Spoilers! If you haven’t watch the previous episode or didn’t catch up yet, please don’t read any further.
Last Sunday’s episode of The Game of Thrones left a lot of people with sour tastes in their mouths. The issue at hand here is that people are quitting the series because it doesn’t stay true to the books, and it’s over use of sexual violence. Last season, a similar outrage was provoked when Cersei was raped by her brother Jamie, which does not occur in the book. The threat of rape has hung over Sansa since the start of season two, whether it was by King Joffrey, the Hound, a group of rioters in King’s Landing or her first husband Tyrion, who was encouraged to impregnate her on her wedding night (he refused). Just when it seemed that Sansa had evaded all that horror, she was brutalised by perhaps the cruelest villain on the show. Sansa is not raped in the books. In fact, the original story had a girl posing as Arya Stark marrying Ramsay, and being subjected to a sexual assault. Both of the rape scenes were not included in the books, so why include them in the show? What can these scenes offer as for character development? This has turned many people off on the show, saying that there’s no reason to have sexual violence filler if it doesn’t add anything. Some fans defend these moments by pointing out the show depicts confronting violence in many forms. But this ignores the fact that sexual violence is a real part of many viewers’ lives and is something we still sometimes struggle to confront and punish.
George R.R. Martin made a couple of statements regarding the issue on his blog. Here’s two:
“How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life: she was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story.”
“And yes, more and more, they differ. Two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, I suppose… but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place. In the meantime, we hope that the readers and viewers both enjoy the journey. Or journeys, as the case may be. Sometimes butterflies grow into dragons.”
Personally, I agree that the books and the movie don’t have to be a perfect reflection of each other. However, I do feel like this scene was not necessary. Only time will tell if this event is going to have a major character development for Sansa. In the end, Game of Thrones is a dark place where there are few victories, and a lot of suffering. If you even watched season one you would know if you’re looking for a show to be upbeat with happy endings for the main characters then this show isn’t for you.
Connect with me!