an accurate representation. In medieval Christian Europe, women had the option of not being a wife and mother, and therefore dependent on a man, by becoming nuns. Today, we might regard that as giving up one’s freedom, but it really wasn’t so then. Suddenly, celibacy provided the vehicle for selfhood. Nuns could become powerful abbesses. This is totally absent in Game of Thrones.
In contrast, Game of Thrones’ character of the sorceress merely incarnates the male fantasy of the lustful satanic witch. Women are ‘the body’ and even their power comes from the use they make of it. The magic of the sorceress has nothing spiritual. Women are reduced to sex, even powerful queens, like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), whose power lies in the family name and her children, heirs to the throne. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clark), the ‘mother of dragons’ never quite cuts it. She first gets sold to a man by her own brother. She later gains her husband’s affection by playing porn diva and somehow falls in love with him (yeah, right). Once the husband is killed and she is in charge, she is portrayed as a power-hungry teenager. She’s mostly lucky rather than skilful and wise and always counselled by two men.
There is an attempt at having some stronger female characters, like Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), who can play warrior largely because she’s pre-pubescent, and Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin), who’s killed off pretty quickly. The only real female character with wits and character is Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), who is old and therefore cannot be sexual (in Hollywoodland) and is relegated to few lines in nine episodes.
For the ‘honest’ and fun trailer of Game of Thrones, watch this.