Game Of Thrones Producer Defends Sansa Rape Scene: 'We Can't All Be Arya'

Game of Thrones Producer Defends Sansa Rape Scene:

The wedding of Sansa Stark to the sociopath Ramsay Bolton and his subsequent brutal treatment of her, including a wedding-night rape, shocked and upset a lot of people — at least in part, because it seemed to be a narrative misdirect so great that it amounted to a bait and switch. Prior to that, Sansa seemed to be on a path over several seasons of Game of Thrones. She's a naive idealist, who thinks Joffrey is a good guy, until she learns otherwise and suffers horribly. Then she becomes cynical and ruthless, and learns from the master of manipulation, Littlefinger. Until the absolute unthinkable happens, and she finds herself brutalised more terribly than she ever was by Joffrey. Because she's not a master manipulator, and Littlefinger either screwed up, doesn't care or sees her as a dispensable pawn.

Of course, the show's not over, and we still have yet to see where Sansa is going to end up. But this turn of events made her storyline feel worryingly circular, rather than an actual narrative progression. Now Bryan Cogman, the writer-producer who wrote that episode, has broken his silence about it, commenting on it on the commentary track for the season six DVDs.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Cogman says:

Basically, when we decided to combine Sansa's storyline with another character in the books it was done with the idea that it would be hugely dramatically satisfying to have Sansa back in her occupied childhood home and navigate this Gothic horror story she's found herself in and, of course, to be reunited with Theon — setting her on the path to reclaiming her family home and becoming a major player in the big overall story. That said, when we decided we were going to do that we were faced with the question: If she's marrying Ramsay, what would happen on her wedding night? And we made the decision to not shy away from what would realistically would happen on that wedding night with these two characters, and the reality of the situation, and the reality of this particular world.

A reaction among some fans was that Sansa should have tried to kill Ramsay in the scene. "Yes, it would have been hugely satisfying [for Sansa] to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that's not Sansa," Cogman says. "We can't all be Arya (Maisie Williams) and, in fact, most people aren't Arya. Most people in that situation, they have to play a longer game. She goes [into the marriage] without the right information about Ramsay, she gets the sense that he's dangerous, and when he turns out to be even worse than she thought, she's not broken by the attack, she immediately sets to getting the hell out of there and planning her next move.

This is interesting, at least in part because Cogman still believes that Sansa is on a path to reclaiming her family home, which is not quite where I would have seen the storyline going after season five. I'm also interested in the idea that Sansa is "playing a longer game", because she really doesn't seem to have any plans other than escaping with Theon. Her ace in the hole was Stannis, whom she and Littlefinger misjudged almost as badly as they misjudged Ramsay.

I really hope that when we see the final episodes of Game of Thrones, we look at where Sansa ends up, and how her storyline pays off, and say to ourselves, "Well, that actually turned out to be worthwhile." Because after this horror show, Game of Thrones is going to have to work twice as hard to make Sansa feel like a protagonist. At least Cogman is saying the right things about her long term direction. [via Watchers on the Wall]

WATCH MORE: Entertainment News


    I don't get why people are so up in arms about that scene. It is only fictional and I am sure it was in the book (have not read that book yet).

    GoT is not for kids so they can't say it teaches our children that rape can be ok. GoT is for adults, who, if they don't like it can turn off the tv.

    I say pi$$ off to all the haters.

    Full disclaimer: I am against rape and do not agree with it, but this is a fantasy, fictional world ffs

      Exactly. It is a brutal world, so something like that scene was expected (especially after Red Wedding, wolf deaths still saddens me).

        sadly the brutality shown is not limited to fictional worlds either. Even gizmodo has shown ludicrous torture devices that were used in medieval times (shit i reckon some of those are way worse than anything shown in got). The upside down we'll saw you through the genitals all the way to your head for example - fuckin barbaric.

        EDIT: Just looked over it again and fuck everything they used there is worse than what has happened in GOT.

        Last edited 24/02/16 8:18 pm

          I think that's exactly what George RR Martin said. Look into the history and you'll find a more brutal place. Rape occurs everyday, it's nothing new and I expected Ramsay to do something sinister like that. Were people shocked by Sansa's inability to do anything?

    I think the question is more about the scene in relation to her character development. As the the writer of the article said, it felt like a bait and switch. She was becoming a tough, potentially awesome protagonist and was then dumped back into damsel-in-distress territory again.

    Second to that, it also felt (some thought) at least a little bit... for the sake of it, as if it were included simply because it was shocking, not because it drove the plot further. And in a show with as dense a plot(s) as GoT, almost every minute of showtime feels important to fans.

    Thanks for the f***ing spoiler alert you morons!

      Considering it happened in the last season (almost a year ago) it's generally considered fair game by now.

    This is actually a accurate presentation of rape. Rape is about power. Ramsey is not interested in sex, he is interested in vindication and power.

    Rape is also a topic people want to brush under the carpet. Its a taboo that people do not like to deal with. People would rather deal with murder/torture/slavery. None of victims of that attack are viewed by people in a different light but a rape victim is somehow sullied from their experience.

      specifically rape in marriage is something thats vastly over looked beyond rape in general, and is brushed off as something that cant happen.

      I just don't think it's the right show to be the platform for societal change about rape. If the problem with rape is that it's brushed under the carpet or avoided, I would think the solution would be to help people connect with the victims and how it affects them, so then the victim has to be someone that the average viewer can relate to, not some princess in a medieval universe that has seasons that go for years and there's dragons and ice zombies walking around.

      I think Reign did a better job and that show is targeted towards crazy teens who want to believe fairytales (I'm 30 and watch it but it's a guilty pleasure).

      The point is that she's not a realistic character, she's interesting because of her circumstances and her unfulfilled potential but most people don't get married off to psychopaths, they choose them of their own misguided free will. There's tons of rape in the show already, this is just another one done to shock viewers. In the book it was really to show the character of Ramsey and how it COULD have been Arya or Sansa that it happened to but it wasn't. In the show it's just some idiots thinking oh this would be so interesting, let's change what happens because we know better than GRRM about what would drive the story. (Ok maybe there's a point to where the story is going but I doubt it, I think people will be very disappointed).

      It would be much more effective to highlight the issues with rape to have it happen to someone on a show like friends or something. THAT's where you really get people thinking about it.

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