director Jeremy Podeswa said that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were “responsive” to the intense fan reaction following Sansa Stark’s rape by Ramsay Bolton in Season 5 and changed “a couple of things” as a result. Was this the right call? Should the showrunners be sensitive to fan reaction, or should they stick to their vision even if it alienates viewers? Does it depend on what they’re reacting to? The Small Council discusses.
RAZOR: Three words, one reaction: HELL F#%@ING NO. This is the absolute worst possible thing that could happen to
. I’m a self-admitted Book Purist, and even I don’t want Benioff and Weiss to change the show because some whiny and petulant children in the form of
fans start crying about a scene or multiple scenes. You want the producers to change because you don’t like their interpretation of the material? Go watch some random garbage on the CW (
excluded). If you want quality, edge-of-your-seat drama, then keep your damnable overly-sensitive and unnecessarily-entitled opinions to yourself…or at the very least, confine them to message boards like the ones here at WiCnet, where all are welcome.
DAN: Okay, so Razor is against it. Maybe. His response was kind of ambiguous.
While I generally think that the creators of a show should hold steady to their vision regardless of what people say, I do think there’s room for other perspectives. If fans point out to David Benioff and Dan Weiss that one of their plotlines didn’t work (and plenty of people would argue that some of the plotlines in Season 5 didn’t work), why shouldn’t they bend an ear and do what they can to correct the problem going forward?
I’m not saying that Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay didn’t work dramatically, but imagine if Jeremy Podeswa had said that Benioff and Weiss had recalibrated their approach to Dorne instead. I, along with a lot of other fans, had a number of problems with the Dornish plotline in Season 5—the Sand Snakes were poorly drawn, the logic of events didn’t add up, and the tone was both too light (for most of it) and too dark (I don’t think they earned a dramatic moment like Myrcella’s death). If Benioff and Weiss absorbed these criticisms and retooled events in Dorne so they fit better into Season 6, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
The issue is where to draw the line. If the producers bend to the whims of every fan they meet, it’d be impossible to make the show, since different fans want different things. Even if fan opinion is strongly in favor of one course of action over another, I still think they should be careful about heeding it, since the popular opinion may not necessarily be the right one. After hearing Podeswa’s comments, I’m nervous about how they may have altered Sansa’s plot in Season 6. I don’t want to watch her suffer for the sake of shock value, but I also don’t want the producers to overcompensate and make her an indestructible badass. That’s boring, and boredom is death to entertainment.
Ultimately, the characters should tell the writers what they’re going to do next, not the other way around. I don’t know what alterations were made to the plotlines of Season 6 as a result of the fan outcry following Sansa’s rape—for all I know, they were well-reasoned and we’ll be celebrating them by the time Season 6 is over. Hopefully, Benioff and Weiss had the insight to change what needed changing, the courage to leave alone what was better left alone, and the wisdom to know the difference.
LEXI: I agreed with the producers’ decision to take Sansa back to Winterfell and combine her story with that of book character Jeyne Poole. The move allowed Sansa to remain a central part of the story instead of meander around the Vale as she does in the books.
has tossed our way this is what people are upset about? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I never understood why that scene was so maligned. Did anyone expect Ramsay to serve her up some lemon cakes and sing a lullaby? I think Sansa’s wedding, in addition to everything else she’s suffered, will play a pivotal role in her story arc and help drive her forward to become a stronger player. To echo Razor’s sentiments, if you’re looking for light and fluffy fare, cruise on over to the Hallmark Channel.
I hope Benioff and Weiss wouldn’t actually cave and change any of their major visions for the show based on fan response. If any changes were made to Season 6 based on fan outcry, hopefully they were minor. Podeswa’s comment also serves as an acknowledgment that HBO is open to constructive criticism, which is never a bad thing. If George R.R. Martin could trust Benioff and Weiss with his books, then so can I.
KATIE: So here’s the thing… I watch shows on the CW. I watch light and fluffy TV. I dig boy bands and romantic comedies and all sorts of things that make you feel good. But that doesn’t change the fact that I was raped, or that the crime as a whole isn’t taken seriously enough, whether socially or legally. You watch
, you know there’s going to be trauma and gross murder and incest and the rest of it, but the difference is that those things are pretty universally acknowledged as bad, whereas all you need to do is a little research to figure out that rape isn’t regarded the same way.
Did I expect Ramsay to treat Sansa well? No, although I had hoped that the plotline would involve Sansa manipulating Ramsay, rather than him torturing her. Did I expect him to rape her? Also no. That scene hurt, and was incredibly triggering, and it’s beyond insensitive for people to make rape victims explain why they were devastated by this scene. We are
forced to explain ourselves. And the real kicker here is that the scene cuts to Theon, thereby refocusing Sansa’s suffering, as though her rape is worse for someone who’s not experiencing it.
I think it’s great that the producers are taking criticism into consideration—constructive criticism helps art to evolve. But honestly, all I want from them is an apology to victims/survivors, rather than their constant attempts to explain themselves with the old “we want to portray the horrors these characters are living” schpiel. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rape victims do not need anyone to tell us that rape is horrific and damaging and part of reality—it’s
Should this issue be shied away from in media? No. We shouldn’t act like rape doesn’t happen. But it’s not a plot point, either, or an excuse to sprinkle a little more drama into the mix. I’m less concerned about the producers’ decision to write Sansa’s rape, and more concerned that they don’t seem to empathize with those who were triggered by it. There’s nothing “overly sensitive” about it—people were actually, mentally, emotionally affected by Sansa’s rape in negative ways.
, but it’s done so in a way that spreads awareness of the crime and its effects on victims. In the case of
, however, I was told time and time again that “it doesn’t matter,” and the like. The producers’ attempts to explain themselves, as well as fan defenses of the scene, sounded more like they were telling victims/survivors to “be quiet.” So if the producers want to take steps to avoid that, I say go for it. I am tired of explaining myself to people who think that I’m “just being sensitive” about a crime that has irreparably affected me, and I will never see justice for.
Rather than switching channels, I say that if you don’t want people to negatively react to portrayals of rape, perhaps help to create an environment in which this crime is taken seriously. As for the producers, I say go where the story takes you, but they would do well to keep in mind real-life trauma sufferers when they explain their thematic choices.
ANI: This is one of those places where I feel like I get both sides. Like Katie, I have been through trauma. Like Lexi, I’m not sure why people expected anything other than what we got, the moment Sansa’s story clearly put her in the shoes of Jeyne Poole. Hell, I was slightly thankful the show merely locked her away, instead of some of the really horrific things Ramsey did to his bride in the novels.
Now, do I think the producers are right to curb themselves and think twice about their choices when they get the sort of outcry that occurred last season? I think they’d be fools not to acknowledge it somehow. After all, this show is a business.
is a money-maker. If the customer complains once or twice, one might be able to write it off as a customer who shouldn’t shop there. But when the customers’ complaint narrative takes over the entire internet to the point where it drowns out what the showrunners were trying to do with the scene (which, for the record, was to show that Ramsay gave no damns about Sansa now that she was his property, and that her entire “I am a Stark in Winterfell” line was just more fairytale nonsense on par with “Joffrey is an amazing human we should automatically respect and love because he will be king”), it’s time to perhaps consider the complaints.
Do I think it’s a bad thing for the showrunners to ask themselves if their motivation is titillation, or if their choices further the story and provide meaning and context further down the line? I think every showrunner should ask themselves that, period, because it’s the difference between the former and the latter that separates shows like
. And if they asked themselves a couple of extra times more this season? Especially in light of the fact that they have entered the uncharted waters of the unpublished books? I don’t think it would hurt anything, and might in fact accidentally help in one or two places, especially if it means that we never have to hear a half-dressed woman purr at someone about wanting the baaaad puooosy ever again.
Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly debuted the first official image from Game of Thrones Season 6:...
SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES SEASON 6 AHEAD Last we law Bran Stark, he had just met the...
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Why is that option that starts with “Pah” even there? The books are much more sexy and gory, so it’s the most invalid option you could possibly chose.
This is no argument. That was a gratuitous pointless scene done for a reaction, which is the opposite of compelling drama. It’s just shock value and was reacted to as such. Leave it out regardless of the book/show comparison, shock is unnecessary in such a great show. Yall fucked up and you know it.
There is something that I’ll never may understand… why such a big hate against the tv rape and not against the real rape? You don’t want to see it because was too much? I will tell you what it’s too much, that really happens. Instead of being angry with the producers, why not being angry with real rapers and the persons who hide those stories just because it can damage the image of some institution, a celebrity, etc… you should be doing a riot for that! not for a tv show only. If you want to make a good change start with the real world. Personally, I can say that I was so sad about this scene and not angry, because it happens! … out there! and nobody has the time to think of those people. People that has those memories can understand the pain; and that there is something that we can do to protect everyone else from this situations…
It’s a sensitive subject. So it has to be treated carefully. And D&D seem unable to do that.
Agreed… I’ve stated this very thought multiple times on boards here and elsewhere after that episode. It’s like the bystander effect in a way. It takes very little courage to criticise D&D or boycott the show. But doing something about the actual crime of rape? Either too many of us don’t know how to get involved, or I just think it’s too much dirt for most people to bother with getting on their hands. To me those people’s complaints about a TV show are a waste of time pretty much.
