Game of Thrones Is Making Changes After Negative Responses to Rape Scenes

Jeremy Podeswa, who directed Game of Thrones ' controversial Season 5 episode "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" and the first two episodes of the upcoming sixth season, said at a press conference that the show's creators have adapted their approach to making the series after the widespread negative response to Sansa Stark's (Sophie Turner) rape scene in the aforementioned episode.

According to Podeswa, Thrones creators Dan Weiss and David Benioff "were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result," Forbes reports. "It is important that (the producers) not self-censor. The show depicts a brutal world where horrible things happen. They did not want to be too overly influenced by that (criticism) but they did absorb and take it in and it did influence them in a way."

He was not specific about what those changes entail.

About the scene itself, Podeswa said, "It was a difficult and brutal scene, and we knew it was going to be challenging for the audience. But it was very important to us in the execution that it would not be exploited in any way. To be fair, the criticism was the notion of it, not the execution. It was handled as sensitively as it could possibly be; you hardly see anything."

"I welcomed the discussion about the depiction of violence on television and how it could be used as a narrative tool sometimes and the questionable nature of that," Podeswa added, addressing the criticism that the scene was unnecessary for the narrative.

Game of Thrones Season 6 returns in April on HBO. 

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Dec 26, 2015
The fact that the scene where Shireen (an even younger innocent girl) is brutally murdered, by her own father, in the most painful way imaginable hasn't generated even close to as much angst as the Sansa rape scene is just mind boggling to me.
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Dec 25, 2015
Please do NOT change what you are doing, there will always be complains when there are a lot of viewers. The brutal scenes are necessary to show the horror of their world.
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Dec 24, 2015
Shouldn't pander to these bible thumping hypocrites who complain about stuff on TV. Their world is crumbling, their religion is dying, and pretty soon even they will have to accept that the earth is not flat, and stop trying to police everything they see.
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Jan 20, 2016
What?
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Dec 23, 2015
To all those bleeding hearts out there well done for messing with a great show. If you are that sensitive don't watch it better still complain about what happens in reality rather than about fiction.
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Dec 23, 2015
To all of the SJWs out there, congratulations you just destroyed one of the best shows of our generation.
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Dec 23, 2015
IMO, the Sansa scene was less questionable than that Jaime/Cersei scene, since, on one hand, we already know Ramsay is a sadistic monster, on the other hand, Jaime is someone we've begun to like.
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Dec 23, 2015
Ok why the freak are people complaining when you knew what you were watching has explicit scenes. And I'm sorry but the show is being very realistic and truthful. Unfortunately it wasn't always true love and roses for some couples or people for that matter, We know that by watching the news. Rape is realistic and it happens everyday. It doesn't matter what Age, gender, or who you are but it happens to some people. I'm happy they put that scene in because back then and in some parts of the world THAT was/is their reality. Its horrible and unfair but no matter how much the justice system tries to prevent it it will happen. Hell we still have slavery rings, prostituition, and child brides going on all over the world. Instead of complaining about a rape scene, why don't you waste your breath complaining about what some people especially children have to go through especially if they are being sold to the highest bidder for sex.

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Dec 23, 2015
It's TV not the real world. You all knew the nature of the show from the get go. Why should the producers limit their freedom of artistic expression just because a few people are easily offended. If you're too squeamish then don't watch it. It's a brutal world thus all the violence is important for the narrative.
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Dec 23, 2015
Some people are just plane idiots... they were watching GOT and didn't knew what kind of violence to expect?.... meeh

I was just annoyed and disappointed for the detour from the books (specially after reading the wild card of the new book related to Sansa).
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Dec 23, 2015
I hate to sound like a book snob, but: How on earth is that different to what happened to poor Jeyne Poole when she was married off to Ramsay?! Is it because she was low born??? What kind of "outcry" is that?!

Theon still had an amazing arc with or without Sansa to share it. Ramsay has a terrific arc until the day he dies. But Sansa had no storyline until she took Jeyne's place.
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Dec 23, 2015
Literally retarded
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Dec 23, 2015
aria is a six year old girl whose entire family is dead. let us worry about a grown womans less than enjoyable marriage? i think they call it a jane austen novel. how about the orphaned and forced into child sex slavery as a means for her to be an assassin? why does nobody call arguments against this?
is this dubai? a childs family can be killed, she pretends to be a child sex slave so she can murder? why doesn't anybody call bullshit on this.. this is far more offensive to viewers emotions than a young lady being in a not enjoyed relationship. go ask your great, great grandmother if she chose her husband or was sold into the relationship?

RAPE RAPE RAPE
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Dec 23, 2015
Lighten up it's a TV show buddy.
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Dec 23, 2015
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Dec 23, 2015
I would imagine that if you were raped, you wouldn't refer to it as a "less than enjoyable marriage" or "being in a not enjoyed relationship". Your disgusting response is exactly why it is important to be thoughtful in the depiction of sexual assault.
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Dec 23, 2015
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Dec 22, 2015
Alright, I'll explain this to you people once and only once.

The objections to the rape scene were not because it's a rape scene. The objections were because the rape scene was unnecessary and pointless. It was bad storytelling.

Sansa was not raped in the books, and if she had been, then George R.R. Martin would have understood that such a traumatizing experience would have left devastating effects on her character. The show doesn't acknowledge this. When Ned Stark was beheaded, his death had major consequences. When Sansa Stark was raped, her trauma was used solely for shock value.

Also, keep in mind that, in the books, instead of getting raped, her character was finally starting to gain agency. She was learning from Littlefinger and becoming a viable player in the game of thrones. On the show, she's a perpetual victim with no agency―that's bad character writing and, again, bad storytelling.

An arbitrary scene is bad enough on its own, but it becomes much more troubling when social context is taken into account and when the subject of that arbitrary scene happens to be sexual assault.

Since there's too much to deconstruct here, let me just point out that feminists are not trying to "censor art". They're raising objections to a scene that had no purpose existing. Treating rape like nothing more than a plot device (an arbitrary plot device as opposed to one that actually has meaning in the plot) is bad storytelling and undermines the inexplicable trauma that is sexual assault.

Our society does a bad enough job on its own dealing with the subject of sexual assault. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn't consider social context, and made the conscious choice to steer away from the books and include a rape scene that had no ramifications on the character and was, ultimately, unnecessary.

Hence the objections.

The main argument I'm hearing, and the only one that sounds convincing, is this:

In order to condense the plot for the show, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made the practical choice of merging Sansa's and Jeyne's storylines. Ramsay raping Sansa was an inevitable consequence of that decision.

I understand why D&D did what they did. But that doesn't change the fact that crafting the story in this way undermined her development in the books and inevitably made her a perpetual victim with no agency. Nor does it change my point about the ramifications and consequences that such a trauma would have had on her character. Nor does it change the fact that the decision lacked an understanding of social context in a time when our culture does a bad enough job on its own handling the subject of rape.

D&D could have chosen a better route. Merging Sansa and Jeyne into one character was a bad decision.
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Dec 31, 2015
Sansa wasn't raped by Ramsay in the books, but neither was she married off to Ramsay in the books. In the books it is her good childhood friend Jeyne Poole who is married off to Ramsay as supposedly being Arya. A fiction Theon has to attest to in order to strengthen the Bolton's claim to Winterfell. Jeyne is raped and repeatedly beaten in the books, but that's better because ....
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Dec 31, 2015
I addressed your point in my post.
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Dec 31, 2015
because so many people didn't read the books :P

the books are quite a lot more brutal than the show is
if someone got raped to death in the books, that'd be a slow news day
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Dec 24, 2015
Another argument I’m hearing is something like this:

No one seems to be decrying murder, genital mutilation, or the murder of family members—only rape.

