Sans Everything


Spoilers & Triggers

So, Sansa and Ramsey.

Well, it was totally necessary because it shows rape is bad, which we didn’t already know…

Oh, hang on, we did.

Well, some people don’t understand how bad rape is, and this’ll make them see that they were wrong…

Oh no, hang on, it proably won’t.

Well, it was necessary for the plot.

Er… no.  And even if it had been, plots are things people make, not things that grow by themselves.

But it was in the book, wasn’t it?

Um… no, it wasn’t.  In fact they had to rewrite the storyline from the books quite extensively to make it possible.  And even if it had been in the book, that wouldn't bind them to include it.

But at least it was germaine to the text, like the rape scene in, say, The Accused…

Umm… except that this is a show about dragons and magic in a fairytale kingdom.

But at least it shows the horrors of the treatment of women in the middle ages…

Except that this show isn’t set in the middle ages in the real world…

But, being set in a fictionalised version of the middle ages, the show has a mandate to cover medieval misogyny…

Um, no.  Not necessarily.

Well, at least it's broaching a topic it's been silent about up until now?

Except that it hasn’t been.  In fact, it's looked at violence against women, sexual or otherwise, in what some might say is pitilessly and cynically unnecessary depth and detail.

But it handled it tastefully and unsensationally and in a way that nobody could possibly get off on watching in any kind of creepy, woman-hating way…


But it at least advanced the characters’ progress towards… er…

Well, at least it told us stuff we didn’t know about the characters, like Ramsey’s a sadist and a misogynist, and Sansa can put up with cruel treatment.


Well, it’s good for headlines and ratings, so that justifies it.  I guess.


Well, it was edgy.  ZOMG, they are so hardcore and dark, man.  Yay for them.


SpaceSquid 5 years, 8 months ago

"Well, at least it told us stuff we didn’t know about the characters, like Ramsey’s a sadist and a misogynist, and Sansa can put up with cruel treatment.


This is the point at which we diverge. It seems to me that it really does demonstrate something about Sansa. Ramsay isn't Joffrey; she agreed to go inside Winterfell. She decided to walk through the Godswood instead of lighting a beacon in the Broken Tower to be whisked away by the loyalist Northerners. She makes it perfectly clear in her scene with Myranda that she's not operating out of fear this time. Ramsay and Joffrey might be horribly similar, but season two Sansa and season five Sansa most definitely aren't.

So no. I don't think the problem is that we learn nothing new about Sansa. I think the problem is that what we learn about Sansa is that she is willing to become complicit in her own rape. In a world as suffused and corrupted by rape culture as our is, that's obviously a horrifically ugly and damaging idea. I wouldn't want to go within a thousand miles of even appearing to defend it. There were a million other ways they could demonstrate Sansa's resolve in the face of hideousness that wouldn't come close to being so unjustifiable (Dr Sandifer' suggestion of Sansa being forced to help Ramsay flay someone is a good one, I think). But that, as I read the episode, was the intent of Sansa's story over the season so far.

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SpaceSquid 5 years, 7 months ago

Having seen the following episode, I think I can safely scrap everything I said above. It was a theory that required the show stick the landing, and instead they crashed at full speed into a mountain shaped like an extended middle finger. Whatever aesthetic and functional purpose the scene itself could be argued to have, it seems clear B&W were so keen to include it they didn't really need to make sure it made sense as part of the larger narrative. Which is a pretty fucking damning state of affairs.

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