Game of Thrones (and nudity)

Second Life people seem to have a fascination for Game of Thrones, a TV series that I probably didn’t need to hyperlink to, such is its success in breaking out from being just a TV series to becoming a cultural phenomenon of our times. Just in case you’ve been hiding somewhere, it’s a fantasy drama that looks as if it might have been cast with the Middle Ages as its backdrop. Swords and, occasionally, a little bit of sorcery (not so much magic as things not of this world…the dead rise up, that sort of thing). I have to say that until recently I’ve been immune to it. But I have been aware of its phenomenal success within Second Life as it’s ideal and ripe for role-play within SL.

It’s based on a series of books written by George R.R. Martin, and being away from my computer last week, and billeted with a huge Game of Thrones fanatic, it meant that I spent some evenings watching the first series on DVD while simultaneously reading the first book by day.

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Having managed to work my way through both, my first impressions are that the TV series manages to surpass what is, to my mind, an appallingly written, almost teenaged text, a book that is by turn cliched and child-like. I would not be wasting any further time reading any of the remaining books, I have to say. I might be interested in giving further instalments of the TV series a view, were they to come across my radar, simply because it’s a great spectacle, almost epic in its delivery.

Another aspect of Game of Thrones that has caused great comment is the nudity it features. As usual, it’s predominantly of the actresses in it, and the thoughts of some of the cast regarding nudity can be read via this link.  I would suggest that some of the nudity is fine in the context of the show -a fantasy/medieval world would probably have contained a reasonable amount of commonplace nudity as part of life, and can therefore be defended, just as I suggested nudity in the recent airing of Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ on the BBC had nudity properly set in context. Some of it, however, may have simply been gratuitous, one of those devices TV producers use simply to draw in an audience.

Fortunately, Game of Thrones has enough of a spectacle about it to be able to tell a story (however badly it was originally written) to carry itself.

 

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With the role-play aspect of it uppermost in my mind, as well as the nudity, I’ve been getting some of our models to pose themselves within Second Life’s many Game of Thrones sims, to replicate what we see on screen.

Game of Thrones has possibly usurped Gor as SL’s leading fantasy role-play, despite which there are many Gorean sims still in SL with clothing that would be equally suitable for Game of Thrones. As many Game of Thrones sims will demand you dress ‘in character’, I’d suggest you first visit the Gorean Freebie Market. It’s possible to pick up some ‘peasant’ clothes that will more readily suit your visits to the Game of Thrones sims.

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One of our models poses in a GOT sim wearing Gorean ‘peasant’ clothes intended to keep her in character.

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Model Honey poses as ‘Daenerys’, the Queen of Dragons

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A black cloak clad member of the Nightwatch visits Daenerys

Note: with the Night’s Watch being clad in black (fur) capes, once again the clothing of Gorean role-play plays a key role in dressing characters for Game of Thrones role-play. Our commander of the Night’s Watch is wearing a Pekas Traveller cape, as located at the Port Haifa Gorean freebie sim (price L$0)

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As I’ve not read all of the books, or seen the entire series, I make no apologies for ‘inaccuracies’ in casting the SL-replicates-GOT scenes above and below. Game of Thrones is fantasy, so I felt under no pressure not to project my own fantasy on theoretical nude scenes replicated in SL.

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Dire wolf

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One of the intriguing elements of the nudity in Game of Thrones, to me, is the lack of pubic hair on many of the actresses featured. One would have imagined, in the context of the imagined period of history, that pubic hair would very much have been ‘in’. Lena Headley’s ‘Cersei’s nude walk of shame in the series has been the subject of discussion over the use of CGI and the use of body doubles.

I’d be interested to learn just how much CGI was involved in manipulation of the nude scenes. In today’s society, pubic hair is ‘out’, to the extent where (I’ve had this conversation in world) that ‘pubic hair isn’t natural’. Er, I think you’ll find it very much is natural. It seems from the images in Game of Thrones where there are naked actresses (or body doubles) involved, that pubic hair isn’t entirely clearly defined in many instances, trimmed in others. Photos of Lena Headley as Cersei (below) even suggest that a little bit of ‘digital airbrushing’ has been undertaken. Much in the manner of nude photography (even in nudist magazines of the 1950s/60s) of bygone eras, the way around the awful truth of a vagina was to airbrush.

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Vintage airbrushed nudes

Might it be that Lena Headley (or her body double’s) pubic preferences might have been altered? And if so, for what reason? Would it be for the purpose of creating something familiar, yet historically inaccurate) for a generation for whom pubic hair is unfamiliar?

