Game of Thrones has a gay problem. Whenever an LGBT+ identified character appears and starts being visibly LGBT, they usually get murdered.
Season 1 of the HBO behemoth featured just two gay characters – Loras ‘The Knight of Flowers’ Tyrell and King Robert’s baby bear of a brother, Renly Baratheon.
Renly and Lady Loras Macbeth
In the book series, Renly is obviously, undeniably gay (a keen fashionista, he even designs bespoke rainbow armour for his King’s Guard), and is the butt of many jokes as a result.
Loras, however – number one swordsman in the whole kingdom (after sister-lover Jaime Lannister) – is sexy, swashbuckling (or whatever the medieval equivelant is) and super gay. He’s also ambitious, and that is what ultimately contributes to Renly’s undoing.
In one of the pair’s most enjoyable scenes, Loras channels Lady Macbeth while shaving Renly’s furry chest.
Oh, Renly! If only you’d convinced Ned Stark to take the throne in Season One.
A Foreign Invasion
Context is crucial at this point; there isn’t a concept of sexual orientation in the GRR Martin’s Game of Thrones world – you’re either straight, a eunuch or you’re Dornish.
Sure, there’s always a pretty steady stream of female sex workers grinding on each other whenever the plot forces Littlefinger to elaborate on the intricacies of his schemes (theses scenes are deemed “sexposition” by critics) in his brothel, but as far as meaningful female same-sex action goes, GoT is as dry as a Braavosi’s flip flop.
That was until the first episode of Season 7, which saw stern-yet-flirty Iron Islander Yara Greyjoy ALMOST get lucky with sexy Dornish Royal Paramour (wait, is she still Royal Paramour even after Oberyn’s crushing demise? I must email GRR Martin to check. We can safely assume it won’t interrupt his writing.)
As Yara (who, in the books, is super glam and super straight by the way), Theon and Ellaria Sand make their way to Dorne to collect soldiers for Danaerys Targarean’s planned invasion of Westeros, the gang kill time drinking sailor’s rum.
“Ever been to Dorne?” Ellaria asks Yara. “A boy in every port?”
“A boy, a girl – depends on the port” replies Yara, as Theon awkwardly shuffles off to fetch wine and grieve his lack of genitals (they had been so close, after all.)
“He’ll be my advisor, my protector,” Yara says of Theon. “Your protector?” says Ellaria.
“What are you doing all the way over there?” she asks, sliding Yara’s legs apart. “There’s a foreign invasion underway.”
Critics were not kind to this moment, but fuck them – in a show that has more zombies than gay people, we’ll take our moments where we can, thanks.
Dorne Between Two Lovers
When swaggering Dornish prince Oberyn Martell, The Red Viper, makes his first appears during the show’s fourth season it is, rather fittingly, in a brothel.
You see, dear reader, Dorne is a very progressive society: woman can inherent titles and land ahead of younger male siblings, there’s no stigma upon children born out of wedlock (as there is in the other six kingdoms) and overall, it seems to be rather sex-positive society.
So, when Oberyn, Prince of Dorne and his paramour, Ellaria Sand, arrive in the capital ahead of evil bastard Joffrey’s wedding to Margery Tyrell they head straight (pun intended) for Littlefinger’s brothel (seriously, Littlefinger is the Starbucks of brothels – he’s the only game in town!)
In a partly-sleazy, partly-sexy scene Oberyn and Ellaria sample the bountiful buffet at LittleBucks. And you’d better believe the only male sex worker to ever make an appearance in the show, Olyvar, is finally going to get some lines. (Something along the lines of ‘I’m not for sale, actually. JK! I’ll make an exception for you’).
The video of this scene is age-restricted on YouTube so here’s a different but similarly sexy scene for posterity.
The brothel scene is a deliberate attempt to establish the Dornish ethos for viewers (liberal on sex, consevative on Lannisters) and to throw in a bit of consensual sex for a change.
Alas, like all of the other men in this list, Oberyn does not meet with a pleasant end. And by that, I mean he gets his entire skull crushed by the man who raped and murdered his sister.
Still, he had fun at the brothel, right?
Game of Thrones airs Mondays, 9pm on Sky Atlantic.
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