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07:42 pm: A Game of Thrones and Stories We've Seen Too Often
I came across this list of "Stories We've Seen Too Often" from Strange Horizons (maybe I should try reading some of their stuff that's not in the submission guidelines section!), and when I came to this one, I immediately thought of A Game Of Thrones:

Brutal violence against women is depicted in loving detail, often in a story that's ostensibly about violence against women being bad.


(George R. R. Martin doesn't directly state that violence against women is bad, but my sense is that part of the point of all the rape is to say, "See how bad it was in the olden days?")

But wait, there's more! This too-often-seen-story comes with a subcategory, one that I didn't notice that A Game of Thrones belonged to until a blog post on Tiger Beatdown jogged my memory:

Man is forced by circumstances or magic to rape a woman even though he really doesn't want to, honest.


(Spoilers: In what is probably the most disturbing scene in the book, Tyrion participates in the gang-rape of his wife. She is a prostitute and therefore unsuitable in the eyes of his father, so his father arranges this to happen. I don't remember exactly what the threat was if Tyrion did not participate.)

Granted, the rapes and violence against women, although frequent, are not the whole plot, so the book as a whole does not technically fall under the "Stories We've Seen Too Often", just those parts of the book.

I don't want to read scenes like that every fucking chapter in something I read for fun. George R. R. Martin has some cool ideas (but the winter-is-coming zombies are stupid, IMO) and can write page-turning books. Hell, the violence (including but not limited to the sexual violence) probably contributes to that by making you worry about the characters and what will happen to them. I'm tempted to say it's a cheap, or at least an easy way of making a book a page-turner. But in any case, the interesting aspects of the book couldn't overcome my desire to not read scenes like that every fucking chapter, so A Game of Thrones will remain the only George R. R. Martin book I have read.

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