• ShalkaDoctor

    Are people really that outraged by this? For GOT standards it was tame. We’ve seen Ramsay’s despicable ways time and time again. Lest we forget he castrated a man! I don’t remember anyone getting outraged by that even though I personally found that far harder to watch. The Sansa scene was not exploitative, certainly not like Theon’s horrible torture and prolonged suffering. But it did occur to a man so that’s okay? Is our society only outraged at the merest hint suffering of women on screen in fiction? Why is that? Is that in itself not sexist?

    • Liam Argent

      Wow, we posted at the precise same time! Glad we are in agreement. This is a very unprofessional review!

      • ShalkaDoctor

        Yeah that was really odd! Different examples though.

        • Liam Argent

          Yes, you make some very good points!

      • J_Aich_B

        What on earth is an ‘unprofessional review’? One that doesn’t agree with you?

        • Liam Argent

          No, when you review something, you are supposed to remain entirely analytical! You should save any other opinion you may have for a opinion piece. It would’ve been better if he’d kept his review up the top, then labelled the below part as an opinion piece!

          • Mark McCullough

            How on earth do you expect someone to have a verdict on something without having an opinion?

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            Analysis: The separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study.

            Yeah, that’s totally not what happened here all right. Don’t use words when you wouldn’t know what they meant if they slapped you in the face.

          • J_Aich_B

            To analyse: ‘examine (something) methodically and in detail, typically in order to explain and interpret it.’

            To review: ‘a critical appraisal of a book, play, film, etc. published in a newspaper or magazine.’

            Oh, look, you’re wrong.

          • J_Aich_B

            I mean, it’s not an essay. It’s a value judgement. If someone doesn’t like something – like say, oh, a rape scene – then it’s obviously going to affect someone’s score.

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        This was a very professional review and tallies completely with numerous other reviews from professional critics. You know, people who do it for a living.

        • Liam Argent

          Read my comment to J_Aich_B ;)

    • The Oncoming Hurricane

      You would actually find that a lot of people did complain about that scene and the torture p*rn in Theon’s scenes in Season 3 in general, on the grounds it was gratuitous. I think the full extent of Theon’s torture would have been better to be left implied. I would also argue that Theon was raped during it (by Myranda and her companion).

      The issue is that is one incidence, whereas the show has frequently employed violence against women for cheap shocks. The Craster’s Keep one was another nasty example. This is while removing several female-empowering plotlines from the books (including one of Sansa’s own). In addition, the writers have been planning this since Season 2, it was prioritised over other plotlines. The writers planned on putting a main character in a situation where she was raped, despite the fact that it would be to the detriment of several other characters’ plotlines.

      • ShalkaDoctor

        Actually you bring up a good point about Theon possibly being raped as well (I haven’t seen the scene in a while to judge right now). Still you cannot argue that there was as much outrage as this during all the stuff that happened. This is everywhere, all over the media sites. I didn’t see anyone fretting about a man potentially being raped as well as all the other nasty business.

  • Liam Argent

    I am starting to really get fed up of the reviews on this site. You keep giving Atlantis, an average TV show which has steadily gone from god awful to a good fun time. Game of Thrones has always been a dark and twisted show with intelligent storytelling and a very medieval and cruel world. After witnessing Daenerys being sold to the Dothraki and raped by Khal Drogo, Brann Stark being pushed of the tower for seeing incest, The Red Wedding involving a pregnant woman being stabbed to death in the stomach with little to no subtlety and a man having his crush open like a melon. You are complaining about a very tame by Game of Thrones standards rape scene! You hardly see anything other than Reek’s face. It is an effective and great scene that might I say is far less horrid than what happens in the books! I really do not understand the complaints and reticle this episode has had. It is an 18 certificate show! It is brutal! But after the Red Wedding, if this is too much for you! Why on earth are you still watching / reviewing this show. It is just quite pathetic! You really expected this to be sunshine and rainbows after the wedding to that fiend!

    • Mark McCullough

      With regards to your complaint comparing to the Atlantis reviews, they were written by a different reviewer so it’s pretty pointless to compare my Game of Thrones verdicts with the verdicts by another writer on another show.
      The major difference between the things you have listed and what happened with Sansa is that all the rest happened in the books whereas Sansa’s rape is an idea brought solely by the shows creative team. And that’s the problem for me, the decision to take the character down this particular route. I know rape is pretty much par for the course when it comes to Westeros, but to change a characters story down this route for no real gain is quite infuriating, especially when it looks like a female character has been used like this entirely for shock value.
      Of course I wasn’t expecting it to be sunshine and rainbows, I know that this was probably going to happen and was dreading it. I had actually hoped the writers would have had Stannis arrive in time to stop something like this. Although it’s obvious now that this was exactly what the writers wanted for Sansa, and have been wanting it for a long time. That’s where my criticism is based.

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        I did read a view from a critic that it would have been far more interesting if, say, Ramsay forced Sansa to participate in the flaying of someone. Rape was almost expected. Now that would have been an interesting writing choice.

      • Liam Argent

        Honestly after talking to my female friend on what she thought about the scene. I kinda understand what you mean a little bit better now I think. I stand by what I said, but I’m sorry for calling you unprofessional! I now feel I was wrong saying that. I think that GoT should perhaps calm down with it’s rape scenes. While I didn’t find this scene too unnecessary, I could change my opinion if the plot goes nowhere with this. I feel the scene between Cersei and Jaime last series was more unnecessary. Yeh, I understand what you mean, but I don’t think the actual scene itself is as bad as a lot of people are making out! The scene from The Red Wedding where Robb Stark’s pregnant wife gets stabbed to death haunts me to this day!

  • Cyruptsaram

    I do not condone rape, and I felt just as disgusted with you as the episode unfolded, but not with the actual depiction of rape, but with the character himself. Rape has been depicted on Game of Thrones before, not to mention countless other atrocities, and I commend them for showing it, because inn historical fact, this is exactly what happened in those times. George R. R. Martin has actually spoken out too, that he based his novels on events that he discovered during his study of history, mainly where he got his inspiration for the Red Wedding.

    Many people have said that Sansa’s character has now been destroyed, and I definitely don’t think that. She has been learning slowly the ways of surviving this terrifying world, but as Brienne has already said, she is not aware of all the terrors in the world yet. She hesitated in the wedding scene, but she ultimately has no idea who this man is, and has no reason not to agree to marry him, because she believes Baelish will return soon. Now married, what else is Ramsay going to do? He hears “consummate the marriage” – and he’ll get anyway he wants, because he’s a deranged bastard who knows nothing else. It would be very odd if he didn’t force himself upon Sansa, because mercy is not in his nature. This shows how complex the series is in comparison to what Tyrion did back in Season 3.

    What the show now has a chance to do is build on these revelations and bring down Ramsay in a great fashion, because the Ramsay’s character development has been so precise and so clean that the audience is completely against him. That’s exactly the reaction the writers want. I commend the show for doing these sorts of executions because it allows true character moments to come through.

    Finally, I would just like to commend Alfie Allen on a stunning performance in the episode, changing from shy and simpering man to a horrified and tortured one – that is a difficult combination to play, and he did it beautifully, leaving us with only empathy for him.

    Definitely an 8.5/10 and nothing less for me.

  • NightRises

    I’ve always commended this show for its realism in what is essentially a fantasy world. We all knew for the last couple of episodes that Sansa was to marry Ramsay. Therefore we all knew they would have this wedding night and subsequently he would attempt to rape her. And that’s exactly what happened. I agree it was “sickening/saddening/frustrating”, because that’s what it was supposed to be. Just like Reek’s castration was supposed to be, just like the brutal murders of the Starks were supposed to be etc. She’s part of this sickening world, and horrible things are happening to her in this terrifyingly dangerous environment Littlefinger has left her in. Why is there such outrage over this? Do people know what sort of show their watching?

    • J_Aich_B

      The difference between Theon’s fate and what happens to Sansa is that Theon’s castration isn’t a blatant betrayal of his character. He’s a turncloak and kinslayer, he murdered his both his prince and brother, and paid the price — he reaped what he sowed. That is Theon’s arc. Basic story telling.

      What, exactly, has Sansa sown? What possibly leads one to think that it’s natural progression of her story to have this happen to her? It’s pretty clear throughout the whole story (until now, that is) that Sansa isn’t *just* a victim, she’s actively shielded from victimhood and has a greater role to play. She survives Joffrey, Cersei, the Hound, Meryn Trant and Lysa Arryn all the way through.

      And for what? To be raped in her bedroom by Ramsay Snow, the 3rd rate villain of the story? No. No, that’s flagrant disrespect for Sansa as character. It’s flagrant disregard for her purpose, for her story. It’s flagrant disrespect, in all honesty.

      The problem lies not with rape. We all know Westeros is not a rape-free-zone, we know it is actively used as a weapon of war and other such horrific acts, and that’s part of the world. The problem lies that it happens to Sansa, and that the writers have bent over backwards to include it when they absolutely didn’t need to. I find this pretty appalling, because it’s not just bad writing, it shows a bad trend of the female representation in Game of Thrones of late.

      Someone equally as bad – perhaps worse – happens in the books. But do you know what? It was acceptable.

      Because. She. Was. Not. Sansa. Stark.

      • NightRises

        Thanks for a well mannered and written reply, I completely get where you’re coming from and understand your stance on the scene. I would argue (having not read the books) that we need to see where the writers are going with her storyline in the television series. For me, Ramsay is the most despicable and disgusting villain in the show. And this is why, once Sansa was placed on his doorstep and due to marry the man, I knew this scene would happen. You mention that the reason the castration wasn’t as outrageous is due to Theon deserving it. I would say Robb Stark’s character didn’t deserve to be killed so barbarically, same goes with his wife and his mother, but they were. I think the reason this scene is there is to exemplify to the audience that even good characters like Sansa Stark, who don’t deserve brutality, are not safe from it in this world. Especially the world Sansa has found herself in.

        • J_Aich_B

          The point of Robb’s arc is his long, unraveling list of mistakes that leads to his downfall (also I should note I don’t think what happened to his wife was all that great either, in story telling terms), and Cat’s arc…well, I can’t really go into that without getting deep into book, but she puts a lot of stock in her children and that haunts her. Again, an arc.

          Sansa’s is different. Everytime something bad seems to happen to her, the universe kind of intervenes to save her, through Tyrion or even Littlefinger. And she starts to realise that she’s important and not just a stupid girl.

          But then Ramsay rapes her and we’re back to square one. We’re back further than square one, because now Sansa has nothing left about her character. Perhaps something better will unfold, but I have very little faith in D&D after they bent over backwards to make this happen.

          George RR Martin is a fantastic writer, because he’s horrible to a sensible end. An end that doesn’t *just* shock. Sansa deserved better than what she got in this episode from the quality of the writing. We know Westeros is a bad place, but Sansa didn’t have to be raped to remind us.

          • NightRises

            I don’t think that because Sansa was raped it means “she has nothing left about her character.” Are you saying every aspect that made her character so good has been stripped because she was sexually abused? She has got stronger and stronger with each series, and I believe she is just as strong a character as she was before the rape and I believe she will get stronger still.

            And in reply to your last line “Sansa didn’t have to be raped to remind us”. Again, I haven’t read the book so I don’t know what happens with Sansa and Ramsay in that. But we have seen him on screen as a man who mutilates and tortures characters, uses other women for his own sick pleasures. Did people think he wouldn’t touch Sansa?

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            Sansa didn’t need to be there, period. Her own arc where she was gaining power in the Vale was discarded so she could take on a role of a tertiary character.

          • NightRises

            So she doesn’t even marry Ramsay in her original arc in the book?

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            She hasn’t even gone anywhere near Winterfell, and by the time she does, Ramsay is likely to be long dead.

          • J_Aich_B

            The point of contention is that Ramsay didn’t have to touch Sansa at all. If you’ll forgive me spoiling the books, they never even interact – they are hundreds of miles away from each other, and the show writers have (ham-fistedly) concocted this mess with it in mind.

            And no, I don’t think being raped makes a character less. But I think it makes Sansa less, because it’s very contrary to everything we learn about her. She’s getting stronger, yes, but still *getting*. Being raped would be a large set back to a young girl, I think.