An apology for fictional crimes? Give me a break. The world of ice and fire is a fictional world full of murder, rape and other horrific crimes and if you knew anything about the books before hand you knew that going in and even if you didn’t you quickly learned that’s what this world is. They weren’t going to and nor should they alter the world to apply to our real world sensibilities. They portray it how GRRM envisioned it and that’s the way it should be. If this offends you and you want fluffy versions of everything go watch Disney. They make an iffy show called once upon a time where no villain is ever really evil and it’s all
about family. Not to mention they’ve taken every fairy tale and turned them into giant musical fluff pieces. At some point we have to be adults and be able to seperate fiction from reality and the point that rape isn’t seen as some bad crime perplexes me. If you took a poll of everyone in the United States and the U.K. I’m pretty sure 95% and probably higher would say yes it’s a bad crime. Does that stop it? No. But people think murder is a bad crime too and it doesn’t stop that either. One last point people need to get over the whole Sansa thing. When they decided to combine the parts, a move I liked and that made sense in the context of the show in terms of the boltons and littlefinger, you knew what was coming and again if you didn’t there was nothing in Ramsay’s character development on the show that made one think “boy he’s going to be an amazing loving husband”. It all played out as it should and I know people desperately want Sansa to begin fighting back and were expecting that and it might eventually come but it wasn’t going to come as long as she was still doing what others wanted and in this case her longing for home and her being sold on going back to winterfell in the show by littlefinger she was still acting as a pawn in others games. She hadn’t taken that next step yet so I don’t understand why people didn’t get it.
Yeah! An apology?? What a joke! Rape is portrayed in many shows and movies. Why would they apologize?? Should all the movie directors with rape scenes in movies apologize?? My god
In case you didn’t know, the real world is also full of rape, murder, and other horrific crimes. That doesn’t mean that every show has to portray it just because it happens.
How it is handled matters. Specially when it is a very sensitive subject such as rape. And D&D have a history of mishandling this type of situation. The Jaime rape the previous season had 0 impact. The show pretended it never happened. And it wouldn’t surprise me if they go the same route with this one. “That’s just the way it is” is NEVER an excuse to show something. It has to have an actual purpose. Which is usually the case with Martin’s works. Martin is not perfect, but he doesn’t shove in a rape “just because”.
Wow! I had no idea the real world was full of those things. Thanks for the insight. I do believe I pointed out that those things do occur in real life but as adults we can seperate between the fictional and reality. Well some of us anyway. Also why must everything serve a purpose? Why can’t bad things just happen for no reason and not have some grand meaning? The world of ice and fire is a brutal one where things that aren’t accepted in our own world are accepted in that world and that is kind of the point. If you don’t like the world that’s been crafted their are tons of alternatives. You don’t have to consume this product or tolerate it. It’s not up to a book or a tv show or the people behind them to be some sort of beacon of good behavior for all of society and nor should it conform to your particular set of standards of what tv and books should represent. Read something else. Watch something else.
Yet it’s not simply a matter of fictional vs real. We’re not talking about a fictional thing happening to a fictional character. We’re talking about a real thing happening to a fictional character. And in this particular case, this real thing is a very sensitive subject. So it has to be treated with respect. It cannot happen just because they wanted it to happen. The writers pretty much admitted that they wrote the storyline to have Sansa raped. And it shows. And it only gets worse when the writers are “adapting” something and completely ignore the thematic significance of events and modify them fulfil some “shock” quota or something.
The world of ASoIAF can be pretty brutal. But it is not all hell as the show apparently wants you to believe.
Perhaps I’m not getting my point across too well.
I don’t care that rape is being depicted. I care about how it is handled.
When the writers had Jaime rape Cersei, they completely ignored that it occurred at the time. That’s understandable, as apparently they weren’t aware they were depicting rape. But it also had no effect on the following season. That’s bad handling.
When the writers had the Sansa rape, something that they bent over backwards to have, instead of focusing on Sansa and how it affected her, they left her as a secondary character in her own arc and instead focused on the effect it all had on Reek.
It was clear to me one of the primary reasons they shot Sansa’s rape as they did in season 5 was to me an attempt to curtail showing unnecessary gratuitous violence not an attempt to take the moment away from her. Just because they don’t show her entire reaction at that moment doesn’t mean the effects aren’t seen on her afterward to some degree and won’t impact her in the future.
Additionally, the way you phrase their reasoning for including Sansa in this storyline comes across as patently ridiculous and is like the most negative possible reasoning for what happened. To me the most obvious reason for Sansa to be included is that they intended 2 books to be stuffed into 1 season. During these two books Sansa herself barely did anything. Sansa was probably the next major character to get the Bran treatment by being omitted from season 5 if they didn’t include her in another storyline. The Winterfell storyline was far more active during the two books they were depicting and was far less isolated from the rest of the story so it was necessary to include it based on their over-arching plan.
As such, it is my understanding Sansa was included because they felt based on their current plans at the time and what they know about the future of the story that this was the easiest way to push her story forward to where it needed to be. It wasn’t because Dan and Dave get off on watching characters getting molested.
If Sansa was going to get married to Ramsay a similar situation is practically inevitable. If they showed it as it occurred from Sansa’s perspective they’d probably receive a ton of responses about the gratuity of it similarly to Cersei’s.
I’m sorry but as serious as Rape can be the way it is treated so vastly differently by large swaths of the fandom than all of the other serious violent actions in the story just boggles my mind. Just because people don’t use swords in modern violence doesn’t exactly change the fact that all sorts of similar violence and abusive relationships don’t effect lots of people that can be easily related to the situation.
Additionally not once have I witnessed rape on the show and came away thinking that was no big deal or it was meant looked at positively. The most ambiguous situation was the Cersei/Jaime scene and other than that every other rape I was actively disgusted/bothered and the characters in the story seemed to react accordingly based on the characters in question.
Before the season started, Bryan Cogman in an interview said that there was a plotline in the books that they loved, but it involved a character that was not on the show. So instead of introducing a new character, they opted to have an existing one. And this, they said, was something that they had planned since season 2. They said they wanted Sansa and Ramsay to get together. That raised some red flags for people. They knew what was coming. (There was also the whole “Sansa is becoming a player” and “Sansa is getting a love interest this season” stuff they also said)
But once the show actually aired, one can see that the ONLY northern plotline that they “adapted” was that Ramsay got someone to rape. That’s it. So… they loved the rape storyline and wanted to show it? And they missed the whole point of the entire ordeal. There are reasons why it was Jeyne Poole, and not Sansa, that was sent to the Boltons.
Then there is the way they went about getting Sansa to Winterfell. LF sends info to the Boltons, who get their power from the Lannisters, that he has the second person that the Lannisters want to find the most. And Roose agrees to set up a marriage with his son, who, again, is no longer considered a Snow because of the Lannisters (and a king who himself is not actually a Baratheon). When Roose starts to have some doubts, LF reassures him that the Lannisters won’t bother marching all the way to the North. But when Cersei demands LF return to Winterfell he immediately sets off, because he wouldn’t like to make her mad. Then LF arrives at KL to see what Cersei wanted and Cersei is all “‘Sup” and… that’s it. Obviously that was the plot getting LF out of Winterfell so that he’s not there for Sansa’s rape.
And LF didn’t know about what kind of person Ramsay was because… Ramsay was not a lord until recently? LF, who knew Stannis would march on Winterfell before Stannis himself knew he would march on Winterfell, didn’t bother to do a little research on the son of a lord?
People say that made a choice to marry Ramsay. Are people forgetting that LF arranged the marriage without talking to her? That she didn’t find out until they were halfway to Winterfell? That the only reason she found out was because she realized they were at the Neck and heading to Winterfell? THEN did LF bother to tell her that she was marrying Ramsay.
And after it happened, Sansa first appears with a sexy just-fucked hair. And the rest of the storyline focuses on Reek and how this impacted him and turned him back into Theon instead of the effect it had on Sansa.
I’m sorry but no. This was done because they wanted it to happen. They wanted Sansa to hook up with Ramsay. They loved the rape storyline of the books so they bent over backwards to get Sansa to Winterfell and LF as far away as possible so that she could get raped. And once that happened they shoved her to the role of a secondary character in her own storyline in favor of character development for Theon.
That is how they handled it. And that is not how you handle things like this.
It’s a Fictional Fantasy show. I look at it in that way only . I don’t apply it to real life. People including myself have had bad things happen in their life. It’s no reason for a T.V show to change what they are doing because it bothers certain people.
In all honesty so much is censored in real life and should be talked about. Things that should be private in real life have become public access. Yet that seems justified as freedom of speech, press or media. When in all honesty it’s invasion of privacy . It’s like this. It’s all wrong to some extent.
The truth is, it all needs to be brought to the surface because it does exist. Such is life we have to face our problems learn to live and move forward. We have much bigger problems to be concerned about than a Fictional Show that’s honestly just made for entertainment .
I find laws and unpunished crimes in the real world more offensive and quite hypocritical. The show doesn’t need to change. Maybe the people watching it should. If it bothers you then stop watching it.
