Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin Weighs In on Sansa's Horrific Twist

Game Of Thrones Sansa Rape

Sunday’s Game of Thrones gave viewers plenty of reasons to throw up their hands in anger — Loras’ trial scene alone made my blood boil — but one moment is drawing particular ire from fans of the HBO series, specifically those who have also read George R.R. Martin‘s books: the brutal rape of Sansa Stark by her new husband Ramsay Bolton.

The horrific event, which Theon Greyjoy was also forced to watch, wasn’t exactly faithful to Martin’s text. In fact, Sansa’s rape never happens in the books because Ramsay actually marries Jeyne Poole, a minor character we haven’t seen on the show since Season 1.

And while outrage is the general response from fans today — a quick Twitter search reveals that a large number of viewers are considering dropping the show altogether — Martin is choosing to defend the controversial alteration to his story.

He writes on his official LiveJournal:

There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds. … Prose and television have different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements. David and Dan and Bryan and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can.


Martin might not specifically mention Sansa’s rape in his entry, but by addressing all of the changes made, it’s safe to assume he’s also referring to the scene in question.

Taking this into account, how do you feel about Sansa’s wedding-night assault? Did it completely cross a line, or was it a necessary — albeit unspeakable — plot device to display Ramsay’s horrific nature? Drop a comment with your thoughts on the controversial scene below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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192 Comments
  1. Amy says:

    I figured, since the show runners were cutting a ton of secondary characters out, that something like this would happen. Right now, I just feel like Sansa cant catch a break.

    • rowan77 says:

      So far, the best thing that happened to Sansa was to be married to Tyrion. I think she see that now.

  2. Alyssa P. says:

    I yelled “THEON KILL HIM” at my screen while watching it. The Butterfly Effect is definitely a thing, but just because you COULD make something happen, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

    • suzybel58 says:

      I was waiting for Theon to snap and rip Ramsey’s head off, sadly that didn’t happen.

      • Melanie says:

        Yet. I hoping this is a catalyst for Theon to start breaking free of his brainwashing.

        • Oathkeeper says:

          I was originally disturbed that the writers chose to have Sansa raped. But the more I thought about it, this was very consistent with the plight of all women from that time period–they were basically chattel to their husbands. Sansa would have been very aware of this–but chose to marry Ramsay to carry out her own agenda. This may be part of a plot line that shows Sansa’s strength and ability to survive despite what she has to endure–and part of the story may be that Theon is able to break free from Ramsay and achieve some sort of redemption.

      • rowan77 says:

        I’m waiting for Theon to tell Sansa that he didn’t kill her brothers, that it was fake and they escaped. I don’t think she’d let that slip to Ramsay and both she and Theon could use someone on their respective sides.

        • rowan77 says:

          correction: “fake-Arya” not fake-Sansa

        • Sally says:

          Ramsay already knows Theon didn’t kill the Stark boys. Theon admitted it to Ramsay when Ramsay was trying to “help” him escape, before Theon really knew who he was.

        • Maddy says:

          Yes!!! I was saying this the other day that I hope she will believe if he told her and then they can help each other get out of the hell hole they are stuck in together.

        • Kathy Jeffries says:

          I really wish he would tell her. Then I want the both of them to kill Ramsay!

    • daniel says:

      I felt the same way like he could get back at him for both of them in that very moment and he missed it

      • Cory says:

        I really wished that too, but it’s also indicative of my problem with that scene: it was AAAALL about Theon, and not Sansa :(

      • Maddy says:

        But at the same time the moment wouldn’t be right cause they wouldn’t leave winterfell alive if he were to have done it, the world sansa lives in is hell and Ramsays just another demon but she is older and wiser now and she’s gonna boil over soon and say IM DONE !!

    • I disagree. If the writers and producers felt this scene was necessary, then I’ll go along with it, especially if it enhances the story. Whether or not it was Sansa makes no difference, it’s supposed to be horrifying whoever it is. When I saw Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the original one), probably what will keep me from watching it again soon is the horrendous rape scene. They didn’t even show Sansa, we only heard a few cries when she was off screen. If they just showed it going on and on and she was naked and bruised and bloody, then I think people would have something to be genuinely affected by. But we saw nothing and it lasted 2 seconds. Anyway, Dragon Tattoo, I thought that rape scene was unnecessary and only existed in order for her to get revenge against what amounts to a minor side character. But I’m unsure if taking it out would make the movie or the character better. But on this show, from the very first episode, you were meant to feel awful. You were meant to feel the lowest lows so the very few highs that exist feel that much more higher. The fact that Sansa was able to get by this long in this world without anything happening to her was a small miracle. Or an oversight if you want to look at it that way. I’m just glad it wasn’t Arya, Bran or Rickon.

      • Whatevah says:

        You must not have watched or read the rest of the Dragon Tattoo books/movies. He wasn’t a minor character.

        • I never read the books and I couldn’t even remember if I saw any of the sequels. But I did. They were just bad. And upon further investigation, I found that the rapist does appear again, but he’s still a minor character with no importance to the plot. He rapes her, she rapes him back and submits him to an incriminating home tattoo and blackmail. In the second film, he was in one scene that’s basically just a recap of their relationship. He is mentioned in the third film, but that’s it. That’s the whole arc across three damned movies. A book or a movie is a book or a movie. You can allude to a past event or something that happened but not fully explored for something later on, but if you dedicate major time to it and then there’s nothing else, that’s bad writing. It’s promising a third act and not delivering it. That’s Harry Potter saying, “I better get ready to fight Voldemort,” in chapter 1, then he doesn’t fight Voldemort until four books later. Yeah, Game of Thrones the TV show has a tendency to have a big penultimate episode but stall inconclusively in the finale, only to pick up in a year like it was the same season. But they’ve gotten a lot better at that, especially with last year’s season ending with numerous sea changes for multiple characters’ completing story arcs.

      • Maddy says:

        That’s what I was thinking that they put this rape scene in as way for when sansa gets her revenge it will taste so sweet and also I think it’s “Reek” finding theon again sansa oped that door and seeing her suffer is going to be to much for theon to watch, yes theon did some bad thing in his past but he paid for those sins we all know that deep down theon is really just scared, insecure and a good person at the end of the day I hope he escapes and stays free or dies a quick death to end his suffering

  3. Deedee says:

    Sansa had the option to not go to Winterfell, she chose to go. Marrying Ramsay, of course he will want to consummate the marriage. I don’t know, it felt expected.

    It was still brutal but nothing to drop the show over.

    • AddieM says:

      There’s already enough blood & gore without adding rape to this show too..much less to a minor.

      • m3rcnate says:

        I get excited and tingly at the idea of “what if” the show was more faithful to the books and you watched GOT on HBO and Daenerys was 13 years old (when married to Drogo and raped by him, then has consensual relationship, then at 14 is “satisfied” by her female handmaidens, and then is with Dario) and Sansa 11 in the first book (so betrothed to Joff at 11 and married to Tyrion at 12) and Ayra is 9-10-10-11 in the four books…
        .
        LMAO! I cant imagine your brain (and so many others) exploding watching GOT on TV with the characters so young (their written ages) and going through all of that. I wish they could have made the show more true to the books. Oh man how the social justice warriors and “offended” viewers would go NUCLEAR. lol.
        .
        You say minor, but in what way? The actress is 18, the character in the show is 16-ish which not only is NOT a minor in most states, but around the world is not a minor, and thats in 2015. This show is inspired by the dark ages (the year 476–800)…where you were an adult and expected to have kids at 13 (females), to go to war at 13 (males), etc.
        Go through history books and ready about kings as young as in their early teens and pre-teen, about the average life of teenagers in the dark ages.

        • Maddy says:

          I agree with you I think people forget when they’re watching the show that this when the world was darker and a woman(13 back then is a woman like you said) being raped is something all woman had to watch out for in Sanaa’s case she really had no choice but the fact she was a virgin and that was her first sexual experience I’m not what type of woman be after the fact I don’t think Ramsay broke her, if anything he burned the anger inside her brighter he may think he is untouchable but no one is in this world

          • m3rcnate says:

            Same problem happens on the TV show Vikings. The viewers/fans forget they are watching a show based on another time in history, that the characters morals and belief system and all of that are completely different. How they think about relationships and cheating/affairs and how they view something like rape (as Vikings) and more should NOT be looked at and judged using 21st century American morals and ideals.

        • Victor says:

          Except Daenerys neves gets raped by Drogo in the books. He respects her wish not to touch her and he’s gentle with her and that’s why she falls in love with him and decides to have sex with him.

