Bryan Cogman opens up on controversial Sansa scene

sansa

It has been brought to light by Entertainment Weekly that in an audio commentary on the upcoming Game of Thrones season 5 DVD/Blu-ray box set, screenwriter Bryan Cogman offers some explanation on a scene that has proven controversial in fan circles.

This is the first time someone so closely associated with the creation of the show has spoken publicly about the scene.

Commentating on episode 506, “Unbowed, Unbent,  Unbroken” along with Maisie Williams and Tom Wlaschiha, Bryan gives some very heartfelt words in defense of the scene in which Ramsay rapes Sansa on their wedding night, while Reek is forced to watch:

I think it’s important to talk about because of the response this storyline got. It’s sort of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’ If you don’t talk about it, people think you’re ashamed of it; if you do talk about it, everything you say is taken out of context. 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.

To the suggestion that Sansa should have attempted to kill Ramsay, Bryan has the following to say:

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 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.

According to EW, he becomes quite emotional at one point, and wants there to be no misunderstandings about his intentions with the scene:

It was a very difficult scene for me to write. I’ve known Sophie since she was a kid… I think it was the attack on our motives behind it that upset me. Because I love these characters. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade with these characters, and I love these actors – I’m getting emotional talking about it – I love Sophie, I love Alfie, I love [Maisie] and it’s … very personal to me and it’s not an easy thing to put a character that I love through a scene like this.

Another argument – and I get why this criticism was leveled at us – is idea that we took Sansa’s story away from her and made it all about Theon. I personally don’t believe that’s the case … Certainly Theon’s redemption journey is an element of the subplot. But if you really watch this scene it’s played from Sansa’s viewpoint, for the most part. The main reason we cut away at the end, frankly, is that this was Sophie’s first scene of this nature, and we didn’t want to show the attack. And so we cut to Theon to hear the attack. I understand why many people reacted to that, [thinking] we were making this scene about Theon and not Sansa. I’m sorry it was viewed that way. All I can say is it’s certainly not my intention when I wrote it or when we were producing it … We could have stayed on her face of the entirety of the attack, that would have been a perfectly valid choice. To me it was about being respectful to Sophie.

It’s an upsetting scene, it’s a horrifying scene, it’s meant to be … [But] the accusation that our motives were [that we] just threw in a rape for shock value, I personally don’t think the scene as shot, or as written, or as acted by our wonderful actors, supports that argument. Nor do I think the aftermath of the scene supports that argument. Not only in these episodes, but also in future episodes. This story is not over. This is a long ongoing story. Sansa has a journey ahead of her, and what happens to her in that room is a huge part of that journey, and one that we’ve thought through.

Maisie Williams also made sure to voice her support of the decision made by Bryan, director Jeremy Podeswa, and the other showrunners:

It’s important to have your say openly and honestly, and not just through headlines and Twitter and things like that… there is so much more to the whole sequence than people are allowing.

She also spoke to EW, informing them that:

[Bryan] was really sad, he was heartbroken. He loves these characters and all the actors on the show.

Have Bryan’s words coloured your perception of the scene in a different light? Please ensure you discuss the topic civilly.

611 responses

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    1. This was very much needed, at least for some people. There can be disagreements about how well they executed the scene and the plotline, but to say it was inserted purely for shock value or because they’re sadists is just insulting and absurd.

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    2. “Gets comment in before The Dragon Demands”.

      I don’t personally want to retread ground (again), but the Gothic element of that storyline that Cogman touches on was exceptionally done and really came across. I love Gothic literature and film, so I loved how Gothic the atmosphere was in the scenes.

      One wonders how long it will be before people start twisting their words.

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    3. Sansa has a journey ahead of her, and what happens to her in that room is a huge part of that journey, and one that we’ve thought through.

      Hmmm. Does he mean just emotionally/mentally? Or….is he referring to something else too?

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    4. The issue is framed in the narrowest possible focus here, i.e., if Sansa ended up married to Ramsay and in a room with him on the verge of consummation, this is what would logically happen. Variations of that, such as the question of why she didn’t stab him (which wouldn’t any sense, I agree) , don’t address the real issue, which is why the writers felt that Ramsay getting a bride to rape while Theon watches was the only aspect of the entire story that could not change, even when they were changing everything else about the scenario, including the POV (as they see it), the motives of the parties, the follow-up, etc. Indeed, that’s really the only part of the ADWD Theon story that kept.

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    5. “Have Bryan’s words coloured your perception of the scene in a different light?”

      No. In fact, his words just confirm my thinking. I thought the scene was well-written, well-shot, and handled with appropriate care, especially given what was going on in the scene. I am glad, however, he defended his choices, especially against those who, in a very, very unfortunate turn (imo), chose to levy some really foul and, again, imo, perverted accusations, such as they were chomping at the bit to have Sophie turn 18 so they could have her character raped, as though they derived some sort of sick pleasure from it.

      Keep kickin’ ass and takin’ names, Mr. Cogman!

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    6. I never really cared about the argument of ‘on whose face the camera is’. And the ‘the rape was just for shock value’ is frankly ridiculous. But personally, I think that where Cogman went wrong is with the statement that

      Yes, it would have been hugely satisfying [for Sansa] to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that’s not Sansa.

      This is, for me, a strawman, because it completely avoids the possibility that she did not have to kill him, but she could have been more consciously manipulating of him, in accordance with her S4 development.

      In other words, if he tried to write this

      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.

      then I can only say I understand his intent, but by me, he failed.

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    7. It did not change my perception of the scene, it validated it. I felt from the first viewing that it was a nightmare that Sansa was going through and would continue to go through, but I expected absolutely nothing less from Ramsay. The actors did a great job, especially Alfie as the witness to this horrid act.

      Thank you Mr. Cogman for sticking to what you do best and make great shows for us to enjoy. Forget about the haters, they are going to hate no matter what. Many more do appreciate what you do and the brilliant way you do it.

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    8. They really shouldn’t need to justify their creative decisions. It’s their show, they can do whatever the hell they like with it! It’s just this ridiculous new media “environment” we live in that “demands” answers like this. Some people are always going to be offended and outraged, even in response to TV shows which feature entirely artificial scenarios and characters. “Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” was one of the strongest episodes of the entire series; the wedding sequence is particularly spellbinding. I hope Cogman remains a part of the GoT team for the foreseeable future, always love his episodes!

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    9. I’m glad they finally got a chance to explain their creative decision. Like Cogman said, when they main the decision to have Sansa marry Ramsay they had to have that scene since it is a realistic outcome to the situation. The main reason the scene got the reaction it got was because we have been with Sansa for 5 seasons and that gave a different emotional impact than when Dany was raped in the pilot(yes, I know different situation and characters). We won’t be able to judge Sansa’s S5 story line accurately until we find out what her book story line is and what was replaced.

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    10. I think it’s one of those things where you can agree/disagree with whether or not their storyline decisions reflected their intentions for the overall story well enough. But this commentary clearly has the markings of someone who felt they had to desperately defend themselves against some more rank and disturbing accusations flung their way (accusations which I think were completely unfair and baseless) so I’m feeling for Cogman in that regard, most certainly.

      I’ve always thought the scene itself was both written and executed very well.

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    11. I didn’t have a gripe against that rape scene like some other people have. Like most crazy scenes in the series so far, we often accept it and move on and forget there even was such a scene until we come back to it to find it less intense and more part of the show.

      I already accepted the scene because of the fact that I knew the show adaptation wouldn’t be as accurate as the books because of time constraint and budget reasons–especially knowing that the novel contains too much content to even adapt every single tidbit of it.

      However, if there’s one scene to choose that wasn’t too much of a hit for me, it’ll have to be the mid-plot point of the Sand Snakes (where the outdoor action takes place and how at that moment they just happen to luckily stumble on Jaime and Bronn). Thankfully that’s easily watchable and forgivable for how it’s only a fraction of the whole of season. We somewhat forget that by the end.

      Glad to finally know the initial thoughts and opinions on the rape scene on their end~

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    12. I’m well bored from reading about that ‘controversial’ episode. Why were people so upset by it when the show has actually shown rape and violence already?

      In my eyes, Season 5 got stick because quite a lot of people just didn’t like how popular Game of Thrones had become and just decided to slate it. Every single scene and character was discected to find fault. That’s how it seemed to me anyway.

      The Walking Dead is consistently bad week after week, yet all I see is ‘BEST EPISODE/SERIES EVAR!’ and summet about Daryl.

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    13. Sansa’s story in the series not only makes more sense than Jeyne Poole’s story in the books, it’s also so much more dramatic. In fact fan reaction illustrates that point more than anything.

      The abuse and type of sexual assaults Jeyne was put through by Martin in his books affected readers, but no one called for his head. Sansa’s abuse was MUCH milder on the show and people lost their minds.

      Many of those who were so angered are admittedly sullied, who’ve experienced both versions of the story. Why would they be so opposed to the milder scenes in one format, and so open to the much more violent scenes in the other? The only difference is the character involved and therein lies the answer.

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    14. Judibatt,

      He’s under no obligation to be overly nice to people on twitter who are being nasty to him, as they were being. Not sure why there are some who think famous people are required to take verbal abuse from everyone.

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    15. “Certainly Theon’s redemption journey is an element of the subplot…”

      Brb, gonna go huddle myself in a corner, clutching my copy of ADWD and proceeding to have a big ol’ cry.

      Nah but mostly, I think it’s a great interview. I sympathise with him on the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing”, so I don’t wanna focus on one thing that bothers me. I think Cogman did very well with these questions. I wouldn’t want to be a script-writer on a show with a book following as big as this one’s.

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    16. I know that Cogman has the best interest of the story at heart, but this doesn’t change my opinion that they should have reconsidered Sansa’s whole S5 arc rather than going in this direction in the first place, or figured out a different way of playing out her stay at Winterfell. It’s too bad that he felt enough pressure to feel the need to explain the scene at such length, but the narrative decisions they make will get a fan reaction one way or the other, and you can’t ever please everyone.

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    17. In that particular scene, the cutaway to Theon’s face was a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” moment. If you cut away from Sansa’s face to Theon’s while she’s being raped, you’re making a traumatic moment for a female character all about some guy’s manpain. If you don’t, you’re voyeuristically lingering on the face of a barely legal female actor as she simulates being violently penetrated. There were third options (cutting to a shot of some other part of the room while Sansa’s cries, etc. can be heard offscreen), but I can see why they went with the lesser of two evils in cutting to Theon’s face.

      Assuming Cogman is telling the truth about Sansa’s rape being a huge part of her journey going forward and not just blowing smoke, what could he mean? Sansa swearing off marriage, maybe? I don’t think a Sansa pregnancy is likely, because Cogman sort of made it sound as if going through with the rape was a deliberate choice made by the writers as opposed to something mandated by plot requirements.

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    18. Henry Gordon:
      Seriously.Imagine them filming it as it is in the books.

      That is what I was going to say. Imagine what they would would have done. Show watchers got off easy in a way, as horrible as it still was.

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    19. Good for him for addressing this. Now I’m sure everyone can understand the situation and let it rest, since he’s given the explanation so many were demanding.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Oh god, I almost convinced myself, hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahaha.

      Don’t think I’ll subscribe to this one, as the notifications will consume my inbox. But I’m happy he talked about the reality of the scene and consideration of all involved. 🙂

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    20. I admire Mr. Cogman’s work a lot and I’m sorry he had been annoyed with rude remarks and acusations. Imo he gave an honest and dignified answer, but it’s a shame he had to justify his vision.

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    21. To be honest, this has not done anything to hange my perception that the scene and overall plot line at Winterfell was a terrible idea in the first place. I’ve read the books, but I’m not a purist. I love a lot of the changes they make. But having Sansa being raped was stupid. To me the scene was beautifully filmed until the end where they made it about Theon’s pain and not hers. The whole storyline undercuts her character, and butchers Littlefinger as well. But probably the biggest crime is that the whole storyline destroys Theon’s arc as well. Theon in the books is the main character of the Winterfell storyline. It’s about his redemption, his redemption in attempting to save Jeyne and escape Ramsay’s influence. I get that they did that on the show, but honestly it just felt rushed and it did not develop his character. I think the biggest crime was thenshowrunners making that storyline about Ramsay. Thy even confirmed this in a news article – sorry I forgot which one if someone demands a link.

      Also, while season 5 was my least favourite season, I still enjoyed a lot about each episode. UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN was the only episode that felt so, so off and unfocused and not natural to what we expect.

      If had been writing the season, I would have left Sophie Turner like Isaac and then next season, reveal her as this changed, smart and Littlfinger-like character who can use her charm to further her situation. Then She and Littlefinger could have arrived with the Vale forces and defeated the Boltons with Jon and the wildling and the other northern lords. As Lady of the North, she could have ordered the death of the Bolton traitors and affirmed her position as ruler of the North.

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    22. Wow. Most comments so far are level headed. Kind of amazed.

      Also by the way man pain isn’t a thing. Both sexes feel pain but continue to try to divide us.

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    23. Sean C.,

      Exactly.

      The fact is they changed everything else but kept the wedding night rape. And the only logical conclusion is that that particular event was the only part from the story they felt worthy of adaptation.

      What does that say about them?

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    24. Good Lord!!! Now THIS is a topic I want to discuss. But damn it all to hell if I’m not at work right now. *Booooo* Will have to come back. But I mean…besides the giant rape elephant in the room…did anyone else catch:

      “…setting her on the path to reclaiming her family home and becoming a major player in the big overall story…”

      Like, we need to discuss THAT little titbit as well, cause things are looking on the up and up! Because as of where we sit right now, these things haven’t happened.

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    25. Her story shouldn’t of been merged with Jeyne Poole’s in the first place. I found that arc more tragic considering she’s just a meaningless charade, shoe horning Sansa into that scenario just felt like a shock tactic to me.

      Oh well, the damage has already been done.

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    26. Noel,

      We have no idea what Sansa’s TWOW story line is. We don’t know that she will end up Littlefinger like and charming or whatever. Sounds more like you want Sansa to become some manipulating smart leader, but you don’t want her to go through any adversity to get there. Character development isn’t like a video game RPG where it is always improving and going in one directon. What would you do about Jeyne? You cant just leave out the Ramsay marriage storyline since it is so critical to the entire North story and even includes characters like Jon and Stannis. Jeyne is never mentioned in the show and you cannot just have her come out of nowhere in the 5th season and to try to give her all of this back story.

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    27. I feel way too many conflicting emotions about this scene to be coherent.

      So I will just say, my opinion depends entirely on what Sansa’s storyline is next season. It’s not yet clear to me that they had to have her marry Ramsay, that it was necessary to where her arc goes. And if it wasn’t ESSENTIAL, then yes, that entire plot was merely done for shock. And rape for shock value is one of the most despicable plot devices you can you.

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    28. M: In that particular scene, the cutaway to Theon’s face was a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” moment. If you cut away from Sansa’s face to Theon’s while she’s being raped, you’re making a traumatic moment for a female character all about some guy’s manpain. If you don’t, you’re voyeuristically lingering on the face of a barely legal female actor as she simulates being violently penetrated. There were third options (cutting to a shot of some other part of the room while Sansa’s cries, etc. can be heard offscreen), but I can see why they went with the lesser of two evils in cutting to Theon’s face.

      True and choosing to cut to Theon for me, didn’t make it feel like it was all about Theon. For me, him having to watch a girl he had felt brotherly established a reconnection between the two of them. He was horrified that she was being tormented now, putting them in the same boat so to speak. She is ultimately what pulls Reek and Theon apart, allowing Theon to resurface. And I’ve always seen her victimization as something that will, like so many other women, give her two choices. Give up, be submissive, not able to handle the effects of your abuse, or gather the strength to fight back in some way shape or form. And with Sansa I believe we are going to see the latter, which will be monumantal for her character, and will show the strength and courage women can embody when faced with dire circumstances.

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    29. Jeb:
      “Gets comment in before The Dragon Demands”.

      He has to consult with Lindaario no doubt before he can delight us with his opinion.

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    30. Sorry, but I’m not moved by his tears. It would have been far more interesting to show Sansa manipulate Ramsay based on what she has learned from Littlefinger, Cersei, and Margaery. She might have had to do some weird things, but at least her character wouldn’t have regressed. A series of interactions between them that were similar to those between Margaery and Joffrey, for example, would have also shown how much Sansa has grown as a character and how she’s learning to play the game, instead of victimizing her again and again.

      I would have probably been ‘ok’ with this character arc if they didn’t cough up rape or attempted rape scenes every season for no reason (see: Meera, Gilly). It’s just lazy writing and unnecessary at this point. I love this show, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with every decision they make. Hopefully they redeem themselves next season, but I’m not holding my breath.

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    31. Syrio,

      They had to keep the rape since it would have been out of character for it not to happen. Theon needed to witness it since it shows the power that Ramsay has over him and give Theon more character motivation to help Sansa at the end of the season. It makes Theon’s character development more efficient and natural, whereas in the books GRRM almost underlines Theon’s character development by having widlings there to essentially force him to help Jeyne.

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    32. I’m going to get a opinion on here that seems to be pretty rare:

      Yes, the show has a rape problem (the scenes at Craster’s Keep in season 4) but I think this one was actually the best instances of handling rape. It wasn’t only about the rapist (again scenes at Craster’s) and it actually showed Sansa being traumatized but not completely ruined. Furthermore, the scene was intended to be a rape scene and not something that looked like rape but maybe wasn’t intentional so it felt weird character development wise (you know what I’m talking about). Nor romanticized it rape (Daeny in season 1). It isn’t perfect in this regard (the only show that can claim that is Marvel’s Jessica Jones) but overall the story-line felt pretty good to me.

      I’m giving the writers the benefit of the doubt because one can’t really judge the story until this arc is completely finished.

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    33. Pancakes,

      I wouldn’t call it manipulation as much as rubbing salt in the wound, since he was obviously upset by the pregnancy. Plus, Ramsay still had the upper hand in that scene at the end. Nonetheless, I was still happy she said it and everyone in my viewing party cheered.

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    34. Brandon,

      It would have been out of character for LF to leave Sansa with the Boltons, it would have been out of character for Sansa to agree to marry Ramsey. Being out of character does not seem a problem for the writers as long as they are catalysts to the end goal of Sansa being raped by Ramsey.

      And yes it was done for shock value, Cogman is either lying to us or lying to himself about that.

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    35. Judibatt:
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I can try and find it again but I think he should have just said this in the beginning. It was a tweet or whatever so I don’t know the expiration date on those things. I can look. It has been months though.

      I can understand why he waited. With the complete meltdowns that were happening in the immediate aftermath of the episode being shown, I think anything that was said would have fallen on completely deaf ears. There are some who will never change their view of that scene, but I’ve seen a lot of people who were really upset at first, who after some time, calmed down about it, at least to some extent.

      As far as looking for that particular tweet, forgive me if I took your post the wrong way, but it read to me like you were saying someone just simply made an inquiry about the scene, and he got rude with them. Given some of what I read after that episode, my strong suspicion is it wasn’t just an inquiry, but one in a number of pretty vile attacks.

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    36. Sean C.,

      They kept the marriage to Ramsay aspect. They needed to keep that aspect because the only reason for Sansa to be in Winterfell would be to marry Ramsay. The only way to avoid what happened would be to delay the marriage the entire season.

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    37. Syrio,

      I disagree on both. So you think the writers sat in a room and said ” Lets have Sansa get raped and lets see how we can manipulate the entire story to fit that”? Lol, get real. LF has a plan to take the North and it is working. Nothing he did was out of character. So you know the writers better than they do? You’re guilty of what you are accusing them of doing.

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    38. Sue the Fury,

      I agree and I cannot find it online. I keep running in to articles that explain why Cogman left twitter. Being famous does not mean you are either impenetrable or deserving of personal attacks.
      I just think a response like this above could have been better several months ago. I don’t need it, but clearly others do.

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    39. Syrio:
      Brandon,

      And yes it was done for shock value, Cogman is either lying to us or lying to himself about that.

      Good, I hate so much the “shock value” argument…in the books you have dogs, c’mon, DOGS!, that’s subtle.

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    40. As always, Mr. Cogman’s work was well done. My complaint was the basic change to both Sansa’s and Theon’s characters. It seems that D&D made a decision to not do justice to either storyline. And one suggestion – run sensitive scenes like this by at least one woman during the writing process. Think they would have been better off in many aspects for the long run. Having said this, I realize the book story and the show story are not the same and don’t have a problem with that.

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    41. Good for Mr Cogman, the sansa story arc was one of my favorite parts of season 5.
      Wasn’t really necessary for him to talk about it like this, but I enjoyed reading thought process.
      Can’t wait to see where sansa goes in season 6, should be interesting to see her story.

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    42. Brandon,

      I agree. Ramsay doesn’t seem the type to show up on his wedding night with candlelight, wine and roses. If they were in it for the shock value, they would have played out the book version. Just thank God they didn’t go there.

      Nope, seeing it through Alfie’s emotions was plenty.

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    43. Syrio,

      Your statement is so ridiculous that all I could do was laugh. They are not changing the entire story so one scene can have “shock value” when there are so many other scenes that have shock value. The scene was not done for 100% shock value unless your saying that GRRM is guilty of this too since his scene has even more shock value. Give me one reason why this was done for 100% shock value, because I haven’t heard it. I have given arguments for why the scene had to happen when they made the decision to have Sansa go to Winterfell and marry Ramsay. If you want to argue that Sansa should never have gone to Winterfell that’s fine, but we have no idea what her TWOW story line is. For all we know, Sansa’s TWOW story line is going to be worse than the show story line.

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    44. J Lee:
      Sansa’s story in the series not only makes more sense than Jeyne Poole’s story in the books, it’s also so much more dramatic. In fact fan reaction illustrates that point more than anything.

      The abuse and type of sexual assaults Jeyne was put through by Martin in his books affected readers, but no one called for his head. Sansa’s abuse was MUCH milder on the show and people lost their minds.

      Many of those who were so angered are admittedly sullied, who’ve experienced both versions of the story. Why would they be so opposed to the milder scenes in one format, and so open to the much more violent scenes in the other? The only difference is the character involved and therein lies the answer.

      Meh, also because some of them fanboys are incapable of finding any faults in their beloved books and its author. It’s way easier to throw tomatoes at the “inferior” TV adaptation.

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    45. Deesensfan,

      Because Sansa’s S5 story line was heavily criticized but we don’t know what got replaced by having Sansa go to Winterfell and marry Ramsay. Did the writers make a better decision by having her interact with other known characters rather than another subplot with 10 new (boring) characters? What happens at the end of the Vale story line that gets Sansa to the North? People say that the writers were stupid for changing her story line, but we won’t know until TWOW comes out.

