If you had any remaining doubts that the negative reaction to the Game of Thrones finale had to do with disappointed progressives, this should settle it. Today, Sen. Elizabeth Warren posted a brief video in which she and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez commiserate over the fact that the ending wasn’t the feminist wish fulfillment they wanted.
“So did you see Game of Thrones last night,” Warren asked.
“I did. I’m—I’m sad. Disappointed about it,” AOC replied.
Warren described the episode as “meh.”
“I feel like we were getting so close to having this ending with just women running the world,” AOC said.
“Exactly! And then one goes crazy…” Warren interjected.
“It’s like ‘Oh, they’re too emotional,’” AOC added.
“Yeah, exactly. Can’t do that,” Warren said.
“It’s like, uh, this was written by men,” AOC said, sounding exasperated.
Warren said she would have settled for Queen Sansa but was disappointed she didn’t try to claim the throne of all seven kingdoms.
“I was disappointed. We need to get some feminist analysis up in HBO,” AOC said.
Yesterday I asked this question: “Can fans be toxic if they’re frustrated feminists?” First, let’s just acknowledge that’s exactly what’s going on in the clip below. Warren and AOC wanted the show to end with women ruling the world and since that didn’t happen they are blasting the show, the writers and HBO. Not coincidentally, more than 1.4 million people have signed the GoT do-over petition but all of the media response seems to be echoing the feminist complaints rather than criticizing the fans for expressing them. I’ve already mentioned the New Republic blaming Daenerys’ descent into madness on the “patriarchy.” Yesterday Vox called the finale “deeply regressive” and expressed disappointment at a bunch of “mostly white dudes sitting in rulership.” Today the LA Times has a piece about how the finale failed its female characters:
The 80-minute episode illustrated in microcosm the gender blind spots that have bedeviled the show from its beginning, unfolding almost completely from the perspective of two men, Tyrion and Jon, while pushing its remaining female characters — Daenerys, Arya, Sansa and Brienne — to the sidelines…
What made Daenerys turn from the Breaker of Chains into the Mad Queen in seemingly less time than it takes to braid her hair? Some of us would like to know! A concerted effort to portray Dany’s point of view might have been useful. Instead, we never even glimpsed her face in “The Bells” after she decided to ignore Cersei’s surrender and firebomb King’s Landing. And in “The Iron Throne,” Jon does most of the explaining for her in a long conversation with Tyrion that’s heavy on expository dialogue. “She saw her friend beheaded. She saw her dragons shot out of the sky!” Jon says. OK! But it would have been a lot more powerful hearing this from Daenerys herself.
There’s a lot more the author is unhappy with along these same lines. (I will say, she makes a fair point about Bran becoming king. Does he really have a better story than Arya?)
One part of the finale that upset people was the epilogue of the episode in which the king’s small council winds up discussing brothels. The LA Times mentioned it and the Daily Beast did a whole story on it:
Bronn (Jerome Flynn), the new Master of Coin, discusses debt and playfully bickers with Davos (Liam Cunningham) over funding the rebuilding of an armada. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is assigned to look into potential infrastructure for providing citizens with clean water. Then the whole thing devolves when Bronn laments that all the best brothels burned down during the wars. No worries; he’s willing to fund their reconstruction.
Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) tries to salvage the conversation with the logic that rebuilding ships should take precedence over rebuilding brothels. “I think that’s a very presumptuous statement,” Bronn says, maybe kidding? And that leads to Tyrion’s nostalgic non-sequitur about the jackass, the honeycomb, and the brothel.
The camera starts to pan to a wide shot as a lilting score kicks in, and that’s when the fear starts. No…they won’t…it can’t be…the last conversation on Game of Thrones, this hallowed series heralded for its sophisticated storytelling, is a bunch of men interrupting the woman who wants to get to work in order to joke about brothels???
Again, I guess they have a point. Brothels were a regular feature of the show but is that really how you close it out after 8 seasons? So, to be fair, some of the criticism does make a certain amount of sense.
But guess what? Some of the criticism of the Star Wars sequels and the Ghostbusters remake also made sense. And yet, those complaints got lumped together under the “toxic fandom” rubric. Bad men were complaining because they hate women. That’s not at all how the media is treating the feminist disappointment with GoT.
So can feminists be toxic fans? Judging by the media’s response to this outpouring of anger, the answer is no. It’s a clear double standard. Just imagine the clip below featured Sen. Roy Blunt and Congressman Louie Gohmert talking about how garbage the Ghostbusters remake was. The media reaction would have been very different. There would have been a 3,000-word explainer from Vox about how GOP men were using the tropes of toxic fandom to express hateful anti-woman views. But there won’t be any Vox piece criticizing this clip.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) May 21, 2019