A Game of Thrones – Chapter Eleven: Daenerys

Reminders:

  1. Page numbers based off Kindle edition.
  2. No spoiling me; I will edit/delete any.
  3. I don’t avoid spoilers.
  4. My citation format is not necessarily accurate, but it works for me.

I appreciate that some people may be turned off by this constant ‘pre-blog’ notification. I choose to respect that some people may not have read these books before, like I hadn’t and so make the effort to not spoil them unless they go to the post page. I figure if you really want to be here, reading, you’ll ignore it.

…I wonder what happens to a man in the Dothraki culture if he does something of importance not beneath the open sky, then, if all things of importance in a man’s life must be done beneath the open sky.

What use does Viserys have for Mormont, or as I said back in Chapter Three, is it more the use that Mormont has for Viserys? Hmm…

I remain unimpressed with Viserys. However, if he pisses on Dothraki omens, do they not piss back on him? Because I would not be sorry to see him dead, really.

I think Mormont is trying to say that the khal sees all men as lesser, and Viserys did not heed the warning. And I think Illyrio is pleased by the exchange, though I cannot say why he would be.

Daenerys dreams of dragons, in such details as would imply that perhaps she is become one? But apparently not, for the dragon was separate to her, and killed Viserys. Good for it; hope it doesn’t get indigestion (assuming it ate him).

Oooh, Viserys. Sold your sister away, and now you don’t like what happens. Guess what? THE BRIDE AND GROOM ARE OF MOST IMPORTANCE IN ANY WEDDING SITUATION. EVEN IF THEY WERE COMMONERS AND THE KING AND QUEEN WERE THERE… *smirk* …yeah, maybe I should stop shouting at fictional characters.

Oh, poor Daenerys… *cuddles and feeds her hot broth*

…I do not understand the Dothraki culture. Okay, two men went for the same woman, so they had a fight to the death over it. I can accept that as their ways. However, winning the fight, and then grabbing ANY woman? Not the one you just had to fight over? Buwah?

I want those books Mormont gave Daenerys. They seem AWESOME.

…a petrified dragon egg is also awesome.

What? A gown made from the skin of a thousand mice is ‘most lucky’? How?

Oh my… I think that Daenerys likes the horse best of all.

Also, I kind of hope that Viserys’ treatment of his sister ends with her wedding; for Khal Drago should be able to stop Viserys harming his bride. Daenerys, being female, is essentially property in this setting and culture, and it seems to me that Viserys should not be able to harm her.

There is a ‘joke’, that roughly goes like so: “How about if we go home and I’ll eat you out for an hour… and if you still don’t want to have sex, we won’t?” Not much of a joke, really. It trivialises a woman’s right to say no. It also suggests something that seems reasonable from a biological viewpoint: if a woman is aroused, she is more likely to want sex.

Anna claimed consent was obtained by Khal Drogo, therefore she does not see it as a rape scene. I see her point; Daenerys explicitly says yes and guides him to her privates… however, I mentioned the ‘joke’ specifically because it matches what I feel happened.

Daenerys said yes… because Drogo played with her breasts and nipples until her nipples ached, she was flushed and breathless and she was wet. Pretty damn good signs of arousal, I say.

I do not think it counts as rape, but I think a case could be made for coerced consent.

Comments

7 Responses to “A Game of Thrones – Chapter Eleven: Daenerys”

  1. Anna says:

    Ah, Dany’s wedding – a controversial chapter! Much debated, and rightly so.

    Your feelings about Viserys are shared by me – distinctly unimpressive. I’d like to add “creepy and psychotic” to that list, but your mileage may vary.

    Illyrio’s reaction to the lesser-man-exchange between Jorah and Viserys IS mysterious, but it’s supposed to be – you’ll get to learn a lot more about Illyrio, but most of that isn’t revealed until book five. GRRM likes to play a long game with his secrets.

    The Dothraki culture does seem a bit inconsistent, especially regarding the whole fight-over-a-woman scene. I think that scene is there just to enable GRRM to emphasise how *different* the dothraki are compared to the more “civilised” peoples – the fight may have started over one woman, but now that the survivor’s bloodlust is up, he’ll settle for anyone. It’s supposed to emphasise brutality and barbarism, I think. I personally think there might have been a better way to do that, but eeeh.

