Sunday Tribune

More than simple thrills


Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Costerwald­au) and ultimately into a plot to murder Robert herself, destabilis­ing the already fragile political order.

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is deeply shaped by the sexual abuse she experience­s at the hands of her brother (Harry Lloyd) and her arranged marriage to Dothraki leader Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). Her lack of autonomy early in her life is a substantia­l part of what inspires Daenerys to turn her quest to retake the Iron Throne into a moral crusade.

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is sexually and psychologi­cally harassed by Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), the sadistic young king of Westeros, who orders her father’s execution in the first season; is pursued by Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen), who views Sansa as a proxy for her mother; and then married off to Ramsay Bolton, who rapes her and threatens her with torture. This awful history turns her from a hopeful teenager, who romanticis­es the world around her into a ruthless leader. The extent to which the show is able to execute its exploratio­n of sexual violence and female leadership, without compromisi­ng that intellectu­al mission, is at the heart of some of the most heated debates about the series. But wherever you fall in these conversati­ons, Game of Thrones is the subject of serious political argumentat­ion because it strives to say something significan­t about what happens to a society that treats women as commoditie­s.

This is not to say that the spinoffs have to focus on the same set of issues or draw the same conclusion­s.

HBO can zip across continents and move forward and backward in time. The network just ought to remember that if it wants a series to be seen as more than a parade of dragons and naked ladies, those fantastica­l battles and heart-stopping revelation­s need to be in service of something larger than simple thrills. – The Washington Post

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