?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
08 March 2013 @ 04:31 pm
game of thrones : doreah - woman in chains (so free her)  
medium: tv
fandom: game of thrones
subject: doreah
title: woman in chains (so free her)
warnings: major content warnings for sexual/child abuse
genre: non-specific
notes: doreah has a backstory -- and it is an ugly thing. (more potentially triggering notes/discussion under the cut), This is a companion/follow-up mix to Branded As A Jezebel.



NOTES: Doreah is an overlooked character, and for understandable reasons. She is a very minor character in one small part of a much larger story. But I still have managed to develop an incredible devotion to her, especially her TV counterpart which is whose canon I'm basing the majority of this on. We are not given a particularly large amount of info about her, but what we do know is enough to make me feel deeply for her plight. As a young child of nine, she was sold by her own mother to a brothel and was forced not only to learn but to eventually, at the age of 12, to start having sexual encounters with all sorts of men. And yes, in Lys they have a goddess of sex they worship and I don't doubt that some of the pleasure houses had women in much better spirits and positions (Note: Lys is NOT the Summer Isles, just to be clear. I never got the impression it was as female-empowered and progressive. In Lys, the pillow houses are the biggest commodity, followed by poison and slavery is rampant. Yeah. This place isn't all fluffy pillows and flowers). And any brothel that buys a 9-year-old girl and immediately begins grooming her for prostitution is not one of those upstanding places imo. I would think Lys is like any city: there are good businesses, mediocre ones, and really shady ones -- but considering the overwhelming slavery present in the Free Cities (oh the ironic misnomer), I will assume the shady ones are the vast majority. (Basically, this short documentary [Prostitutes of God] is what I think of in regards to Lys, and all its facets, including the Goddess worship & the variability in attitude/conditions/etc. and to Doreah herself in terms of children being sold by their parents to brothels -- but we'll see when that ASOIAF history book comes out how far off this idea is. Warning: It is difficult to watch, especially the last 3rd. There are also many other documentaries on the subject, if you wish. The problem of child sex trafficking and forced prostitution is by no means limited to this area.)

Doreah grew up here; she was essentially locked to this place until Viserys/Illyrio purchased her for Dany at the age of 24 (She's nearly 20 in the books). 15 years she was there. She is then raped and beaten and threatened with death twice by Viserys. Eventually however, Dany frees her and when Doreah has a choice she not only puts herself between a sword and her khaleesi, but follows her into the Red Waste of her own free will. (And book!Doreah is very aware of the peril there, being the one that warns Dany first, she is terrified of the Red Waste -- and yet follows Dany despite this.) [This mix does take into account 2x10 as well. It's complicated why. And her relationship with Daenerys.]

Essentially Doreah was a child prostitute sold by her mother into sex slavery until she was 24.

I don't care what universe you live in, this is not okay. This is not the life for any child or woman (or man). And without going into an intense character study about Doreah, she desired 2 main things: freedom and protection/revenge against those who hurt her. Basically: agency, something that had been stripped from her as a child and never returned until Dany found her own [I have issues with how this was presented in the show, since it was sort of taken away by Dany in Qarth but that's another rant]. Listen to her story of why she loves dragons and I think it's clear. In the books it is suggested she wants a family, not to be a bedslave. And Roxanne Mckee herself believes that Doreah is grateful for the life Daenerys gave her (freedom from the sex trade, life with Dany & dragons (both of whom represent what she desires most for herself)).

These are the basics of what inspired this mix. If you'd like more details, I'll be posting a really ridiculously long essay on her one day (most of which has likely been covered at one time or another in tag rants/posts)... but a lot of this is inspired by the disgusting stereotypes, judgements and beliefs I've seen relating to Doreah, solely on the basis of her being a sex worker. It rips at my very soul to see this shit. [As you may tell by this rant. I fully reject the deleted scene, btw. It was so disgusting. But that's covered in that rant. And I have serious issues with 2x10 as well, but I have a lengthy ramble about that as well. I can understand that slightly better -- but not for the reasons B&W claim. Long story for another day but I think it could have been such a complex and angsty mini-plot if they had done it properly. I've seen some pretty bad character derailment in my days, but none quite so asinine, unbelievable, dehumanizing, and offensive as what happened to Doreah in the deleted scene.] So, I figured I'd give a little insight because I just love her -- especially in the sense that her journey is relatively minor to the main characters' but it is meaningful. I do think she has many parallels with Daenerys; they are more similar than I think a lot of people realise and their relationship (whatever angle you choose to see it from) was a lovely thing. But way more on that in my eventual tumblr meta. Also, In a conversation with a friend, I basically summed up part of my reasons as this,




Doreah is strong as shit to go through this and still be a caring person, still a believer in stories and possibilities. She's a girl who turned around and OWNED her shit and didn't let a decade+ of abuse shame her or her sexuality and taught another oppressed girl (Dany) to use her sex/inherent power to gain her own agency -- something Doreah only had a small taste of, and which ultimately then freed her too as a result! It's like a near-synchronous experience of women freeing each other using only what's within themselves, and learned from each other. FFS. I AM SO PROUD OF MY BB I WANT TO CRY.



