Sen. Claire McCaskill quits Game of Thrones following that Sansa Stark scene

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Yes, we’re still talking about Sansa Stark’s wedding night on Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones (the episode was “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”). The episode featured a widely different storyline for Sansa Stark than book readers were expecting. The Sansa of the books has not married Ramsey Bolton, and Ramsey did not rape Sansa on their wedding night in the books. But it’s not just the book purists mad about the portrayal of violent sexual assault – many GoT-show lovers are pretty mad too. Why Sansa, why now, why shoot the scene in that way? George RR Martin doesn’t want to hear it. My guess is that DB Weiss and David Benioff don’t want to hear it either.

The Mary Sue announced on Monday that they will no longer promote or discuss GoT because of the rape scene. And now a United States Senator is chiming in! Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tweeted this on Tuesday:

This is really interesting to me for several reasons. One, I didn’t know McCaskill was a GoT-fan (and I love that she called out the Water Garden scene for being “stupid”). Two, I’ve been following McCaskill’s career for years and she has an excellent record on sexual assault legislation – she wrote the military sexual assault bill that passed the Senate last year, she’s been very active on issues of college campus sexual assault, and she’s an outspoken and passionate advocate for women in general. I can see why McCaskill would abandon Game of Thrones after the Sansa scene, basically.

What I also like is that Sen. McCaskill isn’t calling for a boycott or for any kind of censorship. She’s decided the show isn’t for her anymore. Which is her right. And I think it’s worth noting that some people are going to tap out and abandon the show, which is fine, and many, many people are going to stick with the show. Just because we’re sticking with it doesn’t mean we “like” seeing characters raped or that we are pro-rape somehow. Just something to remember in the on-going flame war.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, HBO.

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121 Responses to “Sen. Claire McCaskill quits Game of Thrones following that Sansa Stark scene”

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  1. Anastasia says:

    I’ll continue watching only because I want to see what happens next, but I was pretty damn disgusted, too.

    • M.A.F. says:

      I’m the same way. Everyone can argue until the cows come home that it wasn’t Sansa in the book & this is based on medieval history (spare me that argument) but the over all point is that this show has used rape/sex/nudity so often in the past that it stopped being a plot device (if it ever was) a few seasons ago and that enough is enough. Have stronger writing and character development and these type of scenes wouldn’t be needed.

      • ava7 says:

        I haven’t read the books myself, but my friend tells me the rape scenes in the books are much worse and very graphic and demeaning to women. It makes me think poorly of the author. I was done with GoT in season 2, because I felt the violence was really affecting me negatively. Just couldn’t hack it.

      • jugstorecowboy says:

        ava7-No, rapes in the books are alluded to but not graphic. I didn’t see this episode but it sounds very much more disturbing.

      • M.A.F. says:

        I don’t know if they are worse because I don’t consider him a great writer but the show does leave out some details.

      • FLORC says:

        I can understand these scenes used for story purposes. With GoT it seems excessive! I reminds me of a Ted Bundy quote pretty much saying these types of images and scenes open the mental door to violent fantasies that give way to some becoming killers. Also we become desensetised.

      • polonoscopy says:

        I’ve read all the books. Rapes are alluded to but never shown, and the sex scenes between characters we’re suppose to feel sympathy for NEVER rape. So, Khal Drogo didn’t rape Danny in the book, and Jamie certainly didn’t rape Cersai. GRRM is very clear that rape is an act of violence used to terrorize people and attack women. He is not to blame for what HBO has done.

    • GlimmerBunny says:

      Same here. I HATED the scene, even more than the complete rape (pun intended) of the amazing Jaime/Cersei altar sex scene in the book (one of my favorite scenes in the entire series). But I’m still too intrigued to quit.

    • Sherry says:

      The scene was hard to watch, but come on … did anyone really expect Ramsey to change character and make tender love to her? I am hoping Sansa will use this to become stronger instead of weakening her as Ramsey intended.

      • lem says:

        THIS. EXACTLY THIS. honestly, i get that it upset people that the actually made it known instead of just alluding to it (however i don’t get how it’s worse–rape is rape is rape whether i see it, hear it, or am left just to imagine it) but everyone knows that’s what he was going to do to her after he married her. if you didn’t, you haven’t been paying attention to what ramsey bolton does. further, where was the outcry when jaime raped cersei during their own father’s funeral? or what about when khal drogo raped dany during season 1?

      • polonoscopy says:

        There WAS outcry when Jaime raped Cersei, huge outcry, and the only reason we didn’t hear much about the Khal Drogo rape is because it happened in the pilot, before the show really took off.

        The problem people have with this is that rape is so rarely a meaningful plot point in this show. Danny gets raped one episode, then she falls in love with her rapist the next. Sansa gets raped by Ramsey Bolton and – if you’re read the books – you’ll know this isn’t about HER storyline. In the books – rape happens because the world is at war and rape is an act of terror. In the show – it’s just another excuse to show tits.

    • Tristan says:

      Don’t people read or watch the news? Far more horrific things are happening globally on a massive scale on a daily basis. Look at what ISIS, Boko Haram & al Shabab have been doing to thousands if innocent people every single day. Unfortunately, the characters in GOT are not Disney Princesses. These are things that exist everywhere, and far more so in barbaric places

      • ava7 says:

        Yeah, and people specifically don’t want to watch that kind of stuff during their leisure time as a source of entertainment.

      • Jesmari says:

        Ava I think they do though. This show is massively popular.

    • Christo says:

      I was definitely bothered by the scene, but isn’t that the point??? It is a rape scene after all. There really is no way to show a rape scene in a PLEASANT way. Should war scenes not show a depiction of dead bodies or wounds??? This is HBO; there are parental advisories at the beginning of every episode—and the episodes show at a relatively late hour. Where was all the dismay with the Dothraki rape of their female prisoners?? Not saying people are being hypocritical, but I find it ironic that we hear nothing about the rape of poor, peasant-type women in season 1 by Khal Drogo and Khaleesi’s clan. Fast forward to season 5 and the rape of poor, innocent, virginal Sansa Stark elicits such a definite response. Not sure what THAT is all about.

      I totally understand being bothered by the scene; it is what everyone should be bothered by. Rape isn’t pretty folks. Murder isn’t pretty. War isn’t pretty—yet, yet, yet should we not have depictions of things that bother us? In the end, people can choose not to watch. Yes, we can say NO to some things after all—even Game of Thrones.

      • Diana B says:

        Sooooo agree with you CHRISTO. Yes to all you just said.

      • Josefa says:

        So much YES to this. I respect her decission to not watch the show, that scene was NOT enjoyable, and that was the whole point. But that’s how the show rolls, and I still think they shot that scene the most respectful way possible. It wasn’t sexualised or glamorized, the message sent was people SHOULD be horrified by this.

      • Nicole says:

        THANK YOU

      • mytbean says:

        From what I understand, it’s not this specific rape scene but more that this is the straw that broke the back of the camel carrying multiple rape scenes and violent acts in general. I think people have been watching long enough and have begun to recognize and then grow insulted by the pattern.

  2. LetItB! says:

    I’ve never watched GoT and I wanted to start watching it but after all this I don’t think I want to start at all!

    • jinni says:

      Me too.

    • Sarah says:

      Me too. I’ve had it on my list to binge watch some rainy weekend, but think I’ll skip it. This reminds me a bit of how Outlander has gone too. I liked the first season of that show on Showtime but this season, I’ve stopped watching. So much rape. So much violence. Yes, I know all of it was in the book, but the way the show is filmed it just goes on forever. And rape is so common (hardly an episode where someone isn’t nearly raped or raped) that I was starting to feel blasé about it. Just not good. So no – Outlander is done for me and GOT is off my watch list.

    • kcarp says:

      I use to think the same thing. I binged last year and watched there is more violence against men than there is women.

      While rape is disgusting and wrong I think having your eyes poked out and your throat slit is at least if not more disgusting.

    • Sherry says:

      I had not watched it until last summer when HBO was running a promotional viewing and showed the first season. I thought, “Why not?” and started watching. Then I couldn’t stop and went to Target to get the dvds. I am completely hooked now.

  3. Talie says:

    The rumor going around is that there is some sort of “controversial ” Sansa chapter in the next book — reportedly a rape and this is why the creators felt comfortable doing it.

    I’m willing to trust all the smart people involved that this will have a good payoff. I could be a fool for thinking that though.

    • M.A.F. says:

      in the next book? Book 6? If there are rumors then does that mean Book 6 will be out this year? Not only that but what does the show have to do with the book since that keeps being GRRM & HBO’s argument.

      • Talie says:

        I’m positive GRRM keeps the creators very much in the loop on overall character arcs. There have been enough interview slip-ups to suggest this.

      • mimif says:

        +1 They already know how the entire thing ends.

      • Bridget says:

        Everyone involved confirmed that GRRM had to give Benioff and Weiss the full rundown on all of the unpublished story, including how it ends. The show will end before the 7th book is even published, even if HBO convinces them to do an 8th season, so most likely we’re already seeing the show make adjustments to cut out extraneous arcs in order to set up the final arc. The books and the show may be 2 different entities, but they do share the same DNA after all.

      • M.A.F. says:

        @Talie- he does and the writers have said so but both parties have also made it clear that both are going in different directions and what ends up on HBO won’t necessarily be in the books when those (if ever) get published.

    • Chihiro says:

      That controversial chapter was already released on GRRM’s website, and there was no rape. Here is the chapter in question (spoilers of course) http://www.georgerrmartin.com/excerpt-from-the-winds-of-winter/

  4. lemon says:

    Wait a minute! I understand why this scene upset people, why it may be gratuitous to the storyline, etc. But, good lord, where was the outrage when Theon was tortured, flayed alive, and had his c-ck cut off and mailed to his Dad? Or when Joffrey strung up that whore (forgot her name) to his bed and riddled her with bolts from his crossbow? How about the story of Tyrion’s first wife (she was gang raped by Lannister soldiers on his father’s orders). Or the many mutilations and beheadings we have seen along the way?

    This show is disgusting and horrible, ffs!

    • Veronica says:

      I think for a lot of people it’s been the build up over time. Horrific shit going down is one thing, but it’s how unrelenting it is that’s beginning to turn people off. (I also suspect the gratuitous female nudity is not helping.). Sansa getting stuck with another book character’s awful fate just tipped the scales for a lot of people. She’s been through enough that people are just like, “Enough.”

      This being said, I couldn’t get into it from the start. I see enough real life horror in a hospital that I didn’t need fiction adding to it.

      • lemon says:

        Yeah, I get that. When Stannis burned Mance alive I had to take a breather!

      • Original T.C. says:

        Veronica

        It’s just as unrelenting (way much more) in the books. That is Games of Thrones in s nutshell. I respect people’s right to protest or quit the show especially non-book readers. What I don’t understand is outrage from book readers. Seriously? After the Ned beheadings, the Red Wedding, the murder of the Prince of Dorn, Jaime’s arm amputation, the spoiler ending to book 5…you still don’t expect bad things to happen to characters you love?
        After watching Ramsey butcher and torture Theon for an entire season, hunt, rape and kill women left and right, you excepted Sansa to AGAIN get a “bare miss, get out of jail free” card? She would then be an even bigger Mary Sue than Bella Swan.

      • Veronica says:

        Original T.C.

