19 Year Old Shocks Game Of Thrones Viewers
SPOILER ALERT: This post contains frank discussion of Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 7, “The Gift.” If You have not watched this Episode we highly discourage reading on!
Viewers looking for a break from the very unpleasant theme of sexual assault on Game of Thrones were in for a disappointment tonight. After last week’s depressing and disturbing treatment of Sansa Stark, in tonights episode we got hit with yet another upsetting sexual assault of a female character that – might we add -doesn’t exist in the books!
In the show, the wildling, Gilly, was rescued by Samwell Tarly (with a big assist from Jon’s direwolf Ghost) from being raped or possibly worse by members of the Night’s Watch. Presumably this scene exists not just to bring Sam and Gilly closer (which it did seem to do – she had sex with him in this scene out of what seems to be gratitude), but to drive home to the viewer how terribly unfriendly the Wall has become for the pair (and baby) in the wake of Maester Aemon’s death and the departure of Commander Snow.
This sexual assault does NOT happen in the books. Gilly is definitely made to feel unwelcome (in a very heartbreaking way), but rape has nothing to do with it. Like the rape of Daenerys on her wedding night to Khal Drogo in Season 1, or the strange reimagining of Cersei and Jaime’s encounter last season, or Sansa’s horrible wedding night, we have yet another instance of the show sexually threatening a female protagonist in a way not even the very grim and violent book series does.
So given this tone of sexual menace on the show, what should we make of the major scene between Tyene Sand and Ser Bronn of the Blackwater? Exposed female flesh is par for the course on Game of Thrones, but there are already those who claim the nudity in this episode from 19 year-old Rosabell Laurenti Sellers is empowering for women. Here we have a female character who has flipped the script and weaponized her sexuality to take down a man. But what did that nude scene accomplish aside from perhaps titillating the audience? Tyene had already wounded Bronn with her knife, and the poison was going to take affect anyway. So why the strip tease?
Could it be that this was just for the purpose of eye-candy? It definitely wasn’t seduction for the purpose of self-defense or weapon when they were separated by iron bars in the jail. At least it’s some presence of female empowerment – if you want to call it that – in this rather harsh episode outside of Sansa theoretically squirreling the weapon away for later. Oh and of course, all hail Lady Olenna Tyrell delivering on the silent promise she made to Cersei Lannister last week.
You mess with the the Queen of Highgarden, you get the Thorns.