June 15, 2015 at 9:34 pm #350499
This is a fitting summation of the show’s many misogyny
Cersei’s walk of shame too much on Game
by Melissa Maerz
Posted June 15 2015—4:37 PM EDT
Did Game of Thrones
go too far with Cersei’s walk of shame last night?
Granted, it’s hard to call anything “too far” in a season
that featured the barbecuing of Shireen, the rape of Sansa, and Arya yielding
to a fate that even Oedipus Rex wouldn’t have wished upon her. I know Cersei’s humiliation
is no less barbaric in the book, nor would it be any less terrible if it
happened in real life. (Go ahead and Google what happened to Jane Shore, the
mistress of King Edward IV.) Still, as I watched the High Sparrow demand that
Cersei strip naked before a mass of angry commoners, force her to walk on
bleeding feet as she was pelted with rotten fruit and worse, I couldn’t help
but feel like this was too much.
Maybe it was the pure, visceral brutality of the scene.
Although you could argue that other characters have endured worse. (Poor
Theon!) Maybe it was the fact that Cersei’s humiliation warranted so much
screen time in an episode that spared other villains such a drawn-out
punishment. Remember that Stannis burned his own child alive, and yet he was
allowed to die, mercifully, off-screen. Maybe it was the fact that the severity
of Cersei’s punishment really didn’t fit her crimes. As Lena Headey told EW of
her character, “Cersei has done wrong, but she doesn’t really deserve this.”
Even if you believe she’s the worst person in Westeros, why not just kill her
off? I think what really bothered me is that sexual violence and humiliation
have become TV’s laziest trick for getting viewers to sympathize with cold
female characters. Mellie gets raped on Scandal,
Claire gets raped on House of Cards,
and now this?
According to showrunner David Benioff, the walk of shame
was designed to make us hate Cersei a little less. “One of the things I find
interesting watching Lena is this character has always been an antagonist,” he
told EW. “We all love Tyrion—and and she’s tried to kill Tyrion. Watching this
scene flips it all because she’s being so horrifically abused you start to feel
for her. It’s almost impossible not to feel for her because she’s a human and
being tormented. So what we hope is, by the last shot, is you’re almost rooting
for her, in a way, and hope she gets her revenge on those who have mistreated
Already, this explanation is problematic. Wouldn’t Cersei
want revenge on those who mistreated her, whether or not she endured this walk
of shame? It’s hard to imagine her breaking out of that dungeon just to reward
the High Sparrow with, say, an edible fruit bouquet. Surely, there are more
creative ways to create empathy for Cersei without resorting to sexual
humiliation, a tactic that Game of Thrones has resorted to before. And why do
we need another reason to “feel” for Cersei, anyway? This is a woman who has
been suffering ever since her mother died when Cersei was 4 years old. However
you feel about her—personally, I’m rooting for her—it’s difficult to understand
why she’s the one who needs to be more likeable in a world that’s filled with
polarizing male characters. No one is trying to make Littlefinger more
Besides, the showrunners aren’t doing Cersei any favors.
Does she even want to be liked? Clearly, she’d rather be feared.
To me, this sounds like the ultimate irony: because the
showrunners wanted compassion, they did something unspeakably cruel. And the
way that director David Nutter filmed the scene was filmed didn’t help.
Benioff has suggested that Nutter’s POV shots, which
allowed viewers to see things from Cersei’s perspective, were supposed to help
us experience this walk of shame as if it was happening to them. “Obviously
you, the viewer, are not standing in the street being pelted with shit and
tomatoes and eggs and everything else,” he told EW, “but he’s letting you feel
what that might be like. A lot of the shots are first person. You feel quite
viscerally the horror of that moment. And once you’ve been inside a character’s
skin, it’s very hard to loathe them.”