Maybe it is a matter of opinion, but the examples given (murder, genital mutilation, murder of family members) weren't elements of bad storytelling. I have a lot of respect for George R.R. Martin and his writing. Reading his work, I have always felt like everything that he wrote had to happen―that it was essential, narratively sound, part of a bigger story, and reflected the true nature of humanity. When he wrote the examples mentioned, he wrote them for a reason.

D&D aren't quite as skillful as GRRM. They have to write faster and they don't take nearly as much time to think things through. Season 5 included a lot of bad storylines, both standalone and compared to the books. For example, the storylines in Dorne and Tyrion's voyage to Meereen were both underwhelming. But I can forgive those shortcomings. They weren't offensive, they weren't pointless, and they weren't merely used for shock value.

In some ways, Sansa's changes were similar. The storyline in the books was better; Littlefinger's plan to give Sansa away to Ramsay didn't make nearly as much sense as his plan in the books; but I could still suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the show. And yet, despite my leniency, I couldn't forgive the shortcomings surrounding Sansa's rape scene.

Here's why:

They adapted a storyline in which Sansa gets agency into a story in which she is a perpetual victim, and then made her suffer a trauma that she didn't suffer in the books without addressing the deep ramifications and changes that such a trauma would have had on her character. Instead, they exploited her trauma for shock value. When something is done arbitrarily in a story, it's fair game to question and decide whether or not it should have been written at all. Social context plays into that decision. Our culture has a problem with addressing the impact of sexual assault in movies and tv shows, and it has a problem with writing strong female characters with agency of their own. Given these considerations, changing her storyline from the books and making her a damsel in distress (so that Theon, the male hero, could save her) was done in very poor taste.

Thankfully, according to this article, D&D realized that, and will handle the subject more delicately in the future.
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Dec 31, 2015
"crafting the story in this way undermined her development in the books and inevitably made her a perpetual victim with no agency."

Excuse me!?! Are you saying that if a woman is raped she becomes a perpetual victim and has no agency??? Are you saying that Sansa - or any other woman - can't take her rape and turn it into a strength of character and positive action?

If that's your point I strongly disagree.

In the books we don't see what happens to Sansa other than she is repeatedly having to fight off Littlefinger's lust because his plans for her require her to remain a virgin.

Incorporating what GRRM intended for her into the series would have taken too much time. There isn't time to develop the story about Jon Arryn's land - the mountain people & the Aerie and how Littlefinger intends to use Sansa to further his own goals. So, if you wanted to see some significant development in Sansa's story line, it had to be through a change in the story.
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Dec 31, 2015
No, not what I'm saying at all, and I fully addressed the rest of your point.
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Dec 23, 2015
How was it not necessary for the narrative? Without that scene it wouldn't have made sense for Theon to finally break and help Sansa escape. Additionally, it's very likely that the scene was also used as a pivotal moment for Sansa's character going into the next season but because you feminists are so sensitive and easily offended, you don't even wait to see what will happen, you just jump to conclusions.

Stop trying to ruin this show with your bitching and complaining because your sensitive eyes shouldn't be watching the show in the first place. Go watch the Cinderella movie (hint: you feminists are too dumb to realize that Cinderella is even worst than GoT when it comes to objectifying women)
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Dec 23, 2015
A lot of things happened in the show and even in the books that weren't "necessary" for the narrative. You've just locked into this Sansa rape because it was Sansa and it's also a cool bandwagony thing to do for trendsters who want to act like they are above schock schlock.

The fact that you have put no other event in the show or the book under the same lens as you've put Sansa's rape completely invalidates the foundation of your argument. Goodnight.
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Dec 23, 2015
I don't actually see how sansa being raped is 'shocking'... in game of thrones
this is a show based on a book where a 13 year old girl is raped, rescued by danaerys and later raped again and killed

and marrying ramsay... in what universe did she think she was going to get away with not having sex with him? like 'ah, no, I have a headache today' and he's like 'ah, I'm usually worse than joffery but heaven forbid I do anything that might shock people in 2015.. oddly they're not shocked by me hunting humans for sport... I guess that's humans for you'

in concentration camps you often see pictures of the prisoners eating a meal right next to someone who's being hanged and it doesn't bother them too much anymore
If you're watching this show since season 1, I dont see how this could still shock you
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Dec 22, 2015
I totally agree with you. It makes sense under the premise that it was meant to be a shock moment only.
However maybe this moment is used to speed up the process of learning to be a player of the game of thrones. This might be the key moment in this tv story of game of thrones where Sansa is forced to become like Cersei. In the Books it's mentioned that Robert forced himself on her too. So maybe the creators use this one key moment to let her decide to become a cool and social manipulative person like Cersei. I think this is her intended role in the end anyway.

greetings from Germany
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Dec 31, 2015
Or maybe she becomes a better person than Cersei because Cersei sees what happens to her as being all about her. Sansa, on the other hand is aware of what hardships have befallen others.
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Dec 22, 2015
In the second sentence I wanted to say "...if it was meant..." Not "that it was meant to be". Sry
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Dec 22, 2015
(I reposted this after editing it into a stronger argument)
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Dec 22, 2015
Here is the thing. I would understand the position of people who were outraged if they were outraged because of the act rather than whom it happened to. I mean if it happened to a no name character of Sansa's age, it wouldn't have caused anywhere near the outrage. Hell, worse things have happened and the outrage wasn't anywhere near. So, if you aren't offended with the portrayal of the act, and are just outraged about who it happened to, I call it a win to the writers.
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Dec 31, 2015
In the books it did happen to another character of Sansa's age. She's even a named character, just one we had seen little of - Jeyne Poole, Sansa's childhood friend from Winterfell. In the books she is raped and beaten repeatedly.
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Dec 23, 2015
Frankly, I was outraged when Shireen was burned alive.

At least Sansa isn't dead.
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Dec 26, 2015
I was a LOT more pissed off about that scene as well, an even younger innocent girl BRUTALLY MURDERED, by her own father, to whom she had shown nothing but love. Much worse than what happened to Sansa, and also unnecessary. I don't know if that was in the book, but if it was, Martin needs a slap as well.
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Dec 26, 2015
It was how clinical Stannis was about it: it wasn't an act of faith, if to murder his daughter would melt the snow then his daughter was done.

For all her faults, Selyse was a true believer and even she couldn't held her insrinct to protect her child. Those screams and her suicide were the most upsetting/outraging scene in the whole series.
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Dec 22, 2015
Nobody was screaming outrage when Dany was raped by Khal Drogo, and then later in love with him following that brutal rape.
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Dec 22, 2015
Fell in love*
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Dec 22, 2015
Sansa's rape scene was brutal, but it was narratively necessary. But cutting out other ones where we see random women in groups getting raped, or ones that make NO SENSE like Cersei, those could be rethought going forward.
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Dec 23, 2015
It's important to show the brutality of the world the show depicts.
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Dec 22, 2015
Not to mention the very first epiosode where the scene between Khal Drogo and Dany was all rapey and that isn't at all how I remembered that scene from the books.
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Dec 22, 2015
"To be fair, the criticism was the notion of it, not the execution" is probably the most accurate statement in there, but for these guys to pretend like they weren't exploiting the audience's attachment to Sansa when they re-wrote the storyline is insulting. They knew exactly what they were doing, and it WAS exploitation.
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Dec 23, 2015
if you are a writer and are writing a narrative, the entire point of hitting your fingers against a keyboard is, quite literally, to play on your audiences emotions. this is, in essence, drama.

if we aren't playing on the audiences emotions, then we're reading a dictionary..?
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Dec 23, 2015
You're right, but you're not understanding my point. My point is that we all know they exploited Sansa in that plotline to pack the biggest punch but here they are in the article flat out denying that they did it because people threw a hiss fit. My problem is with their denial.
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Dec 22, 2015
They're writers. Exploiting their audience's emotions is sort of what they do.

