Last week, I wrote about female actors and nudity in Game of Thrones, inspired by the fact that one of the regular actresses had decided to no longer do nude scenes in order to be taken more seriously.
At the time, I assumed that this actresses was Emilia Clarke, aka Daenerys, who did many nude scenes in the first season, but has done far fewer recently.
Yesterday, I found out that it was probably in fact Esme Bianco, aka Ros, a character who spent most of the first season naked, and was recently killed off in the most off-hand manner possible.
In an interview with the Daily Beast in 2012, Esme Bianco said:
“Being new in town, it was really important to focus and knuckle down,” she said of her decision to focus on acting. “I didn’t want the fact that I was doing burlesque shows and also taking my clothes off on Game of Thrones to suddenly be seen as ‘that naked girl.’”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Zap2it at the start of the season, Esme Bianco talked about her attempts to improve her role in the show, saying:
"I was so jealous because everyone else has these amazing costumes and they're learning archery and they're learning horse riding and I'm like butt naked. So I'm like, 'Okay, how about Season 2 either give me a costume or I'll ride naked if I can have a horse. They're like, 'We'll see what we can do.' I got a costume."
Combine this with the fact that no other actress has gone from doing many nude scenes to no nude scenes at all in Season 3 (Daenerys has had one, as has Melisandre), and the conclusion seems pretty clear.
So what are the writers saying here? That their beloved Ros was only of any use as a backdrop for sexposition, and once the actress refused to do that, she was no use at all? They'd rather have her completely off the scene, instead of have the actress around while clothed? The executives have seemed completely in love with their creation in the past, claiming that Ros's story was "a "country girl moves to the city with big dreams" story that takes a lot of dark turns." They praise Esme's performance, and argue that she brings a lot to the show. Considering what happened to her in S3, the level of bullshit is pretty clear. They liked having a character around that they could use for sexposition week after week, without facing any narrative consequences. Ros developed a personality, thanks in part to the skill of the actress, but she still only had one role that mattered. All her other elements mattered so little that she could simply be killed off, at the end of an episode, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it death, once the nudity was taken away.
Or was it simply a punishment for an actress daring to suggest that she might have value on the show beyond her body?
The more I learn about the show, the harder it becomes to support it. I love that ASOIAF has become a big cult thing. But sometimes, it's hard to imagine the series being in worse hands.