    (And the thousand-mice-skins dress is lucky because… er, at least the wearer isn’t one of the thousand dead mice? I don’t know – consider it worldbuilding fluff)

    And now we come, finally, to the rape-or-not scene.

    I remember I claimed it wasn’t a rape in the book – I would like to nuance that statement. Yes, it’s coerced consent, and yes, that is pretty much a rape. (Now that I think about it, I seem to recall saying that the scene is questionable regarding consent? Help, I can’t remember). HOWEVER. I would also like to point out that I said that while *comparing it to the tv-series*.

    In the book, Dany consents. After some convincing from Drogo, which is, yes, kind of creepy, but she *consents*. In the tv-series? He basically shoves her down on all fours and rapes her while she cries. In the book, a case can be made that this is a case of failed communication – they literally do not speak the same language – and conflicting cultural expectations (though it should be said that both cultures expect women to go along with their husbands on their wedding nights) resulting in a situation of coerced consent – but the tv-series? The tv-series merrily skips by Drogo’s halting attempts to communicate and obtain consent, however questionable his methods, and just goes “NOPE, we need a rape with extra crying and closeups of Dany’s face while she cries!”.

    And THAT pisses me off something fierce. They take a scene that is already questionable in regards to consent, and then *they make it worse*. And the trend continues throughout the tv-series, with them turning at least one more *consensual sex scene* into a rape, AND adding extra helpings of non-canon rape to emphasise the cruelty of characters that are already obviously established as being terrible people.

    • Dianna says:

      I am trying very hard here to have a respectful discussion; while the subject matter is indeed controversial, I don’t want to piss you off. You’re my friend, and I respect you and your views, even if I may not agree with them.

      Daenerys’ first chapter, all the way back in Chapter Three is where we discussed this at some length. You mentioned that the television show was made more rape-y–after saying that you thought the scene in the book was not a rape scene, as Daenerys gave consent. I took you more or less at your word–or rather, what I interpreted as your word.

      You said it was dubious, but for some reason, my expectations were not geared to something on that level of dubiousness. For some reason, I expected some communication, debate by Daenerys, but ultimately, willing consent.

      My impression is that as a result of my misinterpretation, I’ve put you on the defensive regarding your opinions of this scene, and for that, I apologise.

      • Anna says:

        Nah, don’t apologise – I’m the one who should apologise for being vague. In my defence on THAT (the vagueness, that is), I hadn’t read this chapter in quite some time, and wasn’t clear on all the details. Now, though, I’ve got my copy of GoT right here on the desk! Let’s get to work picking the scene apart.

        Like I said on Twitter, in the real world, what happens to Dany would be rape – yes, she consents verbally at the end of the scene, but that’s rather little and rather late, and she IS there under duress, having been sold as a child-bride by her creepy, psycopathic brother to a huge barbarian who doesn’t speak her language or share her culture. However, like I ALSO said on Twitter, I allow a bit more leeway for interpretation for fiction than I do in reality.

        So.

        Dany rides after him on her brand new horse, KNOWING what’s coming. She’s trying to mentally prepare herself for it. When they dismount, she cries because she fears what she knows is coming – lack of consent, ahoy! – and Drogo, using the only Common word he knows, tries to get her to stop crying. He sits her on the rock, they unbraid his hair, this all seems to be some weird dothraki ritual of trust, blah blah blah – and then he starts to undress her. She lets him, probably still uncertain and afraid, but when he says “No” (meaning “Don’t cover yourself”), she says “no” back (meaning, to my reading “I agree with you, I won’t cover myself” – though it could just as easily be read as Dany saying “Alright, I’ll go along with this, and will use the only word you know so that you won’t get violent”).

        Drogo finishes undressing her, they stand up. Dany is still afraid of what’s going to happen, but Drogo is waiting. He starts groping her, gets her excited (though how much of that excitement is actual excitement, and how much is sincere relief that he doesn’t seem likely to actively hurt her is up for debate – I lean more towards the relief side of things), and then she finally says “yes.”

