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Episode 83: Ranging Beyond the Wall

Episode 83 for the week of July 1st, in which APOIAF begins our Beyond the Wall ranging project. We will be hosting some of the authors of articles in the recently published Beyond the Wall book.

In this episode, we are joined by guest host Alyssa Rosenberg, author of the article Men and Monsters: Rape, Myth-Making, and the Rise and Fall of Nations in A Song of Ice and Fire. We discuss her article and she joins us in our A Clash of Kings re-read, specifically chapter 15 (Arya IV).

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22 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Turgon

    As an English major, I’m only 10 minutes in and already loving this podcast. Alyssa is great! I have the book on its way, can’t wait to read it!

    Reply

  2. Lex

    I really enjoyed Alyssa’s essay, along with the rest of the book.

    I think I will listen to this in the car tomorrow, when I drive to Seattle to see GRRM!

    Reply

  3. Adriene

    Sorry, but i’m not really getting several parts of Alyssa’s argument. It seems that she is rewriting the story to fit her arguments in many places. For instance, where in the books do we see rape as the worst crime? Which characters exactly think that rape is the highest wrong on their hierarchy of wrong? Did I miss something in the books? If any evil is repeatedly called the worst evil it’s the sin of kinslaying. Also, Cersei is not a rape victim. Robert didn’t force himself on Cersei on their wedding night. He got drunk and called her by another woman’s name. If you’re going to explain Dany’s wedding night as consensual, then Cersei’s is as well. You can’t just change the story to suit your argument. Also, regarding the bedding ceremony . . .Huh?! I don’t remember reading anything in the books that said the party guests got to examine the bride for her virginity and then witness the sex act! They undressed the bride AND groom and put them in the bed and left them to it.

    Reply

    Dulcet

    I have to agree with you Adriene. One thing that I do remember about the books is that Jaime always had that kinslayer label hanging over him, and many characters referred to it as the most grievous of crimes just by the mention of it. Good points.

    Reply

    Adriene

    I also thought it was weird that she said she found the Victarion chapters hard to read because it was a POV character the was a rapist, and then later states that George never portrays rape from a POV character standpoint, and always from the point of view of someone who considers rape to be the worst of crimes. Contradicting herself there.

    I like the idea of some serious discussion of the book series but it seems her ideas were not very well thought out.

    Reply

    Kyle

    In the moment, I certainly felt an under current of “until just recently ” when Alyssa mentioned that there where no rapist POV characters. She just didn’t feel the need to restate her view on Victarion since she already had.

    Reply

    Adriene

    That does make sense, but I still feel her views about rape in the world of ASOIAF were a bit askew.

    Reply

    Christina

    Cersei was certainly the victim of marital rape. Maybe not on the first night, but subsequently. At least from her POV.
    And yes, Dany was also the victim of marital rape as well.

    Reply

    Adriene

    I’ve not seen anything in the books where Cersei claims to have been raped by Robert. Not on her first night with himm or after. I’m not saying that it couldn’t have happened later, just that you can’t assume it did simply because she hated him. It is possible to consent to have sex with someone you hate in order to play a role or to appease the other person in order to gain power. It’s not stated explicitly that Cersei resisted, in fact she claims that for many years she has managed to control the situation due to the fact that Robert was always to drunk to remember their nights together. Again, I’m not saying that Cersei was never raped by Robert during their marriage, but that this was another example of Ms. Rosenberg making assumptions or jumping to conclusions in an effort to support her ideas about sexual violence within the series.

    Reply

    Ash

    that’s like saying King Arys never raped his wife before she left for Dragonstone. I don’t agree with a lot of the essay but saying she wasn’t raped because she didn’t fight back is disgusting. She had no choice in the matter, if she fought it would have only made it worse for her and weakened what power she did have. her roll as wife was to submit to her husband, and yes by that logic most woman in westeros have been the victims of marital rape, and I would agree 100% with that assessment.

