Rape

Yes, Game of Thrones Is a Show About Rape. I Still Hated That Scene.

But unlike Sen. McCaskill, I'll still be watching

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Sansa
Game of Thrones

[Warning: Spoilers follow] Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones featured the rape of a prominent character, Sansa Stark. The controversial scene has triggered something of a backlash; speaking for many on the traditional left, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) declared that she was done watching the show.

"Ok, I'm done Game of Thrones," she tweeted. "Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable. It was a rocky ride that just ended."

Feminist website The Mary Sue agreed, and announced that it would no longer promote the show, according to The New York Times.

On the other side of the spectrum, The Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg pointed out that the rape was well in keeping with the show's previous faithfulness to medieval violence. Perhaps The Washington Free Beacon's Sonny Bunch put it best: "BREAKING: Westeros Is a Terrible Place, Video at 9 PM on Sunday."

Many of the people who are up in arms about Sansa's rapes were silent (or at least quieter) for the myriad scenes of graphic violence throughout the previous 45 episodes of Game of Thrones, but because rape is a politicized subject, it calls to arms certain combatants in the culture wars (not unlike bannermen in Game of Thrones).

I find this implication—that rape is bad, and therefore, should not be depicted—troubling, to say the least. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin created a rich fantasy world partly based upon our own history—a history brimming with sexual violence. It's far better to educate ourselves by participating in art that enlightens us. Should we eschew World War II movies because Nazism is evil, or boycott Civil War-era novels to show symbolic support for the position that slavery is evil?

So I'm with Rosenberg, Bunch, et al on the general point that sexual violence is fundamentally important to the world of Game of Thrones and shouldn't be downplayed because of modern sensibility.

All that said, I absolutely loathed the rape of Sansa Stark, and sincerely wish the showrunners had not gone in that direction.

I am a proud book-purist; I wish the show would stick closer to the story as told by Martin. Even so, I've supported many of the changes up until now—alterations to Arya's storyline at Harrenhal in season 2 were particularly brilliant—but this season is really coming undone at the seams due to the sheer volume of differences. Chief among them is the rape of Sansa, which does not happen in the book, and for good reason.

Sansa, in both the book and the show, is a mistreated and emotionally abused character who suffers just about every possible punishment except rape. In both the third book and the third season, she is forced to marry into the family of her father's killer, but her husband—the kind dwarf, Tyrion—refuses to take her virginity without her consent. It's one of the only reprieves Sansa ever gets.

Which is why it's so frustrating for the show to invent a new storyline for Sansa where she is again married into an enemy family against her will—but this time, she is indeed raped. The fact that book-Sansa has not been forced to surrender her virginity to a monster is one small bright light in a world of darkness. For show-Sansa, it's all darkness. Relentlessly bleak storytelling can be as boring and lazy as low-stakes, everything-always-works-out storytelling, and Game of Thrones is veering into that territory. It's hard to care what happens to anyone, when we know the showrunners will bend over backwards to make sure that what happens will be even more horrifying than the already horrifying books.

Add in the fact that the plot developments necessary to get Sansa in bed with her rapist make little sense in either book-context or show-context, and I just can't say I was impressed. More intriguing, I think, would have been Sansa cleverly avoiding the rape.

On a side note, Rolling Stone complaining about the show's decision to explore a fictional rape between an innocent girl and a malevolent sociopath is unintentionally hilarious.

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  1. Yes, Game of Thrones Is a Show About Rape. I Still Hated That Scene.

    Is anyone going to admit they like rape scenes?

    1. seeing as how simulated rape is an entire genre of pornography… i’ve been told… I would think that many DO admit it with their wallets/browsing history every day.

      1. Will anyone write an article about it?

        1. I don’t know. It’s not my thing- and to your point I don’t know anyone who says it’s their thing either… but it MUST be people’s thing at some level, or they wouldn’t make them.

          I imagine the porn industry is sensitive to the demands of the market.

          1. My first wife fancied romance novels and these things were filled with rape fantasies.

    2. My friend said he loved that scene…

      1. I am looking forward to the dragon sex.

        1. Will cars be involved?

      2. I hated it…

        I kept waiting for a cut to Reek with a pizza box in his hands and a silly grin on his face followed by a look at the camera and him sayinf “Ilike to watch”….

    3. “Is anyone going to admit they like rape scenes?”

      Is “Tentacle Rape” included in that definition?

      JUST ASKING, JEEZ

    4. Is anyone going to admit they like rape scenes?

      Does the actress who starred in it count?

  2. I Still Hated That Scene.

    As much as you hate us, Soave?

    1. unpossible!

  3. GoT fan shocked and disgusted by unexpected poor treatment of character! Film at 11!

  4. Mattresses are apparently going to get carried away.

    1. +1 I see what you did there

  5. The worst part of all, is that if you try a google image search of “Sophie Turner bikini” (Sansa), you’ll get almost entirely photos of some aging super model from the 80’s who was never good looking to begin with. What a waste…

    1. maybe the 90’s on second glance… but still

  6. The show has jumped the shark, but is going to remain popular because people like sex and violence and think the show is much deeper than it really is. It’s pretty simple.

    1. It’s loosely based on source material from the book and is actually about 5x more timid. That is by definition, not jumping the shark.

      1. Too literal translations do not fair well in different media.

        That being said- this is simply a soap opera with titties.

        The promise of the first season has soured with the realization that it all goes nowhere and has nothing much to say.

        1. Everyone start watching Vikings.
          Less pretentious, more battle scenes, fewer titties, and you get to learn a little of the Norse legends.

          1. Vikings is excellent.

          2. Yeah, this.

            We love that show.

            1. I love the last scene where Rollo is introduced to his new bride.
              She delivers this lengthy statement in French about how she will never marry this disgusting barbarian if he was the last man alive.
              And he (doesn’t speak french) replies “Hello”.

              1. Loved it !!!!

          3. Some of us like the titties.

            1. Yeah, I really wanna see Lagertha’s. That actress is stupid hot.

          4. And they have rape scenes too. One in which one of the heroes of the show matter-of-factly rapes a slave.

            I actually find Soave’s attitude towards this pretty sad. So what if the character was raped in the show? It was relevant to the plot, considering who the Sansa character was married to, it’s consistent with the tone of the show, and it was hardly graphic (as they cut away from the actress).

            A rape scene relevant to the plot of a show is not some sort of travesty, nor does it minimize, glorify, or endorse rape. It certainly doesn’t inspire viewers to go out and commit rape. If you find it so loathsome, Soave, then watch something else where people aren’t gutted, murdered, and tortured to death every week. If the worst thing you’ve seen on that show is what happened to Sansa last week (considering they have two characters in an incestuous relationship and graphically stabbed a pregnant character to death, on camera) then your moral outrage is so inconsistent and arbitrary as to be laughable. Grow up.

      2. The source material is sprawling, uneven in quality and ultimately doomed to collapse under its own weight. The show is in a worse predicament since it has to finish at some point and thus must make all sorts of changes that contradict earlier seasons or story trajectories.

        Based on what we’ve seen so far, the writers are simply not up to the task of pulling this off.

        1. You’re just intimidated because your girlfriend has the hots for Ramsey.

        2. I feel like the show has done a pretty good job navigating the disaster of the last two books so far. Of course, I still don’t expect it to end well.

    2. think the show is much deeper than it really is

      I only just started watching the show and it’s good, but still, this. And it goes for pretty much all “gritty”, “dark”, and “real” story telling these days.

      People confuse *emotionally* provoking with thought provoking.

    3. “people like sex and violence and think the show is much deeper than it really is”

      Many of these big-budget HBO series are basically tarted-up soap operas with double-doses of cursing and killing.

  7. What is this?

    For Once, Game of Thrones Treats Rape With the Gravity It Deserves

    I believe that, while it was horrible to witness a beloved and innocent character like Sansa get raped, it didn’t feel gratitutous or unserious. Unlike with last year’s twincest rape, the director of this episode is quite clear that what we’re witnessing is, in fact, a rape. It wasn’t played off as rough sex, but as a deliberate act of dominance. For once, rape is being portrayed accurately, as an act of sadism instead of just an overabundance of passion.

    Guess who?

    1. Hitler?

      Oh, Marcotte?

      So, yeah, Hitler.

  8. I’m still pissed her dad got beheaded. Well that, and that the books never end.

  9. I found the scene (and increasingly, the show itself) boring/predictable.

    1. This ^^ If something good happened to Sansa I would have been surprised.

  10. Some people just cannot distinguish between fiction and reality.

    1. Also this.

      Everyone is complaining about Sansa getting raped.

