If you've been watching this blog long enough you'd know that each week a new post is put up on Wednesday. But once and a great while, an exception has to be made. And after the events on the show Game of Thrones this past Sunday and the subsequent reactions to it, I felt a need to put in my 2 cents about the matter. This is a blog geared towards women in geekdom, after all.
Sansa Stark Season 1
Image via HBO
SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. Nothing but spoilers, folks!
In the last episode of GOT, Sansa reluctantly married the ruthless and terrifying Ramsay Bolton so that him and his father would have a rightful claim over Winterfell, and, in turn, the North. You're all aware of what a couple usually does on their wedding night, but knowing Ramsay, it's going to be twisted into something much worse. Ramsay rapes Sansa while making Reek, formerly Theon, watch the whole thing. After the episode aired, everyone flipped out! There were claims from hundreds of fans saying that they were done with the show or threatened that they would stop watching if this kind of thing kept happening. A politician even had some harsh words to say, so you know it's serious *sarcasm*.

Initially the thing that confused me the most, was the impression that everyone seemed to have that the show was somehow endorsing something as heinous as rape. In what way are they doing that? The man raping Sansa is one of the most hated and feared characters of GOT! I've yet to meet any fan that likes him or finds him in any way redeeming, whatsoever. Not once in the series has a protagonist openly communicated in any way that sexual violence is A-okay! Whenever they do decide to show such a thing, it makes the viewer cringe and silently outraged; that isn't on accident people! They wrote, shot, and edited each of those scenes to make you understand and feel the injustice and inhumanity of what you're seeing.

Then I realized that this is far from the first time they've shown something like this on the show. Where were all of these threats to stop watching when a sobbing Dany was forced to consummate her marriage to Khal Drogo in the first friggin' episode? Why did no one make a fuss when they found out Craster kept dozens of daughter/wives sexually enslaved in his keep? Where was the outrage when Joffrey tortured whores in his chambers? I don't even remember people getting this upset when Jaime assaulted Cersei at Joffreys' funeral! The entire plot of the series wouldn't be the same if a woman wasn't assaulted at some point.

The series, in both the book and television, takes loads of inspiration from historical people and events that took place in European history around the 1400s and beyond. Knowing how violent and patriarchal society was in those days, you can bet your butt that the way women have been treated in the show is accurate with the times.

Listen, if you're the casual viewer who just can't stomach the amount of blood, sex, and violence in the series then don't watch the show. I completely understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea. There are even a few friends of mine that I have steered away from GOT because I know they wouldn't be able to handle it. But if you've been an avid watcher since the first episode, and up to the current episode of season 5, and you're only now complaining and throwing a fit about it's content, then you're a hypocrite. Plain and simple.  You can't suddenly act all high and mighty after coming this far and seeing the countless boobs, blood, and violence. The moment Sansa was given to Ramsay you knew what was probably going to happen.

I suppose lots of credit needs to be given to Benioff, Weiss, and Martin for making the Game of Thrones universe so real to those watching that they forget Sansa Stark isn't an actual person that lives in Westeros (Which, guess what, also doesn't exist!). It's incredibly sad to me that the same people who are outraged over a television show can't have the same reaction to the fact that real women are sexually assaulted and raped every minute of every day across the globe. 

Here's what I think the main issue is that people have had with the recent 'developments' of GOT: Sansa is innocent. Since we've known her as a young girl she's been naive and even a bit spoiled, dreaming of being a princess and someday even a queen. Then over the course of each episode, that dream is slowly torn down, piece by piece. She comes to realize that her intended is a monster, watches her father get beheaded, is constantly abused in nearly every way by the crown prince, made to marry a man that is seen as a joke throughout the kingdom (thereby making herself a joke), threatened and assaulted by what she thinks is the only family she has left, and finally taken back home to Winterfell to marry the biggest monster in Westeros. The worst part of it all is that somehow she's managed to keep her 'virtue' intact throughout all of this madness. The way in which she finally loses it can almost be seen as an incredibly cruel and callous joke.

Being familiar with storytelling and development from my college studies, what Sansa has been through this entire time is called an 'arch', in which a character (usually the protagonist) starts off with certain attributes and goals but then goes through a journey where they are changed into something else. Usually they change for the better and overcome whatever obstacle is put in their way. Right now, Sansa is at the lowest point in her journey, rock bottom, the thing she's kept safe has been stolen from her and it looks like she may never have the idealistic, fairytale happy ending that she's always dreamt of. After this point in the story, characters will make the change that is needed for them carry on and succeed. It's a plot device as old as dirt. 

I'm actually intrigued as to where Sansa's character could go from here. She's been nothing but a victim for several seasons and that may be about to change. What kind of change she's going to make and whether or not it will be towards the dark side or light side remains to be seen; this IS Game of Thrones we're talking about after all. But, like any women who goes through something as horrible as what Sansa went through they can rise up and be stronger, be a voice for sexually abused women when everyone else puts their hands over their ears, refusing to look or listen because 'they don't need to think about that' or because it's 'upsetting'. Who knows, she may now become a huge playing piece that changes the course of history in Westeros.

And that is why I'll continue to watch Game Of Thrones.

Rant over. Phoebe out!