Critics’ Reactions to the Final Season 3 Scene in Game of Thrones
Surfed Google News looking for what reviewers thought about the White Lady Jesus scene.
“It’s kind of weird that the show decides to rely on the slightly racist, definitely cliche stereotype of hordes of adoring brown slaves worshipping their white liberator.” - Kate Walsh, Indiewire
“…the messianic tint to Danaerys’ brief appearance takes on a weirdly racist and pro-colonial overtone (look at those poor, dark savages and how much they love their blond savior!)” - Todd Brown, Twitchfilm
“…her being surrounded by a worshipful mass of people she’s saved who are decidedly, er, browner than her is really frakking weird. I’m not saying there’s malicious, racist intent or anything, and some of the slaves are probably just tanned white people. But as an image, I found it really offputting.” - Rebecca Pahle, The Mary Sue
“I think we’re supposed to feel tense and apprehensive awaiting their response to her setting them free, but I’m just kind of bored. No surprise – they accept her, calling her “mother.” She crowd surfs while her dragons fly above the crowd. Also, she’s very white and all the slaves definitely aren’t and so maybe this is racist? I’d call for discussion but this is the internet so better not.” - Dr. Improbable, The OutHousers
“During Game of Thrones‘ first season, the show faced criticism that it was racially… not super sensitive when it came to portraying the Dothraki, who were largely treated as Klingons noble savages…Now, Dany has become a straight-up conqueror—an outsider who swoops in with her dragons and eunuchs to show other societies how they’re doing things wrong. Which is where things start to feel a little dodgy: The final shots of this season were supposed to be rousing, but they felt weird.
There was Dany, seriously the Whitest Woman Ever, crowd-surfing on a bunch of heretofore unseen and uncharacterized brown people, all of whom had been enslaved and helpless before she showed up? And they’re lovingly calling her “Mother”?” - Erik Henriksen, Wired.com
“Yes, this is problematic. The optics on this scene are really bad, which I can see you have noticed, because you have eyes. Problem one is that there aren’t very many people of color people on this show to begin with, and problem two is that when there are, they tend to be acting out “tribal” stereotypes and/or cast in the role of slaves. And this final scene featured largest crowd of brown faces we’ve ever seen, lifting the world’s blondest woman up as their messiah and praising her for saving them from bondage. It’s like George W. Bush’s secret fantasy of how he thought the invasion of Iraq would go for him.
“If you’ve never heard of the White Savior phenomenon in media, wherein a fictional white outsider appears to heroically save fictional people of color from problems they can’t solve on their own, there’s more information here. Or you can just take a screenshot at any point in the last minute of the show, since it’s pretty much textbook. And that’s another problem, while we’re counting problems: I feel like I’ve seen this trope so many times before that it feels emotionally flat and boring, especially in comparison to her astonishingly badass siege of Astapor.” - Laura Hudson, Wired.com
“Also, I can’t even express how uncomfortable her last scene (the last scene of the season) made me feel. This show has always had issues with race and unfortunately, by having hundreds of faceless brown people lifting up a young, white blonde woman and calling her “mother,” showrunners are far from correcting them. It was Greyworm (and friends) who liberated the city. Can’t he get some love?”- Madeleine Davies, Jezebel.com
The Khaleesi of previous seasons, and even previous season three episodes, seemed to care little for titles that others were so eager to attach to her. But it’s that blissful smile, that obvious Christ pose while being hoisted above the crowd, her blonde hair and pearly whiteness shining upon a sea of trodden-upon brown people that lead one to wonder if all this savior stuff is finally going to her head. - Gabriel Ruzin, Screen Invasion
“The final image is still that of a white woman being embraced by the poor slaves she set free, and on a show that has been validly criticized for its lack of diversity in its main cast, ending a season with that scene was a questionable choice. We understand why the writers thought it was a good direction to go — viewers needed some real hope after the Red Wedding — but there were probably ways to direct it that would have taken the sting out of the visual.” - Rebecca Martin, Wetpaint
“So, um, did anyone else think it was a little weird to have a bunch of dusky brown people reaching out to the blonde white lady and proclaiming her their savior? Dany’s crusade to free slaves and whatnot is admirable, sure, but that scene seemed to say “Hooray! The nice white lady saved us!” Kinda got a weird vibe. Was anyone else made ever so slightly uncomfortable?” - Joe Streckert, Portland Mercury
It’s an image that many commentators found troubling, given Game of Thrones‘ overwhelming whiteness, and the presentation of many non-white people as barbarians, deceptive slavers, or mindless slaves. - Alyssa Rosenberg, Think Progress
“And not to end on a sour note — because I did think “Mhysa” was a tight, elegant episode — but did anyone else watch the final scene outside Yunkai and think, ‘Hmmm, am I really looking at a pretty white lady being worshiped by thousands upon thousands of adoring brown people?’” - Nina Shen Rastogi, New York Magazine
“The show’s previously been careful to maintain a heterogeneous look for most of the cultures Daenerys encounters in her travels through the eastern continent of Essos, so the uniformly brown skin tone of the freed slaves worshipping the blondest possible savior figure was surprising and disconcerting – doubly so since, in the books, much is made of just how many different kinds of people had been forced into slavery by Yunkai and then freed by Dany when she took the city. This uncomfortable contrast kneecapped what could otherwise have been the most purely uplifting and cathartic moment in the series so far. Plus it gave the episode its title and was, you know, the final shot of the season – a rough one to go out on. “ Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone