George R. R. Martin Explains Why His Books Don't Have Gay Sex Scenes

Illustration for article titled George R. R. Martin Explains Why His Books Don't Have Gay Sex Scenes

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, George R. R. Martin answered a fan question about why A Song of Ice and Fire (the book series upon which HBO's Game of Thrones is based) is chock full of straight sex scenes but lacks homosexual or bisexual scenes. His rather unsatisfying answer? None of his main characters are gay. The main characters that he invented. They all just happen to be straight. So. [SHRUUUUG]


Each chapter of ASOIAF is written from the first-person perspective of a different character—i.e., there are Ned chapters, Sansa chapters, Arya chapters, Dany chapters, Davos Seaworth chapters, Cersei chapters (O, THE HORROR), and so on. To have a gay sex scene, Martin explained, you'd have to have a gay POV character. And he's chosen not to have those, so how could he possibly have those!?!? It's almost as though you people think he's a sentient being creating this universe from scratch.

Via Rolling Stone:

Martin said that his storytelling is limited because he writes through "viewpoint" characters, and so far none of those characters have been gay. "Frankly it is the way I prefer to write fiction because that is the way all of us experience life. You're seeing me from your viewpoint, you're not seeing what someone over here is seeing."

Martin does have two more books left in his saga (possibly even three) and did say a shift was possible in the future, but only if it fit the story: "I'm not going to do it just for the sake of doing it. 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." Noting that fans have written him about including a more "explicit male sex scene," Martin added of his writing process, "It is not a democracy. If it was a democracy, then Joffrey would have died much earlier than he did."

There are shades of Woody "But Putting Black People in My Movies Would Require Putting BLACK PEOPLE in My MOVIES" Allen here. It's not as if novels or screenplays exist, fully formed, in some other realm, and Martin and Allen are simply calling them into being with a pentagram and the right incantation. Martin is building his world himself, slowly, deliberately, thoughtfully, on purpose. He chooses who the POV characters are. He chooses which characters get a voice and which are relegated to the background, he chooses which characters' bodies to exploit for titillation, and he chooses which characters' sexualities to banish to the realm of gossip.

I love you, GRRM (SOOOOOO VERY MUCH!!!), but "I just didn't feel like it" is a really disappointing excuse.

Image via HBO



What about Renley? He was fairly main, as characters go, in the first book/season, and the fact that he was having gay secks was a major subplot.