Did Game of Thrones’ New Twist Go Too Far? George R.R. Martin Weighs In

19 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

George R.R. Martin Defends ‘Black Wedding’ Scene on Game of Thrones.

Last night on “Game of Thrones,” Ramsay Bolton brutally raped Sansa Stark on their wedding night while Theon/Reek looked on. The sixth episode of the fifth season, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” concluded with one of the darkest moments in the show’s history: Young Sansa Stark being brutalized on her wedding night by the sadistic Ramsay Bolton.

This week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” made a major change from the books involving a central character — and has caused quite the controversy among fans of the series. Just after Sansa Stark marries the show’s current reining sadist, Ramsay Bolton, he takes her into his bed chamber and rapes her while Reek, formerly Theon Greyjoy, is ordered to watch.

Thrones producers shifted this minor character’s ordeal to Sansa to get the Stark heroine back to her home of Winterfell and to give actress Sophie Turner a challenging and compelling storyline this season. “Let me reiterate what I have said before,” Martin told his readers. “How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? While there have always been deviations between HBO’s television adaptation of Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” season 5 has so far showcased significant differences, including the death of Barristan Selmy and Sansa Stark’s marriage to Ramsay Bolton.

This was a choice and the choice was to marry off a teenage girl, rape her, and not even have the dignity to care primarily about her feelings about her fate.” “When I read that scene, I kinda loved it. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story … There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. Much like when Jaime raped Cersei last season, people were frustrated not just by the content of the scene, but at the fact that these scenes weren’t part of George R.

HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds. And so, those desperate fans did the only thing they could think to do: Flood Martin’s blog (which is, in fact, called “Not a Blog”) and demand some answers. The fantasy writer went on to highlight other TV show adaptations that also deviate from the source material, including “True Blood” and “The Walking Dead.” And yes, more and more, they differ.

I’ve been making [producer Bryan Cogman] feel so bad for writing that scene: “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!” But I secretly loved it… After Joffrey, she’s escaped him and you think she’s going to lose her virginity to a guy who’s really sweet and takes care of her and she’s thrown in with a guy who’s a whole lot worse. He responded (after closing comments on his latest post) with a missive titled, “The Show, The Books.” Without once mentioning the scene that troubled viewers the most, he voiced his support for the creative license that HBO and showrunners D.B. In the book, last season’s sexual assault scene between Jaime and Cersei was played as consensual (you can read a great take on the scene by Sonia Saraiya here). David and Dan and Bryan and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can … but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place.” GRRM’s full post can be read here.

Likewise, Sansa was never raped by Ramsay in the books — indeed, she doesn’t even marry Ramsay; that honor goes to a character named Jeyne Poole (although, for what it’s worth, much worse happens to Jeyne than what we saw onscreen here). And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms, like the one presently engulfing my email.” Martin doesn’t seem too keen on talking about the show, especially not on his blog. ” I have been saying since season one that this is not the place to debate or discuss the TV series. All I’m going to say is I don’t think he’s a particularly generous or gentle lover.” He also spoke about how his relationship with Myranda — which seems to involve some sensual BDSM play — differs from his relationship with Sansa: “The interesting thing is, when you put Sansa into it, she carries a lot of status with her just because of her name. Through torture and scheming, Cersei “persuades” several men to swear they had been Margaery’s lovers, accusations that seem to be completely dubious (especially because the Margaery of the books is younger and more innocent). So the Sparrows detain Margaery, not Loras, whom Cersei has tricked into leaving the city. (As I mentioned two weeks ago, Loras’s sexuality never becomes a matter of major controversy in the books.) Also, Margaery’s grandmother, Lady Olenna, returns this episode.

The character hasn’t been seen on the page since her initial departure from King’s Landing, but the show understandably couldn’t wait to showcase Diana Rigg again. The core similarities are that certain characters want to take Cersei’s daughter Myrcella away from Prince Doran, but their plot is foiled by Doran’s captain of guards, Areo Hotah, and the plotters are imprisoned by the prince. Because Westeros is a horrible place, essentially. “This is ‘Game of Thrones’… This isn’t a timid little girl walking into a wedding night with Joffrey. Or will she take the Jeyne Poole route and just stand by for help, again? …this rape scene undercuts all the agency that’s been growing in Sansa since the end of last season.

Jaime Lannister and Bronn come to try to take her back to King’s Landing at Cersei’s request, while the Sand Snakes and the late Oberyn Martell’s paramour Ellaria plot to harm her. She was at the height of her power earlier in the episode when, stripped back down to her red-headed Tully roots, she told Myranda in no uncertain terms that Winterfell was her home and she would not be intimidated.

In A Dance With Dragons, Tyrion Lannister and Jorah Mormont are captured by slavers during their journey to Meereen, just as they were in this episode. Unlike the encounter between Cersei and Jaime last year, we’re at least meant to perceive Sansa’s experience as rape—but that’s about all that’s improved. After initially being furious at Tyrion, she joins up with him and Jorah because she has nowhere else to go, and the two dwarves start to become close. 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.

But it was almost worse the way Jeremy Podeswa’s camera lingered on Alfie Allen’s tear-filled eyes, as if his violation was somehow equal to Sansa’s; as if this disgusting act was somehow part of Theon’s long and ugly path to redemption, not a brutal and unwarranted violation. Forcing her back into the role of victim and sexually humiliating her at the hands of yet another sadistic fiance adds nothing that we haven’t seen before, and indeed, feels regressive. It’s cruel to strip Sansa of the agency she’s been accruing so painstakingly, but to do so by literally stripping her is so cheap, such an obvious choice, I felt offended as a fan. But if it’s going to be used as a plot point, I want it wielded more intelligently, with more care, and especially from a show that has proved it can do graphic violence so hauntingly.

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