Fair enough. But then, why not stick with Cersei’s point
of view the whole time? Instead, the camera often switched perspective,
occasionally lingering too long on Cersei’s nakedness. Maybe Nutter was trying
to implicate all of us in this shaming: Just like those townspeople, we didn’t
turn away. We just sat there are gawked. If he’s going to implicate us, though,
he’d better take some responsibility himself. Nutter didn’t choose to only
shoot Cersei from the neck up, which might’ve had an even more jarring effect,
forcing us to consider what was happening with her mind every step of the way,
instead of allowing us a break to consider her body. And remember that the show
went to great lengths to get that body in there: Headey worked with a body
double, which means the Game of Thrones
team had to digitally superimpose another woman’s body below Headey’s head in
every single shot where she appeared to be naked. That’s a lot of work, just to
allow us to see her stripped bare. Is there a better metaphor for a scene about
dehumanizing violence toward women? Think about it: we’re literally watching
some anonymous woman’s naked body, walking around without her head.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m quitting Game of Thrones. There’s too much at
stake next season, and I can’t wait to see Cersei unleash the Mountain on the
Sparrows and all her other mortal enemies. She deserves to cross out every last
name on the list of people who’ve wronged her. I just wish that list didn’t
include the makers of Game of Thrones.June 15, 2015 at 10:28 pm #350501
In the show is more easy to root for Cersei because much of what she did in the books was given to Joffrey in the tv version like the murder of Robert’s bastards.June 16, 2015 at 4:45 am #350502
Well, I would argue that getting Cersei’s inner monologue in the books makes her even less sympathetic than in the show.
Calling this scene mysoginistic is… beyond me, really. If you’re going to have excess outrage at a scene in Game of Thrones, you should probably avoid going for one of the most well-made, most powerful and gripping moments the show has done.
It feels like this is yet another avatar of the American public’s weird relationship with nakedness. Showing someone naked is either provocative or titillating, it can never be just what is it, it has to be judged on some higher standard that nothing else has to.
I mean I get that Game of Thrones doesn’t have a great track record with nudity and deserves to be criticized on many, many other scenes, but not this one.June 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm #350503
PC police are just a bunch of crybabies. In Europe and many countries of Latin America nudity is nothing to shock about it. There’s a buch of telenovelas with graphy nude since the 1980’s like the colombian “Los Pecados de Inez de Hinojosa”, brasilian ” Dona Beija”…I mean this is ancient history and let’s not talk about Europe. In the case of GoT this is premium cable, mostly this is a manufacture outrage like the one of the chapter of the consumation of marriage between Sansa and Ramsay Bolton.June 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm #350504
I throw the politically correct stuff out the window, especially for GoT and especially since, George is obviously a fan of (British) history. Greek too.
I’ve been ignoring the outrage and shock and blahblahblah. Sorry to sound so, callous. Actually, no I’m not on both counts. I’ll leave, but I’m coming back. Lol.June 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm #350505
Hmm, overall I’d say that with a C+ quality for the Cersei storyline this season it’s the best of a rotten bunch.
F for the writing of both the Dorne and Winterfell storylines, but Sophie Turner’s amazing acting definitely makes her scenes somewhat watchable at least.June 16, 2015 at 5:06 pm #350506
O wowee Melissa knows how to ‘google’ Jane Shore. This means, she knows nothing.June 16, 2015 at 6:17 pm #350507
Yeah, of all the scenes to criticize, the walk of shame is NOT one of them. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable to watch, which the show pulled off superbly. In the beginning, we’re rooting for Cersei to get her comeuppance. No matter how much she’s suffered and been wronged, it doesn’t excuse the fact that she has caused other people on the show a lot of misery and suffering. However, by the end of the walk, we feel bad for her because it’s made clear that no one should have to go through this kind of ordeal. If the viewer doesn’t feel bad and thinks Cersei should go through this again, then that is the fault of the viewer and not the show.