          • NightRises

            I didn’t know this, so I can see even clearer where you’re coming from. But I would say, in terms of the rape being a set back. Wasn’t Daenerys raped in the first series? She’s now one of the strongest female characters in the show. I still think there is a chance Sansa’s character can get stronger.

          • J_Aich_B

            I think Dany is different. In many ways she starts from the absolute bottom. She has a motif of ‘if I look back, I am lost’. So she doesn’t. Sansa’s rape is a step back for her, in my opinion. She overcame the escalating brutalities of King’s Landing for much more than what she got.

            (Also, small aside, but I find it very hard to believe Littlefinger would not know of Ramsay’s reputation when the whole North seemingly does, and would leave Sansa to such a fate.)

          • NightRises

            These are all fair points. I’m still not as outraged by the scene as you guys but I can see where you’re coming from, especially now knowing her storyline is changed from the books. Let’s hope the writers have something better planned for Sansa in the future of this series. I’m stepping off now, thanks for the replies :)

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            Daenerys develops a stockholm syndrome towards Drogo, to the point where she doesn’t even think of it as rape. This is not remotely likely to happen to Sansa, for a number of reasons. Sansa and Daenerys are not interchangeable.

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        If we can go slightly light-hearted, a certain typo of yours about Westeros not being a rap-free zone has made me imagine a Westeros where Kanye West pops up and says to Tommen:

        ‘Yo Tommen, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Stannis Baratheon is the best King of all time. OF ALL TIME.’

        It’s strangely appealing.

  • The Oncoming Hurricane

    It’s a good thing critiques like this exist. Every comment on this post proves they’re necessary.

    • Cyruptsaram

      Aren’t we allowed our own opinions? I have noticed a lot that I am perhaps in the minority when it comes to this latest scene, but I believe, entertainment-wise, that the scene was justified, why can’t I be allowed to speak my opinion?

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        You just said a rape scene was justified for entertainment. Are you sick in the head?

        • Cyruptsaram

          Justified in context.

        • NightRises

          I think the scene where a man’s head got exploded and a defenceless woman got stabbed to death was justified for entertainment. In fact, many millions of people did and others didn’t call them ‘sick in the head’. Why is it that due to a rape scene (which granted was sickening and barbaric) people who weren’t outraged by it are being accused of being ‘sick’?

          • ShalkaDoctor

            Double standards all round basically.

    • Liam Argent

      How so? What makes this scene worse than other that have come before! I think their has been a terrible overreaction to this scene! Rape is horrible and shouldn’t happen, but it does in our world and more so in Westeros. What would have been more effective?! A tap on the bottom!

      • J_Aich_B

        Because it happens to Sansa. No one is arguing that rape is totally unjustifiable as a storytelling, it’s that this storytelling is utterly dreadful and demeaning.

        • Liam Argent

          Trust me, the book is far worse and you should understand by now after watching 4 seasons of this show, is that this world most certainly isn’t fair! Whether you like it or not Westeros is a medieval world, not modern day society!

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            He’s read the book. As have I. You just don’t get it, do you?

          • J_Aich_B

            Yes, the book is far worse in moralistic terms like that, but Jeyne Poole isn’t Sansa Stark *for a reason*.

          • Mark McCullough

            But the writers decisions to sacrifice the original storyline for the character and others in favour of this was not made in Westeros, so that argument has no relevance to my criticisms in the review.

  • TardisBoy

    For me, Sansa was growing as a character. She was becoming stronger, she was no longer the victim she was presented as being. She was learning to control, to manipulate, to play the game herself.

    And in one scene all of that was taken away. Because no matter what she does to Ramsay in retaliation, she was still raped by him. He will have forever taken away a part of her after the events of that night. Rape doesn’t just go away, it stays with a victim long after it has happened. In that one scene Sansa lost all the control and the power she had been building for herself throughout the first four series of the show. And she can NEVER take it back from Ramsay. He will forever have his hold over Sansa, even long after he has died (should it ever happen).

    And what’s worse is that this was the only way the writer’s thought they could develop Sansa. They couldn’t follow what was already done in the novels, oh no. They had to have Ramsay rape her. They had to have her stripped and horribly attacked. This was the only way Sansa could grow as a character – by being raped. And then to make matters worse, her pain, her suffering isn’t even the main point of the scene. It becomes about Theon’s suffering, it becomes about his pain. We see his face, while Sansa’s screams become a distant echo.