          There has been at least THREE rapes in this tv show that WERE NOT in the book. Sorry but that’s quite awful and it speaks to mind that the showrunners like to put their female characters through rape a bit too much.

          • jerseygirl says:

            Except, in the book series, Jeyne (aka Fake Arya) is brutalized by Ramsey on their wedding night. She is broken. She is tormented. Theon/Reek isn’t just forced to watch, he’s forced to sexually abuse her. (Of course, there’s also the small fact that “Arya”/Jeyne was sent North to marry Ramsay by the Lannisters as a way to secure their hold on the region.) Anyone who has read the books and expected a different outcome for Sansa was delusional. Yes, there are horrific things in the show that did not happen in the books – there are also things that are 10x more brutal in the written form than on the television production. It’s been a while since I’ve read the chapters of the Bolton/Poole-now-stand-in-Stark wedding, but I seem to recall that as horrible as it was to have Sansa raped by Ramsey in the show, it was mild compared to what happened in the original story.

          • m3rcnate says:

            The TV show is an interpenetration of the story of the books, like the Marvel movies are an interpretation of the Marvel comics of the same names, but they can write whatever stories and changes they want. Adding in rapes (along with a bunch of great other additions and subtractions from the very bloated books) does not make it awful. Now if they are purely for shock value or something then yeah thats bad writing, but so far the Daeny one made sense (a warrior tribal leader wanting his new wife on his wedding night, and took her, shocker) the Cer & Jaimie one made sense given their totally messed up relationship and power dynamic, and this Sansa one made sense given it was her wedding night to a psycho rapist in Roose Bolton.

          • saucie says:

            👍

          • AddieM says:

            I agree @Victor, this rape scene was not necessary at all..purely for shock value.

        • AddieM says:

          That is all BS…this storyline was not for Sansa anyway, they chose what to include and what not to include…that rape was not necessary, it should have been left out or it could have been handled in a tasteful manner. GoT is fictional nothing about it is in reference to history, this is GRRM’s world…and as much as I love most parts of GoT GRRM is indeed a very disturbed human being. The treatment of women in this series is appalling.

          • m3rcnate says:

            “this story-line was not for Sansa”…lol what? So they have to stick to the books or completely avoid story-lines? For MULTIPLE characters on the show their story-lines are a combination of theirs and another characters from the book. In the show Sansa marries Ramsay…what did you want? For him to not touch her like Tyrion did? To make sweet love to her? Lol hes a PSYCHOPATH!
            .
            As for “the treatment of women is appalling”….ummmm yeah, it supposed to be! The country is at war and women dont have the rights or social freedoms they do in our real world. They are living in a fantasy version of our Dark Ages. As for “GoT is fincitional nothing about it is in reference to history” you are so wrong its hilarious. Go read some interviews of GRRM, he LOVES human history, and based GoT on the Dark Ages, and many events in the show are in reference to real human historical events, for example the Red Wedding is based on The Black Dinner And Glencoe Massacre that took place in Scotland during the Dark Ages. (huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/game-of-thrones-red-wedding-black-dinner-real-events_n_3393099.html).
            .
            Here’s a quote;
            >As Martin pointed out to EW, “Hospitality laws were real in Dark Ages society. A host and guest were not allowed to harm each other even if they were enemies. By violating that law, the phrase is, they ‘condemn themselves for all time.'” So when the treacherous Frey family murdered the Starks at the wedding, they were breaking the sacred laws of hospitality (or “guest right” in Martin’s fictional world) which dictate that any guest who has eaten bread and salt in their host’s home is not allowed to be harmed. Despite Walder Frey being promised protection by the Lannisters after their betrayal of the Starks, we’re crossing our fingers that the Freys get their just desserts for the messy feast.
            .
            So, right there is 100% undeniable proof you are wrong. GRRM does base events and the overall grounded feeling of the show (the non-magic, dragons, etc part) in real human history (Dark Ages).

      • yurie says:

        The scene where Theon was badly abused and turned into a eunuch was much more disturbing and creepy than this.

        • m3rcnate says:

          I agree, yet no outrage when a male character is abused, mentally and physically tortured then mutilated having his genitalia cut off….hmmmm, i wonder why the outrage when a female character gets rape and not when a male character gets his dick cut off….hmmmm.

          • Vervainandrue says:

            OMFG if I have to read this lame analogy one more time… One out of every 3 women are raped in their lifetimes. So s good chunk of viewers got a side dish of PTSD with Samsa’s wedding night. But that’s par for the course: GoT contributes to rape culture by normalizing it, making it acceptable. But that’s not the point in trying to make. The violence against Theon was sickening, but how many men get violently castrated? Will more get castrated because of this show? The flaying is horrific, but not a common problem in today’s society. Rape is.

          • Right About Everything says:

            @ Vervainandrue,
            No, 1 in 3 women are not raped in their lifetime.
            That statistic comes from a UN presentation that states: “1 in 3 women **worldwide** will be either raped, trafficked, or assaulted” in their lifetime. I don’t recall if they watered it down with a 4th bundled statistic.

            They did not break the numbers down to separate rape from assault, nor did they provide the male equivalent to the statistics to put it in perspective as to whether aspects of that claim are exclusively or predominantly female/women.

            It would be like me saying “100% of men are either raped or bang their shins in their lifetime.”

            It’s disingenuous to bundle statistics together, and all you accomplish by regurgitating that incredibly ignorant rhetoric is fueling political fires that benefit nobody.

            Furthermore, if you isolate that statistic to the first world, to where people who actually see the show and can afford the quality of life to keep up with entertainment media, the stats for things like rape and assault on women are DRASTICALLY LESS than the world average.

            So, your argument about censorship of media to cater to people’s delicate sensibilities is completely invalid, asinine, and baseless.

            If you want to listen to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about,
            my advice to you is to listen to Christina Hoff Sommers and Thomas Sowell.

      • Biz... says:

        This is hardly the first rape scene in the show. I think the import thing will be how Sansa deals with the fallout.

        I honestly think there’s a plan here. Sansa has always been my least favourite character in a lot of ways. She floats through a lot of her story and has very little agency. Her actions in the first book cause a lot of woe for her family. It’s not in the show, but she is directly responsible for the death of her father because it’s not fair that they have to leave the capital when she doesn’t want to because OMG isn’t Joeffry the CUTEST. Other characters at least had strong motivations for their crummy actions. Sansa caused pain because she was oblivious and self-involved. I can respect an evil plan way more than that.

        Her decision to stay in Winterfell, despite the danger, is her attempt to take some control, and perhaps the show’s attempt to give her some. She may actually retake her family home. In the books, she seems to be working along a similar line with Littlefinger, albeit in a different way, and largely as his somewhat oblivious minion. Sadly, Fake!Arya ends up married to the psycho in the book and probably experienced exactly what Sansa does in the show. Dude’s a monster. (This also shows the complete breaking of Theon. He was never a very good person to start with, and he isn’t terribly strong now…)

        This awful thing, which still happens to lots of women, btw, is the realistic result of her marrying a total psycho. Ramsay doesn’t really seem like the type to respect another person’s wishes. In fact, he rapes his girlfriend in the previous episode. Now, will Sansa be book Sansa who bemoans her fate or show Sansa who appears to have some backbone? It’s fairly obvious Theon can’t/won’t save her, and frankly that would be trite. Snasa is going to have to rescue herself. My hope is that she gets some amazing vengeance. Ramsay may lose his own sausage…

        • Ron says:

          SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you haven’t read the books!!!!!!!!!! Arya never marries Ramsy in the books. He marries a girl they claim to be Arya. FWI

    • Lizo says:

      Yes, there’s the awareness that sex will follow a marriage; that doesn’t include rape. Sansa would have given consent as per the contract at some point. He chose to ignore that. Being married does not mean a blanket statement of consent.

      • Ryan says:

        While I have had two *real* issues with changes pertaining to rape and the text and how they changed it for the show (Dany’s wedding night and the Cersei storyline last season), I don’t actually have an issue with it here. Ramsay is a psychopath. Marrying Sansa wasn’t going to magically make him a kind, gentle lover who took the considerations of a virgin bride into his thought process, a la “Outlander”. Jamie Fraser Ramsay is not. Ramsay is bag of cats crazy, and he isn’t going to think of anyone but himself. He is all about control and domination, and now that he “owns” Sansa, and make no mistake that character believes he owns her, he will do with her what he will, consent be darned. The book scene with Jeyne was actually worse because Theon was forced to participate, so I was grateful they just made him watch. I’m also grateful you just heard her cry, you didn’t actually see anything beyond the dress being ripped, which mind you, she was taking off, it just wasn’t fast enough for Ramsay.