        If I recall, this plotline didn’t belong to Sansa, so it’s making a MASSIVE character change without altering much else. I can understand why even book fans are bothered by that. It would be awful if it happened to either character, but in this case, it just exacerbates what Sansa has been through previously and borders on egregious. If we’re going to use rape for horror and shock value, you have to follow through with the effects. Normally, I would say it’s not my cup of tea and just avoid it, but they’ve previously changed a scene from a consensual sex scene to a rape and the writers didn’t seem to understand that it was rape. That’s more problematic to me then if they were just going for the gritty gritty.

        Personally, I stopped the show and the books for the same reason I don’t watch SVU or most television anymore – women’s lives are more than a series of brutalizations at the hands of men, and I’m tired of being told otherwise in fiction.

    • Samtha says:

      The outrage HAS been there for all of those scenes. Also for the gratuitous background rapes, the constant objectification of nude women, etc. The Sansa scene is basically the last straw–because they did NOT have to go that route. Yes, all these terrible things have already happened, ffs. We get that it’s a brutal, cruel world already. They didn’t need to invent this for Sansa. They could have chosen any number of story lines for that character, but instead they added yet another rape.

      • mom2two says:

        I agree that the outrage has been a build up over time, over things that have happened to female and male characters during the run of the series. I don’t need to be reminded over and over again how cruel the world in the show is. The show is rightly taking it’s lumps over this.

      • lemon says:

        I recall twitter/blog distress over Cersei’s rape, which like Sansa’s, was a diversion from the book and rather unnecessary and cheap storytelling. But other stuff like Joffrey’s poisoning, which was shown in a particularly horrific manner where the character was shown struggling to breath, were celebrated because he was rotten character.

        Game of Thrones is a “fight and f-ck” show, essentially. Nudity doesn’t bother me at all, and it’s been refreshing to see men complaining about gratuitous junk shots!

      • Jen43 says:

        Yes. People were outraged by the Red Wedding, especially that they killed Robb Stark’s pregnant wife. Again, I think this is something that did not happen in the book, so it appears more gratuitous.

      • jc126 says:

        Maybe it’s because Sansa has possibly suffered the most out of all the characters, it seems gratuitous.
        I cringe at ALL the brutality, especially the stuff that isn’t in the book. Cersei wasn’t raped in the book. I don’t know if GRRM has confirmed that Dany was raped, but I just re-listened to the first audio book and carefully paid attention to her sections and it seemed like it might not have been rape from the way he wrote it, but rather just overwhelming because of the Khal’s ardor and equipiment, plus Dany was so young. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)
        Sometimes I wish Joffrey wasn’t such a vile f-er in the book. It might make for a better book/show if Joffrey had some decency to him instead of being a one-dimensional evil boy.

    • Beth says:

      If it helps, Lemon, I’ve been grossed out by this show since episode one and haven’t watched a bit since.

    • Christo says:

      EXACTLY. There is SELECTIVE outrage that conveniently rears its head when only certain characters suffer torture.

    • Bridget says:

      Actually, I’ve only recently returned to the show because I’d like to see how the series ends – the escalating level of violence has been a total and complete turnoff for me, combined with what appears to be GRRM’s desire to punish readers that have stuck with him this far. But I think valid criticism is being level at the show in this instance: in a production with source material that is already filled with such violence, adding in assaults against primary female characters feels as though all they’re trying to up the ante. As much as we talk about bad things happening in war, this is one of the few depictions of violence on the show that we could legitimately see today, and it’s almost impossible not to view this editorial choice through that modern lens.

      But at this point, I’m kind of done beating this horse. Questionable as it is, this is supposed to be about entertainment, and I do want to know what happens.

      • Roo says:

        This totally. I have watched GoT since the start. I love the characters and the storylines – it’s like a big, grotesque, medieval-flavored soap opera. I made it to the last season before I decided, screw it, I’m done. The enjoyment I get from the characters isn’t worth sitting through the uncomfortable, horrific, graphic violence. It’s unnecessary. We get it – it’s a hard, brutal world, but we don’t need to see excruciating details all the time. I can sit through horror movies no problem, but GoT just crosses the line for me. I’ve abstained from this season and frankly, I’m fine with it. I’d like to know what happens, so I’ll read synopsis and reviews, but I’m not sitting through it any more. It’s a shame, because I really used to enjoy it.

  5. Chihiro says:

    Good for her, beyond the unnecessary sexual violence, this show has just become really poorly written in my opinion. They established themselves as the “shocking show”, with Ned’s death and the Red Wedding, and are now just trying to constantly up the stakes, so much so that instead of having any real plot, or character development they seem to just center their whole show on “shocking” moments. It’s gotten pretty old for me.

  6. TX says:

    I know a lot of of people who are just about done with this show. Not only for that scene, but also because they spend whole seasons just table setting and only advance the narrative in the last two episodes if we’re lucky. I don’t even care what happens to Dany anymore, they’ve run her in circles for so long.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      That’s very much like the books. They lose steam, and he doesn’t know where he’s going anymore. I started to lose interest in everybody about now in the books.

    • Ennie says:

      That’s the books’ fault.

    • TX says:

      Books fault or not, it’s tedious watching lol I guess we can only hope that since they are about to pass up what GRRM has written, they can really make it their own and do something with it?

  7. mom2two says:

    It sounds to me like the Senator was getting close to being done with the show anyway and this storyline pushed her over the edge. I don’t get the outrage because she announced she’s done with the show or with the Mary Sue deciding to no longer cover the show. It’s much their right not to bother with it anymore as it is for people who will continue to watch.
    I absolutely hate the Sansa in Winterfell storyline. I totally agree with Chihiro that this show goes for the shocking moments anymore rather then actual storytelling.

