Gifts that kept on Giving

118058-matte-blue-and-white-square-icon-social-media-logos-twitter-bird2I didn’t have a Twitter pun this week. Next week though!

But this one gave us Gifts aplenty.

We’re on the back stretch, with another Benioff/Weiss-penned episode, and it was strong. As per the norm, I, your axeyfabulous @Axechucker did the usual thing, compiling, sorting, responding, and (as I am wont to do on occasion) pontificating whilst questioning various moralogical morasses. Your only task is to read. And to answer, if you will or may.

Come at me, bro.

Here, then are your weekly tweets!

If you have any trouble, try reading directly at the Storify site.

103 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Bold soapbox, Kenny, and I mostly agree. But I think the main problem some people try to address is that rape is often used as a cheap way to drive character motivations. This week clearly showed that wasn’t the case in “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” imho. But sometimes it is a problem, especially in fantasy. In a way, what happened in this episode was somewhat more dangerous in that respect.
      Still, good soapbox.

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    2. Huh, that tweet about how the viewers who boycott (or who SAY they’re boycotting – yeah right) the show are the ones that making Sansa the ‘victim’, is very astute. I never thought of it that way, but she’s right. Sansa’s only a victim if she gives up. She’s not giving up. She’s a Stark afterall.

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    3. Dude, if you cannot see the difference between “bit player showed dead as result of extremely OTT Fantasy Violence That Will Never Happen to Anyone IRL,” and “Watching a Character We’ve ‘Known’ Since She Was 13 Being Raped,” I…don’t even know how to explain it to you? Acting like people weren’t OUTRAGED about the servant being flayed because she wasn’t “pretty” is deliberately obtuse, come on, now. All types of violence are not equal, and sexual violence absolutely carries a darker, real world connotation that things like “flayed alive,” and “killed by dragon fire,” and “having molten gold dumped over your head,” just don’t, and I’d think that’s very clear. It’s fine if you don’t object to Sansa’s rape- obviously plenty of people didn’t, and found it a valid part of her arc. Hell, I hated it, but I’m still watching the show. But those people who were offended by it are not wrong, and they’re certainly not “part of the problem.” It was a conversation that needed to be had, and some of the criticism to the backlash is starting to feel uncomfortably like, “Ugh, all these women complaining about rape in media are making my favorite TV show look bad!”

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    4. “Weirdly, we got nary a single angry peep out of the internet. Hardly anyone batted an eyelash at the flayed old woman. Why? Why was no one calling for David and Dan’s heads for that? Because she wasn’t pretty, wasn’t someone you “identified” with, like Sansa?”

      I love you, Axe. Preach on, Brother.

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    5. Great fun as ever, and THANK YOU for writing exactly what I think about the Sansa-rape-Gate. Selective indignation is what I find offensive. All it shows is that the writers and actors are doing a great job at making you care about the characters, but if it’s the act of rape you object to, why weren’t you rioting when Dany was raped by Khal Drogo (because yes that was rape too), when Craster’s wives were being raped (offscreen, but still) first by their own f-ing father then by the Night’s Watch mutineers (very much onscreen and in pukeworthy, excruciating detail), etc, I could go on. And this comes from a woman who actively takes part in anti-sexual harassment campaigns, among other related topics. Some people just love feeling super righteous I guess. Anyway, enough.

      Thanks also to the Twitter user who posted that pic of a young Diana Rigg because she could actually be Natalie Dormer’s real-life gran!!! Brilliant!

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    6. I haven’t finished reading all these tweets yet, but thank you so much for writing that soapbox on the topic of Sam, Gilly, and the Old Northern Lady too. I’m deeply angry about this topic all the time, and you just articulated that anger in a way that I never could on my own. So yeah thank you, Axechucker!

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    7. I enjoyed the Twitter-Recap as always.

      I totally got your back on the topics, you adressed, Axechucker!

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    8. I really wish you would have adressed the rape issue in another article. I don’t think the humorus tweet recap is a good platform to raise that kind of subject.

      I was more shocked by your speech than the rape scene, tbh. So I’d like to address a few things. This isn’t a competition. I truly dislike it when people pit tragedies against one another and claim that one is worse than the other. Why is it that we just can’t accept that horrible things happened and leave it at that?

      Gilly got ambushed by two men, they attempted to rape her, I’m sure you wouldn’t just shrug it off if that were to happen to you. Sam got beaten by men who are supposed to be his brothers, two of his friends are dead, Jon is on his journey up north and Aemon has passed. I think everybody would agree that Sam has been through some rough times as well. These are horrible things to happen to people, it doesn’t have to be a competition.

      What annoyed me the most is your claim that people only care when bad stuff happens to the ‘pretty people they identified with’. Well, let me tell you something, I sure [i]did not[/i] identify with Sansa at all nor Theon for that matter. It still made me sick to my stomach when they attempted to rape Theon and my stomach turned for Sansa as well.

      Heck, I was horrified, [i]horrified[/i] at what happened to Lollys and how people treated her and talked about her after what happened. I was horrified when I realised what Jeyne Poole had to endure, my stomach turned for Craster’s daughters both for what they endured at the hands of their father and their fate after the mutiny. I was angered and sad at the injustice that was done to Tyrion’s first wife, I was raging mad when I read about the innskeeper’s daughter, and the man who got ‘used as a woman’ by Victarion’s crew and if the brothers have attempted to rape Sam instead of Gilly I would have been equally scared for him.

      My guess is most people get uncomfortable about rape because it’s an ugly thing to have to witness and even worse to have to go through.

      I also think it’s kind of a low blow to equate the flaying of an extra who was on screen for a total amount of 10 seconds, probably even less, with a character who the audience has seen grow over a period of 5 years. Not that I didn’t feel horrible to what happened to that old poor woman. I also admired her because she held on for so long despite her age. I completely understand why that wouldn’t spark an outrage though. My guess is that you would have had a very different reaction if that woman was Nan, for example.

      As for it not being realistic for Gilly to want to have sex with Sam so shortly after she was just nearly raped, I have this question for you. Do you think Sam would be up for sparring after he got his face smashed in? Heck, after the way his head was smacked into the floor I’m surprised he’d be in the mood for much romance. My guess is he’d have to have a splitting headache. I think these are valid questions to ask. Then again it’s a tv show with now plenty of worse inconcistencies as you yourself pointed out so I’d take those comments with a grain of salt. I was definitely scared shitless for Sam as I was for Gilly, anyhow.

      @A Girl Will Obey: Well, personally I’m not on Twitter but I do wonder how do you know for a fact that the people you accused of not being outraged about Dany’s rape are the [i]very same[/i] people that are outraged about Sansa’s rape. Same question when it comes to the incident of Craster’s daughters.

      I’m not sure what you mean with having objection to the act of rape. I surely hope nobody is for rape. ;-p I can only speak for myself, of course but I don’t object to rape being depicted as long as it’s not done as a cheap way to get a reaction from the audience. I had no problem that GRRM wrote about rape in the books either and speaking of which as aside: Was there this much outrage about the rapes that happened in the books when they came out?

      It could help pinpoint why people have a problem the way they’re being depicted in the show. As for Dany’s rape, I was retroactively ‘outraged’ (didn’t post about it though) since I only started reading the books after watching a couple of seasons after the show started. I was kind of baffled as to why they would turn their first time together into rape especially when the actors talk about how uncomfortable it was.