        It’s only going to get worse I fear, but the North remembers. And Sansa, and Arya I suspect, will have their revenge.

      • helpfulbeth says:

        A man could rape his wife legally up until the 1990’s in the UK!

    • Sera says:

      Of course Sansa knew that she would have to consummate her marriage but she didn’t expect the humiliation of being watched by a third party- who happens to be the man she thinks murdered her little brothers.

      People accepted the Daeny/Drogo wedding night scene because it wasn’t rape by the standards of the time but I think it’s understandable that people who haven’t read the books are having a hard time over the Sansa/Ramsey wedding night scene.

  4. I grow tired of this show’s obsession with rape tbh im just tired.

    • m3rcnate says:

      Obsession? This series shows 5x as much violence and death and your whining about rape? This show is 10% nudity, 85% violence and 5% rape. You realize how real rape is right? How prevalent? And we are talking about right now in 2015, compared to GOT which is based on the Dark Ages age.
      Where was your “tired of this show” when it chopped off a fathers head? When Theon was tortured and his dick cut off? Or when Oberyn had his head squished? Or when the red wedding happened?
      .
      I cant stand the whining about rape and how the scene was pointless and how “just because its in the books doesnt mean it should be in the show”….so you want to censor this story? Removing all the parts that make you upset? Because we are in such a rape sensitive culture right now no one should depict rape?
      .
      Rape happens, a LOT unfortunately. I imagined it happened WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more in the dark ages. It doesnt have to have a point, it doesnt have to have meaning, it doesnt have to further the story per-se…it just happens. Like walking along the kings-road and a band of riders ride by and shoot an arrow through you and kill you just for fun, stuff just happens.
      And it wasnt even that pointless, Sansa got back home, she got married to a disgusting cruel man (Bolton) and what, did you think he was going to be like Tyrion? Not touch her? Or instead make sweet loving love to her?
      .
      Not a fan of people whining and complaining about seeing stuff that happens in real life on their TV. Let alone the hypocrisy of their outrage at one bad thing (rape) but not at others like the violence. Typical Americans, desensitized to the violence by social justice warriors and prudes and small minded when it comes to the nudity, sex and rape.

      • Jenn says:

        “Rape happens, a LOT unfortunately. I imagined it happened WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more in the dark ages. It doesnt have to have a point, it doesnt have to have meaning, it doesnt have to further the story per-se…it just happens.”

        1. Yes, rape happens a lot. This is not real life, however. This is fiction. The writers CHOOSE to continually handle this subject matter in a way that is offensive to a lot of people.

        2. This book is not set in the dark ages. This is a made up world. There are dragons. There is no “historically accurate”. Again, writers CHOSE to inflict sexual assault on their female characters again and again.

        3. Don’t ever say people are “whining” about rape. It’s a serious and horrible topic. Even if you disagree with their opinion, to say it’s “whining” belittles the weighty feelings and experiences of others.

        • m3rcnate says:

          1. Too bad. The show is trying to be grounded in a sense of human reality as (tying into point 2) the writer clearly states a lot of what he writes in GOT is based on the Dark Ages era of human history. Yes there’s magic and dragons and such but the actions of the humans is based on the Dark Ages. The Red Wedding was based on the true events of an Irish wedding slaughter for example. It is fiction but the writer clearly tries to keep it as human and realistic as possible while set inside a fictional world with magic and such.
          .
          3. No. Saying “i’m offended because this show had a rape scene in it” belittles the experience of others. Bunch of social justice warriors getting offended that rape is being depicted on a TV show. If you expect a show that is based on the dark ages in many ways to not have quite a lot of rape scenes in it then you are asking for a censored story. What do you want? Loving sex scenes? Characters to be celibate? Life is dark, life is ugly, life can be disgusting and ended for no good reason, and that’s in 2015, i cant imagine how horrible it was in the dark ages.
          .
          Wheres the offended outrage at all the bloody violence? Why is it all the outrage is about the rape and sex and nudity? Hmmm i wonder…is it because all the outrage comes from America? Open your mind, enjoy a complex story that has bad times and good times, that lives in the grey with very little good guys and bad, and shows you events that have happened in real life and events that happen daily right now. Death, rape, violence, sex, love, war, peace, etc….its all in GOT and i love it.

          • DS says:

            Agreed 100% and I’ll add this, I AM a rape survivor and i find that the social justice warriors are people who have absolutely ZERO first hand experience in such matters. Instead they base their fury on what they’ve read or heard about from actual survivors. They use this to make themselves feel better about not having done anything substantial and, instead, complain thinking it makes a difference. If anything I think this brings awareness to the actual horror of rape and if it offends, good. Sit with it and understand that it happens and complaining about a show won’t change it. Posting online won’t change it. Want to make a difference? Work at a crisis line.

          • @DS I agree wholeheartedly with your statement.

          • Dino says:

            But there’s a difference when rape or other violent actions are used for important plot points and to further character development vs. when it exists for shock value.

            Like, Ned’s beheading and the red wedding are very violent and horrifying events, and yes, they make the world more “human” in that sense. They have also had follow through with pushing plots and adding to character development. Arya and Sansa both constantly remember Ned’s beheading and carry it on their shoulders. It’s brought up periodically and plays a huge part in where they both are at this point. Additionally, it was the catalyst for really defining Joffrey as one of the most hated characters. The Red Wedding was absolutely tragic, but from it came the long plot and development with Brienne who still intends to keep her word to Catlynn and keep her daughters safe (even if she’s not doing a great job atm).

            So yeah, rape and other violent things are absolutely fine in mature shows. The problem is that the writers of the show have already proved that they use rape and violence against women for shock value because a lot of it just sort of happens and then the story continues. They add nothing to the plot beyond that singular moment, and do not exist to aid further character development. Which, while being gross to begin with, it just really shoddy storytelling.

            With that in mind, I actually do hope for this plot point to become something more than just a singular event done for shock value. I hope it DOES work as a catalytic plot point and further the development of multiple characters like the other very violent scenes in the show have. Only time will tell that though. I’m sure we can finally decide by next week’s episode whether this rape scene existed just to toss in some needless violence or if it will actually add to the story.

          • Outrageous says:

            You are a sick and twisted human being…there’s no open-mindedness when it comes to rape.
            @DS … so you are implying that for example people who are not gay should not fight for gay rights because they have no experience in being gay/lesbian!! total BS.
            What else could people base their fury and anger on apart from what they’ve heard and read about from survivors. So survivors only have the right to complain. Idiotic! smh

          • m3rcnate says:

            @DS: Thank you. Exactly what I imagined a rape victim would say, and the day a respected organization that exists for rape victims (like GLAAD but for rape victims) comes out and says it and its members are highly offended by a rape scene in ____ movie or TV show, i will give that my time of day and truly dive deep into their issues. For now hearing random strangers (social justice warriors) whine and complain means nothing to me.
            .
            Dino: I dont disagree per-se. What i hate most is this: We dont know where its going. People are outraged because it COULD be just for shock value, it COULD be just a catalyst for Reek or Sansa to do something in a later episode. So many COULD BE’s for so much outrage. Lets wait until the season ends, lets wait and see what results of this rape before we get so extremely offended by what COULD be.
            Rape is an interesting thing in story telling. In real life it has so many effects. It CAN be the catalyst that totally changes a person, for good or for bad. It CAN be just a horrible event that doesn’t change much of anything for some people. It can be SO many things. I dont think it should be seen as a horrible plot device if it is being used organically (what else did you expect Bolton to do? Make love to her? Hes a sick psycho) and if the result of it is Sansa/Reek doing something about it.
            I dont understand how its bad writing if it doesnt change her character much, or if it does change her character a ton, or if it does change Reek having been forced to watch, etc. Aren’t those all believable outcomes of that event?

          • Isobel says:

            actually GRR Martin says its based on Scottish history

          • dinomazingfx says:

            I definitely agree there are a lot of COULD BEs. But, I know I said this in passing, so I’m going to point this out again: We’re four seasons in and the writers have already proven they have a knack for adding violence against women for shock value over plot. So while I’m personally open to waiting it out and finding out where this is going, I can completely understand why many are jumping to the worst possible conclusion.

            I also think that if this is a catalyst for Reek only, that could be equally problematic. Like, if it’s a catalyst for Sansa: good. For both: good. For Reek only: then it will fall along the line of “Was Sansa just a prop in this scene in which a violent act was committed against a female to further the plot/development of a male character?” Which has a lot of 1. cliche tropes behind it and 2. a really tired, and kind of gross sexist tool that’s been used in media a lot that many people (mostly women, if we’re honest) are tired of–and subsequently, why they’re angry about this one scene in particular. Because using women as props to further male character development, especially in cases of violence, is still a very huge issue of sexism in media we have today.

