The latest episode of Game of Thrones ended with a disturbing scene.
After Sansa Stark wed sadistic Ramsay Bolton at her former home of Winterfell, the final moments saw her new husband brutally consummate the marriage while Sansa’s childhood friend Theon was forced to watch silently nearby.
The scene has caused controversy, with many viewers feeling it was gratuitous, particularly since it was an event only referenced implicitly in the source book.
However, other viewers reacting online defended the episode, and argued that the show was conveying how dark and disturbing Westeros – and indeed the real world – really can be, especially for women.
Episode 5 was the final straw for some viewers…
That last episode of #GameofThrones actually made me consider stop watching. Not even The Res Wedding did that.
— Lucius Antonius (@GaiusLucius) May 18, 2015
— Kara Barbieri (@Kara_Barbieri) May 18, 2015
Think its time for me to stop watching game of thrones. Enough is enough. #GOT
— Cody VanFleet (@CoachCVF) May 18, 2015
As of right now, my decision to stop watching #gameofthrones is utterly and completely justified. How dare you, writers?
— mireyah wolfe (@MireyahWolfe) May 18, 2015
Many said that despite the show being famous for its brutality, the sexual violence was a “cheap” and “unnecessary” trick to entertain and shock audiences…
Too far, Game of Thrones. Too far.
— Lindsay Gsell (@LindsayGTweets) May 18, 2015
#GameofThrones really took things too far in tonight’s episode. Unnecessary and deeply disturbing.
— Rachel Harrison (@rachfacelogic) May 18, 2015
All grumpy now. Don’t need that level of horrible sadistic violence in my evening’s entertainment, #GameOfThrones There is a limit!
— Eleanorjane Wilkins (@Eleanorbirdy) May 18, 2015
Im sorry but I am tired of sexual violence as a plot device for shock. Its cheap and used way to much in “entertainment” #GameOfThrones
— Howard Detwiler (@SuxATChess) May 18, 2015
Sexual violence against teenage girls isn’t entertainment @GameOfThrones
— Olive Scott Whilde (@olivescottwhild) May 18, 2015
I love all the actors, but I think this week was it for me and #GameOfThrones. Just too much violence towards women, for ‘entertainment’.
— Arabella Strange (@Arabella_Strang) May 18, 2015
But there were also a smaller number of viewers who took to Twitter to defend the episode, saying that the scene was simply a realistic depiction of the horrors of Westeros…
Stop being offended by Game of Thrones Including rape in a dark & scary medieval story IS NOT glorifying rape, it’s called BEING REALISTIC
— Jonathan Young (@JonathanYMusic) May 19, 2015
But this tweet summed up the general response to this argument…
I don’t need feminim sorry but the defenders are right Game of Thrones needs those added rape scenes because of REALISM ignore the dragons
— WomanAgainstFeminism (@NoToFeminism) May 18, 2015
There was also anger at such a violent scene being shown on TV, particularly when the scene is not actually in the original George RR Martin novels…
Yet ANOTHER gratuitous and unnecessary rape scene in game of thrones that WASN’T in the goddamn book.
— Carmen (@stilldoll002) May 18, 2015
For #GameofThrones watchers who are angry-you’re right, the rape scene was gratuitous as hell largely b/c it is a departure from the book!
— Dr. Paul (@DrPnygard) May 18, 2015
George RR Martin addressed this very issue, if rather obliquely on his blog last night. He said that the TV show is “faithful” to the books, but implied that last night’s divergence from the source material is due to HBO having to condense his “lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels” into a normal-length TV episode. It wasn’t clear from his post how he felt about Sansa’s rape scene being written into the TV show. Here’s the blog post below…
“There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. 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.
There has seldom been any TV series as faithful to its source material, by and large… but the longer the show goes on, the bigger the butterflies become. And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms, like the one presently engulfing my email.”
What did you think about the controversial scene? Was it gratuitous or justified in the context of the drama? Vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments box below.