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From Romance to Rape: The Portrayal of Masculine Sexuality in Game of Thrones
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8994-3547
2022 (English)In: Memory and Medievalism in George RR Martin and Game of Thrones: The Keeper of All Our Memories / [ed] Larrington, Carolyne; Czarnowus, Anna, Bloomsbury Academic, 2022, p. 149-160Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The scene of Danaerys wedding night with Khal Drogo differs significantly in the text and the TV episode. In the novel Danaerys is seduced by her new husband, with the clear ability to turn him down. The TV series, on the other hand, shows this scene as a rape.

This change from romance to rape is due to two underlying assumptions: firstly, that sexual violence is perceived as more authentic than consensual sex in this pseudo-medieval setting, and secondly, that the series seeks to titillate the readers by presenting a form of sexual contact that is seen as. essentially, sexier. The portrayal of male sexuality in popular culture and public discourse favours a depiction of men as pursuers and women as pursued, shading into predator/prey. Thus, we perceive men as predatory due to biology, not culture: it is ‘authentic’ for men to be violent. Game of Thrones is often argued to give a ‘realistic’ image of the Middle Ages, particularly in portraying violence against women, showing this connection between ‘authenticity’ and sexual violence.

Furthermore, this type of sexuality is seen as preferred by men, dividing the genders along a sex/romance dichotomy. Catering to the imagined male gaze, the show presents Khal Drogo’s and Danaerys’s sexual interaction as more pornographic and less romantic, which also genders the presentation masculine. In making this change, the TV show caters to the male gaze and an imagined male audience, allowing the narrative to be dominated by male desire and male fears.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bloomsbury Academic, 2022. p. 149-160
Keywords [en]
Game of Thrones, sexuality
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URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-44487ISBN: 9781350269606 (electronic)ISBN: 9781350269590 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-44487DiVA, id: diva2:1633742
Available from: 2022-01-31 Created: 2022-01-31 Last updated: 2022-09-01Bibliographically approved

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Hildebrand, Kristina

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