Home » Uncategorized » Artificially Imposing Modern Morality on Medieval Worlds (or something similarly lofty sounding)

Artificially Imposing Modern Morality on Medieval Worlds (or something similarly lofty sounding)

I have to admit one thing I really dislike about the Game of Thrones TV adaptation is the forced imposition of 21st Century morality on this medieval world.

A perfect example is the wedding of Tyrion and Sansa. Correct me if I’m wrong, avid readers, but nowhere in the books does any man have a problem sleeping with a girl because she is too young. Any girl is considered fair game for marriage and subsequent consummation once she goes through her first period. This is made clear by a detailed Imagescene in the book where Sansa experiences her first period, is horrified at the thought of being wedded and bedded to Joffrey, and nearly burns her bed sheets trying to dispose of the evidence. 

In the books, Tyrion does not refuse to consummate his marriage because he is some sensitive 21st Century man unwilling to force himself on an unwilling young girl, but because he is a good man and pities Sansa’s predicament. 

In the show, Tyrion asks Sansa how old she is to underscore the potential horror that is about to happen. He then refuses to sleep with her because she is just a child. This rings false for the universe and always irritated me.

Additional instances of this problem occur at Edmure Tully’s wedding, where Tulisa (a non-book character) remarks upon the strange bedding custom in Westerosi weddings. To clarify, near the end of the wedding ceremony, guests “help” the bride and groom get to their room, all the while stripping them (an dhaving a bit of a grope, I imagine). The nekkid bride and groom are then shut in their room and expected to copulate.

Tulisa’s background indicates that she would find the Westerosi custom strange, but it seems ridiculous for Robb (and subsequently Catelyn) to agree that it is a silly custom. In no culture will you find people native to that culture viewing it as a non-native and finding it silly. Catelyn later remarks to Roose Bolton that Eddard Stark did not allow the bedding ceremony on their wedding, implying that Ned would have to break someone’s face on his wedding day if the ceremony occurred.

This rings terribly untrue because:

a. Despite not being brought up to lead House Stark, Ned is dedicated to the job and is a good Warden of the North and a paternal symbol for his bannermen and their people. To refuse to participate in a common custom, no matter how personally distasteful, is against Ned’s sense of duty.

b. Ned Stark anything but hot tempered and impulsive. Were Catelyn speaking of her original betrothed (his older brother Brandon Stark), this would make much more sense and probably even be likely.

I can understand the need to make Tyrion seem sympathetic to the audience by forcing modern morality on him. Most audiences probably nodded approvingly or cheered quietly for his refusal to bed a child. However, if you are afraid to offend your audience, you are not as edgy and revolutionary a show as you think.

Now that I’ve got that rant out of my system, I’ll move on to other things.

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4 thoughts on “Artificially Imposing Modern Morality on Medieval Worlds (or something similarly lofty sounding)

  1. I wanted to mention that your posts are really missed. I have been reading your posts and other Pakistani bloggers posts since it became big in 2005. It’s almost 9 years since I have been following your blog. I am not stalking but just appreciating the fact that you are a really gifted writer. I have enjoyed your posts as they were very relatable ( well atleast the ones from life in Karachi ). One other blog that I used to also follow was tuzk-e-jalali. I have not been able to find that one but it was funny too. Then again there were so many. I hope you can get back to posting more. But either way thanks for all those posts. It’s been an awesome read.

  2. Oh wow, thank you for that lovely message, At. I admit with all the social media tools currently at our disposal, blogging has taken a back seat. Great to hear someone out there enjoyed my posts. 🙂

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