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    46. Noel,

      Definitely disagree here
      Not having Sansa and bran in one season? Two Starks? definitely not
      I haven’t read the books but I hear Sansa has barely any material in the books during that time
      Sooo glad that they changed that and sent her to winterfell. Excellent idea. I think, based on conversations I’ve had with people. Starks are a big part of the show, definitely much bigger than theon – to show only / casual fans

      Re: this episode. I LOVED it. One of my all time favourite episodes, especially the wedding. Yes I was sad for her and what happened , but I also remembered that this is FICTION lol. It was so beautifully shot and directed and I didn’t think for once they made it about theons suffering, in fact, it showed me that behind reek, he defintely still cares for Sansa and made me hope that he will help her out, all the while feeling sad hearing Sansa screaming.

      Also, I really really don’t think that he or any of the show runners need to defend themselves or decisions they make
      Jesus, this is one of the best shows to ever grace our tvs!

      And finally, I had no idea about the insults and name calling that were directed towards the show runners were that bad? That’s just terrible

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    47. Brandon: . If you want to argue that Sansa should never have gone to Winterfell that’s fine, but we have no idea what her TWOW story line is. For all we know, Sansa’s TWOW story line is going to be worse than the show story line.

      The fact remains very simple. They jumped through a ton of logical hoops, made 2 characters act completely out of character, just so they can insert Sansa in a place where it would be “in character” for her to be raped.

      That’s why a defense of “well it’s in character for Ramsay to rape her” doesn’t work. Why is that the only character consistency they care about maintaining?

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    48. “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.”

      So despite the fact that sansa marrying ramsey doesn’t make any logical or realistic sense at all, when it came to the actual wedding night being realistic was all that mattered? got it.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Brandon,

      I feel like they should be assessed separately to be honest

      But yeah, if you wanna compare for fun, then I get it.

      I haven’t read the books so that’s why I asked

        Quote  Reply

    50. Jon Snow’s Curling Iron,

      Also I would point to the scene where Myranda is washing Sansa’s hair. While Sansa doesn’t maniulate Myranda she does show power over her by deducing that she is in love with Ramsay. I too would have preferred some more manipulation on Sansa’s part, but I think Ramsay is a guy that is pretty damn tough to manipulate.

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    51. My problem has never been with the decision to focus on Theon’s face (it was an atypical bit of restraint on the show’s part) or with what they had Ramsay do given that Sansa married him. It has always been with the bizarre decision on Sansa’s part to deliver herself into the hands of people she knows to be despicable enemies of her family. Littlefinger used underpants-gnomes logic to convince her, and the character should be smarter than that (particularly when it comes to trusting him).

        Quote  Reply

    52. Unreasonable people won’t care what he says. They’ll just twist his words to validate their unreasonable outrage. Mind you, I was one of the people who really hated (and still hate) the decision to have Sansa be there AT ALL… but the scene bothers me from a story-telling perspective because Sansa shouldn’t be there. The idea that they couldn’t introduce Fake-Arya is something I don’t buy.

      But the idea that the show runners, director, writer, and anyone else were careless with the scene, I find just as ridiculous as the decision to have Sansa in Winterfell.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Deesensfan,

      Sadly some people even feel the need to call D&D Dumb and Dumber, shows how mature some of these people are XD
      Also besides the writing, acting, and Directing, The wedding had a breathtaking score that just sealed the whole package, really brilliant material. The whole scene felt like a really dark fairy tail, I really enjoyed the wedding.

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    54. Syrio,

      So you think that the writers hate Sansa so much and wanted her to get raped so badly that they would greatly alter the entire Northern story line just to do it? That is absolutely absurd. If the rape scene was 100% shock value they could have done so many things different to give us even more shock. I do not think that it was out of character for either LF or Sansa. Lets just agree to disagree. You clearly have this idea in your head the writers hate Sansa and want to get raped for 100% shock value and are willing to alter the entire Northern story line that intertwines with so many different characters and other story lines to make sure that one scene in the 5th season happens and has “shock value only”. I don’t think there is anything that anybody could say to convince you different since you claim that Cogman is a liar and that anybody who attempts to argue with you is wrong.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Syrio: The fact remains very simple. They jumped through a ton of logical hoops, made 2 characters act completely out of character, just so they can insert Sansa in a place where it would be “in character” for her to be raped.

      That’s why a defense of “well it’s in character for Ramsay to rape her” doesn’t work. Why is that the only character consistency they care about maintaining?

      While it may be your opinion (and the opinion of some others, too) they jumped through logical hoops and LF and Sansa acted completely out of character, not everyone shares that opinion.

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    56. Deesensfan:
      brown ben romney,

      How didn’t it make sense for her to marry Ramsay? In the show, it made
      Lots of sense!!!

      I’m one of those people to whom it didn’t make sense. Could you explain? She wasn’t getting closer to the Boltons in order to kill any of them, since she didn’t even attempt that. If Stannis was expected to defeat Ramsay, she could have waited for that to happen elsewhere and then reappeared.

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    57. Sue the Fury:
      Judibatt,

      He’s under no obligation to be overly nice to people on twitter who are being nasty to him, as they were being. Not sure why there are some who think famous people are required to take verbal abuse from everyone.

      Totally agree

        Quote  Reply

    58. rape for shock value?
      Murder for shock value?
      Penis being cut off for shock value?
      Edit: BURNING A CHILD

      Come on, it’s a fictional tv show with lots of violence

      Ugh

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinions of how this scene affected them , I know that, but I hate seeing comments where people think they know more than the show creators or what thei intentions were for a particular scene or story line

      Just sit back, relax, and watch the show.

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    59. FictionIsntReal: If Stannis was expected to defeat Ramsay, she could have waited for that to happen elsewhere and then reappeared.

      Littlefinger didn’t tell her the truth of where they were headed until they were on the road in the middle of nowhere. I touched on this a few months ago, in a similar conversation. My point was, what the heck was she supposed to do under those circumstances? Oppose sneaky Lord Baelish? on an empty road in the middle of nowhere? He said he wouldn’t force her to marry him, but if he was honorable in the first place, he wouldn’t have sprung the idea on her at the last minute where she had no choice.

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    60. FictionIsntReal,

      But what would she have done for all of season 5? And then reappear in season 6?

      I am assuming season 6 for Sansa will have her remain in the north and around winterfell and attempt to get it back somehow. So it makes sense that she was married to Ramsay ,in her old home, finds out that “the north remembers”, and that the Starks have support on the north still, finds out her brother is lord commander, finds out her two other brothers are still alive, escapes, and does something about it and her situation-like going to find her brothers or something if that nature

      If she gets back to the vale and LF in season 6, then yeah, season 5 story line Would have been pointless

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    61. FictionIsntReal,
      LF has a plan to frame to Boltons by giving Sansa to them. LF then runs back to KL and tells Cersei that the Boltons have Sansa and are traitors and for permission to lead Vale forces to attack the winner between Boltons and Stannis. So it’s a win win for LF. Basically LF tells Sansa that by doing this she can eventually get revenge since in LF’s mind either Stannis defeats the Boltons or he does with the forces of the Vale and LF needed a reason to tell the crown why he was bringing Vale forces to the North.

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    62. Deesensfan,

      It amazes me that people get so shocked and offended watching the song of ice and fire. It’s entirely about bad things happening to people you care about. If you’re so offended go back to Harry Potter

        Quote  Reply

    63. Funny he mentions not shying away from it which is exactly what they did.

      I understand the argument ‘Sophie grew up with us’ but perhaps they should have just asked her if she was ok showing a little more in this scene. If she wasnt no harm done. Same with the Shireen burning… There too we didnt get to see a ‘burning’ shot while we did with Mance… I didnt mind seeing Theon’s reaction but ONLY seeing Theon’s reaction. That was quite weak. Which puts me at the different end of the spectrum clearly. As Bryan says you can never do it right with scenes like this it seems.

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    64. I wish they would stop talking about this topic and just let it go. With season 6 looming, this discussion has become tired and boring. No matter how many explanations Cogman or anyone else gives, a certain faction of obnoxious Sansa fans/SJW/ Tumblr folks are not going to be accepting of any explanation. D&D did it for ‘shock value’ and ‘they were salivating over Sansa getting raped’ and ‘they are women haters’. I can understand Cogman being hurt by such comments but he should really learn to ignore the idiots of the GOT fandom. There’s no changing their minds. Then what’s the point in having the same discussion again and again?

      I am sure the GOT threads on Westeros.org is all fired up about this comment from Cogman. They will now shred him and David and Dan to pieces for another 100 pages of vitriol and we will get long essays on why he is wrong. It’s better not to indulge them or try to explain things. The fact that pure, innocent Sansa got raped is an outrage that will never be forgiven.

      More importantly, it seems like Sansa is going to reclaim Winterfell and become a major player! That’s a big clue for her future story line on the show. I doubt she is ever going to do any of that in the books. So she may end being a more significant character on the show.

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    65. Pancakes,

      She doesn’t do anything with that information to gain power. The writers could have easily had Sansa try and use Myranda’s jealousy against her and cause some actual conflict between her and Ramsay. They had already set up a scene where Ramsay was annoyed by Myranda’s jealousy, but did nothing with it. Sorry I’m unconvinced. Ramsay isn’t that hard to manipulate, especially when Sansa herself sees how Roose and Ramsay’s relationship is like and notices his weak points. Instead she’s just victimized like she was on season 2.

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    66. SerNoName,

      This

      It is actually really sad that people behave this way.

      And yeah, I agree

      Let’s discuss what cogman said about her storyline in the future and being a major player!

        Quote  Reply

    67. Deesensfan,

      I have faith that George will finish the books, it might not be as fast as some might want.
      George will get it done on his own time 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    68. I’m glad that Cogman finally got an opportunity to provide his full thoughts on the scene and the subsequent fallout. I appreciated his eloquence and clear reasoning on the subject, as well as the obvious emotional burden he’s carrying. Debates about the necessity and execution of the scene will continue to persist, but – at the very least – I sincerely hope that these lazy, reductive, asinine takes asserting that Benioff, Weiss, and Cogman made a cynical, cold-blooded decision in order to achieve a requisite level of “shock value” can finally be extinguished (Probably not … but, again, I hope). If anyone reads Cogman’s words on this issue and still believes that narrative, then I really don’t know what to say to you.

      My opinion on the scene hasn’t changed. From a creative perspective, I thought it was a valid choice for the writers to make, both as a realistic depiction of life in the world of Westeros and as an adaptation of the parallel storyline in the novels (which is far more brutal and – in my opinion – not handled as well, at least when it comes to the victim). From a technical perspective, I thought that the scene was executed with a remarkable level of craft, care, and sensitivity – perhaps the best that could have been achieved given the unambiguously horrific nature of the subject matter. More importantly, this story isn’t over – I have full confidence that Sansa’s storyline in Season 6 will not brush over the ordeal that she went through in Season 5, but will in fact build on those events in an organic, appropriate way.

      Regarding the treatment of Theon’s arc, I generally thought it was very well-handled. I was mildly disappointed by the absence of certain beats like his confession before the heart tree, but his confession to Sansa offered a similar degree of catharsis. Alfie Allen’s magnificent performance had a great deal to do with that, of course.

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    69. You know Sansa actually watched her father be beheaded by her betrothed, right? I’m pretty sure that will would give you PTSD. I guess that doesn’t fit into the outrage agenda

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    70. SerNoName,

      Given this was from the commentary that goes with the episode, and the season is about to be released on DVD, I can see why it’s come back up. I think, in the case of the commentary, it’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. If there was no commentary about the scene, people would be screaming about how they don’t have the balls, blah, blah, blah, if there is commentary, the debate will rear its ugly head, again, and some, as you said, still won’t see it any differently. Still, though, while I’m sorry he felt like he had to do it, I’m glad to have a window into the thoughts behind the decisions made.

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    71. Still the most boring character (both in books and series). As boring as Sansa are maybe thechapters of Brienne, Davos and Victarion, does anybody has the same ?

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    72. Matthew The Dragon knight:
      Deesensfan,

      Sadly some people even feel the need to call D&D Dumb and Dumber, shows how mature some of these people are XD
      Also besides the writing, acting, and Directing, The wedding had a breathtaking score that just sealed the whole package, really brilliant material. The whole scene felt like a really dark fairy tail, I really enjoyed the wedding.

      I like to refer to them as Wise (Weiss) and Brilliant (Benioff) 🙂

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    73. Some of my discomfort with the scene comes from this one interview I read where one of the show runners referenced a really great scene with Ramsey they were very excited about from ADWD. That scene being when Ramsey force Theon to be involved in the rape of farya. Who turned out to be Sansa.

      Here’s the deal. If they really wanted to include that scene, why not include SOMETHING about why and how Sansa was working towards her own ends? Literally the only thing she did before she was raped was tO get an escape plan in place, and that was one where she relied on others.

      I fully expected Sansa, after her last convo with LF to at least TRY any or all of the following. Now, any or all of these would likely fail, but would have given her something to do besides wait to get raped or rescued:

      1. Try to seduce or mollify Ramsey in some way, such That she can put off being raped.

      2. Convince Roose to put off the marraige for some
      Reason, such as needing northern lords there, or needing their consent to rule successfully.

      3. Somehow work with the smallfolk of WF who she has known SINCE SHE WAS BORN. The old lady should have just been a start but she was an ending. Lost opportunity.

      4. Negotiate behind the scene with one of many factions outside WF – she had the old lady – talk to Stannis, or Jon, or Northern Lords like the Mormonts, Glovers, etc. BE Ned Starks daughter.

      In short there is a lot of distance between “wait to get raped” and “stab Ramsey”. Sansa did only the former. And it was specially annoying given the Setup from LF convo was that Sansa would actually DO something.

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    74. JamesL:
      They kept the marriage to Ramsay aspect. They needed to keep that aspect because the only reason for Sansa to be in Winterfell would be to marry Ramsay. The only way to avoid what happened would be to delay the marriage the entire season.

      First, no, that’s not the only reason for Sansa to be in Winterfell. Come up with an actual revenge plot (it doesn’t have to work, since clearly the Boltons aren’t going anywhere, but you can get a good cat-and-mouse out of it, ending with her escaping), which the show conspicuously did not do in Season 5, one of the main reasons the whole storyline doesn’t work. And even if somehow marriage was the only reason, you said it yourself: delay the marriage. There’s no reason for it to happen immediately; the Boltons make no use whatsoever of the marriage during the season. Have it scheduled for when Baelish returns, or have Sansa use her supposed player skills to delay for calling for the lords to attend (which would also be at least some sort of justification for why she thought she had to go to Winterfell, or whatever.

      See, those are the kind of issues that I’d like to hear from the writers on, not why she didn’t stab Ramsay (which would have led to her being killed).

      Brandon:

      You cant just leave out the Ramsay marriage storyline since it is so critical to the entire North story and even includes characters like Jon and Stannis.

      Er, not in the show’s telling. Neither Jon nor Stannis heard anything about it, and it had no impact whatsoever on their stories.

      To the extent that it impacts Jon in the future by having him, e.g., get a demand from Ramsay to turn Sansa over, that would have the same effect whether they were married or not.

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    75. Brandon:
      Syrio,

      So you think that the writers hate Sansa so much and wanted her to get raped so badly that they would greatly alter the entire Northern story line just to do it?That is absolutely absurd.If the rape scene was 100% shock value they could have done so many things different to give us even more shock.I do not think that it was out of character for either LF or Sansa.Lets just agree to disagree.You clearly have this idea in your head the writers hate Sansa and want to get raped for 100% shock value and are willing to alter the entire Northern story line that intertwines with so many different characters and other story lines to make sure that one scene in the 5th season happens and has “shock value only”.I don’t think there is anything that anybody could say to convince you different since you claim that Cogman is a liar and that anybody who attempts to argue with you is wrong.

      This.

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    76. Syrio:
      Brandon,

      It would have been out of character for LF to leave Sansa with the Boltons, it would have been out of character for Sansa to agree to marry Ramsey. Being out of character does not seem a problem for the writers as long as they are catalysts to the end goal of Sansa being raped by Ramsey.

      And yes it was done for shock value, Cogman is either lying to us or lying to himself about that.

      I totally agree with this. Sansa would NEVER EVER EVER go near the Boltons or the Freys without a massive army at her back. They broke all the laws of gods and men at the RW and NOBODY trusts them now, not even their allies. The idea that Sansa would go near them is laughable and Cogman/ D&D had to of known that when they were writing s5.

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    77. J Lee: Sansa’s story in the series not only makes more sense than Jeyne Poole’s story in the books, it’s also so much more dramatic. In fact fan reaction illustrates that point more than anything.

      It goes beyond that. It is not “Jeyne Poole’s story” in the book: it is Theon’s and only Theon’s story. Jeyne is nobody: unless you had just read Game of Thrones immediately before you read Dance with Dragons, then you never had heard of Jeyne. (I did not remember that she had been in Thrones, even though I read the first three books again over a few weeks prior to Dragons release.) The audience would have no reason to sympathize or empathize with her, beyond the horror of being some victim of Ramsay’s. Indeed, the book makes you lose sympathy for her, once you learn that Jeyne was basically a “beta bitch” who helped torment Arya.

      And Theon creates the other problem He just is not significant enough of a character to continue to get an entire plotline for his storyline. So, combining Sansa’s story with Theon’s (in the sense that their story used the same plot) killed three birds with one stone. One, it made Sansa part of the Crows/Dragons “kill the child, let the adult be born” story. Two, it eliminated a useless character that would simply have cluttered the visual narrative. Three, it let them show a plotline that almost certainly is going to be important in Winter without having one of the lesser leads carry it all on his own.

      On another note, it actually did make Theon’s story a redemptive one. People often claim that of the book: but there Theon never voluntarily does anything: he is very much forced against his will (or, really, against Reek’s will) to help. Here, he gets one small act of free will where Theon finally overcomes Reek and thus slightly makes up for his past deeds. (Of course, Theon is a classic “Damned if you do, Damned if you do not” character: had he defied his father and returned to Robb, then he would have been widely condemned as a traitor to his own people, even by many of Robb’s supporters!)

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    78. Wimsey:
      Indeed, the book makes you lose sympathy for her, once you learn that Jeyne was basically a “beta bitch” who helped torment Arya.

      I, for one, did not lose any sympathy for a girl who was being tortured and raped on a daily basis because she had once been a bit mean in a schoolyard sense. I would hope nobody else did either.

      And Theon creates the other problemHe just is not significant enough of a character to continue to get an entire plotline for his storyline.

      Why? He’s had his own storyline for, what, three seasons by that point? And other than his intersection with Bran for a few episodes in season 2, he’s been the sole focal point.

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    79. I’ve said it a few times already but the wedding sequence is one of the most breathtaking sequences I’ve seen on TV, I remember having chills as Sansa walked through the snow in her beautiful wedding dress, by the Godswood. The art direction, the score, all of it just reinforced my belief that GoT is the most visually striking show out there.

      I appreciate Cogman’s comments, it’s evident he lives and breathes these characters, especially Sansa. I am holding out for some well needed retribution in S6, and in that context the rape scene will serve as the final catalyst for her, hopefully. My only minor criticism would be that the absolute final shot should have not been Theon’s crying face, but Sansa’s, maybe a lifeless, deadpan expression post-abuse. I know that would have been horrid to watch, but the scene was already heartbreaking, ending with Sansa the way it began would have completed it for me. Anywho, I remember watching and feeling sick, defeated, demoralised, so it did it’s job.

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    80. A couple thoughts on the differences between what happened to sansa on the show and jeyne in the books.

      While what happened to jeyne in the books was worse than what happened to sansa in the show, theres also a big difference on how the characters impact the story. Sansa is one of the most important characters on both the show and in the books. She also spent over two seasons in which she was mostly being terrorized by joffrey and the lannisters in KL. She finally got out and her storyline and character arc finally began heading in a new and at least imo, more interesting direction. And then they give her to ramsey and we just see an even worse version of what happened to her in KL. Character arcs that go in circles kill tv shows. When the circle contains the types of things that have happened to sansa on game of thrones, it starts to feel gratuitous and distasteful.

      In addition to this, being raped is one of the most scarring and traumatic events that can happen to someone. If you decide in a show that you’re going to write a scene in which a central character gets raped, you have to handle it with the proper sensitivity, and deal with the aftermath in a way that acknowledges the seriousness of what happened, and the effect that it would have on a character. A good example of this was in season three of the sopranos, and hell, even sons of anarchy did a relatively good job dealing with the aftermath of rape and how it affected the victim. However, imo at least, game of thrones did not handle this responsibility well enough to justify the initial inclusion of sansa’s rape.

      Jeyne on the other hand, is a minor character. We see through theon’s scenes that how LF and Ramsey have treated her has clearly scarred and affected her deeply, but we don’t need to see the full nuanced version of how she’s handling it because of how relatively unimportant her character is to the story. However in the scenes she does appear in, we see the effects of her experiences in a more realistic way than how they’ve handled sansa’s character post Season 5 Episode 6, at least imo.

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    81. teunteulai:
      Still the most boring character (both in books and series). As boring as Sansa are maybe thechapters of Brienne, Davos and Victarion, does anybody has the same ?

      Hum no. Davos is one of the least boring characters in the book and the show.

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    82. Sean C.,

      But it is important to the overarching story because it puts Sansa in the North. GRRM probably is going to try to get by with just Jon and minor protagonists like Davos and Theon in the books, but that would not fly on TV. They need to keep the focus on the primary leads, and although Theon is a bigger character on the show than in the books, he’s still not big enough.

      Ultimately, I think that the biggest difference comes down to the fact that B&W have intended to make Sansa one of the primary characters of the overarching story from the start, whereas GRRM came to that decision belatedly. As such, B&W have done a for Sansa’s dynamic development than GRRM has. (Of course, “any” would top what GRRM has done!) They are telling some sort of “damned if you do/don’t” story, and for that to work in the end, we have to have seen the primary characters who are going to make the final decisions get burned by unwinnable situations in the past. If Sansa really has joined the original Big 5, then she needs to start getting herself burned through trial and error: otherwise, there will be no context for whatever contribution she makes in the end.

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    83. brown ben romney,

      We will most probably see the aftermath of the rape and the subsequent impact it will have on Sansa in S6. You’ve also got to remember Sansa is one amongst a hundred other characters that take up screen time, she literally had maybe 10 minutes after episode 6, and some of that alloted time had to include her escape. I agree, I’d like to see how her worldview and the decisions she makes has changed as a result of a truly traumatic experience, and I think we will.

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    84. I just think the real scene from last season that they should be apologizing is the pathetic Sand Snakes vs Jaime and Bronn battle.

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    85. Sean C.: I would hope nobody else did either.

      It’s called Instant Karma. If nothing else, then it is always harder to see bad things happen to nice people than to foul ones: and learning that she was a foul person detracted from the tragedy.