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NEW YORK, NY ñ June 14, 2015: Game of Thrones Stannis begins to march. Dany is surrounded by strangers. Cersei seeks forgiveness. Jon is challenged. Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Political and sexual intrigue is pervasive. Across the sea, the last members of the previous and deposed ruling family, the Targaryens, are also scheming to regain the throne. The friction between the houses Stark, Lannister and Baratheon, and with the remaining great houses Greyjoy, Tully, Arryn, and Tyrell, leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest north. Amidst the war and political confusion, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night's Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and icy horrors beyond. Photograph:©HBO "Disclaimer: CM does not claim any Copyright or License in the attached material. Any downloading fees charged by CM are for its services only, and do not, nor are they intended to convey to the user any Copyright or License in the material. By publishing this material, The Daily Mail expressly agrees to indemnify and to hold CM harmless from any claims, demands or causes of action arising out of or connected in any way with user's publication of the material."

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I’m also intrigued that Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark in the series, may be (or maybe already has?) going nude now that she has turned 18. This brings me back to the gratuitous nudity in the series and actresses used as tune-in bait. I distinctly remember reading a passage in the first book where Sansa’s dress is ruined by some horseplay with little sister Arya, so she returns to her chambers, strips off and falls asleep. Due to the age of the actress, nudity couldn’t be used in this context. Clearly, the makers could manage perfectly well without the nudity. But the instant she turns 18…she’s about to (have to) go nude? That does seem to me to be little more than gratuitous nudity and, possibly, the exploitation of a young actress, in her first major role, who may well have felt, or feels, under pressure to comply. That, I think, would be unacceptable.

Trine

 

And the winner is….

With the Oscars taking place on Sunday night, I was going to give you my opinion on them, and Awards Ceremonies in general, but it appears Pookes had written that particular perspective three years ago, before I knew anything about SL Naturist thus saving me the bother.

It’s still possible to walk a red carpet in Second Life, just as a previous model appears to have done in Pookes’ post, at the Hollywood Ballroom sim.

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Being SL Naturist, our nominees did, of course, have to arrive suitably unclad for a ceremony!  🙂

Which gave me an idea that we should actually do this. There are various awards ceremonies in SL, such as the AVI Choice Awards, a comprehensive awards ceremony that includes the show itself, broadcast on internet radio, with an after-party. Follow the link to get a feel of just how big and how complex the AVI Choice Awards are.

The First SL Naturist Awards will, therefore, take place in a few weeks time. SL Naturist has tried an awards ceremony of a sort before, with the Mr & Miss SL Naturist Awards a few years ago which weren’t overly successful, it would seem, as the idea was dropped. This, of course, was meant to reflect the fact that the real life naturist community still conducts ‘beauty pageants’ of a sort at some naturist locations (Cap D’Agde, Hedonism & Koversada all spring to mind). In our PC times, these aren’t entirely ‘politically correct’, but it’s good that naturists regard them for what they are, a bit of fun for holidaymakers, rather than ‘exploitation of women’ (naturism manages to avoid this sort of accusation by holding similar male contests, with precisely no one taking them at all seriously).

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I’m not proposing a catwalk, nor participants to be promising to save the earth, end all wars and have kindness for all kittens. No, my Awards intend to be much more of a ‘rewarding SL’s naturist locations’ type. We all enjoy numerous SL naturist locations, and the hard work put in by some of the owners and builders isn’t, to my mind, sufficiently recognised.

As such we’ll be posting a few polls in the forthcoming weeks, and allowing you, the readers of SL Naturist, to make your vote count in the ceremony (and if we can get an SL builder to create us some small gold statuettes of naked people, actually be handing out some actual awards!)

I’ve come up with the following categories so far:

Best naturist sim.

Best nude friendly location (i.e a sim that is not specifically ‘naturist’ in intent).

Best host/hostess at a naturist sim.

Most photogenic naturist sim.

Best new naturist sim.

Best DJ at a naturist (or naturist friendly) sim.

Best photographer of nudes in SL (this could be one of your favourite Flickr SL photographers, for example). Note: sexually explicit photographs will be excluded. By all means the photographer may take photographs of this nature, but they must also demonstrate nude SL photography of a non-sexual nature.

If there’s any others you’d like to suggest, I’m open to suggestions.

I’m not proposing a whole ‘razzmatazz’ evening on the level of the Avi Choice awards, but I feel it’s time that we -the naturist community of SL- took steps to recognise the part played by those in the SL Naturist community and recognise their hard work.

To this end, I’ll be devoting most of my SL time to this single project in the coming weeks and drawing up a list of nominees and then running some polls that will allow you to vote accordingly for your favourite sim, host, DJ etc of choice.

If you’re a builder, please, I’d be delighted if you might take the opportunity to design a little statuette which we could award to the winners.

