September 26, 2016

Game of Thrones } A Gay Man in Westeros

Renly and Brienne
Gethin Anthony wasn’t given the easiest of roles to play on Game of Thrones: a gay man in Westeros. The world of the show is far from the most accepting place in fiction. Women, homosexuals, bastards, and other groups are all put at a disadvantage, and King Renly Baratheon had to step carefully.
We’ve complained before about the portrayal of homosexuality on Game of Thrones, although usually in terms of how Loras Tyrell was reduced to a caricature of the man we knew in the books. But when it comes to Renly, there was something of a beauty to the way the “love that dares not speak its name” in Westeros was allowed to flourish on screen. In a recent interview, Anthony said that this was a deliberate choice.
Speaking to Attitude, Anthony reflects on his time with the show and says that he wanted to make sure there were positive portrayals of relationships in the brutish world of Westeros, where marriages are more like alliances, and many love affairs are unhealthy.
Credit: HBO/Helen Sloan
Westeros is a very scary world, with all the politics and violence going on, so it was nice to play an affectionate gay couple within that world. We were very passionate about it being a positive thing. I still hold on to that and I’m still very proud of it.
It was certainly a change from the books, where no one ever says outright that Loras or Renly are lovers. In fact, there are precious few references to anyone outside their immediate families even realizing they are gay. (At one point, Cersei even accuses Margaery and Loras of incest, oblivious that Margaery might not be his type.)
But the show’s choice to make them far more out afforded it a chance to to deepen their relationship. And Anthony sees it as a net positive for on screen LBGT relationships.
I got some lovely letters. One that sticks out was from a gentleman who was about to propose, or has perhaps just proposed, to his partner. He said some really nice things about seeing a gay relationship on television. Whenever people connect to things you’re involved with or a story you’re telling, it’s a lovely thing

Credit: HBO/Helen Sloan

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