      Anyhoo, I don’t think you’d have an indepth insight at what exatcly bothers people by checking their tweets. I do hope that this sparks a discussion on a more suitable platform though and hopefully someone will use the outrage to shine a light on the awful amount of men getting raped in the US. I think it’s rather sad that society turned their backs on them and pretend that a rape is part of the punishment. Incarceration is sufficient punishment, I think. I may not be a man nor have I been or ever done naything that would land me in prison but it still turns my stomach to know that so many men are raped in prison and nothing gets done about it.

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    9. Weirdly, we got nary a single angry peep out of the internet. Hardly anyone batted an eyelash at the flayed old woman. Why? Why was no one calling for David and Dan’s heads for that? Because she wasn’t pretty, wasn’t someone you “identified” with, like Sansa?

      Because those are completely different issues. Seriously, that’s a ridiculous comparison.

      A Girl Will Obey:
      Great fun as ever, and THANK YOU for writing exactly what I think about the Sansa-rape-Gate. Selective indignation is what I find offensive. All it shows is that the writers and actors are doing a great job at making you care about the characters, but if it’s the act of rape you object to, why weren’t you rioting when Dany was raped by Khal Drogo (because yes that was rape too), when Craster’s wives were being raped (offscreen, but still) first by their own f-ing father then by the Night’s Watch mutineers (very much onscreen and in pukeworthy, excruciating detail), etc, I could go on.

      All of those things were criticized.

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    10. I tend to lurk exclusively, but I loved your soapbox. Thank you for articulating how I have been feeling reading every single recap of last week’s (and this week’s) episode.

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    11. Sean C.,

      Ok, want a non-ridiculous comparison? No one uttered a peep when Crasters wives were raped on-screen, in the “fook em till they are dead” scene? Ah, they were not women we cared about, so peachy-keen it seems!

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    12. Who didn’t see the old woman’s fate, though. With Sansa, it was very much up in the air whether or not she was 100% taking Jeyne’s plot, so there was more anxiety than a nameless old woman who was trying to usurp her lords right under their noses.

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    13. The problem with a show depicting rape that is different than depicting other forms of violence is that there’s no one in the real world saying: “That old lady was wearing a tiny dress and was drunk at a bar at 3am?? Than that’s not really flaying. I mean, she was asking for it. She should have known better.”

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    14. Yo two quick comments I get what your’es saying axey but I think you’re mischaracterizing people here.

      Sansa’s rape was shown – that is, we heard her screaming and saw her get tossed down and heard her screaming. The old lady was already dead. If they had shown the old lady tied up, about to get flayed, then we cut away but heard her scream, well hell yah it would have been controversial. What they did show was analogous to Sansa’s first scene this episode – the aftermath of what happened. People were upset by both, but people were understandably more upset by onscreen implied rape of Sansa and onscreen implied flaying/torture of Theon in S3.

      Second of course people care more about primary characters. If Jon had been shown having just been flayed to death you bet people would be mad.

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    15. Totally agree with you. As a fan of Kenny and the show, I found it hurtful (no I’m not butt hurt people so chill) that the old lady not being as pretty as Sansa was even said. You know us better.

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    16. Balon01,

      I heard people say this is a few times. Obviously no one can prove it’s real – it’s an anonymous essay. But how do you know it’s fake?

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    17. Yep, Axey, I look forward to your “best of Twitter” recaps, too.

      To those of you who want Sansa to use her pointy weapon on Ramsay, I say this: shouldn’t she save it to smite Baelish? Consider what this reptile has actually done to her. Among many things, he betrayed her father, murdered her aunt, and arranged to put her in a most precarious position with the Boltons. It doesn’t matter if he knew what a psycho Ramsay was or not. He KNEW what Roose had done to Cat and Robb. If leaving her with Roose Bolton and Walda FREY Bolton, the two families who conspired in the murder of hers, wasn’t the biggest, most outlandish insult and pure disrespect to both Sansa and Cat, whom he was supposed to love so dearly, I don’t know what is.

      He pimped her out, the same way he would use any whore to his advantage. The best part to him was that this whore was from two highborn families. And what did he tell her when she overcame her shock enough to protest? Basically he told her to use her body to manipulate Ramsay. Then he has the nerve to leave her with a kiss. Pimp.

      The outrage over what happened to Sansa on her wedding night was justified, but not only because she was handled in a brutal and heinous way. It’s because we, the onlookers, let ourselves be fooled as well. Oh well, we placated ourselves, Ned was warned and Lysa was crazy and Sansa is becoming a player now. We hoped that Ramsay wouldn’t hurt her because he said he wouldn’t, we hoped that Theon would somehow protect her, we all lifted our skirts for Baelish, and surprise, we got fucked.

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    18. Jude,

      Here’s my thing. Anyone who quit the show when Ramsay raped Sansa should have already quit back when Theon was getting tortured (by the same person) into Reek.

      Think about it:

      –Theon was repeatedly, over multiple episodes, graphically brutalized
      –Theon was castrated
      –Theon was mentally and physically broken to the point of losing his own identity
      –Theon was also sexually violated (He did not consent to the girls who came in and started touching him before the castration)

      Sure, you can say he deserved it more than Sansa, but nobody deserves what happened to him. If violence, and especially the kind of violence that damages the psyche as rape does, is a viewer’s issue, Theon’s torture and mutilation was worse in nearly every respect.

      Rape is a horrific form of violence, but it isn’t the only kind of violence we should be repulsed by. I can’t help but feel if someone has gone this long with the show and watched all the various forms of violence but Sansa’s rape was their breaking point, they have some bias going on.

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    19. Thanks for the soapbox, Axe. I largely agree. I’d like to make a few other points along the same line, if I may:

      – The flaying of the old woman is a good point of comparison for noting how selective viewers of the show have been in their outrage. But it’s not the only comparison. There have been many other depictions of violence (people are murdered horribly every week on this show; no one blinks), sexual violence (the castration of Theon), and even rape (the women at Craster’s, Dany and Drogo, the riot in King’s Landing, etc.). All of these have elicited some controversy, but nothing on the scale of the Sansa rape scene. People’s reactions to events depicted on GoT is in no way proportional to the actual moral character of those acts. Hell, people were cheering when Jon killed Slynt a few episodes back. Yet how many people here think that summary execution by beheading, with the aggrieved party standing as judge, jury, and executioner, is a morally acceptable response to insubordination, particularly when the perpetrator immediately expresses remorse? Show of hands? (And to say that this is the norm in the kind of society being depicted would be to miss the point, hilariously. Spousal rape is also common in Westeros. Double standards?)

      -So, ok! It’s not about the morality of the acts being depicted. It’s about the actual social context in which this is being portrayed. Rape culture is a real and pernicious thing in the actual world, and we shouldn’t be doing anything to enforce it. All true (although I have my concerns about the conceptual framework of “rape culture”), but who in their right mind would look at that scene with Sansa and view this as an endorsement of rape, of any kind? It’s a DEPICTION of rape, certainly, but in such a way as to show how awful it was. “The world is a much darker place, and people are capable of much more terrible things, than most of us imagine. We should not loose sight of how terrible these things are; struggling against them is always a worthwhile pursuit;” that’s a pretty good statement of one of the main themes of GoT, both the books and the show. And I think it’s a pretty great message. The Sansa scene did not undermine that message. It re-enforced it.