Abigail

 

 

 

Naked Hill walking

Lying under the duvet on a Saturday morning, awakening naturally rather than to the shrill sound of an alarm, it was warm and cosy. It was tempting to lie there, snug, in just my skin, but there’s things to do, not least getting some posts up on the blog, so it has been up, have breakfast and sit looking out of the window at a bright, sunny morning in which you can detect a shifting sun. Spring is creeping towards us, and with it the commencement of the naturist season.

While it is quite pleasant looking out at it, it’s still a bit raw out there and in here too. I have hands like blocks of ice here at the keyboard, prior to the heating really getting to work properly.

Nonetheless, my Facebook page (a personal page, not linked to SL Naturist) shows that many naturist locations are in the midst of preparations for the forthcoming season. New tent pitches, caravan parking places, upgraded toilet/shower blocks, gardening. All are underway in advance of the new season and thus we can say with some confidence that the new naturist season is fast approaching.

Easter traditionally heralds the beginning of the season, but Easter is early this year, so it may well show a slow start to the European season. Even at the end of March it’s possible that we can get late cold snaps, snow and frosts, so I don’t imagine the UK’s club season will necessarily begin with a bang.

A quick look at European temperatures shows the continent still wintry. Minus temperatures for Scandinavia, zero across much of central Europe and an unremarkable 12-15 degrees across Spain.

But many of us are still doing our planning for holidays, or making our preparations.

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My own preparations will include a bit of naturist hill-walking, perfecting do-able in the sparsely populated hill and mountain regions of Spain and equally do-able in the sparsely populated hill and mountain regions of northern England’s Lake District, not so far from where I live.

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There’s nothing like tramping up a hill, at home or abroad, and being able too disrobe once away from the main trails. On particularly hot days, it’s a delight to find a tarn, a mountain lake, in which to have a skinny dip. I’ve been ‘discovered’ by other walkers in the past while taking such a swim and the thing is that no one, not ever, has objected to my nudity. It’s not as if every hill-walker I come across can be described as naturist, quite the opposite in fact, but there seems to be an unwritten code amongst hill walkers that nudity is perfectly acceptable in context. A long, sweaty trek up a mountain often deserves a cooling, refreshing dip. I’ve had occasion where I’ve been chanced upon and I get smiles and waves or a query about how cold the water is. There have been occasions where I’ve been joined in a tarn by other walkers.

The free military boots I blogged earlier this week got my mind to thinking about being equipped for a hill walk in Second Life.

I take a small rucksack with me, and it will contain the maps, compass and other essential kit I require, along with wet gear, even on a hot summer’s day. Weather can change rapidly. Not only that, but a bright yellow wetsuit can be picked out on a hillside were I to fall over, break an ankle and need rescuing.

I’ll take water, some sandwiches, and a north of England delicacy, Kendal Mint cake. Pure sugar, and outrageously unhealthy, I’d suggest, but it does provide an energy burst if you’re starting to flag at the end of a long walk.

I met up with SL’s own ‘Naked Rambler’, Jimmy, who is replicating real life by traversing SL’s sims nude, in the manner of Stephen Gough, the UK’s ‘Naked Rambler’.

We blogged about Jimmy at the very start of the year, and I felt it was time for a catch up on his progress, so I kitted myself out to walk a couple of sims with him, beginning at The Mill sim.

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I asked Jimmy how his venture was going.

‘I get thrown out of some sims, hahaha. The phobia for a naked body is as strong in SL as it is in RL. I’ve been banned from one or two, despite taking every effort to ensure I don’t ‘offend’ others’.

And what type of sim are you visiting?

‘I confine myself to photogenic sims, the places where there’s not much of a shopping crowd. I also generally pick my SL inworld times to be a bit more off-peak, late afternoons or early/mid mornings. The idea would be that a naked rambler is, in the main, going to be walking in isolated areas, and only just coming across the occasional avatar. Where I’ve been thrown out of sims it’s because the sim owner or one of their management staff is present. I do try to explain the idea behind what I’m doing. Ultimately the idea is to normalise the naked form and deliver the idea that it’s perfectly fine and not a particularly objectionable thing in the worlds we inhabit, either real life or in world. Some people accept the explanation, others refuse to debate and throw you out anyway.’

So you’re in fields or up hills a lot of the time?

‘Yes. I don’t use mini-map for this, so there’s no concept of being able to walk away from another avatar in a sim. Encounters are as chance, as random, as they would be in real life. But I do like to take in photogenic sims, take photographs and enjoy the ramble. I do wish SL was more joined up, though. It would be great to simply walk through different sims without exhausting it in short order and having to teleport somewhere else’.