  8. Beth says:

    Good for her. There are plenty of places to get good fantasy genre entertainment without all the rape and graphic violence. Seriously, I just don’t find that entertaining.

  9. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I’m not sure I care what TV shows my senator watches. I hated the rape scene, and was upset that it was added. But in the book, Ramsey repeatedly rapes and tortures the woman he THINKS is Sansa, so it makes sense in it’s way. I don’t like this holier than thou “I’m against rape, so I don’t watch a show that depicts rape” attitude. I think some of the nudity and sexual violence in GOT may be gratuitous, but after thinking about this, I’m not sure they could have made Ramsey a tender lover to Sansa and remained true to the story. I think Veronica is right that the build up is starting to get to people, myself included, but I’m not sure how else they could have played this scene.

    • Chihiro says:

      Small quibble but Ramsay never thought Jeyne Poole (the girl in the books) was Sansa, Jeyne was forced into pretending she was Arya, but everybody in Winterfell knew that she wasn’t.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Oh, not a small quibble at all. I have the WORST memory. Thank you.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Arya or Sansa, it doesn’t matter. The rape(s) still happen to the character Sansa is substituting for. So I think the protest appears to be that sure the rape happens in the book but not to my sweet Sansa. It happens to that Jeyne Poole girl that I don’t care about.

        Sansa’s storyline in the book would be spending 2 books in the Eryrie doing nothing but babysitting a bratty boy and putting off creepy Uncle LittleFinger. Everyone’s HOPING she will one day doing something more significant than be a tool but so far no dice. Some of the other GOT characters are also substituting for other book characters.

      • Chihiro says:

        @Original T.C. Okay, first off I hated the storyline in the book too, I thought it was extremely gross to have the brutalization of a thirteen-year-old girl be about the character development of a dude. I criticized GRRM for that on the article about him yesterday. Second off, rape is horrific no matter who it happens too and it happening to Sansa doesn’t make it worse. That being said Sansa is a main character, more important than either Ramsay or Theon (at least in the books). The show has taken a main character put her into a minor character plot (that should have been left out of the show entirely, because it really serves no purpose ) and changed practically nothing, just so they could show some more pointless rape. They basically warped Sansa’s story to fit Ramsay and Theon’s, and for what? Because we really needed more rape?

        This isn’t a new thing in previous seasons they have sacrificed parts of Sansa’s storyline to make Tyrion look better. They fucked up Catelyn Stark’s character just to give more screen time to Robb. They erased Arianne and replaced her with her brother (who was basically a non-entity in the books). They had Jaime rape Cersei. Honestly, it’s not just about the rape, it’s about male storylines consistently being valued over female ones. I mean they had Sansa manipulate the Vale Lords last season, and stand up to Littlefinger, what was the point? If she was just going to do exactly what Littlefinger told her to do anyways. Also honestly Arya’s AFFC/ADWD aren’t really any more interesting than Sansa’s but yet they didn’t cut those out, and subject Arya to a pointless rape storyline.

      • jugstorecowboy says:

        Yes, it happens to Jeyne Poole in the book, but not on the page. We later see Jeyne with bruises/bitemarks but don’t read the scenes that put them there. We know Ramsay is a sick $*#@ but don’t have to read graphic details.

      • Gretchen says:

        @chihiro this x a million. Well said.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Chihiro
        Yes Sansa is a POV character. But IMO Theon is actually more important than her. She does nothing in the books but be placed as an eye witness for us to see what’s going on in King’s Landing and the Eryie. She’s a passive character that was groomed to form little fantasies in her mind and then be married off. Both a young boy and her wolf died because of her living in her fantasy world. Her Dad was arrested and bedded because she wanted to marry her fairy Prince. She thought Tyrion was beneath her because he was an ugly dwarf no matter how nice he was to her. She tried to run away with a clown to escape Tyrion.

        Theon is a larger significant character. He set significant things into place by taken over Winterfell and then forcing the Stark boys to leave their homes. I think the bottom line that people refuse to say outloud is that they LIKE Sansa. Sansa is pretty, pure as the driven snow and it turns the stomach to see such a pretty character be ugliest and defiled. I comepletely understand that.

        P.S. Jayne Poole was raped multiple times until she just lost all fight. Ramsey would be sent to “get her read” with his mouth. Furthermore Ramsey would force her to do “things” with his dogs. I found all of that disturbing but most book readers didn’t because Jayne Poole was not a pretty snowflake.

      • M.A.F. says:

        What Chihiro said.

  10. InvaderTak says:

    Violence and gore are one thing, but this is pointless, over the top and not even well written at this point.

    • Marty says:

      Exactly.

      I have a love/hate relationship with this show, but after 5 seasons it’s getting tiresome to watch a show that exploits the female form, while simultaneously “punishing” the stronger and more popular female characters with sexual violence.

  11. the other Kate says:

    Can anybody explain to me, why this scene caused such hysteria? It’s madness, I really don’t get it. I know that there is a lot of violence, and maybe for some viewers there was no need to add another violent scene, but it’s a TV series, fictional… maybe we should also boycott Anthony Burgess for “Clockwork Orange”? Or, I don’t know, Fiodor Dostoevsky for “Crime and Punishment”, cause Rodion kills a woman?

    • DesertReal says:

      You and me both, madam. You and me both. People in this country are shockingly caviller about violence, but throw a sexual (I know that sexual assault has nothing to do with sex, but it’s the first adjective used to describe it in its nominal form) angle into anything (especially anything involving a woman) and people. Completely. Lose. Their. S**t.