      – Some people criticize the way the cut to Theon shifted the focus away from Sansa in a problematic way. This has been defended on the grounds that the producers needed SOMETHING to cut to instead of black, which is a decent point, but there is an even better reason to cut to Theon: his reaction is relevant, since he is a fellow victim of Ramsay’s particular breed of cruelty. Consider: what if Theon were a woman? That is, what if Ramsay had sexually abused and horribly broken a woman, who he then forced to watch Sansa’s rape, and the producers had ended the episode by showing the horror and recognition on the other woman’s face? No one, I think, would have complained that the final cut made the scene “not about Sansa.” It would almost certainly be viewed as a moment of horrible connection between two similar victims – which is exactly what the cut to Theon was. More generally, everyone who criticized the scene for destroying a strong female character and making the story essentially a story about men is not reacting rationally to what was depicted on the screen (as I think this week’s episode, which depicts Sansa’s fierce resolve alongside Reek’s broken submission, bears out). Instead, it was people applying a pretty standard feminist critique to the scene. This is not to say that feminist critiques are a bad thing – they are often helpful and insightful. But we shouldn’t get too caught up in one critical lens. It restricts our ways of thinking about a text.

      – “This made me uncomfortable to watch or think about, and other people seem to think that this was morally outrageous, so I will think that as well.” No one is actually saying this, of course, but anyone with training in moral psychology will recognize that this is the actual thought process being undertaken. Group psychology is an incredibly powerful and poorly understood thing among those who haven’t studied it, and highly effective at turning intuitive discomfort into weird paroxysms of moral rage.

      I know a lot of that will be super-controversial. But them’s my $.02.

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    20. 5mashed,

      I happen to agree with you on certain points. I hated those torture scenes and would always leave the room, change the channel or fast forward when they came on. Your operative words are ‘breaking point.’ Sansa’s treatment was, indeed, the last straw that caused the outburst. I think much of the rage was cumulative, based on the pent-up horror at everything we had witnessed; We were all trying to be cool, sophisticated. Yeah man, this is the way it is. Then Sansa gets betrayed, again, and the dam of our emotions broke. All the rage was inevitable, necessary and cathartic.

      What kind of people would we be if we didn’t protest? The fact that we are all discussing and assessing it, and by “it” I mean EVERYTHING that has happened that’s horrible, is most encouraging. The best thing would be if we realize that this emotion should be/can be channeled into the real world in protest and action against atrocities of this sort that are actually happening to real human beings, and not just characters in a show.

      I’m not leaving GoT, not yet, anyway. There is much to learn, and the story is still interesting. But I won’t stop lobbying for happier outcomes for at least some of the “good guys.” It is not unsophisticated to hope for a better world. What’s truly unsophisticated is the belief that happiness is never possible. If we stop believing in the possibility of goodness, then we have become as abused as any of these characters.

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    21. Ooooh, Strong Belwas, well done, sir (or madam) well spoken, indeed! An honor to be in the company of all of you. (and the entire crew of WotW)

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    22. afartherroom:
      All the applause in the world for your soapboxing, Axe.

      Agreed, and a belated thanks to you, afartherroom, for the post you made on the roundtable thread.

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    23. I enjoyed these better when it consisted of mostly unsullied people and not bitter book purists or the tumblr crowds,sad but still thank you for the effort !

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    24. 5mashed,

      This has nothing to do with who “deserved” what. It has to do with the fact that, again, the violence Theon experienced was COMPLETELY awful, but, again OTT Insane-o Fantasy Land Violence. Flaying and castration, not things most men have gone through, I’d reckon? Meanwhile, 1 in 3 women is raped. Also, what people seem to be missing is that viewers WERE icked out by those earlier scenes of sexual violence. Sansa’s rape was not the only thing they’d ever been offended by ever on the show, more the last straw in terms of how much sexual violence they felt willing to watch on one show. And again, as GoT is nearing the end of its run, I think the showrunners should think real hard about having it remembered as, “Oh, yeah, that show with the dragons and also all the rape.”

      Also, let’s all be real, the show is not going anywhere. This backlash won’t get it canceled or anything. So why CAN’T we point out when the show has screwed up? And Sansa’s rape IS a screw up, both in terms of story and because this will now be the talking point of the entire season. Every interview with the cast from here on out is going to touch on this, which is unfair to them, and also irritating, I’d think, to fans.

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    25. Loved soapbox Axechucker. My maester says it’s all about the egg (as in girl eggs, not Aegon Egg). Eggs are few and valuable. Little swimmers are many and cheap. One guy and 100 women can repopulate the planet. One woman and 100 men can’t. Thus, young fertile females arouse the Protection Gene moreso than any other living being on the planet (with the possible exception of babies). Hey, is that why we call young women ‘babes’? I just blew my own mind…

      Granny was outta eggs, outta luck, and outta sympathy beyond a certain point. We’ve also been conditioned to think that Sansa, whose virginity, ‘flowering,’ and fertility have been commodified since season one, is the key to the North. Her very womb is of huge geopolitical importance. Those ovaries are as valuable as diamonds (or dragon eggs?)! She’s Helen of Troy who launched a thousand ships (or at least the excuse to go to war for fun and profit).

      As for the arrested development of Gilly’s babe: well, time is fucked up because the seasons are fucked up. I blame the Wall. When a baby is born, it takes time for its biological clock to synch with the wacky world it came into.

      As for adolescents, well, puberty hits hard in Westeros, and growth spurts, horniness, and homicidal rage explain what’s been happening to all the kids from season one, and why Olly is now shaving and wearing big boy pants.

      And Littlefinger doesn’t have a teleporter. Time bends weirdly in Westeros. A thousand mile journey might take all season or just two episodes, kind of like in scifi where an astronaut from the ’60s comes back from Alpha Centauri the same age as when he left but everyone else got older.

      Add in the Warlocks who can control the winds propelling book Euron’s ships, and characters can be just about anywhere in no time at all.

      It is known.

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    26. Jude,

      I don’t think anyone is saying it can’t be discussed. I just think the outrage over this particular scene is blown out of proportion.

      It sounds like your metric for what is overly offensive is what may be “triggering” to others: “fantasy” violence that few people have lived through is not offensive because it won’t evoke painful memories in the survivors of that violence; rape is a commonly experienced violence and therefore may actually be triggering to viewers.

      I would argue that non-rape violence can also be “triggering” to those who have ever been physically attacked, been in combat, etc.; I don’t think rape has a monopoly on the potential to stir up trauma. Should the showrunners also steer clear of non-rape violence? Will the Iron Throne be won with rock-paper-scissors?

      I would also suggest that if seeing horrible things happen to good people is traumatic for a viewer, maybe Game Of Thrones is not for them. There are so many things to watch where everything works out nicely for nice people. I don’t see what about the book series or the first four seasons would make anyone think this wasn’t a dark and brutal series.

      Also, I didn’t find Sansa’s storyline a “screw up” at all. I think combining her Vale storyline with the Boltons and Theon made far better sense than half-assing both or dropping one altogether.

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    27. Thronetender,

      Trusting Littlefinger is always the wrong answer.

      As he said back in season 1:
      “I’m not going to fight them. I’m going to fuck them. That’s what I know. That’s what I am, and only by admitting what we are can we get what we want.”

      He keeps making people offers that seem too good to be true, and they keep taking the bait. He plays all the great houses against each other, and brings them down one by one so he can be King of the Ashes.

      Sansa has been basically trapped and helpless for years while her family was slaughtered. He held out the bait of agency and a chance at revenge, and she bit it and walked into the trap. He may not have known exactly how bad Ramsay was, but he knew (or at least had to reasonably expect) that she would be suffering for his gain.

      My hope is that this actually turns out to be a miscalculation on Littlefinger’s part, and she finds the strength to survive and eventually destroy him.

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    28. JoJoSoPhat:

      He wasn’t specifically talking about you, Guy. Ease off a little.