      Sansa is a fictional character. No real people were hurt in the filming of this program!!!!

      1. And as someone else pointed out, these same people were not at all complaining about Dany getting raped on her wedding night by Kal Drogo, or about Theon getting tortured, mutilated, and his fucking dick cut off. But Sansa I guess is a bridge too far for some reason.

          1. More like they’re only offended by rape when the rapist is unattractive. Khal Drogo and Jamie Lannister are handsome and not entirely loathsome characters…Ramsay Bolton is thoroughly. Therefore, according to SJW logic, Sansa’s rape must have been worse because offended viewers like the first two rapists more than the last one.

        1. The only difference between Sansa’s wedding night and Dany’s is that we had a chance to get to know Sansa’s character first.

          1. Although we knew Cersei’s character pretty well, but the outrage over her getting raped (by her brother) was far more muted. But then by that point, they’d made Jamie Lannister more sympathetic than Cersei, so I guess that passes SJW muster.

        2. And that’s just two examples. Let’s not leave out Robb Stark’s pregnant wife getting stabbed in the stomach on camera, people burned at the stake by Melisandre, Robert Baratheon’s bastards being slaughtered, Joffrey forcing Ros to sodomize another prostitute with a clawed staff, and a child being fucking CRUCIFIED outside of Mereen.

          The whinging over Sansa being raped is nothing more than emotive social signaling, and should be treated with the contempt it deserves. Don’t gleefully wallow in shit and then act like you’re above such things when a sympathetic character gets treated violently, you fucking hypocrites.

          I think too many of the show’s fans whining about this thought Sansa was going to go into full-on Littlefinger mode this season, and are pissed because the producers aren’t giving them what they want. The season has been uneven, but that’s because the books they’re portraying are tedious as hell and there’s only so many seasons the producers can squeeze out before reality forces them to wrap it up.

          1. The season has been uneven because the idiot showrunners think they are better at writing this than GRRM, and they are sadly mistaken.

            1. The season has been uneven because the idiot showrunners think they are better at writing this than GRRM

              Oh please. FFC and DWD is some of the most tedious writing in the whole series, and the “idiot showrunners”, unlike Martin, are on a timeline. They can’t keep churning out seasons until Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams are 30 years old just so Martin has time to finish a series he’s been fucking around on the last 15 years.

              1. No excuse for the retardation of the current season.

                1. Please, explain to us all the ways in which books 6 and 7 are artistically so much better the TV show. Once Martin gets around to actually writing them, of course…in another decade or so.

              2. Agreed, the last two books are terrible, primarily because Martin wrote himself into a corner by killing Tywin Lannister halfway through his saga. Now he’s got no good villains to play against and book five had more filler than a middle school essay written to hit a word count (with only slightly more plot progression). Martin’s spent the last decade whining at fans to cover for his writer’s block and inability to sit down and write the fucking story…I’m glad some adults (HBO) are finally in charge of finishing it now. We’ll actually get an ending to it.

                As for quality, Cersei Lannister in this season is about ten times better-written than Cersei Lannister in the books. In the books she was written as so incompetent I half expected her to die by tripping and impaling herself on the Iron Throne. But then I guess he had to have something to distract from his inability to stay on topic and finish the primary story arc.

        3. Was Dany’s wedding night more rapey in the show too? Perhaps I am misremembering, but as I recall she was very young and a bit hesitant, perhaps, but not completely unwilling.

          1. She was not willing, merely resigned to her fate.

      2. I think everyone realizes that. It’s more than many people feel that sadistic violence shouldn’t be portrayed unless it is necessary. Otherwise, it seems gratuitous. they’re just having her get raped for our “entertainment”. Sansa is particularly innocent and has already been through a horrible ordeal with Joffrey, and there doesn’t seem to be a good narrative reason for her to get raped. In fact, since it was changed from the book, the show runners clearly made a positive choice to have that happen to her. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why except they thought it would be entertaining.

        1. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why except they thought it would be entertaining.

          Really? Entertainment? I thought they were trying to make an instructional video. What is this “drama” thing I read about in People Magazine?

          1. Yes. But many people feel these things should be handled fairly delicately, maybe because there are actual rapists out there who will find it titillating, and you don’t want to look like you’re trying to titillate. So rape is ok only if there’s a narrative purpose. That’s why so many people are arguing that there was no narrative reason to do it.

            Anyway, I don’t necessarily agree, but I think that is the motivation.

            Personally, I didn’t really like it. Maybe there is a good reason for it, but I think enough bad stuff has happened to Sansa, we didn’t really need to see more.

            1. But many people feel these things should be handled fairly delicately, maybe because there are actual rapists out there who will find it titillating, and you don’t want to look like you’re trying to titillate

              And they should avoid violence on screen because there are people who will find it titillating. In fact, they should avoid anything that viewers like.

              So rape is ok only if there’s a narrative purpose. That’s why so many people are arguing that there was no narrative reason to do it.

              In any story, anything that’s not essential is detrimental. Also a reduction in the number of characters when going from a book to a movie/tv show is extremely common. I personally don’t like this deviation, but quite clearly they didn’t think it worthwhile to bring back Jeyne Poole into the story. And if Sansa is going to take the place of Jeyne Poole, then she needs to actually suffer what Jeyne Poole suffered, so there is a narrative purpose behind it.

              Personally, I didn’t really like it. Maybe there is a good reason for it, but I think enough bad stuff has happened to Sansa, we didn’t really need to see more.

              If enough people write to GRRM that Sansa is their favorite character, he’ll probably just kill her and be done with it.

              1. And if Sansa is going to take the place of Jeyne Poole, then she needs to actually suffer what Jeyne Poole suffered, so there is a narrative purpose behind it.

                I make the same point below. However, lots of people havn’t read the books, and that stuff happening to a minor character is not the same as it happening to Sansa Stark. Because this means that now Sansa’s character arc is dramatically different. Unless there is something in future books that we don’t know about.

                1. that stuff happening to a minor character is not the same as it happening to Sansa Stark

                  Which is exactly why the showrunners would have it happen to her and not a basically non-existent character to whom the audience has no attachment. I’m not saying it was a good call, I just think that was the logic behind it.

                  Because this means that now Sansa’s character arc is dramatically different. Unless there is something in future books that we don’t know about.

                  But there is actually. The North is getting riled up that the brutish Ramsay is mistreating the Stark girl. Roose Bolton reprimands his son for so loudly and openly abusing her before the servants and smallfolk. Roose is essentially saying; “rape her more quietly or we’re fucked”.

                  Meanwhile the mere rumor of abuse is so inciting that Northern houses speak of rebellion and the heretofore principled Jon Snow is ready to march on Winterfell with an army of Wildlings.

                  I suspect the showrunners thought the audience wouldn’t be as sympathetic to an unknown character as they would a known character.

            2. Since it was the last scene in the episode, it seems premature to declare that it serves no narrative purpose. It could well serve as a catalyst for Theon to snap out of his Reeky stupor and take action, or for Sansa to finally leave the scared little girl behind and complete her metamorphosis into the cunning she-gangster she needs to be to get her revenge. And is anyone really surprised that a marriage to Ramsay would be consumated in this fashion? We should be thankful he didn’t put her on the rack.

              1. I’m pretty much in agreement with this. Yes, it was an awful thing to happen to her character. Sansa’s been through hell already and she doesn’t deserve this. It seems kind of gratuitious and unnecessary. But it may turn out that there is a legit reason for it in terms of compressing plot lines and the narrative structure that the TV show runners have in mind.

              2. But, the show “thinks” nothing positive should happen to anyone, so I could just as easily see Sansa get flayed the following morning and eaten for breakfast just because the shows producers think they need to keep uping the shock factor.

                1. But, the show “thinks” nothing positive should happen to anyone, so I could just as easily see Sansa get flayed the following morning and eaten for breakfast just because the shows producers think they need to keep uping the shock factor.

                  You give the producers credit for events from the books which they didn’t develop. They’ve done some deviations sure, but even here Sansa isn’t getting it nearly as bad as Jeyne Poole got it in the book. It wasn’t the producers who killed Eddard, Catelyn, Robb Stark, or Tywin Lannister et al.

                  1. Not to mention that the HBO writers have to basically write the story for Martin now because he can’t be bothered to stick to any kind of schedule for releasing his book.

