Many medieval fantasy settings include rape. Video game series such as Dragon Age (2009) and The Witcher (2007) include quests of the protagonist saving women from being raped. The Fionavar Tapestry (Kay, 1995) novels include a woman being raped by a shapeshifter who takes the form of her father, priest, and her past lover. The Sword of Truth (Goodkind, 1994) novels include many instances of rape, including the female protagonist being threated with rape at least 9 times. All of these examples present rape and how it affects it 's victims with varying degrees of success.
Rape is nothing new to Game of Thrones, either. In the very first episode, Daenarys Targaryen is violently raped by her new husband, Khal Drogo. Daenarys later falls in love with Drogo and becomes completely devoted to him, calling him her "sun and stars". This perpetrates the idea that rape is "no big deal" and is easily forgotten, and the victim may even fall in love with her rapist.
Unsurprisingly, the director of the episode Breaker of Chains, Alex Graves, in which Cersei is raped by her brother Jaime, seems confused on what constitutes rape; as he stated in an interview with HitFix 's Alan Sepinwall, "Well, it be...
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...on 't go about your day expecting to be beheaded, but the reality is that it 's not only possible but likely that a woman will be or has been raped in her lifetime." (2015, para. 15) A rape victim watching a brutal rape on television can be triggered, having the memories of their past brought back for them, making them relive the traumatic experience.
Sexual violence in fantasy, especially a television program as high profile as Game of Thrones, can have damaging effects on society when portrayed poorly. In America it is estimated there are 293,000 victims of sexual assault each year. (RAINN) Game of Thrones not only risks making a portion of their viewers relive a traumatic experience simply for shock value, but in it 's repeated misuse of the sensitive topic it is encouraging rape stereotypes and desensitizes society to an issue that is already largely discounted.
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