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One of the things I like about Jimmy’s travels, just like my own naked hill-walking at home or abroad, is that it reflects a need to break out and break away from the beach, to normalise nudity beyond straightforward sunbathing/swimming experiences.

Trine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shiny Shabby

The Shiny Shabby event is on, with free gifts from almost all the participating stores.

My military boots, poses and hair are all freebies from Shiny Shabby.

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Apologies for not posting over the past week, I had a family funeral to attend, which took me away from my computer and Second Life for a while. It did, however, create a thirst for Second Life, and a battery fully re-charged for lots of posting.

I should also report that, with this ‘Shiny Shabby’ post, we’re declaring the naturist winter (in the northern hemisphere) to be at an end, and we’ll be getting back to what I’d regard as ‘normal’ Sl Naturist posting from next week. Yes, I know winter doesn’t officially end (with the Spring Equinox) for another month or so, but I detect the end of the naturist winter hibernation taking place, on various websites and in real life.

We’ll be bringing you the very best of the northern hemisphere’s naturist summer over the course of the next eight months.

 

Trine

 

 

South African naturism

I would like to offer my grateful thanks to Susan, who responded to the ‘Naturism in Africa’ posting.

Susan highlighted two blog sites, one about naturism in South Africa, and naturism from a Christian perspective.

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It’s always heartening to know that real life naturists draw something from SL Naturist, and it’s equally heartening to know that people can find compatibility with naturism and their Christian faith (after all, I think I’m right in saying that Christians from Jesus to Pope John Paul did not find the naked form offensive).

Susan’s input has encouraged me to ‘commission’ (not strictly true, as I’ll be writing the posts!) some postings on how Christians, and other followers of the world’s religions, can find compatibility (or not) with their naturist lifestyle.

I’m not overly religious, but I do find myself drawn to the idea that God/Allah/Buddha find their greatest creations to be in the (naked) human form, and that nakedness is more -not less- a representation of the beauty of God on earth rather than something ‘sordid’.

 

Trine

 

(nb: I’m in the eye of a work ‘hurricane’ which is affecting my capacity to post, or edit others’ posts, except on a ‘weekend’ basis right now, so please bear with SL Naturist until this crazy period has passed and we can settle into a more regular posting pattern).

 

 

 

 

Pakistan condemns St Valentine’s Day

I’ve just been reading that Pakistan’s President has condemned Valentine’s Day. Ludicrous. Stupid.

“Valentine’s Day has no legal grounds, and secondly it is against our religion, therefore it was banned.” said an administrator for the Kohat region.

OK…(deep breath)…it’s a stupid, commercialised ‘celebration’ whose main purpose appears to be to separate people and their money with flowers, chocolates and other daft gifts. But it’s harmless and, quite possibly, something desperately needed in 2016. Our world is fractured and broken, so banning a celebration of love is the silliest thing I’ve heard so far this year. We need more love in our world, in our lives, not less.

My S.O. and I have a pact…no gifts, no cards, but we will go out on St.Valentine’s night for a meal and a bit of ‘me’ time (more accurately, ‘me & him’ time). It’s an excuse for a break from the routine, an excuse to spend a bit of time with each other, without distraction, and enjoy each other’s company and re-affirm what it is attracted us to one another.

Let’s look at that statement above. Valentine’s Day has no legal grounds. Neither, really, does Christmas, New Year, national holidays (even though they’ve been set in the past for political purposes). Shakespeare’s birthday has no legal grounds, but thousands celebrate it.

Pakistan celebrates Labour Day (May 1st), but does it have ‘legal’ grounds? It celebrates Muhammed Iqbal Day (November 9th, Iqbal being a philosopher and poet).

And here’s the irony…in some of Iqbal’s own quotes…

Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.

The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something.

“From love’s plectrum arises
the song of the string of life
Love is the light of life
love is the fire of life” 

“Look at the evils of the world around you and protect yourself from them. Our teachers give all the wrong messages to our youth, since they take away the natural flare from the soul. Take it from me that all knowledge is useless until it is connected with your life, because the purpose of knowledge is nothing but to show you the splendors of yourself!” 

I despair of politicians. Do they really have no forward thought? Do they not know that whatever dumb proclamations they make can be countered by the words of others in a second (and in this instance, the words of a poet & philosopher they celebrate?

The Pakistani Minister of the Interior has promised ‘strict action’ for those caught celebrating the day.  It’s an insult to Islam. Oh, really????? The previous link also highlights that Malaysia is down on Valentine’s Day, as is Iran.

Hmmm….Iran, or more accurately Persia, is responsible for one of the greatest love stories of all time, Layla and Majnun.

Pakistan…sorry, your politicians (like ours) are idiots.

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Share love. Show love. To loved ones. To strangers. To people of different faiths & nationalities.