***Caution. Spoilers. Very small quantity***
This conversation is why George RR Martin chose to write stories about rape, and murder, and betrayal, and dark magic, and all the things that fuel human beings to take actions that we never would in our world. I don’t endorse violence or rape in the real world, but it’s a book. It starts discussions. People get intense about things that they should be concerned about, without their family/friend/self being the victim of the violence. I game because gaming is safe. I’ve had horrible things happen to my characters because that’s where the story went, and I’ve seen others go through hell too, and sometimes it’s cathartic. I’ve read books with rape, violence, and horror. Most books I feel the author uses their tools to make me think. Sometimes, authors step over my personal line and I never choose to read their books again. However, I was never hurt from reading a book. And sometimes I have to consider how I feel very carefully after I’ve read it. It’s like my friend Kat said. Fiction is hard. Interpreting written fiction into a visual medium is hard. I think it’s important to remember that art is about art, that writers try to make people think. I don’t want to live in a world where darker elements of stories aren’t allowed to exist because it might give someone pause. Giving someone pause is what writers do. What a person learns from those stories is very individual, but I believe that it helps strengthens the cause by giving people debatable points to talk about.
I’m sure by now you’ve all either watched, read about, or heard someone mention the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. (By the time I publish this, it won’t be anymore. To give context, it’s the episode that has a scene with Jamie and Cersei that has the intarwebs up in arms.)
Please let me be the first to say that I have stopped reading books because of scenes I objected to. In specific, Laurel K. Hamilton writes a scene in one of her books that portrays sexually explicit child molestation. Allow me to assure you, I have never purchased or read anything that she has written ever since that time, including other series that weren’t related.
In the Game of Thrones series, George R.R. Martin writes rape scenes. Plural, mind you. He also beheads a beloved character before the end of the first book, scatters a family to the winds, writes scenes about incest, about murder, about disfigurement. He “crowns” a character by drowning him in molten gold. All sorts of terrible, terrible things happen in these books.
In short, George R.R. Martin is a right fucker to his characters.
My feelings about this are mixed. I am no advocate of rape. Rape is awful, there are no words for how despicable of an act it is.
That said, writing about rape is not rape. Writing about rape is important, despite our wishes to the otherwise. Writing about rape brings the issue to the fore, allows for important discussions to be broached, and gives a context for people to start a discussion.
How can that be, I’m sure you’re asking in disgust. Well, drawing from my own pool of knowledge, I’ve started reading Harry Potter to my six year old son. Recently we got to the chapter where Malfoy calls Hermoine a Mudblood. My son understood right away that this was a slur, even before Ron explains to Harry what the slur means. This later gave me a platform for discussing discrimination to him. There are plenty of real life instances to refer to, to be sure, but Toby cares deeply about Harry and the fate of the wizards and witches. There are the bad things that happen in the real world, but my son doesn’t have the kind of context required to understand some of the implications.
I respect people saying Game of Thrones is “too rapey” for them and quitting. I respect people who are watching the HBO show saying, “That scene was too over the edge, and I don’t want to watch this anymore.” If that be the case, so be it. Please just don’t try to take it away – I rather enjoy it, myself.