      I know that. My point is that I can only speak for myself. I’m not gonna pretend as if I know what every person is thinking about any given time. So far I’ve seen the argument come again and again, that people didn’t care when A or B happened yet they have a problem with Sansa getting raped. How do you know this for a fact?

      I also think it’s rather unfair to compare certain situations to drive your point home while ignoring the context. As I said, I can understand why a flayed woman that’s been on screen for 10 seconds, especially when it happened off camera, wouldn’t spark the same outrage as another character being hurt whom the audience have been with for years.

      It seems as though the way they set-up Sansa’s arc is what really got under people’s skin. She was finally gaining some sort of agency and they had all of that (well, a great deal) taken away. That doesn’t mean I would rather have seen someone else take her punishment. Poor Jeyne Poole was at the wrong place and the wrong time and ended up being Ramsey’s plaything. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Had it been real Arya for example it would have been even harder to cope, because *gasp* I love the character.

      Just like you don’t cry for an hour for every single individual person you read about that passed in the news and mourn them for a year as opposed to the death of a dear friend of family member would hit you quite hard. What hurts us has always been selective, we wouldn’t be able to function otherwise.

      What annoys me are the false comparisons, the fact that people pretend as if there were no other controversies in the books or show and just because people are vocal about the Sansa thing they don’t care about what happened to other characters.

      My question still stands, were book readers outraged by all the rapes that happened in the books? Maybe it’s not the fact that they depict rape but the how that’s causing the outrage.

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    29. Kenny, I will love you forever for that soapbox. In a manly fashion, of course. Your wife needn’t worry.

      CheekyAlien: I know that. My point is that I can only speak for myself. I’m not gonna pretend as if I know what every person is thinking about any given time. So far I’ve seen the argument come again and again, that people didn’t care when A or B happened yet they have a problem with Sansa getting raped. How do you know this for a fact?

      Because, there was no social media shitstorm over A and B.
      I don’t see many people up in arms about that old woman, nor do i see GoT blogs being canceled because of it. And that#s despite the fact that what ramsay did to that woman was way, way worse than what he did to Sansa.

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    30. Strong Belwas:
      Consider: what if Theon were a woman? That is, what if Ramsay had sexually abused and horribly broken a woman, who he then forced to watch Sansa’s rape, and the producers had ended the episode by showing the horror and recognition on the other woman’s face? No one, I think, would have complained that the final cut made the scene “not about Sansa.” It would almost certainly be viewed as a moment of horrible connection between two similar victims – which is exactly what the cut to Theon was. More generally, everyone who criticized the scene for destroying a strong female character and making the story essentially a story about men is not reacting rationally to what was depicted on the screen

      I haven’t thought in those terms. A great point. I must admit I am rather amazed how, don’t know if this is the right word, antifeminist and reductionist many of the knee-jerk reactions and interpretations have been. Feminism should be about expanding one’s point of view, about ‘letting the sunshine in’ and treating all sides of the equation equally, not entrenching oneself in imaginary intergender battle lines.

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    31. I don’t really think the argument “no one cares about the flayed old lady” applies, when clearly the people who weren’t offended by the Sansa rape didn’t freak out about it themselves. Can’t really be on a high horse when you don’t subscribe to the view you’re being righteous about.

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    32. Great recap as always Axey.. and kudos to your soapboxing. Almost shared it on my FB wall since I share your opinion.. but changed my mind, dont want anymore healthy or unhealthy debates to spoil my take on this week’s great episode.

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    33. deefalc,

      He/she’s pointing out hypocrisy. It’s not about trying to bring attention to the old lady and make people freak out about that instead. This is about people with consistent moral compasses calling out the phonies with erratic ones.

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    34. deefalc:
      The Rat Kook,

      So by “consistent moral compass” you mean none?

      I mean, I’d rather be called inconsistently moral than not moral at all…

      You might want to check out Whimsey’s great post about the distinction between morals and ethics. Just because an author depicts something doesn’t mean he/she endorses such behaviour.

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    35. Mr Fixit,

      We’re talking about fan reactions though, not the author’s morals. Although that could be an entirely different discussion that is tangentially related, that’s not what I was getting at.

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    36. Boom Axechucker with the Soapbox mic drop. People would have had no problem if Sansa’s role were given to Jeyne Pool which is disturbing.

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    37. Deefalc is a very worthy and cherished Twitter post regular, and I’m glad she’s here! Hey, Dee!


      I think the issue I have is that I think people should question why they are outraged. Obviously the rapes aren’t meant to titillate, right? We can agree there. So what then? To simply outrage? To be “edgy”…?

      I think that’s what people are charging. “Ohh, they’re trying to be so edgy and dark and rapey!”

      But you’ve read the books. I know you have. And so I know you know Theon’s arc. If you must amalgamate (and you must!) then you push together what you can. Sansa in Theon’s arc. Jaime in Dorne. (I said it before – they could have done Sansa in Dorne and Jaime in Winterfell, but that would offer completely different dynamics.)

      Sansa’s book arc puts her in an arranged marriage that she really doesn’t want to be a part of. Ramsay’s arc has him marrying “the heir to Winterfell” (even if the one he weds in the books is a fake).

      You mash them together to save time and space – again, necessary – and you get what you get. If you were plotting the season, the story arcs, and you had Sansa marry Ramsay (which again is in keeping with both Ramsay and Theon’s arcs) would you have had him not rape her? And if not, why? Simply to avoid a rape scenario? Because it seems to me (and to whoever knows Ramsay) that he would be terrible.

      As a writer you have to put your heroes in bad positions. That’s how you engage people in their story. People say “They robbed Sansa of her upward arc” but did they? We don’t even know that from the books. Every indication that I’ve read is that she will be wedded and bedded – and probably won’t be very happy for it.

      Sansa’s rape did not weaken her, nor will it ultimately define her; I believe it is but another brick in the mortar that will shape her into being, ultimately, a power player in the Game of Thrones.

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        Quote  Reply


      I have no problem with that. I know you do. But whether you admit it or not, they had to amalgamate. You can’t have a show with 20 completely separate story arcs. Even if you stick Sansa on the sidelines (ala Bran) for the entire season, Theon and Ramsay still need their arcs. Would you have objected to seeing FakeArya raped?

      Or, to put it in a way you’d understand:


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    40. Great week of Tweets Axey!! Excellent episode!!

      I spent two days last week exhaustively trying to make a point regarding “that” scene and finally had to go away and acid wash my brain to get it all out and thinking without reacting. It is too he said/she said of an argument….neither is more righteous than the other.

      Similar as folks who react to what happened to Sansa and feel the need and outrage to rush to a site like this and others to get it out, those who don’t feel that strongly after watching it feel the same need to speak out when they read the reaction of something they didn’t have the same reaction to. So it is calling the basic kettle black to me.

      There should be no proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” dialog. Either you really object to this sort of television or you don’t. It isn’t a Popeye conclusion, I’s had all I’s can take and I canst take anymore. That just doesn’t compute for me.

      When the books came out, there may have been a ton of outrage on GRRM’s website. For those interested, go and see if you can find it rather than challenging someone on a site about the SHOW GoT’s. That said, I was on the GoT’s websites when the Danys/Drogo very horrid bedding was shown and I can attest to the fact that all agreed it was horrid and felt terribly for Danys, but not the outrage level and gnashing of teeth we got two episodes ago. And hey, read the books, the description of what happened to Danys is worse than what we saw on the television, much worse. We don’t even KNOW that Sansa had this happen to her, it is a GoT’s invention. One that I saw coming a mile away….once LittleFinger said he was taking her to WF to marry Ramsay, I knew it then, didn’t we all? The thoughts of “I thought this time Ramsay might be softer because it was Sansa” is pure sophistry. Ramsay IS Ramsay, always will be. He is some 50 shades of fooked up!!