    • Shahrizai says:

      I’m kind of wondering the same thing. While I was shocked and appalled by the scene (and had a hard time falling asleep after watching it), I anticipated that this was coming given who we’ve learned Ramsay is and also given that Sansa barely traded one psycho for Littlefinger, only to be sold into marriage with another psycho. I’m a strongly against rape and abuse IRL, and I understand the value of not glorifying, glamorizing, or gratuitously inserting it where it’s unnecessary, but I think this is a plot device that will probably be used to show Sansa as a phoenix of sorts, who will rise from Winterfell’s literal ashes, as well as her family’s metaphorical ones. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that’s what this show often does. It breaks down characters (like in the books) to sometimes give them a huge leap in character, strength, or will. My hope is that Sansa will eff ish up all over the Boltons, and while I didn’t enjoy the rape scene, I understood that it was probably coming and I will stick around to see what comes of it. I want to see her live through this and come out on top.

    • andrw says:

      Same here. Saw the episode and don’t understand all the outrage. I mean, this is Game of Thrones. They barely showed the rape scene too. Was the Senator okay with be-headings, incest, gory violence and vulgar trashy hardcore sex scenes on the show? Wasn’t Danyeras also raped by Khal Drogo in the beginning of the first season? Besides, doesn’t a US Senator have anything better to do other then boycott a show? Sheesh. There are bigger problems then what happens in a tv show you know.
      Why doesn’t the US senator boycott her own colleges or the President for having done such a poor job of running the country? Where is her outrage over how Obama shrugged off how he handles torture and his failures as the POTUS?

    • WinterLady says:

      Agreed. I also don’t get those who say that Sansa’s rape was meant to titillating, when we didn’t see any of it. Mind you, I was on edge and was hoping through the build up scenes to it and would have probably excepted any plot bunny to have seen Sansa get out of it, but unfortunately the more realistic thing happened. I tend to think the fact people are talking about that scene and rape in general is a good thing. I sort of wish instead of the moral outrage over a fictional rape, people would use it as a springboard for the massive problems we face in the real, modern world with sexual violence.

    • Nance says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. I love the show, yes the Sansa scene disturbed me and I want Ramsay to have his due, but I think this is what we was suppose to feel too. This is FICTION, Sansa isn’t a real person. Ramsay is the VILLIAN, not the hero in that scene. We are not suppose to cheers.

      What about Anne in The White Queen? Lucretia in The Borgia? Dany has been raped on her wedding night too…

      I don’t get the outrage and all people suddenly publicly stop watching the show, like we are suppose to give a damn, like some seal of feminist approval (Mad Max) or feminist disaproval (Game of Thrones).

      It’s almost like I’m not a “real” feminist for still sticking to Game of Thrones, urg…

      For me, I hate more polical correctness than lazy writing.

  12. OTHER RENEE says:

    Based in your comments, this show sounds absolutely awful and I’m wondering why it’s so popular. I have never seen it. I don’t like torture kill maim shows with graphic depiction.

    • Heat says:

      I respect your opinion, Other Renee. GoT is, indeed, a very violent show. But I’ll tell you this: I didn’t want to watch Breaking Bad, at first, because it looked like a stupid show that glorified drug lords. And I didn’t watch The Walking Dead, at first, because it looked like a stupid show about zombies. Then, after giving both of those a chance, I was hooked on both of them. :)

      • kcarp says:

        I agree 1000% I thought GOT was just sex and violence until I watched it and became interested in the story line.

        I was appalled by Walking Dead and I could not see the point. I mean why go on if your life is going to be about hiding from zombies or fighting them? Until I got it that they needed to build a life in a new reality.

      • mimif says:

        Me too, Heat.

  13. Jaygee says:

    You know, this is the right attitude. This show is not for everyone and it’s fine if she doesn’t like it. The outrage and shock I don’t get at all. This show doesn’t try to set a moral example. I mean, this is a show that featured brother/sister incest and the attempted murder of a young boy in the pilot episode! And also, the show isn’t glorifying tape or endorsing it. It’s presenting it as something horrible that occurred as a result of Ramsey’s sadism and Sansa’s being a young girl with no power. This is consistent with the characters and with reality in the Middle Ages and even now. So again, maybe this content is not for you, but I don’t understand taking offense. Now if the show celebrated rape, I would accept its offensive.

    • Josefa says:

      This, THIS. Good for the Senator if she doesn’t want to watch. Her choice, her preferences, why do we even care. But I don’t understand all this moral judgement.

  14. Sally J. Freedman says:

    I’m not reading the story or any of the comments at all, but I am begging you to please stop putting so much in the titles of the posts. I’m currently reading the books and there are entirely too many spoilers in just the titles alone. You may not say exactly what is happening, but you can pretty much guess what is going on with the titles on the posts.

    • mimif says:

      I agree, and I’ve read the books. Regardless, the show has diverged so far from the books that even something as simple as “Sansa got married” in the title is a huge spoiler.

  15. Heat says:

    The rape scene was horrific…we’ve watched Sansa “grow up” and seen the decimation of most of her family; we’re emotionally invested in what is left of the Stark family.
    I was shocked, because I was really hoping that Sansa was going to pull out a knife and kill Ramsay…or that Theon would re-grow a set (pardon the pun) and save her…or that Ramsay’s girlfriend would burst in to stop it, out of jealousy. I’m not going to stop watching, though. Perhaps this act of sick violence will be the catalyst for Sansa to really and truly gain the strength she needs to take back Winterfell and reclaim it for the Starks.

    • FingerBinger says:

      I’ve seen a few movies and tv shows with rape scenes and that scene was pretty tame. It wasn’t “horrific” imo.

      • Diana B says:

        As I said on the recap, I thought Sansa did not get it as bad as it could get comming from that psyco. That scen was actually pretty tame.