    Reply

    Adriene

    Oh I think you misunderstood me. I absolutely am NOT saying “she wasn’t raped because she didn’t fight back.” No. That IS very disgusting. What I was trying to get across was that you can’t assume that there was a rape from what we’ve seen in the books. We know they had an unhappy marriage. We know they had sex for some part of the beginning of the marriage. We know Cersei hated Robert. From that we can’t just jump to the conclusion that she was raped. It is possible for Cersei to have had an unhappy marriage and to have had consensual sex with Robert for a short time before she decided to trick him in his drunkeness. Just because you hate someone and are having sex with them doesn’t make it rape.

    What I originally objected to was Alyssa saying that Cersei was a rape victim because Robert forced himself on her on their wedding night. Cersei never says anything like that. Only that she was mad about him being drunk and saying Lyanna’s name.

    Reply

    FTWard

    Probably more but this the on chapter from ADdC that sticks out to me.

    - Robert Baratheon, the First of His Name, may there never be a second. A dim, drunken brute of a man. Let him weep in hell. Taena warmed the bed as well as Robert ever had, and never tried to force Cersei’s legs apart.

    - the way Robert would use her when the drink was in him, and she was unable to bring him off with hand or mouth.
    Those had been the worst nights, lying helpless underneath him as he took his pleasure, stinking of wine and grunting like a boar. Usually he rolled off and went to sleep as soon as it was done, and was snoring before his seed could dry upon her thighs. She was always sore afterward, raw between the legs, her breasts painful from the mauling he would give them.

    - For Robert, those nights never happened. Come morning he remembered nothing, or so he would have had her believe. Once, during the first year of their marriage, Cersei had voiced her displeasure the next day. “You hurt me,” she complained. He had the grace to look ashamed. “It was not me, my lady,” he said in a sulky sullen tone, like a child caught stealing apple cakes from the kitchen. “It was the wine. I drink too much wine.”

    Reply

    FTWard

    one chapter from AFfC

    Reply

    Adriene

    Thanks for finding this! This certainly shows that Cersei was raped at some point in the marriage. I stand corrected about what happened later inthe marriage. But I hold to the depiction of the wedding night as not being a rape in my original post.

    Reply

    oxmix

    The crimes in Westeros that the gods seem to frown on the most:

    kin slaying
    slavery
    child slaying

    And if, as seems probable to me, that Tryion is not a kin slayer, but is a child of rape, we will need to rethink Alyssa’s ideas.

    Reply

  4. Travys

    I think the author’s thesis is well thought out and makes a lot of sense. However, I find the whole use of post-feminist terminology in regards to the book series kind of hilarious.

    Reply

  5. Lex

    The Knight of Seashells! Holy crap, I almost forgot about him. One of the most bad ass moments for an incredibly minor character. I hope he comes back.

    Reply

  6. Jon

    Great podcast! I really enjoyed Beyond the Wall. Hurry up and write another book authors! Come on we are all waiting!

    Reply

  7. Chris

    Another fantastic podcast guys. Has anyone read The Wise Man’s Fear by Pat Rothfuss? Because there’s loads of fascinating stuff in that book about different traditions about sex in different cultures which is relevant to this discussion.

    Reply

  8. Emily

    Loved this episode and looking forward to more Ranging Beyond the Wall discussion. A lot of times the serious “literary critic” analysis of ASOIAF is done by people who aren’t fans, either of the fantasy genre or GRRM in particular, and this discussion was a great departure from that. Yet another reason you all are the best ASOIAF podcasters out there!

    Reply

  9. Jeremy

    I, for one, anxiously await the return of Weasel. :)
    Good episode.

    Reply

  10. rpawson

    Just chiming in to say that the ‘Beyond The Wall’ episodes have been very interesting listens. They are decidedly different in tone from typical episodes, but they are very engaging discussions and exchanges that are well worth listening to.

    Reply

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