Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones sparked outrage among viewers when our dear Sansa Stark was brutally raped by Ramsay Bolton after their ‘Black’ Wedding. It was such a tragic moment for a character who had already been through so much — witnessing her father’s beheading, being cruelly treated by Joffrey, almost being attacked by a mob, and being forced into two marriages. Now, after entering yet another marriage, she was forced to lose her virginity to a monster while having the man responsible for her little brothers’ death (or so she thinks) witness the assault.
We broke down the good, the bad, and the ugly from this terrible scene.
There is actually nothing good about this scene at all, but it could have been a lot worse if the showrunners had stayed true to the books regarding Ramsay’s wedding night. In A Dance with Dragons, Ramsey does not marry Sansa–instead, he marries her childhood friend Jeyne Poole (disguised as Arya Stark) and their wedding night was more brutal and sadistic. We know HBO and the showrunners wanted to change the plot so that Sansa Stark marries Ramsey instead.
When asked if the scene would be like the book, producer Bryan Cogman, who also wrote the episode, told Entertainment Weekly, ““No! Lord no. No-no-no-no-no. No. It’s still a shared form of abuse that they have to endure, Sansa and Theon. But it’s not the extreme torture and humiliation that scene in the book is.”
Viewers have been outraged by Sansa’s rape not only because rape is a serious issue, but also because we have seen Sophie Turner’s character grow up in front of us on the show. We have seen her trials and tribulations of abuse and humiliation. The only thing that had remained intact was her virginity, and it hurt us to witness it be brutally taken away from her. It just hurts inside.
In the same EW article, Cogan explains his reasoning behind Sansa’s circumstances, “This isn’t a timid little girl walking into a wedding night with Joffrey. This is a hardened woman making a choice and she sees this as the way to get back her homeland. Sansa has a wedding night in the sense she never thought she would with one of the monsters of the show. It’s pretty intense and awful and the character will have to deal with it.”
It is hard to justify why there needs to be another rape scene on this show. We saw Sansa become this strong character who knew she had to do whatever it took to reclaim her home, even telling servant Myranda, “I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can’t frighten me.” Then minutes later, she is brutally raped by her new husband with the man “who murdered her brothers” watching.
Do you not see the problem here? Why take this character, who has been through so much already, and build her up into a strong individual only to knock her down again with this violent attack? Why is rape necessary to give the character the strength to fight against her attacker?
I truly hope that the writers know where they are taking Sansa with this. On a positive note, I also hope that the writers have a horrible death planned for Ramsey, one which hopefully involves both Theon and Sansa killing him.