No, they should absolutely NOT change anything. As we all know, often the people who are happiest with something; they are the most quiet — so… just because (arguably) the minority of viewers that can’t handle the violence have a louder voice, doesn’t mean there are more of them or that their opinion should be one of which the producers should cater. The death of Shireen bothered me far more than Sansa’s wedding rape (both harsh) but I wouldn’t want the show to pull back on ANY of the violence. It moves the story forward, makes it a more powerful and heart gripping show (why I think it’s so popular) and it’s a massive part of the GoT world — and a mirror of our own world in many ways. I love the show the way it is — and I’m a woman. Please, D & D, stick to your vision!
I totally agree. I think the majority audience who is just fine with how the story is playing out need to drown out the minority, hypersensitive naysayers. I posted below as well.
But the Shireen scene served a purpose. It was there to show us how far astray Stannis had strayed, how desperate he’d become. If the show had showed us this for a few seasons already then it would have been gratuitous to show us the Shireen thing, maybe. But what did we learn about Sansa this season that we didn’t know before? Sure Ramsay did something horrible, of course he did, but did we need that to advance the story? Did we learn anything new that we couldn’t have learned without her? This was Theon’s arc, his moment to grow, Sansa was a side character with little purpose but to suffer so Theon’s could grow. If GRRM wanted Sansa there he would have put her there. She’s someplace else, doing something else. Now if bad things happen to her there because she puts herself in a bad spot and gets in over her head it would make sense because she has agency in her decisions, which is the whole point. They robbed her of her agency then are hiding behind “This is a brutal world where bad things happen.” Of course but they typically serve a purpose.
Plus Stannis burning Shireen is something that is going to happen in the books (assuming what George and friends have said is true).
George never said that, as far as I know. All we have is a “they say he said” situation.
I’m soooo tired of this subject. You were offended or hurt by what happened to Sansa, that is your right. But the amount of horrid things that has happened in the books/show and we can’t move past this, I don’t understand.
Jaime raping Cersei is still the one thing I hold against D&D the most. But that’s over and done with and the show just pretended it didn’t happen. As for Sansa, we don’t know how this storyline is going to play out so it’s still an open question. If anything, I hope they show how this act of sexual violence effected her, as Katie suggested, and how she’s dealing with it. If fan complaints leads to this development then more power to them.
I simply don’t understand why people are offended by events that happen in a fictional, fantasy world. Also, why the selective outcry against rape, but none against gruesome death, torture and other heinous crimes throughout the series? The point of the savagery is to highlight the brutal world that George created, whilst using these events as story development points to push it forward both in terms of plot and characterization. I’m really tired of the PC police running around and trying to stifle creativity, free speech and free expression. Again, the story is fictional and has an MA rating on HBO. There shouldn’t even be a discussion to change the story to satiate a handful of hypersensitive people. The producers should stay true to the story as written and envisaged by GRRM, so that they can tell the most complete, unfettered story.
Criticism is not a violation of free speech or free expression.
Read again. “Stifle” and “violate” mean different things.
If they want to depict their relationship starting off in this manner maybe there is reason for it. Maybe it serves to harden Sansa and kick start her into revenge mode. Maybe it was the event that woke up “Theon.” But even if there isn’t, the show prides itself on it’s unrelenting grittiness and we all know this by now. Terrible things happen to people there and just because they depict a rape doesn’t mean they condone it! What is a horror movie, or scene of horror within a movie supposed to do? Make you feel that emotion, horrified. Apparently this particular kind of scene was the only time that kicked in with some people. If one is going to continue to watch a genre of this sort they need to anticipate there may at some point be something offensive. I couldn’t stomach certain torture scenes and I don’t care for lots of gratuitous nudity but if it comes up I use my remote and hit ff. Do I think they could make the story just as effective without some of it? Definitely. But I’m not the one creating the art, and it’s not required viewing.
Maybe there needs to be warning messages before any program stating the episode will contain a scene of rape. That way nobody gets traumatized/shocked. And if so, then maybe they should also warn the viewers of episodes depicting loss of a child or parent, because that could be very raw for some viewers as well who might well be dealing with a loss/grieving.
If the producers do something on the show and lots of people say it’s wrong, offensive, etc. and the producers look at it and go ‘Yeah, those people might have a point’ and change it or do something in response, they have every right to do so. It’s not censorship, it’s not backpedaling, it’s not a violation of free speech or free expression; it’s just a change of perspective based on interactions with other people, which is how life works.
I’d argue that the author, and the ones creating the show, have artistic merits and an understanding of literature higher than the average person. Therefore, they shouldn’t placate the average viewer who may not have an adequate understanding of fiction writing, cultural context, and characterization etc. to have a fully vetted opinion on the story as it stands, nor where it intends to go. In other words, let the artists create, then judge their contribution to our culture after the story is finished, when we can critique the story thoroughly, intellectually, and as a whole.
I wasn’t offended by the rape, but I saw Sansa/season 5 as a missed opportunity. I thought they could have shown her outwitting Ramsay. Maybe by using his obsession with Myranda against him or playing against his insecurity at being a bastard. I know, the problem is you don’t want to veer too far into fan fiction, and they wanted to combine the reek and Sansa plot lines, but still…
Outwitting Ramsey wouldn’t have been in line with her character, at least not just yet. Not every woman needs to be written as strong or cunning. Arya is that. Sansa’s nature is more docile and long-suffering. And so the pay-off will be more rewarding when she does come into her own, if that be her destiny.
But, is it violence and rape scenes what makes GOT a good show????? I also was shocked by Jaime’s rape scene in Outlander … It was horrible to watch but I did it … I wonder if watching these much violence in TV makes us somehow more insensitive???? … So, we need each time a more violent scene to be shocked … Is it good??? Do you think it might be a reflection of a more violent society???? Does TV has an effect in people’s behaviour in real life???
GOT is one of the most famous shows right now, but the discussion about violence portrayal in TV, movies and games should be broader … It’s interesting IMO and there should always be a discussion about it. I think it’s positive that HBO and show runners care to listen to specialists or critics. But IMO, it’s the political correct answer … I don’t think Sansa’s journey will change because of critics. It’s due time for Sansa’s character development. The best thing that could happen is that they don’t show more rape scenes in the show … I’m more concerned about Danny right now … We’ll see what happens.
I just started watching Outlander and started reading the books. It’s a different kind of show. There are still shocking moments. I’m quite enjoying the books and show it’s a nice filler until GOT returns.
It isn’t so much that the showrunners decided to have her suffer marital rape, it is because they led the viewers to believe that Sansa would no longer be the crying victim. That she would be the player instead of the pawn. That she would finally have a sense of hold over her life. After 4 season, she finally had arisen to a confident, self assured place, and instead of building on that wonderful development that took her so long to achieve, they blatantly slam her down even further than she had ever been before. They write Petyr Baelish hopping through every idiotic hoop just to get her there and keep her there, which is a complete contradiction to his character. They could have made her a leading lady in her own story, but instead, they make her a minor character in Theon’s story. She was only there to prop Theon up in his character development! The showrunners had a glorious opportunity to place Sansa in a position of strength, to finally let her evolve, as so many other characters in the book and show have done, and they squandered it. ASOIAF is filled with amazing, and powerful women. Dany, Cersei, Brienne, Melisandre, Lady Olenna, Margaery, Ygritte, Arya, Catelyn, the list goes on! But Sansa… oh no! The showrunners are determined to keep her from shining!
The whole Sansa scene would make more sense in Sansa development if they finally let her shine as you’d like her too moonlighted1982. To show how she copes with how she let other treat her.
GOT shows us in his writing a different time and place where life is cheap, where men rule and woman should obey, where power is the key to your families survival, thats all part of Martin’s story. That’s fine.
But do I condone rape physical or mental? No I don’t and I hope D & D listen take it on board and if it serve the plot or helps Sansa and Theon grow and finally take control of their life and come to terms with what Ramsey did they power to their characters. To portray them not as victims ( not for them to turn into another type of Ramsey) that to me could be the power in their stories.
Again people just don’t respect the fact that most people weren’t complaining about what Ramsay did, of course he’d do it, they were complaint that it was happening to Sansa. They spent an incredible amount of time and effort telling us that Sansa had changed then shoehorned her into a plot that wasn’t hers and didn’t fit her character. It didn’t make sense for Littlefinger to send her there, it didn’t make sense for to want to go, despite their talk of revenge neither of them had a plan to get it. It goes on and on. If it was treated with a little bit more care I could have gotten over it but it was done purely to explore the Jeyne Poole story which isn’t (seemingly) important to the plot. Most of the changes they’ve made make sense to me, from a TV story telling or business perspective at least. This one I can’t get behind. Then you add in the complaints that they were too cavalier about it, yeah of course they’re changing the way they do things. When I saw the backlash I knew in that moment that some suit at HBO said never again. I knew then they probably didn’t tell D&D how to write and produce the show but they surely told them. Look guys, we can’t have this problem again. We have US Senators on TV talking trash about the show. We don’t need this. Figure something out so its no longer an issue in the future. HBO is a division of a publicaly traded company, bad press is bad for business.
What is with this chick mentioning her rape every chant she gets? An apology? For what, perceived slights? I think this is mostly your typical case of “not everything is about you” syndrome, and she got a bad case of it
I agree with Razor. I don’t understand why Katie thinks people don’t see Rape as horrible. That scene was criticized so heavily because everyone sees it that way. That still doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done they should stick to their vision. (CW has a lot of good shows by the way)
But mostly they should avoid changing it to try and generate reaction.
