Whether it's heads getting crushed to goo or half the women in the cast getting raped, it's not hard to argue that Game Of Thrones tries too hard to be scandalous. We're not going to take a side there, but we will point out that anyone who's bothered by the show should avoid reading the books, because George R. R. Martin wrote a whole mess of scenes that could never be put on a screen without triggering mass boycotts. Or doubling the ratings. The point is ...
5Women Somehow Get Treated Even Worse In The Books
Westeros is kind of a shitty place for women to live, especially since "Eh, we're out of ideas, so I guess let's have a rape" was an early go-to strategy for the show's writers. But two especially awful book plots were cut, presumably because no one wanted to see the internet become dedicated exclusively to outraged GoT thinkpieces. Still, it says something when this writing staff has to stop and go, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but that right there is almost too much rape."
First we have Lollys Stokeworth, whom show-watchers may remember as the woman Bronn was arranged to marry last season before Jaime Lannister stole him away and forced him into an abusive relationship with the show's terrible Dorne plot. Lollys is described as dim-witted, and in the show, Bronn isn't shy about implying that he intends to murder her mean older sister so the two of them will inherit her father's castle. But they got along well, and by Thrones standards, that's practically a meet cute.
It's just like a fairy tale -- moments of cuteness in a sea of intense, visceral horror.
So how much worse could the novel version be? For starters, book Lollys isn't merely "dim-witted" -- she'd be considered borderline mentally disabled today, and she's morbidly obese to boot. So Bronn marries a woman with special needs for her family's money. What a lovable scamp!
Like in the show, Bronn gets to marry Lollys in exchange for not backing Tyrion in his trial. But unlike in the show, Cersei is only willing to let Bronn marry a highborn lady because Lollys was "ruined" when she was raped "half a hundred times" and impregnated during a riot. Bronn names the child Tyrion Tanner -- "Tyrion" in reference to the brother Cersei hates, and "Tanner" in reference to the shop Lollys was gang-raped behind. Because nothing says love like naming your wife's bastard child after the worst moment of her life. Classic Bronn zinger!
(which is the sound of two stabbings followed by someone crushing a skull)
But Lollys hit the husband jackpot compared to our second example, the book-only character Donella Hornwood. This intelligent, middle-aged woman loses her husband and only son to battle, leaving her an heirless widow who owns an important chunk of land. There's a cute (by GoT standards) subplot in which one of Robb Stark's men tries to find her a husband who will make both her and the realm happy, but that quest is put to an abrupt end when Ramsay Bolton kidnaps her, forcibly marries her for her land and title, locks her in a tower, and forgets about her. As in, she's left locked in there with no food. Her rescue party arrives far too late, and it's discovered that she chewed her own fingers off in a vain attempt to survive.
So the next time you're ready to complain that Game Of Thrones goes too far out of its way to remind us that Ramsay is like Hannibal without the charm, keep in mind that at least he hasn't made a kindly widow resort to auto-cannibalism. Hey, speaking of which ...
4A Villain Gets Slowly Fed Pieces Of His Own Body
Hey, remember Locke?
You know, the white guy with the beard?
He cut off Jaime's hand, made Brienne fight a bear, then got killed during a failed attempt to liven Bran's story up with a kidnapping. He was a replacement for the books' Vargo Hoat, because for some reason, the showrunners felt that a man with a two-foot goatee, a helmet shaped like a goat's head, and a strong lisp that makes him slobber everywhere when he talks would look silly. Oh, and he would have singlehandedly doubled the show's rape count, he tortured his captives by cutting off their hands and feet, and his death would be impossible to portray without making everyone nauseous.
Andrius Anezin/Fantasy Flight Games
Seen here with his trusty steed, Emo the Zebra.
Hoat -- otherwise known as the Goat, because even villains can enjoy a lighthearted rhyme -- was a mercenary who fought for the Lannisters before betraying them so he could rule the castle of Harrenhal. While betrayal generally has a solid track record in the GoT universe, this one backfired on him and he soon found himself captured by the Mountain. And then his little side story became the Westeros equivalent of Saw.
If Jigsaw was a serial rapist with the physique of a monster truck, that is.
The Mountain cuts off bits and pieces of Hoat one by one to mimic the way Hoat tortured his captives, then cooks and feeds the flesh to his prisoners while telling them that it's roast goat. He starts by removing Hoat's hands and feet, and has him carefully patched up after every bit gets cut off of him so that the torture can be prolonged. He then moves on to the arms and legs, and feeds Hoat some of himself to keep him alive. Finally, after removing Hoat's lips, nose, and ears, the poor bastard is allowed to die. This is all reported to Jaime by a character named Shitmouth, incidentally, in case the whole affair was in danger of being too dignified.
So there you go. The Mountain, who in the show crushes skulls, beheads horses, and is infamous for bashing a baby to death and then raping the child's mother with his blood and brains still on him, is in fact toned down from the torture cannibal he was written as.