You can't fault the writers for what's essentially an amalgamation of the precedent set by George R Martin.
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Dec 23, 2015
I can fault them for lying about exploiting the character. Which is what they're doing here.
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Dec 22, 2015
Maybe you should read the books and GRRM's own reactions to said events before blaming it on the precedent set by GRRM.
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Dec 23, 2015
perhaps buddy shouldn't have taken all those millions of dollars and kept his story as his own-- he got paid, and handily, mind you, for their permission to do as they please. and, having paid, they exercised that privilege. if you have issue, talk to george and spit in his face for being a sellout.

IT DOESN'T HAPPEN IN THE BOOK.. good, go read a fucking book and find me a movie that follows it perfectly or shut up and stop being a whiny girl.

if you don't like the show, i think you can wait a while for his next book and shut the fuck up in the mean time.
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Dec 23, 2015
What? Consider being more polite and actually reading what I wrote.
I love the TV series and don't give a fuck about the changes. I just commented that credit should be given where it's due and in this case to GoT writers rather than GRRM.
So, take a chill pill and shut the fuck up.
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Dec 22, 2015
Butthurt much?
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Dec 22, 2015
lol. No.
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Dec 22, 2015
More blood and violence, no sex scenes at all. PG-13 this show.
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Dec 23, 2015
Better yet: Stop letting the 13 year olds watch it!!!

It's an adult show, some things only adults are mature to handle - and sometimes even they can't handle them - are bound to happen.
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Dec 22, 2015

I don't get what all the upset is about. In season one when Daenerys got married off she got essentially the same treatment except the show was a lot more explicit in showing it and no one batted an eye. Four seasons later when it happens to Sanasa and everything happens completely off screen and everyone flips the fuck out. This show is already heavily watered down from where it was when it first started.Rape is an unfortunate reality in medieval/fantasy world and it shouldn’t be so surprising or shocking when it is included in an HBO show based on Fantasy.

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Dec 22, 2015
It was the weakest rape scene of all of them, I think more people didn't like it though because that I believe that didn't happen to her in the books. This may sound harsh but from Theon's twitchy performance in that scene I'd say he'd probably been more traumatized by the act, since it seemed to be responsible for him going against his masters wishes, also it was there wedding night, its hardly rape if she didn't strongly object openly, she made her own choice to marry him, We're talking about the show where they burn rats into people and teach children to have sex, yet it pisses people off over a single act of rape. I was more pissed to see shireen die.
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Dec 22, 2015
Ramsay is a psychopat. Whatever he does to Theon/ Rick or Samsa is relevant to the story: Torture or rape. What I think it should be banned or censure are the opinions of all those with double standards who watch violent crime TV all day, but cannot see sexual aggression. Get real.
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Dec 22, 2015
Didn't a pregnant woman get gutted not long ago in this show? yet rape is the final straw?

I know i already had a rant down below but this is one of the most ridiculous things i have ever read

double standards
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Dec 22, 2015
The changes they are talking about are that in the next season people complaining about rape are getting raped.
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Dec 22, 2015
OMG someone stop the spamming on TV.com. I just spent like 5 minutes straight flagging posts here and in other places on the site. When it was just the "my aunt makes a gazillion dollars only working 10 seconds online" stuff it was at least easy to scroll past. This new embedded video stuff is madness.
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Dec 22, 2015
i getting sick of it as well i reported it hopefully it should stop. As for the news on GOt its getting more difficult to potray certain parts of the book to screen.
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Dec 22, 2015
They're bots. I don't know how you can stop them. But, yeah, I flag them whenever I see them, too.
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Dec 22, 2015
I know TV.com is working on a way to better screen them at least - staff have commented on comments similar to mine saying they've noticed the uptick too. Half of the reason I come here is for the dialogue and community that exists within the comment threads and such. It's getting harder to enjoy it lately.
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Dec 22, 2015
Agreed.
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Dec 24, 2015
user has been banned now so we can get back to some reviews thankfully Merry xmas to all
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Dec 22, 2015
Tough one. I wasn't into the scene at all, although it was FAR less than I expected to see since I watched the episode in question after hearing about reactions to it, but again people seem to be accepting of heaps of gratuitous violence, including genital mutilation, to depict a horrible world, so why such objection here? Sansa's character is a merger of her character in the books and Jeyne Poole's, who IS brutally raped, in order to further show what an inhuman scumbag Ramsey is. If the point is, in part even, to economize story then they were successful as such.

When Stannis let his daughter be burned to death we ALL turned on Stannis, not the show, for doing it -- and that was the most heinous of anything the show has done so far.
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Dec 22, 2015
sigh....

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Dec 22, 2015
People are very double standard.
So no one has a problem with incest, brutal public shaming, religious oppression, child murder, genital mutilation, bloody battle, child sacrifice, possession, infidelity, treason, murder, torture, sport fighting, animal cruelty....
Rape thats the hot button? I get its bad but if this offends you dont watch game of thrones. The scence wasnt gratuitous, it is building to something.
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Dec 22, 2015
I think the only reason they're talking about the criticism at all is because people decided not to watch Game of Thrones, and I would imagine cancelled their HBO subscriptions. Money is the only criticism they will listen to. Everyone on the internet can talk about how much they love or hate the show, but if you're not buying HBO then it doesn't matter.
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Dec 22, 2015
Lol, state of this show.
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Dec 22, 2015
Considering the obvious set up for Sansa at the hands of her known and seen to be brutal attacker, the scene was visually light on content. Others, notably Reek and the other young women, came off onscreen in rather more protracted and lingering scenes. In fact, there's so much brutality on this show that picking one is probably a loser from the get go.
And to think that a few complainants, comparative to viewership figures, is having effect is crazy. But then look at any show that received complaint and press over it and it's always a pitiful minority that demanded and yet acquired change. Truly sad.
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Dec 22, 2015
Alright, I'll explain this to you people once and only once.

The objections to the rape scene were not because it's a rape scene. The objections were because the rape scene was unnecessary and pointless. It was bad storytelling.

Sansa was not raped in the books, and if she had been, then George R.R. Martin would have understood that such a traumatizing experience would have left devastating effects on her character. The show doesn't acknowledge this. When Ned Stark was beheaded, his death had major consequences. When Sansa Stark was raped, her trauma was used solely for shock value.

Also, keep in mind that, in the books, instead of getting raped, her character was finally starting to gain agency. She was learning from Littlefinger and becoming a viable player in the game of thrones. On the show, she's a perpetual victim with no agency―that's bad character writing and, again, bad storytelling.

An arbitrary scene is bad enough on its own, but it becomes much more troubling when social context is taken into account and when the subject of that arbitrary scene happens to be sexual assault.

Since there's too much to deconstruct here, let me turn to an analogy I just thought of.

If you saw a propaganda documentary on Fox News about Donald Trump, framing him as a hero, and casting his racism and bigotry against Mexicans and Muslims in a positive, heroic light, wouldn't you object to the content of that documentary? (Hopefully yes; otherwise you're a lost cause).

