Disclaimer: I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with enjoying something that is problematic with respect to social issues. I like a lot of stuff that I know is awful (I like it for reasons other than the awfulness, obviously). I don't presume to judge people who like stuff that I find too awful to enjoy (unless it's the very problematicness that they enjoy -- i.e. if you enjoy a racist show because of the racism, I think you're a fucking asshole). My point is basically that being a fan doesn't necessarily mean you passionately love and support every aspect of a thing without exception forever and ever amen. So I think judging people based solely on their entertainment choices is fucking ridiculous, and this is not a "if you like this series, you fail" kind of rant.
People are claiming the GoT show is somehow ~more racist, misogynistic, ableist, and homophobic than the books. NO IT ISN'T! It's exactly as racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and ableist as the fucking books; the visual medium just makes the problems much more obvious.
ASOIAF has always been a seriously socially problematic series*! News at eleven.
I've seen so many people be all, oh, I can't believe they made the Drogo/Dany scene into full-out rape.
Um. It was full-out rape in the book.
She said no.
He kept touching her with the intent to get her to have sex with him. After she said no. Over and over she said no, and over and over he kept at it, until she stopped saying no.
That he was gentle to her in the books and that she enjoyed it in the end does not mean he did not rape her.
Rape happens when consent is absent.
"She enjoyed it in the end" doesn't make it not rape.
That Dany eventually comes to love Drogo doesn't make it not rape.
That a rapist cares about his victim or their pleasure does not make the rapist any less of a rapist.
It was rape. There are no degrees of rape; something is either rape, or it is not. Zero-sum.
It's very, very simple: if a person says "no" to sex with you, you stop. If you do not stop, you will become a rapist. If they actually want to have sex with you and meant the "no" playfully or as part of a fantasy, it's on them to explain that, not on you to ~read the mood and decide~.
It does not matter that in that setting, women were expected to have sex with their husbands to such an extent that there was no possible way for Drogo to take Dany's "no" seriously given the in-world culture. It really fucking doesn't. Don't condemn the show as having done something ~wrong~ while lifting the books up as some kind of shining example of how it ~should have been. It's like Whoopi Goldberg and her "rape-rape" comment all over again, ffs.
If you're going to condemn rape, don't get all fucking mealy-mouthed and draw the line at brutal and violent rape -- if that's what you object to, by all means condemn violence and brutality. But if it's rape you have a problem with, then you should damn well have a problem with what happened to Dany in the book.
(In case it wasn't obvious before: rape happened to Dany in the book. It was fucking awful. What she had to go through, that night and thereafter, was fucking awful. Eventual love and devotion do not make it better! That she was the stronger for it does not make it acceptable! Ugh.)
OTOH, if you think it is not rape because of the ~cultural underpinnings of that scene, you don't fucking get to bleat outrage about Drogo raping Dany in the show, because if you accept the cultural underpinnings as a justification, then you accept that in this situation, rape was okay. Which is your right! And it doesn't make you a terrible person, just one I deeply disagree with.
I can see validity in the argument that it was not rape as we understand it because of the culture -- that pretty much every woman in Westeros is raped whenever she has sex just because they literally have no freedom to choose their partners, and when they do, it's because they're a) evil scheming manipulators (e.g. Cersei), or b) not considered fuckable by the men (e.g. Brienne). I don't agree with that argument, but I can't deny that it is a reasonable one. But even that argument doesn't change the fact that Drogo raped Dany in the books, and he raped Dany in the episode. If you call it out as rape in the episode, then you have to call it out as rape in the books, because the only real differences were Drogo's patience and Dany's eventual physical pleasure. Which is a lovely thing capable of many wonders, but it cannot unrape a person.
So. Yeah. The show got book stuff wrong, but on this point, they got it right.
(That statement is not up for debate here. This is my rant what I wrote, not a book club essay -- as I said at the start, it's no skin off my nose if you like something problematic. I enjoy ASOIAF despite its many failings.)