Fans, audience, writers and whiners have had a lot to say about episode six Season 5 of Game of Thrones: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” The controversial final scene of Sansa’s horrific wedding night has gone viral and many are spewing fire faster than Dany’s dragons.
Not only did Twitter feeds go haywire on Sunday night shortly after the gruesome scene, but websites like Deadspin have summed up their view saying that show has taken a turn for the worst and has pretty much “run out of ideas,” while others like The Mary Sue are eliminating any promotion for HBO’s Thrones altogether.
Though I must agree this scene may have taken the story line a bit too far – and we’ll get to my view on this in a moment – it seems that people’s reaction have gone far enough to say the show is ruined or not worth reporting on any longer.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
For one, the storyline that’s lacking is the The Dorne subplot which hasn’t given us much and the characters within this (i.e. The Sand Snakes, Ellaria Sand, Trystan Martell and even the Lannister, Myrcella Baratheon) are falling flat. This is a whole other issue and topic so I digress.
Returning to the “Black Wedding” – as Thrones’ fandom have dubbed it – what is it about this particular scene (out of all others in the series) that’s got so many panties in a twist?
Let’s round up the scene: Sansa marries Ramsay before the godswood at Winterfell and is then taken to their chambers where Ramsay rips off her clothes and rapes her while a tortured Theon/Reek is forced to watch.
Many are arguing that this scene was uncalled for and not necessary for the plot line. We are all aware of what a horrible human being Ramsay is – recalling the removal of Theon’s genitals back in Season 3 and “the hunt” of Tansy (one of his ex-girlfriends, if you will) in Season 4 – so from the moment Littlefinger revealed his plan to marry Sansa off to the newly legitimized heir of the Dreadfort and subsequently, Winterfell, it was a safe bet to assume the horrors that awaited her.
Other scenes in particular were enough to cement this truth like last week’s awkward dinner party between Sansa and her new family. Deadspin elaborates that this in fact was,
“A well-done, actually worthwhile scene from last week’s episode, in which Sansa is forced to sit through a creepy and unsettling family dinner with the Boltons, deftly conveyed the dire nature of her situation. When Ramsay forced Theon to apologize for “killing” Sansa’s “brothers” (they were really two random farm boys), his intent to make both of their lives hell was made perfectly clear.” – Deadspin
This was a scene to commemorate given that it holds so much weight on each character’s storyline; Sansa sees what she’s actually in for at last, Theon/Reek continues to be tortured (go figure) and Ramsay shows off his newly honed power as Bolton’s heir but is quickly cut short by his father when he reveals there is a rival to his position now that his lovely step-mother, Fat Walda, is pregnant.
A rather significant foreshadowing to what’s to happen next because for a moment Ramsay seems unsure and upset while Sansa is rather pleased. Could rape be a way for Ramsay to solidify his position as heir and power over Sansa and in turn Theon?
We can argue that Ramsay is just a sociopath and enjoys hurting others, especially those he feels are weaker than him however, he also wants power and has been longing for this his entire life. Roose Bolton legitimatizing him and making him an official Lord gives him that power and his wedding night with Sansa was going to be exactly what he wants it to be.
Others (including myself) are more hopeful and naturally we’d want the good ones to win.
“As the scene played out, I though(t) she might pull a dagger out of her wedding gown and end Ramsey once and for all. She didn’t. What a missed opportunity to do something that would have actually surprised your audience. Rape, on the other hand, is expected.” – The Mary Sue
I wouldn’t say this scene was expected (or not necessary) and to counter The Mary Sue, rape actually wasn’t expected and the strong reactions online and elsewhere are testament to this. Perhaps Theon could have dove in, fought back and stopped Ramsay from doing the unthinkable, but that wouldn’t be Game of Thrones and a person as tortured as Theon was/is wouldn’t react so idealistically… at least not yet.
As for Sansa, it was just as upsetting to watch this happen to her of all people. We’ve watched her grow up and storyline progress over the years. The worst part is that she was coming in to her own to only be stripped down from that tiny bit of power she was accruing. As I mentioned before, this mirrors Season 1, when Dany was in the same position as she was raped by her new husband Khal Drogo. She however, slowly asserts her position and power throughout the following seasons.
Could they be planning the same with Sansa?
The Mary Sue argues that,
“Using rape as the impetus for character motivations is one of the most problematic tropes in fiction. Rarely is it ever afforded the careful consideration it deserves. Was there more gravity given to the act on Game of Thrones than in the past on the series? I would say yes; however, it took Sansa from her growing place of power, cut her off at the knees, and put the focus on Theon’s ordeal, instead.”
Man… you can’t make everyone happy but one thing in contrast to Mary Sue (and many others I am sure) I actually do appreciate the cut to Theon’s face because watching the actual deed take place would’ve just been unbearable.
I wouldn’t say this was the best move creators Dan Weiss and David Benioff have made but I am intrigued to learn where they’re going with this. Thus far, Game of Thrones has turned out to be an incredible series that captures the essence of so many characters and story-lines and captures them well. They haven’t failed me yet and I have faith that they will deliver in the end.
Much like Bronn says after Jamie cuts off his singing, “this song is really about the ending.”