Consider also this rather succinct and effective summary of life of a whore in Lys, and the Free Cities (save Braavos) in general:

In Free Cities the attitude towards prostitution is slightly different, there appears to be less ignominy in engaging the services of a whore. This may be because many of the Free Cities practice slavery and where there is slavery there will be sexual abuse and exploitation, many whores are of course also slaves. In the Free Cities slave-whores bondage is indicated by the tears tattooed beneath their right eyes.

The practice of slavery has also created a thriving business in trained male and female bed-slaves, particularly from Lys, although whether all enslaved whores are also trained bed-slaves is unlikely. Many slaves are forced into prostitution during childhood. Most have little or no hope of escaping this way of life and are crushed by the abuse and despair they endure, such as the one visited by Tyrion in Selhorys. Her back is crisscrossed by ridges of scar tissue. After he is finished with her a drunken Tyrion deliberates her:

This girl is as good as dead. I have just fucked a corpse. Even her eyes are dead.
She does not even have the strength to loath me.[3]
[source]

And then consider what we saw of Doreah. She was not crushed. Not only did she survive, she then turned what she had been forced to be around on its head, excelled at it, and used it to free Dany and herself from the very system that created it. Like, holy shit. She basically used the tools and the system against itself to deconstruct what she could and inspire Dany to continue that work -- until they both won, and she got what she desired (freedom from the system, and the ability to make her own decisions -- such as following Dany into the Red Waste). (Yes, it's only in a very small bubble but still, it's something.)

She is a keystone character in Dany's early story. Without her, Dany would never have earned the same respect from Drogo. Yes, she would have eventually become pregnant and his attitude to her (as a vessel to carry his son) would have changed. But their relationship would not have existed as it did. Or worst case scenario, if you recall, Dany thinks about killing herself because of those days in the khalasat before Doreah's teachings. And who knows if she would have found the strength within herself -- at least as soon as she did. But even aside from her usefulness to Dany's arc, Doreah as a person on her own merit may be a minor character, but she is full of things I find admirable, compelling, tragic, and beautiful. If you can't see her beauty too, then I can'r
berate you, I can only feel sorry for you that you're missing out on such an overlooked yet superb, resilient woman.


Are you a slave, khaleesi? Then don't make love like a slave.

Since this deals with both her possible childhood & her grown-up life, there is content in the songs
relating to sexual abuse of children, rape, human trafficking, and the sex slavery trade. Especially in * tracks.




1. twigs ; ache
{re: dany}
i'll come when you ask me. your love, make my night go boom. that's why i need you.
in the end to the beginning, you're suspending me up with a feeling.
from up here i do surrender. in the trust that i find, i hear together

2. conjure one ; zephyr
{re: dany, qarth}
once i make my play there's no rewinding so bring on the fire, bring on the ice

3. mary coughlan ; whore of babylon
the one that you always slandered
until a child i became, they whored and adored me again & again & again
i turned into a prison, who knew too much
when they're drunk they call me a star

4. juliet simms ; roxanne
{dany for doreah}
you don't have to put on the red light
those days are over, you don't have to sell your body to the night

5. angel haze ; cleanin' out my closet *
when I was 10, shit, i believed i could fly,
i would just flap my fucking arms and meet with the sky
now the power that he held was like a beacon in mine
so now i got used to it, i put up with the shit
i thought of offing myself, i thought of killing these niggas
wanted to smash like the fucking world and burn it's leftover part
wanted to rip it out and just fucking step on my heart
but there's a fucking reason behind every scar that i show,
i never got to be a kid so that's as far as i grow
i had to deal with my shit i had to look at my truth
to understand that to grow you gotta look at your root
i had to cut off the dead i had to make myself proud
& i'm just standing breathing living proof look at me now
i made it through everything {full lyrics}


6. laura mvula ; she
who’s gonna take her home this time?
she knew that this time wouldn’t be the last time.
every day she stood, hoping for a new light
she closed her eyes and she had a small voice say
you don’t stop, no, you belong to me
she cried, maybe it’s too late.
always taking ten steps back and one step forward
she’s tired, but she don’t stop, she don’t stop, she don’t stop. {full lyrics}

