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Sunday, July 16, 2017

WINTER IS HERE: GAME OF THRONES FEMALE EMPOWERMENT IS QUESTIONABLE AT BEST

GAME OF THRONES HAD GOT TO BE ONE OF THE MOST PROBLEMATIC FAVES I'VE EVER HAD.


Every single time pale, white, blond Khaleesi and the quasi-brown-skinned unwashed --excuse me, "the unsullied" -- show up on the screen to save the definitely not-white, mixed-race looking slaves in a new city, I'm trying to figure out how deep the devotion to the white savior narrative actually is in real life --much less the story line.
I mean, are white folks, like the writers of this series, so afraid of their TRULY HORRIFIC HISTORY with people of color that this narrative will never, ever die ...for so long as white folks dominate money systems on this planet and therefore remain the gatekeepers in Hollywood, Bollywood, and whatever they call Dollywood in Great Britain? 
The race problems aside --because the head slaves are definitely blackish Missandei and Grey Worm--what's all this gibber-jabber about is female empowerment in Game Of Thrones?

headline
'Game of Thrones' has become an unlikely tale of female empowerment
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-ca-st-summer-preview-previously-on-game-of-thrones-20170528-story.html

"Unlikely" is right. I have to disagree. I can't call this a story of female empowerment.  GAME OF THRONES has been fairly sexist and misogynistic from the git---and that's without talking about a few fairly bad (plus one horrific) rape scenes. 

Besides, writing stories of female empowerment don't occur by happenstance in male supremacist society ---like the one we're living in.
Khaleesi, now the hero white queen of the ethnically-questionable, not-white enslaved was originally sold as a naked sex toy in exchange for an army in season 1. The mentally deficient narcisissit brother that sold her was so horrific the that Stockholm Syndrome love she found with the husband she was sold to was definitely LOOKED LIKE a step up.

Sansa, the daughter of Lord Stark, a hero killed early on, was depicted as a stupid girl with a flat learning curve that was moved as a pawn at least three times over until she too was sold as a sex slave to Lord Bolton's illegitimate bastard, the sadistic Ramsey.  One could argue she wasn't "stupid" just young as she was a child of 14 or 15 when the series began. But her sister Arya was a good 4 to 5 years younger and she was 10x smarter....funny how she's gotten to be the good character with the evil streak. 
When it hit the fan and their father died, Sansa was like
Who is going to take care of me? 
Meanwhile, Arya's like:   I'm going to take care of every last one of these b*stards --just as soon as I'm big enough. Maybe 10 years old, standing four-foot-nuthin' ole girl made herself a kill list, almost instantly
Arya is a small girl child. She's a powerful decision-making female nonetheless. Male writers move her into being questionable and almost evil from the jump. Powerful women = questionably evil? Really? Robb, her older brother, wanted revenge and justice too. He never comes off as "going too far." He's never talking about heads on spikes. He's talking about justice-revenge.  Arya is drawn without the same honor. 

In other words, neither of the two Stark daughters were written inside a female "empowerment" frame.



The man that we thought was going to be the big hero, Robb Stark, betrayed his word to a petty tyrant for a pretty nurse  -- who spent half her time naked on screen (actress complained). And he winds up being killed for this idiotic mistake.

Some of the most powerful female characters on Game Of Thrones were never in the running for the throne. And, it looks to me that they've been punished with death for being powerful
Ygrette (actress performance rather ham-fisted) was always powerful and independent and a strong advocate of democracy. Despite being in love she kept a contrary opinion of what's imporant in life to her lover Jon Snow And she's paid for that with her life.

Shae was also powerful, a sex worker, in charge of her own destiny -- has also been punished by dying in the series. 
Talisa Stark, robs wife, wasn't so much strong as she was virtuous. She seems like she was mostly window dressing but she's dead.   
And I'll eat my hat if Arya doesn't wind up dead too
As for the women still alive to vie for that thrown? 

Cersei Lannister is evil incorporated and stupid -- even though the series writers keep wanting to say she's "complicated" because she loves her children. A mother viper loves its own children -- so get outta here with that mess.  


Only three powerful women that could possibly wind up vying for the throne in the series  (still alive) have never allowed themselves to be used, sexually or otherwise.
Yara Greyjoy of the Iron Islands.And she has power because her father has no choice. Most of her brothers were killed before the series begins and her brother Theon is in a benevolent hostage situation with Lord Stark -- due to a negotiated peacekeeping deal
Ellaria Sand of Dorne has always been totally in charge of her own life and her body. Too bad she's the nastiest piece of work east of Joffrey 
Melisandre is a witch that spends most of her time nude. She seemed like she might have been a power player once. But now her confidence is down. And once Jon Stark and friends found out she sacrificed a child by fire for power, she was cast out. 
Brianne of Tarth is powerful and virtuous and not as naive as she once was. And she has never allowed herself to be ill used. But she is not vying for the throne.   
Arya Stark was a child when this story began. She's a young woman now. But she has taken a new hardhearted, deadly turn at the end of each season. She actually killed and cooked Lord Frey's sons in a pie and fed them to Lord Frey. The three of them participated in killing her brother Rob Stark, so they deserved it. But daaaayum. 
Arya may actually be a "normal" representative of empowerment in general and therefore female empowerment. She's vengeful as hell and that is shown as male power in various movies. She too has never allowed herself to be used. And when she's been abused she fought back like hell (on Bravos) and got herself free after learning what she needed to learn. But I'll be shocked if the male writers don't punish her for this independence by the end of the series.  
Unrepentant female heroes with questionable morality are not allowed in movies and television so far. 
I dying to know what happens next but I don't have a vested interest in a particular outcome --except that I'd probably prefer that the pale white Khaleesi leading the brown unwashed die.  I like her character fine -- I guess-- but I just can't cheer for the white savior win.  Can't do it. 