            Which many people don’t see it as an issue at all or not that bad because it’s become so saturated. Like, how many Taken movies are there now? Or how many times is a heroe’s girlfriend kidnapped by a villain? Or how many times is a woman playing the part of a victim, and a man comes to her rescue. It’s very tropy. Very overdone. Very problematic.

          • m3rcnate says:

            @dinomazingfx;
            .
            I dont exactly see it that way, what Drogo did was inline with his culture and him as a character, what Bolton did was inline with him as a character (in fact in the books he does worse to his Sansa equivalent), what happened to Talisa and Cat also happened to Robb, what happened to Tyrions lover was organic, and what “happened” to Cersei was SUPPOSED to be interpreted as consensual per the show-runners and actors (whether it was presented to us in their performance as a grey area or straight up rape is up to each individual viewer).
            So i don’t see where the horrible pattern of violence against women for shock value is. And even if it did exist, its still sad to get pre-offended and pre-outraged early because you say odds are Sansa’s rape was all shock and no advancement of her story. Get worried that they will mess it up, make a comment or two about their bad track-record and how you are scared they are gonna crap the bed again with a female character, but dont get offended and outraged early just because you assume the story will go a way you dont like.
            .
            Lastly, as for that “trope”. Of all the human beings rescued by their captor in the last 10 years, how many of them were rescued by males? How many of the rescued were female? I would suspect the majority of the people that rescue people are men, and the majority of those rescued are female. How many victims in the last 10 years were female compared to male? Again i’d suspect the majority were female. So to say its some horrible trope and problematic i think is melodramatic.
            Is it old? Sure. Is it AWESOME to get the opposite in a movie or TV show? Hell ya (when a female is the heroine) like say “Salt”. Love that flip.
            But still, overall, of all the FBI agents, of all the Special Forces soldiers, of all the CIA agents (all the agencies/forces that do rescuing during their career or retired) are male? The high majority. And what in those males lives are their weakest spots? Their females (daughter, wife, mother, etc).
            .
            All those ratios go even stronger towards the men being the majority when you go into a universe like GOT where its a show based on the dark ages, where women were allowed/expected to do even less. Thankfully we still get some badasses like Arya and we had Ygritte and we have Brienne and Sansa might become a real badass and of course the ultimate; Daenerys.

          • MissAnthropy says:

            The real offense of GoT is that they have trampled upon a special class of victim, namely Women (TM). Trademarked because, evidently, the self-appointed mavens of the Sisterhood get to weigh in on behalf of the entirety of humanity’s double-X chromosome population.

            Why is it that rape is the only thing being singled out as “gratuitous” in this show’s 5 seasons of sex and violence? Why isn’t it “gratuitous” that people have an astonishingly low probability of surviving weddings in Westeros?

            I seem to recall a similar sense of outrage over the frequency of a certain ethnic slur in the movie Django Unchained. As if, what, mid-1800s slave owning aristocracy couldn’t conceivably use such language? Everybody wants authenticity, until one of their own cherished conceits end up on the chopping block.

            If the objectionable material from GoT were repackaged into a shiny smut novel in supermarket checkout lines, it would be the subject of those godawful afternoon talk shows that cater to bored housewives. Don’t think so? 50 Shades of Grey.

        • Deborah Jones says:

          Rape is an extremely sensitive subject to a lot of people (as it should be). That being said, you shouldn’t be watching a show like GoT if you don’t want to be confronted with the fact that human beings were (and still are) capable of horrific cruelty. This show isn’t suppose to be politically correct. Is the violence on GoT gratuitous? Yes. Violence is *always* gratuitous. The real question is whether or not GoT is honest in how it represents that violence. If anything, the writers of GoT are *downplaying* the violence of that era. When I watched “The Color Purple”, I didn’t blame the writers or producers for forcing me to embrace the reality of slavery. Rape was extremely common during the middle ages. Rape is still relatively common. If that’s a truth you don’t want to acknowledge, you should probably find a different show to watch.

      • Brian says:

        “Typical Americans” – You are incorrect, a handful of people do not represent the entire nationality. I don’t see an option to list our nationality either thus, you are making an assumption. I actually agree with your points on how the directors chose to portray life in Westeros. If you don’t like it, don’t watch.

      • Maddy says:

        I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say but my take is that with the rape scene which yes it was uncomfortable and painful to watch it could have a meaning that maybe sansa won’t be broken from this but maybe in some cruel way it will make her stronger and a tougher person because she needs to become stronger if she is going to survive in winterfell,

        but I totally agree with you on how a scene like this can cause such an uproar of angry fans but it’s didn’t surprise me at all I almost expected it and crossed my fingers it wouldn’t happen I mean she is lucky to go this far without being harmed as bad as that sounds, but you have to think of everything else like Sansa being force to look at her father head on a spike or seeing it fall from his body, Catelynn seeing her son murdered right in front of her.

        Anyway thought I think people were so upset because sansa is such a beloved character and no one wants to see someone they love go through that which is what theon had to literally do I love both of them and just hoping sansa story will end in a good place like”Fake Arya”

    • This is NOT an obsession with rape.
      GoT is a pseudpo-medieval show, what the heck are you expecting? Lovely consensual love-scenes all along the way? Butterflies, candles and fairy dust? Then go watch a Disney movie.
      If you want to watch a sort of realistic depiction of medieval marital relationships then you just have to accept this. If not,t his is just not the show for you.

  5. Lauren says:

    If Ramsay’s “horrific nature” weren’t already completely apparent to someone watching the show, they need to give up now. The Theon scenes alone are enough to make that point, and considering this isn’t the first time they’ve thrown in an unnecessary rape scene that doesn’t exist in the books, it doesn’t sit well with me. We already know Ramsay is a sadist; this was overkill.

    • TRB says:

      I agree. And, I would have thought that Ramsay would have have ‘acted’ the gentleman for now until the situation with his new half sibling and the attack from Stannis shakes out. Roose is going to want the forces from the Aeyrie if the battle doesn’t go his way. I also thought that Sansa’s new darker side would have kicked in and she’d have been prepared to deal with Ramsay a little better. This just seemed like a big step back for her.

      • Jim says:

        I completely agree about Sansa taking a step back. The rape was honestly expected coming from Ramsay. It frankly wasn’t even close to being as creepy as the Lannister “rape” scene over Joffrey’s corpse. I’m just surprised at how Sansa dealt with it. I was expected a Daenarys type “look me in the eyes” moment. She’s become a much stronger woman but I was really sad to see Ramsay take full advantage of her. I think being back in Winterfell has caught her really off guard.

        • Biz... says:

          Erm… Ramsay is not Drogo. Sometimes you meet a person and they make your skin crawl. Looking into their eyes would not be an option. Your instincts can tell you when a person is dangerous or just wrong. Also, this is not Beauty and the Beast… being good and kind and loving and oh so pretty will not change the psycho. Looking lovingly into his eyes might simply cause him to tear yours out. Ramsay likes control. Anyone trying to take it from him better have a solid plan and a fail-safe exit strategy.

          How she chooses to deal with the aftermath… that is when we’ll see if this is a step back.

    • KCC says:

      You were aware of Ramsay’s “horrific nature” but Sansa was not. Now she is. I think the producers had to give Sansa a personal reason to hate/fear Ramsay.

      • Sally says:

        Agreed, and I think they are trying to drive Theon in a direction away from being Reek. Having to witness this happen to a girl he has know, pretty much as family, all his life – there was something stirring in him. I believe this will start waking him from the trance and he will want to try to protect Sansa.

        • Allie says:

          Agreed. It is a tragic scene for Sansa but I don’t believe it was really all about her. Theon was lost forever. Nothing or no one, not even his sister could reach him. Until this scene came along there was no hope for him, and Sansa is still alone. Seeing Sansa has brought back the feeling of his dis loyalty to the Starks. He was like an older brother to Sansa, and I’m sure those feelings just hit him head on. Reek is going to realize he needs to become Theon again. That Theon, not reek can save her. There will be a next time, and next time, Theon will be there not Reek and the outcome will prove to be deadly for Ramsey. So anyone who says it was pointless, you know nothing.

