Why Rose Leslie defends Game of Thrones against charges of sexism

Contributed by
Sep 25, 2014

Actress Rose Leslie — who played the wildling Ygritte on Game of Thrones — has touched upon the age-old question of whether the hit HBO fantasy series was sexist.

Leslie's video response comes in reply to charges of sexism that resulted from a controversial scene in which Cersei (Lena Headey) was raped by her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in season four, right in front of their son Joffrey’s (Jack Gleeson) cold, dead body, and in a fashion that seemed much less consensual than the scene was represented in the book.

The actress emphasized on uinterview that, despite the brutal world these characters live in (living in Westeros sure ain’t no picnic), women are undoubtedly “powerful and dominant figures” on the show. “I would say that Game of Thrones is at the forefront of ... promoting strong, dominant women, particularly in a very brutal and ruthless world,” Leslie said.

Then, she added: “There are powerful women who have armies at their back, and these women can dominate, and I feel that’s a wonderful platform.” When answering in relation to the brutality of the A Song of Ice and Fire world — especially the brutality toward women, which Game of Thrones is notorious for — Leslie said: “There are these horrible scenes … within the books, and I feel the show is very loyal to the books.”

Have a look and let us know what you guys think:

There's definitely discussion to be had on this topic, and it's proved to be a thorny issue for some fans. Dany is undoubtedly the most powerful female character on Thrones, and perhaps one of the series' overall strongest characters, commanding, as she does, an army of thousands of Unsullied, Dothraki, freed slaves and three dragons. Yara also comes to mind; she did go after her brother Theon with an army at her back. Catelyn also wielded some power, being an integral part of her son Robb’s decision making, even though she did not have that literal army at her back. And Ygritte, as a Free Folk woman, was not subjected to the rules of a Westerosi patriarchal society, thus wielding some power over her own destiny. This is not, however, the case for Cersei and Margaery, two women whose power is just an illusion, as they ARE subjected to the men around them (Cersei to Robert, Joffrey and her father, Tywin, and Margaery to whichever king with whom she is attempting to ingratiate herself). That said, those two characters are at least well-developed and portrayed as dealing with the problems inherent for a capable woman in an overwhelmingly patriarchal world ... which can't be said for some of various prostitutes, serving girls and others who have given the show enough of a reputation that SNL skewered it by attributing some of its success to an adolescent nudity consultant.

What do you think? Is Rose Leslie right about Thrones, or could it do better by its female characters?

(via Winter Is Coming)

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