Tuesday, May 26, 2015

sansa the brave

The internet won't stop rumbling about how the series Game of Thrones has taken liberties this season with one of its major characters, Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner. But the outcry is not limited to book vs. show purists. Many more have been shocked by what happened last week when her newly-wed husband Ramsay Bolton brutalized her on her wedding night.

Many have protested that the show is glorifying the act of rape. That is patently absurd. What Sansa had to endure was unequivocally shown as brutal and horrible, with both physical and mental ramifications for her and for the already broken Theon/Reek, who Ramsay forced to witness the event. The following episode showed that Ramsay's reign of terror on Sansa had continued. There were bruises on her arms and she was locked in her room, a prisoner in her own home. She was upset, pleading with Theon to help her signal for help from her "friends in the North." Although Theon reverted to his status of Reek and instead ran to Ramsay to tell him of Sansa's request to place an SOS candle in a window, his act may not have been purely treachery. Although Sansa is undergoing terrible abuse, Reek knows more than anyone that "it could be much worse." He may have feared that Ramsay would have seen through such an amateurish attempt and come down hard on both of them.

Sansa is no longer building Winterfell castles in the snow

Stay strong, Sansa

How could any viewer be surprised that a sadistic, insane character like Ramsay perpetrate such awfulness? That it is happening to Sansa is, admittedly, quite upsetting. But Ramsay is a character that we have seen in previous episodes flay people alive, torture and castrate Theon, hunt young women for sport — and watch, gleefully, as the dogs have their prey. The world of Westeros is unkind, cold, and brutal, and not-so-loosely-based our own middle ages. Sadly, women and men are raped and tortured and brutalized even in our modern "civilized" world. Game of Thrones is telling stories, some of them not always pretty.

Do we hope that Sansa, with or without the help of Theon, or Brienne, or anyone, will wreak (ha) her own vengeance on Ramsay? That the act of castration might be in his future? He certainly deserves it. For the moment it seems that her trials will continue. But Sansa is no weak sister. She is already showing that there are reserves of strength below her calm demeanor. She may not have pushed Reek far enough yet to rediscover his inner Theon, but she is laying the groundwork. And she was able to throw Ramsay off his balance by reminding him of his former bastard status. Yes, her story is upsetting this season, but it also hints at someone emerging from the shadows to discover her true power. Sansa may become the dark horse that no one is expecting. She is truly becoming prepared for winter, and all of its various evils, which has already come to Westeros.


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