Game of Thrones

This past week’s episode of GAME OF THRONES, ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’, has really caused quite the stir. People aren’t very happy with HBO or the writers of the hit fantasy show — actually unhappy might be putting it lightly — some going as far to boycott future episodes and throw about some rather boisterous claims regarding what was depicted.

For those who don’t know, one of the shows main characters, Sansa, who has had a torrid time in the series, is part of a storyline that is straying away from her characters plot in the books (from which the show is adapted) and last Sunday her character was victim to an unsettling scene where she was effectively raped by her new husband. Rape is obviously a serious topic and something people don’t like to see or talk about. All that’s fine, I get that, there is no denying its awfulness, but some of the claims by fans of the show as to why they were so upset with said events are pretty maddening and most certainly worth talking about.

One of the top accusations being thrown about is that the rape and in fact its whole surrounding storyline, didn’t happen in the books, that the show’s writers just made it up, so therefore by some bizarre logic it wasn’t necessary. This is a pretty moronic statement to say the least. If you want the storyline of the books then go read the damn books, they are right there, ready to be read, Amazon would be more than happy to take your money. As far as the rape not needing to have happened sentiment, well I am sorry to tell you but nothing ever needs to happen, in the show or the books. Everything is invented, no one is mad at George R. R. Martin for creating disturbing scenarios in his novels, he made all of those up, they weren’t necessary, but he did them because that’s what he wanted to happen, just the same as the scribes of the HBO show. The writers wrote a scenario and it came into existence, end of story. I apologise for breaking the news but what happened on Sunday night is just as real as anything in the books. You may be upset by it, you may be feeling awful for Sansa, as you should, but being angered by the fact that it’s a deviation from the source material and therefore less than because of it, is to be perfectly frank, ridiculous.

The other main point of annoyance for many seems to be that as Sansa is being assaulted we are left to watch an onlooker, a man (Theon), and at the agony on his face as he is forced to observe the events before him. There have been plenty commenting that this is typical of Hollywood and our current culture that a woman is assaulted and we are forced to watch the agony of a male. Well if you want to watch a rape scene in all its awful, violent detail, unadulterated and shown on screen than I am sure you can do that somewhere else. The agony on Theon’s face isn’t taking away from Sansa’s pain, it’s not connected at all, he is his own person with his own feelings and circumstances. His anguish isn’t any worse; it was just a creative decision so we wouldn’t have to see the attack on screen while also providing a moment for Theon’s character that is going to pay off in future episodes. And if you’re argument is that we wouldn’t have to see any of it at all if the rape didn’t happen in the first place, well I have more news for you, none of this had to happen, it’s fiction, a story of make believe, none of this is real.

You’re completely right to not enjoy that scene, it was awful to watch, but some of the accusations being levelled at the writers and at HBO are preposterous. Fiction is fiction, it’s wonderful that you care so much about these characters but they aren’t real, the writers made a decision that they thought would be of benefit to the story they are trying to tell. It’s not like they made light of sexual assault and it’s not like Sansa was the first woman in this world, or if she was real (which she’s not) in the history of our own world to be sexually abused by their husband. This was an unfortunate reality of a world where husbands claimed ownership of their wives and with Ramsay being such a known evil doer was anyone really surprised that he consummated the marriage in such rough fashion? This guy is Satan, expect nothing less of him.

Sansa has never been stronger than she was this past week, it was a dark and horrific moment but one that Sansa new she had to bare in order to get where she needs to go. Awful things happen in this world and rioting because of deviating storylines is so nonsensical that it makes my head hurt. Calm down world, it’s a TV show and a mighty fine one at that.


Film and TV Journalist

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