        Clear case of Drogo convincing her to do something she’s afraid to do. I.e: rape.

        However, this sequence CAN be read as Dany being nervous and Drogo convincing her that he’s not going to hurt her when they do what they are both, by their respective cultures, EXPECTED to do. Dany’s thoughts about Drogo being a lot more gentle than she expected, and him taking his time and letting her ease into this weird situation CAN be read as this not being a rape. It CAN be, but I don’t, because at the end of the day, Dany still has to be convinced to do it, rather than doing it out of her own free will.

        If GRRM wanted this scene to come off as not-rape, he should probably have eased up on Dany’s fear, and emphasised her decision to go through with it much earlier in the scene.

        I know some people read Dany/Drogo as being romantic and cute – I really don’t. I think that Drogo is better than he could have been, and later on you’ll see he does value Dany and does his best to treat her well, but “better than he could have been” only really means “he’s not intentionally cruel and mean”. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a whole lot.

  2. Siri Paulson says:

    Ugh, Viserys. Just ugh.

    I have a bit of a problem with the way the Dothraki are portrayed. They come off as exoticized and “other”…which I guess they are, to the POV character (Dany)…but I can’t help but feel they could have been written better. Dany didn’t grow up in Westeros, she grew up in the Free Cities, where there’s a lot of mixing of cultures. Even if she’s not familiar with the Dothraki, she should be more used to seeing a variety of customs. (Unless Viserys didn’t let her out of the house much, but I don’t remember having that impression.)

    Ooh, the horse. I love that bit. Go Dany!

    Okay. The controversial part. (Caveat: I have not seen the TV series.)

    In Dany’s culture, and in Khal Drogo’s, it’s pretty much expected that a woman will marry a man not of her choosing, and that they will have sex on their wedding night. (And yes, people will know whether they do. This actually becomes a plot point much later in the series.) (I think we already talked about whether that counts as rape in general, so I’m not interested in rehashing the definition.) That might be done as in the TV series — rough and with no consideration for her — or it might be done as in the book — gentle and in such a way as to gain her trust. (You’ll notice that he makes an effort to relax her BEFORE he turns on her automatic biological responses.)

    Yes, it’s coercion. You could argue that it’s rape. But it makes a HUGE difference in the way Khal Drogo is portrayed, and in the way their relationship starts off. He was within his rights to have conducted their wedding night as in the TV series, but in the book he chose to do it as gently as he could. It’s not perfect, but it matters.

    IMHO, YMMV, of course. :-)

    • Dianna says:

      …I’m with you about the portrayal. There is a whole world of difference. Wouldn’t be surprised if the way the TV show is changing all the sex scenes is why Emilia’s refused to do any more.

      Gah, this series is going to raise so many conflicting things.

      However, on a more cheery note.

      Whilst I also don’t think that Viserys shut Dany up in a house, he has clearly mentally and physically abused her to some extent, possibly even sexually beyond the gropings, (although that’s more a possible inference from what he does do, rather than an explicitly referenced thing as I recall), and that could lead to Dany being so consumed with trying to act in a way that won’t “wake the dragon”, that she takes very little in beyond what is needed to survive.

      • Anna says:

        Re: Viserys abuse of Dany. I personally don’t think the sexual harrassment has gone beyond creepy groping – not because Viserys wouldn’t be prepared to do it (Targaryens have a history of incestuous marriages, after all) but because he’s so much of a monomaniac. He’s so completely focused on regaining his throne that I honestly don’t think he has bothered focusing on Dany in that way.

        It’s pretty clear from the first Dany-chapter that Viserys’ original plan was probably to marry her and have more Targaryen babies – but now Khal Drogo is there, offering a means to retake the Iron Throne, and the throne matters more than heirs, so he sells Dany. His psychological and physical abuse has been enough to control her so far – the mere threat of sexual abuse has been enough to keep her in line, so he hasn’t had to go further.

      • Siri Paulson says:

        I don’t recall picking up on any implication that Viserys abused Dany sexually, beyond groping her. But yes, he had a HUGE influence on her mental and emotional development. *shudders*

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