Whether negative ( sansa&ramsay ) or positive ( Brienne being She-Hulk, as well as the best/most luckiest people-finder EVER, who just happened to find the 3 person she was looking for – Sansa, Arya and Stannis – without any clue of their locations, on horse, in a continent probably the size of Africa ).
And then adding a touching Stannis scene that made people root for him and care for him ( took them 5 seasons to achieve that, good job, lots of book readers have him as a top-favorite character since his appearance )… But that was only so people hate him even more when he burns him.
Which he might not even do in teh books ( shireen probably burns, but it’ll be Melisandre, not Stannis – who’s leagues away from there ).
Yeah thank you for that massive slap in the face of all book readers who like Stannis.
And I hate that lots of show-fans don’t seem to get our anger about that stuff… ( not about shireen being burned, but about the treatment they gave to Stannis )…
I’m sure now people would say that D&D are stupid and just going for shock value and ruining characters and all that.
But show-fans haven’t really cared about Stannis before these 2 scenes ( the cute one, and the horrible one ) so they don’t understand why we react that way.
To them, it seems we’re just overreacting over a minor character been made a bit worse. They probably couldn’t grasp that Stannis is a favorite character for many, and that his #2, Davos, is sometime THE favorite character of many people on team Stannis. As good, loyal and honorable a person as Ned Stark and Brienne… but also a bit smarter, clever in his own way ( mostly due to his smuggling days ) even if sometime he acts against his good sense to do what he think needs to be done ( shipping Edric away, planning to assassinate Melisandre, etc… ).
On the show, not so much tho. I think most show fans wouldn’t even consider putting either in their top 20.
And the Stannis fans anger will only be renewed if Stannis is confirmed not having a say in the decision of burning Shireen in tWoW.
And about Sansa… I keep reading in articles, comments, everywhere, people talking about how they hoped Sansa would manipulate Ramsay, use Myranda against him, all that…
It’s a diverse universe ( the asoiaf’s universe ) with lots of different people.
Strong ones, weak ones, clever ones, stupid ones, manipulative ones, docile ones, evil ones, good ones…
And most of all, it’s not a hero’s story. It’s trying to be an authentic one, one that makes sense.
Sometime I read comment and I think… ‘Damn, these people would probably be happy if Sansa just stole a spear from a Bolton guard, killed him, killed Ramsay, Roose, then escaped to safety on her own’.
That’d be stupid as hell, and that certainly wouldn’t be Sansa in any way… But I think some people would like that just becuase hey, a good character won, let’s rejoice, now THAT’S quality television!!!
And Sansa isn’t a clever manipulative people, so that ‘sansa manipulating people’ bit is equally stupid.
Illirio is clever, Varys is clever, Littlefinger is clever. We’ve never seen either fight tho.
Selmy is a great fighter, but don’t look to him for a manipulation scheme.
Some people are just bad/worse in everything, and it’s even more common when we’re talking about a young girl in a medieval era.
I don’t know why people expect Sansa to change into a wonderwoman outfit and sort all her problems out by herself.
In the tWoW teaser chapter, we see Sansa trying to seduce Harrold – with pointers from LF, among others – and even that seems so out of chracters, that I hope she has a few chapters before that one, or it’ll feel very rushed. She’s not at that point at the end of ADWD.
So thinking she could do this and more to a guy like Ramsay… I don’t know why.
It’s mostly due to building up Dark Sansa, from the previous season, and then pulling the rug from under that anticipated arc. As long as LF gets his comeuppance as a result of what happened to Sansa, and House Bolton are brought down with a huge crash….. We ought to have started with early days of House Stark’s Revival by now. Retribution is overdue.
I feel like there’s always such a sort of false dichotomy in these discussions. Like, on the one side you have people that seem to think that D&D (and content creators in general) should be constantly working in real time to accommodate every whisper of criticism on the internet. On the other side, there’s the folks who seem to think that ANY adjustment or reaction to criticism is somehow going to ruin D&D’s grand vision for the show and also just coddling a bunch of internet sissies or whatever.
But there’s really a whole world of middle ground options there. My take, as someone who is
both a heavy critic and huge fan of the show and its source material:
1. Obviously, the way the show is produced doesn’t allow for on-the-fly reactionary editing or changes to what is going to air during a season. By the time it’s airing, it’s basically set in stone, so clearly anyone who thinks that the show needs to be more nimble in responding to criticism is out of luck.
2. D&D have been rather notoriously dismissive of any and all criticism and have appeared at times to mock even the idea of engaging with or responding to their critics. As far as this new approach to the show or whatever in season 6? I’ll believe it when I see it.
3. I, personally, think that the show would benefit from, if not necessarily more engagement with criticism on the part of the showrunners, definitely more eyes on things. It’s a show with a pretty small writing room and very few people in positions of actual decision-making power. The good news is that this means we basically always know where to point fingers when things are bad. The bad news about this is that, with so few cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, and all with so much power and control over the process (and with basically free rein as far as HBO is concerned because $$$), there’s really no accountability unless D&D
choose to be accountable. So far, that hasn’t been their style. This would be helped by just having more (and more diverse) people in the decision-making room.
4. My ideal would be that D&D would either engage with critics in a serious and thoughtful way OR shut up forever, completely, on the issue. If they don’t want to deal with criticism, don’t, but I hate that they basically mock their critics and toss it in the face of fans that they can do whatever they want with no consequences.
5. The truth is, at this point, going into season 6 of the show, it is what it is, and I think it’s both unreasonable to expect it to change now and unlikely that anything WILL change. In general, I’m not an “if you don’t like it don’t watch it” sort of person, but after 5 seasons of this show, I don’t know what else to tell people.
Your point #3 is the most intelligent thing I’ve read on this subject as yet. D & D are talented producers but they are not gods, above criticism. And they are not the author of the story; they are merely interpreters, so their brainstorms on where to take the story are not sacrosanct. So when a large segment of the audience starts yelling at them that they have gone too far astray from the source material, they ought to take that into consideration at least. I think that they have gotten too full of themselves on account of the show’s success. Maybe it’s time that they stop insulating themselves so much.
I also agree with all who have said that the problem with where they have taken Sansa’s plotline is the way they’ve jerked the audience around with it, by building up hope that the character would gradually start being less passive and then dragging her back to being even more of a naive victim than she was before, with no persuasive explanation for why she went along with Littlefinger’s harebrained scheme. Nobody is expecting Sansa to change into a vengeful superhero. We just want her to learn something from her mistakes and start taking steps that are in her own best interests.
“And they are not the author of the story; they are merely interpreters, so their brainstorms on where to take the story are not sacrosanct.”
This is the first point I have issues with. D&D
the authors of this story, much like feature film directors (not an ideal analogy, granted) are not simple interpreters of someone else’s script. I personally don’t subscribe to the theory of the original being
more valid or that it intrinsically and by the very fact it exists call for more faithful adaptation. Were that so, countless great adaptations or, as you call them, interpretations, would have never been made. For instance, one of the visual SF masterpieces, Blade Runner, is almost nothing like the novel it’s based on. To say that Ridley Scott isn’t an author but an interpreter is a gross oversimplification of the creative process.
“So when a large segment of the audience starts yelling at them that they have gone too far astray from the source material, they ought to take that into consideration at least.”
Being somewhat familiar with science fiction and fantasy fandoms, I absolutely disagree. I am a great fan of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, among other thing. My favourite Trek show is Deep Space 9, a series that diverged from usual Trek fare quite a bit and was whipped and hated like you wouldn’t believe for it. It was “a show that boldly went nowhere”, “where characters bickered and hated each other”, “that betrayed Roddenberry’s Great Vision of the Future(TM)”. And on and on it went. The hardcore fans just hated the show and it lost a lot of viewers very fast. And yet it’s the very best thing Trek put to screen, in my view at least (and many others’).
Galactica probably fared even worse. It was crucified by the fans of the original show who called it GINO (Galactica in Name Only). It got so bad that Edward James Olmos, the lead actor, received death threats, while the cast and the team were routinely booed and hissed at in the early go. And guess what? It’s probably one of the most appreciated and acclaimed space opera in the history of the genre and quite possibly among the best things to grace TV screens in the early 21st century. And nothing, NOTHING, like that would have been possible had Ron Moore and his guys listened to core fandom feedback.
Has anyone seen the promo pic for the 1st trailer for season 6 of John Snow???? Wtf. All deformed looking face that looks something of a hybrid WW! Personally always thought he was going to Warg Ghost (maybe still does) but all does not end with the same John Snow aparently.
I think Katie would be better off staying with the CW. I’m a survivor too, I’m not going to lay my stuff on a work of fiction. Anything can be a trigger if you let it. GOT is intense. Life happens GRRM just wrote about it and D & D put it to motion.
i haven’t met one fan of the show who thinks there was a problem with the sansa scene, yet the people behind this site will not stop bringing it up, there is nothing morally wrong with a fictional scene, any of them
And here I thought the rape scene in ADWD with Ramsey to Theon and Jeyne is so much worse. I even need to stop reading for a while. And I love Sansa so much and I’m happy that D&D decided to change her storyline to Winterfell rather than makes her sitting and look prissy at Vale where she could start being “a pawn to player” (which I think that’s not how it should works).
