For Millennials. By Millennials.
The latest episode of HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones ‘Last of the Starks‘ has brought up some controversial plot points. Although the season never shies away from on-screen violence, its continued portrayal of sexual assault and rape has drawn essential criticism. Despite whatever Sansa Stark might think of her rape in season 5, the internet disagrees. But this time the chorus of critique has been joined by actress Jessica Chastain. The 42-year-old actress who costars with Sophie Turner in the upcoming Dark Phoenix has voiced her displeasure over GOT using rape as a narrative device.
Game of Thrones Using Rape of Sansa Stark as Narrative Device?
In Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4, Sansa’s difficult past from season 5 was highlighted when the Hound and Sansa Stark have a one-on-one conversation after the Battle of Winterfell. And in a rather surprising way, Sansa chooses to claim that her enduring rape transformed her into the strong woman she is; crediting her assault to her personal growth. Even though she was content that he suffered for his actions, later on, she did seem to imply that enduring the assault itself was necessary. Critics are lashing out against GOT from deviating from the books yet again. This time because Sansa is never raped in the books, in fact, she is not even married to Bolton.
This is all problematic because sexual assault has been glorified and used as a narrative. Fans are angered for showrunners to make Sansa say a statement. In it, she claims that the only way she could be strong is by suffering unspeakable tragedies.
Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life
Jessica Chastain is trying to highlight the problem in this very line that Sansa utters in the show. She claimed that rape should never be a tool to make any character stronger. No woman needs to be victimized in order to turn her into a butterfly.
She added that every woman’s strength was hers, and hers alone. There are other ways women can find strength apart from just accepting the abuse and assault that occurs to them.
Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger. A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.#GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/TVIyt8LYxI
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) May 7, 2019
What Did the Show Runners Have to Say?
Back when they aired season 5, the show-runners claimed that the decision to not turn away from her rape was realistic. It was in accordance with the reality of the situation, and of that particular world.
Bryan Cogman stated:
Yes, it would have been hugely satisfying [for Sansa] to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that’s not Sansa. . . . We can’t all be Arya. . . . Most people in that situation, they have to play a longer game.
Let’s see if they will respond to Chastain’s comment now.