Feminists feel the same way about the rape scene in Game of Thrones. They're not trying to "censor art". They're raising objections to a scene that had no purpose existing. Treating rape like nothing more than a plot device (an arbitrary plot device as opposed to one that actually has meaning in the plot) is bad storytelling and undermines the inexplicable trauma that is sexual assault.

Our society does a bad enough job on its own dealing with the subject of sexual assault. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn't consider social context, and made the conscious choice to steer away from the books and include a rape scene that had no ramifications on the character and was, ultimately, unnecessary.

Hence the objections.
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Dec 22, 2015
I regret the Donald Trump analogy. It was 5 AM when I posted this and I was sleepy. I agree that the analogy doesn't quite work here. I stand by the rest of the post 100%. I wasn't going to respond to arguments, but since some of them were surprisingly reasonable, I'll give it a go.

The main argument I'm hearing, and the only one that sounds convincing, is this:

In order to condense the plot for the show, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made the practical choice of merging Sansa's and Jeyne's storylines. Ramsay raping Sansa was an inevitable consequence of that decision.

I understand why D&D did what they did, and I understood why before I wrote my post. But that doesn't change the fact that crafting the story in this way undermined her development in the books and inevitably made her a perpetual victim with no agency. Nor does it change my point about the ramifications and consequences that such a trauma would have had on her character. Nor does it change the fact that the decision lacked an understanding of social context in a time when our culture does a bad enough job on its own handling the subject of rape.

D&D could have chosen a better route. Merging Sansa and Jeyne into one character was a bad decision.
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Dec 23, 2015
Glad you clarified the Trump analogy, although one could always say they were sleepy when they posted in an effort to backtrack. Still, I didn't find much fault in your post besides, but it ultimately comes down to opinion, and the one other thing that is problematic is that, again, no one seems to be decrying murder, genital mutilation, or the murder of family members -- only rape, despite all of them falling under the "our culture does a bad enough job on its own handling the subject of...". It is FICTION, and a fictional world. You can't accept it for some things and object to it for others. There's a lot of stuff that's shocking on the show, and many things besides rape that are relevant to the real world, but picking out one instance and saying only it applies reminds me of when people nitpick about certain parts of a cartoon, saying "it's not realistic!" or, "it's too realistic" or whatever, while forgetting that IT IS A CARTOON, and therefore non of it can be considered real, or the same logic must be applied to all.

And glad you are replying to some comments. I understand why you would not reply to some, given the contentious nature of the topic, but only posting a contentious opinion and refusing to discuss rational comment would only undermine what you say.

Good talking to you.
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Dec 24, 2015
Maybe it is a matter of opinion, but the other examples you gave (murder, genital mutilation, murder of family members) weren't elements of bad storytelling. I have a lot of respect for George R.R. Martin and his writing. Reading his work, I have always felt like everything that he wrote had to happen―that it was essential, narratively sound, part of a bigger story, and reflected the true nature of humanity. When he wrote the examples you mentioned, he wrote them for a reason.

D&D aren't quite as skillful as GRRM. They have to write faster and they don't take nearly as much time to think things through. Season 5 included a lot of bad storylines, both standalone and compared to the books. For example, the storylines in Dorne and Tyrion's voyage to Meereen were both underwhelming. But I can forgive those shortcomings. They weren't offensive, they weren't pointless, and they weren't merely used for shock value.

In some ways, Sansa's changes were similar. The storyline in the books was better and Littlefinger's plan to give Sansa away to Ramsay didn't make nearly as much sense as his plan in the books, but I could still suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the show. And yet, despite my leniency, I couldn't forgive the shortcomings surrounding Sansa's rape scene.

Here's why:

They adapted a storyline in which Sansa gets agency into a story in which she is a perpetual victim, and then made her suffer a trauma that she didn't suffer in the books without addressing the deep ramifications and changes that such a trauma would have caused on her character. Instead, they exploited her trauma for shock value. When something is done arbitrarily, it's fair game to question and decide whether or not it should have been written at all. Social context plays into that decision. Our culture has a problem with addressing the impact of sexual assault in movies and tv shows, and it has a problem with writing strong female characters who have agency of their own. Given these considerations, changing her storyline from the books and making her a damsel in distress (so that Theon, the male hero, could save her) was done in very bad taste.

Thankfully, according to this article, D&D realized that, and will handle the subject more delicately in the future.
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Dec 23, 2015
Personally I'm just worn out on how D&D wallow in the violence; the nastier it is, the more precious storytelling time they waste on it. Yesyesyes Iwan Rheon is doing a great job w/ Ramsay and Alfie's rocking Theon etc. blah blah but the ENDLESS time spent on his torture/mutilation/degradation/etc. is actually what offended me most last season. I chalked Sansa's rape up to another stupid streamlining decision plus deliberately gratifying the desires of all the men who have been lusting after her since she was too young to justify using her that way. I love Maisie and Arya and they handle her character better than some, but they still go overboard on the stabbiness there. The Red Wedding was a horrible enough thing as written, but no, they had to make it all cracked-up by adding even more lurid details to make sure people were breaking the internet the next day with their shock and horror and reaction videos. That seems to be their real motive. Yes, they can still pull off something remarkable and brilliant now and then (Hardhome), but with sex and violence, their writing too often devolves into the mental and emotional equivalent of bacon-wrapped chocolate-dipped rum-soaked deep-fried Twinkies.* They should be thanking the gods for having enough remarkable actors on cast to usually make even their shittiest scenes work on some level.

*in case it is not clear--to some people this sounds delicious; to some, thoroughly revolting
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Dec 24, 2015
@smithinjapan I'd like to think that most of the men who were looking forward to seeing Sansa in a sexual context were not happy about the rape scene being what they eventually got.

A lot of what they do does happen in the books, I know (not that it matters to a lot of viewers), I just feel that the proportion they give it on the show compared to other parts of the story demonstrates a heavy leaning towards making things lurid and sensational whenever possible. They get 10 hours a year. That's so little time to tell such a big story, and I know they can't tell it all, but they choose to spend so much of it on electrocuting their audience with fetal stabbings and torture, etc. Like making the Thenns into a band of scarified cannibalistic sociopaths based on a tiny stray mention of cannibalism in a single, far-flung, desperate wilding tribe in the books that was so small I didn't even remember it. No other reason to do something like that than wrapping it in [long] bacon, soaking it in steroids, and deep frying it. People can usually find an excuse to legitimize many of their choices (it happened somewhere in the books, it's "realistic") but overall, in the balance of the show, they choose to go the twinkie route so, so often. As I say, they still pull off great moments now and again and they have some great actors I'll always tune in to see, but D&D are not great storytellers and now that they're doing more of the writing independent of the source material (which is on GRRM, because he should have put down his own twinkies more often and shepherded his project along so he could lead them), it's not likely to get better.
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Dec 24, 2015
I doubt there are many who would find the idea of raping Sansa Stark as gratifying, and I doubt even more a show would put that in to appeal to them. Agree it is absolutely disgusting if there are such people, and even worse if people found it 'delicious'. Also agree that the torture of Theon Grayjoy was far worse, but he does get it that bad (almost) in the books.
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Dec 22, 2015
"If you saw a propaganda documentary on Fox News about Donald Trump, framing him as a hero, and casting his racism and bigotry against Mexicans and Muslims in a positive, heroic light, wouldn't you object to the content of that documentary?"
You had a decent post until this, which undermined your argument completely and, in fact, made IT a 'lost cause', especially arbitrariness and shock value, that society does a bad enough job dealing with subjects, etc. The show does not set out, in any way, to frame rape as heroic, nor is the show any kind of propaganda piece.

