I think it's important to make a distinction between the GoT TV series and the books, regardless of Martin's inolvement in both. There are a lot of scenes that differ. Martin's degree of control is wildly different. But beyond that, I actually subscribe to the "media is the message
" critique by McLuhan. A book is experientially different than a television show, and the experience of watching the performance of a narrative is different than the experience of reading a description of that narrative (or of that performance).
For instance, if I'm reading about a rape, I'm reading about it. It might take a sentence to communicate that it's happened. It might spend a lot of time on internal narrative, the emotions rather than the physical act. If I'm watching an enactment of a rape, I'm watching bodies. No two ways about it. I'm not inside anybody's head: I am explicitly outside. I may or may not be aware of the actors playing the roles; I may seperately be pitying the character who is being raped and pitying the actress who is asked to act out rapes over and over, thanks to a paucity of alternative "dramatic" scenes for women. I may or may not be aware of how carefully lit and framed the scene is to be beautiful and the degree to which it reiterates certain ideas about how bodies look, how sex looks. The camera literally directs my eye: it decides what I look at and how I see it.
And it's beautiful; filmmakers can't help but make things beautiful in the same way dancers always stand like dancers even when they're not dancing.
It is hard for me to not view that as participatory, particularly since the cameraman is definitely a man, the people lighting the scene are men, the people directing the scene are men, and the people producing the scene and hiring the actors are men. It's possible there's a female costumer in there somewhere.
These are not scenes put together by people who have been raped or feared being raped, or even experienced the physicality of being a woman having consensual sex. And it makes a difference. Look for instance at the difference between how sexual agression or prostitution are presented in American Psycho
(Lesbian director) compared to, say, Wolf of Wall Street
, Taxi Driver
And as much as I hate to pull this card, if there are a lot of women saying "this makes me feel excluded and devalued, and feels like it's fetishizing my powerlessness," I'm not sure it's productive to hear "no, but this is for you
and you're missing the point