  16. anniefannie says:

    I’m a Missourian and McCaskill is one of the few of the recent crop of politicians we’re proud of!
    She came out of the gate early and supported Obama when it was considered somewhat of a risky move.
    I’ve been shocked at some of the graphic violence on GoT and while the rape scene was disturbing, for me , the head squirting and constant beheadings are more offensive.
    Do I need to turn in my pro-feminist card?

  17. Size Does Matter says:

    I love the books and the show (with the exception of the Dorne Sand Snake Mutant Ninja Turtles and Jaime/Bronn Scooby Doo buffoonery) and will continue with both. That does not mean I’m anti-woman or pro-violence. This is fiction, and yes it is hard to stomach at times.

    I also love talking about the books and the show and theorizing what it all means and where it is all going, but I’m tired of this discussion. These books and this show are simply not for everybody, nor were they intended to be for everybody. The show had such hype and became so popular that maybe people didn’t exactly realize what they were getting into (although there has been TONS of violence since the very first episode). War is hell. GRRM started thinking of the series in part after his experience as a conscientious objector during Vietnam. And the series is set in a brutal, medieval time period. Horrible things are going to happen.

    Book readers are upset because this hasn’t happened in the books – but something worse happened in the books to a different character and the books aren’t finished. Something awful may be coming for Sansa in the books. We don’t know. Show watchers are upset because they have ruined Sansa’s arc and set off on Theon’s redemption at her expense, but the show isn’t finished yet. We don’t know how Sansa and Theon will progress after this. Will it leave a bad taste in my mouth if the good guys don’t win in the end? Yes, but GRRM’s whole point is to blur who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Read up on how he started thinking of the series after his frustration with Lord of the Rings if you don’t believe me.

    Was the scene gratuitous? Not in my opinion. It was inevitable from the moment Sansa agreed to marry Ramsay. Ramsay needed a witness to the bedding so nobody can doubt the legitimacy of the marriage and I doubt he believed Sansa was really still a virgin after having been married to Tyrion. Could it have been handled differently? Yes, but it could have been much worse and a tender, gentle Ramsay would have been completely inconsistent. Did they have to marry Sansa to Ramsay in the show? No, but they cannot possibly make the show exactly like the books. Does the change make sense and maintain character consistency? Yes and yes.

    Now can we please talk about what Littlefinger is up to?

    • mimif says:

      HODOR!

      Did you see our LF rundown on yesterday’s post (it was later in the day)?

      • Size Does Matter says:

        I saw it but you guys were too far down the road for me to try and catch up yesterday when I came back. Loved it! He’s arguably a “minor” character but he’s everything. I think he’s the one who sets the globe thingy spinning in the intro.

    • Bridget says:

      I think it’s important that we at least have these discussions, though. We’re talking about a show run by a couple of men, based on a book by a man, on a network run by a man. How they portray women, their bodies, and violence against women is an important topic to at least discuss.

      That said, I’m pretty done with discussing rape.

      • mimif says:

        I agree that it’s (always) important to have a discussion on culturally relevant topics and their negative/positive impact, especially as the majority of the literary inspiration for ASOIAF is obviously pulled from historical examples. That said, I feel like there is a little bit of a witch hunt happening here. (That’s not directed towards you, Bridget, but some of the folks calling GRRM a pedo creepy rapey freak).

      • Bridget says:

        But what if I want to be a witch?

        And I think it’s a bit much to say that the GoT folks are getting off on this and that’s why they’re putting it in. My issue is that by doing this, it feels as though strong female characters have to be taken down in order for audiences to feel sympathetic or to give them a story. Can’t women be vulnerable without being assaulted? Is this the only way to tell their story?

      • mimif says:

        As long as your not a red witch!

        And ITA with you, I’ve been rooting for strong/er women characters from the get go. Giving them a platform for character development via subjugation is lazy writing at best.

    • Bridget says:

      Here’s what I keep coming back to with Littlefinger. We know that he’s essentially trying to recapture what he felt for Catelyn with her daughter, getting the woman he never got. And I keep thinking about one of the most formative events for Littlefinger: the ill-fated duel with Brandon Stark. Littlefinger was humiliated. He hated Brandon, and implied that Brandon represented everything that Littlefinger wasn’t, and that ended up shaping who Littlefinger became. I keep coming back to that, because it really doesn’t seem like Littlefinger doesn’t want to actually marry Sansa himself, but rather have her choose him.

      • mimif says:

        The scene in the brothel when he was telling Ros about his childhood, and his love for Catelyn, is what I always come back to. A little man in many ways, who has made remarkably huge progress, also in little ways, here and there, as to never arouse too much suspicion. Littlefinger is such a great name for him, very apt. Anyway, I agree that marriage per se isn’t his end game with Sansa. Your theory about her “choosing” him is spot on. Additionally, it’s pretty obvious that Sansa avenging her family’s killers would also give LF immense satisfaction as well, considering they killed his beloved Catelyn.
        @Size, I would argue that Littlefinger is a straight up major character/player at this point. :D

      • Betti says:

        Sansa won’t ‘choose’ him – i think she’ll kill him or at the very most he’ll be included in her revenge against those who wronged her and her family. He manipulated her and she won’t forget that when she does go all dark side.

        I think Sansa is going to one of the characters to watch going forward – she may become a Queen yet.

        I’ve read all the books but am loving that they are going off on their own – opens the world of Westeros more and keeps us on our toes.

      • mimif says:

        I think Bridget was saying she thought Petyr’s motivations were so that Sansa would *want* to choose him, not necessarily that she would.
        But I agree, she is one to watch. And Baelish did betray Ned (to get to Catelyn) so on top of everything else, Sansa’s vengeance against LF is a million times well placed. But we all know GRRM doesn’t do happy endings (or even satisfying ones) so I highly doubt she will be the one that offs LF.

        What about Bronn? Is he toast?

