Bitch Popaganda: Fantastic Voyage Edition

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It's time for another episode of Bitch Popaganda! Tune in as Julie, Brian, and Kelsey discuss HBO's new George R.R. Martin series Game of Thrones and "Funny Like a Guy: Anna Faris and Hollywood's woman problem," a profile by Tad Friend in this week's New Yorker.

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Wedding night

My partner and I are a fan of these books but do not have HBO so we couldnt watch the first episode of the series. We were disapointed to hear that the wedding night scene with Daenerys and Khal Drogo came across as non-consensual. In the book it was depicted as a surprisingly tender moment between the two of them. Daenerys was of course very scared at first because she knew she was expected to consumate the marriage, but Drogo shows a sensitive and respective side which he hides from his clan (as a leader he is supposed to be hyper-masculine and to deny these traits). He understands that she is scared and says, 'no' (there was a substantial language barrier and this is one of the few, if not the only, words he knew) as if he understands that that is how she feels. He is tender and takes a great deal of time to bond with her first - having her take out the bells in his hair, gently caressing her back. Martin writes, "It seemed as if hours passed before his hands finally went to her breats". At the end of the scene (its quite long) this is what is written:

"He stopped then, and drew her down onto his lap. Dany was flushed and breathless, her heart fluttering in her chest. He cupped her face in his huge hands and she looked into his eyes. "No?" he said, and she knew it was a question.
"She took his hand and moved it down to the wetness between her thighs. "Yes," she whispered as she put his finger inside her"

There is consent at the end of the scene. I am not saying that there are not problems with this scene (there is a hesitancy from her when he first touches her face, etc, because she is afraid he will just mount her against her will) but he clearly understands her fear and is therefore tender and respectful until she says 'yes'.

There is the question whether there is the possibility of TRUE consent under these conditions (where the marriage MUST be consumated). The issue of marriages being arranged for political ends, and the fact that at least one party may have very little say in the matter, is discussed numerous times throughout the books. I think it would be denying her agency to argue that when she literally says 'yes' it is still non consensual.