      Sean C.: Why? He’s had his own storyline for, what, three seasons by that point? And other than his intersection with Bran for a few episodes in season 2, he’s been the sole focal point.

      Theon had his own storyline, but in a minor plotline. Remember, they are juggling both story and plot here. The northern plotline suddenly got big last year: and it was more than Theon’s story justified. By dividing the plot between two protagonists (one of whom might be a primary protagonist), it justified much heavier development of the plotline. Moreover, they probably are setting it up for Sansa to take over Davos’ plotline in the book: and that again will help because Davos is a minor lead (in both media) whereas Sansa is a major one (at least on the show).

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    86. Meh, the funny thing is I don’t think THIS fandom cared so much about that particular scene.
      I’ve got a bitchload of gripes when it came to women issues on this show as compared to the books (*sigh* I won’t rehash them AGAIN)… but Sansa’s rape wasn’t one of them – other than the jarringness with the “Goddess Raven of Kickass” outfit from the previous season. Once they made the storyline swap decision – it was 90% well done, I wish she kept the corkscrew after escaping, and did a bit better job of it before Theon showed up – that’s about it.

      Hmmm… I’m swearing a lot, heated issue I guess. But “done for shock value”? Nah, certainly not…

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    87. Anyone else opening a bottle of wine and settling in for another dull as dishwater Sansa discussion?

      Why isn’t the real discussion here that the commentaries on Season 5 are coming out? I love the commentaries.

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    88. Syrio,

      Agreed.
      For the people who think some fans are upset because Sansa is their favourite character, the show runners hate women, etc; may I suggest listening to the podcast “Unspoiled! ASOIAF” (for S5E6), they perfectly articulate why fans like myself are upset by the decision D&D made. (Hint: it’s not because Sansa is their favourite character or that they think D&D hate women).

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    89. Wimsey:
      But it is important to the overarching story because it puts Sansa in the North.

      The quote you’re responding to was about how even putting Sansa in the North does not require the story they actually did. They changed everything about the Winterfell story except the rape of Ramsay’s bride.

      Ultimately, I think that the biggest difference comes down to the fact that B&W have intended to make Sansa one of the primary characters of the overarching story from the start, whereas GRRM came to that decision belatedly.As such, B&W have done a for Sansa’s dynamic development than GRRM has.(Of course, “any” would top what GRRM has done!)

      Sansa has had far more development under GRRM; the show pretty much ignored her development throughout her time in KL in favour of focusing on supporting characters, and since leaving she showed an out-of-nowhere spurt of ‘player’ potential in episode 408 and then went back to her KL characterization afterward (with more glowering and less effectiveness).

      They are telling some sort of “damned if you do/don’t” story, and for that to work in the end, we have to have seen the primary characters who are going to make the final decisions get burned by unwinnable situations in the past. If Sansa really has joined the original Big 5, then she needs to start getting herself burned through trial and error: otherwise, there will be no context for whatever contribution she makes in the end.

      Setting aside that getting burned by trial and error is hardly foreign to Sansa’s story to date, trial and error only works if the things you try provide some credible basis for learning. The Season 5 story is a complete failure in that regard, because Sansa never tries anything. The only possible thing she could learn is not to walk into your enemy’s fortress and offer yourself up as a hostage, which, duh. If Sansa does turn into a Player this season, it will have a real credibility issue, because the show has not done the work of building up to it (which is what GRRM is doing in the Vale, as we see her test the waters and start small).

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    90. JoffreyTrueKing:
      I just think the real scene from last season that they should be apologizing is the pathetic Sand Snakes vs Jaime and Bronn battle.

      This. Sansa’s wedding night is controversial, but the filming and acting was absolutely top notch. Now, that SS vs Jaime abomination…

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    91. Deesensfan,

      She’s a wanted fugitive. Roose, who’s supposed to be smart, takes a very risky bet that Cersei doesn’t find out, which she does, for very little gain. LF places his most important pawn in a very risky situation with a lot of unknowns. Also, apparently the guy with all the spies doesn’t know ramsey is a sadist? LF also risks cersei/the crown not finding out he was the one who delivered sansa to the boltons. I still have no idea what hes going to tell the vale lords.

        Quote  Reply

    92. Wimsey: It’s called Instant Karma.If nothing else, then it is always harder to see bad things happen to nice people than to foul ones: and learning that she was a foul person detracted from the tragedy.

      Jeyne wasn’t a “foul person”. She was a naive, romantic girl, even moreso than Sansa, with whom she shared a very cute friendship, from what we saw of it; she was also a bit of a bully. That’s called character complexity. The idea that being raped and tortured could ever be interpreted as “Instant Karma” for being bratty is disquieting.

      Theon had his own storyline, but in a minor plotline.Remember, they are juggling both story and plot here.The northern plotline suddenly got big last year: and it was more than Theon’s story justified.

      The Northern plotline was bigger, but there were plenty of characters there other than Theon, and if you remove all the screentime dedicated to getting Sansa into the place the writers needed her to be, it’s not really that big at all (indeed, in the final three episodes it has about six minutes). Moreover, as I said, you can send Sansa there if you want; but there is no intrinsic requirement that this involve her being raped.

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    93. Shaz,

      this is exactly why they shouldn’t have had her get raped in the first place. they don’t have the screentime to properly show the aftermath.

        Quote  Reply

    94. Sansa’s only marginally smarter in S5 than when she got most of her family killed by ratting her dad out to Cersei. I’d find it relatively implausible for her to have risen to master manipulator level by now.

      In the books

      she’s getting a more gradual education in the Vale

      . If she’d have shown up in WF in the show & used Boltons & LF like tools, that would truly been out of character.

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    95. Henry Gordon:
      Sansa’s only marginally smarter in S5 than when she got most of her family killed by ratting her dad out to Cersei.

      That didn’t happen in the show (setting aside debates about causality).

        Quote  Reply

    96. Hi, I am a lurker here and never comment, but for once I will.
      As a young female and former survivor of rape, let me tell you all how this scene was incredibly triggering.
      I appreciate GOT, as a whole, both books and series.
      But I never can get past the violence toward women, especially when it involves rapes. Of course I know the series cannot be vanilla. And, I do not ask for it to be smooth and censored. I just want to highlight the fact that such scenes can be awful for women to watch. Therefore it makes hard to follow the series because we are subjected to images, whereas we can close the book when the lines get too harsh.
      Also, I am a bit sick of D&D or any of the writers and producers involded always diminishing the trauma this series can revive.
      I understand they don’t like the controversy around the rape scenes, but it is SANE we can argue about it and discuss it. It is also important they acknowledge some disturbed minds could get excited at the sight of such images, and that those scenes contribute to rape culture.

      This is what I respectully needed to say.

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    97. brown ben romney:
      A couple thoughts on the differences between what happened to sansa on the show and jeyne in the books.

      While what happened to jeyne in the books was worse than what happened to sansa in the show, theres also a big difference on how the characters impact the story. Sansa is one of the most important characters on both the show and in the books.

      Jeyne on the other hand, is a minor character. We see through theon’s scenes that how LF and Ramsey have treated her has clearly scarred and affected her deeply, but we don’t need to see the full nuanced version of how she’s handling it because of how relatively unimportant her character is to the story. However in the scenes she does appear in, we see the effects of her experiences in a more realistic way than how they’ve handled sansa’s character post Season 5 Episode 6, at least imo.

      The fact of the matter is that we really don’t know where Sansa is headed in the books. She is not part of the big 5 (Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya and Bran who will probably play a vital role in defeating the Others) and thus far she has served mainly as a narrator of events and is our window into LF. She has had 25 POV chapters till date. That’s as many chapters as Catelyn had and we all know what happened to Catelyn. Cat suffered a great deal, watched her entire family die and then died herself. Sansa may not make it to the end of TWoW. She may not have any impact on the end game. We don’t know. Her story has changed significantly on the show compared to those of the main 5.

      The fact that she is an important character has no relationship to whether she gets raped or not. Dany gets raped in the books when she is 13 and ended up losing a baby. GRRM then turns that into a love story. Where’s the exploration of the effect of all that trauma that Dany went through? She gets dragons and is all a-okay?

      It’s funny how GRRM gets a pass for all the nasty stuff he puts in the books. Apparently Jeyne Poole getting raped by dogs is not for ‘shock value’ but is there to serve a story. And all that nasty stuff that happens to Jeyne really does not matter, because she is not a main, ‘important’ character like Sansa. Who cares what happened to her? Even GRRM did not care, because that story was all about Theon coming back from Reek. She was a character thrown in there to unnecessarily dwell on Ramsay’s sadism and Theon’s awakening.

      Well David and Dan actually managed to get people to care about Ramsay’s victim because it was Sansa. But suddenly, the rape and abuse became all about ‘shock value’.

      I am damn sure that if Cersei’s forced naked parade through KL was a show only invention, David and Dan would have got hell for it because they did it for the ‘shock value’ . But because it was GRRM, it’s to tell the story about how crap Westeros society is.

      As for the exploration of the effects of rape on Sansa, the show has always not spend enough time on in depth character moments. Every character has gone through something brutal and suffered plenty. With hundreds of characters and varied storylines one cannot expect GOT to deal with such topics like the Sopranos. That’s best left to the books but I tend to disagree with GRRM’s idea of romance. He seems to think that abusive, rapey relationships like Dany/Drogo and Sansa/Sandor are romantic. And what little we saw of Jeyne was through Theon’s viewpoint.

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    98. Wow, this was absolutely the most perfect response Bryan Cogman could have possibly given. I’ve always loved Cogman’s writing, and now I can fully appreciate his thoughtfulness, care, and concern. His response is so much better than the fuck-you response that D&D gave fans when asked about the Jaime-Cersei scene of controversy.

      https://youtu.be/TfvVluNxujc?t=49m20s

      I would hope that [public outrage to Jaime raping Cersei] wouldn’t affect at all our future writing on the series.

      The Sansa scene bothered me mostly because of the rape scenes that preceded it: especially the eerily gratuitous-feeling Karl Tanner mass rape scene at Craster’s Keep and the Jaime-Cersei scene that sent the message that “no” doesn’t really mean “no.” Considering this rape revelry, I was deeply concerned when D&D were proudly ignoring all criticism on the matter, at least according to David’s response above. But I’m thrilled to know that at least one of the writers will be taking concerns to heart and thoughtfully, critically evaluating how such scenes are handled. I hope that D&D may be more open to reflecting over constructive criticism now, too.

      The most redeeming part about the Sansa scene is that the actual violence and nudity were off-screen. I’m sad that so many misinterpreted that as Theon stealing the limelight – as if anyone wants the limelight in a scene like that!

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    99. SerNoName:
      and thus far she has served mainly as a narrator of events and is our window into LF.

      Not true. She’s had a story and character development of her own all the way through, her own themes, etc.

      Who cares what happened to her?

      A lot of people, reading fan discussions. I certainly do. She’s a minor character, but an affecting one.

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    100. Bryan’s opinion is Bryan’s opinion, and he’s naturally entitled to it. But a scene like this will not be perceived in a vacuum, and there are arguably shows that deal a lot better with rape in a brutal, medieval society than GOT does (Vikings is one that comes to mind). GOT also does a lot of T&A for the fun of it, and sometimes the lines here are maybe more blurry than they really believe (hiring porn actresses to play Crasters’ wives so rape scenes could be acted out nakedly probably wasn’t such a thrilling idea in that respect). As for Sansa herself, she’s already a character who seems to suffer just to suffer, and after having her finally get a bit of agency and seemingly becoming Littlefinger’s apprentice, slapping her back to damsel status until Theon grabs his dearly departed manhood and rescues her just seems extra cruel.

      Finally, it always surprises me how wounded writers get when they get negative reactions to scenes like this. What did he think would happen?

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    101. Wow, feels like I’ve just stepped out of a time machine in the middle of last season. Seriously, D&D haters, let it go! LOL

      As for the question about Bryan’s words changing my perception of the scene… nope. That’s pretty much exactly the perception of it I already had.

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    102. I still think it’s one of the best shot and most heart wrenching scenes of the series…what the hell were people expecting to happen?

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    103. RosanaZugey:
      But I mean…besides the giant rape elephant in the room…did anyone else catch:

      “…setting her on the path to reclaiming her family home and becoming a major player in the big overall story…”

      Like, we need to discuss THAT little titbit as well, cause things are looking on the up and up! Because as of where we sit right now, these things haven’t happened.

      That bit confirms Luka’s speculative summary of what’s going to happen in Season Six, at least as it pertains to Sansa.

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    104. Deesensfan,

      I respectfully disagree with a few of your points. Not every storyline needs to have action, shock value, big, sweeping dramatic and climatic moments. While Sansa’s storyline in the books (AFFC) is not particularly exciting on the surface, it does a much better job of developing her character from a pawn in the game of thrones to being a person who though still is “technically” a pawn, is becoming a very serious player in the game and is using the lessons thought by Baelish to further her situation. On the show, she does not display any of these subtle traits instead of three quote on quote “badass” speeches in season 5.

      If we cannot have Sansa absent, then at least reduce her storyline and focus on her learning intrigue from Littlefinger and the subtlety of the “game”, preparing for her eventual establishment as a serious player. It could have also been a nice parrallel with how Arya is being trained. That’s why a lot of people like Game of Thrones – the political intrigue that separates it from other fantasy shows.

      What does this show excell at doing so well? Making unlike able characters fan favourites of the audience. Jaime is a perfect example. Alfie Allen is an amazing actor. There are visual and writing cues that the show runners could have taken to exemplify Theon’s redemptive arc even further. I understand that his redemption is shown through his connection with Sansa, but imagine if he had saved a girl who he did not know? That would have been more powerful and shown toe viewers that Theon is a changed person and a better man,

      The rape (or expected norm by GOT standards as deemed by other fans) itself I did not have a huge problem with. It was the storyline and meaning around with. If the show runners had tried to focus on Sansa and the pain she is experiencing being tormented from sexual maritial assault, and Theon’s conflict about seeing the girl he grew up with being physically abused by his psychological oppresser, then this would have been an amazing story. However they did not. And a lot of the backlash (some warranted, some not) was a consequence for that.

      This is an excellent show and this season had my favourite episode of GOT ever (Hardhome which destroys Episode 6 in every factor by the way) but it was not the best season in the television cycle of 2015. Many other show were better like Mr Robot, Hannibal, The Americans, Better Call Saul, The Leftovers, Silicon Valley, Jinx: The Life and Death or Robert Durst, Orange is the New Black, Bloodline, Transparent, Wolf Hall, The Flash (imo), Fargo, The 100, American Crime.

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    105. Jack Bauer 24: I actually like that scene.

      Lol good for B Cog. Angry GoT Fan is a douche.

      HotPinkLipstick:
      Anyone else opening a bottle of wine and settling in for another dull as dishwater Sansa discussion?

      Why isn’t the real discussion here that the commentaries on Season 5 are coming out? I love the commentaries.

      Agreed. We are 9 weeks away from a brand new season and we are highly anticipating the trailer dropping and this is the top article in late February…

        Quote  Reply

    106. Noel:
      Deesensfan,

      I respectfully disagree with a few of your points. Not every storyline needs to have action, shock value, big, sweeping dramatic and climatic moments. While Sansa’s storyline in the books (AFFC) is not particularly exciting on the surface, it does a much better job of developing her character from a pawn in the game of thrones to being a person who though still is “technically” a pawn, is becoming a very serious player in the game and is using the lessons thought by Baelish to further her situation. On the show, she does not display any of these subtle traits instead of three quote on quote “badass” speeches in season 5.

      If we cannot have Sansa absent, then at least reduce her storyline and focus on her learning intrigue from Littlefinger and the subtlety of the “game”, preparing for her eventual establishment as a serious player. It could have also been a nice parrallel with how Arya is being trained. That’s why a lot of people like Game of Thrones – the political intrigue that separates it from other fantasy shows.

      What does this show excell at doing so well? Making unlike able characters fan favourites of the audience. Jaime is a perfect example. Alfie Allen is an amazing actor. There are visual and writing cues that the show runners could have taken to exemplify Theon’s redemptive arc even further. I understand that his redemption is shown through his connection with Sansa, but imagine if he had saved a girl who he did not know? That would have been more powerful and shown toe viewers that Theon is a changed person and a better man,

      The rape (or expected norm by GOT standards as deemed by other fans) itself I did not have a huge problem with. It was the storyline and meaning around with. If the show runnershad tried to focus on Sansa and the pain she is experiencing being tormented from sexual maritial assault, and Theon’s conflict about seeing the girl he grew up with being physically abused by his psychological oppresser, then this would have been an amazing story. However they did not. And a lot of the backlash (some warranted, some not) was a consequence for that.

      This is an excellent show and this season had my favourite episode of GOT ever (Hardhome which destroys Episode 6 in every factor by the way) but it was not the best season in the television cycle of 2015. Many other show were better like Mr Robot, Hannibal, The Americans, Better Call Saul, The Leftovers, Silicon Valley, Jinx: The Life and Death or Robert Durst, Orange is the New Black, Bloodline, Transparent, Wolf Hall, The Flash (imo), Fargo, The 100, American Crime.

      The Flash? Lmao.

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    107. Jack Bauer 24: I actually like that scene.

      Good for you, mate. To me, it was like a bad scene from Xena The Warrior Princess. But make no mistake, I think this is a wonderful show, probably one of the best ever, and I’m hyped as hell about the new season. It’s just that scene and the wholr Dorne arc was son below the standard of GOT…

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    108. HotPinkLipstick:
      Anyone else opening a bottle of wine and settling in for another dull as dishwater Sansa discussion?

      Why isn’t the real discussion here that the commentaries on Season 5 are coming out? I love the commentaries.

      *peeks into room*…….yup.

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    109. Ginevra,

      It’s pricks like this that make creators less likely to respond. Show them some respect, because although they don’t always get it right they are doing what they think is right and have largely succeeded.

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    110. Noel,

      Just curious. If you would have left Sansa in the Vale (either cutting her completely for a season or only including a few scenes of her with Littlefinger) then how would you have handled the Jeyne Poole Storyline? Would you have adapted it accurately from the books, casting a new actress whose only inclusion would be to get raped and humiliated for Theon’s redemption, or would you have cut that storyline too? Or something else?

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    111. Noel,

      In your opinion, all these shows were better in 2015

      Definitely not everyone’s opinion

      I didn’t and don’t think that every storyline needs action or big things
      Personally I think Sansa staying at the vale and developing her character would have been boring, not saying I need action, but it’s nice to see her story intertwine with another character like Theon and bring her story closer to , say, her siblings. She now knows that they are alive

      Also, I think theon saving Sansa has a greater effect than theon saving some random girl, because of the connection fans have with the stark children. (Most are stark fans)

      Anyway it’s your opinion:) too bad you didn’t enjoy her story, hopefully they please you in season 6

      I thought it was great and one of my favourites of season 5!

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    112. Sean C.,

      COK p 59 (paperback)-

      Cersei- “…we might have lost all. Even so, it was a close thing. If Sansa hadn’t come to me and told me all her father’s plans…”
      Tyrion was surprised. “Truly? His own daughter?”

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    113. J Lee: The abuse and type of sexual assaults Jeyne was put through by Martin in his books affected readers, but no one called for his head. Sansa’s abuse was MUCH milder on the show and people lost their minds.

      But Jayne Poole’s ordeal in the books was rendered, like Theon’s torture, ‘offscreen’ and only relayed as third-party information. Still repellent, but we don’t ‘see’ it happening. In any case I think that posing the showrunners’ choices as being limited to either A) showing Jayne being raped and worse or B) showing Sansa being raped is a false dichotomy.

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    114. Thank you, Ellam Fren. I grew especially concerned about the show fostering a culture for rape when posters on here started saying things like “where are her tits?” during Sansa’s rape. GRRM was right when he said that only the sickos would find rape titillating, but it is the sickos we should be worried about.

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    115. SerNoName: The fact of the matter is that we really don’t know where Sansa is headed in the books. She is not part of the big 5 (Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya and Bran who will probably play a vital role in defeating the Others) and thus far she has served mainly as a narrator of events and is our window into LF. She has had 25 POV chapters till date. That’s as many chapters as Catelyn had and we all know what happened to Catelyn. Cat suffered a great deal, watched her entire family die and then died herself. Sansa may not make it to the end of TWoW. She may not have any impact on the end game. We don’t know. Her story has changed significantlyon the show compared to those of the main 5.

      The fact that she is an important character has no relationship to whether she gets raped or not. Dany gets raped in the books when she is 13 and ended up losing a baby. GRRM then turns that into a love story. Where’s the exploration of the effect of all that trauma that Dany went through? She gets dragons and is all a-okay?

      It’s funny how GRRM gets a pass for all the nasty stuff he puts in the books. Apparently Jeyne Poole getting raped by dogs is not for ‘shock value’ but is there to serve a story. And all that nasty stuff that happens to Jeyne really does not matter, because she is not a main, ‘important’ character like Sansa. Who cares what happened to her? Even GRRM did not care, because that story was all about Theon coming back from Reek. She was a character thrown in there to unnecessarily dwell on Ramsay’s sadism and Theon’s awakening.

      Well David and Dan actually managed to get people to care about Ramsay’s victim because it was Sansa. Butsuddenly, the rape and abuse became all about ‘shock value’.

      I am damn sure that if Cersei’s forced naked parade through KL was a show only invention, David and Dan would have got hell for it because they did it for the ‘shock value’ . But because it wasGRRM, it’s to tell the story about how crap Westeros society is.

      As for the exploration of the effects of rape on Sansa, the show has always not spend enough time on in depth character moments. Every character has gone through something brutal and suffered plenty. With hundreds of characters and varied storylines one cannot expect GOT to deal with such topics like the Sopranos.That’s best left to the books but I tend to disagree with GRRM’s idea of romance. He seems to think that abusive, rapey relationships like Dany/Drogo and Sansa/Sandor are romantic. And what little we saw of Jeyne was through Theon’s viewpoint.

      Someone doesn’t have to be important to the end game to be a main character. Cat did suffer a lot, and grrm explored how that affected her psyche in a really nuanced and tragic way imo. The effects of statutory rape and the type of rape sansa went through are completely different, especially since dany doesn’t think she was raped nor has she come to terms with it. And i actually think her abuse at the hands of viserys and her relationship with drogo have both contributed a lot to how her character has been shaped in the books.

      I wouldnt say that jeyne getting raped doesn’t matter, but no i don’t think it matters nearly as much as sansa getting raped, or as much as theon coming back from reek. And i also wouldn’t say jeyne was unnecessasary to theon’s arc.

      most people don’t know what’s in the books and what’s in the show and unsullied didn’t react badly to cersei’s walk. It certainly didn’t cause the controversy that sansa’s scene did.

