After the heartbreaking events of recent weeks, there was little that could draw crowds away from the Gay Pride festivities in New York on Sunday afternoon. But there was something even more powerful than rainbow flags and Jell-O shots: Game of Thrones. Plenty of people, myself included, rushed home from the sea of men in chaps to watch Cersei Lannister put on a S&M outfit of her own to seize the crown. You better work, queen!
And so, when Loras Tyrell died within the first 15 minutes of the show, it was a huge disappointment for gay fans. Not only was he killed when Cersei’s dragon-fire bomb went off under the Sept of Baelor, but just moments before his death, he was forced to renounce his sexual orientation and the man he truly loved. “I have laid with other men, including the traitor Renly Baratheon,” he says in his confession. “I’m guilty of depravity, dishonesty, profligacy, and arrogance.” Then the seven-pointed star was carved into his forehead and he had to repudiate everything he once held dear.
Over the years, gay characters on Game of Thrones have met especially bloody and ignominious deaths. Renly was killed by a shadow monster that climbed out of Melisandre’s womb. Oberyn Martell, who put the B in the LGBT, had his face literally caved in by the Mountain. And Loras had to suffer both physical and psychological violence. This was also the season we lost Hodor. The character was presumptively asexual, but Kristian Nairn, the actor who portrayed the lovable oaf, was the only openly gay actor in the sprawling cast.