Other than that, I don't care. However, I do hope Cersei lasts to almost the end because she but the capital B in B*tch. Love to hate her. Love it.

Most of the male heroes and zeroes originally vying for the ultimate throne are dead. And, I can't help but wonder if this was more happenstance than a plan -- which means the powerful females left standing are happenstance as well.
Anybody who's been waiting for George R.R. Martin books to come out so the HBO series can follow them must have guessed by now that this author writes without much of an outline (or a plan?). He seems to write and see which way the characters take him.  
If I could take up residence in George R R Martin's mind, I'll bet that I would see that he was so obsessed with what the white heterosexual men would do to one another to get to the throne that he didn't notice he'd killed so many of the men off.
I've been thinking that the only two women with a quasi plan behind them is the Khaleesi (who may wind up the winner of the GAME OF THRONES) and Cersei, who I'm thinking will be the last evil character to go down. 
Because of George R. R Martin's seat-of-your-pants writing style, the series has now passed the books. This means the television show writers are writing fresh story now instead of re-writing pieces of the book for the series..
So did these new-old white male writers look back at the earlier story, see all the sexual objectification and death of strong minded women and decide to try to balance things out before the story ends as a kind of an after-thought?   
Are the new-old writers responsible for beginning to depart from the narrative where closeness to maleness is closeness to intelligence?  For example, was it the new-old writers that have departed from showing Arya, the obvious "tom boy," as the smart female Stark while the very effeminate behaving Sansa as the dumb female Stark. (All male Starks are/were heroic, honorable, and intelligent but mis-step)
Will these new-old white male writers look back at the earlier series and decide one of the brownish people should have their own heroic moment free of a white savior too?  
I can't mind read. So it's impossible to truly know what anybody's motivations were/are. But I say it's still impossible to turn GAME OF THRONES into a story of (white) female empowerment because that's not the way the story began. With three exceptions the young women seemed to be on the show to be nude more than anything else. 


OFFICIAL STARKS OUT FRONT: Bran, Arya, Sansa, Robb, Dad Ned, Mom Catlyn, Rickon,
UNOFFICIAL STARK IN BACK: Theon (benevolently-held-hostage) Greyjoy, Jon (which b*stard is which) Snow

I don't think the male GOT writers were heading to this place on purpose  --where most of what's left standing are women. I think they were writing about the men and only the men but the epic story kept going and going and going until "Oops all the good guy men are dead"  And now there's no choice but to see how the women run things because that's who is left 


I'm not going for that as "female empowerment." 

And I don't think anybody else is either. Not really. If you put "Game Of Thrones Women" in google this is what you get. Look past the google advertisements of what's on twitter and "top stories" and you'll see the first three actual search results are "The Hottest Women On Game of Thrones" on ranker, TV Guide, and youtube.





All that nudity in the first 4, 5, or 6 seasons has paid off...and it didn't pay off in female empowerment. Google seems to indicate that what people mostly remember about women of the Game Of Thrones is their "hotness."

There's a way to write a story about a patriarchal system where the women come out the other side empowered. But the men that wrote this story didn't do it because that was never a goal...or it didn't get to be a goal until five minute ago.

It could be the GOT writers have newly started focusing on Game Of Thrones as a story of female empowerment, now that they know the show is ending. But to me this is like looking at the last season of FRIENDS and inserting a black woman for a dozen episodes and saying FRIENDS wound up being a story of black empowerment or racial equality.



*

Ridiculous 


Besides, in the end, I doubt any of the women wind up on the Throne. 

Let's just looking at the remaining Starks because I read once that all good stories come full circle. And the Stark family is where we began. 

  • Bran is magic but his wolf is dead. 
  • Sansa is still holding onto an evil character as a guide (Little Finger) and her wolf is dead. 
  • Arya could make it if women were writing the story and she wouldn't have started as a "tom boy" to seem viable (I hope I'm wrong)  More to the point, Arya is too close to evil now --her being female-- and her wolf is lost (hope Nymeria comes back). 
  • Jon Snow has his wolf and has finally been revealed to have the most magic-est of blood. He's got Targaryan-fireproofing-dragon blood on one side and he's related  by blood to future/past seeing Warg Bran on the other side. 

I don't see how Jon does NOT wind up being the most powerful white man at the end. If his wolf dies? We'll talk.

Notice I didn't say I thought Jon would be "King."





I suspect the end of Game Of Thrones is going to wind up with the melting of the throne of swords because the free folk from north of the wall, who "refuse to bend the knee" represent the democracy that Jon Snow learned about early on.

As tattered as democracy has been the world over I don't think Hollywood, Bollywood, Dollywood or whatever the heck they call movie-making-land in Britain is going to be able to resist that. 


* * * * *

Game Of Thrones starts tonight. I can't wait to see what happens next because that's what an addiction is. You want things that you know are bad for you. 



FYI - FRIENDS producers shoved Aisha Tyler in the  last or next to last season of Friends in order to save the show from going down in history as the most white-washed television show ever set in New York City.  People of color (of all types) were rarely even in extras in the background in 92% of the episodes....until it was about to go off the air.