“Does Arya identify as a woman? Is she queer? Does she like guys, or girls, or both?”
Writing an analysis piece about a controversial sex scene that aired Sunday on hit HBO show “Game of Thrones,” a Washington Post journalist argued that contrary to prevailing opinion, viewers were made uncomfortable not because the actress involved looked possibly underage, but because the show’s writers had failed to clarify her “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”
Many fans expressed discomfort after Arya Stark, the character played by youthful-looking actress Maisie Williams since she was 11-years-old, engaged in lovemaking with the older Gendry, played by Joe Dempsie.
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The search term “maisie williams age” spiked massively after the Sunday night premiere of the second episode in “Game of Thrones'” eighth and final season.
Arya is 18 in the show. The real-life actress who plays her is 22-years-old.
google searches for "maisie williams age" hit a new high right after the arya/gendry scene…. yall are going to JAIL pic.twitter.com/e3vRYQXVWy
— 「desp」 (@bigracks) April 22, 2019
“Not gonna lie I looked up Arya real and and real age BC I was a little grossed out,” wrote one Twitter user, whose sentiments captured the general tenor of comments.
Running to google to check Maisie Williams’ age to make sure I didn’t break the law by having my eyes open pic.twitter.com/NSELVMdtvf
— Feitelberg (@FeitsBarstool) April 22, 2019
But for former associate editor at The Atlantic, Caroline Kitchener, the unpleasant feeling many fans endured watching Williams and Dempsie’s love scene was only “part of what made for such awkward viewing.”
The feminist journalist acknowledged the “giant spike in users googling” Williams’ age, but claimed that viewers’ “awkwardness stems partly from a lack of information about her gender identity and sexual orientation.”
“Throughout the show, the audience is left to wonder: Does Arya identify as a woman? Is she queer? Does she like guys, or girls, or both?” Kitchener argued. “Perhaps viewers are still not completely comfortable not having answers to those questions. And they did not expect answers to come via an abrupt and completely unexpected sex scene.”
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Kitchener catalogued “proud tomboy” Arya’s gender-bending tendencies throughout the show, as well as those of other female characters who shirk “stereotypically feminine behaviors.”
But, in contrast to those characters, the show failed to make Arya’s “sexual preferences” clear. The result was that viewers were thrown for a loop Sunday, according to Kitchener.
“But when Arya started to unbutton a leather jacket, fitted to look like a suit of armor, and stripped off a pair of pants, the audience wasn’t quite sure how to respond,” she wrote.
— Nakia (@WakandaQueenMza) April 22, 2019
The progressive movement’s push for increased awareness regarding issues of gender and sexual orientation has led to increased sensitivity around the topics, especially among liberals, major media and popular culture.
“Fixate much? Why exactly does every proud tomboy have to get her gender/sexuality questioned? Good grief!” tweeted one commenter in reply to the Washington Post.
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