If GRRM is not your bitch then D&D is not your bitch too.
All you people bashing the CW and saying Katie should stay there, were you aware that the show Reign, a CW show, had their main character Mary be raped?
So rape is worse than say…cutting off body parts , torture, beheading?
How many people in our society gets tortured, beheaded, or have body parts cut off. Is any of that pervasive to the western world? How many people you know that went through any of that?
Someone you know, even if you don’t know it, was likely the victim of sexual abuse at some point. Hell, you yourself may have been the abuser (not everyone is aware that they are sexually abusing someone).
Rape is a big issue in society nowadays. Torture, beheadings, and body parts cut off are not.
And anyways, the issue is not that rape was depicted. It is part of the setting. Sansa not being raped in that situation would have been as absurd as suddenly giving Sansa a sword and sending her into a battlefield where she starts killing everybody.
All those horrible stuff also happens in our world believe it or not. I dunno if i count seeing as im from mexico so maybe not technically part of the west but you’d be surprised at some of the sick torture stuff the mafioso and cartels have done. Go out in parts of africa or middle east. Do i know ppl who wwre raped? Yes i do. But I also know of someone that has been theoned irl ffs… How cruel we humans can be would really surprise you it seems if you think torture isnt still used even by the west, see guatanemo bay and prisoners being raped and torturer like having their genitals electrocuted and maimed. As for rape not being handled “correctly”, wtf? Its the most universally despised crime right after doing stuff to kids, how much more seriously do we need to take it? We didnt even get a grutuitous rape scene, the camera pulled away. Should they have shown it? Had a PSA in middle of GoT on how rape is bad mmkay? I think we all know rape is bad, but after seeing comments here i think we actually need to be reminded torture and extreme violence is also still out there and is just as bad if not worst. Im sorry if this is an unpopular stance but rape already gets the “respect” it deserves, no one will ever say rape is great in public and its already treated as a special case to be tiptoed around in a way that torture and hyper violence, especially against male victims, isnt.
Never said it didn’t still happening. I’m saying it’s not as pervasive as rape.
“As for rape not being handled “correctly”, wtf? Its the most universally despised crime right after doing stuff to kids, how much more seriously do we need to take it?”
You handle it correctly by not going out of your way to depict it just because you want to shock your audience. And to focus on how this affects the victim. Specially when said victim is a main character.
The writers went out of their way to place Sansa in that situation because, as they themselves, said, they loved that part when they saw it in the book. And, instead of focusing on the effect it had on Sansa, they instead decided to focus on how it affected Theon. Or just not have it in the first place.
Get Sansa to Winterfell (as stupid as that may be). Have a couple of Northern lords there too (the North remembers, remember?). Have Sansa work behind the scenes to create some tension and convince Theon (hell, you could even send Mance instead of burning him). Stannis attacks before the wedding can take place. Sansa escapes with Theon.
I’ve given what you said a good amount of thought and whilst I can sorta see where you’re coming from on a few things I ultimately have come to disagree with a number of your points:
-The need to handle rape “correctly” like as if there is an exact model to follow.
As someone who has grown up with a lot of violence and seen the after effects of it in a clinical setting, there is a lot of stuff, bad stuff, that leaves trauma and victims with PTSD like symptoms that isn’t handled “correctly” in media in general and I don’t necessarily agree that it is automatically problematic either.
Your only argument for why rape is a special case is its pervasive..Well violence and assaults are even more pervasive in all societies, with equally traumatic effects. People are rarely “ok” after having been mugged or having a dodgy encounter at night when returning home with a bunch of 10 peeps who make rude remarks and implications but ultimately continue to go on their way.
And even if that was not the case, I ultimately vehemently disagree with the assertion that because rape is more prevalent, it is a special case. Would rape be any less horrible if it was less prevalent? Of course not. Now replace rape with something like torture or burning someone alive (things i have seen irl unfortunately), my reasoning is the same. To me I dont discriminate, they are all horrible, so I feel weird having to feel that i should be especially horrified by this.
Heck..Is rape really the most common/pervasive form of violence out there? Im not being rhetorical, I really dont know, I’d just be surprised if rape is more common then assaults in your country. Im the one who comes from a place overrun with cartels last i checked.
Even if I were to ignore all of this, I really don’t like the idea you put forward that there needs to be a model for directors to follow in case of rape, otherwise its insensitive or or w/e. To me the audience and the director should be kept far apart, otherwise if the audience gets what it wants..Then we end up with a watered down and neutered version dictated by the loudest complainers. And that is simply something I do not want to support in any way. Your later example is going to prove this to me but I’ll get to it later.
— Yes the writer said they loved that part..But I don’t recall them saying what exactly other then they wanted samsa to have a big role this season (as opposed to doing nothing in the Eyrie I guess). I’ve see by other comments you made here that you say its because they wanted samsa to be raped, and I’ll ask you to back that up with a link please because I could honestly not find such a mention on the internet. It’s possible I didn’t search hard enough though.
I’ll have to rewatch the season and carefully watch Theon And Samsa’s scenes before I can agree to your other point. I already know for a fact that the initial rape scene was a no win situation in that if the camera focused on samsa, people would have said it was gratuitous, whereas because the camera focused on theon’s face, people say the scene became about him instead. I don’t know if this is what you meant but other then this scene I cant remember much so will move on.
-Eugh. I seriously hate this proposed revision. The idea of “dark samsa” roaming free inside Boltons castle and running rings around him seems more like something out of a bad fan fiction. I can agree with you that maybe Samsa going to winterfell was a stupid thing, but now that we have to roll with it, it establishes Samsa as a bit of a cocky idiot who thought she was now a player but found out reality doesnt give a damn for her delusions of being a female littlefinger and now she is in the clutches of yet another monster.
From the minute she agree to this marriage and arrived chez Bolton, there was only one logical way this was gonna go, and this is what we got in the show.
Suggestions of samsa power fantasy at this stage undermine your arguments imo, because what you propose as better is infinitely worst and goes back to what I was saying that it is dangerous to let fans get what they want or you might end up with a neutered product. Have Samsa say no to the marriage, or yes, but once the answer is given, don’t chicken out with the consequences that it involves, and with the Boltons, it can only be very bad and very shocking consequences.
I hope some of my points were understandable enough.
Note how they said that they “loved” the subplot that used a different character.
Yet the only aspect of that plot that they had was “Ramsay raped someone”. And they went out of their way to make sure Sansa was there for it.
No. Sansa didn’t choose. The writers chose for her. LF had already arranged the marriage and was halfway to WF before he decided to drop the bomb on her. And only because she figured out that they were headed there. Hell, LF even led her to believe that HE was the one getting married every time Sansa brought it up.
The idea of a “dark Sansa” was something that the writers started. And something that they kept feeding with their own “she’s been learning from LF”, “she’s heir own woman now”, comments. Or was this all part of a plan to get you to cheer for Sansa only to have the scene have a bigger impact (like how they had so many lovely scenes with Shireen and Stannis earlier in the season, in order to have the burning be more emotional for the viewers)?
Even if you do not like the idea of Sansa roaming around doing stuff (why not? She’s supposed to be a player now according to the writers. Littlefinger has been teaching her, according to the writers), once she was there the wedding and/or the rape was NOT inevitable. Any number of things could have happened to delay it or prevent it from happening. Sansa could have actually tried to “make Ramsay hers” like LF had said. LF didn’t even NEED to go to King’s Landing. Remember, the storyline was written so this would happen. This was not the natural flow of a story. You can see the writers’ hands moving the pieces as though it was a chess game. And yes, it was gratuitious. Even if they didn’t show the act and focused on Reek. The pieces were all moved to make it happen and it happened for no other reason that they wanted it to happen. Hell, the TV media that is so quick to shower the writers with praises even called them out on it.
I’m going to end with this: Why is it that many book readers are complaining about this, or the Jaime-Cersei rape, or the Gilly near-rape, or *insert X gratuitious show rape here*, but are not complaining about Jaime raping Cersei in the books, or what happened to Jayne, or about Lollys’s rape, or when the Dothraki raped all the Lamb people, or many of the other rapes that occur in the books? Just think about it.
Stfu and move on. Of every beheading, torture scene, and violent act, these idiotic people are caught up over a scene that happened at off screen. Stfu and move on god.
Jamie from Outlander was raped by a man his captor for nearly the whole last episode and was far more brutal and graphic than anything game of thrones has shown and hardly a single fuck was given by the ultra PC SJW crowd but here it is 6 months later and we are still talking about Sansa.
Watch or Don’t watch. Any of you fans know damn well what first night is like between nobles in Westeros, you’ve read the books and knew what was coming when Sansa was merged with Jeyne, if you lot are this inraged put that into helping other abused women instead of watching a fantasy show filled with violence and sexual content.
I get triggered by all the drinking and combat but I don’t come here and cry for the show to be changed because and in the words of mst3k “just repeat to yourself it’s just a show I should really just relax”
If we remove everything from TV that may offend someone we would be left watching nature landscapes even them I’m sure someone would find something to whine and cry about.
The show bills itself on being realistic so how can you attempt to defend it by saying it’s just fiction? Don’t disregard people’s feelings because you find the conversation uncomfortable. It’s immature.