As for the PC police, they’ve complained so much during this season (sometimes justified, but most of the time not) that it began to affect my enjoyment of the show. If ignoring them in the future means I get uninterrputed pleasure out of watching GoT, then ignorance is bliss.June 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm #350508
The show deserved every ounce of the misogyny criticism leveled toward it for the terribly awful and half-assed way the Sansa rape storyline was handled. Shireen’s plight was sad more than shocking, since Stannis and Melisandre had done that type of thing prior, and they’ve foreshadowed the hell out of her death. I surely felt for Cersei in all of that “walk of atonement” scene. If anything, I’m ready for her to exact her revenge on the High Sparrow and co., and I can’t wait for the Mountain to be unleashed! She’ll be a stronger woman and adversary for all of this, though it doesn’t begin to excuse all the wrong she’s committed. And then she is due even more suffering once Jaime returns to Kings Landing with Marcella. That sequence was like nothing I’d seen on television, but the nudity wasn’t the main issue. It lasted longer than it needed to, but they wanted us to squirm in our seats. I thought the article did a good job voicing the issues many had with this season in one place.June 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm #350509
‘Game of Thrones’ Finale Sets Ratings Record
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” continues to grow in popularity, with Sunday’s fifth-season finale drawing the show’s largest audience ever — despite going up against the NBA Finals in most of the country.
According to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates, “Thrones” averaged 8.11 million viewers, up 14% from both the previous week (7.14 million) and last year’s finale (7.09 million).
The previous series high for the show came with its fifth-season premiere in April, which drew about 8 million.
Sunday’s ratings growth is a continuation of a trend that has seen a show once considered “niche” become cable’s second most popular program, behind only AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
After bowing in 2011 with 2.2 million viewers, “Game of Thrones” first drew 3 million viewers for an episode with its season 1 finale, and then hit the 4-million mark with its season 2 finale. Midway through its third season, it surpassed 5 million viewers for the first time, and then it moved above 6 million for the first time with its season 4 premiere last year. It hit 7 million midway through last season, and then kicked off its fifth season with a best-yet 7.997 million.
In adults 18-49, primetime’s most important demo but one that has little effect on a premium service like HBO, Sunday’s finale of “Game of Thrones” averaged a 4.1 rating (or about 5.2 million of its 8.1 million viewers). This is up 8% from last year’s finale score (3.81) and is the show’s second highest-rated ever, behind only its most recent season opener (4.19).
The “Game of Thrones” finale also set Twitter ablaze on Sunday, landing atop the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings weekly top 10 series list with 436,000 event-related Tweets that were seen by a unique audience of 5.1 million people. That was more than twice as many as the next closest series on the list, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” (2.09 million) and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” (1.92 million).
Source: VarietyJune 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm #350510
Even with the leaks, Memorial Day’s weekend and HBO Now taking away some viewers, Season 5 is the most watched of the series yet.
Season 4 averaged 6.85 Million viewers for the first showings on HBO.
Season 5 averaged 6.88 Million viewers for the first showings on HBO.June 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm #350511
I’m pissed! I haven’t been wrecked by a fictional character’s death in sometime and of course it was for a character that I didn’t see it for before this season. Boo D&D! Kit was beyond fantastic this season and he will be missed. The rest of the episode was solid. My imagination was running wild with how they would do the Cersei scene, but I wasn’t ready for of what aired. Dramatic conclusion to a dramatically satisfying season. I can’t wait to see how they go forward.June 17, 2015 at 12:20 pm #350512
Does anything think that using a body double would hurt Lena Heady’s Emmy chances?June 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm #350513
She used a double mainly because she was pregnant when filming I believe. That in itself shouldn’t factor in. But I do think the rather questionable CGI effects used could hurt her chances as it did become quite distracting from what was meant to be a highly dramatic and emotional scene,June 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm #350514
I honestly didn’t notice the CGI, so I guess it wasn’t that awful and shouldn’t be too big a problem. IIRC, there are a lot of shots focusing on her face, and she’s very good. At least she’ll have a competitive tape, though her screentime still will pale in comparison to her competitors.