I agree completely that it was done for shock value, and was not necessary -- or at least, not at the moment (it may well play into where the show is going later, although whether that was the intent at the time we would never know). It's entirely possible that the scene will have become 'necessary' later. That's not really the point, though.

In any case, why object to just this? There are other things that didn't happen in the books that are brutal as well and arguably do little or nothing to further the plot. "Social context" cannot be taken out of the world in the story -- it's not something that can be applied in the world of the viewer without keeping in mind the show is fantasy, not reality.
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Dec 22, 2015
Looks like you need a few things explained to you. Since you have read the books (I haven't, but I assume that you have, because of what you're saying about Sansa's story in the books), you know that Ramsay married a girl that he thought was Arya Stark, and raped her in a very brutal way. The writers chose to not include that character because it would have pushed Sansa to the sidelines for a whole season. She would have gotten significantly less screen time, or an arc that wasn't connected to what was happening in the books. So in order to keep her a main character AND include more plot elements from the book, they chose to combine the two characters.

This may not have been the right call, but once they had chosen to have Ramsay marry Sansa instead of a fake Arya, it would have made absolutely no sense if she hadn't gotten raped. To label it an unnecessary, pointless and arbitrary plot device that had no purpose existing and didn't have any meaning, is absurd. It completely ignores what kind of person Ramsay is.

It's absurd to claim that the outrage is about the bad storytelling, rather than the specific rape scene. Of course it's about the rape scene. If Ramsay had behaved completely out of character and not raped her, the storytelling would have been much worse, but the outrage would have been absent. Having Brienne just randomly stumble upon Arya, Sansa and Stannis was bad storytelling. Most of what happened to Arya in season 5 was bad storytelling. I don't see the same people freaking out about these things. If you're going to complain about bad storytelling, then complain about the fact that they combined the characters, not about that specific scene.

The Donald Trump argument makes no sense. It would have, if the scene had somehow been an endorsement of rape, but it certainly wasn't.

I have to agree that what you're describing (Sansa learning from Littlefinger rather than continuing to be a victim) sounds a lot better, but we can't ignore the practical issue that the writers had to deal with. To avoid rape altogether, they would have had to make major changes to Ramsay's story. To keep Ramsay's story intact and not make Sansa a victim again, they would have had to introduce a major new character at Winterfell. This would have taken time away from Sansa or some other main character. They had already cut Bran out of the season entirely, and didn't want to make further cuts. I'm not saying that they made the right call, but I can see that it must have been a difficult choice.
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Dec 22, 2015
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Dec 22, 2015
You are forgetting one minor point....Sansa in the show has been blended with Jeyne Pooles character/story in the book, and Jeyne Poole was severely raped, beaten, and sodomized by Ramsey.

So technically no, it wasn't done "just for shock value". Her rape was a byproduct of her storyline being purged with another characters (who was treated far worse then show-Sansa, I may add).
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Dec 22, 2015
I couldnt stand Sansa's rape scene. The girls been threw enough. In fact, all of the characters have been threw enough. Isnt that part of GoT? The show has never been catered to what we ideally want. Isnt that why we keep watching? I dont see the need for the producers to cater to our demands now.
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Dec 22, 2015
In one way the fact that some people take more exception to a person being raped than they do to a person being killed, demonstrates how feminism which was once revolutionary has become reactionary.
The underlying ethos in objecting to the depiction of rape but tolerating the depiction of murder harks back to a century ago when women were regarded as objects and being raped was considered (by men) to be a fate worse than death for a woman.
Both fates are horrific, but I suspect that given the option most people would chose being brutally sexually assaulted and living to tell the tale, to being killed and having their life end.

Yet time and time again modern feminists, however unconsciously, set about returning the world to a time when women were helpless victims who things happened to, rather than protagonists fighting for what they deserve.

Censorship and oppression has never advanced anything worthwhile, the acts of violence against women in Game of Thrones can be used as examples of how women are used and abused in patriarchal societies which don't consider female perspectives, but imo arguing these rapes are substantively worse than the murders which also appear in the show is self sabotage of feminism.
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Dec 22, 2015
"Censorship and oppression has never advanced anything worthwhile..."
Tell that to Black people, women and minority groups who were both overtly and covertly the butt of discriminatory jokes, acts and/or propaganda to be seen as lessor on, for this example, TV. I'm not arguing for blanket censorship but it has its place in a democratic society. Or, should black people, for example, still be expected to be referred to as darky, coon or nigger as they were on TV worldwide? And to suggest someone gets to choose between rape or death and that death is the only real life affecting/devestating life long outcome is beyond naive.
Your brushstrokes, however well intentioned, are far too broad and simplistic.
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Dec 22, 2015
So sad to see you read my remarks with a closed mind and predetermined outcome just cherry picking what I wrote out of context to advance your cardboard cut out worldview. I didn't argue that rape & death are the only alternatives but that rape and death both appear on GoT with murder being far more prevalent yet some people don't see a problem/complain about murder but they do about the violent sexual assaults & my point was that if any human were given the choice between being murdered or being raped they would likely pick the lesser of two awful futures and choose rape.

As for naivety your assertion that censorship is what has altered people's minds about racism - that is naive beyond belief. Education by peers is what has altered people in the many instances about this rock where I have witnessed a reduction in racial prejudice.

This has occurred in spite of censorship because there is nothing quite as uniting among a hidebound group as the feeling they are being oppressed, to unite that group. This is one of the primary reasons why neo-nazi beliefs are resurgent among some young Germans. The knowledge that the vile shit they are propagating is forbidden is a driver of their movement - acting out the forbidden particularly when it comes to the 'right to speak your mind' makes a trite theory of racial superiority seem exciting, dangerous and forbidden.
Banning nazi philosophy may have been necessary during the de-nazification period immediately post ww2 -all the reasons for that are too complex to go into here. Suffice to say the allies primarily wanted the successful post nazi politicians to be non-communist & the best way to achieve that was to encourage former minor Nazi functionaries to run espousing 'mainstream conservatism'.
However keeping those strictures in place in a world with the net and no effective way to police public speech any longer has been counter-productive. German policy makers know this but they are politicians and also know any move to alter the status quo will have them dubbed as nazis themselves even though their objective is to prevent a rise in Nazi followers.

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Dec 23, 2015
I didn't say censorship was the be all and end all, just that it helped in TV and that is clearly a fact that led to stereotypes and racism being excluded. Propaganda flows both ways.
You make bleeding heart statements in one line then ludicrous over-judgements the next. I imagine you're the type that'd make the most liberal person want to puke in disbelief at your juxtapositions.
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Dec 22, 2015
Trying to appease whining babies never ends well.
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Dec 22, 2015
Hopefully they are taking on board more important criticism of the fifth season too.
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Dec 22, 2015
but nobody had a problem with buddy in the woods raping his daughters, impregnating them, and offering the male ones to the white walkers, keeping the girls so they could grow up and he could then rape and impregnate them.. nobody had a problem with this, but a stark girl gets slapped around a little and people call 'too much!!, won't somebody please think of the children'..

weird.
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Dec 22, 2015
I just thought the whole scene wasn't necessary since it wasn't in the book to begin with. And that's my problem with the books and the series...which to watch since they no longer are following each other. Decisions, decisions...
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Dec 22, 2015
Watching where shows/movies veer from the sources they are based on is fun, in my opinion. More often than not these days (at least the shows I watched), it provides an interesting alternative, and a sometimes better one. The Walking Dead is a prime example of a show that often goes off on its own from the source material.