I think the violence is part of the show and a reality of that world (and our history) . I think the violence against women is a part of the reality of the world the show is set in (and is a reflection of our world in history). I also don’t think GOT or the books aim to be misogynist as the most powerful characters in the book & show are strong female characters. I don’t think the show should change in order to appease some fans.
And , about Sansa, why were people so upset that she was sodomized by her husband Ramsey Bolton? And not pissed off at her for being so weak and stupid & listening to Littlefinger & accepting to be married to Ramsey ?? And was it a real big surprise what Ramsey did to her??? Was she (or anyone in the audience) expecting a honeymoon?
This is as paradoxical as the way the Rape of Cersei in the Sept was received. It wasn’t ok for Jamie to rape Cersei …. Yet it is okay for that brother-sister incest relationship to exist in the first place. So yes Jamie, you are allowed to fornicate with your sister as long as it is lovemaking & babymaking.
Littlefinger asked her if she constented, up on that hill, and she said yes.
It was a marriage for the SOLE PURPOSE OF PROCREATION. They wanted to make heirs, Bolton heirs to winterfell.
This is what Sansa consented to when she said yes.
‘B-but she changed her mind and doesn,t like ramsay!’
Stop analyzing a fantasy/medieval scene with 2015’s laws.
This is how it happened that day, and aside from the fact that Ramsay is shown as a despicable character, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with waht he did, IN REGARDS to the laws of that universe.
Lysa Tully was forced into marriage with a man about FOUR TIMES her age, and she describes him as disgusting, talks about he revulsed her and all that…
Yet I don’t hear anyone calling Jon Arryn a rapist. Despite Lysa being FORCED into marriage, she didn’t have a say like Sansa did.
Lysa : Forced into marriage&sex with an ugly old man, while she’s in love with someone else : Fine.
Sansa : Consent to marriage with a young reasonably attractive man : Rape.
Or was Jon Arryn a rapist too but no one cares about it because Lysa Tully isn’t a “hero” so it’s fine if she get raped?
Ok, it happend off-page, but still happened. And Sansa was mostly off-screen too.
Ok, Tyrion, the people’s favorite, fucks a whore he knows think him monstrous/disgusting.
And she’s a slave, so it’s not like hey, it was a choice to be a whore! Not only she’s forced to fuck people for money – not even for her, for her owner – she also has no say on who she fucks with. Even disgusting disfigured drunkard dwarves.
Yet I’ve never seen anyone call Tyrion a rapist, or make any fuss about it.
People seems to be very picky on what is a rapist, who is a rapist.
Apparently, if you’re a good guy, everything you do is fine.
Unless you do it with someone even worse ( Madwoman Lysa Tully ), then it’s fine.
The only one of these 3 women ( Lysa, Sansa, the slavegirl ) who consented to anything was Sansa.
No, she didn’t consent everytime “Yes, Husband Ramsay, I, Sansa Stark, consent to have sex with you on this day”…
That’s not how it worked back then in medieval eras.
When she consented to the marriage, she consented to everything that came after.
Or – as Lysa’s shown us – even without consenting. A father can force it onto his daughter.
Because she didn’t want to marry him ( forced by Tywin, she loved Jaime and late-Rhaegar ), he was rude and a drunk brute…
But Cersei is a mean person so it doesn’t count either?
People seems to have very flexible definition of rape that depend a lot of who is the victim and who is the rapist.
I’m sure that most of you would hesitate and have to think a bit to name me a male who was raped on Game of Thrones.
Even tho his rape was a lot worse (especially the ending) than Sansa’s.
Cersei admitted she had feelings for Robert in the beginning. She hated that he was drunk and stinking of wine but he didn’t force her. She may not have liked it but she didn’t resist. She also boasted of how she outsmarted him when he stumbled into her bed.
Personally, although I can find fault with it, I was not especially horrified by the Sansa scene. What I was horrified by was the vile and vicious reactions of too many to those who were upset by it, the failure to recognise it as rape but instead grasp for justifications, and the obvious depths of misogyny that still pervades in 2015 that all this exposed. It’s this insight that has disturbed and upset me more than the scene itself. From a feminist POV I have more issues with the gratuitous sprinkling of female nudity throughout the series. It may appear much more benign, just a bit of T&A, but it is this normalisation of the objectification of women which insidiously and ultimately nurtures the development of the more abhorrent male views that the ‘Sansa conversation’ has uncovered.
As to D&D listening to fans. Which fans? The show only ones or the came to book after show ones or the read the book before D&D ever sought GRRMs permission ones? Because I think we have three distinctly different communities and it’s impossible to please all. And being in the 3rd of these communities, whilst accepting this is a dark and brutal tale, I can’t help but suggest that staying truer to GRRMs story may lead the show into less controversy.
Its a irrelevant question though, every word, scene, costume is conceived with audience reactions in mind. The show is business, not Art (and no, I’m not suggesting the book is Art either). The whole thing is FALSELY CONSTRUCTED already to pull in the numbers, and let’s not kid ourselves, if ratings were to take a hit they’d be paying even closer attention to viewer’s opinions pretty fast – that’s what producers do, it’s no biggy. And if you doubt that’s already being done then check what director Neil Marshall says about ‘the pervert side of the audience’ and one of the D’s attitudes towards it/them are here:
“….. but it is this normalisation of the objectification of women which insidiously and ultimately nurtures the development of the more abhorrent male views that the ‘Sansa conversation’ has uncovered.”
Maybe I’m more of a feminist than I thought. I’m just so used to the modern ones being over the top, that I don’t identify with it but I’ve always felt the way you do about how females have routinely been portrayed in media. I just don’t see specifically women as victims when they themselves are agreeing to act the part, or do the scene or whatever it may be. Heck, some women are totally fine with it being that way, or at least act like they are so their boyfriends will think they’re cool. So men AND women (society in general) are both part of the problem, (granted not quite as equally I know) and not enough are principled. But I think your statement above is very true. As an aside, I don’t see the off screen rape as being part of that however. I don’t think it was used to titillate or objectify. As a “survivor” I was not offended. Some of the comments to those who do object are very insensitively laid out I agree. We each have our own opinions and judgments based upon our inherent perceptions and life experiences. People need to honor that others see things differently and they wouldn’t make a fuss about it if it wasn’t important to them.
Edit: As for not calling it art…that is indeed what a book or movie writer is creating though…it can be defined as “art”. I don’t see why it matters what it’s called though. Maybe I missed something in the exchange above.
I find it hard to conceive of a woman who isn’t a feminist. But I think the problem, as you say is the ‘over the top’ ones who have somehow equated feminism with a hatred of men and in the process have done little for their cause but damage it and villify the concept so that many women are scared to identify with it and some men now have an easy feminazi accusation to silence even the most reasonable observation.
I love men ……well ok, I’ve too been raped (more than once, more than one guy, more than one occasion) assaulted, cheated on quite spectacularly and as I said I was affected quite deeply by some of the attitudes discussions of this scene unearthed so I admit I find it very hard to let a guy get close to the real me but in general ….. I love men and I love the differences between the genders and think celebrating and recognising them does not necessarily lead to gender imbalances. I can be ‘for’ women without having to be against men, it’s not an either or dichotomy as I see it and I’m comfortable cooking dinner for my man and touched if he wants to open the door for me. For me feminism is simple – a woman’s life chances and choices should not be dictated by her gender. That’s all. And although we have achieved so much we’re still not there when the mainstream media is content to so routinely reduce women to naked vessels solely for the gratification and ownership of the male gaze.
Let’s see Michael Huismans’ Butt some more!
A few more cocks here and there wouldn’t go amiss…☺️
Only if those cocks are treated the same way female nudity is.
I felt very uncomfortable watching Tobias Menzies cock in Outlander … please, no … not even for gender equality … too much …
I don’t remember season 1 actually … I have watched Outlander recently …
Here here! We see things exactly the same way.
Most women i know are avid anti-feminists due to being disillusioned with what they view as modern feminism. Hope that helps you understand others better, cos woman =feminist certainly isnt a universal truth.
Fascinated to know what an AVID anti-feminist is. Sounds like you’ve just proved my point though – that many women have been scared off the concept because of the radical hijacking of it.
And edit – I didn’t say all women were feminists. I said I found it hard to conceive of them not being one.
Ye i was agreeing with your overall point, i just misunderstood that sentence and thought you were equating being female with being a feminist, most female friends i have would vehemently dispute that. But seems we were 100% agreeing xP
Sorry i think my english isnt as good as i thought. Finding it hard to conceive as a woman not being feminist seems to imply to me that you think most women are naturally feminist to the point you find it hard to imagine one who isnt. I am a bit confused but its not the first time an expression or turn of phrase confuses me. Apologies. Also i dont know how to edit previous post which is why im making another post :/
From a historical POV it would not be considered rape. If Game of Thrones is in anyway comparable to medieval times, then Ramsay was only doing what every freshly married husband did. He was a cruel, sadistic bastard with it, but even that happened in history. From a modern POV of course itis rape. But in history women had no rights only duties.