    That sets alarm bells ringing off in my heads. It shows a complete lack of respect for Sansa Stark. This is very problematic, and quite rightly needs to be called out.

    • ShalkaDoctor

      Are we forgetting Sansa actually is going along with Littlefinger’s
      plans? She knows House Bolton is despicable (they did murder half of her
      family afterall). Despite this she allowed the marriage to go forward. So did she honestly think they would be all of a sudden kind hearted and she’d have the perfect husband? She could very well still be playing them, waiting to strike. We don’t know how this will develop.

  • The Oncoming Hurricane

    On the note of representing the medieval era as it was, I read something very interesting about that in an article yesterday:

    What’s that you say? You’re just representing the medieval period as it was? Oh, sweetie, no. Don’t play that game with me. You will lose.

    Have you ever heard of the ‘loathly lady’ motif? No? Weird because it’s super medieval. You said you were medieval. Another lie? I really don’t like liars, babe. Anyway, the loathly lady motif is a trope in which a sinful knight must be taught important lessons by a woman in order to mature, repent, and become a better husband.

    Geoffrey Chaucer’s version of this motif features a knight that rapes a maiden. He is sent to Arthur’s queen for punishment (a common trend in Arthurian literature – yes, women could do things other than sit around and look pretty – cool, eh?). His punishment? He must discover what women truly desire within a years time. I’ll spare you the details – I know how you like things to be quick and choppy. But what women most desire, according to the motif, is sovereignty. And what these men ultimately do, including Chaucer’s raping knight, is grant their wives sovereignty. Imagine that? The Wife of Bath. Whip in hand. Original Independent Lady (throw your hands up at me).

    Another thing: the woman who teaches the knight? She is always very ugly. Why? Because by desexualizing her body, the woman is able to impart wisdom without risking the knight’s advances. He does not see her as a potential paramour, and therefore, he listens with his HEAD (ahem!). The loathly lady controls her body and uses her sexuality to get what she wants. In exchange for answering the knight’s question, she often requests marriage or sex or both. And when she eventually transforms into a beautiful woman, she does so only once the knight has truly learned his lesson. Yes, she is a reward, but a willing reward. Chaucer’s tale is over 600 years old, so what’s your excuse? What kind of medieval throwback are you using to defend your narrative choices? Because they are narrative choices. But, I guess raping knights are kind of your bread and butter.

    Rape has always been a part of you. Perhaps I should have known. After all, when in doubt, toss in a rape scene, right? That’s written somewhere in your HBO manifesto. Last year you even raped Cersei without even realizing that’s what was going on. Sure she said ‘no,’ but then she kind of, sort of, gave in so screw character development and, you know, consent (BORING). Violence against women, the degradation of women, the debasement of women, that’s kind of your thing, hey? The only good woman is a naked woman. Even better if she’s naked and being attacked. Even better if she’s naked, attacked, and her victimization fuels the menfolk forward.

  • The Oncoming Hurricane

    Another point that hasn’t really been addressed, it looks as though they’re going to have Loras being sentenced to death for being g*y (this is based on conjecture and book knowledge, where he’s in mortal peril but it’s for a quite different reason).

    It’s frowned upon to be g*y in the books, but it’s not illegal even under the Faith, though Joffrey threatens to make it so. The Faith only have power to put someone on trial for crimes against the Faith, basically. This includes breaking a holy vow, like one of marriage. Why has Cersei let them overthrow the city despite the rumours swirling about her and Jaime? It’s now clear that her plan was to get Margaery to bear false witness in a trial. Technically, Margaery is in a more powerful position than her, yet it doesn’t occur to her that she could just as easily be arrested. She’s both an unreliable narrator and makes reckless decisions in the books, but so far she has made reasonable points and decisions about everything, so this is out of character for her.

    But as an aside to that, Loras, in addition to being portrayed as what even his actor feels is an offensive stereotype of g*y men as slaves to their libido (one that was also retroactively applied to Renly in this episode), is now probably going to die as well. For being g*y. That’s literally the entire point of his character in the show. George R.R. Martin’s own editor has actually referred to him as a ‘g*y cartoon’.