The rape thing is questionable, obviously. As has been noted by some, though, Sansa's character is a merger of Jeyne Poole's character, who was brutally raped by Ramsey.
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Dec 22, 2015
Sorry internet. Watching a show does not give you ownership of it.

If you don't like it, change the channel.

The creators of GoT should opt out like Tina Fey.
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Dec 22, 2015
Uh oh! Certain GoT fans need their SAFE SPACES!
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Dec 22, 2015
I guess the third time is the charm? Dani, Cersei and Sansa, three major characters, all raped. Perhaps one could argue that Cersei wasn't raped, though that seems like a fine hair split.

Yes, Game of Thrones is violent and misogynist. For all of the (way) too many people saying, "What did you expect?" I ask, "What did you expect?". There are only so many times you can graphically display women being brutalized before the number of people saying, "Okay, that's just about enough" gets to the point where the producers need take notice.
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Dec 22, 2015
I expect you to quit watching the show if you don't like it.
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Dec 22, 2015
Of course not. I don't personally take exception to what Game of Thrones has done, but I'm not obtuse or wilfully ignorant enough to not appreciate the perspectives of those who do.
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Dec 22, 2015
There is a difference between having an opinion and censoring art to suit a point of view.

Feigning tolerance by enabling these zealots is, in my opinion, not a particularly enlightened position.

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Dec 22, 2015
One "Million" Moms or various Christian/family coalitions definitely count as zealots and if HBO is reacting to them, I would be SHOCKED! The list of shows and topics those types of groups complain about is endless, and mostly ridiculous. They're the type to want to boycott Campbell's soup for having a same sex couple in one of their commercials.

Those are NOT the types of groups that HBO would alter their content for.

“I welcomed the discussion about the depiction of violence on television and how it could be used as a narrative tool sometimes and the questionable nature of that. We were aware ahead of time that it was going to be disturbing but we did not expect there would be people in Congress talking about it.”

Now, you can question the motives of Senator Claire McCaskill-D, that's fair. She's the one that brought it up. She's also the one spearheading military sexual assault reforms and tabled a bill for college campus security to stem the problems there. But best as I can tell, all she said about it was a tweet, "Ok, I'm done Game of Thrones. Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable. It was a rocky ride that just ended."

Deadspin to the subject one step further: http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/game-of-thrones-is-gross-exploitative-and-totally-out-1705235364

All this didn't come about because of some hyper conservative or hyper liberal groups made some noise. This came about because some influential fans of the show said, "enough is enough"
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Dec 22, 2015
@Marcus: I think zealot, by definition, is what's happening here, even if it's spread over multiple media. If creative is bowing to pressure from the internet, or HBO, or the cadre of viewers who think the show should qualify for PG-13, then it has legitimized the pressure. I believe HBO and the show's creators should just roll their eyes and laugh, as networks do with One Million Moms' priggishness.
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Dec 22, 2015
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Dec 22, 2015
There are "christian family" groups that quite literally complain about EVERYTHING. Like the little boy who cried wolf, nobody pays them any attention...and rightfully so. I think this is the type you're referring to, the kinds of people who watch something with the specific intent to find and list everything they don't like about it and then make as much noise as possible about it.

These folks have been around since day 1 and Game of Thrones is but one item on their hit list. These are the types of folks that I envision producers compromising to, because they're no in their viewership demographic...they're trolls.

But when enough normal people start to take exception to a trend on GoT, THAT is when producers start to self evaluate and take a second look to see whether the art they're producing is being experienced as intended.
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Dec 22, 2015
Like I said, I don't fault anyone for having an opinion, only what that opinion entitles them to.

It's never a bad thing to have meaningful discussions, but one can only do that I'd there are opposing views to begin with. I find GoT uncomfortable to watch sometimes, but I can appreciate being challenged in that way. I'm not sure I can say the same thing about people that want the show to change whenever something disagreeable happens to a major character.

I find it a disturbing trend in modern culture where the right for art to offend or be shocking ceases to exist.
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Dec 22, 2015
I don't disagree.

Having an opinion doesn't make anybody a zealot. Nor does vocally taking exception make one a militant fanatic.

The latter are a small minority, regardless of subject (like Donald Trump supporters} who make a lot of noise but are often dismissed.

If Game of Thrones producers decide to scale things back because their art isn't being viewed as intended by a growing number of people (the former), then who are you or I to dictate to them what they should or shouldn't do?

You don't like their decision, fine. But that doesn't suddenly make those on the other side ridiculous in their concerns, much in the same way those concerns don't suddenly put Game of Thrones in the wrong.
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Dec 22, 2015
So beheading, flaying and castration are acceptable?
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Dec 22, 2015
Parents are still more concerned about sex than about violence. Graphic sex scenes are on place 1. Graphic violence is on place 5. and Realistic violence (whatever that means) only on place 14.

so yeah. You're right. Weird that parents (in the US) still think this way.
o, well...



This is a study from CARA (The Classification and Rating Administration)
If you're interested download the pdf here: http://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Parents-Rating-Advisory-Study-2015.pdf
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Dec 22, 2015
Interesting chart. Thanks. I think it's pretty crazy that "graphic sex scenes" is at the top, without including violence. "Realistic violence" should be FAR more of a concern, in my opinion, especially if the 'graphic sex' is done well (porn, needless to say, does not qualify).
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Dec 22, 2015
Really interesting study! Thanks so much for sharing the link.
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Dec 22, 2015
Rape is about violence and sex (or sexual power). It's not "just" a sexual act.
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Dec 22, 2015
It indicates how people think in general. The rape of Sansa wasn't shown. You only saw the reaction of Reek/Theon. In the books it wasn't Sansa that was raped but a different character. I personally thought that Sansa suffered enough with Joffrey so to put her through this again was harsh and a little too much. She deserved a break. I know the faint hearted probably shouldn't watch the show. But i'm only human so i felt a little sorry for her. So i completely understand why many people reacted negatively.
But it's part of the show so it should be expected.

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Dec 22, 2015
The obvious difference being that beheadings, flayings and castrations aren't a VERY common occurrence in today's world (in most countries anyway). Rape and sexual assault...well, two of those have happened in the time it took me to reply to your message.
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Dec 22, 2015
The obvious thing would be to not transpose 21st century mores to a show depicting a medieval fantasy setting.

The frequency or implementation of a murderous act should have no bearing, since....well a couple of people probably have been brutally murdered in the time it took me to reply to your flawed argument.
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Dec 22, 2015
Rape doesn't need any help from me, it's transposed itself from one century to the next. And yes murder has as well, but as was clear in the post I replied to, the manner in which those murders occurs is quite different from the examples given.

Folks going out like Ned Stark are a rarity. Women being raped like Sansa are exceptionally common...and frequently not prosecuted.

Is there a level of double standard? Yes. If you can't see why that is, there's little else to discuss.
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Dec 22, 2015
{sigh}
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Dec 22, 2015
Ok, you're right. Sexual assault is more common. To me, that just means GoT needs more rape and brutalization of women, not less. You know, for accuracy.

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Dec 22, 2015
"I would say murder is more common than sexual assault."

With respect, you couldn't be more wrong.

In the US alone, there are about 300,000 sexual assaults (that are reported) per year and that DOES NOT include assaults on children under 12 with over 90% of assailants will not end up in prison. Conversely, there are about 10,000 murders per year in the US. I don't know what the conviction rate is, but safe to say that the vast majority are caught and punished.

