(title taken from the poem of the same name by Suheir Hammad)
I’m crawling out of my little fandom hole because three episodes in, I’m becoming increasingly irritated at how Oberyn Martell and the Dornish on a whole are being portrayed in Game of Thrones.
Apparently, when not attending weddings, Oberyn and Ellaria can be found exclusively in a brothel inciting an orgy of some sort. Even when they do attend outside events, they are drawn to the scantily clad contortionist or to propositioning fellow guests by suggestively eating food. Yes, Dorne is more sexually permissive than other areas of Westeros. Paramours are common, noble-born women have sex before and outside of marriage, and bastards are not scorned and hidden away. For the writers of Game of Thrones, this means one thing: more sex scenes.
Instead of highlighting how racist the Westerosi attitudes towards Dorne are, the show buys into them, reducing the Dornish so far to a few men in turbans and over sexed characters with quick tempers. So far, Oberyn Martell has spent his time having sex, issuing threats and hotheadedly killing stray Lannister soldiers. Gone is any subtlety he had in the book, where he patiently bided his time with his brother to seek justice for his sister, Elia. Instead show!Oberyn is the orientalist archetype of a highly sexed, overly passionate non-white male, unable to keep either his libido or temper in check.
Coming on top of Essos and how the characters there are PoC who are either cruel, barbaric, avaricious slave owners or slaves who need to be saved by the white saviour character (and this is without mentioning the cringe worthy end of season 3 where Daenery’s crowd surfs a purely brown crowd), this portrayal of Oberyn Martell and Dorne is particularly galling.
For David Benioff and Dan Weiss it seems Oberyn Martell and Dorne is very much their erotic and their exotic.