Game of Thrones: to watch or not to watch? (self.SRSTelevision)

SRSTelevision

8 ups - 2 downs = 6 votes

Hi all,

I figured a SRS community would be the best place to ask this question.

I've heard a lot of hype about GoT, and I know some of the vague themes/subject areas, but am worried in case it is particularly shitty (specifically, in a sexist way)? I know that a lot of TV/media has elements of shittiness in one way or another, whether it be under-representation of PoC/ differently abled people/ trans* people, and other minorities, or straight up bigotry towards any marginalised groups.

I ask this because every time I consider watching it, I hear somebody say how particular scenes made them uncomfortable in relation to their treatment of women. So, I just wondered what you all would think. Worth a watch, or is it shitty?

25 comments submitted at 19:37:19 on Jul 8, 2013 by PaleBlueNew

  • [-]
  • Slate_Slabrock
  • 12 Points
  • 23:30:42, 8 July

I'd read the books instead.

The TV show is good, but it's way too focused on adding scenes with gratuitous nudity in there. And I mean tons of gratuitous nudity. It gets really bad at times. It also tends to re-focus certain storylines on the male characters (such as its heavy focus on the character Robb, whereas the books tend to tell his story through the eyes of his mother, which is fascinating!) The books are very much a deconstruction of many common fantasy tropes, and while they're trying to get that across in the show, I don't think they're doing a great job in some areas.

Also of note is that several of the characters (including my favorite!) are heavily focused on their internal monologues rather than what they do in the storyline, per se. And that simply doesn't translate well onto the screen. So while in the books, Sansa (my aforementioned favorite) comes off as a young girl who's way out of her element and yet incredibly strong and brave, the show depicts her as cold, emotionless, and distant.

Also, I'm gonna go ahead and plug /r/SRSasoiaf, if only because it's awesome and we're about to start a special re-read that focuses only on the female characters. Start reading and discuss things with us!

  • [-]
  • PaleBlueNew
  • 4 Points
  • 23:39:36, 8 July

Thanks for that, lots of detail! I've had a couple of friends say they enjoyed the books a lot. I don't have time to read now (I don't even remember the last time I read for enjoyment instead of studying :/, that's why I go for watching shows to unwind, because I read so much for uni!), but will definitely get started once I've finished uni. And that's 2 people here now recommending ASoIaF, so that's certainly something I'll get onto once I'm done with studying!

  • [-]
  • Roughcaster
  • 7 Points
  • 00:30:30, 9 July

On top of that, I think reading the books first makes the show seem shittier. IMO the show has a track record with POC erasure and exploiting women that I don't feel is present in the books. It feels like they're altering the source material to further pander to the whims of straight young white men, despite the show demographics being evenly spread. Though I would recommend the books, maybe going into it blind will make it seem less shitty.

  • [-]
  • Slate_Slabrock
  • 3 Points
  • 00:41:29, 9 July

Excellent point. I can't help but wonder what I would think of the show if I'd watched it before reading the books.

  • [-]
  • beetseem
  • 2 Points
  • 01:40:23, 9 July

> IMO the show has a track record with POC erasure and exploiting women that I don't feel is present in the books.

The show is definitely worse about POC than the books, but I wouldn't say it's not present in the books. In AGOT/season 1, 99% of the POC are Dothraki, who are called "savages" by the Westerosi, and they're very much stereotyped as such - they roam around on horseback raping, murdering, and enslaving at every village they pass through.

There are less sterotyped characters of colour. There are a few in the first two books and a fair number get introduced in the third book (who it seems will be whitewashed in season 4).

  • [-]
  • MorningRooster
  • 0 Points
  • 05:29:56, 9 July

> who it seems will be whitewashed in season 4

What do you mean? The only Dornish character that has been cast was a Chilean actor, not a white guy.

  • [-]
  • beetseem
  • 7 Points
  • 12:11:19, 9 July

Actually he's a white Chilean actor.

  • [-]
  • blarghargh2
  • 2 Points
  • 22:21:10, 12 July

> The TV show is good, but it's way too focused on adding scenes with gratuitous nudity in there. And I mean tons of gratuitous nudity.

pretty much exclusively female nudity. i don't mind nudity if there's a reason for it, but this is just silly.

  • [-]
  • beetseem
  • 8 Points
  • 02:31:42, 9 July

> I ask this because every time I consider watching it, I hear somebody say how particular scenes made them uncomfortable in relation to their treatment of women.

I think the reason the books make some people uncomfortable about the treatment of women is because women are treated like shit in the books. But that's one of the things I think that makes the books feel so real - they're as misogynistic as our own world, but with fewer digital watches and more boiled leather.

I'm not saying the books are flawlessly feminist, there is plenty to critique about GRRM's handling of female characters, but I don't think "writing about misogyny is misogynistic" is a valid criticism.

However, if somebody's talking about the TV series, then that criticism is perfectly valid. The show's producers think women are only important if they're naked. Catelyn never gets naked and she's relegated to being a side-story in her son's story (where in the books her son's story is only told as a part of her own story), but Dany is clearly a very important character because she's naked half the time.

