Game Of Thrones long anticipated prequel House Of The Dragon aired on Sunday promising the same abuse plot lines as the original show. ‘You can’t ignore the violence that was perpetrated on women by men in that time,’ showrunner Miguel Sapochnik previously told Hollywood Reporter. ‘It shouldn’t be downplayed, and it shouldn’t be glorified.’
But just exactly what time period are we talking about here? When exactly was (spoiler, sorry) letting your wife bleed to death to save your son considered okay? Well, House Of The Dragon is set 172 years before Daenerys Targaryen’s era, which (to the uninformed) basically means nearly two centuries before... never. That’s right, this time period never even happened.
‘I think it’s very funny that the House Of The Dragon guys are like “we want to reflect the misogyny of the time period” the time period is the twelfth of makebelieve,’ pointed out one user on Twitter. ‘It’s the 149th year of sir gooby the dragonfoot. It’s the eighth age of targabargabor. It's literally made up.’
Male fans have defended the show’s depiction of violence against women by pointing out the historical touch stones (The Wars Of The Roses) that inspired the plot line. But as another Twitter user questioned: ‘Was it Henry or Edward who rode a dragon into battle?’. This series is far from reality, let’s not try to disguise it as such.
To cherry pick misogyny out of the medieval era and use it as a plot device in a fantasy world is a strange (read problematic) choice. There are many things left out of the GoT universe in the name of fantasy: diarrhoea, the plague, tooth loss, amongst other unpleasant things.
But traumatic child birth, rape, and abuse have all made their way into the narrative. That’s a choice, not a historical obligation. As one viewer put it: ‘If you're writing a fantasy with dragons and misogyny, then you enjoy dragons and misogyny. "Realism" is an excuse.’
And what does women suffering in a fictional world indicate about audiences? That hurting women without repercussions is still a popular fantasy. As another viewer wrote on Twitter: ‘Their fantasy is a world where we are literally powerless to stop men from doing anything they want to do to us.’ That needs to change.