Critics slam HBO drama ‘Game of Thrones’ for rape scene

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Critics slam HBO drama ‘Game of Thrones’ for rape scene.

This photo provided by courtesy of HBO shows, Sophie Turner, left, as Sansa Stark, and Iwan Rheon, as Ramsay Bolton, in a scene from season 5 of “Game of Thrones.” (Source: AP) In a comment tweeted on Tuesday, Member of the United States Senate, Sen.Claire McCaskill described the sexual assault as “gratuitous” and “disgusting.” The Democratic lawmaker from Missouri said she was done with the show. Many fans and viewers are angry at the final scene of the sixth episode of the HBO series which sees the rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) by her new husband Ramsey Bolton.

Season five has seen some of the biggest changes to date, with characters meeting an untimely end (RIP Ser Barristan) and events changing completely (Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton). The psychotic, torturous Ramsey has battered and castrated Alfie Allen’s Theon Greyjoy into miserable submission, hunted and murdered past lovers with dogs and on the whole has been generally a horrible piece of work. This was the biggest twist of the series so far for both show-only and book fans, with Sansa Stark marrying Ramsay Bolton instead of her childhood friend Jeyne Poole. It was certainly a controversial change, but it’s an interesting storyline from the books which is better served by a character show watchers are already invested in. Game of Tits and Arse, as HBO’s phenomenon is affectionately known in my household, is no stranger to explicit scenes and uncomfortably graphic storylines.

I won’t be one of them just yet, but I’m extremely bothered by their choice — their need, it seems, to continually alter Martin’s story to include more rape. “There have been numerous plot points and characters from Martin’s novels that have been omitted from the series; I’d love to hear what the showrunners’ arguments are for not only keeping the brutal assault of a young woman, but changing the storyline so that it happened to a beloved character.” “But while on each occasion in the past it’s been plenty disturbing, tonight’s closing scene with Ramsay Bolton and Sansa was just flat-out disgusting. But the scene in question departed somewhat from Martin’s treatment of it in the book – as the author himself noted via social media yesterday as the reactions spread online. Over the course of five seasons, we have seen psychotic King Joffrey use a crossbow to porcupine a prostitute, Theon Greyjoy sadistically tortured and castrated, and Craster make sex slaves of his daughters. Even if you’ve never read the books (myself included and that shouldn’t limit anyone’s enjoyment of the show) it’s hard not to know that what happens to Sansa in this episode doesn’t happen to Sansa in the books. “The show’s creators are free to take liberty with certain storylines and characters, but by putting Sansa into this situation, by taking a character that viewers are fully invested in, and subjecting her to the horrors of Ramsay Bolton, it’s hard to interpret this as anything but using her rape as an emotionally manipulative plot device.” “So yes, Sansa’s rape by Ramsay is of the show’s own devising, and it feels every bit the violation it is.

The Dorne chapters were a little slow in ASOIAF, but the series did such a good job of bringing Oberyn Martell to life that I had high hopes for Dorne this season. Martin, whose novels are the basis of “Game of Thrones.” In Martin’s work, a different character marries Ramsay and is sexually assaulted by another man at Ramsay’s direction.

But by involving a multidimensional main character instead of one introduced primarily to suffer, the series has a chance to grant this story the gravity and seriousness it deserves. “Sansa has a story of her own, of which this is now an admittedly excruciating chapter — but she, not Theon, is the real victim here, and it remains her story nonetheless. Readers of the books have also noted that Sansa’s story has been altered significantly from Martin’s vision, making her a victim of the brutality as opposed to a secondary character.

In A Storm Of Swords, when Jaime frees Tyrion he also reveals that his brother’s first wife was not actually a prostitute, but a peasant who genuinely loved him. The debate over Sunday’s episode follows an equally controversial scene last season in which the characters of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, a brother and sister with an incestuous relationship, had a forced sexual encounter as she grieved over the death of their son. At that time, the New York Times ran a front-page feature about the outcry, quoting HBO Original Programming chief Michael Lombardo as saying “the choices our creative teams make are based on the motivations and sensibilities that they believe define their characters. The show is the show, the books are the books – two different tellings of the same story,” he continued. “Small changes lead to larger chances lead to huge changes.

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. The backlash against Thrones creates a quandary for HBO, which has for decades burnished its image as the home of high-end programming that no other network can provide. Viewers already know that Ramsay is a complete maniac and that Sansa’s wedding night will not be pleasant, having it spelled out in such an unsparingly vicious way was unnecessary, like a form of torture porn.

Sen McCaskill’s comment is an unwelcome swipe for a channel that has a strong presence in Beltway circles, in part because of its news and documentary programming. The clamour among viewers for Thrones, now in its fifth season, has also been a driver of HBO’s decision to launch its broadband-only HBO Now service earlier this year. Next week, of course, we may see that this moment was a crucial turning point in Sansa’s story, and that she will now be driven to wreak her vengeance on the Boltons. Defenders of the show maintain that the violence, sexual and otherwise, is organic to Martin’s creation of a savage world dominated by warring factions in a medieval-like period.

That brutal change added an extra sense of tragedy to the Red Wedding, while also serving to kill off any fan theories that Jeyne was secretly pregnant with Robb’s baby.

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