                    Frankly, FS, I think your point about the North responding to Sansa’s treatment is on-point. Considering Ramsay’s earlier violence against the lords on taxes, and their lack of respect for Roose Bolton’s means of becoming Warden of the North, I think the Sansa incident is what touches off a revolt and leads to the Boltons being killed off. Frankly, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Theon lead the revolt and redeem himself in the North for it…especially since the act for which he is most despised (killing Bran and Rickon) was actually a deception he created to save them from the Ironborn.

    2. Actually – it is more real than you imagine.Much of it is based upon real life history. Much of the violence actually was a fact of life up until recently especially in the middle ages, and the classical world. Rape was used as weapon against enemy people. Things like the inquisition happened and thousands were burned alive
      Furthermore in many parts of our modern world barbarism still exists – think of Isis.

  11. I hadn’t seen the episode yet but I watched just that scene online, and seriously? In a show full of disturbing imagery, that was probably one of the least disturbing.

    It’s a show about power struggles and fucked up sadistic fucks.

    1. It’s a show about power struggles and fucked up sadistic fucks.

      So kind of like House of Cards?

      1. I was going to guess “Friends.”

    2. It’s also a show where a pregnant woman was stabbed in the stomach like 300 times, a man trying to avenge his sister’s rape and murder had his head crushed by her rapist, and the character who committed this controversial rape earlier cut a dude’s penis off.

      Apparently sexually mutilating men and murdering babies inside their mothers’ wombs is totally okay, but man, you’d better stay away from rape!

      1. Apparently only Sansa-rape is bad, because these same people seemed to be undisturbed by Dany’s much more graphic rape.

        1. The moral here: Teach Men Not to Rape Gingers

          1. Maybe Sansa stole Ramsey’s soul.

        2. ??? Dany didn’t have her clothes ripped off and wasn’t screaming in pain.
          Also, it was in the book. Also, in the book she says “yes”.

          1. Yeah, Dany thoroughly enjoyed her wedding night with Drogo, silly me.

            1. She may not have enjoyed it, but it seemed like (in the book, I haven’t seen the show) she accepted it as her duty and found some kind of pleasure in it.

              By modern standards it is rape, but in the context of the story, it’s just what is going to happen when a young princess marries a big, brutal horse guy.

              1. IIRC in the book, he fondles her until she says “yes”. (The only words of the common language he knows are “no” and “yes”.) In other words, gentle foreplay. The show makes it more rapey, but still, she’s going along with it.

            2. Um, yeah, she was obviously in love with Drogo in the books and in the show.

      2. I’ve been thinking the same thing and I believe it reinforces my theory that progs don’t have an actual moral compass. They base their moral outrage on whatever the current talking point is. Now it’s rape.

        1. Don’t worry, we’ll be back to inequality shortly whenever rape gets tedious

      3. And seriously, the worst comment I ever saw about Talisa’s unplanned abortion was, “That was really hard to watch.” I never saw any kvetching about how the show went too far and too violent. That was another change from the books – Robb’s wife is not at the wedding – but it was inevitable once we knew that Talisa was joining him. Just like, once we knew they decided to bring Sansa to Winterfell, this was bound to happen.

        And people are pissed without knowing where the story is going yet? Or that it is inconsistent with the Sansa from the books? Wait to see what the show does.

    3. Like I said elsewhere, it was disturbing because of our attachment to the character, not because of how graphic it was.

  12. Add in the fact that the plot developments necessary to get Sansa in bed with her rapist make little sense in either book-context or show-context…

    Do we know that at this point? The show and the books have diverged.

    I had no problem with the scene. Nor did I have a problem with the Jamie/Cersei scene. Bad things happen. Some characters get hacked to death, some get abused but live. Also, in my mind, it’s just actors doing things. I enjoy fictional storytelling but don’t get too caught up because I know it’s not real.

    1. Precisely, we really don’t know what the show’s plan is. Maybe they don’t have a broader plan past this season and adapting the last two books (certainly, Littlefinger’s motivation is either really stupid or completely obscured), but none of us know what the ultimate game plan is for these characters. Perhaps it’s important that book Sansa be in the north for the conclusion, and this adaptation change was an efficient way to get that business done. Perhaps GRRM’s intentions for Sansa are relatively modest, and the show wants something more dramatic for their character?

      It’s hard to know at this point! People seem to forget that, while GRRM has another 2000 pages to wrap up this story, these guys are operating under the assumption that they only have 20 more episodes.

      1. It’s hard to know at this point!

        THIS!

        Furthermore, the deviations from the books may in fact be to keep the bookies off balance. Which is a good thing.

    2. Yes, we know. None of the plot lines make the slightest amount of sense this season.

      The Jamie story-line in Dorne is just plain stupid – and badly choreographed. In earlier seasons, Loras Tyrell was played up as one of the greatest fighters in the world (like the book). This season, he’s a simpering wimp – while Lancel is the opposite.

      Obviously Brienne is going to rescue her because having Mance Rayder do it would be too complicated.

  13. See, it was obvious Sansa had to get raped once they were going to marry her off to Bolton. Bolton is an outright sexual sadist who hunts women for sport and castrated Theon Greyjoy. Did anyone seriously think there was any way they could have him marry Sansa without that relationship involving horrible sexual violence?

    The real issue is that it makes no sense that the Sansa marriage would happen in the first place since everyone knows Ramsay Bolton is crazy and I don’t know why Littlefinger would let him marry Sansa. I also don’t know why Sansa Stark would agree to marry the son of the person who personally murdered her brother and mom.

    The marriage plot makes no sense, in other words, but the actual rape sprung naturally from the fact that Sansa married an outright psychopath, so there’s really nothing wrong with the rape scene itself.

    1. I don’t know why Littlefinger would let him marry Sansa

      Because Littlefinger is not an asshole himself?

      1. But Littlefinger pretty clearly loves Sansa because she’s the daughter of the woman he was obsessed with. He’s been creepily projecting his love of Caitlyn onto her daughter for like 2 seasons.

        Why would he let her marry a crazy person who was guaranteed to abuse her?

        1. I guess to me, while he clearly loved Caitlyn, his “love” for Sansa was a little overblown. As Andrew says below, apparently he is unaware of how evil Ramsay is, but at the end of the day, fuck her. He’s just using her to get what he wants.

          1. It seemed to me, in the book, that he was grooming her to be his wife, probably to become king of the north.

          2. I don’t believe Littlefinger loved Caitlyn or Sansa…they’re just a means to an end for him. It’s a nice story for Littlefinger to tell to make people think he’s driven by petty jealousies and desires just like a commoner, but really it’s just a ploy designed to get people to underestimate how power-hungry he is and how there are no people who really matter to him.

        2. Winterfell is a long way away from King’s Landing. It’s possible that Ramsey’s reputation is not known that far south.

          Anyway, it seems clear to me that Littlefinger’s plan is to marry Sansa himself (after the Bolton’s are killed by Stannis), get himself declared warden of the North, eventually King in the North, and eventually seize the throne for himself.

          1. Not only is Winterfell a long way from Kings Landing, but any intelligence and courier networks that existed were disrupted by the War of the Five Kings.

            Without a functioning network of eyes and ears, you largely have to rely on rumor, and rumor has a way of exaggerating the truth.

          2. In addition, he uses Sansa to show Cersei that the Bolton’s are betraying the Lanister’s, putting him in better position. He’s always playing the chess game.

            I think the scene makes sense, though I kept wishing Sansa would manage to show some backbone, and either scheme her way out of it, or that Theon would remember he still is Theon, cock or no, and kill the bastard.

            1. One of the interesting things about Sansa is that she is so internalized. IIRC she still going around saying she loves Joffrey for all of Season Two, even after he cut of her dad’s head in front of her. And she never tells anyone what she really thinks until that day in Season Three when Lady Oleanna asks her what Joffrey is like.

              So it makes it hard to tell if she is gradually becoming stronger, or if she’s still the innocent naif of Season One.

              Side note: it’s worth noting that Sansa is partially responsible for her own predicament because she went to Cersei and told her that Ned Stark was planning to move his family out of the city. Back when she was being a silly girl and she didn’t want to leave Joffrey.That’s how Cersei got advance warning that Ned Stark was going to move against her. She needed the Stark girls as hostages.

              Still, I think Sansa’s suffered enough.

              1. No, that is not how Cersei got advance warning – Ned Stark told Cersei out of a foolish sense of honor to allow her to save her children from Robert’s wrath.