    • jerseygirl says:

      I don’t understand this thing people going back to – that the rape scene wasn’t in the book. It *WAS* in the book. The change is *NOT* that Ramsey was all roses and sunshine on his wedding night in a novel vs the show. Nor is it that the wedding night was glossed over and not addressed – it was. The difference is that the female character in question wasn’t fake-Arya but real-Sansa. The sexual abuse was absolutely in the book and it was even more vile than it is in the show. In fact, the abuse Jenye (aka fake-Arya) takes long before she’s shipped off to marry the bat-sh$# crazy Ramsey is worse. She heads to Kings Landing early on as Sansa’s friend with the same silly dreams of knights and royalty and romance. She ends up pressed into ‘service’ as one of the prostitutes in Littlefinger’s brothel. She’s been abused and broken before she’s even sent to Ramsey. She’s then completely destroyed by a man (Snow-Bolton) that’s even worse in writing than he is on screen. The abuse she goes through is so much worse than that final scene Sunday night. To say it’s a gratuitous add-on is to either a) forget what was really written in the first place or b) never read what originally happened in the first place. Now, I’m not saying that book readers are better or anything like that – just that people need to stop complaining that ‘this never happened in the book’ — it did. It absolutely did and it was worse. The scene has multiple components that it will move forward – I won’t get in to that because it is spoilery.

  6. RiverInara says:

    Ugh it happened again. The first time on TVD when Delena happened against the (early) books. Back then it was fan service bc everybody wanted Delena so now it is fan service bc so many hate(ed) Sansa?

  7. After it began to look like they were going there after they made the changes to the story, I was really annoyed with the show runners. I was hoping Sansa would kill him on their wedding night – no such luck. I understand that changes to the book had to be made to adapt it to TV but events in the book were horrific enough without making it worse by doing this to a legacy character. They could have held off on the wedding as Stannis is coming and then had the drama play out between Sansa/Ramsay/Theon. It was gratuitous sadism from Dan and David – not that GOT is not known for that but we had plenty of such without adding this torture to a very young girl’s long list of abuse. There better be a really bloody payoff in justice to Roose and Ramsay coming up soon.

    • Why exactly is it worse to have a lesser version of the same scene (Theon was not forced to take part in the show) happen to a character we know, rather than to a woman we are less familiar with… surely the act itself remains the same?

  8. mklopez says:

    For me, the most upsetting part of Sansa’s scene is that no one in Westeros would consider it a rape.

    They were married. It was their wedding night. And more importantly, she never actually said “NO”, nor rejected Ramsay in any obvious manner. Even if she had done that, she could not have shown any valid reason to reject him. She said “I take this man” without any coercion.

    The fact that Sansa is about 15 years old, versus (probably) early 20s for Ramsay, is not even a factor, as is not uncommon for marriages in Westeros. No one claimed “rape” when the new King consummated his marriage.

    I don’t think any tribunal, knowing exactly how things went, would condemn Ramsay, and that makes my blood boil.

    • I totally agree, she never said no, it was his wife and it was there wedding night..i just thought it was portrayed as a painful and loveless way to lose her virginity…

      • betsy says:

        …are you seriously trying to pass this off as anything other than rape?

        • Ryan says:

          Oh it was definitely rape, for sure to anyone watching, but I do think in watching it that Sansa is thinking “Ok, now I have to do this because we are married and it’s what is required of me even though I really don’t want to”. Doesn’t mean it isn’t rape, because she clearly doesn’t want to, but it’s evident that the thinking is there that she must go along with it because it’s what’s expected. Her face on the bed just screams “I don’t want this, but I have to go with it”…..and all the while I kept thinking in my head “Screw you Littlefinger. You have no idea what you told her to do”

  9. That wasn’t rape. She knew what she was getting into when she left Petyr and she knew what had to be done.

    • Jillian says:

      Oh, my god, this is a horribly offensive comment. Sansa clearly did NOT want to have sex with Ramsay. She was forced by Ramsay and convention to against her wishes and will. That’s rape. Doesn’t matter if they’re married.

      • DL says:

        He’s talking about a fictional character in a fictional show. This is how things work in this world, and she had to know she’d be consummating her marriage on her wedding night. She agreed to this union, and she did so with full knowledge that they would have to engage in intimate relations.
        What she didn’t necessarily expect was Ramsay’s immediate cruelty, both in his treatment of her, and in his deliberate humiliation of forcing Theon to watch. That was what turned it from a necessary but expected evil to something far worse.
        I do disagree with Jay, in that this was definitely rape, but I also think the entire thing is being far more sensationalized than it needs to be. Westeros is a cruel, cruel land, and all these things and worse happened in our own world in the Dark and Middle Ages. While the portrayal may be uncomfortable, it’s fiction, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, I feel, as it was much in line with the story, the characters, and everything that’s been set up heretofore. When it happened, I was not at all surprised, nor was I offended. I thought it was terrible, but completely expected.

        • Sera says:

          Well put, DL.
          Sansa was prepared to consent to something distasteful on her wedding night because she knew it was her duty but she did not consent to do it with Theon watching. Ramsesy’s actions, in having Theo watch, were perverted and therefore could not form part of Sansa’s duty as a new wife.

          So that, Jay, is why even by Westeros standards, Ramsey is a rapist.

      • David says:

        How is this so offensive? NONE OF THIS IS REAL

        • Cory says:

          It’s being watched by real people in the real world who have real feelings about it. In the context of the show, those characters are real people. Saying it’s not rape if a woman is married to the man who rapes her, or saying it’s not rape because she knew it was coming, is just as problematic if you’re talking about a fictional rape as a real rape.

          • David says:

            Cory, that is a real stretch. How difficult must your life be if you’re offended by fake people on a TV show?

          • Maddy says:

            Thank you for that post Cory, there’s no excuse that’s called rape and people develop real feelings toward certain characters it can almost be tramautizing for the viewer, I’m the type of person who get hypnotized while watching TV/Movies I cry, I laugh, I get mad as if it were happening right in front of me

        • betsy says:

          more importantly, how are you so dense?

        • S. says:

          So you don’t want people to get invested in scripted television ever? Because that’s the end of that line of thinking. If we’re not meant to love some things, be offended by others, and have emotional reactions, then what are we doing paying attention to these stories? Sounds like a huge waste of time. You don’t get to decide what someone finds important and what feelings they have in reaction to that thing. “None of this is real”? Seriously? So I guess never cry over a movie or tv show, guys. It ain’t real. I guess we can all go find something better to do. “None of this is real” matters when you need to remember that that poor actor playing the character you hate has other jobs and a life and isn’t that person. It matters when you’re not living your life because you’re too invested in someone else’s fake one. When you’re watching it on tv, go ahead and hate’em. Get invested, it’s fine. Isn’t that one of the reasons stories get told in the first place? Besides, sometimes taking offense at something leads to conversation about that thing. I can’t imagine a writer saying ‘turn off your brain, shut up, and enjoy it’ about their work if they take pride in it.

      • ScottJ says:

        Marital rape is legal in many countries, and has only been illegal for 20-30 years in many others.

  10. Ellinas78 says:

    Apparently Ramsy does the same thing to “fake Arya” in the books, haven’t read them, but that’s what people say (no need to add spoliers here so let’s not open that can of worms).

    But the outrage is that he does it to Sansa. So what’s the logic of the people that are outraged now (what show have you been watching for all these years) and “threaten” to quit? That it’s ok to happen to a minor character but it happening to Sansa is an outrage?

    I say if you can’t separate fact from fiction that you want to quit watching, go for it.

    • Joey says:

      ftr its worse in the books.

    • maryploppins says:

      This is exactly the point a couple of my friends and I have been talking about. Why is it that no one at all is complaining about the fact that an even more brutal rape occurs to a different girl in the book, but only now that it’s been switched to a character they actually *like/care about*, NOW they’re up in arms?

      Look, I completely get the feeling of not liking the direction a show is taking a character in. But if that’s the case, then let’s all just be honest about it. People claim they’re mad because of the brutal rape, when really what they’re mad about is that SANSA got brutally raped.

      Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely think it IS possible for shows to go overboard with crazy stuff like this – Sons of Anarchy is the poster child for it, and it’s one of the many reasons I’m glad I dumped that show after season 4. But with GoT, the progression of this storyline is exactly where any logical person could have predicted it would go. Ramsay Bolton is a character who hunts humans for sport and chopped off Theon’s man parts just for fun. Did you think that upon his wedding night to Sansa, he would ask her to simply play a rollicking game of cards and then cuddle all night long?

      I’m as bummed as the rest of you that Sansa can’t seem to catch a break, but all I can hope is that maybe THIS will be the impetus for her to finally stand up and kick some bootay and take some names.

      • Jim says:

        Yes yes and yes. This is the truth right here. Personally, I’m actually really excited for the doors this opens for Sansa’s character. Throughout the show, she’s always made it a priority to safeguard her virginity above many other things. It was a weakness and a limitation because she was so vulnerable. Now, although what happened to her was AWFUL, the weakness is greatly diminished. She’s going to be much stronger for it. And Ramsay will get what’s coming to him. He is LONG overdue to die. Even worse news for him is that he just turned his wife into an enemy – an enemy who is unshackled now and ready to do some serious damage.