      If got can’t deal with topics like rape, they shouldn’t of had a character of sansa’s caliber get raped. Also I don’t think grrm is saying dany/drogo is romantic but saying that dany thinks dany/drogo is romantic and he reflects that in her chapters.

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    116. Henry Gordon,

      I believe I said I wasn’t interested in debating causality (in any event, Sansa was far less important that Cersei suggests there; notably, she omits that Ned told her all his plans in advance).

        Quote  Reply

    117. Jeb,

      I do have an enormous amount of respect for D&D. I don’t agree with their handling of sex and sexual violence, but I believe that D&D have made Thrones perhaps the best series on television EVER. That is no small feat, even when you start with a phenomenal book series. Lots of writers, directors, and producers have truly fucked up awesome books. D&D are special. They are awesome. And I will continue to try just about anything they agree to produce. But I will still respectfully criticize them when I feel it is deserved. Respect shouldn’t make us blind to critical evaluation.

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    118. Jack Bauer 24,

      Pigeon,

      It’s a nice Pinot Gris. I’m on my second glass and thinking of looking through craigslist casual encounters ads for a giggle.

      Oh I could compile photos of every GoT actor who has done a nude scene in anything ever and making a big collage in the shape of a chair. Then I’ll paste a photo of Gethin Anthony in the middle.

      I’ll call it Art-her.

      Maplethorpe’s got nothing on me.

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    119. HotPinkLipstick: Oh I could compile photos of every GoT actor who has done a nude scene in anything ever and making a big collage in the shape of a chair.

      Make it an Iron Throne…with a set of really nice butt cheeks at the front of each armrest, and, well, I don’t think I need to tell you what to use for the swords. 🙂

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    120. Yeah… that’s a pretty weak justification of how it was handled. Aside from reducing Sansa back to being abused by some sociopath bastard, it makes no logical sense for Little Finger to be unaware of Ramsay true nature.

      For some one who’s supposed to be pulling the strings for the majority of the story he comes across as an idiot- and where suppose to just buy it. All this nonsense to get Sansa back in winterfell… and for what? A bathing scene, some old lady who remembers things, and a jump off the walls with Theon- not much of her exploring a “dark and gothic horror story”.

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    121. Henry Gordon: If Sansa hadn’t come to me and told me all her father’s plans…”

      I think Cersei coaxed much of it out of her, but at that point Sansa was so naive and starstruck by Joff, she probably would have said anything to gain his/her favor. It wasn’t until the Hound pounded some sense into her that she started to grow a bit.

      I wonder how Bran will react, if at all, when he greensees her discussion with Cersei….she may want to watch for loose branches in the trees…but I’m sure he will forgive her. Her time is coming.

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    122. Ginevra,

      Only if you get purposefully more ridiculous with each argument until it’s all because D&D hate gingers. I mean, they killed Catelyn. They killed Robb. Sansa gets raped. It’s an anti-ginger conspiracy!!

      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I was more thinking of Jaime’s line to Brienne about if the Iron Throne had been made of cocks they could never have gotten Renly off of it. 😉

      (When in need of GoT snark, I always turn to Jaime.)

      The Iron Throne of Dildos for your viewing pleasure!

      http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2015/03/28/1227282/335018-3f62831e-d4f2-11e4-94a5-02ce8012bfae.jpg

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    123. Ginevra,

      Thanks
      I see it being used a lot

      I don’t think she can become a cersei Lannister overnight
      Yes we saw her transform after season 4, but she has to go through things on her OWN before she can become “agency” lol

        Quote  Reply

    124. Sean C.,

      Oh. I was responding to “didn’t happen in the books” not causality, by which I took you to mean the question of whether Sansa tipped off Cersei before Eddard had a chance to do it himself. Cersei seems to answer that in a borderline admission against interest to Tyrion.

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    125. Deesensfan,

      I’m doing the full Cersei.

      By the way, I can’t wait for the next big commentary turned article to be David Nutter discussing how he decided to shoot the death of Stannis. And a million StanFans will scream, “But he’s still alive in the books!” and then go cry in the shower while listening to Alicia Keyes.

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    126. HotPinkLipstick:
      Ginevra,
      Only if you get purposefully more ridiculous with each argument until it’s all because D&D hate gingers. I mean, they killed Catelyn. They killed Robb. Sansa gets raped. It’s an anti-ginger conspiracy!!

      Oh my goodness! And Ygritte. They had Olly take out Ygritte only because she was ginger, and then they had Olly take out Jon Snow only because he kissed the fire. Clearly. GRRM never intended for Jon to really die. It’s all part of the grand ginger conspiracy.

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    127. Deesensfan,

      Because we need more throwback shows about genius white men fucking up the world with their mid-life crises. And drugs. Don’t forget the drugs.

      If only it were on network TV so they could intersperse it with commercials about women who love mopping floors.

        Quote  Reply

    128. Don’t forget that Orange is the new Black had a rape scene that almost mirrored this scene perfectly, and not a peep was uttered but praise. A man wrote the scene, a man directed it, a girl was raped and its misogyny. A woman writes and directs a rape scene and it’s bravery. While the overuse of sexual violence in media is a valid topic, that warrants considered discussion, let’s keep the discourse fair.

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    129. Ginevra,

      I KNEW I was missing a dead ginger. You know why this is all happening, right? Well, when Weiss was in fourth grade, he had a crush on ginger Shelley Horton and she called him a turdface. And then Benioff asked ginger Stella Witt to the prom and she said no. Dave and Dan were then drawn together like ginger-hating magnets. In fact, this conspiracy goes so far into the publishing world that the editors of GRRM’s novels changed the appearance of certain characters in the books just to make them gingers so D&D could brutally kill them off over 20 years later.

      Ginger-hate runs deep.

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    130. HotPinkLipstick:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      Pigeon,

      It’s a nice Pinot Gris. I’m on my second glass and thinking of looking through craigslist casual encounters ads for a giggle.

      Oh I could compile photos of every GoT actor who has done a nude scene in anything ever and making a big collage in the shape of a chair. Then I’ll paste a photo of Gethin Anthony in the middle.

      I’ll call it Art-her.

      Maplethorpe’s got nothing on me.

      *pulls up fainting couch*

      HotPinkLipstick:
      Deesensfan,
      and then go cry in the shower while listening to Alicia Keyes.

      Now THAT is torture!

        Quote  Reply

    131. HotPinkLipstick:
      Deesensfan,

      Because we need more throwback shows about genius white men fucking up the world with their mid-life crises. And drugs. Don’t forget the drugs.

      If only it were on network TV so they could intersperse it with commercials about women who love mopping floors.

      Don’t forget the ones where 5 children and a large dog run through a spotless white kitchen, cover it in mud, and spill a huge jug of Kool-aid, and ‘mom’ just smiles complacently as she reaches for one magic paper towel that will clean up the entire mess.

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    132. Henry Gordon,

      I’m here for all your alcohol-sneeze needs.

      Ginevra,

      SEE! Gaga better get rid of that flammable orange wig she’s been wearing before Cogman writes her into the show as a dosh khaleen so he can kill her off.

      Pigeon,

      Oh I particularly love the commercials where the wives parent their husbands because that’s what every woman wants from a relationship, the opportunity to nag a man about loading the dishwasher.

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    133. Oh fuck me running. How could I forget Lysa Arryn??

      Has there been any “good” character on the show who died who wasn’t ginger or ginger-adjacent? (Stannis/Melisandre) and Shireen did look a bit strawberry blonde.

      I think we have discovered the key to the series. It’s The Song of Fiery Gingers and Icepick Lobotomies.

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    134. HotPinkLipstick:
      Deesensfan,
      By the way, I can’t wait for the next big commentary turned article to be David Nutter discussing how he decided to shoot the death of Stannis. And a million StanFans will scream, “But he’s still alive in the books!” and then go cry in the shower while listening to Alicia Keyes.

      Yep. He kissed the fire, too. That’s why D&D had to off him. I’m not sure if Nutter will be nutty enough to confirm the grand ginger conspiracy or not, though.

      Henry Gordon,
      In the books, Jon describes Ros as a redhead, but they don’t say if he got the red-carpet treatment.

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    135. HotPinkLipstick,

      I love Scorsese, but thus far that show feels like somebody decided we needed a continuation of Mad Men with less subtlety and more cocaine.

      Henry Gordon:
      Oh.I was responding to “didn’t happen in the books” not causality, by which I took you to mean the question of whether Sansa tipped off Cersei before Eddard had a chance to do it himself.Cersei seems to answer that in a borderline admission against interest to Tyrion.

      I said it didn’t happen in the show, not the books.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “the question of whether Sansa tipped off Cersei before Eddard had a chance to do it himself”. There’s no question there; Ned spoke to her days earlier. Sansa only went to Cersei like an hour beforehand.

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    136. HotPinkLipstick:
      Henry Gordon,

      I’m here for all your alcohol-sneeze needs.

      Ginevra,

      SEE! Gaga better get rid of that flammable orange wig she’s been wearing before Cogman writes her into the show as a dosh khaleen so he can kill her off.

      Pigeon,

      Oh I particularly love the commercials where the wives parent their husbands because that’s what every woman wants from a relationship, the opportunity to nag a man about loading the dishwasher.

      All while playfully rolling their eyes in mock exasperation and piping “Oh, you!!!”

        Quote  Reply

    137. Sean C.:
      The issue is framed in the narrowest possible focus here, i.e., if Sansa ended up married to Ramsay and in a room with him on the verge of consummation, this is what would logically happen.Variations of that, such as the question of why she didn’t stab him (which wouldn’t any sense, I agree) , don’t address the real issue, which is why the writers felt that Ramsay getting a bride to rape while Theon watches was the only aspect of the entire story that could not change, even when they were changing everything else about the scenario, including the POV (as they see it), the motives of the parties, the follow-up, etc.Indeed, that’s really the only part of the ADWD Theon story that kept.

      You make an interesting argument. However, I think your conclusions are reflecting a certain perspective you’ve already committed to. The didn’t change the POV for the scene. They didn’t change anyone’s motives. And I’m not sure how the “follow up” was altered in any way.

      Ultimately, I think the “drama” that this scene, and everything building to it, conveys- is a brilliant example of adaptation, and very useful in further developing all three characters involved. Also, I would argue that Theon’s Dance story is abbreviated mostly due to the show’s absence of the characters surrounding him in the book.

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    138. Sister Kisser:
      Wimsey,

      I worked with those girls a few years back: the ex-cheerleading, boob-push-upping, ever-so-much-better-than-you sort. We called them Bitch #1 and Bitch #2, but alpha bitch and beta bitch describe them perfectly.

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    139. Lol. OMG, Becky, look at her butt! It’s just so…. BIG!

      I am no expert. But beware the Beta Bitch! You may never see her coming!

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    140. Syrio:
      Brandon,

      It would have been out of character for LF to leave Sansa with the Boltons, it would have been out of character for Sansa to agree to marry Ramsey. Being out of character does not seem a problem for the writers as long as they are catalysts to the end goal ofSansa being raped by Ramsey.

      And yes it was done for shock value, Cogman is either lying to us or lying to himself about that.

      What is out of character is entirely subjective. This is YOUR opinion. Which, may I say, you manufactured to prove your point.

      As for the rape, this is a misogynist world where women are raped continuously. It isn’t really surprising that it does happen on screen sometimes. Even moreso because we follow some total psychopaths.

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    141. Wimsey,
      brown ben romney,

      Once again, because I feel I did not explain myself well earlier:

      My beef is not exactly with the scene. It is with the entire storyline. Its purpose was to combine Sansa’s TWOW arc (learning manipulation) with the necessity of putting Sansa among known actors AND in the North.

      And I would have been fine with it if Sansa had at least tried to manipulate Ramsay before coming to disastrous consequences. That would be trial-and-error, part of the learning process. And it would be even realistic, in the sense that you can’t expect everything to go well at once just because you try (vide Jon getting killed, Arya getting blinded, Jaime having to witness Myrcella’s death, Cersei getting walk-of-shamed; it’s been a wonderful year for failures, that one!). So, if the story went, Sansa tries to manipulate, Ramsay says ‘lol no’ and then comes the rape – I would be OK with it.

      But my point is, they did not even have Sansa try. She learned nothing. Unlike Arya, she learned nothing. She stuck there, being passive. That was the narrative error, as far as I’m concerned. And it started from Cogman’s idea that ‘she is not like that’. That man is too wedded to the books, and does not realise that those books were the early ones in the story and the purpose of the story is to change the character so that she becomes exactly that.

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    142. Uh, it may not have started off with the intention of straight up shock. But that’s what happened. The episode literally ended with the rape. In fact, her whole arc in season 5 peaked with it. Finding out about her brothers = falling action, gave her the will to live past the rape. Her escape from WF = conclusion.

      I don’t have a problem with the shock of rape or deciding to have a main character be raped, I’m just reading the intention and pacing of the scene. It was building up suspense just to shock, nothing else.

      And that’s a creative decision. I can’t get behind this creative decision. They could have had Alayne masquerade, she could’ve been a part of the Northern Lords attending Fake Arya’s wedding, she could have had internal thoughts that it could’ve been her, which would be harrowing for her. THERE WERE SO MANY CREATIVE DECISIONS and this commentary only mentions 1. This commentary is operating under the premise of “well we already decided to have Ramsay and Sansa marry.” It’s not the commentary I’ve wanted since that episode ended. The real criticisms behind the scene are this, not shock or seeing Sansa be raped. I see so many people defending “well it’s a brutal world” “well it would happen, it’s realistic” It’s not even remotely the point.

      The fact the rape was the logical step in Ramsay’s wedding night is moot. She shouldn’t have married Ramsay and she shouldn’t have been there as Sansa in the first place. A lot have already argued why Sansa wouldn’t agree to marrying him, but not many have discussed why the Boltons would need such an arrangement to hold the North yet at the same time have to keep such an arrangement private knowledge, lest the Crown catch wind.

      There were so many logical hoops just to make it a convincing story, it’s unlike anything else attempted in this adaptation so far. Worse than Dorne, by far.

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    143. “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.”

      This is the part of the story that I have not enjoyed nor found “dramatically satisfying.” Because I did not care for the choice to merge the characters’ storylines, I was uncomfortable with all the events that followed. I don’t have a quibble so much with the aesthetic choices made by the director/show runners/writers; however, I do wish Sansa wasn’t there in the first place. I’ll reserve judgement on whether or not I find the changes were necessary or “dramatically satisfying” in the broader arc of Sansa, Theon, and Ramsey’s stories for when I’ve seen S6/S7. I hope they are shown to be.

      I do think the show runners/producers/directors could show a bit more discretion about depicting rape or torture too often. I think it loses its emotional impact when overused.

      By the gods old and new, I am tired of this topic. Can we get back to trailer forecasting?

        Quote  Reply

    144. Bob:
      Don’t forget that Orange is the new Black had a rape scene that almost mirrored this scene perfectly, and not a peep was uttered but praise. A man wrote the scene, a man directed it, a girl was raped and its misogyny. A woman writes and directs a rape scene and it’s bravery. While the overuse of sexual violence in media is a valid topic, that warrants considered discussion, let’s keep the discourse fair.

      [Orange in the New Black spoilers] The argument in favor of that scene over Sansa’s is that Pennsatucky is the focus of the scene, while Sansa’s shifts to Theon, and arguably (within season 5 at least) her rape is there for dramatic effect and plot reasons rather than character ones. The OITNB episode goes into Pennsatucky’s past, if I remember correctly, and delves into her relationship with her attacker in a long slow buildup. Meanwhile, Ramsay is a horror villain, and Sansa is again and again in the series a victim. There isn’t enough narrative time in GoT to go into a nuanced portrayal of Sansa dealing with it.

      Viewers see rape used as a narrative device and not similar to their real life experience of trauma, in other shows and previously in Season 4, and they don’t give GoT the benefit of the doubt.

      Did anyone watch Jessica Jones? The showrunner wrote it, she said in interviews, in direct response to being uncomfortable with Game of Thrones sexual assault storylines. Psychologically it’s very layered, and both the villain and victim have a lot of detail. When people criticize the Sansa scene I think they want that level of nuance to the portrayal of assault.

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    145. Felt Pelt,

      You make a good point regarding nuance. That is one issue I’ve had with GoT consistently- for all the “gray” characters, for all the “difficult decisions” and “layers of conflict” -I think this show is sometimes just too big to really convey much nuance. With such emotionally heavy content, some of which happening quite frequently, the viewers are often denied the opportunity to experience the nuance of an event- the struggle and emotional hardship (or lack thereof) that characters go through before and after such traumatic events. Only so many minutes to go around…

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    146. I never had a problem with the portrayal of that scene, or the decision to put Sansa in Winterfell. It made me much more invested in that storyline than I was in the book, because it was a character I actually cared about. I know not everyone will agree, of course, and I won’t pretend to have the only valid perspective on this.

      I’m glad BC explained the reasons and thought process behind that scene, rather than just ignoring it. I thought he explained himself well, and for me personally, this was a satisfying explanation. Again, I know not everyone will agree…

      For me, the more interesting parts of this article were his hints towards the future of Sansa’s storyline, and the simple fact that the commentaries are starting to come out.

        Quote  Reply

    147. I despise “Social Justice”. It’s like a left wing cultural authoritarianism. Won’t be happy until they’ve bullied or excluded everyone who disagrees with them and they have complete conformity. It’s ugly as hell.

      We’ll look back on this era as we do the social conservative religious right. With disdain.

      But some responsibility does fall on the artists. Artists shouldn’t be able to be bullied. They should have the strength to stand by their work and to tell the inquisition to fuck off.

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    148. I was not that negative about the scene to begin with. I mean I never reacted that dramatically as many people did. And I totally get what the writer says. This is what would happen in real life. Not all of us are Arya. I have been in a situation like that myself – and believe me, I was not Arya either. I do think though that the scene could have been cut earlier, or shot in a different way.
      Still, I believe that what is important when filming abuse is not the immediate Arya-like revenge, because it is unrealistic. It is much better to show redemption that takes its time. This is what happens in real life. Or what I wish would happen.

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    149. Yaga:
      Wimsey,
      brown ben romney,

      My beef is not exactly with the scene. It is with the entire storyline. Its purpose was to combine Sansa’s TWOW arc (learning manipulation)

      From where exactly do readers know that Sansa’s TWoW arc is about ‘learning manipulation’? Is there an advance copy of TWoW lying around somewhere or has GRRM come out and said that Sansa’s TWoW arc is about learning manipulation?

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    150. Zombies That Were Promised: The fact the rape was the logical step in Ramsay’s wedding night is moot. She shouldn’t have married Ramsay and she shouldn’t have been there as Sansa in the first place. A lot have already argued why Sansa wouldn’t agree to marrying him, but not many have discussed why the Boltons would need such an arrangement to hold the North yet at the same time have to keep such an arrangement private knowledge, lest the Crown catch wind.

      I was arguing that from day one. Roose wanting Sansa to help him control the North, but somehow believing that absolutely no one in the entire North would talk to absolutely anyone in the South? That’s absurd. Worse yet, Littlefinger bet his life on no one telling anyone. The moment he arrived in King’s Landing, his head should have been on a spike. Not that Roose shouldn’t have already put it on a spike as soon as Littlefinger and Sansa arrived in Moat Cailin on the way north.

      The entire northern plot was a multi-layered conflagration of plot holes last season, and unfortunately I expect this to continue. But that water is under the bridge. The rape scene, for what it was worth, was about what I expected it to be – a compromise between the utter brutality of the books, wussiness of TV audiences, and what would be legally possible to film. I thought it was done as well as could be hoped given the limitations of what is acceptable.

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    151. The fact that it took B.C. all these months to finally offer up an explanation on the storyline, proves to me that he knew he made a big mistake. When Unbowed went wide, the writers, producers, and actors never said a word. They sidestepped and/or completely avoided the subject. They didn’t defend their work because they couldn’t. They knew they made a mess. They painted themselves in a corner, and now they are working overtime to dig their way out of it.

      The reason why I was so upset is because in season 4 they deliberately built Sansa up, and made me think that she was on the rise. Instead of making Sansa and Petyr into a power couple, and capitalizing on all the growth Sansa achieved, they slam her down even lower than she ever had been. It’s like they would rather keep her in the lowly position than let her shine. It not sound writing just to keep your character in perpetual danger, just like it is not sound to keep them in perfect safety. Sooner or later, the tide has to change. In five years, Sansa’s tide hasn’t changed. Alot of people feel that her character is boring. Well I can say I blame them for thinking it. In five years, there had been hardly any changes to her character. In a story where there is a constant evolution, Sansa has none. The writers had a wonderful opportunity to expand Sansa’s character and they squandered it. The writers are trying to convince me and themselves that they wanted to keep Sansa center stage and in the forefront, but in truth, she was nothing but a prop in Theon’s story.

      I am more than ready to put Season 5 behind me. On to the next!

        Quote  Reply

    152. moonlightof1982,

      No…this “explanation” is an excerpt from the DVD’s audio commentary. Which he’s doing for that episode because he wrote it. Which is why EW decided to release this now. That’s what the timing of this means. Nothing else.

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    153. Sean C.: They changed everything about the Winterfell story except the rape of Ramsay’s bride.

      No they didn’t. In fact, I’d say they changed the rape to the same degree they changed everything else!

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    154. The HBO Schedule goes up to April 1st today. Just three weeks and two days, and it starts showing April 24th.

      Every little thing counts as long as we don’t even have the trailer!

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    155. Unfortunately the show runners/writers had largely run out of Book Sansa’ s story [well there is that WoW chapter where she’s attracted to the young man who would become lord of the Vale if anything happened to little Robin which I found underwhelming if I’m honest]. And thinking about “Feast” and “Dance”, let’s be honest, they lack the impetus of the first three books albeit there are some worthwhile parts interspersed – I don’t know if I’d exactly call it a plot hole but I thought the bit about the northern fatty lord learning the truth about Bran and Rickon because Theon’s squire (character cut from the show) had been hiding in a tree when the younger Starks and companions left Winterfell was woeful. I certainly did an eye roll when I read that. I didn’t particularly like the book fake Arya plot – or the Ironborn (who seem to lose an awful lot) plot. In the adaptation from page to screen I was more bothered by book Ellaria being transformed into a vengeful female version of Darkstar than the Winterfell storyline. From a practical point of view the showrunners may have felt they had to find something for Sansa to do in case Sophie Turner went off and found other projects.

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    156. While Sansa returning to Winterfell made sense thematically and helped to keep the story focused (as the show is always struggling with so many characters and storylines spread out over two continents), it really makes Littlefinger come across as rather incompetent in his plotting.

      That’s the only problem I had with the storyline and the scene.