      • Size Does Matter says:

        It seems to me that the characters go sideways when they overreach. As in, if Sansa could be satisfied being Lord (Lordess? Lorde?) of Winterfell, then she would be okay. But someone, probably Littlefinger, will try to convince her to want more and become queen of all Westeros, like she was promised when she was engaged to Joffrey and what she betrayed her father to try and maintain.

        I hope Stannis brings down the Boltons, but then who are the bad guys? The Lannisters are basically done. The big armies left are Dorne, the Vale, and the Reach. Suppose the Vale joins with Stannis and they march on Kings Landing. What do the Tyrells do? Unless Tommen is legitimate king, Margaery isn’t queen. Tough situation. Marry Margaery to Stannis to unite Vale, North, and Reach?

        My brain hurts. I’m stymied.

      • mimif says:

        Who are, or who will become the bad guys/gal/valonqar? DANY! 🌋

      • Size Does Matter says:

        If Dany goes mad/bad, what about Tyrion. I luuuuuuuurve him. But we don’t get to choose who is okay and who isn’t. If we could, I pick Ned Stark and Oberyn Martell to come back.

      • Bridget says:

        Mimif is correct – I’m not talking about what Sansa’s going to do, I’m talking about Littlefinger’s motivations. If he just wanted to marry Sansa, he could have done so by now. So it has to go beyond just plain wanting Sansa’s hand.

        And Size, the next conflict isn’t going to be Stannis vs Tommen, it’s going to be Everyone vs The Others (and that’s even if mom it’s prediction is correct and The Others are actually the good guys).

      • Size Does Matter says:

        And also, my first thought when LF wanted Sansa to marry Ramsay was that they needed a “Stark” to marry Ramsay to result in Jon leaving the Wall and kicking off the “for the watch” sequence. But it looks like Hardhome will do that instead? And Ramsay doesn’t leave Winterfell in the book and the Stannis/ Bolton battle hasn’t happened yet. And Melisandre stays at the Wall. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

        And yes, I think Bronn is toast, unless you believe a certain spoilery report of sand snake audition dialogue.

      • mimif says:

        Paolanqar sent me a link earlier about LF’s motivations, and one comment that really stood out is that he is motivated purely by wanting/needing validation. So true. He’s already got extreme wealth, a fair amount of power, one could even argue he’s even found a few allies, so why the incessant twisting of the knife? Sorry mark, but I think it boils down to the simple fact that Littlefinger has Littlefinger Syndrome, if you know what I’m saying.

        I think LF wants Sansa in Winterfell because A) something something about there must always be a Stark in WF + B) the North Remembers = C) she still has allegiances there. He knows people will rally around her. And as horrible as the Boltons are, being married to a psychopath might be safer for her than having her wander about whilst Cersei wants her head. As Bridget has pointed out, very few people give a FF about the Boltons and when Stannis rolls into town….Oh shit, I just remembered Brienne’s allegiance to Renly. Dude! DUDE, WHY HAS NO ONE ADDRESSED THIS MAJOR ISSUE?!

      • Bridget says:

        It’s hard to keep book Brienne and show Brienne straight, since they have different journeys – book Brienne being stuck with Lady Stoneheart, last I remember.

        Stannis isn’t the rescuer that some seem to think he is. He’s been corrupted by a faulty vessel (the red lady, of course) and he has much to atone for. It’s just that we kind of overlook it because its so obvious that he’s not Azor, and he’s so pathetically convinced that it’s going to be satisfying when he gets his come down (I’m not a Stannis fan). Everyone associated with Stannis aside from his daughter and the Onion Knight are odious.

      • Bridget says:

        And Littlefinger has a well hidden but significant inferiority complex. He is wealthy and powerful, but it’s because he was willing to work with folks and in quarters that those of better birth wouldn’t deign to lower themselves to. He got the lesser Tully sister (now there’s another character with an inferiority complex, I always kind of wondered what was up with Lysa) and he’s only begrudgingly accepted by the Lannisters. His motives definitely aren’t material.

  18. Rachael says:

    I didn’t like the rape scene either, but i don’t think that the writers were advocating rape by putting it in, just as they’re not advocating beheading, torture, slavery, incest or any of the other horribly unpleasant things that have happened in the story so far. I honestly don’t get why people are quitting the show at this stage over this, after the castration of Theon Greyjoy, for example. Would it be any more or less acceptable if it had been in the book? I don’t think so.

    • andrw says:

      Was the scene needed? No. But the tv show has shown far worse things throughout all the seasons so far then in this recent episode. Besides, all of this stuff is in the books too, will this Senetor also boycott GRRM then?

  19. Lostara says:

    Years ago, in the 2000′s, I was an active user in a German “Lord Of The Rings” – Forum (in fact the biggest LOTR-forum in german language). And there was, in the section dedicated to fantasy in general a thread “How much violence is acceptable in a novel?” and it was about “Game Of Thrones”. Discussion went wild, as the books were very popular and had a great following even back then. I read this thread and was in fact scared to read the books for a while because “so much violence, sex etc. pp.”. BUT – there were far more voices singing the praises. At least I bought the books, read them – and LOVED them. Yes, they are violent – much, much more than the TV series. Did I care? No. Do I care for the violence, sex, assault etc. in the TV series? No, I do not. It is a fiction, and as such I read/watch it. The only scenes I skip, that I am willing to admit, are those involving burning people – but those scenes I always skip, in every series or movie. That is MY weak point I think while I have no problems with blood, fightings or anything sexual, even sexual assault. But maybe I am just not very sensible – my other favourite series include “The Tudors”, “Orphan Black”, “American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead”……

    Sorry for being a bit off-topic, but that are just my opinions / experiences about / with GOT.