But, if you want to include ISIS and make take this international, your argument falls apart even faster because US numbers aren't far off the world average. That means MILLIONS of sexual assaults per year, once again, not including children. How does that compare with your radicalized beheadings?

Of course I'm biased, EVERYBODY is biased, yourself included. The difference being is that my biases are based on accurate numbers.
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Dec 22, 2015
I would say murder is more common than sexual assault. The manner in which it happens doesn't matter. Even then, there's such a thing as Isis in the world, who have no problem Ned Starking dissenters on virtually a daily basis.

I think you're taking a very biased view on this, but let's agree to disagree and leave it at that.
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Dec 22, 2015
America is a violent country, of course they're comfortable with violence on TV.

Yes, on TV, Ted Stark like deaths are common. In the real world, they're not. The same cannot be said for Sansa.
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Dec 22, 2015
The only double standard is that Americans are very comfortable glorifying violence, but then lose their minds when Sansa takes it in the rear.

And no, Ned Stark is not a rarity. Folks like him seem to get murdered in just about every episode.
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Dec 22, 2015
Yes, and incidentally, rape scenes are also completely okay on this show too, up until it involves a likable, albeit, pitiful character. That's when we draw the line. Don't question our double standards!
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Dec 22, 2015
Completely okay? I recall, on a number of occasions, people taking exception to various graphic sexual assaults committed on a varity of characters on GoT.
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Dec 22, 2015
You can find people taking exception to almost every scene on this show, the point was how many people became extremely outspoken about the scene with Sansa in particular, causing them to sound highly hypocritical given the excessive amount of sex, violence, and death on the show.
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Dec 22, 2015
I don't disagree, but the scene with Cersie and Dani drew MUCH higher attention than the run of the mill complaints.

Hypocrisy between sex and violence is subjective to individual morality. Being okay with those but not being okay with graphic rape is not (necessarily) hypocrisy. For many people, it's "one step too far" and crosses a line between what is acceptable art and what it exploitation.
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Dec 22, 2015
that so many people were disgusted and found it hard to watch is exactly why the approach should not be changed.

ditto on the death to spamtards!
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Dec 22, 2015
Somebody actually cares about this? It's just a TV show, people!

And death to spamtards!
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Dec 22, 2015
Spamtards don't care how much they're hated. They crave the attention.
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Dec 22, 2015
Well, in that case...

DEATH TO SPAMTARDS!!!
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Dec 22, 2015
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Dec 22, 2015
PC GONE MAD!!! Just kidding, there aren't any major characters raped in the next book that I can recall (not that Sansa was raped in the books anyway). If only a couple things changed, they were probably gratuitous.
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Dec 22, 2015
The rape DID occur in the book, just not to Sansa.
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Dec 22, 2015
That's the only problem I had with the rape scene: it was the wrong character getting raped. lol
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Dec 22, 2015
The rape of Sansa didn't occur in the book, I know. I read it. It was Jeyne Poole. Not sure what you're correcting me on, there... or even what point you're making.
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Dec 22, 2015
At this point in the show, viewers shouldn't be surprised by any violent act. It wasn't even the first time it occurred, & won't be the last. And as horrible as the visual depiction was, the book descriptions are even more violent. It is a violent series, and has never shied away from it.

What gets me , is that they complain about the rape as a violent act (& it CERTAINLY is), but what about the young child being burned alive by her own father?

If you don't like what is being shown; it isn't to your personal taste? The answer is simple....change the channel.
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Dec 22, 2015
I don't think viewers are surprised at all. The violence of the series is not the point. It's not the presence of rape in GoT that angered people, it's the insensitivity of Weiss and Benioff. Which is why they're drawing attention to their change in attitude.
The visuals were not as bad as they were in the books. But think about the Show vs Book scene in terms of what focus and purpose they had in the story.
Book: Rape is happening everywhere, often because of the war mess. But it's somewhat distant. All the reader cares about is how the characters they've been following are doing. Jeyne's storyline highlights the short-straw she, and other smallfolk, have drawn. People in-story are opposed to Ramsey's actions mostly because they think it's happening to Sansa Stark, the noble girl, not that its happening at all. Since every scene needs actual plot to keep momentum going, that point can only be shown in tandem with Theon's character development and motivation to get away.
Show: What is the show saying? We know Ramsey is the worst already. We've seen Sansa get abused without recourse already. Like you said, nothing new. Okay, not every scene needs a moral, so what character development happens with the scene? Theon, same as in the book. Sansa? There's no way this experience won't change her character. For book fans, that's upsetting because it means that the creators decided that bringing Sansa to Winterfell and an emotional punch were worth more than staying faithful to the character G.R.R Martin is writing. For show fans, it's worrying because it seems like the shock value of the scene is all the creators considered. Due to Weiss and David Benioff's past handling of rape, the viewer has no confidence that Sansa's character will get any kind of respectful treatment (development-wise). Add that, plus the focus Theon's reactions during the scene (That was a relief for the viewer, so I was okay with it. But it implies that Theon's feelings about Sansa's rape are more important than Sansa's feelings about Sansa's rape.), and people concluded that the creators don't how to handle difficult themes beyond surface level.
That's what makes the difference between writing discomfiting rape that elevates the story, and writing disrespectful rape that gets a writer accused of sexism.
Sorry that was a lot to read. I really wanted to get my thought process across since a lot of the comments on this article have been like yours.
P.S. Don't just recommend viewers change the channel when creators mess up. If you like this show, why encourage worse ratings? Besides, do you expect people to keep completely abandon their favorite show because they object to one element of it?
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Dec 22, 2015
I'm addressing the people complaining about what/how things were done; not the way the writers & creators were treating the show.

By this time, people know what to expect from the show in terms of violence and how the characters are treated. G.R.R.M knew the show was going to make changes in what he wrote. If anyone has the right to object, it was him. And he didn't.

I don't particularly like the show. I don't enjoy the gratuitous violence perpetrated by any and all of the characters. I watch it from time to time so I can join conversation when people get hyper about it. But while I don't like it, I don't expect others to abide by MY viewing standards.

This is a show on a premium pay channel. This isn't something on ABC, CBS,NBC; you can't expect them to play by Disney rules. If you don't like it, change the channel & let others enjoy it in peace.



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Dec 23, 2015
I'll try to keep away from mentioning the books again. I don't think the show needs to be the same as the books. I was just using them to illustrate why/how Weiss/Benioff made some weak decisions with their characters. (Except, to your point about G.R.R.M., he did make some sideways comments about the show. I think the fact that he hasn't outwardly stated negativity has more to do with industry than his opinion.)
I don't know that the critics are imposing their moral standards on anybody. A lot of the argument is based in the fact that the writing in the scene delivered a cheap shock. That has more to do with technical stuff than squeamishness. Sansa being raped may have been taken better if the show had given viewers any confidence that the use of rape was anything more than a way to deliver a cheap punch.
Besides, what morals are you talking about? People saying fictional rape is something ugly that needs to be used carefully so it doesn't become exploitative? That doesn't seem like a minority opinion.
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Dec 23, 2015
The criticism (of the objectors) is unevenly applied. They get exceptionally upset over what happened to Sansa, but don't seem to apply the same criteria to others.

Rape is a terrible thing. Violence is a terrible thing. Doesn't matter if it is in real life or fiction.

Anyone who has read any of G.R.R.Martin's stuff knows he has never shied away from unpleasant actions.

People knew from the beginning what the show was going to offer. Demanding that the writers etc change their ways is ridiculous.

