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Jack Gleeson on Game of Thrones' violence against women and Joffrey's actions

‘It might be very traumatic and stressful to watch those scenes’

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Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones has had more than its fair share of controversial scenes depicting violence against women, and even for one of the actors on the show, being involved with the process proved to be tough at times.

Jack Gleeson, who played the despicable King Joffrey on Thrones, spoke to The Daily Beast about his time on the show, particularly in light of the charges against its treatment of women.

“… I wouldn’t say the show ever implicitly condones misogyny or any kind of violence towards women,” Gleeson told The Daily Beast. “But, perhaps, it’s still unfair or unjust to represent it even if the gloss on the representation is a negative one.”

In admitting that he could never speak from the viewpoint of a woman who was sexually assaulted, he acknowledged what he thought were both the obvious benefits and drawbacks of portraying such assault. 

“There’s a chance it engages some kind of empathy but it is a gray area. It might be very traumatic and stressful to watch those scenes,” he said.

Gleeson’s Joffrey was of course involved in the cruel treatment of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), who has been at the center of some of the show’s most controversial scenes in its fifth season, even without Joffrey’s presence. Particularly the episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” — in which Sansa is raped on her wedding night by her new husband Ramsay Bolton — drew backlash for the way the episode ended. Though by no means an isolated case, the show’s cast and producers were questioned about Sansa and other female characters’ treatment at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year.

The show’s producers, as well as stars Gwendolyn Christie, Emilia Clarke, and Turner herself have all commented on the criticisms of the show and its depictions of violence against women.

While Gleeson no longer watches the show since his departure, he does keep up with it by watching some clips and hearing about the general discussion surrounding Game of Thrones. And when it comes to the show’s depictions of nudity, Gleeson hopes the show can be objectify both men and women in equal measure.

“As I say, I don’t watch it so I can’t really comment, but I have heard that there is male nudity,” he said. “So I think that is one good thing, to not just objectify women but also objectify the beauty of the male genitalia! We’re all objects together.”

Head over to The Daily Beast to hear more from Gleeson about his thoughts on the show’s portrayal of women and the violence committed against them, as well as on what the future holds for the former Game of Thrones star.

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