  20. Andrea says:

    This level of public reaction worries me,
    and has officially spun out of control. It’s a fictional TV show. You should see some of the porn men watch. Sansa being raped doesn’t make “rape ok.” Wow. Be more concerned about what your 8 year old is watching

    • mimif says:

      Yeah it’s starting to feel like click bait to me. I mean, where’s the uproar about last week’s episode of Penny Dreadful and the quite visually gruesome newborn sacrifice scene? Oh that’s right, almost none, because it doesn’t garner the attention/clicks/$$ that GoT does.

      • Olenna says:

        ITA. The baby voodoo scene in PD, Jamie Fraser’s abuse by Jack Randall in Outlander, and Theon being run down like an animal and tortured were more disturbing IMO. I’m a book reader, so maybe that prepared me for we could expect from Ramsay after the wedding. But, honestly, I don’t understand how viewers who are not book readers could miss the fact that he’s a controlling, vicious psychopath. Did anyone think he’d be gentle or considerate with Sansa? Surely not. After 4 seasons of brutality (Ned be-headed and Ramsay hunting and setting his dogs on a young woman), murder (Alyssa Arryn “flying” and Dany letting her dragon burn and devour a man), most of us knew not to expect that from Ramsay Bolton or the writers.

  21. MyCatLoves TV says:

    Just reading the comments about all the violence is disturbing. Wow. Now back to Netflix so I can re-watch The Office and Jim & Pam’s romance.

  22. judyjudyjudy says:

    If you stick with a show that repeatedly shows gratuitous rape then YES, you are supporting it.
    Just like if you hear a racist joke and say nothing.

    I don’t watch it since some disgusting exploitation of multiple women in a room- and constant raping of them – in an episode – so I don’t know what the hell took the senator so long.

    • Lostara says:

      Yesterday I pre-ordered season 5 on DVD from Amazon. This makes me, according to your logic, a supporter of rape. Wow. But I think I can live with that and will not cancel my order.

  23. Norman Bates' Mother says:

    I quit Game of Thrones pretty early. That scene where Littlefinger(?) was giving a grand monologue (fully clothed) while two prostitutes where very gratuitously demonstrating on each other how to pleasure a client with their fingers was my final straw. I got super angry for the unfairness of it all (mostly the treatment of actresses in GOT and representation of women in pop culture in general) and decided it’s simply not for me. Now I feel like I’m in the dark when people are discussing GOT around me all the time but I have no regrets.

  24. Abby says:

    It’s a show on HBO that is rated for violence, sexual content, nudity, and language. If you don’t like it, watch NBC, CBS, or FOX dramas and sitcoms. Game of Thrones is a fantastic drama about power, war, sex, violence, etc. The rape scene was extremely upsetting and disturbing, but not graphic. it didn’t have to be graphic like the scene in The Accused to be disturbing. Anyone watching the show knows that Ramsey is a scumbag who gets off on violent manipulation and breaking a human down to a husk. I trust the writers have an end game in mind by adding that scene and I, for one, can’t wait to see where they take it.

  25. Katebush says:

    People are over reacting to this rape scene IMO. The red wedding was far far worse and was honestly the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen on tv.

  26. skeptical says:

    I keep seeing how differently the actresses are treated as compared to the actors. Rape being used as a plot device, especially to further a male storyline, is just not ok. It continues the idea that even violence against women is to serve male ends, both good and bad. And that the male’s response to her rape is more important than her own response.
    Why would I want my entertainment to do that? Why use a woman’s sexuality as a weapon against her but in service to the good guy’s plot development? This pattern constantly repeated just shows that the show writers see female characters as worth less than male characters. it’s so bad that the Bible has a better track record there, and that was written at a time when women really were property. Book of Judith. Deborah and Jael in Judges. Ester. Rahab. Huldah. Abigail.
    So it’s ok because it’s a pseudo-medieval setting? The Ancient Greek myths had Artemis turn a man into a stag when she caught him watching her bathe. He was killed by his own dogs. My point being that actual ancient writings show more female agency than these modern writings that are just in a pseudo-ancient setting.
    Also general point, most women are straight, so there being so much more female nudity than male nudity clearly shows exactly who the writers are aiming for.

  27. L says:

    Remember the movie GI Jane when Demi Moore got raped in the army?… Nothing that has not been shown before.
    I read the books and loved them! I hated the Ramsy Bolton Story line the most be audit was beyond my comprehension of how pp could treat each other.
    That being said I don’t mind the changes Inge show. The thing that bothered me the most was actually New Queen Magery sleeping with 5yr Toman ! (In the books he was much younger ..)
    Ya the show is gross..but it’s nothing that has not been shown before. Rape is a real thing – unfortunately! And what I think will come of this is Sansa teaming up with Reak. In the books Reak (Ramsy’s pet finds the courage to save the girl they pretended was Arya (who Sansa replaced in the shows) Reak after all grew up with Sansa. Plot twist 😎

  28. M.A.F. says:

    Winter is Coming has a nice run down of the scene if anybody wants to take a look.
    http://winteriscoming.net/2015/05/19/on-the-rape-of-sansa-stark-and-quitting-game-of-thrones/

  29. Nym says:

    Just 2 days ago armed groups said to be aligned with South Sudan’s military abducted, raped, and killed children as young as 7 years old. I wish just an ounce of uproar over GOT was devoted to the very real and shameful atrocities happening in our world. People need a reality check.

  30. Allie says:

    I was thinking about this this morning and I want to know why it took Sansa being raped to bring on the outrage. Maybe the good senator needs a rewatch, because I’m pretty certain no one expected Ramsay Bolton to show up with flowers and chocolates and make sweet love to her until dawn. In fact, I’m sure she needs a rewatch, because I don’t remember her outrage when Ramsay hacked off Theon’s dick. Then again, Theon is (was?) a guy, so she might not have given two shits.