Now, the fact is, if you are looking at the practices of medieval society, a teen-aged girl marrying an older man has plenty of precedent. Just because it seems skeevy to us in our modern-day mentality doesn't necessarily make it a deal breaker for me on this book. The coarse language in the preceding chapters was also a non-issue for me. I don't presume to insist that when men are with men that they're going to act soft and pretty. But the consummation of Daenerys's marriage went over the line for me, so I decided to wrestle a bit with the questions: Why? Where is the line?
My ruminations about all this brought me back to the Song of Solomon, since it's probably the most overt depiction of marital intimacy (as God wanted it to be--there are plenty of examples of the misuse of sex all over the rest of the Old Testament) in the Bible. There are obvious allusions to kissing and caressing, and no shortage of admiration by both parties of each other's physical attributes. But seeing as it's poetic, and much of it merely the expression of desires, not a depiction of the actual acts of fulfilling them, it seems to me the Bible text falls in a different category than an on-page depiction of who-touched-what-when and how it felt.
I haven't yet reached a conclusion on this concept, beyond knowing that physical desire between married people is good for them, and that God himself has given us a transcribed picture of a couple's longing for one another and the emotional power behind that. The two passages that seem the most overt to me come in the 7th chapter.
vs 7: "...and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, 'I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its fruit.'"
vs 12: "Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom--there I will give you my love."
These are clear statements about what the speakers intend--but again, it is only a statement of intent, not a depiction. Any actual "giving of love" is left completely in the white space between verses and chapters. So where does that leave the Christian writer and the Christian audience? In a media-saturated culture where you can view anything from a peck on the cheek to full-blown pornography, where does the Christian draw the line? Do we undermine the power of prose if we limit what we read and write to only what we would be comfortable with anyone seeing us do? Or do we enable a level of unholy voyeurism by depicting anything beyond that?
Your thoughts, if you're comfortable sharing them, are warmly welcomed!