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    157. Sad as it is, but no one would have complained about this scene if it would have been in the books. Oh wait, it is in the books, but not with Sansa but Jeyne Poole and in the books it is even worse as Theon has to take part in raping Jeyne Poole and not just watching. And there are hints that Jeyne has been even abused by dogs! Can’t remember that anyone complained about the shock value of GRRM. Now a lot milder version has been done in the TV show but it involves now Sansa and an outcry happens. Sorry, that is just hypocritical.

      Personally I do not have any problem with Sansa’s story arc in the series, I think it was a clever idea to move her out of the vale instead of starting endless new boring sub-plots with a lot of new characters. I think she will also experience rape in the books and that will be the final rift between Littlefinger and her.

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    158. Chad Brick:

      The entire northern plot was a multi-layered conflagration of plot holes last season, and unfortunately I expect this to continue. But that water is under the bridge.

      Indeed. It had a lot of plot holes, but IMO the issue was that season 5 felt like a transitional season so you thought about the plot holes more. I expect this year to have a lot more pay-offs ala season 4, or at least I did, until I heard filming of Oldtown/Riverlands/Iron Islands/season 8.

      I don’t know what to expect now.

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    159. SerNoName: From where exactly do readers know that Sansa’s TWoW arc is about ‘learning manipulation’? Is there an advance copy of TWoW lying around somewhere or has GRRM come out and said that Sansa’s TWoW arc is about learning manipulation?

      Yegods. Sansa is a primary character. She should evolve. Her story should be about her evolution. Now, what evolution? What useful thing can she learn from the characters among whom she is? Arya is among the physically threatening; she is learning how to efficiently kill. What can and should Sansa learn among the politicians?

      moonlightof1982,
      While I do not agree with the statement about the ‘prop in Theon’s story’, this. It was the fifth season, and Sansa should have exhibited some signs of character evolution. Even if she ultimately failed, like Arya did, just trying – trying to be smart, cunning, devious, manipulative – would have been enough for me.

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    160. Dame of Mercia:
      Unfortunately the show runners/writershad largely run out of Book Sansa’ s story [well there is that WoW chapter where she’s attracted to the young man who would become lord of the Vale if anything happened to little Robin which I found underwhelming if I’m honest]…..

      I agree about the WoW sample chapter, it may be a necessary step in Sansa’s story but certainly as a standalone – while we wait to see where it leads – it’s not desperately interesting even taking into account that Book!Sansa is that much younger, still growing up, and therefore we can’t expect a rapid transition to a “player”. I know many said they loved it when it came out but some of the dialogue read to me like fan-fiction (sorry!).

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    161. Sansa marrying Ramsey does not make logic sense in any way. She can gain NOTHING by doing so.
      She can only be viewed as a traitor by other northmen by doing it, as if marrying a Tyrion Lannister isn´t bad enough.

      And how the hell is LF going to explain all this to the Lords of the Vale?

      It´s just poor writing after a promising season 4 finale for Sansa that fell trough in season 5. End of story.

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    162. Zombies That Were Promised: She shouldn’t have married Ramsay and she shouldn’t have been there as Sansa in the first place. A lot have already argued why Sansa wouldn’t agree to marrying him, but not many have discussed why the Boltons would need such an arrangement to hold the North yet at the same time have to keep such an arrangement private knowledge, lest the Crown catch wind.

      There are really three separate questions that need to be answered, and I think there are believable answers to all of them.

      Question 1) Why would Littlefinger arrange this in the first place? What does he gain from it?

      Based on his actions, I conclude that he wants to get the Vale army into the North (and presumably use it to secure control there). To do that, he needs two things. First, he needs permission from Cersei, so that she doesn’t realize that his ambitions go far beyond petty scheming for a promotion. He gives everyone the impression of being a scheming minor noble hanging on the coattails of whoever he thinks will win, hoping for the best scraps. This makes them see him as a potentially useful, but not too dangerous pawn, when in fact he seems more interested in bringing down all of the Great Houses so he can be “King of the Ashes”. Sansa Stark being back in Winterfell to marry Ramsay gives him the pretext to get Cersei’s permission to invade the North.

      He also needs permission from Roose Bolton to pass Moat Cailin. They’ve already shown that Roose needed Ramsay & Theon to remove the pathetic force of Ironborn left to guard it through trickery, before he could move his large, well-equipped army through it. Littlefinger might have been able to get Cersei’s permission for the invasion by simply lying about Sansa being there (and not actually placing Sansa in danger), but to get Roose’s permission to bring an army into the North, he needed to provide a significant token of good faith. Roose was somewhat reluctant to trust him even with real Sansa’s presence. Without Sansa, Roose would never agree to let a Vale army into his lands.

      People ask why he would be willing to put Sansa in that risky, horrible position, but I think despite some lingering sentimental attachment due to his feelings for Catelyn, I don’t think Littlefinger is capable of really caring for anyone’s wellbeing except his own. Sansa’s only real value to him is as a pawn, and sometimes pawns need to be sacrificed to put your knights (of the Vale) in position to strike.

      Question 2) Why would Sansa agree to it?

      She clearly didn’t want to when she first realized what Littlefinger’s master plan was. She was also in a very vulnerable position though. Her head was #2 on Cersei’s “most wanted” list, and Littlefinger was the only one who seemed to be protecting her. Her apparent options at the time the decision was suddenly and unexpectedly forced on her were to go along with the plan, or to turn around and head back into a land ruled by a woman who wanted her head on a spike, while disappointing the only person “protecting” her.

      He also manipulated her by playing on her desire to get her home back and get control over her life. He made her think she was his protege, learning to play the Game and take back Winterfell, when in fact he was just using her as another pawn, and he almost certainly knew (or at least suspected) she wasn’t really ready to manipulate the Boltons, even if he didn’t know exactly how bad Ramsay is. He convinced her that she was ready to take control, so that she would willingly play the part he wanted her to play, even though it was ridiculously risky for her.

      It would be interesting if her ordeal gives her the strength to finally become the player that she was trying to become, and she realizes that Littlefinger was just using her, and had betrayed her father, and she eventually brings about his downfall in some way. The pawn escapes the trap, reaches the top of the board, and becomes a queen, then gets revenge on the “player” who tried to sacrifice her.

      Question 3) Why would Roose Bolton agree to this plan?

      It’s quite clear that Roose was quite concerned about a Northern uprising against him, and Ramsay’s brutal tax collection tactics weren’t helping matters. This was not an immediate threat (the northerners were not rising up against him at the moment), but it was one lingering in the background that could potentially materialize at any point if his position became weak (which was a genuine possibility, with Stannis’s army on its way, and not yet stuck in the snow). Having Ramsay marry Sansa could help him keep the Northerners on his side.

      Why keep the marriage relatively private at first? Well, any northern lords who were unhappy with his status as the new Warden of the North might be equally unhappy with the idea of Ned’s daughter marrying a traitor’s bastard “legitimized” by Tommen Baratheon. It might have even provoked an early uprising of northern lords intending to stop it from happening. If he announced it early enough for all the lords to attend the wedding, it gives them time and opportunity to plot a coup. If he announces it only after it’s done, and Sansa is already married and possibly pregnant, then supporting him is supporting Sansa’s heir, and the northern lords are more likely to go along with it.

      Also, Roose knows that Cersei & Tommen have no armies to spare to help him against Stannis, while Littlefinger has the Vale army. Since Littlefinger is clearly betraying Cersei, Roose has a choice: turn down Littlefinger and be left on his own against Stannis, or ally with Littlefinger, knowing that Cersei is too busy with her own troubles to threaten him, and even if she did have an army available, he could hold them off with a small force at Moat Cailin, which has never fallen to an attack from the south.

      Remember, Littlefinger has consistently played the role of a petty schemer riding the coattails of whoever he thinks is winning. If Littlefinger is abandoning Cersei to support Roose, Roose would likely take that as a sign (which turns out to actually be quite true) that Cersei is in a very precarious position, and is not a useful ally nor a credible threat. Most people see Littlefinger as an untrustworthy, but potentially useful pawn, and he consistently uses this perception to manipulate people into letting him “help” them, while he’s really leading them to their doom.

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    163. *rolling eyes*

      Sansa was not “Sansa” since the moment you have her bullying other characters (Shae at first, Robin, Theon himself), not planning any way to escape (like cutting Dontos scenes) and not charming people so she doesn’t get more bullied (Joffrey, the Tyrells,

      Harry the Heir

      . Instead we have her crying again and randomly being snarky to Ramsay (WTF? Is she suicidal or what?).

      Character development on season 4 was reduce to the Darth Sansa costume.

      Merging Sansa with Jeyne changed Sansa’s plot, Brienne’s, Stannis, part of Jon’s, Jaime’s and LF. And still don’t understand LF’s plan at all. Someone explain this for me, please. If he wanted WF, he just have to marry Sansa to Robin so he has a full army on his own. If he wanted WF, he just have to waint until Stannis destroy Ramsay and then go there and reclaim it to the winner, instead of left his ward in a middle of f*cking siege, with people he barely know (LF said himself) and completely alone. If he wants everything, marry Sansa (regicide accusation, anyone?) to a Bolton bastard (Lannister loyalist and Stark traitors), pissing off the Tyrells (his declared ennemies) and the Lannisters (again, regicide).

      And Jeyne Poole was not only the tool for Theon’s rendemption. There were about

      how lesser born are pawns and doesn’t matter to the Game of Thrones, a full plan of the northerners trying to save Jeyne and destroy the Boltons, a full plan of Jon trying to save “his sister”, the Ghost of WF and Bran via tree

      … if you cut all that, it’s just a rape and Theon rescuing the damsel in distress. Being an asshole before, because for his fault the Old Lady Remembers is dead too.

      And still angry because some of the best lines about the Game of Thrones were missed (thank you, LF!), since LF didn’t bother to teach her anything at all.

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    164. NeymarJr 123:

      Anyone who thinks I’m filling in a form giving details of my income (especially bearing in mind this is a GoT site and the form has nothing even tangentially connected with GoT) has another think coming.

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    165. moonlightof1982:
      The fact that it took B.C. all these months to finally offer up an explanation on the storyline, proves to me that he knew he made a big mistake. When Unbowed went wide, the writers, producers, and actors never said a word. They sidestepped and/or completely avoided the subject. They didn’t defend their work because they couldn’t. They knew they made a mess. They painted themselves in a corner, and now they are working overtime to dig their way out of it.

      Uh huh. Couldn’t have been that they knew they would be crucified by outraged fans no matter what they said, because the backlash was, on the whole, massively unreasonable.

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    166. SerNoName: From where exactly do readers know that Sansa’s TWoW arc is about ‘learning manipulation’? Is there an advance copy of TWoW lying around somewhere or has GRRM come out and said that Sansa’s TWoW arc is about learning manipulation?

      LF teach her some things of the Game of Thrones at the end of ACOK. Actually, it’s the first time her character listen to a verbalized version of the “Game of Thrones” concept (only LF, Cersei, Tyrion, Ned and Varys used that).

      But she was kinda playing a lot time ago. Flirting with Joffrey in the begining was to secure a happy marriage and to be queen someday. In the chapters before, she’s being nice and “invisible” as a mechanism of defense. Noone knew exactly where she is (Tyrion assumed she was at the sept most of the time, when she was freely in the Godswood planning her escape with Dontos) and at the same time, being nice to Joffrey (to avoid more bullying) and nice to the Tyrells (wedding with Wyllas = escape from KL and maybe a future army, since she’s planing to give him a lot of children and to educate them to hate the Lannisters). All of this was almost erased from the show.

      In the chapter sample of WoW

      she’s being all nice to Harry the Heir, so he’s interested in her and thus, have his army since he will be the Lord of the Vale soon -we can debate here who is poisoning Robin-

      To me, it’s sounds pretty manipulative XD

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    167. People, read the TWOW excerpt of Sansa.

      Personally I think that book-Sansa is awaiting a really traumatic story arc.

      Unfortunately, we will never know how it will play out in the book. After reading that excerpt chapter I gave up any hope that GRRM will ever be able to finish his series.

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    168. SlayerNina,

      This is hilariously silly. We’re in Sansa’s head, it’s pretty obvious she isn’t flirting to Joffrey because of the political benefit. She buys into the romantic stories of knights and prince’s completely. Ditto with the Tyrells, there’s no manipulation.

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    169. Yaga:
      Wimsey,
      brown ben romney,

      But my point is, they did not even have Sansa try. She learned nothing. Unlike Arya, she learned nothing. She stuck there, being passive. That was the narrative error, as far as I’m concerned. And it started from Cogman’s idea that ‘she is not like that’. That man is too wedded to the books, and does not realise that those books were the early ones in the story and the purpose of the story is to change the character so that she becomes exactly that.

      It’s more painful when you realise anytime Sansa behaves like a lady she’s mocked by other characters or punished for it, and Arya was given history and heraldry knowledge (something she sucks at) and the magic changing faces learning offscreen, and also a gratuitous scene of sexual abuse who ended with her assaltant killed by herself. It’s like screaming “tomboys girls rules, girly girls sucks!” out loud.

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    170. Deesensfan:
      Syrio,

      If Ramsay didn’t rape Sansa I would have been shocked

      Also, what about all the violence towards theon? Where is all the outrage

      I don’t understand why people use the “Theon’s dick” card. We have see him for three seasons how the punishment of rally WF and betray the Starks, killing two children in the process affected him, and how at the end of season 5 he’s free and with a possibility of rebuilt his life (since there’s no Stannis to execute him or something).

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    171. moonlightof1982,
      While I do not agree with the statement about the ‘prop in Theon’s story’, this. It was the fifth season, and Sansa should have exhibited some signs of character evolution. Even if she ultimately failed,like Arya did, just trying – trying to be smart, cunning, devious, manipulative – would have been enough for me.

      I guess you need to rewatch the season, for example the way she handles Myranda in bath scene before the wedding. She also steals a corkscrew to pick a lock and tries her best to manipulate Theon (to take the candle to the broken tower) and Ramsay (with comments about Fat Walda being pregnant).

      She tries her best. Unfortunately, Ramsay is bit out of her league when it comes to manipulation.

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    172. cosca: This is hilariously silly. We’re in Sansa’s head, it’s pretty obvious she isn’t flirting to Joffrey because of the political benefit. She buys into the romantic stories of knights and prince’s completely. Ditto with the Tyrells, there’s no manipulation.

      She screamed at Arya that some day she will bow to her. Even if it just to piss off Arya, you forgot how the “lady learning skill set” include rule a house. I mean, she knew how to do it at the Vale, she was the ruler when LF was not there, and she was like 13. And she lied to Joffrey about “love/hate” horses to please him. Patriarcal learning is always useful in Westeros. XD

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    173. SlayerNina,

      I think there is a difficulty in conveying some of the way book Sansa’s stood her ground when adapting the source material for the show because much of the book portrayal of Sansa’s character evolutintakes place as internal monologues (for example book Sansa’s thoughts on refusing to kneel for Tyrion to put the cloak round her I the marriage ceremony though I’ll concede that was changed in the show). I agree with your point that a female character need not be a tomboy to have merit.

      A few days ago I was discussing adaptation generally, not particularly ASOIAF, with some acquaintances (well if it pertained to anything it was to the recent BBC adaptation of War and Peace which I must be honest and say I haven’t watched yet. (Being the BBC it’s bound to be repeated). One lady said that as a general rule she never watches a TV show/film if it is based on a book she has read because there are inevitably changes in translation from book page to screen.

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    174. Just wanted to add, how vital a part of the show Cogman is. He provides substance in the middle of every scene. D&D usually write the opener sand the big, dramatic episodes, but cogman does the heavy lighting in the middle with his crisp scripts that always have a little more character details. Unbowed, unbent, unbroken is a terific episode. The rape disgusts me so much, but the whole was very written, acted and especially shot. Kissed by Fire is another magnificent cogman episode, and also the great what is dead May never die. I even belong to the minority, that really apreciated the Mutineers-subplot and Karl Tanners Apocalypse now vibe. Cogman wrote those episodes too. It was ugly and disgusting but provided a colorful periodic villain. Can’t wait to see what he does with the ironborn story in s6. Im sure he’s writing the kingsmoot, since he is a fan of Aeron Damphair. Cogman is a vital part of why I love this show so much

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    175. Dame of Mercia:
      SlayerNina,

      I think there is a difficulty in conveying some of the way book Sansa’s stood her ground whenadapting the source material for the show because much of the book portrayal of Sansa’s character evolutintakes place as internal monologues (for example book Sansa’s thoughts onrefusing to kneel for Tyrion to put the cloak round her I the marriage ceremony though I’ll concede that was changed in the show).I agree with your point that a female character need not be a tomboy to have merit.

      A few days ago I was discussing adaptation generally, not particularly ASOIAF, with some acquaintances (well if it pertained to anything it was to the recent BBC adaptation of War and Peace which I must be honest and sayI haven’t watched yet. (Being the BBC it’s bound to be repeated).One lady said that as a general rule she never watches a TV show/film if itis based on a book she has read because there are inevitably changes in translation from book page to screen.

      Haven’t read War and Peace but I thought the BBC (short) adaptation was really enjoyable. As ever book readers will have gripes, but as someone who would have balked at a really long series ( they did in the 70s ?) it worked for me! I might even try reading the book ( which has been on my eReader but unread since nineteen hundred and frozen to death!

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    176. Dame of Mercia: evolutintakes

      Should be “character evolution takes”……. A “deliberate mistake” to see how observant people are …of course..and I never tell porkies! *

      [*porkie – English slang for a lie. Comes from rhyming slang “porkie pie”. Thought I’d better put an explanation as some folk visiting the site don’t have English as a first language].

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    177. Dame of Mercia,

      Thank you, it’s so nice of you to think of us, people with English as a learnt language. No matter how good we are/ try to be, we can’t compare us to people who have English as their mother tongue. Or even to people who live in an English speaking country.
      I’m glad of every opportunity to learn more, expecially slang, which I like because it shows how imaginative a language can be, at the same time being funny.

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    178. SlayerNina,
      I wouldn’t be so simplistic to claim ‘tomboy good, queen bee bad’. Like I said, I think it’s more Cogman’s fault in not recognising that show Sansa has moved beyond her book story and developed her character. If you look at it closely, the story is just fine between episodes 1-4 (Sansa plots with Littlefinger, gets into Winterfell) and 6-10 (rape, plan failed, pressure on Theon, escape). Basically, most of what Homplomplom said.

      The problem lies in E5, which is between Littlefinger leaves and the plan fails – that Bolton family dinner, in particular. That scene is the lynchpin and that is the place where the writing actually failed. This scene should have had the player Sansa, consciously probing for weaknesses, trying and testing, being active and independent in LF’s absence – and instead, it had the old Sansa. Cogman simply did not update her character for this scene, and I think this may be because of all the show writers, he is the most married to the books without recognising that it’s time to move past them. This was the time to show the player Sansa off, and she did not really even try to flirt with Ramsay, ffs!

      Like I said multiple times before – I’m all for characters trying and failing. But Cogman did not even have her *try*. That’s my beef with him, not a rape scene.

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    179. Also want too join the other people in saying that UUU was one of my favourite episode last season.

      The wedding was perfectly filmed and directed.
      Disagree with those who say that showing Theon instead of Sansa made the scene less powerful or took away from Sansa’s traumatic experience. On the contrary to me it made the scene even more powerful.

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    180. Dame of Mercia,

      I think you should watch War and Peace. I read the novel when I was a teenager and, even if I forgot a lot of details, I remember the atmosphere, the feeling one get while reading very well. I have seen several adaptations and I think this one is the best if you take into account the casting (I don’t mean only the actors’ value, but also their suitability to their parts), actors’ play, the sense of the present drama changing characters, the scenes selected to tell the story.

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    181. I’m on record here on WotW as a staunch defender of this scene in particular and Sansa’a whole storyline. Cogman only reinforced the belief I’ve already held. I only hope that he didn’t let the vicious, insulting, and sick criticism leveled at him from all quarters get to him. His episodes are uniformly outstanding; the last thing the show needs is that he begin to self-censor. That would be the real tragedy of this faux-outrage. That said, I’m not sure how any sane human being could remain unfazed with all the bullshit thrown his way.

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    182. Homplomplom: I guess you need to rewatch the season, for example the way she handles Myranda in bath scene before the wedding. She also steals a corkscrew to pick a lock and tries her best to manipulate Theon (to take the candle to the broken tower) and Ramsay (with comments about Fat Walda being pregnant).

      She tries her best. Unfortunately, Ramsay is bit out of her league when it comes to manipulation.

      Telling off Myranda is no big thing to me. If she wanted to do something of note is season 5, she should have lit the candle. To me, if she had done that and said “to hell with what The Boltons and Littlefinger wants” and MADE HER OWN PLANS FOR HER FUTURE, then I would be impressed. Picking up the corkscrew was a sharp move, but she did after the rapes began. Yet I am thankful she did pick up the corkscrew and got out of there. I love Sansa, but she has a long way to go!

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    183. Yaga: Yegods. Sansa is a primary character. She should evolve. Her story should be about her evolution. Now, what evolution?What useful thing can she learn from the characters among whom she is? Arya is among the physically threatening; she is learning how to efficiently kill. What can and should Sansa learn among the politicians?

      moonlightof1982,
      While I do not agree with the statement about the ‘prop in Theon’s story’, this. It was the fifth season, and Sansa should have exhibited some signs of character evolution. Even if she ultimately failed,like Arya did, just trying – trying to be smart, cunning, devious, manipulative – would have been enough for me.

      The evolution that took place was not Sansa’s, but Theon’s. She didn’t show any evidence of being smart, cunning, devious, or manipulative because it is not her story. It had nothing to do with Sansa. She suffered the abuse so Theon wouldn’t have to, so he could heal and take back control of his life. I stand by my thought that she was nothing but a prop. They built her up in Season 4, just to make her a prop in Season 5. I’m sure they will make Sansa Queen in Season 6, but by then, it will feel forced.

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    184. They built her up in Season 4, just to make her a prop in Season 5. I’m sure they will make Sansa Queen in Season 6, but by then, it will feel forced.

      Glad, you’re willing to give the show the benefit of doubt. 🙂

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    185. moonlightof1982,

      Ah, you must be able to read the show creators minds

      Nah. They didn’t need to explain them selves, they did so because they had the right platform to do it through the specific scene commentary

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    186. Personally, I think if Sansa in S6 end up using her wits to help you-may-guess-who unite the North to take back Winterfell, you probably will somehow forget this part of this episode ever exist…

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    187. moonlightof1982: The evolution that took place was not Sansa’s, but Theon’s. She didn’t show any evidence of being smart, cunning, devious, or manipulative because it is not her story. It had nothing to do with Sansa. She suffered the abuse so Theon wouldn’t have to, so he could heal and take back control of his life. I stand by my thought that she was nothing but a prop. They built her up in Season 4, just to make her a prop in Season 5. I’m sure they will make Sansa Queen in Season 6, but by then, it will feel forced.