The thing that annoyed me the most was that sansas suffering through ramsay didnt serve any purpose.in the books the northern lords are at the wedding,most of them only,bc they somehow want to help “neds little girl”.they hear fake-aryas weaping and hear the rumors and the athmosphere thickens with anger against the boltons.
if the showrunner had decided atleast to have someone there beside some old lady and some random dude in the village to know that sansa is there and suffering or the northern lords attending to the wedding it would have been a much better transition to what seem to be happening in season 6.
I don’t want to watch her suffer for the sake of shock value, but I also don’t want the producers to overcompensate and make her an indestructible badass. That’s boring, and boredom is death to entertainment.
But there are a few (or have been, & all seemingly, mind you) “indestructible badasses” on the show – I doubt they would do that with Sansa. But it would be nice to see her have “some power” for a change! What is so wrong – I imagine that if she were a male character, the outcry would not be “Don’t make him too powerful now; that would be boring!”, rather “I hope he gets his revenge! / Grows stronger / etc”. Just a thought as I was reading this great Small Council examination. X
Thanks for the comment! And yeah, there’s definitely a middle ground between “eternal victim” and “indestructible badass” that I hope they hit.
People need to let this subject go. It wasn’t the first rape scene of a young woman on the show and I highly doubt it will be the last. No one whines about young, innocent Daenerys (13 in the book, 15/16 on the show) being raped by her husband on her wedding night at the start of the first season. Identical scenario! Don’t get me wrong, I hate rape, it’s a despicable crime. And I hurt for Dany and for Sansa during their rape scenes. But it’s GOT. Normal wedding nights are not going to happen for everyone in this fictional fantasy world. As a book reader, I knew the show would be shocking; non book reader fans should certainly be aware by now to expect all types of violence toward men, women and children on the show. The warnings at the start of every single episode also hint at that.
Should the producers change things about the show because of fan reaction? No. Because if some fans had their way, GOT would eventually be rated PG13.
I’ve spent many hours creating this trailer for GOT season 5 and I’m very proud of the results. You can watch it if you want. Please comment and tell me what you think. You can also share it with your friends.
The producers and writers should mostly stick to their vision. There will always be exceptions. But if they’re using the fan reaction to the Sansa Stark rape scene as a primary reason to tone things down, then I think that’s absurd because that was the most delicate rape scene never filmed. And yes, I meant to say NEVER filmed, because it wasn’t shown. The reason for the outcry was mostly because it was a beloved character (Sansa). Where was the outcry when the rogue Brothers of the Night’s Watch openly raped women at Craster’s Keep? No one said anything then because no one cared about those characters. But as far as what was shown on television, Craster’s Keep was much more graphic. I honeslty don’t know what some fans are expecting. The world that GRRM has created is a world where bad things happen. I don’t want the show or the author to start running their ideas through some kind of poll-tested filter to determine what should or should not be included. I want them to trust their instincts and trust their vision because no matter what they do, they’ll never please everyone, so don’t start going down that road now.
I find rape to be as horrific a crime as there is – both the act itself and how widespread it actually is. Over the years, I’ve been horrified to discover that a shockingly high percentage of my own female friends have been victims of rape at one point or another, and that the mental impact of this crime far outlasts the physical pain, continuing to impact (and in some cases, dominate) their lives long after the act itself, affecting their emotions, self-esteem and overall decision-making on a daily basis – sometimes to a debilitating degree.
Having said that, I don’t think the show did anything wrong per se in what they portrayed.
They didn’t portray the act as anything other than it is – a cruel violation. They didn’t try to make it ‘entertaining’, they didn’t exaggerate it or make it ‘spectacular’ or glamorous, and they didn’t focus on the sexual aspect via gratuitous nudity or audio. They didn’t focus on Ramsay’s enjoyment or Sansa’s suffering, and the choice to focus mostly on Theon’s reaction was an effective and rational choice both artistically and story-wise. It clearly wasn’t meant to downplay or diminish Sansa’s suffering at all or make Theon seem like MORE of a victim than Sansa; it was a means of minimizing the sexual content while showing that the act itself was meant to hurt, break & humiliate TWO people.
Would I have handled it differently? Yes – I’ve said before that i felt the same effect and proof of Ramsay’s cruelty could have been achieved very effectively by using
the Jeyne Poole scene from ADWD – having Theon attend to Sansa a few days after the wedding (i.e., to bathe her / change her, etc.) and seeing evidence of bite marks, bruises, etc. To me, it would have been just as powerful (I found that scene in the books genuinely disturbing) and would have shaken Theon just as much without ever showing the actual abuse.
But I understand the choice the writers made, and i can accept why they went in the direction they did and the manner they chose in order to do so. It wasn’t glamorized, nor was it sanitized or made PC to inject modern sensibilities into the show. It was a direct and brutal scene meant to depict a direct and brutal reality.
And rather than being a simple ‘shock’ device solely designed to give yet more proof of Ramsay’s depravity (which WOULD have been extraneous and unnecessary), it served a purpose in terms of being a catalyst for driving the story arc of multiple characters. It was an act horrible enough to shake Theon out of his passive ‘Reek’ persona (finally driving him to action in order to escape Ramsay’s control and protect Sansa), and I believe that it will be pivotal towards Sansa’s future character development, impacting her emotions, outlook and actions from this point onward – which like as not will involve the Boltons getting a taste of their own medicine.
Look, I get where a lot of the outcry is coming from – for most people, watching GoT is an hour of escapism. It’s a respite from our everyday lives, and we don’t want to be forced to confront weighty or complicated real-world issues when we’re enjoying our fifty-odd guilt-free minutes of dragons, tits, bad guys and heroes.
But at the same time, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize the show for daring to directly touch upon the subject of rape just because it’s ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘inconvenient’ to our viewing pleasure. Yes, it was awkward and uncomfortable – it’s SUPPOSED to be, because it’s an awful act. I think it speaks volumes about the act itself when a single scene causes more outcry and controversy than the rest of 5 seasons of murder, incest, sex, slaughter and betrayal combined.
And that’s not a bad thing…at least the outcry shows an acknowledgement by the viewers at just how heinous an act it is. The day when rape ceases to shock or horrify, when we see it on screen and simply consume it as placidly and without thought as we would the bowl of popcorn we eat while watching it would be a disturbing day.
An even more disturbing prospect, however, would be a scenario in which, in the name of political correctness we avoid the subject altogether. To do that would be to drive the issue back into the shadows, where we marginalize or ignore the victims, decrease awareness and by default lessen or eliminate the public outrage that we need in order to bring about genuine action and positive change. To ignore it simply gives the power back to the monsters among us who perpetrate this vile and cowardly act. And that shouldn’t happen under ANY circumstances.
The day when rape ceases to shock or horrify, when we see it on screen and simply consume it as placidly and without thought as we would the bowl of popcorn we eat while watching it would be a disturbing day.
I think that the rape scene was more of a shock for book readers. Sansa is a POV character and presumably important to the story. As, so far at least, Sansa has not been subject to rape, it was totally against what was expected for that character. We all (book readers) know that Jeyne endured the type of wedding night to be expected from Ramsey, but for it to happen to Sansa? The whole story is full of rape, killings and things that would be considered to be beyond the pale for most “normal” people, so in one respect it was to be expected. Sophie, herself, was prepared to do the scene, and it may be pivotal in D&D’s version of the story.
The Sand Snakes was a different story, totally laughable in some ways. With different directors having their own views on the briefs they have been given, I guess there will be some “mistakes”.
Although we may not approve of how things are being steered, they do have to condense the books into 10 episodes, some things have to be changed. Hopefully, the 6th series and following one/ones may show why things have been changed the way that they have been.
OOOH I was attacked by a Dog , don’t show Dog attacking anyone on TV
I’d normally say no to this, but the things viewers have reacted negatively to were not things that were in the actual books, but made up by the writers of the show. I felt like last season went out of the way to make everything lurid and unpleasant, even things that weren’t that way in the book (like Braavos was all rapes and whores, whores and rapes, while in the book is was more colorful and exciting). It put a bad taste in my mouth, and really killed my enjoyment of the program. I’ve thought before that Benioff and Weiss have a really skewed idea of why people like the books — that they’re into it for the boobs and sex — when I think for most people they’re into the characters, the complex plot and the fully realized world. I HOPE, anyway, that this backlash against some of last season’s events might make them question their assumptions about why people are watching the show.
After seeing how bad they butchered the Dorne storyline last year, and the sand snakes, I can’t say I’ll be upset if I don’t see much of them in season 6. Also, I’m still not understanding all the stupid fake outrage over the Sansa scene last year. It was completely off screen, and they just zoomed in to theon’s face. For all the insanely violent and sexual shit this show gives, it makes no sense how that’s all good, but suddenly that off-screen “rape” is where people draw the line and got offended. I don’t get it.
You watch Game of Thrones, you know there’s going to be trauma and gross murder and incest and the rest of it, but the difference is that those things are pretty universally acknowledged as bad, whereas all you need to do is a little research to figure out that rape isn’t regarded the same way.
I’m afraid this is where the criticism often falls down and loses people’s sympathy. Because it starts from a position of and asserts such ludicrously exaggerated and misleading standpoints.
Rape is no less universally acknowledged as bad as any other crime. You don’t shape your point of view around the minority of degenerates who commit, condone or downplay criminal behaviour.
And trying to reinforce your point of view with falsehoods and melodrama just undermines your argument and rubs people up the wrong way.