                1. That’s not how I remember it. Cersei apprently tells Joffrey how stupid Sansa is later, because Joffrey repeats it to Sansa.
                  Part of that stupidity is Sansa going to her and telling her that Ned’s planning to ship them back to Winterfell.

    2. According to the showrunners, Littlefinger doesn’t know of the level of Ramsay’s sociopathy.

      1. An absurd premise given Littlefinger’s reputation for intelligence and insight into the inner workings and politics of the seven kingdoms and the noble families.

        1. Roose even scolds Ramsay last season for his excessive cruelty because rumors were starting to spread about them at a time when they need to consolidate their control of the North.

          There’s just no way a man as connected as Littlefinger would not hear these rumors.

          1. There is absolutely no way Littlefinger would leave his trump card with the Boltons without understanding what they are. Even if she is just a gamepiece to him, she is too important of to put at unnecessary risk.

            1. Well, there’s no way the Boltons would kill Sansa considering that she gives them a legitimate claim to the North.

              It could be that LF thinks they wouldn’t harm her given that she has power via her family’s status. Torturing the daughter of a beloved house in their own territory is not exactly a way to win friends among the people.

              1. There is no way Roose would kill her. Ramsey is more interested in playing his sadistic games then in doing the smart thing, like how he geldedTheon.

        2. “An absurd premise given Littlefinger’s reputation for intelligence and insight into the inner workings and politics of the seven kingdoms and the noble families.”

          Correct.

          We talked about this on sunday night. The characters are doing all sorts of shit that is in complete contradiction to who they spent 4 years building them up as. All the super-smart and complex-conspiracy-managing characters like Baelish and Circe are resorting to stupid snap decisions for the sake of advancing the hamhanded plot now.

          1. Cerci has been impetuous and foolish until now; her decisions and gameplay are a lot more devious than they were in the past.

            Out of character.

            1. Or she grew up after her fathers death, because the showrunners realized they needed a competent villain to work against, now that Tywin Lannister is dead. In the books Cersei was cartoonishly incompetent and the books suffered for the lack of a quality antagonist. Frankly, I’ve been impressed with the TV version of her this season.

    3. Probably the worst thing this show has done was take Littlefinger from a pleasingly complex and shifty schemer to this idiot that just does stuff for no apparent reason. I love Aiden Gillen, but his schtick as worn so thin by now that he’s no longer interesting. George Lucas could do a better job at this point giving the character understandable motivations.

      1. to this idiot that just does stuff for no apparent reason.

        What has he done for no apparent reason?

        1. 1. Marry Sansa to the Boltons

          2. Tell Cersei this and offer to kill her and the Boltons

          3. ????

          4. Become Warden of the North despite having zero claim to it by blood, marriage or popularity among the other houses

          When did this become his goal? What does he get out of it? His motivation used to be attaining more power so he could be worthy of Catelyn. After she died he murdered Joffrey as a personal revenge. So now what does he want?

          1. 1. Marry Sansa to the Boltons

            There was quite clearly a reason for that. As shown in the conversation between Cersei and Littlefinger.

            2. Tell Cersei this and offer to kill her and the Boltons

            You sort of refute your own #1 objection with this one.

            4. Become Warden of the North despite having zero claim to it by blood, marriage or popularity among the other houses

            He didn’t become Warden of the North, though that may be part of his ambition. And unlike “Lord Paramount”, Warden of the North is a military title bestowed by the crown, not technically an inherited title. Jamie Lannister was named Warden of the East (the Vale) for example.

            When did this become his goal?

            The most recent book revealed it and we can only assume it was his goal long before it was revealed to the reader.

            What does he get out of it?

            The power of another of the 7 kingdoms in his pocket.

            His motivation used to be attaining more power so he could be worthy of Catelyn.

            No, Cat Stark was a separate goal in and of herself. Power is, and always has been, his objective.

            After she died he murdered Joffrey as a personal revenge.

            No. (if) He murdered Joffrey in furtherance to his ambition for power. And it’s not even conclusive that he was the primary conspirator.

            So now what does he want?

            Power.

            1. It’s pretty obvious that Littlefinger is EXTREMELY ambitious.
              Also, wasn’t it revealed that it was HE who arranged the poisoning of John Arryn and thus set in motion the conflict between the Starks and the Lannisters?
              He’s pretty obviously got some sort of master plan he’s been executing.
              Meanwhile, Varys is trying to put Daenerys on the throne.

            2. I wasn’t objecting to each part of his plan, just laying it out the way I see it unfolding.

              Anyway, it seems to me the key part of his plan to take over the Seven Kingdoms, as you describe it, is Sansa. Without her, he can’t get a grip over the North. So isn’t it pretty stupid to leave the key part of your plan in the hands of a psychotic house that flays people for fun?

              Like what if Stannis wins but before he captures Winterfell Ramsay kills Sansa rather than let Stannis have her? Or she dies as collateral damage in the fighting? Seems like a huge thing to leave to chance and uncertainty.

              1. I wasn’t objecting to each part of his plan, just laying it out the way I see it unfolding.

                No you were saying he’s an idiot who does stuff for no reason.

                Sansa. Without her, he can’t get a grip over the North. So isn’t it pretty stupid to leave the key part of your plan in the hands of a psychotic house that flays people for fun?

                Personally, I don’t particularly like this deviation from the books. Originally Sansa was to marry an heir of the Vale and using the army of the Vale and some Stark loyalists up North, he would take the North from the Boltons and then hypothetically the Riverlands, the other place where Sansa would have some claim. As for the series, I can only assume that Littlefinger knows Sansa isn’t going to be flayed because she’s too important to the Bolton’s hold on the North and meanwhile placing her there will give him license from the crown to raise an army.

                Like what if […] Ramsay kills Sansa rather than let Stannis have her? Or she dies as collateral damage in the fighting? Seems like a huge thing to leave to chance and uncertainty.

                Well I think that’s a chance Littlefinger was willing to take. If Sansa were murdered by the Boltons, there’d be no way for the Boltons to hold the North after that. Nearly every facet of his plan involved a huge amount of risk. From betraying Eddard Stark to murdering Joffrey, none of the outcomes were guaranteed.

                1. Originally Sansa was to marry an heir of the Vale and using the army of the Vale and some Stark loyalists up North, he would take the North from the Boltons and then hypothetically the Riverlands, the other place where Sansa would have some claim.

                  While I do love this plan, it seems pretty clear to me that it’s another thread that GRRM will cut short, like all of the Dornish schemes. Do any of us really expect LF to take over those regions successfully? That’d be awesome, because I like watching LF climb the ladder this way, but c’mon. It’s almost certainly going to be foiled by some other event (perhaps an invasion of greyscale?).

                  And if that’s the case, why would the show spend 10-15 episodes setting it up? Keeping Sansa in the Vale means a whole other isolated storyline, and ultimately the show can’t maintain that. It sucks, but that’s the reality of the situation, and a lot of book purists are unfair about it.

                2. Personally, I don’t particularly like this deviation from the books. Originally Sansa was to marry an heir of the Vale and using the army of the Vale and some Stark loyalists up North, he would take the North from the Boltons and then hypothetically the Riverlands, the other place where Sansa would have some claim. As for the series, I can only assume that Littlefinger knows Sansa isn’t going to be flayed because she’s too important to the Bolton’s hold on the North and meanwhile placing her there will give him license from the crown to raise an army.

                  My take on it is that the change is based more on the showrunner’s pragmatism than anything else. They only have ten episodes in which to tell the story, and seven seasons of the show in which to work. If the final season is going to be dealing with the White Walkers, they’ve got to tie up ancillary stories in season five so they can deal with Dany’s return in season six. The stuff in the book would just take too long to deal with…and frankly, Martin hinted that he might even run the series longer than seven books because he wants to keep dicking around with side stories rather than focusing on the main plot.

                  1. Ten episodes per season, I mean, with two and a half seasons remaining.

                    They really are under a time crunch, frankly…especially since they’ll likely have to write seasons six and seven with little help from Martin. They’ve still got to get Dany out of Mereen and back to Westeros, create a storyline by which she can control the Seven Kingdoms (it took her two seasons just to get to running a few slaver cities), and then do the war with the White Walkers. And that’s if they follow a somewhat predictable story arc and don’t use any of Martin’s red herrings or distractions in book five. That’s not a lot of time remaining to resolve all of the Westeros threads that are still out there (Stannis, Jon, Arya, Boltons/Sansa, Sandor (if they choose to bring him back), and all the Lannister drama in Kings Landing).