      Yeah, that’s the kind of idiotic exaggeration that has me bow out of the discussion. …Consider yourself a prop in my character development. I cannot be on the side of anyone who so much fails to understand the terribly sophisticated nuance of ‘it’s possible to develop two characters at once’.

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    188. Shy Lady Dragon,

      I heard a very good version of War and Peace on BBC4 back in the 1970s – when the BBC radio still did drama productions in-house (before the late Mrs Thatcher knocked that on the head i.e. BBC in-house productions). I found Natasha irritating as a character though – I saw the film and even Audrey Hepvburn couldn’t redeem her in my eyes. But then in real life intelligent men (if one costrues Andre and Pierre as being intelligent in W&P) do fall for silly women – and intelligent women fall for silly men. Some people have said they found Lily James irritating – but then that could be the character she is playing, but then one can’t really judge by secondhand opinions.

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    189. It’s funny to see the extremes here
      We have people who loved season 5, loved Sansas arc and thought it works out great, and then you have people who disliked it and thought it made no sense who also believe they are more knowledgable and competent then the show creators.

      Hahaha

      I really hope Cogman doesn’t change his ways of writing to please some of the “fans”

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    190. Dame of Mercia:
      Shy Lady Dragon,

      I heard a very good version of War and Peace on BBC4 back in the 1970s – when the BBC radio still did drama productions in-house (before the late Mrs Thatcher knocked that on the head i.e. BBC in-house productions). I found Natasha irritating as a character though – I saw the film and evenAudrey Hepvburn couldn’t redeem her in my eyes.But then in real life intelligent men (if one costrues Andre and Pierre as being intelligent in W&P) do fall for silly women – and intelligent women fall for silly men.Some people have said they found Lily James irritating – but then that could be the character she is playing, but then one can’t really judge by secondhand opinions.

      Thought Lily James was fine, myself.

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    191. Casso: There are really three separate questions that need to be answered, and I think there are believable answers to all of them.

      Question 1) Why would Littlefinger arrange this in the first place?What does he gain from it?

      The question is not what he stands to gain, but what he stands to lose. Specifically, his head.

      If Roose turns down the deal, Roose would lie, invite LF and Sansa north, flay the former and capture the latter for a sweet reward from the crown…perhaps even Sansa herself. Even if Roose accepts the deal, how is this supposed to work? How can Roose use Sansa to cement his son’s status in the north without this being public information? And if it is public, how is this supposed to not leak back to the crown? And if it does, how is LF supposed to keep his head when he returns to King’s Landing?

      LF essentially made two really bad bets with his life, and with no sensible explanation won them. That’s not good story-telling and not in character. But that’s the past, so we just have to suspend rationality and try to enjoy the rest of the ride.

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    192. I just re-watched this scene last night.

      I have always found this debate fascinating. The question of why (i.e. why was Sansa raped) aside, the controversy primarily seems to hinge on the decision to shift the camera from Sansa to Theon/Reek during the rape. Some have argued that this makes the scene about Theon/Reek and how this event shapes his character going forward. Personally, I never bought into that argument, though I think that it is theoretically sound. However, when I watched the scene last night it occurred to me that we should really be taking into account the characters involved here, specifically Theon/Reek (bear with me). In this scene, Theon/Reek is not Theon/Reek. He is just Reek. Not a person, perhaps a shell of a person. A sad and servile little creature who has nothing left of Theon in him. Ramsay reminds us that Theon knew Sansa and saw her grow up, but there is nothing of Theon in Alfie Allen’s performance. Therefore, it is easy to see Reek as an instrument through which Sansa’s suffering is channeled. For me, when I watched his face contort in pain and shame I don’t see Theon’s suffering, but rather Sansa’s. I hear what Reek is hearing and I see Sansa’s fear, pain, and shame reflected in Reek’s face. Sansa’s, not Theon’s, in large part because Theon is not really there.

      It is very helpful to have the writer’s statement about his intentions in creating this scene. Now one can only argue that this is how they interpret the scene, not that this is how it was meant to be interpreted. And personally, I agree with the call to not show the rape itself. Pulling back to Reek is a strategy that allows the viewer some respite from something truly awful: seeing a character we have known since childhood badly abused. Personally, I feel that the fear / shame / pain of Sansa is already palatable, and that showing the rape was unnecessary. Pulling back to Reek was a clever device, and I personally do not believe that it takes away from Sansa’s tragedy.

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    193. Chad Brick,

      Um….this same LF also confided his tactics to some whores playing with their buttholes. So, when you say “not-in character” you are joking right? Or are comparing the show vs the books? If its the latter, then how is that working out for you? Agitate, much?

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    194. Chad Brick,

      The story leaking south too Cersei is the entire point.
      LF then invades the North.

      Cersei thinks he is there too kill the Boltons and bring her Sansa.
      Roose thinks he is there to help him fight against Stannis or rebels.
      When in truth he is there too take over the North for himself.

      Cersei asks no questions why a Vale army is in the North.
      Roose lets him pass Mount Cailin.
      He doesn’t care about Sansa’s well being, too him she is a pawn to be used.

      His plan makes perfect sense. It is a gamble that is true, but LF himself told Roose he is a man who likes to gamble.
      But the plan makes sense. It’s just that like always you simply choose not too like it.

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    195. I only read the first 10 posts from some of my favorite and long-standing members of this community (and I won’t read the rest as I don’t have the time or capacity for such frustrations today) and I whole-heartedly agree (and have always agreed) with their, and now BCog’s, feelings about/analysis of this scene. It is true to the world and true to the charaters and their individual journeys (all 3 of them) and I find the whole wedding sequence to be one of the best (if not THE best) of the show to date. As for the retraumatizing argument: people suffer all kinds of trauma in life and come across reminders of those traumas from time to time. That is life and it is ugly. It is mind-boggling to me that a viewer of this show that has suffered or knows someone who has suffered this unimaginable horror didn’t see this coming in time to tune out.
      Thanks for keeping it real, BCog. In you I trust.

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    196. Only with feminists can a rape scene be met with more anger than the countless scenes in this show where (sometimes innocent) men get urinated on, beaten, stabbed, burned, their eyes pushed out, their brains pulverized, their limbs cut off, their genitals cut off and on and on. I also don’t agree that this scene was ‘controversial’. The fact that a couple of radical feminist women and a senator complain about a scene, does not make that scene controversial. If the same amount of men had complained about the scene where a couple of guys get chopped up by the Mountain before his duel with Oberyn (while Cersei casually steps over their intestines), nobody would have said that scene was ‘controversial’.

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    197. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      “Have Bryan’s words coloured your perception of the scene in a different light?”

      No.In fact, his words just confirm my thinking.I thought the scene was well-written, well-shot, and handled with appropriate care, especially given what was going on in the scene.I am glad, however, he defended his choices, especially against those who, in a very, very unfortunate turn (imo), chose to levy some really foul and, again, imo, perverted accusations, such as they were chomping at the bit to have Sophie turn 18 so they could have her character raped, as though they derived some sort of sick pleasure from it.

      Keep kickin’ ass and takin’ names, Mr. Cogman!

      All of this!

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    198. The plan of Littlefinger in the books would have only worked, if Harry the Heir, a grown up man, would exactly act like Littlefinger has planned for him after the wedding to Sansa. Does not sound like a good plan to me…

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    199. So much of the negative reaction to an artistic, theatrical depiction of sexual violence, I felt, was part of our cultural denial of the persistence of such conduct historically and cross-culturally. I will be honest: I avoided GOT because of the reports of sexual violence and exploitation and all the politically correct stuff. Once I actually started watching the series, and became a fan of the television production (no I have not read the books), I have been continually impressed by the artistic decisions, the consistency with the concept that this is tale set in a medieval culture. Women were considered to be chattel, sexually available and sexually desirable especially as proof of dominance by one group of males over another. In Unbowed, Unbent and Unbroken, these macro concepts were perfectly distilled into the interactions between three people. The episode was as emotionally harrowing, in terms of its depiction of sexual realpolitik as Hardhome.

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    200. Artistically it reminded me of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. The juxtaposition of the gorgeous setting of the wedding (which might be the most aesthetically beautifully composed scene in the series) with the sense of foreboding and claustrophobic dread contrasts much like Hardy would’ve done.

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    201. Jessica,

      He’ll rape, beat or abuse her 100%.

      I wasn’t certain of this before last season but I am now. It would be quite a bad story if it turns out he’s prince charming, when Sansa’s entire story was about how that doesn’t exist.

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    202. Smh,

      Feminism is not of itself a bad thing – it’s only when when it is extreme that things go bad. Considering that it’s less than a century since women [in the UK at least] received the right to vote I would say that the feminists who campaigned back in the day for women to have the franchise did a good thing. As for when feminism becomes extreme – well it’s male equivalent (is there such a term as ‘masculinism?) is as bad.

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    203. Another important question is the shock value. I am seeing a lot of debate on whether or not this scene and Sansa being ‘shoehorned’ into Jane Pooler storyline was gratuitous. I believe it was without a doubt done for shock value. One of the most popular characteristics of this show is its ability to shock the viewers. It does not follow, however, that the shock is gratuitous. I think that there is a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise in this case. (Caveat: the show has had plenty of gratuitous nudity and some gratuitous violence, if not a lot.) Of course, I was personally rooting for a more capable Sansa, a more manipulative Sansa last season but her interactions with the Boltons, say at dinner, had already belied her ability to be that manipulating character, though she seemed to be making some effort.

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    204. Mihnea,

      Yes, I am also convinced that that will happen, I hate Harry the Heir already after reading the excerpt chapter and I think he will be very cruel to Sansa. So it makes absolutely sense to combine two similar plots (Sansa-Harry, Jeyne Pool-Ramsay) into one (Sansa-Ramsay) from a show perspective.

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    205. Dame of Mercia,

      I agree you for the most part. I would add however that some parts of the feminist narrative give off the wrong impression. For example, here in the Netherlands the right to vote for women was introduced in 1919. What feminists over here often leave out is that the non-ruling class men got the right to vote in 1917. Before that you had to pay a certain amount of taxes in order to get to vote as a man. (I’m a Dutch lawyer)

      Now, with regards to this scene, I don’t recall people being up in arms about this scene when it aired here in the Netherlands. It might be that this ‘controversy’ is more of an American thing. I don’t know what kind of weird, hyper-sentitive, overly politically correct culture Americans have concocted for themselves over there, and frankly I don’t want to, but I strongly suggest they leave it at that side of the pond. We’re all stocked up on crazy over here. Maybe it’s me, but I’m from a part of the world where if you’re offended by a piece of art, you simply stop listening to it, reading it or watching it. I can assure everyone it works pretty well.

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    206. Ser Low-Res:
      The HBO Schedule goes up to April 1st today. Just three weeks and two days, and it starts showing April 24th.

      Every little thing counts as long as we don’t even have the trailer!

      That puts us at March 14th, 1 day before the Blu ray/DVD Season 5 release and 6 weeks before the premiere. We will hopefully have a trailer by then.

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    207. Noel:
      If had been writing the season, I would have left Sophie Turner like Isaac and then next season, reveal her as this changed, smart and Littlfinger-like character who can use her charm to further her situation. Then She and Littlefinger could have arrived with the Vale forces and defeated the Boltons with Jon and the wildling and the other northern lords. As Lady of the North, she could have ordered the death of the Bolton traitors and affirmed her position as ruler of the North.

      I totally agree with this. Or some variation where we see her in the Vale here and there. Listening, observing and truly starting to understand what LF is truly all about. When she was talking to LF when they came upon Winterfell, she trusted him. Well, trusted him enough to agree to his plan. Maybe it was the allure of being back home but the “I know what you want” from Season 4 felt like an afterthought for the girl who descended the stairs, ready to be a piece on the game board.
      The rape bugged the shit out of me but I get it. It is understandable why the writers merge characters and the whole episode was so well done. Sansa was done being a victim the second she took off with Ser Dontos at the Purple Wedding, she finally had a chance to take her fate into her own hands. Since then, she has been forced to do so again. I just hope that the pay-off, after 5 seasons, is worthwhile. I never expect happy endings with this show but I hope to see, no matter the fate, a Sansa who is an active participant in her end game and not just a victim of the circumstances around her. The jump, with Theon, was the start of what I hope will be a start.

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    208. Chad Brick:

      If Roose turns down the deal, Roose would lie, invite LF and Sansa north, flay the former and capture the latter for a sweet reward from the crown…perhaps even Sansa herself

      What reward? Roose explitly said that the Lannisters, after Tywin’s death won’t help them.

      What is unclear?

      How can Roose use Sansa to cement his son’s status in the north without this being public information?

      It probably would have become public information after Sansa get pregnant.

      And if it is public, how is this supposed to not leak back to the crown?

      Roose doesn’t care what the crown thinks.

      And if it does, how is LF supposed to keep his head when he returns to King’s Landing?

      LF will probably never return to KL, and his trip there in S4 was too soon for that information to leak.

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    209. Jessica,

      Based on what, exactly?

      Harry the Heir is a bit of a cad, but we already see Sansa learning how to lead him around by the chapter’s end. If anything unexpected is going to happen there, it’s that he’s going to die in that tourney next chapter and throw a wrench into everything. What story purpose is served by having Sansa raped, precisely?

      Mihnea,

      You know there’s some ground between “prince charming” (which he’s clearly not) and “cruel rapist” (nothing suggests that either), right?

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    210. Casso: There are really three separate questions that need to be answered, and I think there are believable answers to all of them.

      Question 1) Why would Littlefinger arrange this in the first place?What does he gain from it?

      Based on his actions, I conclude that he wants to get the Vale army into the North (and presumably use it to secure control there).To do that, he needs two things.First, he needs permission from Cersei, so that she doesn’t realize that his ambitions go far beyond petty scheming for a promotion.He gives everyone the impression of being a scheming minor noble hanging on the coattails of whoever he thinks will win, hoping for the best scraps.This makes them see him as a potentially useful, but not too dangerous pawn, when in fact he seems more interested in bringingdown all of the Great Houses so he can be “King of the Ashes”.Sansa Stark being back in Winterfell to marry Ramsay gives him the pretext to get Cersei’s permission to invade the North.

      He also needs permission from Roose Bolton to pass Moat Cailin.They’ve already shown that Roose needed Ramsay & Theon to remove the pathetic force of Ironborn left to guard it through trickery, before he could move his large, well-equipped army through it.Littlefinger might have been able to get Cersei’s permission for the invasion by simply lying about Sansa being there (and not actually placing Sansa in danger), but to get Roose’s permission to bring an army into the North, he needed to provide a significant token of good faith.Roose was somewhat reluctant to trust him even with real Sansa’s presence.Without Sansa, Roose would never agree to let a Vale army into his lands.

      People ask why he would be willing to put Sansa in that risky, horrible position, but I think despite some lingering sentimental attachment due to his feelings for Catelyn, I don’t think Littlefinger is capable of really caring for anyone’s wellbeing except his own.Sansa’s only real value to him is as a pawn, and sometimes pawns need to be sacrificed to put your knights (of the Vale) in position to strike.

      Question 2)Why would Sansa agree to it?

      She clearly didn’t want to when she first realized what Littlefinger’s master plan was.She was also in a very vulnerable position though.Her head was #2 on Cersei’s “most wanted” list, and Littlefinger was the only one who seemed to be protecting her. Her apparent options at the time the decision was suddenly and unexpectedly forced on her were to go along with the plan, or to turn around and head back into a land ruled by a woman who wanted her head on a spike, while disappointing the only person “protecting” her.

      He also manipulated her by playing on her desire to get her home back and get control over her life.He made her think she was his protege, learning to play the Game and take back Winterfell, when in fact he was just using her as another pawn, and he almost certainly knew (or at least suspected) she wasn’t really ready to manipulate the Boltons, even if he didn’t know exactly how bad Ramsay is.He convinced her that she was ready to take control, so that she would willingly play the part he wanted her to play, even though it was ridiculously risky for her.

      It would be interesting if her ordeal gives her the strength to finally become the player that she was trying to become, and she realizes that Littlefinger was just using her, and had betrayed her father, and she eventually brings about his downfall in some way.The pawn escapes the trap, reaches the top of the board, and becomes a queen, then gets revenge on the “player” who tried to sacrifice her.

      Question 3) Why would Roose Bolton agree to this plan?

      It’s quite clear that Roose was quite concerned about a Northern uprising against him, and Ramsay’s brutal tax collection tactics weren’t helping matters.This was not an immediate threat (the northerners were not rising up against him at the moment), but it was one lingering in the background that could potentially materialize at any point if his position became weak (which was a genuine possibility, with Stannis’s army on its way, and not yet stuck in the snow).Having Ramsay marry Sansa could help him keep the Northerners on his side.

      Why keep the marriage relatively private at first?Well, any northern lords who were unhappy with his status as the new Warden of the North might be equally unhappy with the idea of Ned’s daughter marrying a traitor’s bastard “legitimized” by Tommen Baratheon.It might have even provoked an early uprising of northern lords intending to stop it from happening.If he announced it early enough for all the lords to attend the wedding, it gives them time and opportunity to plot a coup. If he announces it only after it’s done, and Sansa is already married and possibly pregnant, then supporting him is supporting Sansa’s heir, and the northern lords are more likely to go along with it.

      Also, Roose knows that Cersei & Tommen have no armies to spare to help him against Stannis, while Littlefinger has the Vale army.Since Littlefinger is clearly betraying Cersei, Roose has a choice: turn down Littlefinger and be left on his own against Stannis, or ally with Littlefinger, knowing that Cersei is too busy with her own troubles to threaten him, and even if she did have an army available, he could hold them off with a small force at Moat Cailin, which has never fallen to an attack from the south.

      Remember, Littlefinger has consistently played the role of a petty schemer riding the coattails of whoever he thinks is winning.If Littlefinger is abandoning Cersei to support Roose, Roose would likely take that as a sign (which turns out to actually be quite true) that Cersei is in a very precarious position, and is not a useful ally nor a credible threat.Most people see Littlefinger as an untrustworthy, but potentially useful pawn, and he consistently uses this perception to manipulate people into letting him “help” them, while he’s really leading them to their doom.

      I agree with your assessment of Littlefinger’so strategy. My only concern is what is he going to tell the Lord’s of the Valencia who knew he had Sansa under his protection. He will need a convincing story to keep his support in the Vale, no?

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    211. Mihnea,

      And there is no reason for Cersei not to trust LF. In her eyes, he was always there to do the dirty work for the Lannisters, their obedient dog.

      He was part of her plot against Ned Stark, she used him to get informations about Tyrell’s plans for Sansa, she used him against Loras and Margaery Tyrell (for that Cersei was extremely grateful),…

      She trusts him and she completely underestimates him.

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    212. Jessica:
      Mihnea,

      Yes,I am also convinced that that will happen, I hate Harry the Heir already after reading the excerpt chapter and I think he will be very cruel to Sansa. So it makes absolutely sense to combine two similar plots (Sansa-Harry, Jeyne Pool-Ramsay) into one (Sansa-Ramsay) from a show perspective.

      I also think that is quite likely; anyone thinking Sansa will somehow become a Fairytale Princess when/ if she weds Harry the Heir is seriously deluding themselves; the posts in the ASOIAF forum about this are actually quite hilarious and read like Fan fiction concoctions that George wouldn’t write in a million years. The Sansa storyline from last year portends of something Bad happening to Sansa in Winds before she picks herself and dusts herself off and rides off North into her late Winds and Dream of Spring Plot. After all, D & D are familiar with the character arcs of all the principal players (from their “endgame” story meeting with George in 2013.) D&D simply cut through the chase and put her up North already where her endgame is going to be ( “slaying Giants in Castles in the Snow”, potential Stark reunion, etc., etc.)

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    213. Sean C.:
      Jessica,

      Based on what, exactly?

      He is portrayed as a very arrogant person and I have a bad feeling about him based on that excerpt chapter. Maybe I completely misinterpret GRRMs writing but I really doubt that Sansa and Harry will have a fairytale romance.

      And for what it would help, if Sansa gets raped or beaten or treated badly by Harry the Heir? It would create a final rift between Sansa and Littlefinger, it will be one of the reasons why she will betray him. The same effect will have the wedding to Ramsay on her. She has trusted him and agreed to a marriage which was a horrible failure. Her trust in Littlefingers plan has brought her in a very bad situation. And I guess that will happen also in the books.

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    214. Demon monkey,

      My little guess. I could be entirely wrong and frankly I expect to be.

      LF tells them that Sansa insisted that he bring her to the North. Not the Boltons!
      But rather some allies of her family. He told her she wants her home back, she wants revenge for Rob, her mother, Bran and Rickon…etc.
      He tells them he couldn’t refuse her, or something like this.

      But in the meantime he found that the ”plan” failed and the Boltons managed too find and take her.
      He then sugests they go save her.

      This is one of the ideas I got. Don’t think it will happen. But I don’t think it will be too much of a problem too convince the lords to march north.

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    215. Mihnea,

      The most common justification I’ve seen for this idea is that it would turn Sansa against Littlefinger, but I don’t see how that works at all, because it doesn’t fit within the narrative that GRRM has constructed for Sansa and her siblings in AFFC/ADWD (and onwards).

      The girls, in particular, are placed in a very similar situation where they have new identities (or the lack of one, in Arya’s case) forced on them and they have to try to suppress their Stark identity while at the same time learning new skills. Both arcs ask the question of whether they can really leave it all behind, to which the answer, from what we’ve seen so far, can only be no. But the choice between identities is one that the characters must arrive at for themselves in the end, confronting the moral questions that their current paths place them on. Having Sansa turn on Littlefinger because he sucked at playing the game of thrones would be like having Arya turn on the Faceless Men because they suck at murdering people. It doesn’t answer the question the story began with.

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    216. Smh:
      Only with feminists can a rape scene be met with more anger than the countless scenes in this show where (sometimes innocent) men get urinated on, beaten, stabbed, burned, their eyes pushed out, their brains pulverized, their limbs cut off, their genitals cut off and on and on. I also don’t agree that this scene was ‘controversial’. The fact that a couple of radical feminist women and a senator complain about a scene, does not make that scene controversial. If the same amount of men had complained about the scene where a couple of guys get chopped up by the Mountain before his duel with Oberyn (while Cersei casually steps over their intestines), nobody would have said that scene was ‘controversial’.

      I am a feminist. Have you read my posts? I think that it is unfair to blame feminism for the overreactions of some politicians. I agree that this scene was more politicized than others, but that is in part a reflection of our society’s tolerance for violence, so long as it isn’t sexualidad violence. Feminism is not to blame.