        • betsy says:

          you…are excited that a teenage girl’s rape will make her stronger. that is MONUMENTALLY disturbing, congratulations. major props to you for giving into the old chestnut that a woman really comes into her own strength by suffering brutal abuse. thank you for that wisdom.

          • Arakriel says:

            Ive always wondered, perhaps you can enlighten me, do people like you watch shows like this just to have an excuse to be mad about something? GoT is so obviously not marketed toward squeamish or easily offended people, and yet so much controversy arises from a scene like this youd think the muppets ran a train on miss piggy on top of a bald eagles corpse during saturday morning cartoons.

            The scene is meant to provoke a reaction in the viewers, and while yes, some films or shows may use rape as a shock tactic, rarely does a main character go through any traumatic event just for the heck of it, especially in a character driven show like this. Im just amazed how one goes from “Poor Sansa” to “HBO is promoting rape and youre all horrible people for letting them”. If such a thing as a “tasteful” rape scene can be made, this probably comes close, from a production perspective, a short scene with no nudity, and i disagree completely that were meant to feel sorry for Reek in this scene, he was used to convey the horror of the scene while sparing us having to see the actual rape, hell as far as disturbing scenes go this is the most PG-13 one ive seen on GoT since… ever.

      • DL says:

        I completely agree with what you’re saying. It was completely expected and within the bounds of the characters’ motivations (though no less horrible because of it).

        I fully expect Sansa to learn a thing or two about cruelty from Ramsay, and when the time comes, I expect her to either remove his sensitive bits with a great deal of glee, or perhaps, should Stannis succeed in conquering Winterfell, enjoy herself very much when Melisandre burns Ramsay alive.

    • jerseygirl says:

      This – exactly, completely, this.

  11. suzybel58 says:

    This sure isn’t for the squeamish to watch. I sit there with one hand sort of covering my eyes, peeking through my fingers. I hope Ramsey gets what’s coming to him.

  12. Jenna says:

    I like Sansa so the scene hit me particularly hard. We all knew Ramsay was a creep and a sadist, but I don’t think Sansa knew to what extreme. It was horrific. Sansa’s innocence is now completely gone; but vengeance can be a great motivator. I hope she survives and rises above this, and Ramsay dies a terrible, terrible death.

  13. Kate says:

    I guess I wasn’t shocked about it for several reasons, one, that I was vaguely aware something horrible was going to happen to Sansa, and two, that it isn’t a terribly out of place thing that happened historically. My oddly surprising reaction was that as much of a psycho that Ramsey is, and I actually think from his perspective this was meant as more Theon torture than anything to do with Sansa, with the news of his father’s new child, his best course of action would probably be to have an heir himself. I don’t know if this is true, but it would seem if he can produce a son, even if he is slightly younger, it would solidify Ramsey’s position plus he can do something about the new wife before she gives birth. But even if he didn’t, he has to know that if he could produce an heir (and if he’s noticed, whether girl or boy) that has Stark blood (and heck, shows some of the red haired coloring), the people would accept him more. But overall, get Sansa to be your conspirator. I know that is expecting a lot of him. Now, though, I suspect, he has awoken the part of Sansa that is her mother’s daughter and has been Baelish’s diligent student and I can only hope that she or Theon kill him (I have grand hope that he starts in on Theon again and Sansa stabs him in the back), but I suspect Stannis will attack before she can pull off a real plan and Brienne and Pod will sweep her out (a la Mance in the book).

    • DL says:

      Sorry to be a nitpicker, but the red hair is a Tully trait, from Catelyn. The Starks more traditionally have brown hair, or black in the case of Jon Snow. :-P

  14. MarkRoss says:

    I’ve never read the books so I just get to enjoy a great TV show without constantly comparing. U could see this coming since little finger hooked up the marriage. Just because joffrey died doesn’t mean they were going to stop making awful twisted characters.

  15. Jillian says:

    Honestly, it’s not the change to the text that bothered me, but the way the scene was handled, and the fact that this show continually deviates from the source material to PURPOSEFULLY inflict sexual assault on female characters. it’s that Sansa’s rape scene was made all about Theon by focusing on HIS reaction to seeing a woman brutalized and not the actual brutalized woman.

    It’s that the show runners (as evidenced by that Jaime/Cersei bier rape scene) don’t seem to have any idea how to handle a subject matter like rape and consent.

    It’s that they seem to think female characters are only interesting when they’re suffering, or brutalized, and that Sansa, a character who canonically is on a monumental and well-earned upward swing, was forced back into a role of passive victimization, because “that’s what happens to women in Westeros”.

    Even within a rape scene, Sansa could have been given SOME small moment of strength, but again, it was all about Theon. And I’m honestly tired of rape being used for shock value on television. There is a way to handle that subject matter. GoT does not know how to handle it.

    • Nichole says:

      I haven’t read the books, so have no opinion on any deviation from the story, but do disagree with your assessment of the scene. By focusing on Theon and his reaction, it made the scene, for me at least, more powerful in its impact. I also felt it marked a turning point for Theon and most likely will in Sansa the next time we see her.
      The only thing that surprised me about the assault by Ramsey was how ill advised it was. While not out of character for Ramsey by any means, I would have expected his father to have cautioned him in his treatment of Sansa, as she is a Stark and her compliance to the union and happiness is to some extent required to help cement their claim as Wardens of the North.
      As for the act of rape in the show, for the world that is depicted and the place that women hold within that world, it’s not surprising that it happens and to ignore that and expect that even the main female characters would be exempt for deplorable treatment would be disrespectful to the source material, which I understand is much more violent and graphic in that regards.
      People talking about how deplorable the show is for including rape in the storyline or threatening to stop watching because of it are being overly PC. It’s fictional, if you want to get that worked up over the subjugation of women, try doing it for real women and girls who are raped everyday in far too many places around our so called civilised world.

      • NorCalGirl says:

        Well said!

      • Cory says:

        ” By focusing on Theon and his reaction, it made the scene, for me at least, more powerful in its impact.” I understand where you’re coming from, but it plays intot he idea that a woman’s suffering is only “impactful” if it leads to the suffering of a man. By making Sansa’s rape all about Theon, it makes her even less of a participant in her own storyline than the rape made her.

        I understand they set up a brutal and graphic world, but that doesn’t mean they have to keep reaching for rape as a plot shocker. If they want to address rape in a world where this is a commoplace thing, as in Westeros, then they ned to treat that subject matter correctly. And they didn’t.

        Your last argument is kind of cruel. Real women and girls who have been raped watch this show. I’s a reflection of our culture, and impacts the way potential rapists may think. It colors people’s worldview. Problematic depictions of rape lead to more rape and more girls staying silent victims. Getting worked up about the subjugation of fictional women is in service to the real life women who are invested in them.

      • jerseygirl says:

        Sometimes we get so caught up in our ‘today’ that we fail to remember the characters aren’t living in it. Does everyone not remember Cersei telling Sansa early on that a woman’s power is between her legs? Now, before you jump all over me – I don’t think Sansa ‘let’ this happen to her. Nor would I suggest that this isn’t a big deal. I am saying that GoT takes place in a world where women are not equals. Women are property. Women are pawns to securing power. Marriages in noble house are political moves with daughter’s being auctioned off to the best powerbroker. In adapting Song of Ice & Fire into GoT the show, there are pieces that are left out that do change our ability to understand the world both stories take place in. I won’t delve too deeply into it at this point – if you’re interested go Google up the role of Arianne Martell in the books and how her role in Dorne compares to Myrcella’s in Westeros.

    • Maddy says:

      Ya I agree I would have loved for them to show sansa scared and not knowing what to do and then show her face just twist into a “I’m gonna get you for this you evil bastard!”

  16. Completely pointless given Tyrion’s consideration of her chastity, her avoiding rape by Joffrey, her avoiding rape during the riot via the Hound, and her growth under and tutelage by Littlefinger. I don’t understand this decision. It accomplished nothing and seemed to propel her character’s development backwards.

    • Jillian says:

      THIS.

    • DL says:

      See, I thought all of the aforementioned examples were appropriate foreshadowing for this moment finally occurring. It’s a terrible, terrible thing that happened, but also (I think) a necessary evil for the growth of her character (remember, this is fiction we’re talking about, here). In my opinion, in the books, her character remains both stagnant and completely uninteresting. I think that in the show, this tragedy will take her to a place where she is finally capable of exacting vengeance for her family.
      Also, as a sidenote, why is this moment so much worse than the brutal murder of a pregnant woman (to say nothing of everyone else) in season 3? While this was an awful moment, I was far more disturbed by Talisa’s being deliberately stabbed in the belly.

