Actor and activist Jessica Chastain has slammed Game Of Thrones‘ latest episode, especially taking a dig at the makers for justifying rape and sexual abuse for the evolution of Sansa Stark’s character. To recap, in the latest episode, Sandor Clegane, aka the Hound (played by Rory McCann) tells Sansa Stark, aka the Lady of Winterfell (played by Sophie Turner) that had she left King’s Landing with him, she would not have faced evil men like Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish and Ramsay Bolton.
He says, “None of it would have happened if you had left King’s Landing with me,” he tells her. “No Littlefinger, no Ramsay, none of it.” To this Sansa replies, “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a ‘little bird’ all my life.” That’s the name the Hound has always called her by.
This particular line did not amuse Dark Shadows actress Chastain, who took to Twitter on Tuesday to call out the HBO series for crediting Sansa’s victimisation as a need for evolution of her character. She pointed out that using sexual violence as a plot device is misplaced.
Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger. A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone. #GameOfThrones (sic) – Jessica Chastain
Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger. A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.#GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/TVIyt8LYxI
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) May 7, 2019
Not just Chastain, this GoT dialogue has irked many fans. The conversation may have been an ego booster for Stark, but for all the possible wrong reasons. The series writers attributed the strength and evolution of Stark’s character to the tough times she’s been through during the course of the show. It comes across as if she is proud of the multiple incidents of sexual harassment or rape, else she wouldn’t have ever become Lady of Winterfell. Not every success can be credited to the struggles a person has faced, especially sexual abuse, which leaves a survivor with trauma that lasts a lifetime. Thus Jessica, who co-stars with Sophie Turner in the upcoming movie X-Men, isn’t wrong in slamming makers for crediting rape and sexual abuse with the evolution of Sansa’s character.
Throughout the series, Baelish si shown manipulating Sansa, befriending her as her protector and mentor and later trading her to Ramsay who eventually rapes her. Many criticised the development in fifth season of the series, which showed Ramsay raping Sansa on their wedding night, since the plot was absent in GRR Martin’s books.
Not every success can be credited to the struggles a person has faced, especially sexual abuse, which leaves a survivor with trauma that lasts a lifetime.
After the backlash to the Season 5 assault, explaining the scene, writer-producer Bryan Cogman said in 2016, “If she’s marrying Ramsay, what would happen on her wedding night?” he said. “And we made the decision to not shy away from what would realistically happen on that wedding night with these two characters, and the reality of the situation, and the reality of this particular world . . . Yes, it would have been hugely satisfying [for Sansa] to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that’s not Sansa. . . . We can’t all be Arya. . . . Most people in that situation, they have to play a longer game,” he added.
Meanwhile, Turner is prepping to reprise her role as the telekinetic-telepath mutant, Jean Grey aka Phoenix in Dark Phoenix.
Feature Image Credit: Image Magazine/ geeknation