Most Game of Thrones viewers say controversial Sansa rape scene did not go too far

Two thirds of 4,000 readers said Ramsay Bolton's brutalisation of his new wife Sansa Stark was not excessive in the context of the show

Almost two thirds of viewers believe that Monday night’s episode of Game of Thrones did not go too far by including a controversial rape scene.


Sixty-four per cent of over 4,000 people who took part in a poll said that Ramsay Bolton’s brutalisation of his new wife Sansa Stark was not excessive in the context of the storyline and a series which is known for its horrific violence.

The scene in question saw the cruel and sadistic Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) order his new wife (Sophie Turner) to submit to him as he forced his slave “Reek” – aka Sansa’s childhood friend Theon Greyjoy – to watch. 

But many viewers said the extreme violence that regularly features in the fantasy drama was more shocking, while others thought the disturbing events were well handled and relevant to Sansa’s aim of one day wreaking revenge on the Boltons, who had murdered her family.

Others noted that more explicit rape scenes had featured in earlier episodes of Game of Thrones andsuggested it was in fact the involvement of such a well-liked character that had offended those – like the vocal minority expressing their dismay on Twitter on Monday night – who felt it had gone too far. 

Read a selection of the comments posted in response to the poll below

Richard Amor Allan

Spoilers ahoy…..
So people are up in arms about this scene, and yet so little fuss was made of:
The remains of two flayed people being hoisted up on display.
A woman hunted through the forest pursued by a pack of dogs and hunters with bows.
A man strapped to a wooden cross having his little finger bone pulled out and his cock chopped off…
….all perpetrated by the same character.

Richard Jarrow

So mass murder (at the red wedding), torture and CASTRATION (Theon/Reek), armies killing each other (Daenerys Targaryen’s Unsullied sacking several cities, and also the Nights Watch vs the Wildlings) weren’t enough for people to stop, but a scene that takes place OFF CAMERA is horrible enough to stop viewership?

Andy Haynes

This was probably one of the mildest episodes they’ve ever done. Nothing was in camera shot. There was no gratuitous sex or violence. 
Did the people who complained actually watch it?

Dan Bradley

My thoughts exactly, this was really tame, graphically speaking, for Game of Thrones. It was disturbing, sure, but it was suppose to be. 
Ramsey is a monster, and he has Theon cowed, but this scene sets up Sansa to hate Ramsey as well, and to stir the revolt pot next episode

Dave Romyn

Funny how people get upset when these things happen, but only when they happen to particular characters.

People aren’t upset because it’s rape… they’re upset because it’s Sansa. They wouldn’t care in the slightest if that was someone raping Ramsey.

Casey Hewlett

The thing that should really horrify people is that this happens every day in the real world. I don’t know how many stories I’ve seen where they describe this exact thing perpetrated by ISIS and Boko Haram. Game of Thrones is a TV show. Yes, it is fantasy; yes, it does idealize some things. But why can’t it, once in a while, portray something that happens in reality?

Sean Barnhart

Medieval society was brutal and I think HBO nailed it close to the mark for the episode. Ramsey has shown us before in the books and the TV series that he is capable of some twisted acts. I mean come on, his house emblem is a flayed man, what more do you want from a family who has a legacy of skinning their prisoners alive?

Kathy Fain

They didn’t show the rape. They cut to Theon. Yes, we knew what was happening, but that is the world of Game of Thrones. It’s filled with incest, infidelity, rape, and murder. If it’s offensive, don’t watch. It shouldn’t be surprising, it’s Game of Thrones.

Toby Clouse

Honestly the scene HAD to be in there. If Ramsy didnt do it, it would have been so out of character for him. I had a feeling this scene would happen ever since they said Sansa was going to marry Ramsy.

T.j. Newton

The scene was set and left up to us to imagine what took place off camera. It was supposed to be unsettling. It was definitely not gratuitous. If you thought so, that was because it all took place in your mind

Shaye Ricca 

I don’t think that’s the issue at all. Theon’s torture was absolutely horrific and I am incredibly sympathetic with his character’s struggles, but it actually happened in the books and was essential for his plot and character development. That is Theon’s story. However, in the books, Sansa never went to Winterfell, never married Ramsay, never ran into Brienne of Tarth, and is still a virgin. In fact, in recently released chapters for the next book, she’s betrothed to someone else. Ramsay married another minor character and did horrible things to her. 

The issue here is that, because D&D wanted to include this scene so badly, they bent over backwards and had a bunch of characters act out of character to get Sansa married to and raped by Joffrey 2.0. They basically stripped Sansa of her own story, which had her growing, learning,… 

Eric Thorpe-Moscon


I’m not so upset by them having a rape scene in general as I am upset that the rape happened to Sansa specifically. From what I understand (my wife read the books) this happens to a completely different character in the book. The show appeared to be building up Sansa’s character after she escaped the horrors she endured at King’s Landing. It seemed like she was about to grow into a strong women who would finally get to take charge of her life. With this scene they instantly undid all of that build-up and character development and she is back to being an abused victim again. Sansa needs to catch a break already!  

Game of Thrones series 5 episode 6 review: A dark and disturbing wedding in Winterfell