                    So Sansa’s rape actually would serve a purpose if it touches off a revolt…it would force them to resolve issues in the North in this season, so they could use the last two seasons to finish off the main story threads (Dany’s return, White Walkers).

          2. We don’t know his motivations, and I thought this past episode made it very clear that none of his explanations are truthful. My best guess is that he’s doing whatever he can to whittle down these powerful houses and their armies even further. He’s already crippled the Iron Throne with debt, now he wants to make sure Stannis and Bolton are removed from the equation. As in the books, he probably predicts the Lannisters and Tyrells will kill each other. And he’ll be left with the one army that is still whole and rested.

            And I’m not sure where you got that Cat motivation. I’m sure that was always part of it, but he’s had these broader ambitions for a long time. He didn’t murder Jon Arryn to impress Cat.

            1. Really? I thought it was pretty clear the chip on his shoulder that drives him to seek more power stems from being denied Cat as a child because of his low station.

              Varys called his love for her his weakness, which he likes to needle him about.

              1. The chip on his shoulder was his low station, not necessarily that he was denied Cat by his low station. The Brandon Stark duel impressed upon him a desire to outwit, manipulate and destroy his supposed betters. The fact that he was willing to set into motion the events that would lead to the murder of Catelyn and supposedly her entire family, tells us that power was his real objective.

              2. He loves Cat, but his objective was always to gain power. So I wouldn’t call her his motivation, which changed once she was killed. I’m sure he hoped she would make it out alive and be with him on top of the ashes, but he wasn’t doing all of this “for her.”

                Seducing her sister could have easily blown up his plans, for one thing.

          3. Become Warden of the North despite having zero claim to it by blood, marriage or popularity among the other houses

            You mean like the Boltons? It’s pretty obvious that they’re asserting that title through violence rather than diplomacy or devotion from many of the other Stark-aligned houses. The Karstarks are probably the only house in the TV series with a legitimate reason to join up with them. Roose got the title for the same reason that Littlefinger proposed to be made Warden in the last episode–through treachery to a supposed ally.

            So now what does he want?

            Remember his soliloquy in the first season during Ros’s sexposition scene in the brothel? He says that “I’m not going to fight them, I’m going to fuck them.” I think his motivation is to see the whole edifice of Westeros burn to the ground, which Varys speculated early on.

      2. They took his whorehouse away, so there’s nowhere for him to patiently explain the the audience what is happening in his schemes while two ugly chicks 69.

        1. I know, seriously? That was the only upside of the “Baelish Exposition” scenes.

    4. In some post-show commentary, the showrunners spouted some nonsense about Littlefinger not knowing the full extent of Ramsay’s psychopathy. Which is of course ridiculous. Littlefinger knows everything!

      1. Especially since he’s been hunting women in the woods with dogs and he flayed an entire garrison of Ironborn while they were still alive. That’s not the kind of activity that can occur without people learning about it.

        At least they didn’t have Ramsay Bolton lock his first wife in a tower and make her eat her fingers like he did in the books because then there’d really be no excuse for Littlefinger’s behavior.

        1. Lady Hornwood was asking for it. Did you see the frock the she was wearing?

      2. I think it’d be fair to say that Littlefinger didn’t know about Ramsay offhand. But once he pursued the idea of marrying his major bargaining chip to a northern lord… yeah, he’d probably put all his resources into vetting Ramsay. The flaying may not trouble him, but there must have been word about his crazy girlfriend and rumors about the hunts.

        1. He was also summoned back to King’s landing. Possible he didn’t have enough time to thoroughly investigate?

          1. Well I would hope he would have done his research before proposing the marriage and riding the 1000 miles to Winterfell to deliver Sansa.

      3. Go away, Soave. We know you hate us.

    5. The “theory” I’d seen suggested for LF leaving Sansa with the Boltons is that it is something of payback for her revealing herself to the other leaders in the Vale. She tried to undercut LF, and now LF is reminding her that he is the “player”, not she. Given how he disposed of Roz when she was no longer useful to him I think it kinda fits.

      I don’t actually think that was the intent and it is simply a viewer reading a bit too much into it, but it would solidify LF as a truly disgusting character.

  14. Everything is about politics to these people. Every. Single. Thing.

    1. So they’re all Clintons?

  15. What’s the difference between marriage consummation and rape? She was well aware marriage = babies, and unless she was totally clueless on where babies came from knew what she was getting into with this arrangement. She was whimpering because Ramsey went in dry and she’s a virgin. That’s like double ungood right there.

      1. Yes

    1. Well ask any proggy; legal=moral. And I dare say that “marital rape” is a contradiction in terms in ye olde Westeros.

      1. 50% of this marriage votes that it’s not rape.

        1. Men have a 51% vote I’m afraid.

  16. On a side note, Rolling Stone complaining about the show’s decision to explore a fictional rape between an innocent girl and a malevolent sociopath is unintentionally hilarious.

    Outstanding, Robby. Ouuuuut-standing.

    1. Yeah, Robby gets credit for that one.

      1. Should have been the focus of the entire post = magnifying the hyper-absurdity of our ‘Rape-Obsessed’ media and their utter lack of self-awareness.

  17. The folks bemoaning Sansa’s treatment by Ramsay are going to lose their minds when the Knights of the Vale take their turns with Littlefinger’s daughter at the end of book 6 after he is killed when his machinations are exposed.

    I think some of the wailing and gnashing to teeth is because GoT is rapidly approaching territory that is uncharted in ASOIAF. Had Jeyne Poole been brought back to the story for season 5 and been Ramsay’s victim last night fewer people care; it’s expected and she wasn’t “important”.

  18. Sansa was raped? She didn’t agree to get married as part of Littlefinger’s plan? She didn’t take her clothes off when her husband asked her to? She didn’t present like a mandrill?

    She had some unpleasant sex to further her own goals, much like a golddigger going down on an 94-year-old millionaire while waiting for him to die. Since when is this rape?

    1. Since she decided she didn’t like it so much? That is the current standard, isn’t it?

    2. Really? I don’t think Sansa consented to being anally penetrated while the eunuch she thinks murdered her brothers was forced to watch her deflowering.

      Since when is forcing a woman to undergo sexual activities she didn’t consent to not rape?

      1. How do you know it was anal? Just curious.

      2. A. Nothing about the scene implies anal. A heir is in Ramsay’s interest.

        B. Either she was deflowered or buggered, pick one.

        C. She had time to light that candle, and didn’t. This was her role in Littlefinger’s plot.

        D. Having Reek watch is not rape.

        1. Yes, well, if you put it in context and compare it to how Tyrion behaved.
          1) Tyrion respected her right to wait until she wanted to, Ramsey didn’t.
          2) Ramsey could have been a little bit more romantic instead of like “Take of your clothes, I’m not going to ask twice!”
          3) It’s possible for husbands to rape their wives. Just because she consented to get married doesn’t mean she consented to fuck right that instant in that way.

          4) For fuck sake, foreplay!

          1. Tyrion respected her right to wait until she wanted to, Ramsey didn’t.

            And Tyrion is probably the only character in the story who would have done that. And while we would argue that she has the natural right to refuse, that right is not recognized by anyone in the story, including Sansa. She didn’t want Tyrion to fuck her, but she was going to let it happen because that is a wife’s obligation in that world.

            1. Sure, in the context of the legal standards of the culture being portrayed, it’s not rape. But it is rape by the standards of the people producing, acting in, and watching the show.

              1. But it is rape by the standards of the people producing, acting in, and watching the show.

                If that’s the standard, the actress portraying Sansa didn’t have a problem with it, therefore neither should anyone else.

                1. Not to mention that as sex scenes (consensual or otherwise) go in GoT, Sansa’s was pretty tame…whether it was rape or not. No nudity on the part of the actress, whatever happened occurred off-camera, the most shocking part of it came from watching Theon’s reaction (and kudos to the actor for doing a great job).

                  If we want to get into shocking depictions of rape, what almost happened to Carl’s character on “Walking Dead” (where he was almost raped and murdered in front of his father by the Claimers) was much worse. I didn’t hear any SJWs bitching about that scene…but then I guess TV rape scenes are only bad if it happens to a pretty teenaged girl.

      3. Can you really anally “deflower” a girl? That’s the servants’ entrance.

        1. Can we get a ruling from Whoopie Goldberg?

          She says, “no”

          1. Whoopie’s got loose butthole.

    3. I ain’t sayin’ she a golddigger
      But she ain’t hangin’ with no broke Trigger
      I ain’t sayin’ she a golddigger…

    4. This.

      I’ve only seen the scene once to this point so I pay have missed her actually objecting but I do not recall her ever doing anything or saying anything to her husband to indicate she was not consenting.