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    217. Sean C.,

      Arya got blind. Punished for killing a guy.

      Sansa rode a donkey.

      There is simply no conflict, no suspanse, nothing. She gets married, the guy is lovely and all she ever dreamed. This is utterly boring.

      But no point in talking, you made your mind.

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    218. My opinion hasnt changed, in fact i am even more annoyed. He still didnt address why they felt the need to show how much Sansa has ‘grown’ after telling a lie to the lord declarants, only for her to experience a worse version of her imprisionment in Kings landing? They kept promising that she’d play the game, only to lock her up in a room. And if they wanted to be realistic then fine, its completely reasonable after all Sansa is only 15 and the Boltons wields all the power, but they kept talking about how the need Sansa to validate their claim, yet there weren’t any nothern lords at the weeding, nor did we see the uprising outside of winterfell’s walls, at least we could cling to that hope in the books, that Stannis and the nothern vassels would come to fArya’s rescue, but the show it just feels like the Starks are forgotten, or even worse that the north doesnt really care now that Robb is dead.

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    219. Mihnea:
      Demon monkey,

      My little guess. I could be entirely wrong and frankly I expect to be.

      LF tells them that Sansa insisted that he bring her to the North. Not the Boltons!
      But rather some allies of her family. He told her she wants her home back, she wants revenge for Rob, her mother, Bran and Rickon…etc.
      He tells them he couldn’t refuse her, or something like this.

      But in the meantime he found that the ”plan” failed and the Boltons managed too find and take her.
      He then sugests they go save her.

      This is one of the ideas I got. Don’t think it will happen. But I don’t think it will be too much of a problem too convince the lords to march north.

      This is really good! You have obviously thought it out. Perhaps you should be consulting for the series!

      I am glad my tablet’s crazy spell change didn’t throw you off. Lords of Valencia, indeed. I am not speaking of Ruy Diaz in 11th century Spains.

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    220. Sean C.,

      And why will Sansa turn against LF in the books?

      And don’t tell me about Ned Stark please, because in the books Sansa already knows that LF killed Jon Arryn and it makes absolutely no sense that she didn’t figure out LF involvement in her father’s death.

      So, GRRM is allegedly writing her to become the “player”, but after 5 books he is completely unable to connect the dots.

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    221. Mihnea:
      Arya got blind. Punished for killing a guy.

      Sansa rode a donkey.

      They’re different stories with different characters; the incident is not beat-for-beat. But on the question of the resolution, it makes no sense to resolve a storyline about Sansa being between identities and moralities in that manner. It doesn’t answer the question the story began by asking, anymore than Arya is going to quit the Faceless Men because they suck at murder or Bran will leave Bloodraven because he doesn’t know anything about being a greenseer.

      There is simply no conflict, no suspanse, nothing. She gets married, the guy is lovely and all she ever dreamed. This is utterly boring.

      I don’t recall anybody suggesting that this story is going to be “she gets married, the guy is lovely and all she ever dreamed.” That’s obviously not the case. A significant number of fan spec involves the dude dying in the very next chapter, even.

      mau:
      And why will Sansa turn against LF in the books?

      And don’t tell me about Ned Stark please, because in the books Sansa already knows that LF killed Jon Arryn and it makes absolutely no sense that she didn’t figure out LF involvement in her father’s death.

      I couldn’t say. That’s what I’m interested to see.

      Sansa doesn’t believe that LF killed Arryn, and I don’t see how she’s supposed to have figured out that LF was involved in her father’s death; what information would lead her to that? Regardless, I’m somewhat skeptical of the common fan theory that discovering that information (or being told it) will be the thing that turns her against him. I’m sure she will learn that, but I have a theory that that’s more likely to come as a result of her already working against him and actively seeking out information, rather than as the inciting event. But like I said, that’s speculative.

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    222. mau,

      Because she will never be a ”player” the way LF is.

      I belive her story is more about her embracing her Stark heritage, returning to the North she always disliked.

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    223. Demon monkey,

      If the controversy was really about this being sexual violence, then we would have had the same amount (if not more) controversy about Theon’s genitals being chopped off before being sent to his father. We didn’t.

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    224. Sean C.,

      Him dying would be even worse.

      The only reason that guy would have existed for, would have been too give her the Vale.

      But I’m not going to engage in this subject with you anymore. I’m going too wait patiantly for you too explain how it isn’t rape, when Harry finally does rape her.

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    225. mau,

      I’m not talking about the show, I’m talking about the books and why I don’t see how Harry the Heir raping Sansa and that turning her against Littlefinger fits into the story GRRM is writing. The show has changed things so much, I have no idea how they’re going to play it (but there’s been absolutely no suggestion from anyone involved with the show that what happened in Season 5 had affected Sansa’s view of Littlefinger — indeed, the actress clearly wasn’t told anything of the sort, from her comments — so I wouldn’t be surprised if people expecting that are going to be disappointed).

      Mihnea:
      The only reason that guy would have existed for, would have too give her the Vale.

      Or he’s part of Littlefinger’s plans, which are unexpectedly derailed and thus generates drama, i.e., something that happens all the time in the books. I don’t even know that I believe that theory, but it’s plausible, and the story requires twists and turns.

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    226. Sean C.
      A significant number of fan spec involves the dude dying in the very next chapter, even.

      On what is that speculation based? If Harry would really die in the next chapter than the whole excerpt chapter would be completely useless.

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    227. varyas,

      I don’t understand why people think that after season 4, Sansa was going to be a major manipulator and a cersei margarey type character. It doesn’t happen that quickly. She felt comfortable enough in the vale to be all tough and independent but she trusts LF – but when he left her alone with the likes of Ramsay, and she saw who he really was, he’s fucking scary, so she didn’t really know how to handle him. She showed some strength and manipulation but Ultimately she decided she needed help to escape Ramsay.

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    228. Deesensfan:
      DavyJones,

      Who are you to go and call these people idiots just because you don’t agree with something they did on the show?
      Have some respect

      I was saying they made Little finger come across as an idiot… read my comment again.

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    229. Jessica,

      The general ominousness around the tourney, the question marks raised about the discontent of Lyn Corbray in particular, the sense that Littlefinger’s plans are all lined up a little too neatly (though some actually think the whole thing is a convoluted plan by Baelish to kill Harry, which I find very unconvincing) and there needs to be a shakeup.

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    230. I do not know how this traumatic event will affect Sansa going forward. Maybe she will end up pregnant. Maybe it puts her in the North and gets her more quickly under the protection of the northern lords and fuels her desire to stop being a victim and to “make justice” for her family. We can’t know that yet. However, it is easier to speculate on how all of this affects other plotlines and character motivations.

      The marriage of Ramsay into the Stark family was necessary to preserve because of what follows (i.e. northern rebellion and perhaps more). The abuse of Sansa / Fake Arya is also useful, if not necessary, to fuel Jon’s revenge narrative that we expect is coming. Granted, the way things have changed on the show make this a bit harder to pin down, but I think we can safely say that book Jon moves because he believes Arya has been abused and that show Jon (if he survives or is revived) will be motivated at least in part by Sansa’s abuse at the hands of Ramsay. Theon’s escape (and redemption?) is perhaps also necessary to preserve.

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    231. Deesensfan:
      varyas,

      I don’t understand why people think that after season 4, Sansa was going to be a major manipulator and a cersei margarey type character. It doesn’t happen that quickly. She felt comfortable enough in the vale to be all tough and independent but she trusts LF – but when he left her alone with the likes of Ramsay, and she saw who he really was, he’s fucking scary, so she didn’t really know how to handle him. She showed some strength and manipulation but Ultimately she decided she needed help to escape Ramsay.

      Agreed, it would have been totally out of character if Sansa would have killed Ramsay. I saw a lot of character development in the past season regarding Sansa, it is more subtile but it has happened. She is no longer the little girl which is believing in romance and knights. She has survived a lot and she has learned a lot while surviving and in future she will show this even more.

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    232. Sean C.:
      Jessica,

      The general ominousness around the tourney, the question marks raised about the discontent of Lyn Corbray in particular, the sense that Littlefinger’s plans are all lined up a little too neatly (though some actually think the whole thing is a convoluted plan by Baelish to kill Harry, which I find very unconvincing) and there needs to be a shakeup.

      But that would than still make the whole chapter completely useless for the endgame and would be just a filler-chapter, what might be a possibility, it would not be the first time that GRRM got lost in the books.

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    233. Sean C.: .

      I couldn’t say.That’s what I’m interested to see.

      Sansa doesn’t believe that LF killed Arryn, and I don’t see how she’s supposed to have figured out that LF was involved in her father’s death; what information would lead her to that?

      The whole context of everything that had happened to her and her family. If she is really to become a player she need to be extremely intelligent, but she is mediocre at best.

      LF stood there when her father was killed, he was at Cersei’s side, he put a knife to Ned’s throat and everyone saw that, but no one spoke anything about that event at all? He killed Jon Arryn, Dontos,…

      The Lannister gave him a lands and titles.

      An intelligent person would realise that something is wrong here, but she is willingly become a part of his plot with Harry.

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    234. Jessica,

      Not really. The chief point of the chapter is to introduce Sansa’s mental state and her new status quo (I’m pretty sure this is one of the chapters GRRM wrote back when the five-year-gap was still a thing; apart from Sansa herself, some of the other supporting characters, e.g., Robert Arryn, act noticeably older). Harry’s introduction allows us to see Sansa act as Littlefinger’s agent and test out some of her skills. That’s significant regardless of what happens afterward.

      I’m not an adherent of this theory, but I find it plausible enough.

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    235. Sorry to interrupt this lovely discussion that yet again demonstrates how few fans are interested in Sansa’s character (I’m not judging, just depressed), but is this the first news about the audio commentaries or did we already know that Bryan, Maisie and Tom are doing this episode? I think I need to buy the dvd just to hear this one!

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    236. Sean C.:
      mau,

      I’m not talking about the show, I’m talking about the books and why I don’t see how Harry the Heir raping Sansa and that turning her against Littlefinger fits into the story GRRM is writing.

      GRRM isolated Sansa from the story, so I can’t really see how she fits anywhere.

      Sansa’s plot in the Vale is too slow paced for her to have any influence in the North. She is trapped there like Dany in Meereen.

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    237. Sean C.:
      Jessica,

      Not really.The chief point of the chapter is to introduce Sansa’s mental state and her new status quo (I’m pretty sure this is one of the chapters GRRM wrote back when the five-year-gap was still a thing; apart from Sansa herself, some of the other supporting characters, e.g., Robert Arryn, act noticeably older).Harry’s introduction allows us to see Sansa act as Littlefinger’s agent and test out some of her skills.That’s significant regardless of what happens afterward.

      I’m not an adherent of this theory, but I find it plausible enough.

      To be honest, I find this theory quite weak. I would really be surprised if the books will go this route. And there is still the question what will turn Sansa against Littlefinger. Or will she be forever Littlefinger’s little pawn? I really doubt this, especially with regard to the prophecy that she is smashing a titan.

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    238. mau:
      LF stood there when her father was killed, he was at Cersei’s side, he put a knife to Ned’s throat and everyone saw that, but no one spoke anything about that event at all? He killed Jon Arryn, Dontos,…

      Sansa obviously knows that Baelish was on the Lannister side in the Stark/Lannister conflict. She has no reason to know anything about his particular role (if you think it’s an authorial contrivance that that wasn’t discussed at court in her hearing, you’re free to — it has certainly been the subject of fan debate — that that’s the case).

      The Lannister gave him a lands and titles.

      For his part in the Tyrell alliance.

      An intelligent person would realise that something is wrong here, but she is willingly become a part of his plot with Harry.

      Er, Sansa did want to get away from Baelish. She had nowhere to go. Littlefinger has exploited that to pressure her into doing what he wants and manipulate how she sees him.

      Young Dragon: Don’t Littlefinger and Lysa discuss it right in front of her in the books?

      Semi-obliquely, yes, which Littlefinger convinces her to view that as Lysa being crazy (it’s dealt with in her first AFFC chapter).

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    239. mau,

      Non sequitur.

      Jessica:
      And there is still the question what will turn Sansa against Littlefinger. Or will she be forever Littlefinger’s little pawn? I really doubt this, especially with regard to the prophecy that she is smashing a titan.

      Like I said, I don’t know what that will be. I just believe, based on what GRRM has written thus far, that it will have to involve Sansa herself asserting her Stark identity and her own morality against his attempts to make her something else (much like I can’t imagine Arya’s time in Braavos will not come down to Arya’s inability to become ‘no one’ because she is Arya Stark). Sansa turning against him because Harry the Heir raped her doesn’t fit that, as far as I can see — anymore than some of the other common fan theories that involve Brienne/Jaime/Tyrion/Ser Shadrich/Varys/whoever dragging Sansa away from the Gates of the Moon into some other plotline).

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    240. Sean C.: Semi-obliquely, yes, which Littlefinger convinces her to view that as Lysa being crazy (it’s dealt with in her first AFFC chapter).

      “Dealt with”? It’s brushed aside. A pretty big plot hole, if you ask me. Lysa was quite explicit! Then Sansa just inquired about it once and Petyr’s shitty answer “she was just crazy!” apparently was enough for her. As the only point of view character around there, Sansa had to be there when Lysa revealed their conspiracy (in the show, we have the advantage of following more characters, so it made more sense, with Lysa discussing the matter with Petyr in private). However, of course, GRRM didn’t want Sansa to turn against Littlefinger yet… So he just decided to rather shamelessly brush this issue aside at the beginning of her first chapter in the next book. That was very clumsy. Honestly, except for season three, the show has dealt with Sansa as a character and the storylines around her much better than the books, as far as I’m concerned.

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    241. Dame of Mercia,

      I didn’t find Lily James irritating and I think she played the character well. Imo Natasha is the embodiment of life (charming, jolly, disappointing, depressed/depressive, capable of starting again) and that’s why the intelligent, brooding Andre and Pierre fall in love with her. But, when I was a child, I was hurt when I saw that Natasha was not faithfull to the wonderful Andre. I remember my mother trying to explain that Natasha was young, easy to impress when she was left alone by her fiance and felt rejected by his family. Dear Mum, when I was an adult she confessed that she didn’t like Natasha.
      When I was 10 I saw the Russian adaptation by Sergei Bondarchuck and I had my first actor crush on Vyacheslav Tikhonov, the actor who played Prince Andrey. I should watch the film again, if I can find it, to judge it with my adult mind, but it is said to be a good film. After the Russian adaptation the Audrey Hepburn-Mel Ferrer variant seemed weeker, although I’m an Audrey fan. I also watched a French-German-Italian adaptation which I enjoyed. I think the BBC is the best and it gets extra points for depicting the Russian atmosphere so well.

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    242. Luka Nieto,

      I think he was probably planning to introduce us to Stockholm Sansa after the five-year-gap and sort of leave how Littlefinger managed that rather oblique; when that got abandoned, I agree, it’s one of his less-convincing character beats. Though I think you can see Sansa’s continued subconscious fear of Baelish based on things like that reflected in her stated desire to get as far away from Baelish as possible (except that she has nowhere to go, that she can see).

      I don’t agree at all on the latter point. The show made a complete hash of her KL character development in seasons 2 and 3 (her non-existent relationship with the Hound, her escape being a random event rather than the culmination of her own plotline, the absence of any development in her understanding of court politics, the constant demeaning jokes at her expense), and once they got her out of KL they pretty much punted on her mentoring and the whole identity struggle, before sending her into a redux of her KL story where she’s less effective than she was in KL.

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    243. Sean C.:
      mau,

      Non sequitur.

      Like I said, I don’t know what that will be.I just believe, based on what GRRM has written thus far, that it will have to involve Sansa herself asserting her Stark identity and her own morality against his attempts to make her something else (much like I can’t imagine Arya’s time in Braavos will not come down to Arya’s inability to become ‘no one’ because she is Arya Stark).Sansa turning against him because Harry the Heir raped her doesn’t fit that, as far as I can see

      Well it does not have to be rape, it can be also just another horrible experience with Harry.

      There is also another hint that something like this may happen in the books:
      GRRM issued the Mercy chapter when show-Arya did something similar in the show under different circumstances. GRRM issued the Sansa excerpt shortly before season 5. Personally I think that is no coincidence. And I also do not think that it is a coincidence that Ramsay has a lover called Myranda who is jealous of Sansa.

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    244. Sean C.:

      Show me one example, only one, where you could read Sansa’s chapter and say “she is really smart, she is thinking two steps ahead, she is so great at manipulating people,…”

      Only one!

      And then you will realise that every theory about her is just a fan fiction and excuse for GRRM’s aimless writing for her.

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    245. Jessica,

      Whether rape or something else, the same logic holds.

      mau,

      Sansa has never been two steps ahead of everyone else. But we have seen her intelligence and her learning to manipulate people consistently throughout the story. It’s a gradual evolution (too gradual for some, which is a fair enough position).

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    246. Luka Nieto,

      So you are telling me GRRM is writing Sansa as naive girl and sacrificing her development for the sake of LF? No way. That is something only D&D would do.

      GRRM is writing everybody around LF as idiots, so he would unrealistically always be two steps ahead of everyone.

      The show approach to LF is far more realistic.

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    247. Sean C.:
      Jessica,
      mau,
      Sansa has never been two steps ahead of everyone else.But we have seen her intelligence and her learning to manipulate people consistently throughout the story.It’s a gradual evolution (too gradual for some, which is a fair enough position).

      And that is happening in the show too, even faster than in the books (Thank god!). She thought the marriage to Ramsay would be a good idea to avenge her family and to conquer the North. She believes in the books too that a marriage with Harry would be a good idea to get revenge and the North. There are so many parallels for her motivation between the books and the show. Nevertheless, D&D are condemned that Sansa agreed to that marriage in the show and she is not portrayed more as a player. But that would have been out of character, it is also clear in the show and the books that she can not play the game of thrones yet. Nevertheless she has already learned a lot and already survived a lot of bad situations.

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    248. Sean C.:

      Though I think you can see Sansa’s continued subconscious fear of Baelish based on things like that reflected in her stated desire to get as far away from Baelish as possible (except that she has nowhere to go, that she can see).

      Isn’t it a bit convenient that when Sansa is thinking of possible avenues of escape from LF, she manages to forget the one brother who was actually alive?

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    249. Jessica,

      The show gave Sansa (by making Littlefinger look really dumb) a position of security the book version never had, in the support of the Vale lords. The overriding factor in all of the decisions that book Sansa makes is that she is completely boxed in by Littlefinger and has nowhere else to go. The show let her out of that box, only to have her continue to act like she’s in it; indeed, she’s far more clueless in Season 5 than she ever was in the corresponding books. She’s marrying Harry, as far as we know, because she feels she has no other option but to go along with Littlefinger’s plans.

      The actual story they wrote in Season 5 doesn’t work as a trial-and-error story because Sansa never tries anything and can’t derive any meaningful lessons from it; she fails utterly at doing anything against the Boltons, fails at calling for rescue, and then gets rescued by somebody else. The only possible lesson she could learn is “don’t voluntarily become a Bolton hostage”, which should have been obvious to anyone from the beginning. Case in point, the dead-end story with the old lady; instead of having Sansa feel out the locals for support, the old lady wanders up to introduce herself and deliver the plot token (in a repeat of the show’s version of the Dontos plot). There are ways to write a story where a character does not succeed at their ultimate goal but still shows skill development, but that didn’t happen in Winterfell (indeed, she was more successful with Joffrey in King’s Landing in Season 2/ACOK), even setting aside that her being there at all requires her to be really, really stupid.

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    250. Sean C.:
      Jessica,
      The overriding factor in all of the decisions that book Sansa makes is that she is completely boxed in by Littlefinger and has nowhere else to go.The show let her out of that box, only to have her continue to act like she’s in it; indeed, she’s far more clueless in Season 5 than she ever was in the corresponding books.She’s marrying Harry, as far as we know, because she feels she has no other option but to go along with Littlefinger’s plans.

      The actual story they wrote in Season 5 doesn’t work as a trial-and-error story because Sansa never tries anything and can’t derive any meaningful lessons from it; she fails utterly at doing anything against the Boltons, fails at calling for rescue, and then gets rescued by somebody else.The only possible lesson she could learn is “don’t voluntarily become a Bolton hostage”, which should have been obvious to anyone from the beginning.Case in point, the dead-end story with the old lady; instead of having Sansa feel out the locals for support, the old lady wanders up to introduce herself and deliver the plot token (in a repeat of the show’s version of the Dontos plot).There are ways to write a story where a character does not succeed at their ultimate goal but still shows skill development, but that didn’t happen in Winterfell (indeed, she was more successful with Joffrey in King’s Landing in Season 2/ACOK), even setting aside that her being there at all requires her to be really, really stupid.

      Well, let me summarize your statement: Everything what D&D do is stupid and does make no sense. Everything what GRRM writes is great ;-).

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    251. mau,

      Intelligence: In her very first chapter, she shows her intelligence in how she handles herself before Queen Cersei and the arriving guests, being able to identify the latter two based on signs and sigils despite never having met them (something Arya, who many fans constantly compare her to in the negative, would self-admittedly not be able to do; she doesn’t even know the Cerwyn sigil, and they live next door). I chose to cite this one to show how, right in the beginning, even while GRRM is showing that Sansa is incredibly unworldly and sheltered, we see that she has a strong grasp on many of the tools necessary to be a lady at court, the tools of politicking (something repeatedly noted by other characters going forward, such as Tyrion) — what she lacks is the underlying understanding of politics. Going forward, she starts to acquire that, and additional sorts of tools and ways to use her courtly manners.

      Manipulation: This word is used very broadly or very narrowly, but to cite a single instance in the massive charade that she conducts during her imprisonment at court: when, after her being beaten at Joffrey’s orders in court, Tyrion offers her a room within the Tower of the Hand that would prevent her from meeting with Dontos and continuing her escape plan, she immediately comes up with an excuse to decline this seemingly great offer (from the perspective of somebody who doesn’t know about her escape plan) that completely fools Tyrion, who is hardly unintelligent. Indeed, she carries out her entire involvement in the escape while married to Tyrion without ever raising his suspicion.

      If you want the simpler example of getting somebody to do something, she convinces Joffrey to spare Dontos (an action that parallels Arya releasing Jaqen, both actions setting off a chain of events that lead the protagonist into the arms of their mentor in their designated skillset).

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    252. Sean C.,

      So basically out of the three examples you could have come up with,one has been done in the show,the first one is not even worth mentioning because knowing house sigils don’t necessarily make you smart in a life and death situation,the only one you have a point with is the second one but you overplay her importance in her escape,considering it was LF who planned the whole escape and fooled Sansa by making her think it was her plan.