7. take no glory ; beautiful slave *
they’ve taken all that i had, smuggled in for a lucrative trade
beaten, bartered, broken in until i obey
i used to be childlike innocent and safe
now i’m someone else's treasure, a stranger's pleasure
can anyone hear me? will anyone break these chains?
who will free me? from this dark place?
i'm just a beautiful slave
given into this sleepless bed
{in this song, i just imagine dany is "god" and "jesus".
i actually hate this band but this song is painfully good.}

8. phillippe kelly & vanina sicurani ; woman in chains
trades her soul as skin and bones (you better love loving & you better behave)
sells the only thing she owns, woman in chains
it's a world gone crazy keeps woman in chains
so free her

9. les miserables ; lovely ladies
come on dearie, why all the fuss? you're no grander than the rest of us
life has dropped you at the bottom of the heap
join your sisters, make money in your sleep; that's right dearie, let him have the lot
don't it make a change to have a girl who can't refuse
easy money lying on a bed
just as well they never see the hate that's in your head

10. tori amos ; me and a gun *
and do you know carolina where the biscuits are soft and sweet?
these things go through your head when there's a man on your back
& you're pushed flat on your stomach it's not a classic cadillac
it was me and a gun and a man on my back but i haven't seen barbados
so i must get out of this
11. sarah slean ; i know *
liars, with money and girls, the kind you fit in your pocket
i can't save them from this darkness.
my sisters, i love them all

and i know, doll, made of paint and china
your worth lies only in these but you're real to me

there are some things i can't forgive, some things i just can't forgive
some things, jesus, i thought we had an understanding
the fact that you can buy a woman makes me want to die; where were you last night?

and i know what you want, i know it all too well
{full lyrics}

12. a fine frenzy ; riversong
the boulders, i know they heard me cry but they were stone-faced
and they stood aside so i went on at the river’s pace with my eyes closed
 you’ve got to find where you belong
how does it feel to be so certain, without question of your purpose,
your position, of your place, of your home?

13. bridget rogers ; stay
{dany/doreah}
not really sure how to feel about it, something in the way you move
makes me feel like i can't live without you. it takes me all the way. i want you to stay.
oh the reason i hold on cos i need this hole gone
funny you're the broken one but i'm the only one who needed saving

14. sinead o'connor & mary j blige ; this is to mother you
{dany/doreah, works from both POVs}
this is to be with you, to hold you and to kiss you too
for when you need me, i will do what your own mother didn't do
all the pain that you have known, all the violence in your soul
all the wrong things you have done, i will take from you when i come


15. matthew ryan ; the broken side of time
i'm on the broken side of time 15 years out of my skin, out of my mind
and there's no explaining why i went where i've been
except that some of us are little more than burnt fuel on the wind
my first kiss was stolen, my first love was drunk
i'm on my back on the ceiling where the first pain was sunk
and when i say that i don't mean that i was lifted or free
i was more like a dead dolphin at the bottom of the sea
i've been inches from the surface since i was kid
but i'm holding my breath and i'm quiet and loud
been on the broken side of time, afraid until now


16. right away, great captain! ; fur stop caring
{qarth}
cos even if he didn’t die we’d be right where we came alive again, pursuing absolution
assumed that you would beg me and from the shadow to the light
the god i know could not be tired but i am such a separate story
stupid is as stupid does and stupidly i pulled the plug on you
i am not me and i am not me


17. pete yorn ; lose you
{2x10}
i’d settle for less, it’s another thing for me
i just have to wander through this world alone.
stop before you fall into the hole that i have dug here
rest even as you are starting to feel the way i used to
if i’m gonna lose you, i’ll lose you now for good.

18. the heavy horses ; thirty year night {2x10}
i try to forget what i’ve done; darkness sweeps down from above, consumes my soul
scribble a note say sorry it happened this way,
inhaling my last breath so free knowing not what to say
my heart bids my soul a farewell
oh, lord, take me home


19. sarah slean ; john XXIII
from the dawn of time they taught her why,
not to ask the questions and to never cry
i know it's been quite a long time since
i
sang a hymn without guilt in my eyes
my weary heart is looking, restless
not for a pardon but just one promise

all the fate that one can deserve
it's enough to wonder why you punish your girls


LISTEN || DOWNLOAD (pw: lysene)

 
 
Current Music: Twigs - Ache | Powered by Last.fm
 
 
 
captainblackbird: • ASOIAF - Danyohdevilinthebox on March 17th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
Wow this is incredible work. Bravo !
may i steal a hug?stolenhugs on March 19th, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
YES.
ⓚ: ( caged )loathe on May 8th, 2013 05:11 am (UTC)
this is really impressive, from the art to the tracklist to the notes/analysis. great job.