      Sure, she wasn’t happy about the circumstances or the person but she agreed to be married to him of her own free will and while that does not in any way commit her to having sex it does create an expectation that it will be happening that night meaning it is kind of on her to let someone know she’s not down with it.

      The people who are mentioning Drogo raping Danni are even dumber because she was a very active and willing participant she just didn’t have the slightest idea what to do

      Somehow in both these cases are trying to imply that fear and discomfort means that by definition there is no consent.

      1. Err, really? I’d say they both qualify as some kind of rape, especially in the case of Dany. From what I recall of Sansa’s scene, she knows they have to consummate the marriage, but Ramsay is way more violent than she was comfortable with.

        This is all veering very close to Dennis Reynolds and “the implication” logic.

        1. Well Dany would technically be statutory rape since she was supposed to be something like 16 in the show and in the books she was like 15.

          I suppose one could also question how much she was agreeing to the marriage of her own free will but outside of that there is little doubt that she was consenting in general.

          In the case of Sansa there is no question she is of the age of consent both in her world and ours and it is clear that she has no interest in Ramsay but is merely marrying him for her own political purposes, a marriage she knows will need to be consummated.

          She clearly could have objected to the situation which likely would have lead to an actual rape by Ramsay but there is no way she could have known that. My take on the situation was that she was simply determined to “bend over and take it” because she knew it was inevitable and was required to achieve her longer term goals (to retake the North for herself and avenge her family on those that betrayed it).

          1. Eh… the way I saw it was that she was willing to consummate the marriage but Ramsey wasn’t giving her time to prepare herself. He just immediately demands she take her clothes off and when she doesn’t immediately comply, rips them off and rapes her. She doesn’t really resist, but it’s pretty clear that she wasn’t ready and wasn’t consenting.

            1. So… not rape, but sexual assault?

              1. That is not a meaningful distinction. Lack of consent is rape. It isn’t “not-rape” just because the woman isn’t actively physically resisting.

      2. Well, the screaming is a pretty good indication it was rape. Plus the fact that he ripped her clothes off when she didn’t immediately disrobe.

    5. “Sansa was raped? She didn’t agree to get married as part of Littlefinger’s plan? She didn’t take her clothes off when her husband asked her to? She didn’t present like a mandrill?”

      Dude, clearly you’re one of these mouthbreathers who lives in the 19th century and thinks “Marriage” is offering tacit permission. get with the times. Here, read some Dworkin.

  19. Few points to make:

    1) My immediate reaction to the scene was disgust. I felt that Sansa had been punished enough through her relationship with Joffrey and didn’t need to get married to *another* sadistic bastard. (If you recall, Sansa lied to protect Joffrey after he got in a fight with Arya and her wolf bit him. Also she was a bit of an idiot about Joffrey for the entire first season. )

    2) I didn’t remember it from the book, but this stuff actually happens to Jeyne Poole. If Sansa ends up at Winterfell eventually and they are merging and compressing plotlines, it makes sense for those events to happen to her instead. Still, Jeyne is a much more minor character and WTF happens to Sansa’s original plotline? Surely, she’s supposed to be down in the Vale doing something else ….

    3) On the other hand, nobody should have been under the impression that Sansa was going to have a fairytale wedding. One could read the scene as an ordeal Sansa was willing to endure in order to put herself in a position of power in Winterfell. There was a similar scene on ‘The Borgias’ for the early part of Lucretia Borgia’s life, and of course, she goes on to be a much more powerful figure. Sansa seems to be heading towards being a “player” in her own way.

    1. 4) The problem here is that it’s clear in this case that the producers made a deliberate decision to have this happen to Sansa, so they don’t have the excuse of saying that it happened in the book. Sure, maybe they are compressing plotlines, but they didn’t necessarily have to have her raped in order to summarize the Jeyne Poole storyline.

      5) It also seems like they are trying to build up Ramsey Bolton to replace Joffrey as the love-to-hate character. I admit Ramsey has a kind of Alex-from-Clockwork-Orange thing going on. However, part of what made Joffrey so hateable is that he was a whiney baby and a total coward whenever he was confronted with an actual threat.
      And then he would cover it up by being extra cruel to people later. Ramsey is just straightforwardly sadistic. The scene doesn’t add any special nuance to his character.

      1. Ramsay is the most sadistic person in the story to date, but he does love his Reek, in his own way. It bugged me that Sansa went so willingly along with Petyr’s plan, but then it was pointed out that unlike in the books Ramsay’s psychopathy was not well-known by everyone. It still makes more sense for fake-Arya to go along with it than an actual Stark, given what the Boltons did to their family. Even new and improved strong Sansa would have totally refused, imo.

        1. I’m not sure why, but I think Joffrey was much more interesting in his bastardly way.
          Maybe it’s just a better actor. Maybe because he was better at actually being charming when he wanted to be – yet still had that obnoxiously smug smirk on his face all the time. Ramsey is just sadistic all the time, thus boring. Joffrey would be alternately childish, sadistic, charming, and cowardly.

          1. Ramsey has no pretensions towards ruling all of Westeros, and he wasn’t part of Bolton’s actual family for most of his life. Joffrey had some understanding of how to rule simply because he was raised to do it…he was just terrible at it.

            Frankly, for pure psychopaths who exist solely to get emotional responses from the audience, both Ramsey and Joffrey were well written. Neither was written to be a realistic or nuanced character.

        2. He loves Reek like a psychopath loves a pet he’s brutally tortured. He doesn’t give a shit about Reek/Theon…he just enjoys reminders of how effective he is at breaking people. Reek is a constant reminder, and he’s always there in case he can’t find another outlet.

  20. Generally I just go along with it. If I must treat the books and the show increasingly as separate things, so be it. Sure, it was disturbing to see Sansa married to Ramsay and brutalized by him, but this is in keeping both with the show’s tendency to reduce the number of characters we have to care about (a tall order), and in no way does it violate any sort of narrative or character rule it’s established (there are none, duh).

    That said, one criticism was interesting to me: that it focused on Theon’s face and not Sansa. Putting her in place of the minor character Jeyne Poole changes the dynamic a lot–as originally this scene was all about Theon’s character development, shown from his POV and a pivotal moment for him. Now it’s also a moment for the even more major character Sansa, and that’s not necessarily bad, I’ll just have to see where they go. It was either replace Jeyne with Sansa or leave Sansa out this season, if you think about it.

    1. Oh, look. Someone forgot to change back to their regular handle again. Fuck off, trollpuppet.

      1. tl;dr (the troll, not you – you’re endlessly fascinating)

    2. That said, one criticism was interesting to me: that it focused on Theon’s face and not Sansa.

      Would it have made the scene better to see her crying face bouncing around instead of Theon’s?

      1. The criticism is that it made it about a man’s character development. But that’s exactly what it was in the book, for good or ill.

        1. Which is childish. One scene can accomplish two things. Three things, if the director is really ambitious!

          1. It was just a tad awkward. The scene is supposed to be about Theon, but now why should we care about Theon when Sansa Stark is getting raped? Not to say Jeyne is less of a person, but she serves as a vehicle for Theon’s transformation. Sansa is a fleshed-out character even more important than he.

            But I get it. The plot is thin on major shocking moments from here on out, so we needed one (they probably figured). And they probably figured we don’t care that much about Theon, though he’s drawn as one of the most interesting characters in the books.

            1. I didn’t think Theon was that interesting, even in the books.
              He’s one of the worst people in the books actually.
              Almost everything that has happened to him so far has been totally deserved.
              He betrayed his friend and foster brother Rob Stark and ALL of this is a direct result of that. He even kind of deserved to get castrated given his behavior with women up until that point. He orchestrated the downfall of the North behind Rob’s back, and he did it all purely to please a family that be barely knew so that he would remain heir to the Iron Isles. And he was too incompetent to hold onto any of the territory he gained, so of course he fell into the Bolton’s hands. Lesson one, don’t be a traitorous fool. Lesson two, don’t seize power if you’re too incompetent to hold onto it.

              1. I don’t think he’s especially likeable or possesses many positive qualities, but I call him interesting because he seems to be Martin’s attempt to make the reader feel sympathy and even root for for a guy who murdered two little boys in an incompetent attempt at a power grab. To do this he had him savagely tortured and mutilated and then contrasted with the biggest psychopath in the world, sure, but shades of gray and stuff.

