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Did 'Game of Thrones' Not Go Far Enough in Displaying Dany's Nudity?

By Dustin Rowles, Kristy Puchko, and Brian Byrd | Game of Thrones | May 17, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles, Kristy Puchko, and Brian Byrd | Game of Thrones | May 17, 2016 |

Spoilers and NSFW

A friend of mine — who does not follow the Game of Thrones Internet think-piece mill very closely — didn’t get around to watching this week’s Game of Thrones, “Book of the Stranger” until last night. I was sitting next to her when the episode ended, and after briefly pumping her fist in celebration of Daenerys conquering the Dothraki men, she paused and said, “Wait? What the hell? Why didn’t they show Dany’s vagina? The Dothraki spent 10 minutes talking about how they were going to rape her, and after she conquers them, the show decides to get delicate about showing her hoo-ha?! It would’ve been much more empowering if they had shown her completely nude.”

I thought this was a fascinating take on the scene, but as I do not have a vagina, I didn’t feel it was an appropriate piece for me to write. However, I put it to the staff in our Facebook group, and Kristy and Brian perfectly framed the debate.


Kristy: I actually totally agree with your friend. I feel like the producers are missing the point of the complaints about nudity. Showing Dany in all her starkness would have been more powerful there.

Brian: That’s a no-win for them. They show her fully naked and half the internet thinks it’s egregious. “It’s not enough that Game of Thrones forces unnecessary tit shots? Now vaginas are mandatory?” Too many people looking for something to complain about to have a real conversation about why full nudity works there.

Kristy: Someone will always complain. But the complaint on GOT’s nudity is that it’s so often used to leer at female characters—often in moments of violence—whereas male character nudity is reserved to non-existent. When Jaime was at his weakest, we didn’t see his dong. But Dany was trotted out as a child bride repeatedly. This is different. Here Dany was owning her power and her body in front of men who sought to steal both. Her fully nude would have sold that more strongly and need not have been shot in a leering way. And for as much as the producers CLAIM they don’t read the internet’s reactions to the show, it seemed they really feared going “too far” here.

Brian: I totally agree with your point. I don’t think the internet is capable of having that conversation, though. It’s much easier and more clickable to complain. I think the showrunners’ fears were justified. I wouldn’t want to deal with it if I were them. Easier just to play it safe and lay up.

Kristy: But the producers built this show. They don’t get to claim “playing it safe” after five seasons of blatant objectification and sexual assault arcs. The problem is they don’t get what people are complaining about so their response misses the point. They need Jo[oana Robinson] on staff basically.

Brian: This is admittedly coming from someone who holds a “showrunners can do what they want and audiences will decide whether it’s too far” mantra, but I completely understand why they’d err on the side of caution. You can argue they’ve made some poor choices in the past, but it’s also true that the internet looks for reasons to be upset with this show now. You and I both know the think piece machine would go HAM if she walks out fully nude.

Also, maybe Clarke wasn’t comfortable going that far.

Kristy: I think you’re misjudging the complaints about the show’s nudity. I’d buy that [Clarke wasn’t comfortable going that far], but it’s still a poor storytelling choice. Nudity can be empowering and would have been in this instance.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.