'Game of Thrones' Season 1 Has the Most Rape and Nudity
There was so much gratuitous sex and nudity in GoT's first season that critics coined the term "sexposition" in response.
Photo by Helen Sloan
Broadly counted every instance of rape, murder, and nudity in "Game of Thrones." An introduction to this data and methodology can be read here, along with the total numbers across all seasons.
Notable deaths: Viserys, Drogo, Ned, Robert
Notable rape scenes: Dany (Drogo)
Game of Thrones felt the pressure to break out as an edgy HBO series—so much so that the term "sexposition" was coined to describe the show's use of sex to keep viewers riveted during exposition scenes—and they succeeded by leading with the franchise's most statistically naked season and the season tied for depicting the most rapes.
Over the past seven years, Game of Thrones has attracted criticism for its use of rape as a mechanism for character development and its inability to engage thoughtfully with the devastating effects of sexual assault. Daenerys's character arc in Season 1 contains one of the most egregious examples of this tendency: Khal Drogo repeatedly rapes her, and Dany's ability to learn how to "make the Khal happy" with sex was an integral part of her ascent to power. (This is a pattern that reoccurs later, with Sansa's rapes by Ramsay.)
Dany's Season 1 plot runs loosely parallel to Mirri Maz Duur's, a priestess-witch who Dany believes she has saved from rapists and pillagers. Unbeknownst to Dany, Mirri Maz Duur had already been raped multiple times prior to her intervention, and the embittered woman accelerates Dany's story by killing her husband, reducing their storylines to a shallow dilemma (be bitter about rape and literally die from it, or overcome it and gain the power to kill others) and marking the first instance rape is used to drive the plot.
Aside from the depiction of sexual assault and graphic nudity, I recommend revisiting Season 1 as good TV; it builds the story artfully, revealing a complex and dizzyingly vast universe. The characters feel robust (especially the Stark family) and, since we're learning about them for the first time, all of their motivations seem to make sense as they develop.