    • jerseygirl says:

      This scene takes place in the closing moments of the most recent episode. How does one know the abuse by Ramsey ‘accomplished nothing…” Perhaps it accomplishes a whole lot in the coming episodes.

  17. NorCalGirl says:

    Hey everyone… it’s a TV show. In the real world, yes, this would have been rape. In a television show based on books KNOWN to be brutal (regardless of whether or not this happens in the books … I’m behind in the books), it’s not. Get over your outrage. It has no affect on the real world whatsoever.

    • Amy says:

      That is absolutely not true. Numerous studies have demonstrated that sex and violence depicted on television increases sex and violence in the general population. Television shapes cultural norms and has great effect on cultural attitudes and what is socially acceptable.

      • NorCalGirl says:

        Yes, because a show set in a fictional world during a fictional time has so much influence. I can see your argument being more valid if it was a show like Law and Order:SVU or something that takes place in present time in the real world.

      • Cory says:

        Bless you, Amy.

      • Lucifer says:

        That’s funny, Amy, who did those studies? Andrea Dworkin? It’s not like rape and violence is depicted as a good thing, and there are also numerous studies that have proven your claim false. Go find a safe space to crawl in if you can’t handle a TV show.

      • Allie says:

        This is a show for grown adults. I’m sure that “survey” involved minors who watch TV and Movies. I’m sure a grown adult didn’t watch that scene and have a bright light go off for them to go do the same thing. Keep reaching people…

      • KCC says:

        The world was perfect before TV, all puppies and rainbows. Why do those horrible TV producers have to invent such terrible things as rape, murder, violence, war, incest, racism, puns, etc. Life was perfect before everyone became corrupted by TV and all the evil it created. It’s odd that we don’t see anyone saying more rape would make the world a better place because I saw it on TV and it looks like fun.
        It’s a chicken or the egg argument. Is television a refection of what goes on in the world or what shapes it? Because evil existed in the world long before TV and will continue even if everything we watch on TV is produced by Disney, I think it’s more of TV being a reflection of the world we live in, not shaping it. While TV probable does, to a small degree, have some impact on people’s actions, ones family and friends are infinitely more influential. IMO.

  18. nightshade says:

    They could still have played this out with jeyne Poole and how ramsay makes theon look at her and all that fu…. up stuff without adding sanza. The way this has played out is tremendously hideous and unnecessary! They could have made for the original way that played out and just outing sanza for a time with no harm to her comming back after all that in winterfell is over.

    • DL says:

      So it’s totally okay if it’s a character you don’t care about, right?

      • This seems to be the general consensus amongst most people who have a problem with a scene. How could they do it to Sansa, it sets her character development back, it wasn’t necessary. IMO, when has rape ever been necessary or thought upbuilding to a person’s character? It’s a horrific thing which happens in a horrific world, and sometimes, it will happen to people you care about.

        • KCC says:

          “Sets her character development back?” I haven’t seen Sansa develop beyond being a victim and watching events unfold before her without taking action. Violent actions (which rape is) building character has been used in literature, movies and TV since they existed. Having horrendous things happen and rising above the tragedy to win the day has always been used. Rape has been used less often because it’s more often the male that’s the hero. Rape is one of the most horrendous things a woman could physically experience that doesn’t kill them. The character has two options now, continue being the victim or rise up and become a better person, not because of it, but in spite of it.

  19. Tahoe Mike says:

    From the second the idea of Sansa marrying Ramsey came up on the show, what did you think would happen? This was simply never going to end well.

  20. Amy says:

    I am appalled and angered. What a joke. There is no rationalization for this. To quote an article in Vanity Fair online ” why does a female character need to be brought so low in order for a make character to find redemption?” I am so disgusted with this show now and I was a huge fan. Will no longer be watching.

    • really? says:

      That’s a bit hypercritical isn’t it? You’re disgusted and will stop watching because a female character was raped, but not when Theon lost his male appendage? There are many shows with many different ways that characters are brought low, both male and female, before finding “redemption” as such. If Sansa had only been beaten would you still watch the show? If Theon had stopped Ramsey would you still watch the show? Oberon’s exploding head was much more disturbing to watch then a scene which showed you Theon’s face, not the actual act of Ramsey raping Sansa, which honestly was more effective at showing the horror. Still Oberon’s exploding head was much worse to show, which I had known that was coming so I could have looked away!

    • Ugh says:

      That quote basically sums it up perfectly.

    • Considering we’ve seen none of the aftermath of that scene, where are you getting all of these narrative reasons for it from? We have no idea how either Theon or Sansa are going to react to it.

      • Maddy says:

        I would’ve hope this would disgust that’s what I was thinking we still need to see the aftermath I’m thinking this will harden sansa just like how Arya became hard after everything she saw and went through trying to reunite with her family

    • jerseygirl says:

      In that vein – why does an honorable man like Ned Stark have to lose his head as a plot device? Why does Theon have to be brutally tortured and have his penis lopped off? Why does Jamie need to have his arm removed below the elbow? Why does Viserys have hot molten metal poured over his pretty little head? Why do innocent dwarf heads keep showing up at Cersei’s feet? It’s hardly just female characters being brought low. The whole appeal to Martin’s books – and as such the show – is that there is no predictability. This is life. Being good doesn’t get you a gold star and a long, happy life. There is horrific assault all around. There is brutality. There are senseless acts. Some of them tear a person down and leave them ruined – many of those stories, by the way, fail to make the leap from book to TV. We hear of Bronn’s wife, Lollys. We don’t see her. In the books she’s a wreck. She was brutally attacked and raped in King’s Landing in that Season 1 scene where Joffery insights a bit of a riot while he and his entourage meander thru town. Lollys’ mind never recovers from it. She’s portrayed as quite a bit nuts. A character that has been brought down so low and never recovers – never rises above. There are quite a few such figures in the novels that don’t make the screen.

    • KCC says:

      How was Sansa’s character “brought so low”? It was something that happened to her. She didn’t deserved it and wasn’t asking for it. She was the victim of a brute and he is the one who’s character was brought even lower. She is one of the few “innocents” on the show and certainly does not need “redemption.” Does the author of the quote actually believe the victims of rape need redemption? The quote does not make any sense to me in this context.

  21. I was sure that they would cut away just before at let us see next time that nothing happen. Im done. I have called my mobile service and cancelled my HBO membership. Im done Whit this show. It was to much for me.

    Hope that everyone else will do the same at let it be known that we don’t want it!

  22. Sumaiyya Naseem says:

    I feel like most people are forgetting that it was not just a traumatizing rape. It was an extremely humiliating rape because Ramsey made Theon watch.

  23. Weezy says:

    Well at least people have finally realized that boycotting is their only real strategy. Of course boycotting used to be used for important things, not some stupid scene you personally didn’t like for 45 seconds of 1 episode of a show that’s been on TV for 5 seasons and is considered one of the best overall. But such is the dumbass PC world we live in.

  24. Tervon says:

    People!,people!,people, you guys do realize that this is just a show right. It’s called entertainment, it’s meant for your mind to entertain the thought of what a person like him might have been capable of in those times.

  25. Anna says:

    What bothers me most is that Littlefinger is apparently unaware of Ramsay’s cruelty. Come on, that’s freakin’ Littlefinger we’re talking about! The guys knows EVERYTHING! He wouldn’t leave Sansa there if he knew, but he did, which is just stupid.

    • bill says:

      Yes! Liitlefinger seems to be aware of everything going on in Westeros and beyond, but he has no idea that Ramsey Bolton is a psychopathic sadist?

  26. AngelWasHere says:

    I’m so sick people whining. Everybody acts like this is the only show to depict such a scene. They didn’t even show much. Her screaming? This scene set up Sansa’s hatered for Ramsay. Skipping over the scene wouldn’t of made sense with the how sexually perverse he is. I was expecting it.

    I swear some of you people need to calm down. Its not that serious. It’s a tv show.

    • Jonathan says:

      Agreed. If people can’t handle this, they should go back to the Vampire Diaries. A cruel character inflicted violence on an innocent woman. It wasn’t gratuitous.

  27. Tami says:

    I think that it was obvious that this was going to happen. They set the stage for it. And it is completely in line with who Ramsey is. There was never going to be a gentle first time for Sansa with Ramsey as her husband.

    It’s also a pretty big waste of time to scream your outrage to the internet. If you don’t like this type of content, don’t watch this type of show. It’s a pretty simple solution.