      So, that is it. I am not going to debate this again. Axey, I wanted to give you a further viewpoint only. I applaud your exercising YOUR given free will to address your own level of disappointment for the outcome of two weeks ago. *bows* I can’t curtsy these days, so bowing will have to do.

      Now I am SO done with this. It is a good topic and one that should have its very own thread just for outrage or defense. I don’t want this great episode to be eclipsed once again by “that” scene when there was so much rich texture and unfoldment on this episode. “Save tomorrow for tomorrow, think about today instead”. From a very famous movie…any guesses???


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    41. Axechucker,

      Bear with me, because this is complicated and I’m not sure it will all come out as clearly as I want it to. But thanks for the respect and whatnot of my differing opinion, first and foremost.

      I love the books, like(d) the show, and will always be a part of the fandom. The show is losing me, though. I read through reviews this week and was underwhelmed. I am not excited to watch anymore, so I probably wont. What I love about the books is the politics, the subtle, behind the scenes negotiations. You see it somewhat in the Kings Landing plot, but they’ve mostly taken it out of the other storylines. Maybe thats how it has to be on TV, maybe the mostly political storylines in the books would make for boring television, and I understand that.

      That said, on to Sansa.

      I don’t think they were trying to be edgy so much as they were trying to make stereotypical exciting television, and move the plot forward. They use rape pretty often as a way to do that, and I have concerns about that. But mostly my concern is how pointless it was.

      We know Sansa is miserable and scared, albeit learning to stand up for herself at times. We know Theon is a broken man, and also that he has guilt over the Starks (he confessed it in one of his gratuitious torture scenes (also super excessive and pointless and took away from that season)) And we know Ramsay is the purest of evil. Maybe they think we need a reminder? But really, we get it.

      There was no point in that scene.

      So you could say it was due to amalgamation and combining the storylines, sure, it does seem like the exact thing Ramsay would do. But it didn’t have to go that far. Stannis, Brienne, Northern lady (did they just introduce this lady to friggin flay her!? like what was her point) – even ROOSE. I mean. Roose knows his son is a maniac, and sets him loose with the heir to the Stark throne.

      We didn’t have to rush to the wedding and to that scene. It seemed rushed and forced, but so has the rest of the series even starting last season so who knows.

      They haven’t been faithful to the books in many ways, so why did they have to be faithful to Ramsay’s character so specifically?

      Maybe Sansa won’t end up happy in her book arc, but literally, in terms of book canon, Ramsay is the worst person that could have ever happened to her. And it seems like, per reviews of the episode, she is still pretty beaten down.. maybe this will change, but I’m not hopeful.

      She didn’t need this to become a power player, she was already starting to seem like one.

      I don’t think rape should be used to shape a character – that almost glorifies it. Sansa has endured an even worse Joffrey than in the books, and she’s never stopped enduring hell since Ned was killed. So really, what was the point?

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    42. Mr Fixit:

      Jesus Christ Superstar! Can I have a cookie?

      On second thought, be sure to send it to Google headquarters.

      BINGO…give the fine human a cookie!! (glad that someone got it). 🙂

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    43. deefalc:
      I don’t think rape should be used to shape a character –that almost glorifies it.

      Rape shapes characters all over the world, every day. It’s a sad, sad fact of life. That’s not glorifying it, that’s dragging that fact out of all of those dark corners and shining a light on it so everyone can see and feel.
      Being all hush hush about it is literally the worst way to deal with it.

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    44. I had hoped the tweet thread would be a lighthearted and fun refuge from Sansageddon, but judging from the walls-of-text above, the matter will not die.

      So, more fuel for the fire:

      The 6500 word essay by the rape victim on AGOTF’s site was, from the parts I read, quite moving, but if ‘rape should never be used as a plot point’ (which many on these boards have also argued), I’m wondering where that would leave such beloved works as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ where, it turns out, the accusation–against a black man–was false. Was challenging the accuser there part of ‘rape apology culture’ and ‘blaming the victim’? Or does racial awareness trump the rape-victims-never-lie canard?

      Both life and art are complicated–as the writer at AGOTF makes clear.

      I look forward to AGOTF posting 6500 word essays from paraplegics, amputees, and burn victims explaining how conflicted they are when their pain is used in the service of fiction, especially, for some reason, on GoT. (Think of Bran, Jaime, and just about anyone within reach of Mel and that great humanitarian reformer, Dany ‘I’m a queen not a butcher’ Targaryen.)

      The greatest crash-and-burn epic of all time is ‘Mad Max Fury Road,’ highly praised by almost everyone in part because ‘rape as a plot device’ inspired Charlize Theron to kick ass. Considering the carnage on our highways, perhaps car wrecks should not be a plot device either. But what do I know; that movie was so cool!

      The list of prohibitions and ‘trigger’ concerns would be endless, and quite frankly, compassion fatigue would kick in.

      Posts on these boards only noted Memorial Day in terms of how the ‘holiday’ might affect ratings. There are countless vets languishing in VA hospitals, yet when GoT thrills us with the death and maiming of wartime men at arms–crickets. That wildfire was great, wasn’t it?

      Even Tyrion realized pushing the rape hot button would rally his troops at the Blackwater. Go out and die, guys, to save your women, it’s the right thing to do–just don’t make it about yourself, okay? That would be offensive.

      I’ve posted on earlier threads that I wished D&D had come up with another arc for Sansa, so I’m not endorsing the use of ‘that scene.’

      But though mostly aghast, a part of me is grateful for the hysteria, as it restores my faith in my lack of faith in humanity.

      Really people, get a grip.

      Finally–and I will back out of the room slowly and carefully–1/3 of women are raped, according to a poster above? Such hyperbole diminishes the very cause it purports to serve.

      Rant off… How ’bout that casting call for Season Six!

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    45. Cumulative effect is a very valid thought process. Leave poor Popeye out of this – but yeah, what was quoted was cumulative effect, too. “I’s can’t take it anymore.” Build up of emotion, good or bad, frustration, whatever. Even Axey gave an example of cumulative effect: “Sansa’s rape did not weaken her, nor will it ultimately define her; I believe it is but another brick in the mortar that will shape her into being, ultimately, a power player in the Game of Thrones.” Another brick to build toward something. Cumulative. A series of events becomes a powder keg. Cumulative.

      There’s hardly anything on TV these days that doesn’t involve rape or some sort of negative sexual mayhem. What are we going to watch that has no events to which we are obligated to object? Cartoons? I guess the slackers have it right. Even PBS used it as a plot tool.

      Speaking of Blackwater, in addition to Tyrion rallying the troops with cries to protect their women, didn’t Cersei tell Sansa that if Stannis broke through, all the women in that room would find themselves in for a bit of rape? (those were the words as I remember them. I’m pretty sure what was said was pretty close to that.) That shocked me then. Luckily, we didn’t have to deal with it then. This season we did. And Yeah, Sansa was the straw.

      I read a lot of questions as to why there was no mass objection to the horrific rape shown at Craster’s and the almost rape of pretty Meera (wouldn’t that have been a shitstorm?!) It’s because the matter was dealt with within that episode, and very satisfyingly. All the mutineers were slaughtered, also as retribution for slaying Joer Mormont, with one of the girls even helping toward that end; Meera escaped, and the women made the decision themselves to go it on their own, under the wise, steady leadership of the Older Sister. (I liked that old broad, would like to see her again.) We didn’t have to deal with it. It was taken out of the equation.