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    253. A huge part of the controversy of that scene was that it was different in the books. So a discussion would mean to put almost everything in spoiler tags.

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    254. Sean C.,

      Your first example is typical exaggerating from Sansa’s fan. She identified the latter two because GRRM needed exposition.

      About your second example, if that is really what makes a great manipulation, then every character is manipulator as well. Ned manipulated so many people with Jon. Was he a great player in the game? There are so many examples of much smarter moves by Arya an no one said that she is becoming a player in the game.

      A third example was in the show as well. Nothing special. Just compassion and empathy for no reason. Something a great politician can’t have.

      And all your examples are showing a girl who is not a complete idiot, but there is nothing extraordinary there.

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    255. I still just see Sansa as one of life’s victims. She’s yet to show me any evidence to the contrary. She’s a survivor but more by luck than judgement.

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    256. Tyrion the Myrion,

      As I noted, I cited that one because it’s from her first chapter, and because her understanding of courtly arts is a pretty major sign of her learning and intelligence. Those are skills that do, in fact, become very important in the life and death situations she finds herself in at court going forward.

      Also, Sansa was never fooled into thinking it was her plan. Nor did I overplay her importance. Not being discovered required considerable effort on her part, from the moment that she chose to answer the note.

      mau,

      If all he wanted was exposition he could have had them introduce themselves to her, or have Cersei introduce them to her, or any number of other things. He made the deliberate choice to show Sansa’s ability to deduce their identities based on her courtly knowledge (knowledge that he makes a point later of showing that Arya, for one, does not have in situations where it would be useful).

      The idea that “compassion and empathy for no reason. Something a great politician can’t have” is such a nihilist notion, and totally antithetical to the books. Compassion and empathy are consistently shown to be Sansa’s strengths. Joffrey is a foolish tyrant in great part because he has neither.

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    257. Sean C.,

      He could, but he didn’t, because he thought that was the best way to write that exposition.

      That is a typical example of something completely minor that Sansa’s fan boys will blow out of proportion to show nuance, subtlety and agency.

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    258. Jessica,

      And yet everyone is impressed that she can identify them, and GRRM himself calls attention to this sort of knowledge later on, so he clearly thinks it’s a worthwhile skill. Regardless, as I said, I picked that example to make a point about her first chapter. By the fourth book she is able to figure out Littlefinger’s scheme with Corbray, something that none of the Lords Declarant figured out. Earlier in book three, she was able to spot the problem at the core of the Joffrey/Margaery marriage and Loras’ presence in the Kingsguard, something that never occurred to any of the Lannisters.

      I don’t see how her participation in the escape is “grasping at straws”.

      mau,

      This is a good microcosm of how some people are set on viewing Sansa’s chapters as only expository, as if the fact that they (like every other character’s chapters) contain exposition means they have no other purpose. There were several ways for GRRM to write that scene; he chose to write it in the way that shows Sansa’s abilities early on, abilities that she continues to use throughout the books and to which GRRM has repeatedly called attention as being both impressive and important, in other POVs as well as her own (as well as if you know anything about how medieval courts functioned in real life).

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    259. Sean C.,

      About compassion and empathy….

      Every leader in the books who showed that have failed. Ned, Jon, Dany, Cat…

      Compassion and empathy are Sansa’s strengths. But that’s the point. She is not a player.

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    260. Sean C.:
      Jessica,

      Well, her actions in the first books are usually quite stupid TBH. Your examples just show that she is not completely dumb and that there is hope that she has at least learnt some stuff while being in King’s Landing. No more, no less.

      Sansa is one of my favourite characters, in the show even more than in the books, but I would never portray her intelligence and manipulative skills like you, at least not yet.

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    261. mau,

      None of those people failed solely or even primarily because they had compassion and empathy. And conversely, Tywin had no compassion or empathy, and he died on the toilet at the hands of a son to whom he had always conspicuously refused to extend those qualities; had he done that, he’d still be alive.

      mau,

      The author and the characters in-universe would seem to disagree, including Arya, who does not have this “common knowledge”.

      Jessica,

      So you don’t think that maintaining the act she did at court is impressive?

      The character has a long way to go yet, but the point is that GRRM shows her developing skills and potential throughout. There’s a throughline between her perception of the Lannister/Tyrell situation to her following her suspicion about Lyn Corbray to its conclusion.

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    262. Let’s play a game.

      Witch storyline will cause the book-purists too rage and rant this season?

      I’ll go with Sansa, Tyrion and Jaime.

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    263. Mihnea:
      Let’s play a game.

      Witch storyline will cause the book-purists too rage and rant this season?

      I’ll go with Sansa, Tyrion and Jaime.

      All of the them.

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    264. Mihnea,

      Jaime appears to be circling around to his book material, from what we’ve seen.

      But you label any criticism of the show from someone who has read the books as “book purism”, so from your perspective, probably every storyline.

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    265. Sean C.:
      mau,

      None of those people failed solely or even primarily because they had compassion and empathy.And conversely, Tywin had no compassion or empathy, and he died on the toilet at the hands of a son to whom he had always conspicuously refused to extend those qualities; had he done that, he’d still be alive.

      Tywin’s death has nothing to do with the politics.

      Compassion and empathy was an important part of downfalls of every character I mentioned.

      The author and the characters in-universe would seem to disagree, including Arya, who does not have this “common knowledge”.

      But that’s the point. Arya is someone extraordinary, Sansa is a typical lady with common knowledge. Knowing sigils in really not a sign of a great intelligence.

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    266. Mihnea,

      Jaime, because I think he will become a darker person after Myrcella’s death and he is a misunderstood knight in shining armor for book purists.

      Sansa, as always.

      Jon, because they believe he stole a story from Stannis.

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    267. Sean C.,

      No I do not. I had nice disscussions with quite a lot of people about scenes/storylines they didn’t like.

      There’s a difference beatween book-purists and people who simply didn’t like a story/scene. What that difference is, I will let people decide for themselves.

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    268. mau: Tywin’s death has nothing to do with the politics.

      Yes it does. Tywin lives in a dynastic system; the personal is political. It’s not good politics to give people around you reason to hate you for no reason; it greatly increases your chances of being killed by your own men.

      But that’s the point. Arya is someone extraordinary, Sansa is a typical lady with common knowledge. Knowing sigils inreally not a sign of a great intelligence.

      How is that the point? Lack of common knowledge doesn’t make you extraordinary; in the instance it was brought up, it was for Arya a frustrating moment that made her wish she had Sansa’s knowledge. They are different characters with different skills, both of which are important.

      The book repeatedly calls attention to Sansa’s courtly skills, which are important to court politics, particularly when you are female. Tyrion, no less, thinks as much.

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    269. Shy Lady Dragon,

      I missed most of the wine party, but at least I was around long enough to see Hot Pink Lipstick start to wave her wine goblet about in a most Cersei-like manner.

      http://24.media.tumblr.com/a77dec4478d7c95808e122de7c534308/tumblr_mfzc4faRWB1qhd14co6_250.gif

      #thegingerconspiracyisreal

      btw – Looking for a drunk cersei gif (and to my great pleasure, there are lots of them), I came across this one.

      http://www.thatsyogarbage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ibwP83NMswuGet.gif

      Now I want to remake the Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” video with all GoT characters. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    270. Sean C.:

      As I said before, I think that she has already learnt some stuff and that she will use that in future seasons/books. Her main skill is to survive bad situations, but usually this was a combination of luck, people who helped her. I think that will change in future, she will take her fate more in her own hands. But I do not think that she is a brilliant mastermind and manipulator based on her knowledge of sigils.

      But I think the show does a much better job in showing her learning curve than the books, especially in season 4 and 5, I just loved her when she told the Vale lords who she is and her discussion of her reasons with Littlefinger, that was brilliant writing.

      I just do not see the butchering of Sansa’s character by the show, which a lot of book reader seem to see. I find her arc in the show very interesting, personally I am really glad that they placed her at Winterfell and I find the wedding to Ramsay and the aftermath a creative way to combine several plotlines. There are lot of interesting scenes in season 5 e.g. the familiy dinner with the Boltons or her interaction with Theon and the bath scene with Myranda. I am really looking forward to her plot in season 6.

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    271. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      You know they replaced Aimee Richardson with Nell Tiger Free because NTF looks more gingery on screen, right?

      Hell, they made Joffrey’s skin blue so his hair would have a ginger tone.

      It’s all about the Ginger Conspiracy!!!

        Quote  Reply

    272. Jessica:
      But I do not think that she is a brilliant mastermind and manipulator based on her knowledge of sigils.

      Um, neither do I. I used that as an example of her having intelligence from the beginning (given that a lot of people act as if she was totally witless starting out, and even that she learned nothing until she got to the Eyrie), and as a starting point for discussing how GRRM shows the uses (and limitations) of her skill at the courtly arts. She’s 11 years old at the start; nobody is a “brilliant mastermind and manipulator” at 11, least of all a rather sheltered kid who has never been instructed in politics.

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    273. Sean C.: Yes it does.Tywin lives in a dynastic system; the personal is political.It’s not good politics to give people around you reason to hate you for no reason; it greatly increases your chances of being killed by your own men.

      You are clutching at straws. Tywin didn’t die because he made a bad political move, he died because he was a terrible father.

      How is that the point?Lack of common knowledge doesn’t make you extraordinary; in the instance it was brought up, it was for Arya a frustrating moment that made her wish she had Sansa’s knowledge.They are different characters with different skills, both of which are important.

      Extraordinary was a wrong word. Arya is not a typical lady and her lack of common knowledge only shows that further.

      Sansa on the contrary, knows what every normal lady should know. I believe her mother, her aunt, Cersei,…. knew house sigils. There is nothing extraordinary there.

      The book repeatedly calls attention to Sansa’s courtly skills, which are important to court politics, particularly when you are female.Tyrion, no less, thinks as much.

      I don’t remember Tyrion thoughts on that matter, because I didn’t reread the books for 7 times. And I don’t care for that, because knowing house singles is nothing special and if GRRM really tried to sell that as something impressive I have an even lower opinion on his writing for Sansa.

      And if that is everything you could get from Sansa’s development after 5 books…. Well..

      You don’t need to search for quotes and twist words out of context to show Dany’s, Jon’s, Arya’s,… development in the books.

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    274. No, it hasn’t changed my opinion of the scene, but that is because I was on the production team’s side of the argument from the start.

      It was necessary. Ugly and appalling, but necessary.

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    275. I think that his open and honest defense of this scene was a lot more satisfying and comforting than Alex Grave’s ‘it wasn’t rape’ answer to Cersei’s/Jaime’s scene. And maybe because I respect and trust Bryan a lot more than most people involved in the creation of the show and the fact he was emotional about it and it wasn’t him repeating the ‘company line’, I do feel slightly better. I agree that they shouldn’t have remained focused on Sophie’s face the whole time and I was grateful that they didn’t. I realized at the time that it was a slight concession to Sophie and the fans. I still didn’t like the scene, I’ll never like the scene, I’ll forever be disgusted by the fact it happened BUT I don’t blame Bryan Cogman for it and I don’t think they did it for shock value.

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    276. Sean C.: Um, neither do I.I used that as an example of her having intelligence from the beginning (given that a lot of people act as if she was totally witless starting out, and even that she learned nothing until she got to the Eyrie), and as a starting point for discussing how GRRM shows the uses (and limitations) of her skill at the courtly arts.She’s 11 years old at the start; nobody is a “brilliant mastermind and manipulator” at 11, least of all a rather sheltered kid who has never been instructed in politics.

      But she is still no brilliant mastermind and manipulator, but some seem to see her like that and condemn D&D that Sansa married Ramsay and trusted Littlefinger. So, what is the problem with the path D&D went in season 5? There is not butchering of her character development but that seems to be the main argument of a lot people who hated the chosen path of D&D. She trusted Littlefinger and agreed to marriage to avenge her family and get the North (like she does in the book), it was a horrible mistake and she will probably have learned that she was no more than Littlefinger’s pawn. I really do not understand the hate regarding D&D for Sansa’s story arc in season 5.

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    277. Dragonslayer,

      The show does not have a rape problem. The world that this story is taking place in has a rape problem. All the show does is shining a light on that problem instead of shying away from it.

      I’m with Cogman on this and always have been.

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    278. mau: You are clutching at straws. Tywin didn’t die because he made a bad political move, he died because he was a terrible father.

      Being a terrible father is a political issue in a system built around dynastic succession. Hence, why Tywin’s crappy parenting (and his daughter’s crappy parenting) is poised to bring down his dynasty.

      Sansa on the contrary, knows what every normal lady should know. I believe her mother, her aunt, Cersei,…. knew house sigils. There is nothing extraordinary there.

      Knowledge like that are the building blocks for participating in Westerosi court politics, which is inherent in the role of a courtly lady. The ability to perform in that role in dire situations is a regular theme in Sansa’s story thus far.

      I don’t remember Tyrion thoughts on that matter, because I didn’t reread the books for 7 times. And I don’t care for that, because knowing house singles is nothing special and if GRRM really tried to sell that as something impressive I have an even lower opinion on his writing for Sansa.

      The quote was about Sansa’s skill at courtly arts in general as Tyrion watches her interact with people. People skills being important, and all.

      And if that is everything you could get from Sansa’s development after 5 books…

      As I’ve said repeatedly, it’s not. I cited it as the earliest example, in conjunction with several others.

      Jessica:
      So, what is the problem with the path D&D went in season 5? There is not butchering of her character development but that seems to be the main argument of a lot people who hated the chosen path of D&D. She trusted Littlefinger and agreed to marriage to avenge her family and get the North (like she does in the book), it was a horrible mistake and she will probably have learned that she was no more than Littlefinger’s pawn.

      I can only speak for myself, of course, but already posted above why I don’t believe this story works, why it does not fit with the trajectory GRRM has her on in the corresponding period in the novels, and why it’s very different from the Harry the Heir story. I would also say it’s internally inconsistent, because Season 4’s ending does not at all suggest she trusts Littlefinger; if anything, it suggests the opposite, that she’s going to be on guard against him going forward (which is reflected in Sophie Turner’s interviews given afterward; that was how she read and played it).

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    279. The issue with Sansa’s story in season 5 is not the rape scene. The main issue is her entire arc doesn’t make sense at all. What was the point in returning to Winterfell, into the arms of the murderers of her mother and her brothers, alone and with no actual plan? No sense at all, just a silly incomprehensible decision, and poor writing.

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    280. Smh:

      If the controversy was really about this being sexual violence, then we would have had the same amount (if not more) controversy about Theon’s genitals being chopped off before being sent to his father. We didn’t.

      Like so many other internet “controversies”, you need a perfect storm of factors to converge. Sansa’s wedding and subsequent rape caused a shitstorm of epic proportions NOT primarily because of the way writers treated the subject of rape, much as how the outrage at Jaime’s and Cersei’s sept scene in Season 4 also wasn’t triggered solely by the fact that Jaime raped her. That was part of it, sure, but there were many other instances of sexual violence and rape in the show that didn’t result in nearly as loud and acrimonious disapproval as these two. So, there’s another factor here that doesn’t have anything to do with social justice or awareness: namely, significant departures from source material.

      Think about it. Purists/fundamentalists/whatever you want to call them always vented and raged about story deviations, but the larger fandom, not to mention the media, ignored them as it was essentially a niche intra-fandom issue not all that interesting to wider audiences or TV critics.

      On the other hand, social justice people (not meant in a disparaging way) had an axe to grind against the more “sexually questionable” content over the seasons. This issue certainly got some mainstream visibility over the seasons as the show, rightly or wrongly, developed a reputation for mishandling sexual violence and, more generally, sexuality itself. But given the quality of the show and the widespread approval it gained from nearly all quarters, this was viewed as little more than a blemish on an otherwise great series.

      Only when these two issues converged — in Cersei-Jaime scene and Sansa-Ramsay scene — did we get the totally over-the-top I’m-not-gonna-watch-this mass hysteria that seemed to set the whole internet ablaze at one point. It essentially briefly united two groups that are very loud and very influential in the social media: hardcore book people and, more importantly, social justice people (many TV critics and other internet personalities belong in the latter group). The two narratives started feeding off each other although, when you really examine it closely, they don’t have all that much in common. Many of the “purists” (not all, but many) don’t care about the rape itself — Jeyne Poole went through much worse — but they care deeply about the perceived injustice done to an important character. SJ people, however, don’t really care about Sansa or Jeyne Poole, Jaime or Cersei, or the intricacies of Martin’s storytelling. They care first and foremost about what they perceive as an insensitive and offensive depiction of rape and the role of the victim therein. Totally different issues; neat convergence nevertheless. (Again, not to say there aren’t people who self-identify as part of both groups; I just contend that most of the participants aren’t such.)

      And of course there’s the third group of people: the “vultures” or “opportunists”, those who just wait for the right moment to rip into something that is popular, or who like to “bandwagon” on a trending issue. I distinctly remember something similar happening during the now infamous Cersei-Jaime scene in the Sept of Baelor in Season 4. The episode that contained the scene was among the four that was given to TV critics well in advance. All major outlets gave their non-spoiler reviews and, as far as I can remember, not ONE even mentioned a troubling instance of sexual violence. Almost none of the regular reviews written directly after the episode drew special attention to (yet another) “mishandling” of this topic. Only once the social media and the internet had the time to “digest” the issue, a huge number of “late reviews” and dedicated essays started appearing.

      What do I try to say with this overly long wall of text? Not that you don’t have the right to be offended or to dislike certain aspects of the show. Certainly not that the show is infallible and that no criticism can be legitimately leveled against it. I’m just saying that it takes a very specific set of circumstances to produce an outrage of this magnitude and that these circumstances aren’t necessarily the consequences of D&D&C’s creative approach.

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    281. Sean C.: Being a terrible father is a political issue in a system built around dynastic succession.Hence, why Tywin’s crappy parenting (and his daughter’s crappy parenting) is poised to bring down his dynasty.

      His daughter’s sons were kings. That is completely different. Speaking from the political standpoint, he played the Tyrion’s trial perfectly. Tyrion was sentenced to death and Tywin wouldn’t be considered a kinslayer.

      The ability to perform in that role in dire situations is a regular theme in Sansa’s story thus far.

      Knowledge was nothing to do with the ability to perform. Distinction between theory and practice. Being a manipulator is a natural talent, you can’s learn lessons for that.

      The quote was about Sansa’s skill at courtly arts in general as Tyrion watches her interact with people.People skills being important, and all.

      Then he had similar quote about her in the show as well in S2E4.

      As I’ve said repeatedly, it’s not.I cited it as the earliest example, in conjunction with several others.

      But every examples of her development are minor and unnoticeable.

      The main problem is that GRRM had a good idea of a naive girl becoming a political player, but he just doesn’t know how to write it.

      We don’t have a discussion about Dany’s or Jon’s development in the books or the show, because their development is so obvious it would be ignorant to claim that they are not completely different persons now and in S1/AGOT.

      But for Sansa you have just a few quotes, a few occasions when she connected the dots and many others when she didn’t and everything is so up in the air. You must be extremely carefu to notice her growth

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    282. It was always my perception that the reason for switching off of Sansa was because of Sophie’s youth. I think the rest of season 5 also contradicted the initial reaction people had that it was about “Reek’s redemption”.
      It was a well constructed, horrific scene in my opinion.

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    283. Sean C.
      I can only speak for myself, of course, but already posted above why I don’t believe this story works, why it does not fit with the trajectory GRRM has her on in the corresponding period in the novels, and why it’s very different from the Harry the Heir story.I would also say it’s internally inconsistent, because Season 4’s ending does not at all suggest she trusts Littlefinger; if anything, it suggests the opposite, that she’s going to be on guard against him going forward (which is reflected in Sophie Turner’s interviews given afterward; that was how she read and played it).

      As you do not know, how the Harry the Heir story will play out in the books, you do not know that it will be very different from the show. But we will probably never know as the book will probably never finished by GRRM.

      Regarding Littlefinger, show-Sansa is asked by him in season 4 after her testimony why she helped him and she answered “I know what you want”, so she thinks she can play him and that it’s better for her to stay with him.

      Regarding, season 5 Sophie Turner also said that Sansa will experience a major character development in season 5.

      Personally, I have the feeling, that a lot of book readers just do not like that story arc because it is different in the books, even saying that something like this does not happen in the books. Well, in the book the wedding night is even worse, but no one condemns GRRM for using that wedding night as shock value. As I said, that is really strange and tells a lot about some book reader.

      I know some people who did not read the books, none of them had a problem with Sansa’s story arc in season 5. They found the raping quite horrible and felt very sorry for Sansa but they expected already that it would happen based on the portrayal of show-Ramsay. They did not see any inconsistence and are much more tolerant regarding that scene and Sansa’s story arc than a lot of book reader.

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    284. I challenge anyone who defends the Sansa arc in season to explain what exactly was Sansa and LF’s plan for revenge that required Sansa to marry Ramsay.

      Sansa wasn’t going to slit Ramsay’s throat on their wedding night, as Cogman even admits, that’s not Sansa. So what exactly is this revenge plan? And why did this plan require Sansa to put herself in Winterfell to be abused sexually and physically by Ramsay? And did Sansa, in the end, even in the show, attempt to carry out this plan? It seems to me that only thing she tried to do after the marriage is to escape. Surely that couldn’t have been the plan.

      The only people that marriage benefited was the Boltons. That’s why in the books they were willing to carry out the charade with a fake Stark daughter, because even a fake one helps their claim as long as nobody can prove she’s fake. And here comes Sansa and LF, they come along and gives them exactly what they want. For “revenge”.

      It was a complete joke. And by the way, “dramatically satisfying” for Sansa to take Jeyne’s place means they wanted to manufacture drama, and manufactured drama is just another way of saying shock value. So even with their own euphemisms they admit it was done for shock value.

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    285. mau:
      You must be extremely carefu to notice her growth

      I think that’s overstating it.

      There are some details that would only really become apparent on reread (such as her thoughts about the Lannister/Tyrells, which are an imperceptible-at-the-time setup for what we later learn about the Purple Wedding), but her escape story and everything she does to facilitate it, for instance, is pretty evident on the page. ACOK Sansa II, where she decides to take a major risk to investigate the note she has received, is grippingly tense. When she’s presented by Tyrion with the choice of temporary safety, we see her go through her thought process on-page. When we see her in the Eyrie later, her figuring out the Corbray scheme is the endpoint of the whole chapter.

      On the whole it’s a slow-burn narrative, and different from the other major characters in many respects, but it’s all there.

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    286. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      You should! It would be a feel good video for bad days.
      It’s obvious Lena enjoys playing Cersei’s part, that’s why she does it so well. And any time she makes a parody of herself at interviews is a precious scene.