  28. Frank says:

    I didn’t read any of the books but I think the showrunners are definitely building up Ramsay to eventually take a major fall much like the character of King Joffrey. Did anyone not cheer when he was poisoned at his wedding? I also think Theon will somehow come to Sansa’s rescue down the road. Also, she already on her second husband she had to stop this virginity thing eventually. I’m waiting for Queen Mother Cersei to get what’s coming to her. What a b#$ch!

  29. It was gonna happen. What, did you think Ramsey was going to woo her? How is this a surprise? He’s a BAD GUY. He’s not going to whisper sweet nothings in her ear! He’s going to be the same monster that cut off Theon’s manhood.

  30. Jack Steel says:

    Are there any average normal thinking people left? This show is boring! Get a new writer with better scripts or end this. Put the bloody characters out of their misery. It’s an endless soap opera of mindless barbarians.

  31. JR Brink says:

    If you dont like it, stop watching. Its a freaking tv show, get over it. Bunch of cry babies this country is turning into.

  32. rowan77 says:

    I thought the rape was in character for Ramsay and not uncommon in that world for a marriage based on alliance to begin by force. Don’t forget Khaleesi’s first time with Karl Drogo was the same (without Theon there). We’ve grown to care about 17 year-old Sansa (who is now seeing that being married to Tyrion was not bad at all), so our reaction to her rape is more viseral – even though Dany was what, 15 when she married Karl Drogo? He was a brute who could be tamed. Ramsay is a psychopath.

    It also makes more sense for television, to get rid of the fake-Sansa business. Putting Sansa in real danger is more compelling. Look how people reacted.

  33. Amy J says:

    While I found this scene bordering on the dehumanising, I will also acknowledge that it afforded the actress far more dignity than Daenerys’s consumation of her marriage to Khal Drogo.

  34. Lizo says:

    My sister and I have decided to drop the show. The level of gratuitous sexual violence has hit a point we can no longer tolerate. I didn’t have a problem with the show runners moving a minor character’s plot line to a major character. But they just want to violently assault every woman on this show. And we’ve had enough.

  35. PFitzDC says:

    Was it necessary? Well, it kind of depends on what happens next. If what happened helps to propel Sansa or Theon into some kind of that-was-the-last-straw-action in the near future, then it was necessary. If it was just another way to showcase Ramsay’s psychotic behavior and keep victimizing Sansa and/or Theon, then I think it does need to be questioned. It’s inclusion can’t be defended just because Ramsay raped his newlywed wife in the books–because the producers have already decided to make changes from the books. As viewers, I think we’re getting weary of the power stranglehold the “villains” have on the “good guys.” The producers have a choice about how much to continue showing that, given that there are only 2 seasons left…. Is it for story? Is it for so-called titillation? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for a while yet.

  36. Siobhan Hale says:

    Well the rapey nature of HBO and George RR Martin continues, to a most awful extent. The fact that the TV series has almost caught up to the books now means that HBO will have free reign to do as they wish, continuing on this trajectory with George RR Martin’s blessing. If another book is written (which it probably won’t be), it will most definitely have been heavily influenced by what HBO has done and probably won’t ring true for what was intended for the original storyline. A huge disappointment for a former fan.

  37. Linda says:

    it’s just all so horrible… this is not entertainment any more and has got me thinking about calling it quits.

  38. Charles Muhammad says:

    Just terrible, this season has been a bummer 4 me so far!

  39. Allie says:

    It is a tragic scene for Sansa but I don’t believe it was really all about her. Theon was lost forever. Nothing or no one, not even his sister could reach him. Until this scene came along there was no hope for him, and Sansa is still alone. Seeing Sansa has brought back the feeling of his dis loyalty to the Starks. He was like an older brother to Sansa, and I’m sure those feelings just hit him head on. Reek is going to realize he needs to become Theon again. That Theon, not reek can save her. There will be a next time, and next time, Theon will be there not Reek and the outcome will prove to be deadly for Ramsey. So anyone who says it was pointless, you know nothing.

    If you watched this show and have never read the book then my comment is, “Welcome to the Game of Thrones.” Book readers know this worlds reality and have read, in great detail, the same scene which is much worse w/ a different character. If you ask me, they really held back 90% of what they could have done. Also, the red wedding and the stabbing of a woman with a child in her WAS 100% TIMES worse than this. We heard her cries, they did not actually film it and honesty with a lot of stuff they show, they could have. So stop saying they are doing it for shock value. Also, the Cersei/Jamie scene was not intended to come off that way. Nor does it happen in the books.

  40. I really don’t get why the showrunners keep wanting to add more sex crimes to the show. Back in Season 1 the Daenerys – Drogo scene was pretty awkward, then last season with Jamie and Cersei, now this… Granted this one kind of makes sense because Ramsay is a pretty horrible person.

  41. Steve says:

    Benioff and Weiss are not as good as Martin. And season 5 with all of their changes shows it. I think they’re now adapting about 10% of the source material if even that. Their heads have gotten huge with their fame and success. Martin is a pro and a classy guy. He’s not going to bash them. But this decision to rape Sansa for crying out loud was stupid. This is now twice they’ve used rape for shock and awe.

  42. Amanda says:

    I don’t think Sansa was victimized. She’s made it clear that she plans to get revenge. I think she was upset because she was grieving that those plans led her to marrying & being sexually used by Ramsay. She can’t have her revenge without that action. It wasn’t made easier by Theon’s watching but I think she planned to go through with it no matter what. I don’t think it was a showing of her weakness, but rather her determination to get revenge.

    And Theon I think was upset because Ramsay is cruel and Sansa is now subject to that in his mind….he doesn’t realize that she’s willing to act so for her revenge. So I think the scene was also used to show Theon’s thawing from that frozen, fearful Reek state. He cares for Sans a & doesn’t want her to end up like himself. Those tears are proof that his character is turning….& I think he will end up killing Ramsay.

  43. costa says:

    Awful they should of stayed on track with the books just add more seasons .Vikings on hisTory channel is the best show on tv

  44. E says:

    After all that poor girl has been through Sunday’s episode was tough to watch..having said that GOT isn’t know for coddling soft sweet little girls i.e. Dany, Arya, Crasters’ daughters, even Robs’ wife. The show does not discriminate on pain and suffering. I just hope they have a tasty revenge plot in store for Sansa when the time is right!!

  45. Mike says:

    petyr baelish is going to nail that clown to the wall … literally

  46. Vander Wiley says:

    In reality, there are so many deviations from the books, that I think the TV show really sucks. My advice; Buy the books and read them.

  47. Andy says:

    Sure, doesn’t matter whether it’s the books or the show, Sansa isn’t a very likeable character. But still, this change was completely unnecessary, cruel and obviously just thrown in for shock factor. Sansa is still a virgin in the books, Barristan is still alive… I find it disgusting that George RR Martin is alienating his readers, who paid $13-$18 per book, to cater for the millions of illegal downloaders paying nothing to watch the show. I hope most people choose to stop reading and/or watching like I will be, because the way George is handling his own franchise is deplorable and not deserving of my hard earned money after the way we’ve been treated.

    • jerseygirl says:

      Huh? As a book reader, I choose to view the book series and the television series as different entities – not one and the same. I cant seem to muster the energy to take it that personally. Also as a writer myself, I don’t think GRRM *owes* me anything. He’s writing a story that’s in him and wants to come out. it’s not about me. He’s not doing anything to me other than giving me the opportunity to share his story with him by reading what he produces. . .when he gets around to producing it.

    • John NYC says:

      Except he’s not doing the “handling”, the show has other writers, he did a single episode in each of the first 4 seasons and none since.

  48. Katherine says:

    “And while outrage is the general response from fans today”

    No, it is not. The goings-on on Twitter, ground zero of outrage for the sake of outrage, are not evidence of a “general response” to anything.

    What disturbs me is the immaturity and sense of entitlement that comes of the loudest critics, all in response to a fictional incident. Nothing short of making rape off-limits as a plot device could satisfy their ideological agenda, thus effectively silencing free artistic expression.

  49. prish says:

    I’ve thought about this, today, after reading the article. I’ll never watch the show, now. The described emphasis is not to my taste, and it does make me sad. I can understand the cooperation of the writer, though. Shakespeare took the original descriptions of Henry V’s life and changed things to where Henry V uttered horrific threats, producing one of the greatest series of plays in human history. A lot of people’s livings depend on successful productions. I guess we have to go along with, “Whatever the writer thinks best.”

  50. Craig says:

    Don’t see what people are bent out of shape about. Is Ramsey Snow supposed to become gentle and caring all of a sudden? Come on now.