I'm going off on a tangent here, but there was a character created for the TV series who was a prostitute, and it was rumoured that the actor portraying her had refused to do any more nude scenes, so the producers killed her off by having a particularly sadistic character murder her, and as an extra insult the death was offscreen and at the end of one episode we just see her naked lifeless body hanging there full of crossbow bolts. That's probably the single most misogynistic thing that's happened in the TV series because it seems a lot like retribution against a woman for saying "no".

To answer your question: I'd say you should read the books instead, but if you want a TV series it's probably more entertaining than most in general because the storyline is more complex than most American TV series, but it's also probably going to leave you shouting at your TV.

  • [-]
  • RonPaulsBigBalls
  • 2 Points
  • 11:28:00, 17 July

If it's true that she was the actress who said no that is, As you say it's rumoured. I heard it was Dany....

  • [-]
  • e_cybo_pooch
  • 5 Points
  • 19:56:54, 8 July

There may be times when certain things you've mentioned will annoy you, but overall the show is good enough/has enough compelling characters and a good enough story that you should be able to enjoy it.

  • [-]
  • PaleBlueNew
  • 2 Points
  • 20:04:11, 8 July

Thanks for the reply. So it's not as shitty as I feared then? I suppose it will be a case of trying to ignore slightly problematic parts in favour of the overall programme.

Just as I thought I'd made a definitive decision to avoid it, here you come along and cause me to doubt that decision! :)

  • [-]
  • e_cybo_pooch
  • 2 Points
  • 20:09:40, 8 July

Exactly. I suggest you watch the first few episodes and if the good outweighs the bad, stick with it.

  • [-]
  • mustbecurious
  • 4 Points
  • 20:45:57, 8 July

I think the first season is worth a watch, and see how you go from there. My main issues with it are the (female) nudity, which is sometimes gratuitous and unnecessary, and the lack of PoC representation unless they're portraying slaves.

  • [-]
  • PaleBlueNew
  • 2 Points
  • 20:53:53, 8 July

Thanks. Yeah, that's the thing, I'm not at all offended by nudity, but I don't like it if it comes across as gratuitous and unnecessary. I also wondered if there would be a lack of PoC representation due to its era/setting, which isn't great, but then again I suppose it's certainly not the only TV programme to do that :/

I think I'll give it a few episodes and see how I feel: if the treatment of women makes me too uncomfortable to get into the show, then I'll stop. We'll see.

  • [-]
  • RonPaulsBigBalls
  • 1 Points
  • 11:29:52, 17 July

But that's meant to derive from the setting which is based on a part-fantasy/part-medieval setting. Portraying racism and misogyny isn't necessarily racist or misogynist.

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 3 Points
  • 21:55:24, 8 July

If you watch, also go ahead and listen to fat pink cast, which is a feminist podcast about Asoiaf. Unfortunatley, they start with season 3, and have read all the books. So you'd have to watch the first two season before you could really listen, and even then you only will get to listen to the first half of each episode since the second half they go into book spoilers. Still, it's a great catharsis to be able to hear others point out the flaws and be able to talk about them

  • [-]
  • PaleBlueNew
  • 2 Points
  • 21:57:21, 8 July

Cheers, sounds interesting... actually, I've never seen ASoIaF either, so perhaps I'll get on that too! Got nothing else to do with my time except a Masters dissertation :)

  • [-]
  • Slate_Slabrock
  • 2 Points
  • 23:35:23, 8 July

FYI: ASOIAF (A Song of Ice and Fire) is the title of the book series as a whole. Game of Thrones is the TV adaptation of ASOIAF (and plus "A", the title of the first book)

  • [-]
  • PaleBlueNew
  • 2 Points
  • 23:41:05, 8 July

Oh right, OK, I had no idea! Ah I feel embarrassed and ignorant now, haha!

  • [-]
  • beetseem
  • 2 Points
  • 01:24:06, 9 July

> you only will get to listen to the first half of each episode since the second half they go into book spoilers.

Is that so? I only listened to the pilot podcast, and there were unannounced spoilers throughout. So don't listen to that one until you've read all the books.

  • [-]
  • dragonfox
  • 3 Points
  • 20:10:34, 8 July

I really like the show and most of the times I like how women are portrayed. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy/medieval type shows. I would not say it's any more shitty than other shows out there, perhaps a little less shitty. I think the roles for women get better as the series goes on.

  • [-]
  • PaleBlueNew
  • 2 Points
  • 20:32:32, 8 July

Cool, thanks for letting me know. I guess because I haven't actually seen it, I have been getting quite a skewed perception of the show. I was aware of some strong female characters, but seemed to have this idea in my head that they were often used as props for the hetero male gaze (an acquaintance described the show as "tits and swords", which put me off!) or subject to violence... I dunno. Think I might give it a chance :)

  • [-]
  • dragonfox
  • 2 Points
  • 20:43:33, 8 July

Well...women are still dressed unnecessarily provocatively. :(

But, women are shown in positions of power, they aren't just weak and always giving in to men. I think it's interesting how it shows women because I haven't seen many series (especially fantasy or medieval-ish stuff) that portrays women as strong, independent, and still nurturing. I think it could actually be better by not making every man be your stereotypical macho man. If the men showed more emotions, it would be a much better show.