Disability Representation on Game of Thrones

I just read a post on NPR about Game of Thrones' representation of disabled people... Which is a topic I've been thinking about a lot, especially since the latest season comes to a close tonight.

First of all, I'm impressed that a large news outlet is talking about disability as it relates to GOT, not just talking about GOT itself. I'm also impressed by some of the points they make, such as:

On GOT's use of inspiration porn: 
Take the young princess scarred by a fictional severe skin disease — "greyscale." Perry says the character's disability primarily serves to pump up the pathos.
"It isn't really about her," he points out. "Right? It's all — this poor, physically disfigured girl who's so good and pure and smart. Oh no, she's going to be killed; now we have to be really upset. That is the kind of writing I kind of hate."
The article also mentions the trope of "curing" disabled characters. What will become of Bran Stark, a wheelchair user? David Perry, a disabled activist interviewed in the article responds: "You don't want to learn to fly... You want a ramp built into your castle."

Exactly! (I know I'd gladly live in my very own accessible Medieval castle!).

Tyrion Lannister: "...complicated, powerful and very sexy". Also disabled.

Game of Thrones has some brilliant acting, thrilling cinematography, and fascinating characters... Characters who, for the most part, aren't always moral. You often love to hate them. (Cersei, anyone?)

The disabled characters are the same way:

"Peter Dinklage, the actor who comes first in the credits, is a little person... Tyrion Lannister, is complicated, powerful and very sexy". All true. Except he also murdered a sex worker, just because he was jealous that she was doing her job by sleeping with someone other than him.

Jaime Lannister (who has a prosthetic hand) is "complicated, powerful and very sexy" too. He's also a talented swordsman, and a loyal brother... other than the fact that he raped his sister.

I guess it's nice to see that disabled characters aren't being treated like saints just because they're disabled. But wouldn't it be nice to have at least one disabled character who isn't problematic?

Also note that all of the major characters who have disabilities (other than Tyrion) are played by abled actors. That in itself sends a message to viewers.

Game of Thrones is doing an infinitely better job of including characters with disabilities than many other shows on TV right now. But I still hope they'll do a better job in their final season. 

May the Lord of Light answer our prayers.

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