Jessica Chastain calls out 'Game of Thrones' for using rape as a tool to empower Sansa
Actress, Jessica Chastain took to Twitter after the latest Game of Thrones episode aired to criticise producers of the HBO show for conflating Sansa Stark's rape with her empowerment.
The contentious moment occurred in the fourth episode of the final season, The Last of the Starks, during a conversation between Sophie Turner's Sansa and Rory McCann's The Hound.
The Hound tells Sansa that she could had avoided all the physical and emotional pain she endured if she had just left King's Landing with him back in season 2.
Her retort? "Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life."
Chastain promptly addressed the interchange on Twitter, writing "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 little bird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone."
Her tweet garnered over 21,000 likes on the social media platform, with people not only agreeing that the initial rape scene in season five was gratuitous, but that that one line in the last episode undermines the courage and strength Sansa's character has shown in the past few seasons.
"GoT has been doing this its entire run. The actors deserve better. I cannot believe this has been the male writers’ go-to for female character development. Sad," wrote one Twitter user, while another corroborated, "She gained more strength without getting repeatedly assaulted in the books. she was never even supposed to be sold to Ramsay and that’s why it’s even more disgusting they’re trying to justify it now through her lines."
"I think it's the most upsetting thing about the shows change of who gets sent to Ramsey is that it was done for the benefit of a male character's story (Theon) not because it made sense for Sansa's story," added a third.
Others chose to argue that people are influenced by both the good and bad experiences in life.
"Good and bad experiences shape us in real life. Why shouldn't fiction reflect that, especially fiction set in a brutal world? Don't be sanctimonious about it. Also, Sansa doesn't exist - Sophie does, and if she had a problem with those lines, I'm sure she would have voiced it," asserted one Twitter user.
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The episode also sparked debate amongst journalists. "Now Sansa’s saying that she wouldn’t have grown as a person were it not for eight seasons of gratuitous torture porn," wrote IndieWire’s television awards editor, Libby Hill.
"For as much as adversity does strengthen some people, it beggars belief that after years of abuse a woman comes out the other side brushing the dirt off her hands and saying, 'You know, that was tough, but I really learned something about myself.' Way to rob Sansa’s journey of any meaning, you dumb jerks."