                1. He didn’t just murder two little boys (just to make it look like he murdered two completely different boys).

                  He is indirectly responsible for Rob Stark’s murder, because the loss of the North meants that Rob was cut off from his base of support. He lost the entire war and caused the downfall of the entire Stark family.

                  1. Isn’t everyone indirectly or directly responsible for Robb’s murder?

                    1. No.

                      What Theon did was a major fucking strategic reason Rob Stark was where he was.

                    2. Robb was at The Twins because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. The Freys may never have betrayed the Starks if not for his original broken promise. Theon has little to do with losing the North. His takeover of Winterfell was an ego trip, and soon undone by the Boltons who, again, wouldn’t have been able to take the North without the Freys switching sides.

                    3. No, that was only part of the reason he was there. The other half was that he needed Walder Frey’s alleigance so that he could send ofrces back to the North to retake Winterfell. Because Walder Frey controls the only route back to the North. Which, if you recall is why he agreed to marry Frey’s daughter in the first place, so he could get past the Twins.

                      If Theon hadn’t taken Winterfell, Rob would have continued his (up til then successful) campaign against the Lannisters. He could have ignored Frey and continued to march on King’s Landing. It also undercut his support among the other houses who became concerned with defending their own lands up north against the ironmen.

                      In other words, Theon’s taking Winterfell absolutely necessitated that Rob turn back and reinforce his rear, which put him in an extremely vulternable position and forced him to placate Walder Frey.
                      Which led directly to his demise.

            2. I didn’t think it was awkward at all. I thought it was the perfect way to do the scene that was written. Would it have been better if they showed us Sansa’s face? Pushing in on Theon both provided us some distance from the horror, and gave us additional information (this is traumatizing to Theon as well as Sansa). There’s really no other way to do the scene, without cutting out before it happens, which would be out of character for the show.

              Theon’s chapters were probably my favorite of ADwD. I’m not all that impressed with what the show is doing in the north, but I’m waiting to see the season as a whole. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have her kill Ramsay in episode 10, and I am now a lot more interested in what role Sansa is supposed to play in the larger narrative.

              1. I thought Theon was crying because he was reminded that his banging days are over.

        2. The criticism also indicated that it would be less upsetting if it was some poor girly character like Jeyne Poole was in the book, but they see this as derailing Sansa from her True Path as a feminist Mary Sue.

  21. IOW, GoT is basically Adam Lanza.

    Got it.

  22. PS I still have never watched this show, and have no intention of starting. It’s “Sons of Anarchy” with chain mail.

    1. …so I’ve heard, from my son, who adores this show.

    2. SoA was Hamlet with motorcycles.

      GoT is more MacBeth and Henry V combined.

      1. SoA was a soap opera with motorcycles.

  23. I’ve never watched the show, but from what I’ve read about it by fans, I do not think McCaskill knows what “gratuitous” means.

    1. It’s fiction. *Everything* in it is gratuitous.

      1. Or nothing is. I think it works either way.

  24. I wonder if she will start carrying her mattress around because that wasn’t rape.

    1. It’s a Sleep Number ? bed, so that’s gonna be a BITCH! We got one – WAY heavier than a regular mattress.

      Good luck, girl…

  25. I was disappointed that the real Greyjoys were cut out of this season. Euron and Victarion know how to get their rape on like nobody else.

    1. I would like to see the conniption surrounding the scenes of them ravaging the Shield Islands.

      As I recall, the noble ladies are raped in the middle of the celebration feast.

      1. Something about the Lord of the castle tied to his seat while his wife and daughters served the Ironborn completely naked. GRRM didn’t go into details, but no way were they not all raped.

  26. Thrones is awesome. It started off awesome and remains awesome.

    As to Soave…

    Robby, I couldn’t give two shits about it not following the books. As far as I’m concerned, the books don’t even exist. But go ahead and be that guy, because everyone knows the books are ALWAYS better and people who read books should ALWAYS look down their noses at those who would rather see a movie as books are a much higher form of art.

    AND AGAIN…nice qualifier.

    All that said, I absolutely loathed the rape of Sansa Stark, and sincerely wish the showrunners had not gone in that direction.

    Really. Robby? You felt it necessary to let everyone know you don’t like rape? Huh. Id’a thought, being a libertarian, you’d be all for it (sarc). (Trying to keep the job opportunities at Slate and Jezebel open, are we?)

    Finally, to those of you who are playing the “at first I liked it but now I don’t” card just to make yourselves appear cool by being the contrarian in the room…smooch my big, fat, pink ass. Your play is obvious.

    THRONES ROCKS!

    There, I said it and I mean it and I don’t care who knows it.

    1. I disliked it because it just seemed mean to do that to Sansa after everything she’s been through.
      She got enough abuse from Joffrey – including having her father’s head cut off in front of her, and being forced to watch it rot on a spike.
      She doesn’t deserve to get raped by Ramsey Bolton.

      Still, yes, part of the awesomness of the show is that horrible things happen to people that don’t deserve it.

      1. I disliked it because it just seemed mean to do that to Sansa after everything she’s been through.

        After five seasons of this show, have you honestly not figured out that nobody gets a happy ending or even a reprieve?

        Seriously…how can the writers possibly make this *more* obvious to you than the Red Wedding?

    2. everyone knows the books are ALWAYS better and people who read books should ALWAYS look down their noses at those who would rather see a movie as books are a much higher form of art.

      The only thing worse than the book purists are the people who complain about the book purists.

      1. I enjoyed the first three books, but if the book purists don’t understand that what works in books often doesn’t work at all in television or film, then clearly haven’t read very many books and should keep their semi-literate whining to themselves.

        The television show did a great job with the first three books, and an even better job with the last two (since Martin completely screwed those up). They’ll do an even better job with the last two books since Martin probably won’t even have those done until after the series is over. If the purists who insult the TV show are only showing how limited their literary intellect and understanding of storytelling really is.

  27. Yes, Game of Thrones Is a Show About Rape. I Still Hated That Scene.

    A show about rape? How long ago did you concede to the cultural marxists, Robby?

    1. Now you’ve done it, now Robby is going to go have another circle-jerk of commiseration with Weigel about what jerks the H&R commenters are.

      1. Oh that happened? Got a link per chance? I’m in for a laugh.

      2. Deserved or not, it’s hard to deny that many commenters are tremendous jerks toward Weigel. Let’s not pretend that everyone here is polite and measured in their responses to things they don’t agree with.

  28. If you’re going to go all Gawker on us how ’bout some fucking car reviews?

  29. Wait, how will this show continue without promotion by the website Mary Sue?

  30. Unless she has legislation in the works of which I am unaware, at least Sen. McCaskill had the appropriate reaction to viewing TV that she didn’t enjoy.

  31. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin created a rich fantasy world partly based upon our own history?a history brimming with sexual violence.

    Not particularly.

    Are people really so ignorant that they think the medieval era was some kind of rape free-for-all in normal times, or that the graphic rapes depicted by the show were in any sense normal in any society? Especially as it relates to noblewomen, the level of sexual violence depicted in the show is absolutely over-the-top.

    Let’s be honest: the medieval setting is used in this way by certain types of fiction not because it is *accurate* or realistic to have rape after rape, but because ignorance of the setting allows authors to give their work unwarranted levels of “realism” when they describe a level of violence that is foreign to the normal societies that people will construct and live in on their own volition. If you’re entertained by it that’s one thing, but it’s neither a “mature” nor “realistic” fantasy — it’s just chronological snobbery not too different from Victorian-era travelogues involving the “savages” of Africa or somesuch.

    1. Actually there were times and places in Medieval Europe that were as rapey as Westeros and more but it was much more common in Southern Europe than the Northern Europe the 7 Kingdoms are mostly portrayed as being part of.