And lets be real...the viewers are there; despite what the minority are screaming about. GoT's has had it's viewership grow season to season.

So, i'll end it here with a paraphrase of what i said before: If you don't like it....use your remote and change the channel. But don't let a small portion of the audience dictate what the majority wants to watch (however questionable it may be).
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Dec 22, 2015
Okay, I made the assumption you were a fan of the show that didn't understand the reason people disliked the scene. I probably was trying to explain things you already knew, so sorry about that.
But I still disagree with the point you seem to be making that creators should be left to do whatever they want. Haven't you ever heard of authors who's quality of work declined when they got so big they started to ignore criticism? Star Wars and George Lucas is the most topical example. If people just turn the channel instead of voicing their complaints, they have no hope of that show getting better again. One complaint (one viewer's standards) should be ignored because you can't please everyone, but when there's a swarm of people yelling at you, you should at least consider what they're yelling about.
No one is expecting GoT to be Disney. At least, no one who ever enjoyed the show. People know that the show's cornerstones are basically lots of violence and sex. They used to laugh about the gratuitousness though. All those jokes about sexposition and HBO-ness during the early seasons point out that people saw something suspect but excusable in how the creators were handling the material. The gratuity drew in viewers because sex sells, and didn't lose viewers because the story wasn't hurt in any large way.
If that level of indulgence had continued, you'd be right that people should have known what to expect. But it didn't. This season, Weiss and Benioff nearly caught up to the source material and started changing more and more storylines to prepare for when they ran out. And their contributions continued to include gratuitous or shocking scenes. Except since they weren't dealing with background characters or asides, the ramifications of those scenes got to large to ignore. Although this article only mentions the Sansa thing, there were large changes to pretty much every plot-driving character. So even though seeds of the issue appeared in earlier seasons, its prevalence is new. Which is why viewers are complaining about the violence (sex, rape, etc.) now when they hadn't complained about the violence you disliked.

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Dec 23, 2015
A large chunk of the viewers have never read the books; they wouldn't know the difference. The fact is a character was raped, horrifically...again. It didn't matter to me that it happened to a character other than what happened in the book. Either way it was a terrible thing.

It has nothing to do with the liberties that the writers/producers/directors took. If anyone has the rights to object to the changes, it's G.R.R. Martin. And he didn't. (which is kind of odd considering his stance on fanfiction-which this show is becoming).

As objectionable as I find the content, I'll admit the quality of it, both acting & writing, well above par.

My point is that we shouldn't allow a minority of viewers to impose their moral standards on the majority of viewers.
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Dec 21, 2015
The "social justice" movement has created an entire generation of useless crybabies. It's time to stop coddling them.
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Dec 23, 2015
Yep, let's return to a time when Black people knew their place, gays had to cower in the closet, and women were seen and not heard.

/sarcasm
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Dec 23, 2015
Oh you precious, precious snowflake! Did my post offend you? Should I have added a trigger warning? In any case, you seem to be confusing "social justice," a political agenda, with civil rights, a moral and legal issue.
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Dec 23, 2015
Legal = law. Who passes laws? Politicians. If you think civil rights are not a political issue, you haven't been paying attention in class.
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Dec 23, 2015
It's an issue that is politicized. Yes, that can eventually lead to moral consensus and the passage of laws. We're arguing semantics at this point. Class? Oh, you must be a college student. That explains a lot. Young, naive, and impressionable. You realize this "movement" is the brain child of depraved billionaires like that POS Nazi collaborator George Soros. He pays operatives, professional protesters basically, to go around and rouse the rabble, usually at college campuses. Ask yourself why he's spending millions of dollars to do this? I assure you, his reasons are not altruistic. ;)
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Dec 23, 2015
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Dec 23, 2015
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Dec 21, 2015
No one made this big a deal about the use of rape in the 1995 film Dead Man Walking.
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Dec 21, 2015
The comments in this are disgusting, and I'm not referring to the spam.
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Dec 22, 2015
They are warriors of House Keyboard.
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Dec 21, 2015
Noooooooooo, a violent sexist show thought the rape scenes were good?

Hey, when you have morons watching, you have a moronic show.
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Dec 21, 2015
What rape? they were married and it's the wedding night, it's called tradition.
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Dec 22, 2015
You are joking, yes?
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Dec 22, 2015
No no no. That only applies to Dothraki weddings, and only when accompanied to a reasonable number of deaths.
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Dec 21, 2015
This is pretty stupid. If people want to complain about rape on Game of Thones then how about the mutineers with Craster's women? That was graphic, gratuitous and in no way identified with the victims. Sansa's rape was the opposite of all those things, it's ridiculous if that's the part of Game of Thrones that's changing the show.

The most glaring issue people can have with Sansa's rape is character assassination - that is not a reason to complain about the rape scene itself, just her overall arc which has now completely gone off the rails.

Secondly, some have complained that the scene was framed to be all about Reek instead of Sansa, trivialising it. I don't buy this at all. Yes this story involved Reek and he was present but a quick pan to Reek to close the scene doesn't make it all about him.

That's it really. The scene was not gratuitous, it wasn't titillating, it implied more than it showed, it was sympathetic to Sansa. If this controversy ends up changing the show for the worse I'll be pretty pissed off.
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Dec 21, 2015
I could not agree more - when this was raised last season, I expressed the same thing about the trivialised misery of the Craster women whose rape and abuse was reduced to convenient background noise. That was irresponsible disgusting TV. I didn't find what happened to Sansa particularly great TV but in that context it may be at least justified if the story paid off (or pays off more in the future) and at least it was not too graphic (very briefly so if at all). GoT is a war-torn brutal world and sadly rape is one of the weapons used.
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Dec 21, 2015
For someone who watches game of throne, outlander and reign where each had a rape scene in it game of thrones came third on my hard to watch list. The final episode of outlander was unbearable to watch my heart was pumping rough the entire thing and the scene were a certain favourite character of mine was brutishly raped in full frontal view for the world to see was 20 times worse than Sansa's rape scene which was filmed of camera. Even in reign Mary's rape scene was hard to watch we saw it happen and the aftermath was even more unsettling. In the world of tv especially this kind of TV every now and again we should be made to feel uncomfortable we should be made to feel like throwing something at the TV to make it stop. The way Game of thrones portrayed Sansa's rape was respectful in someways but done well it wasn't a plot devise to weaken a woman and it wasn't done for the sake of it. People need to relax a bit more and understand that the more rape scenes are used properly and the after effects of the rape are shown in a sensitive and true way the more exposure and understanding people will have for such an important and sometimes misunderstood problem.
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Dec 22, 2015
Outlander was so much more brutal than GoT, thanks for mentioning it. I don't recall there being this amount of outcry after those scenes.
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Dec 22, 2015
It's exactly what I mean. Yes I know outlander hasn't had years worth of loyal fans and viewers but still when you compare the two scenes it's way worse and hardly anybody got this worked up about it, half the viewers said it was cinematic genius that showed bravery and yes others said it was too much I'm somewhere in the middle. As I said its TV and sometimes bad shit needs to happen to make an impact and to make people aware of bad things like rape. I've read comments that say here on GOT it wasn't rape as it was her wedding day and during those times that is what's expected but it is rape she was not willing and how about deny and her wedding night and all the times after.
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Dec 21, 2015
It was a boring and lame scene considering it was entirely censored from depicting actual rape.
Its actually offending as a fan that they change stuff because of this, while the true criticism off everything else they did with Sansa last season is ignored completly, even though THAT was an attrocity to the boo, and story.

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