George R.R. Martin and Homoerotic Inclusion

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, was asked the question: Why doesn’t he include gay male sex scenes? His answer is problematic in several ways.

The third person limited point of view style that Martin favors does limit the available scenes he can write. Especially when all of those main point of view characters are straight. Or largely straight in the cases of Dany and Cersie. 

But why are there no male point of view characters that engage in same sex activity? 

Martin claims that, “If the plot lends itself to that, if one of my viewpoint characters is in a situation,  then I’m not going to shy away from it, but you can’t just insert things because everyone wants to see them.” This is where I have a problem with Martin’s answer. The inclusion of gay and bisexual characters, of characters of color, of women, or of what have you should not be determined by the needs of the plot. So often, this argument is made by readers, intentionally homophobic or not, to prevent gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered characters from appearing. 

Is Jon Snow’s heterosexuality intrinsic to his character? To his story? What about Dany? Are her lesbian sex scenes essential to the narrative?

Do I think George R.R. Martin will include a gay male sex scene? Maybe if he creates a gay or bisexual male point of view character. But will he create such a character? I don’t know. He’s got two books left. I seriously doubt it. 

Martin is right that, “it isn’t a democracy.” A Song of Ice and Fire is Martin’s baby. He is the absolute dictator. He is the god of that creation. Whether he wants to write a gay or bisexual male character’s point of view is up to him. 

Honestly, I find Martin’s answer disingenuous. It gives, I think, false hope that Martin may create a gay or bisexual male character. He hasn’t yet. What makes anyone think that such a character/ scene will become “relevant” to the plot?



Posted on August 13, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. That Creepy Kid From Your Math Class

    I concur with Spike. Criticising an author for not throwing every sexual orientation know to man into his books is retarded. Complaining about a lack of fanservice is even more retarded, and petty to boot. By now, I’m sure that there are thousands of gay GOT fan fictions and fan art. Not to mention, you can always write your own or just pull up porn on your internet device of choice.

    • I don’t have the time to reread a post I wrote years ago. Suffice to say that Martin’s response rubbed me the wrong way. That said, an artist has the right to create what he or she wants to. But that does not provide immunity from fans desiring or critics calling for more diversity, equal amounts of fanservice, or whatever the issue is. Those sentiments aren’t “retarded” or petty. Nor does using such language generate an argument.
      Actually, there isn’t much in the way of gay GOT fanfiction. Nor is there much GOT fanfiction, period.
      A great thing, of course, about writing one’s own work is the right to write what one wants to. And a sweet bonus is to tell homophobes to stfu when they complain about quiltbag characters or scenes.

  2. You are an idiot. A book-and all art pieces-must be judged by what it actually is, not what we want it to be. For that, you can always go write your own book.
    By the way, I’m not a Martin fan, I never even finished reading the first book.

    • No, I am not an idiot. It is not idiotic to desire greater representations of diversity. It is not idiotic to criticize writers on that front. Especially if those writers tie diversity to plot specificity.
      I’m not a Martin fan, either. But I can sympathize with the segments of his readership who would like some fanservice featuring gay sex.
      And yes, there will be loads of GLBT in my own books.

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