      That said, contrary to modern sensibilities in Any Pre 20th century setting what happened to both Sansa and Danni would never have been considered rape by the people of that time. It was their wedding night, they would literally have been obligated to have sex with their husbands whether they wanted it or not and things like Sansa’s wedding night were pretty damn common. Common enough that there are folk songs based on it like this one…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hiLmFbkFDI

      That said I cannot recall a single instance where a Noblewoman was shown to be raped in GoT. There was one instance where it was claimed to have happened long in the past and a couple of other times where it was implied it would happen if a battle was lost but to this point rape and attempted rape has been reserved for commoners and honestly it has probably been shown less often than it should have happened given the near constant warfare

      1. Sansa was rescued by the Hound from an attempted rape during the Cow Pie Riot in season 2.

      2. I’m pretty sure *Lady* Hornberry was a noblewoman, ditto the noblewomen raped by The Mountain and so on. Joffrey starting to strip down Sansa while threatening violence against her person has no precedent in medieval history, and for good reason. And even in parts of Southern Europe that were rapey, much of that was thanks to mercenary violence and warfare — not the regularly constructed aspects of medieval society. It would be like suggesting that contemporary Germany is brimming with sexual assault on the basis of the Russians’ conduct during WWII. During much of the Middle Ages and in most places marriage alliances were far less transactional than is portrayed on the show and more relational; the marriage makes you part of my clan and is effective as such, not merely on the level of bargaining chips. That is to say, you plying in rough anal sex with my daughter or sister without her welcoming it (wedding night or no) is far different from being expected to have sex to continue the line, and isn’t going to be brushed off as “oh those wacky Boltons” but will make you a complete pariah. The show (and to a lesser extent, books) portrays this as a commonplace of medieval society when in fact the behaviors portrayed would (at best) have been outliers and certainly not seen as normal.

        If the show were aiming for verisimilitude, King’s Landing would hardly be some capital of sexual assault — the Riverlands would be.

    2. Medieval era?

      1945 in Eastern Europe was a complete rape free-for-all. 100,000 German women were raped just in Berlin when it fell to the Soviets.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R…..of_Germany

  32. I’ve never entirely gotten the appeal of this show. Awful people in a fucked up world do awful things to get power. Christ, I might as well watch C-Span.

  33. I’ve never entirely gotten the appeal of this show. Awful people in a fucked up world do awful things to get power. Christ, I might as well watch C-Span.

  34. “Relentlessly bleak storytelling can be as boring and lazy as low-stakes, try-to-appeal-to-all-sides journalism

    1. Do they have a Pulitzer for internet comments yet?
      I wanna make a nomination.

  35. “All that said, I absolutely loathed the rape of Sansa Stark”

    It wasn’t a rape retard. She never said no, never did anything but reluctantly comply with Ramsay’s commands.

    Sure Ramsay is a loathsome character but can’t really rape your wife, by definition. Especially if she never objects to Ramsay’s advances.

    “Which is why it’s so frustrating for the show to invent a new storyline for Sansa where she is again married into an enemy family against her will?”

    God Robbie you really are retarded. Sansa reluctantly accepts the arranged marriage. She mentions that Baelish can’t force her to go through with it, and he agrees with her. She still does it anyway.

    Reading your own SJW-lite preconceived notions is getting fucking tiring. Like the piece on mattress girl yesterday.

    1. He rips her clothes of when she doesn’t undress upon command. And she’s crying in pain off camera as it happens. It think it’s rapey enough to qualify as rape. Even if she’s not saying “no”, he’s not asking her if she’s ready either. Contrast that with Tyrion’s behavior on his wedding night.

      1. “” It think it’s rapey enough to qualify as rape””

        No foot-massage? = RAPE

      2. Sexual Assault. Not Rape.

        There was no consent issue, but the act was unnecessarily brutal.

    2. No, you can rape your wife, even on your wedding night.

      The key is that there is a reasonable expectation that consent is granted in such a circumstance meaning that there is kind of an obligation on the other party to inform you of their lack of consent in some unambiguous way before you can call it a rape.

      Simply being reluctant and screaming in pain does not cut it because there are a million reasons why she might be reluctant about losing her virginity and frankly it might just hurt, neither of those things means she is not consenting.

      Sure what Ramsay did was an absolute asshole move, but we already knew he was an asshole, I still cannot see how it can be considered rape unless she explicitly and unambiguously removed the consent she granted when she said “I Do” at the marriage.

      1. The not getting undressed on command is kind of not consenting. At least not consenting to have sex immediately. He could have waited five minutes, been a bit nicer, and given her some time to get ready. He didn’t.

        Just because someone agrees to have sex at some point in the evening, doesn’t mean it’s not rape if you force yourself on them the second you get them through the door.

      2. It’s obviously rape in a modern Earth context, and even in the context of patriarchal Westeros, Ramsay brutalizes his new wife in ways any reasonable person of Westeros would find abhorrent. We didn’t see exactly what happened, but in the books there is no doubt that “rape” is if anything too weak a term.

      3. Also it should be known that Ramsay doesn’t have sex any other way than rape (with some starvation and flaying on the side).

    3. Reading your own SJW-lite preconceived notions is getting fucking tiring. Like the piece on mattress girl yesterday.

      So, exactly what about modern libertarianism isn’t SJW-lite? I suspect hell will freeze over before I see anywhere near as many articles demanding repeal of the income tax, Social Security and the welfare state (which only seems to come up as an ancillary issue to shilling for open borders) as I do about gay marriage and pot legalization.

  36. Just how much ink is going to get spilled over this? It’s a fucking TV show! If you don’t like what you see, turn it off and go get a real life already! Kind of sad that this is even considered source material for an ostensibly political magazine. Or any other kind of magazine except maybe E! Online.

  37. On a side note, Rolling Stone complaining about the show’s decision to explore a fictional rape between an innocent girl and a malevolent sociopath is unintentionally hilarious.

    Zing!

  38. I am a book purist as well, but you do realize that Martin consults on the adaptation, right? He’s also given the show’s writers insight into where he’s going w/the future books so they can direct the show accordingly, & given them latitude where he has not directed them. So it would seem the rape scene keeps w/Sansa’s already dark history.

  39. Where was everyone during Season 1 Episode 1 (or was it episode 2) where Daenarys gets raped during a forced marriage? Why no outrage then? Why no outrcry over all of the other depictions of physical violence against women? Why no outrage for Joffrey’s particularly brutal violence against a prostitute? Why wait for FORTY FIVE episodes before you start mouthing concerns over violence against women in the show?

    1. I think the ladies were all rather intrigued at the idea of getting bent over by Khal Drogo.

  40. I wonder what McCaskill thought of the rape scenes in “Oz”.

    Being a politician, I think it’s pretty accurate to say that McCaskill not only LIKES rape, but supports it and wants more of it. Just not on TV.

    1. Oh, I’m quite sure McCaskill would like to be raped in ANY context! Wouldn’t you if you looked like her?

  41. There needs to be about 20 fewer characters in the show and Khaleesi needs to get naked on a much more regular basis. And I’m trying to figure why rape is so uniquely, horribly awful that it can’t portrayed on the screen, but somehow crucifixion, head hacking and immolation are not.

  42. Re: “Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.”

    But endless, graphic, gratuitious violence against men is pleasing and acceptable, eh?

  43. ATTENTION: “No more rape scenes. Only scenes depicting graphic murder shall be permitted in my house or I’m not watching your show anymore!”

    Shhheeez.

  44. I didn’t see rape. Literally. What was shown was Sansa extremely reluctantly but voluntarily marrying a man she knew was a crazy evil SOB, saying “yes” to that, then her clothes being ripped off her while she bends over and really unhappily takes it.

    Doesn’t show her saying “no”, to the marriage or the sex. Doesn’t show her putting up any physical resistance. Doesn’t show the actual act at all, just her face.

    Giving the awful society that she lives in, and the cultural assumptions of the characters in the show, Sansa assents to this treatment, however naive and foolish she acts in turning herself over to be the virtual property of someone she knows in advance treats women horribly.

  45. As soon as we knew she was going to marry Ramsey, she was going to be raped. She would never actually consent to sex with him, and he would never *not* have sex with her. So … duh. It’s what happened to Jeyne Poole when she married him in the book. So, no real surprise here. Frankly, she got off easy compared to Jeyne in the book (Ramsey makes Reek mouth-rape her first in the books before joining in). This is all faux outrage. People are using it to posture about rape, but I doubt there’s any real outrage out there. It’s just an opportunity for people to try to score ideological points. Silly.

  46. When I heard that people were complaining about this scene I had an “oh, duh” moment realizing that of course people would be up in arms about it. But here’s my take: eliminating scenes from period pieces where guys would slap women around and forcefully kiss them is probably a good thing-it should not be made to look okay. But complaining about a period piece where all sorts of messed up stuff happened and is clearly fantasy (dragons and the frozen undead) is just overkill and undermines the whole movement towards a better society.

    And by the way, the emasculation of Theon was way more disturbing than the cut-away rape scene of Sansa…

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