New Parallels That Emerge After That Controversial Game of Thrones Scene

A lot has already been said about depictions of rape on screen and all the problematic things that ensue as a result of using rape as quick fix to make the viewer sympathize with/despise a character. It's usually just lazy writing. In the case of Game of Thrones, exploitation and mediocre writing aren't exactly uncommon. This is a highly addictive and frustrating show to watch. On one hand: Action! Dragons! Zombies! Peter Dinklage! On the other hand: Boring walks through gardens? Rape? Endless numbers of characters/places? All the other actors that aren't Peter Dinklage?

Though I do still enjoy watching the show, I won't defend it on artistic merit either as a whole or concerning it's questionable (at the very least) depictions of women and violence. I will, however, look at the latest controversial scene that has many people up in arms. I am not "defending" this scene, but want to look at the potential that such a simple scene does and could add to the narrative, rather than look solely at the negative that has (rightfully) already been pointed out.
No, yeah, this is gonna go well.
Spoilers ahead, obviously.

Okay, so Sansa was raped by Ramsay. I'm going to forgo any introduction of these characters and assume you already know who these people are and how they got to where they are. This a pretty predictable scene, knowing it's GoT, a wedding, and what has been happening this season. It was obviously a tough scene to watch, but I couldn't help but think about it in the greater context of Sansa's journey and compare it to the arcs of the other Stark children, particularly that of Jon Snow. Another side bar: I know that in the books Ramsay raped someone else. I don't care. This is the show. We're talking about the show.
Sad Jon Snow is sad
The sexuality of each of the Stark children is very interesting. Sansa first appears as the traditional heterosexual girly girl, innocent, and virginal. Jon Snow, also a virgin at the start of the show, masculine, self-sacrificing, noble, and trying to prove himself to his father by joining the Night's Watch. Arya is essentially asexual and looked down upon as a girl. And Bran to beastiality or something? I donno, Bran sucks.

So with both Jon and Sansa, their paths were pretty much set in stone early on: she was going to marry a prince and live happily ever after, he was going to join the Night's Watch and live out his life defending Westeros from the horrors beyond the wall. As I mentioned before, they both started the show as virgins. John would eventually meet that sexy ginger wildling, fall in love with her and willingly decide to sleep with her, breaking his vow to the Night's Watch. In this past episode, Sansa finally married a prince and was raped on her wedding night. An external source (Ramsay) forced that upon her (Littlefinger actually insisted she marry Ramsay, putting these events in motion, but she ultimately agreed). An internal source (Jon Snow's choice) made that decision for him (though it took some convincing).

In both cases, however, I don't see this as the defining loss of innocence moment for either character. This is a point that I don't think we've yet seen with Sansa Stark, but lets look at what happened to Jon Snow after he finally had sex. Yritte quickly betrayed him, they separated, and then she was killed by an EXTERNAL force (the little boy who's family was killed by the wildlings). This then propelled Jon into the position of leader of the Night's Watch. This is his loss of innocence.

So what about Sansa? If the aftermath of her rape by Ramsey plays out as it should, a very interesting inverted parallel is created between these two characters. If she ultimately ends up killing Ramsey, then her external force is converted into an INTERNAL decision to commit murder. The result of which may lead her to becoming Wardeness of the North (a position of power like that of Jon Snow).

In summary:
I guess another parallel is that these are two "couples" of a redheaded woman and a dark haired guy...just like Stannis and Melisandre...huh.
Of course, a lot of the concern in the way the scene played out on screen was that it showed Theon Greyjoy's perspective of what was happening. And we know he's gotta snap out of Ramsay's control sooner or later, so the concern is that he will be the one to kill Ramsay for all that he's done to him, rather than Sansa getting her revenge. This would obviously be a mistake and weaken Sansa's narrative by having to have a rescuer, which we are already kind of past.

In the end, who knows how this is going to play out. Knowing the show, probably not very well. But unlike the Jaimie/Cersei rape scene in season four which didn't really add anything to the show's narrative or character development (aside from general ickiness...I guess incest over your son's dead body wasn't gross enough), I remain convinced that Game of Throne's issue in depicting female characters and rape in this instance will be determined more by what happens next, rather than this particular scene. Say what you like about the negative connotations of this scene and similar scenes, of which there are many, but the narrative potential is interesting. Lets all just hope the writers are smart enough to follow through.


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