Am I the only one that read the first sentence of Katie’s opinion and skipped the rest?
And you are both perfectly within your rights to think that. But there’s really no reason to say it. It’s just mean.
I think its stupid to associate reality and fantasy , My grandfather was killed in Train accident and I had to identify his body. But if I go around shouting saying U can’t show anyone dying in a Train Accident on TV because it affects me , its dumb
GRRM has written some pretty tough stuff to digest but it’s what keeps us glued to the story. It’s shocking and unexpected. He breaks all expectations of what should happen to a character… especially a hero. It hurts, but we keep coming back for more even though it breaks our hearts.
But a lot of Season 5 felt like it was D&D no longer interpreting George but thinking they could write it better. They are sadly mistaken. It felt like over-inflated egos unleashed.
In an earlier comment Jerome posted a quote by Dan: “I don’t want to watch her suffer for the sake of shock value…” but that’s exactly what the Sansa rape scene was. D&D thought they could deliver the same shock value that GRRM does and it went horribly wrong.
I’m not a rabid book defender. I love that D&D brought this book series to life in one of the highest quality shows I’ve ever watched, the acting, directing, sets, costumes – it’s all amazing and incredible. I completely understand that things have to be cut or abridged from the books. Some things have to be presented differently to play well on screen. GOT doesn’t have to be screened as an exact literal homage to GRRM. (and we all know that Book 4 was a tough one.)
But Season 5 felt like D&D were saying, “We’ve got this – we’ll take it from here. Thanks for all you’ve contributed to our story George.”
So, in that respect, I do wish D&D would react to the fans’ reaction. Just stay true to the story. You’ve done a beautiful job with the original story. Take license where it’s needed, but stop thinking you can make the story line and plot better with your re-writes. You can’t – you’ve proven that.
D&D are walking a fine line if this is true, that they altered the show due to fan complaints. Like if they start listening to every complaint and switching up rather than letting the show evolve naturally this could be at best boring as hell as mentioned in the article, and at it’s worst the beginning of the end for this show.
Kinda reminds me of Alliser Thorne’s convo with Jon Snow before the Battle of Castle Black about what leadership means. As in it means leaders getting questioned by everyone with a mouth, and when the leaders start second guessing themselves, that’s the end– for the leader and everyone he’s supposed to be leading. D&D need to follow this same advice here. You can already tell how in some ways they struggled to tell the story without any source material from George, but who knows the story better than those three? They need to stick to their vision. End of.
They could have left things like the book had them. Ramsay made Theon get Jayne Poole ready for him with his mouth first before raping her. Or the scene where the Mountain pays a silver to rape a tavern keeper’s daughter, then demands change.
I think D&D do a fantastic job transforming the books into a TV show. I think it wouldn’t healthy to hear the opinions of the audience and perhaps where possible, work with those opionions for the better, but only if it will take the show forwards and not detract from what is going on.
As to the Sansa rape scene? I think they did good job with it. I have been through a world of trauma; I learnt to adapt and to live with what was left of me. And that scene was truly abhorrent to watch, it was painful and sickening and left everyone i know shakig slightly, and that is exactly why I liked it, I haven’t spoken to a single person who enjoyed it. That scene was like a punch to the gut of portraying on some level how disgusting and tortuous rape is; and I prefer that it is seen through Theon’s eyes-we don’t need to see the act for it to still hurt, and by doing that, they haven’t been gratuitous or glamorised rape as so much other media does (and there is a f*** lot of things I don’t watch for this reason.)
This scene also serves to show parallels between characters. Tyrion should have consumated his marriage to Sansa, but he didn’t because he actually cared for her and didn’t want to hurt her more than he had already seen her suffer. Ramsay is a right nasty peice of work and Sansa was now his, to be the dutiful and subservient wife to play with.
My other main gripe to the insults of this scene?? Has the majority of people forgotten
4) The raping in the background when the Dothraki arrive in a town
5) babies and young children killed on Jeoffrey’s orders
There is probably more, this all pre S5 yet there was never the stigma on any of the above.
How is Sansa being raped by Ramsay on her wedding night any different to Daenerys being raped by Drogo on her wedding night?
My phone autocorrected on me when I wasn’t looking 😱
I remember when I posted stupid shit from my phone !
But there are greater forces here than your particular personal experiences.
For example, were you “asexual” before or after that experience ?
So it stands to reason that HBO’s Game of Thrones would follow that template.
Why on earth would you urge others to make the fantasy world more safe than the real world ?
BTW… can we really trust what Jeremy said? I mean, he outright lied in that article/interview/thing.
I’ve read most but not all the comments on here so far so if this has been said already I apologize.
Gelladon, I 100% agree with you. It’s not the fact that they had a character raped, it’s how they handled it, which was poor, to say the very least.
It isn’t just about Sansa being raped (at least for me) its all the sexual violence against women they have put into the show for no reason.
If you’re going to have sexual violence in a show/book/movie handle it in responsible manner. By responsible I mean show how it affects the person being raped, not the rapist or some third party.
1) They had Roz beating Daisy with that antler staff and then Roz dies tied up to a bedpost with her breasts exposed. What character development was there for any one in that scene? Joff- we already knew he was an ass, Roz spied for Vary’s for a couple scenes then she died so her spying on LF didn’t pay off in any way. Daisy- well we don’t know what happened cuz we never saw her again.
2) Craster’s Keep with the deserters from the NW. Karl Tanner monologuing while multiple women are being raped is used as set dressing. Character development- The deserters- really the guys who killed their LC are bad? What a shock!! Not! The women- 1 scene where they’re like “yeah men are horrible we’ll just hide in the woods see ya.” Disappear to never be seen again.
3) Meera at Craster’s is about to be raped. Bran warged Hodor and killed Locke so what great character moment for him. And that scene after they escaped where they’re walking to the tree, she seemed fine. There was no dialogue about what happened to her, like it didn’t matter, something that she could just shrug off.
4) Gilly about to be raped in S5. The rapists and murderers they send to the Wall are bad? Gosh, who knew? But wait, Sam saved her, what a great moment of character growth for HIM. And look, she has sex with right afterwards.
Nothing makes a women want to have sex more than being saved from a rape! (please note that last sentence is sarcastic).
5)Sansa raped. Reek became Theon again, so great for him! Sansa? No character development because she’s been through shit like this before with Joff so… and the Boltons murdered half her family so the desire for revenge was already there so…?
I didn’t include Theon in this because that is the ONE that they have handled responsibly. They have showed how what Ramsey’s done to him has affected Theon mentally and physically.
Sexual violence for no reason? I’ll always be amazed that people are especially sensitive to that but not to random non sexual violence. I guess for some reason the 2nd is still considered acceptable to show in media with no consequence whereas it is within the current zeitgeist to be especially sensitive to the 1st.
1) The first scene is quite important because it shows Joffreys cruelty to extend to the sexual as well. The second shows the logical outcome of what happened, do you really think Joffey, after killing Roz was going to cover up her breasts because suddenly he felt a bit prude? And if you’re gonna ask why Roz’s breasts were uncovered to begin with…Do I need to remind you what Roz and Daisy came there to do in the first place? There is no reason her breasts would have covered themselves after being killed so yeh this one is a bit silly imo.
2) It showed Karl and his men living the exact kind of life they wanted. It was the food+ jealousy of having so many women that made them want to stay and kill Caster in the first place after all. Sure why not to a scene showing some of the wives thinking it’s the right time to GTFO though. But there would always have been a few for Karl and the rest, and they weren’t being kept around for tea time either.
3) I almost 100% agree with you on this. There doesn’t need to be dialogue or a scene going on about its after effects (a common suggestion that I really don’t agree with…WHY? Seriously, I want violence and its effects to be shown as something that isn’t to be shrugged off but there in the current zeitgeist it’s only about rape as if that’s the only thing that can give people trauma or have lasting effects.), but it could have been reflected in the acting and in her expressions afterwards so as not to affect the running time. There is no need to make a big thing about it, you can do it in a subtle manner just fine.
4) No arguments from me there. I guess I could meekly argue it was to show the effect Gilly had in the NW and it might have been the catalyst for Sam+Gilly leaving CB later on, but there is no doubt this could have been done in a different and more efficient manner, just it was done this way so we could get a sam gets laid scene.
5) Samsa got hardened from her ordeals in a way that she didn’t in KL, she doesn’t give a damn about death anymore and has truly become more assertive and commanding in her desperation. You can’t say any of this was true after she fled from KL , so there has been character development all right, up to now Samsa has always been “under” someone and never doing things for herself and now for the first time she actually is in regard to making an escape happen and she is determined it will either succeed totally or she will die trying. This was not the case under Joffrey AT ALL,.
I’d also assume it’s part of her journey towards becoming the Dark Samsa apparently a lot of people want to happen but that’s just guessing.
It’s peculiar you bring Theon up as the only “good” example..How many scenes did he have during Ramsay’s breaking of him to build this up? Quite a lot.
If this is really the solution you want for everyone else then it’s simply impractical. GoT has a tight amount of space for a lot of content, and these extra scenes would be excess fat that don’t really add to the show’s narrative but bloats its running time.
All that for what gain? Nothing that helps the shows quality that’s for sure.
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