Game of Thrones rape scene prompts outraged fans to quit the series
This story contains spoilers
A U.S. senator is among those condemning a rape scene on HBO's Game of Thrones.
In a comment tweeted Tuesday, Senator Claire McCaskill described the sexual assault as "gratuitous" and "disgusting." The Democratic lawmaker from Missouri said she was done with the show.
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Other critics included the website The Mary Sue, which offers a feminist view of pop culture. The website posted that it would no longer promote Game of Thrones and said that rape is not a device to drive a story.
"After the episode ended, I was gutted. I felt sick to my stomach. And then I was angry," wrote Jill Pantozzi, the online publication's editor in chief. "Not only will there be those who hand-wave the scene simply on the basis of artistic integrity, there will be those who still don't consider it rape."
The attack involved newly married characters Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, and Ramsay, portrayed by Iwan Rheon. Ramsay's rape of Sansa was off-camera, suggested in her cries and the distress on a bystander's face.
The fantasy saga, which follows the rise and fall of families in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, is one of the most-watched shows on television. But some viewers are so upset with Sunday's episode they say they'll never watch again.
That's it, I'm officially not watching Game of Thrones anymore. It's no longer anything like the books and I can't watch ANOTHER rape scene.—@ellenrosesmith
Loved this show, but I honestly feel like not ever watching an episode again - so insensitive, so unnecessary, so disgusting. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GameOfThrones?src=hash">#GameOfThrones</a>—@Sarz_Lloyd
I am intensely disappointed in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GameOfThrones?src=hash">#GameOfThrones</a>. I've been pissed before, uncomfortable, upset. Now I'm seriously considering quitting it.—@geekdame
<a href="https://twitter.com/HBO">@HBO</a> Stay classy with the rape of minors HBO. How you get away with raping minors on screen is beyond me. Game of Thrones is filth—@Khitchary
HBO declined comment Tuesday on the reaction to the episode. An after-hours call to McCaskill's office seeking further comment was not immediately returned.
Attack not in the books
The scene differed from the work of George R.R. Martin, whose novels are the basis of Game of Thrones. In Martin's work, a different character marries Ramsay and is sexually assaulted by another man at Ramsay's direction.
"David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and Bryan [Cogman] and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can," Martin wrote on his website Monday. "And over here, I am trying to write the best novels that I can.
"And yes, more and more, they differ ... but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, producer and writer Bryan Cogman explained to fans how the scene was significant to the plot.
"It's pretty intense and awful, and the character will have to deal with it," said Cogman, "[But] it is an important turning point [for Sansa]."
Sansa actress 'loved' the script
The actress who plays Sansa, 19-year-old Sophie Turner, told the same publication that she "loved" playing the brutal scene.
It's not the first time Game of Thrones has shocked fans with its savage storylines.
Last season, HBO was slammed over another rape scene involving incestuous lovers. The show's ongoing graphic violence also has drawn criticism.
It's too early to tell what impact the latest controversial episode may have. Before Sunday's show, Game of Thrones had remained a steady hit in its fifth season.
With files from CBC news