    Also, Olyvar’s ‘evidence’ about the birthmark doesn’t actually mean anything; squires, like maids; would see their masters naked all the time. It would need to be actually in his backside to actually be relevant in any way.

    [Note: Cult Fix, sort out your comment flagging system. I should not have to star out g*y to be able to post without approval for goodness sake]

  • Steve Willis

    I was disappointed that Sansa didn’t have a knife on her or something hidden in her wedding dress. I would have thought the parallels of Ramsay with Jeoffrey would have put her on edge.

    So with the scene I was disappointed and disgusted.

    I wasn’t SHOCKED or APPALLED. I saw the credits and I just went “oh… ok then…”

    It’s a shame they wrote the scene how they did. Would have been nice to have a few more strong female characters where rape wasn’t part of their path towards “strength”.

  • The Exploding TARDIS

    I loved the episode, and laugh at all these pitiful responses (“We need Sansa to be rebuilt! Agh! GoT is evil!”)
    You see, they wanted to appall you to show that Westeros isn’t a great place.
    Remember when Moff had Missy kill Osgood?

    • Mark McCullough

      So calling out misogynistic decisions within the writing of a show is pitiful? They didn’t need to add this which was not part of the characters original story just to appall us, we already know Westeros is a horrible place, so it make their decision pointless.
      Interesting that you chose that example too, because correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Moffat got a lot of flack for that for quite similar reasons: destroying a female character for nothing other than shock value.
      BTW I’m still waiting for a response to a reply to your comment on the review from two weeks ago.

      • The Exploding TARDIS

        How is it misogynistic? It’s rape, it happens to both men and women, boys and girls (yes, kids get raped, too).
        None of what happened in the episode was pointless. The show isn’t the same story as the book, but an adaption, so that argument is weak.

        What is upsetting you, though, is that it happened to Sansa. The series has been building to his, and they can do what they want.

        Bad things can happen to good people, that’s what I believe this proves more than anything, and the fact that you are appalled means that you forgot and that the scene wasn’t pointless at all.

        • Mark McCullough

          I think we are coming from different places here. I’m not disputing for a second that in terms of the narrative what happened was pretty standard for Westeros, of course it fits in with the universe established universe.
          My main gripe however is the writers decision to go down this route, especially as it was not part of the original Sansa story. As TardisBoy has said very well below, what happened has completely destroyed four and a half seasons worth of character development. And for what? Can you actually tell me that Sansa’s rape added anything to the narrative that we as viewers didn’t already know? And that is precisely what shows the writers in a really bad light, that they decided to destroy a strong female character (in favour of other options) for nothing more than shock value.
          (I’ve replied to the other comment too)

          • The Exploding TARDIS

            It didn’t add anything new, no, but it took you out of your comfort zone, that you’ve clearly been in for too long if this is shocking. The show’s been building up to this, and Sansa will continue to grow afterwards.

          • Mark McCullough

            I didn’t find what happened shocking, you could see it coming from marriage was first suggested. I found the decision by the writers to do it shocking. I really hope you are right and they do use this to somehow advance Sansa’s character, but at the moment she has had her development pretty much reset

          • The Exploding TARDIS

            Again, it’s nothing new.

          • Mark McCullough

            It is though because all the other incidents are near enough direct from the source material. This one isn’t.

          • The Exploding TARDIS

            It isn’t. Series have been changing the source material(sometime drastically) for years.

            There is nothing new about this.

    • J_Aich_B

      I’m glad you think being upset by a totally unnecessary rape of a beloved character is pitiful. Very compassionate and thoughtful of you.

      • The Exploding TARDIS

        It’s been done before, everyone’s acting like bad things happening to good people is new.
        As I said: Osgood was killed by Missy in DiH, and it wasn’t necessary. It just helps set the atmosphere.

  • ShalkaDoctor

    This is so true – imgur.com/WSCmkP7.jpg

    • Mark McCullough

      What most people fail to grasp is the anger is because this wasn’t based on the source material so it was a new addition for shock value. I’d imagine there would be the same uproar if the Harry Potter films had Voldemort destroy Hermione’s character in a similar way just to make him seem more evil. For one fan to ridicule another for having that viewpoint is pretty despicable.