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    46. Thronetender: I read a lot of questions as to why there was no mass objection to the horrific rape shown at Craster’s and the almost rape of pretty Meera (wouldn’t that have been a shitstorm?!) It’s because the matter was dealt with within that episode, and very satisfyingly. All the mutineers were slaughtered, also as retribution for slaying Joer Mormont, with one of the girls even helping toward that end

      Nope, that happened over two episodes. The sexual violence was episode 4, the non-sexual violence – the slaughter – episode 5.

      Also, one more question: Is it only okay to have something bad happen in fiction if immediate karmic retribution is dished out afterwards for everybody to feel better about it and lessen its impact? I very much hope not.

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    47. To all the dramatic people who say they’re quitting the show from outrage over Sansa’s rape, I have to say, the same thing happened to Daenerys in season 1 episode 1. Did you quit then?

      Fact: I actually did quit after watching the pilot. I eventually came back to Game of thrones after season 2 was over. It may take a while, but they’ll be back.

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    48. Thronetender,

      Poor Popeye? Okay I had to take a moment to actually laugh out loud at that…not your comment, just that. Thanks. But I still stand by what I wrote. Sorry if we disagree, want a cookie???

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    49. NYI,

      I’m not talking about how to deal with rape in real life. I’m talking about inserting it time after time in a tv show as a way to “develop” a character.

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    50. deefalc:

      I’m not talking about how to deal with rape in real life. I’m talking about inserting it time after time in a tv show as a way to “develop” a character.

      Except no one is doing that. You’re putting quotation marks on something that doesn’t exist.

      One of the issues I have is people (Americans usually) (shocking, right?) placing any sort of sexual situation on a pedestal higher than other, more gruesome forms of violence. One of the things that struck me as extremely hypocritical: People complaining about Gilly being threatened with rape and not seeming to care one whit that Sam had just got beaten half to death. And worse, when Sam and Gilly later (finally) consummate their relationship, these same people remarking about how ridiculous it was that Gilly might want to have sex–after essentially being shoved a couple of times–rather than talking about how physically painful it would actually be for Samwell.

      Oh, but guys are sooooo horny, they’d always want sex. Totally believable, right?

      Hyur hyur.

      Y’all pick your spots. Your “team” is made quite clear by what you choose to be offended by.

      And I’m not offended by you being offended. I’m not offended by Sansa’s situation, Theon’s situation, Gilly’s situation, or Samwell’s situation. I’m just speaking up to show you how hypocritical and inconsistent these narrow views appear to be.

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    51. Well, your soapbox precludes me from having to complain about the Storify format. I’m so tired of the Sansa debate; I suspect the reality of each person’s position is less black & white than what it is being discussed online. In addition to the Twitter/Storify recap being the most time-consuming feature to read on WotW, your rant makes it easy for me to skip this feature so that it leaves me free to focus on the things I most enjoy reading post-show. I wish you had just stuck to posting the Tweets & left the polarizing soapboxing for the threads set-up to offer a forum for those who wish to go round & round on this topic. Thank you for streamlining my ASOIAF fandom, even just a bit, Axey. The rest of you I will see on Le Twitter.

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    52. AXE – Don’t worry about Dannielle SB throwing shade at your comments. Everyone else cheered you on. Betcha’ she’s back lurking on the tweets next week, anyway.

      JCDavis – about that cookie – you’re gonna’ want me to tell you you’re beautiful, aren’t you?

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    53. Axey, I was not offended either, especially since we saw the abuse coming when LF and Sansa headed north from the Vale. [Apparently, they closed their eyes when they passed through Moat Cailin…ugh!]

      However, as I’ve stated before, I am offended by Sansa’s reaction to Theon. As far as she knows, this fuckin’ Greyjoy betrayed her family, desecrated WF, killed her two little brothers, and stood there and watched her getting raped by a fuckin’ Bolton. Two major assholes surrounding her…which is worse to her??? And then she says “Promise me…” to him. WTF? Until she understands completely that Theon killed two other boys (as if it really mattered), she should want to kill Theon almost as much as the she should want to kill her abusive “husband.” I simply can’t get past that the missing emotion/trepidation that SHOULD be obvious within her (which they admittedly touched on during their short pre-wedding scene).

      But then again…this is the same Sansa that was (partly) responsible for getting Lady killed, Nymeria lost, and her father beheaded due to her naivete and fairytale princess delusions. After her LF experience, this is what she chooses to do?

      I’d prefer her having Stockholm Syndrome than the “survival skills” that she has demonstrated thus far. At least she is showing some independent flair with the dangerous backtalk to Ramsay/Myranda and the collection of possible weapons (or escape tools).

      After all these “bully pulpit” pitches on the rapey subject, what say you about her Theon “trust”, Axey?

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    54. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I don’t like that part of the story much at all. Sansa’s assumption should be that Reek is 1000% loyal to Ramsay. I feel like the writers just wanted them to interact more, so they had this sudden trust whoosh up our of nowhere.

      The season has had some problems. Dorne hasn’t been very well received, either. And a little telling that a 40-second breast-baring scene could be even in the running for “Best Dorne scene.”

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    55. Axechucker,

      I don’t think it’s that she trusted him exactly, just that he was the only non-Ramsay person with access to that room. So it was either appeal to him to help her or get no help whatsoever. So she took her chances.

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    56. Axechucker,

      Does Sansa have other options other than Reek? I’m assuming that Reek is the only person allowed to enter Sansa’s room, so Sansa took her chances, hoping to raise back the Greyjoy spirit within Reek

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    57. Rodrik and Axechucker, I really like the way you guys do words.

      Rodrik the Reader:
      But though mostly aghast, a part of me is grateful for the hysteria, as it restores my faith in my lack of faith in humanity.

      was a personal highlight for me.

      Great points too.

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    58. Hodor’s Bastard,

      If you watch Sansa closely, you’ll notice she is acting very similar to how she always acted. She has moments of defiance and moments of naivety that she switches between.

      She doesn’t seem able to ‘play the game’ consistently. At least not yet. The only way you might notice the evolving of her character is that those defiant moments are coming up more frequently now.

      Of course there are examples coming: Already with Joffrey, Sansa was considering throwing him down after he showed her Ned’s head. Sansa saved Dontos. Sansa defends Rickon crying. I’d even count Sansa refusing to leave with the Hound. And all those moments shine through a seemingly broken Sansa in King’s Landing.
      Now in Winterfell again, Sansa hesitated a long time before switching and smiling to Roose on arrival. Sansa was terrified at the Bolton family dinner, yet she pointed out Boltons have nothing to do at Winterfell (“it’s people that are strange”) and smirks at the revelation Ramsay doesn’t want a somewhat more legitimate brother.
      Then, again, Sansa hesitates a long time before accepting the marriage just after her highpoint of defying Myranda.

      I’d probably be asking too much of her to get her priorities straight. One would assume she was more or less ready for the marriage. Once she decided on the rock over Moat Cailin she’s going to Winterfell, there’s no coming back.
      It’s simply possible that whatever inner resolve and plans she has are repeatedly destroyed by the sheer horror she sees. The presence of Theon (at the dinner, in the bedroom) clearly destabilised her. Discovering Ramsay is worse than she expected is also not helping.

