Despite the backlash the renowned HBO fantasy show got following Sansa Stark’s rape scene, Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer insists that the show isn’t misogynistic. The 34-year-old even feels that the bloodshed and manipulation common in the show’s plot help her understand serious real-life issues, including ISIS-perpetuated violence and sexual harassment of women.
Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer recently told Sunday Times that people should stop watching the series if what they want is an escape from the world’s harsh realities.
“All I know is that I turn on the news, and it’s covering a boy drowning off the coast, or children being shown beheading videos. The horror of human nature is prevalent in our world, and I appreciate that some people want to turn on the telly for escapism – but if that’s what you want, don’t watch Game of Thrones.”
The Hunger Games actress added that she turns to fantasy to better understand complex issues.
“I choose fantasy to vent, to process complex political, sexual and social politics at the safe distance of fiction. For me, that’s what art should be.”
Dormer is an advocate of female rights, and recently, she likewise campaigned against the rampancy of female genital mutilation. She likens her character Margaery Tyrell to a woman yearning to survive in a cruel world. After King Joffrey Baratheon died at their wedding ceremony, Margaery had to woo his younger brother, Tommen, in an attempt to secure her position in King’s Landing.
Many reacted to the “love scene” between Dormer and Dean-Charles Chapman, who was 16 that time. Nonetheless, the young actor previously told MTV News that Dormer “made it all completely smooth.” Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss also told the publication that they imposed a strict limited number of crew present on set during the scene’s filming.
“[We filmed with] the director, the main camera-man, then there were a couple of dudes that helped out the camera man — like five or six people in the room. Not even that, probably like four, while it was happening. It was definitely limited.”
Game of Thrones Season 5 appears to have lost a chunk of its viewers, who expressed that they were disappointed by the show’s treatment of its female characters. Apart from Sansa’s rape scene, many found Cersei’s Walk of Shame to be visually shocking.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill even tweeted that she’d no longer watch Game of Thrones after Ramsay Bolton’s attack on Sansa.
Even if Game of Thrones continue to garner varied reactions from its viewers, Dormer believes that the show’s plot can actually trigger meaningful conversations “about the statistics of rape and how much it happens within the family.”
She said in the same Sunday Times interview that although some parts of Game of Thrones are indeed difficult to watch, sheltering the young wouldn’t help them in the long run. She added that Hollywood should start incorporating more Muslim and transgender roles into shows.
Dormer also said that Game of Thrones actors and actresses have no power to decide what their characters must do.
“You sign on the dotted line, give them seven years and don’t get to alter the writing. An actor is a conduit to a writer. The message comes from the writing. I can’t – as Natalie – defend everything Margaery does, as that’s not my job.”
Game of Thrones Season 6 is set to return this April. After spending quite some time in prison for being accused of perjury, it is believed that Margaery will find a way to get out of her cell. Some are wondering if Margery will convince the High Sparrow that she is now a religious fanatic.
[Image via Jason Meritt/Getty Images]