Game of Thrones is a violent show based on a violent series of books. People — even beloved people — have been stabbed, burned, poisoned, and assaulted en masse over its run, typically in as graphic a way as you could ever imagine. This most recent season, however, led to some pushback from fans of the show who noticed that a great deal of the violence was directed towards the show’s female characters, and a great deal of that felt gratuitous and unnecessary. The tipping point for many, without getting too far into the thicket of spoilers, was pretty much everything that happened to Sansa. Sansa did not have a fun season.
Entertainment Weekly talked to Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke on their Sirius radio show earlier today, and they asked her for her opinion on, well, that. The audio is embedded below for those of you who want to hear someone say “whilst” in a British accent, but here’s the text. Sayeth Khaleesi:
“Well, obviously, it’s never nice hearing criticism about something that you, and you know everybody else puts their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into. But in the same breath, it’s a shocking show so it’s going to invite commentary that everybody is free to have about the show. So I think it’s a couple of things, because I mean, as an actor, it’s bizarre, because you’ll relish those dark moments that allow you to get your teeth into a character and really kind of explore the darker depths to the reality of life and things that happen every day. But I think the thing that’s important to remember is that sadly, first and foremost, it’s a story that we’re telling that is make-believe—that is based in a fantastical world. So, whilst there is a political commentary that people can take from the show because that is everyone’s right to do so, I think not taking it too seriously is kind of the key here. So yeah, that’s kind of what I think, basically.”
Fair points, all around. Not taking television shows too seriously is almost always good advice.
Now, the flip side of that coin, if you want to play Joffrey’s Advocate for a second, is that because it is make-believe based in a fantastical world, there doesn’t, like, have to be all the violence against women. It would be one thing if they were doing a straight, fact-based depiction of the Middle Ages and or something, but once you introduce dragons and wargs and potions, you can kinda do almost anything you want. George R.R. Martin could open the next book by saying, “Years had passed, and Arya had become the greatest street hockey player in all of Westeros.” (As many fan theorists have suggested.) Doing it the way they do is a choice, which people are free to disagree with if they like.
So there’s your debate in a nutshell. Good chat.