      All in all, I’ve accepted Sansa isn’t that much closer to a player in ‘the game’ than she was in season 2. And I’m now believing she won’t ever become another Margaery or another Cersei. That said, she’s making baby steps. Hopefully she’s realised now she’s in hell and it won’t get better if she doesn’t help it herself.

      Btw: I agree with Axey about Dorne quite entirely. That scene definitely was the best Sand Snake scene. As for Dorne, ‘in the running for best’ is quite possible. But as said above, I managed to explain apparent Winterfell inconsistencies to myself. Hurrah!

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    59. Thronetender:
      AXE – Don’t worry about Dannielle SB throwing shade at your comments. Everyone else cheered you on. Betcha’ she’s back lurking on the tweets next week, anyway.

      JCDavis – about that cookie – you’re gonna’ want me to tell you you’re beautiful, aren’t you?

      Well…..Jeebus, it couldn’t hoit, amirite? Here is a double chocolate, chocolate chip cookie for you anyhooz. 😉

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    60. And speaking of Sam…

      In the recap thread, one of the site’s regular jokesters got a lot of heat for trolling that Gilly raped Sam. He was soundly hooted off the stage, but if one addresses the matter seriously, one can only conclude that the concussed Sam was suffering from diminished capacity and was as such incapable of giving consent; hence, by contemporary standards, rape.

      The renegade interpretation of the scene is that Gilly feared Sam would tire of getting beat up on her behalf, and she therefore used sex to both solidify their bond and as a let’s-get-out-of-Dodge ploy.

      The next day, we can certainly envision Sam blaming HIMSELF for his lapse and trying to be even more honorable, vaguely echoing book Robb’s hookup with Jeyne Westerling; readers will recall he slept with her during an episode of diminished capacity both physical and mental, then married her less out of love than the twin torpedo of Stark honor and guilt.

      Which segues to poor Hizdahr, the Sansa of Essos, forced to marry the woman who killed his father. For him, the wedding night will be a nightmare. Will Dany force Grey Worm to watch?

      If Hizdahr is indeed the Harpy, I applaud his ‘agency.’

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    61. TOIVA,

      As you can tell, I am still reeling from the show-only displacement of Sansa. Still hard to accept, but damn I enjoyed your recap and rationale! Thx! I rather enjoy Sansa’s wobbling (her “defiant” vs “naive” moments) just as GRRM has portrayed her; he almost covets her! However, her Theon/Reek interaction baffles me. She is an abused hostage at her childhood home. Trust is a ridiculous option for her, given the events of her past. By simply opening up a bit and demonstrating her naivete, people and pets die.

      I’m glad Brienne is hanging around (although even her hellish AFfC journey is more exciting than her shadowing of Sansa) but I really don’t want Brienne to serve as the next Hound, the next LF…someone to save her.

      Hopefully, this is Sansa’s agency moment. She needs to employ a little Bran, a little Arya and escape from her room, use the secrets of WF (the tower, the crypts, the secret passages, etc) and become the Ghost of Winterfell….by herself! Instead of trusting Theon/Reek, steal something from him, confuse him… Or is that too predictable? Will she continue the “slow burn”?

      Oh well, hopefully, she and Theon get to spend some time in the godswood soon. Listen to the wind!

      and thanks again for your thoughts!

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    62. Love these twitter recaps, Axey!! I :O When i scrolled down and saw mine was the first one! hahahaa thanks!! And..whatever I or anyone else think about this part of the Northern story….I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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    63. Rodrik the Reader,
      Oh my, now I’m hoping we see even more of Hizdahr (and I liked him even before).
      On the other hand, from the Daario/Daenerys bed discussion, it would seem Daenerys isn’t even considering inviting Hizdahr in her bed.

      Thanks for all the nonorthodox thoughts, though. One can’t say you don’t provoke some thinking…

      Hodor’s Bastard,

      Heh, I’m glad someone even read that post (I’ve noticed I tend to write walls of text most of the time).

      As for Sansa trusting Reek/Theon. Others have noted she probably didn’t have a choice. No one else but Ramsay enter the room. And besides that, it was one of her defiant moments, she realised Reek/Theon is very much afraid of Ramsay -> therefore she judged both are in the same boat. Also she thought it couldn’t be any worse if she was betrayed (well she even said it coudn’t be worse for her).
      Now Sansa’s realised how much Theon is Reek, that it always can get worse (if not for her personally, then for others) and also she finally knows about all Ramsay’s favourite hobbies.

      I’ll say I remain optimist. I believe Sansa will not be broken and will understand that she cannot count on external help. It is upon her to do her own business at last. (Problem is, I don’t see how else her story could go now. If it doesn’t work out, I may be greatly disappointed.)

      Btw. being Unsullied, I preferred not to read your spoilertagged paragraph. Hopefully I didn’t miss some point of yours.

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    64. TOIVA,

      Apologies! We should have a flag next to our handle that indicates Sullied or Unsullied! 🙂 I tend to integrate book references into my responses, an undisciplined habit.

      I totally agree that Sansa’s future is in her own hands. As the battle looms, she needs to find a way. Very interesting predicament.

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    65. TOIVA,

      Yeah, it’ll probably be separate bedrooms. Hizdahr knows the score. And with both Jorah and Tyrion on hand, it’s not as if Dany won’t have enough men to juggle, including Daario. Plus: dragons!

      A busy working mom indeed!

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    66. Rodrik the Reader,

      Many men indeed. I hope we get to see Missandei again. (Why wasn’t she at the pit with Daenerys?)

      Also it brings another question to me: Are all the dragons male?

      Hodor’s Bastard,

      As long as the references aren’t spoilery, all’s fine.
      I just don’t get to read the veiled parts. Which I find is a good idea as staying unspoiled increases the viewing pleasure. (I’m already regretting I read the post about Season 6 casting. What can I say? Momentary curiosity coupled with the unfounded belief it won’t really spoil anything got the better of me.)

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    67. All great points. I like it when healthy debate springs from the show. A lot of people like to say that Benioff and Weiss (and Cogman) don’t get what George is doing, and I couldn’t disagree more. Of all the things his prose does, the “humanity is neither good nor evil but rather colorful shades of gray” resonates with me the strongest. And for the most part they show that; even one of the most noble characters, Brienne, has some very distinct flaws. (George’s oldest trick, Ned, shows the inherent flaw in having too much nobility.)

      Which again isn’t to say the show is flawless. It’s not. But I agree that the “Sansa sharing too much with Theon” is not so much an actual flaw, but a necessary evil in the television format, much as Littlefinger sharing too much aloud rather in his (or someone else’s) head. The show may have a cast of hundreds, yet there is still a finite number of people you can have, and only x amount of actual actors. They need to interact in some fashion, so you get what you get.

      And I agree, Reek literally was the only person Sansa can turn to at that point. (Though at the time she does it we have no idea that the old woman who served her before was not tending to her and was actually being flayed.)

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    68. TOIVA,

      Maester Aemon, I believe, mentioned that the book dragons aren’t distinctly male or female in the human sense. Drogon certainly seems the alpha male, and for simplicity’s sake, he’s referred to as ‘he’ in both books and show.

      The gender of the dragons, as well as the people who might be associated with them in the future, does drift into spoiler territory, but things remain vague.

      I’m a book reader and try to stay within appropriate bounds here, but even the casting news on the later thread might not spoil all that much, as the season will be mostly off-book.

      Unfortunately, yeah, with all those ‘new’ names and possible scenarios being bandied about, there’s always the risk that you’ll either be spoiled or, worse, become unable to contain your curiosity and go to a wiki.

