Breastfeeding a 6-7y old on Game of Thrones

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Breastfeeding a 6-7y old on Game of Thrones
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 2:54pm

Did anyone else see this? If you missed it, the scene can be seen on Youtube:

And there is a write-up about it:

There’s extended breastfeeding and then there’s e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d breastfeeding. Last night on episode 5 of the HBO show Game of Thrones, which is a period show based in the middle ages, one character, Lysa Arryn, has a scene where she’s breastfeeding her son which has sent the Internets all a flutter. If you don’t watch the show, it’s a Dungeons and Dragon-esque, medieval smack down amongst wealthy families who try to kill each other in order to obtain as much power as possible. Anyway, as the King’s Hand’s wife greeted her sister along with her dwarf captive, she found her sister Lysa sitting on her throne, breastfeeding her bratty and precocious son who is apparently around 6 or 7 years old.

Sorry, I can't seem to find anything where they are not swearing in the comments...

So - is he too old to be breastfeeding?  Do you think that they are simply using the scene to show how crazy the character has become? Do you think having a child actor portray breastfeeding at that age borders on child abuse?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2011
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 3:12pm

First, I have to admit up front I was unable to watch the video due to tech difficulties. I also have never watched the show so I do not know the characters at all. I would disagree with the words "child abuse" though. There are other words I could think of for bf'ing a child that age, as I would not do it and find it unnecessary for a child that age, but "child abuse" is a severe issue that I would not relate at all to bf'ing an older child. Is it a good show? It sounds intriguing but I watch so little TV right now, I will have to give it a try some day.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 3:31pm

When I asked about whether you might consider it "child absue" - that was from some of the comments being made on the article and video.

But the focus was not on the idea of breastfeeding a child of that age - but on having a child actor portray breastfeeding off an actress, in front of cameras, and the whole crew - not at all the same situation as a loving mother and her own child.

I decided to look up the age of the child, because some sites were saying he was 9 years old - but the official sites are saying Robin Arryn was 6-7 years old. Interestingly enough, the child actor that played the boy was 11 years old at the time - he must have been very small for his age.

Lino Schmidek Facioli(born July 29, 2000) is a Brazilian child actor, who [played] Robin Arryn in the HBO series Game of Thrones in 2011.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 4:38pm

Do you think that they are simply using the scene to show how crazy the character has become?


Community Leader
Registered: 04-18-2003
Mon, 04-15-2013 - 11:14am

All I'm going to say is that scene didn't make extended breastfeeding seem like something a sane woman would do. I don't think it was child abuse. Apparently the child actor is around 11 years old. I hope when they discussed the scene with his parents and himself, there was a healthy dialogue about breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding and how woman's breasts are not sexual when being used for breastfeeding.

That's not my first time seeing a character nonchalantly breastfeeding. I remember "Roseanne", when Roseanne's sister Jackie married Fred. Jackie paused the wedding ceremony to nonchalantly switch breasts. Then there was "Malcolm In The Middle" when the mom was nonchalantly breastfeeding the latest addition, and told Malcom "I breastfed each of you boys 6 months, although with Reese it was difficult because he was a biter". True these aren't extended breastfeeding scenes but more to point out it's not the first time breastfeeding has been portrayed on a show involving child actors.


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 04-16-2013 - 12:46pm

The scene is meant to show how twisted the mother is.  In the context of the entire scope of the books/series, a medieval fantasy, it makes sense - other boys of his age would be learning swordfighting, going hunting, etc., and other characters of the same age are pledged in marriage or hold the throne or the lord's seat in the absence of a father.  This particular mother instead tries to keep her son infantalized, to keep him from any possible harm because of her own bad experiences.

Now, how would it be considered child abuse to have an actor of 9 or 11yo pretend to breastfeed?  Obviously he's not touching the breast of the actress playing his mother - it's either a prosthetic or CG.  He's a child *actor*.  Kids who are professional actors know the difference between acting and reality.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 1:11pm

Welcome Mahopac - and thanks so much for chiming in with your thoughts!

The question about it being child abuse came from comments I read around the web - who were convinced it was. I read that it was a fake breast - filled with milk - so he was actually sucking.

From: [in the comments]

The breastfeeding scene in the episode 5 of Game of the Thrones was NOT real. It was a special effect makeup on Kate Dickie’s bosom. The surface texture of the fake breast has given itself away. If you paid attention to the covered side of Kate Dickie’s chest (left side), you could easily come to conclusion that the exposed breast was out of proportion to the actress’ left breast. I guess the director has really fooled all the audiences at home. However, I would admit that the nature of that breastfeeding scene was extremely disturbing and should have been cut out from the original novel adaptation. Having a young actor performing that scene was a child abuse (even though the exposed breast was a special effect makeup).

From: [in the comments]
-- I want to know what mother would let her son play the part. This is child abuse in a sick way. HBO and the mother should be held accountable

-- you're obviously missing the point. If you don't see anything wrong with a CHILD actor simulating what at his age is no longer breastfeeding but an adult sexual act, you are just as dense as the others who are contributing to the moral destruction of this country. Being true to the book, acting, fake breast, however you want to spin the justification, it was just plain WRONG and I particularly blame the child's parents.

-- However, for me it was overshadowed by the real life reality and legality of shooting a scene like that with a child actor. Even shot in makeup/costume I cannot imagine what a minor would be thinking or how it might affect him in the future. The shock factor took second stage to the more disturbing subject of what we subject our child actors too.

-- To film a scene like that with a child should not be legal. Anyone saying otherwise should have his head checked.

-- what I wounder about the whole scene is how does something like that work in terms of the legalities of it. wouldn't that be a kin to child porn or in this case soft child porn?

-- I think if you reread a few of the post you will see that most people understand special effects, makeup/costumes, and don’t really believe the “child” actor actually breastfed. I think that we felt it was wrong for a child to act in this scene. These are a child’s formative years and it is hard enough for them to understand the world around them. So to put them in a scene like this is disturbing. Regardless of how many times they were coached or the Parents/Network explained away the scene, you cannot know the long term affects. I don’t think we are crying – HBO let an older child breastfeed - I think were saying HBO should have chosen a different way

-- The kid was about 12 years old and WWAAAAAYYY to old to be breast feeding. To have a child play that part, even if it were of breastfeeding age, is porno, unless it was the natural mother. The kid was smiling through just about every scene.