Saying Complaints About ‘Game of Thrones’ Sexual Violence Are “Nonsense” Is Complete Bullshit

In yet another installment of Men Who Need To Take Remedial Women’s Studies, an executive from the U.K. broadcaster of the hit show thinks criticism of Game of Thrones’ sexual violence against women is “nonsense.” Way to alienate your audience, bro. After the Season 5 episode where Ramsay raped Sansa on their wedding night, many fans (including a U.S. senator) thought the show had finally gone too far. Gary Davey, managing director of content at the British TV network Sky, doesn’t agree.

When asked to comment on the scene during a panel at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, he said: “I think that’s nonsense. There is also a lot of violence to men. For anybody who’s watched the show, it can be a very violent show. I don’t think the violence against women is particularly highlighted. It is just part of the story. The rape happens, it’s part of the story, it was in the books.”

Davey’s response is BS for a number of reasons. First, it’s laden with harmful mansplaining: a classic case of a man telling others how to feel about an issue that will never directly affect him. On a more pedantic note, the scene with Ramsay and Sansa is not in the books. (We’re up to Book 5 and they haven’t even met.) It’s a sort of misogynist one-upping of the first sex scene between Daenerys and Khal Drogo, which the books portray as a consensual, enjoyable experience for Dany, but which the show portrays as a traumatic sexual assault. But hey, adding more rape to the mix “is just part of the story,” right?

Game of Thrones White Walker
CREDIT: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Here’s how I pictured Davey when I read his response, because you’d have to be dead on the inside to say something like that.

Also, the violence done to women in the show is mostly sexual, whereas the vast majority of the violence done to men is non-sexual. The only two exceptions to the latter that I can think of are the sexual abuse included in Ramsay’s torture of Theon and Tyrion’s memory of being forced to rape his first love by Tywin, Westeros’ Dad of the Year. And in a society where one in six women has experienced rape, it’s not “nonsense” to take issue with a major TV show repeatedly exploiting the spectacle of sexual violence for shock value.

BTW, the “historical realism” argument doesn’t fly, either, and not just because Game of Thrones is a fantasy show about a made-up world with dragons and shadowbaby demons — sexual assault was, at least theoretically, considered a serious crime in medieval Europe. Although convictions for rape were a lot less frequent than they should have been (there wasn’t really a concept of marital rape, for instance), a convicted rapist could be sentenced to penalties such as death and dismemberment or castration and blinding.

So, the historical argument is garbage. The “what about the men” argument is garbage. The “BUT IN THE BOOKS” argument is garbage. In short, Davey’s entire mindset is garbage, and he can kick it right out the Moon Door, where it belongs.