      That’s what I did after Season One, so I knew all about the Red Wedding before I’d even read it in the books! When I actually got to see it, my reaction was purely academic. I didn’t start crying over it until I saw all the reaction videos on Youtube! A very meta experience.

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    69. Rodrik the Reader,

      Alright, I’ll stop thinking about dragons.

      I’d say the biggest danger in trying to learn things (past/present – future if you lose control of your curiosity) is you’ll start to have expectations. Example: I was very much looking forward to Dorne, not because I was spoiled, simply because I knew there would be Dorne (Oberyn’s daughters, Oberyn’s brother, the locations). Look how that’s ended up…
      I like to learn more about what’s going on now in the show, or what might have happened before. But along with more knowledge, you may also come upon book spoilers unwillingly, or simply learn too much (IE: things that the show couldn’t/can’t convey as well).

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    70. The Rat Kook,

      Thanks, Rat. And now that this thread seems to be winding down, maybe it’s safe to sneak in my answer to the question no one is asking:

      What happens to all those cocks?

      Of the Unsullied, I mean. A bumper crop of hundreds (thousands?) a year can’t just go into a dumpster, right? Seems to me some entrepreneur would have realized a long time ago that a cock is a terrible thing to waste and created a market justified with quasi-religious overtones. (Lucky rabbit’s feet? Nutritional supplements for men?)

      We know what happened to Varys. We know what almost happened to Tyrion. And we know ‘cock merchant’ is a real profession in Essos. Should we fear karmic retribution on Tyrion for his ‘cut off his manhood and feed it to the goats’ threat in Season Two?

      If there is indeed magic in a dwarf’s cock, I pray Mel never meets Tyrion, lest she decides king’s blood is mere synfuel and that the nuclear option is to put Tyrion’s ‘guess again’ jumbo shrimp on the barbie.

      Yeah, I know I’m going to the Seven Hells for the above… ‘Outrageous, offensive, and completely unacceptable’ (Pycelle S3E10, I believe).

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    71. Ser RtReader

      I have been having some trouble understanding the dragon thing too. I mean did those dragon eggs just drop out of thin air? I would think logically it would take a male and female to produce an egg….or maybe they can reproduce from either sex. It is a bit murky at this point. But I have been curious based on the fact that the dragons got smaller and smaller as the Targaryan Empire was waning. I was further thinking that these new dragons would be the beginning of the new Targaryan era and bringing dragons back to the “world?”.

      Any thoughts? Anyone? Bueller? 😉

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    72. JCDavis,
      There are hints that an anti-magic contingent took out the dragons. The eggs gifted to Dany were thought to be fossilized. It has further been suggested that the passing comet in S1/S2 awakened the dragon eggs, bringing magic back into the world.

      The Westerosi elite had such a vested interest in erasing ancient wisdom that the dragons passed into myth, as did belief in the snarks and grumkins (spelling?) Tyrion joked about, giants, children of the forest, and of course, White Walkers and wights. In the show, I believe there was a scene where Maester Luwin told Bran that as a student at the Citadel, he surreptitiously studied the casting of spells (Harry Potter style) but nothing he did could get them to work.

      It is unclear what brought the Walkers and their King out of their long sleep, but it has to be connected somehow to the dragons, given the Ice and Fire theme.

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    73. Contra Axechucker/Kenny, Shae states in season 1 that a woman who was almost raped doesn’t go directly to the bed of another man. Although I know George R. R. Martin might disagree.

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    74. FictionIsntReal,

      I think, it depends on the situation — how severe the trauma was to the victim. In the case of Gilly, she was shoved and suffers no major physical harm, since Sam came to the rescue. Plus the fact that her own father got her impregnated (I’m almost sure she was forced to the “act” by her own father, then it’s safe to assume that she has already her own share of trauma in the past and gotten over it. Ergo, she can “go directly to the bed”, afterall, it’s Sam, her protector.

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    75. Rodrik the Reader,

      Good point. Apologies, but my initial reaction to your comment was LOL. Of all the things.. anyways, when did one became an Unsullied warrior? My assumption was at the young age, and their first “pain experience” will be, being castrated. A young cock (I will say small) will serve what purpose? Maybe the foreskins will be some value, but in general, I think they just tossed it as food to the wild animals.

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    76. FictionIsntReal,

      Shae is welcome to her opinion, but that was proven wrong when we learned that Tysha was in fact not a plant but was actually a woman who was almost raped and who then did go to bed with Tyrion.

      (Of course we can now debate the differences between book and show, etc, forever and ever. As you already said, George may disagree, but I wouldn’t precisely put his opinion up as an example; he had a 13-year old Dany take a very large and frightening barbarian’s finger and insert it into her vagina.)

      That said, women go to bed with men for many reasons, some not having to do with actual desire. I personally think her bedding Sam was in part driven by a motivation to secure him; I think she’s smart enough to know she can’t stay here forever now, and getting him to break a vow (though really she’d probably have to turn up preggers for that to apply with his logic) is another step forward toward having him around to “always protect little Sam.” And in fact she was not initially intending on having sex with him; it was only after she was about to leave and he begged her to stay that she acquiesced. In that one small moment something seemed to change in her eyes (at least that’s how I read the actress’s choice in portraying it), and she went full-on Wildling Seductress.

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    77. Wolf Runner,

      I was mostly being facetious, of course, with that post, but since you brought it up, my fuzzy recollection is that the castration took place sometime around puberty. Kind of like a reverse manhood ritual. I do remember from ‘Roots’ that Kunta Kinte had his ‘foto’ circumsized as a tweener. (The things one remembers… paging Dr. Freud…) So, maybe I’m conflating jumbled historical and cultural references.

      A somewhat more serious question is why so many of the men of Slaver’s Bay seem so indolent and soft. Not only do they let slaves do all the work, but they hire mercenaries to do all the fighting.

      Wedged between the ‘Planet of the Apes’ Forbidden Zone of Valyria and hyper-masculine Dothraki periodically thundering out of the grasslands to ‘honor’ conquered women with rapine and pillage, it’s as if the Essosi in these quarters decided, enough of this shit, let the thugs we hire deal with it all.

      And, the first instinct of the Yunkai was not to fight Dany, but to pay her off. Kind of like what happened with the Barbarians at the Gate during the Fall of the Roman Empire.

      One take on the Unsullied is that castration makes them a more humane fighting force. They are precision instruments in battle and never off-mission. With no testosterone to whip into a frenzy, as well as no equipment to actualize it, they’re incapable of indulging in the ‘little bit of rape’ Cersei worried about during Blackwater.

      Guys like Hizdahr vicariously sublimate what’s left of their manhood into undue obsessions with the fighting pits, as do couch potatoes today (NFL, UFC, etc.).

      “Are you not entertained?” as Maximus would say.

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    78. Axechucker,

      And Ygritte was all flirty and snuggly with Jon Snow from the get go, even though he was her (botched) executioner, captor, and a hated Crow. Osha hopped into bed with Theon, then batted her eyes and embraced a guard before killing him. If anything, the more sheltered (in the worst sense of the word) Gilly was a little slow in realizing her Wildling Seductress power.

      And please, no cracks about women using sex as a weapon. Men going weak in the knees and head regarding women indicts the men more than it does the women. Robert brought down a kingdom over of a woman who never had any interest in him whatsoever!

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    79. Ser RtReader

      I did do some research into the dragon thing and really within the ASoIaF world, there was not much to be garnered. Thank you for your response. I think your age is showing from your reference points in other posts….and mine too as I recognize them. *cough*

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