Sophie Turner defends controversial ‘Game of Thrones’ scene

20 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Game Of Thrones fans switching off over rape scene.

The notoriously bloodthirsty TV adaptation of George RR Martin’s books is known for its shock tactics and sexual violence towards women, but in the most recent episode Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken many viewers felt it had overstepped a line.Viewers of ’ Sunday, May 17 episode all had strong reactions to the extremely disturbing rape scene involving Sansa Stark () and her new husband Ramsay Bolton ().

Just over a year ago I wrote a piece on HBO’s “Game Of Thrones” questioning why the show’s creators had written a rape scene into the show’s season-four episode “Breaker Of Chains.” That episode was notable for re-telling a scene from the book with a lot more brutality, meaning critics like myself could compare the source material and the scene in question, side-by-side. Following their snowy wedding, the sadistic Ramsay ripped off his new bride’s dress and robbed her of her virginity while forcing the now-enslaved Theon Grayjoy/Reek (Alfie Allen) to watch.

Sansa’s ghastly wedding night was but one in a string of inevitabilities in the episode, as we also saw Jaime and Bronn and the Sand Snakes finally meet up, with not entirely satisfying results. Elsewhere, Lady Olenna arrived in King’s Landing to rebuke Cersei’s power play, she thought, and Tyrion stumbled upon yet another unwitting escort to Meereen. (And it’s Mr. It’s also so daunting for me to do it. “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.” A fed-up-sounding George RR Martin wrote a post on his website asking fans to stop discussing the TV adaptation on his blog.

Following the episode, Entertainment Weekly spoke with Turner about her thoughts on all her tortured character has been through. “Last season [director] Alex Graves decided to give me hints,” Turner, 19, revealed. “He was saying, ‘You get a love interest next season.’ And I was all, ‘I actually get a love interest!’ So I get the scripts and I was so excited and I was flicking through and then I was like, ‘Aw, are you kidding me!?’” “When I read that scene, I kinda loved it,” she admitted to EW. “I love the way Ramsay had Theon watching. Unlike the first two scenes, Sansa’s storyline can’t really be compared to what happens in the books: She’s been combined with another minor character from “A Dance With Dragons” named Jeyne Poole. And then that night everything gets so f–ked up.” “There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one,” Martin wrote. “And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect.

Ramsay forces Theon to perform sex acts on Jeyne, regularly abuses her, and threatens to have her fornicate with a dog, including, presumably, many more mundane acts of sexual assault on a regular basis. There was a brief moment during Myranda’s spite-bath when Sansa’s grit came out along with her natural hair (“this is my home and you can’t frighten me”) and it almost seemed like maybe things wouldn’t be as bad as we thought … but no. The essential nature of the story remains the same—Ramsay is a sadist, Theon is trapped in Ramsay’s thrall, and both Jeyne and Sansa are at Ramsay’s mercy.

Technically, at least, Ramsay’s rape of Sansa was handled with care — the camera panning away to Reek’s convulsions as he witnessed the act — and was more chilling as a result. (Hat tip to Alfie Allen, who gave a gut-wrenching performance.) A fair question: Did we need more evidence that Ramsay is terrible? But once the producers opted to bring Sansa into his orbit, as part of some broader plan for what’s going down in the North, it seemed inevitable that she would become another one of his victims.

On the eve of her engagement to Ramsay Bolton—even if, as her serving woman tells her, “the North remembers,” even if the man that was once Theon is waiting in the wings, even if Littlefinger is watching her back—Sansa is now facing a life where she will be raped, daily. But I would not be surprised to hear her echo Elizabeth Smart, as she rejects the notion of Stockholm syndrome. “Everything I did I did to survive.” But. I wrote that as a way of articulating what I believe to be true about Sansa (and Jeyne Poole, for that matter): These women are not merely victims: They are survivors in a world that is built to be inhospitable to them. We wondered last week about how Sansa’s arrival would affect Reek, who had more or less embraced his debasement by Ramsay and accepted his new lot in the kennel of life. The idea that they are victims makes them passive in their own lives, and what we see from both Sansa and Jeyne are their struggles to make themselves heard, even while under the worst kind of torture.

After the show cleaned him up, had him use his actual name, Theon, in the wedding and then forced him to witness Ramsay attack Sansa, it seems pretty clear that he will shed the shackles of Reekhood at some point. One only needs to glance at the news to find stories of unconscionable sexual abuse directed towards young women; in the world of TV, Jane Campion’s “Top Of The Lake” is a haunting, beautiful miniseries about a spate of rapes in a small town that focuses with unrelenting empathy on the shape and aftermath of trauma. She is a player in this game of thrones, as evidenced by her icy grace as she walks to the godswood, accompanied by no one except the foster-brother who betrayed her family; to her regal put-down of the besotted servant girl who tries to scare her out of marrying Ramsay. Let’s grade it on a curve: it was a technically complex piece of action, what with the five people wielding bullwhips and swords in tight spaces and all.

This week the whirlwind of sanctimony and recrimination Cersei unleashed in elevating the High Sparrow sucked none other than Queen Margaery into its vortex. You’d think this would be a delightful turn of events for Cersei, but she seemed shocked by the outcome — I think she’s starting to sense that things are getting out of hand. The episode loses sight, literally, of who she is; furthermore, and more damning, it seems to take from her, in this most vulnerable moment, the only thing that she truly has. Partly, as I’ve discussed before, this comes from the show’s vested interest in shocking and titillating its largely first-world audience with a level of body horror and violence that is presently experienced almost entirely by the neediest populations on the planet—populations that can’t afford HBO. Myles McNutt put it well: The issue with the show returning to rape as a trope is not simply because there have been thinkpieces speaking out against it, and is not solely driven by the rational concerns lying at the heart of those thinkpieces.

It’s also that the show has lost my faith as a viewer that the writers know how to articulate the aftermath of this rape effectively within the limited time offered to each storyline in a given episode and given season. There were lots of funny lines surrounding the slavers’ plans for the imp, but this being a family publication, I can’t really mention any of them. Fortunately for Weiss and Benioff, though, they can look to the undeniably testosterone-fueled “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which just premiered on Friday, for some pointers on how to write about women as agents of their own fate in a man’s world.

The film—brainchild of writer/director George Miller—is about a group of women struggling to escape from a male slaver and his many (male) followers. Not sure if this was the extent of it, but I appreciate that they called back to that subplot, since it was such a huge part of Arya’s life. • One subtle but consistent signal of the Lannisters’ fading power, post-Tywin, is the way people keep throwing the twin-cest stuff in their faces. “One’s choice of a companion is a curious thing,” Littlefinger told Cersei on Sunday.

That said, she had it coming, making him travel 1,000 miles for what, like three minutes of conversation? • By the way, we agree that Littlefinger is blowing smoke at Cersei, right? Were you surprised by the resonant, Bowie-esque quality of Bronn’s singing voice? (Update: Commenters note that Jerome Flynn had a pop career in the 1990s.

There is a real disconnect in this show between the character arcs and the brutality of each moment; between the subtle storytelling and the entirely unsubtle treatment of its women. It creates a dissonance of attempting to identify with characters before seeing them suffer almost cartoonish horror in the arena of the show; the violence is titillation.

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