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Game of Thrones: “Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger,” says Jessica Chastain

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Hollie Richardson
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Sansa Stark rape conversation

Jessica Chastain has called out Game of Thrones writers for using rape as a “tool” in Sansa Stark’s storyline. 

The latest Game of Thrones episode, The Last of the Starks, had some contentious issues to say the least. 

Firstly, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) ‘virgin-shamed’ Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) before she slept with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). We also saw the murder of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), which left just one main character of colour in the show – Greyworm (Jacob Basil Anderson).

Now, a conversation between Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and The Hound (Rory McCann) has prompted actor Jessica Chastain to call out the show for using rape as a “tool” in storylines.

The scene in question started with Sansa taking a seat next to the Hound at Winterfell, reflecting on the rape and abuse she endured at the hands of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson). “None of it would have happened if you had left King’s Landing with me,” said the Hound. “No Littlefinger, no Ramsay, none of it.” Sansa responded: “Without Littlefinger, Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life.”

Chastain responded to the interaction, writing on Twitter: “Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger. A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.”

Fans also supported Chastain’s view, with one sharing: “Hi. As a rape survivor who just watched #GameOfThrones, I’m gonna go ahead and take FULL FUCKING CREDIT for the strength I’ve gained since my attack.”

And another referred to the showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss, adding: “The whole Sansa-Hound scene made me cringe. It seems D n D haven’t learned anything from the conversation generated by the season 6 rape scene.”

“Also how fucking dare they paint Sansa’s trauma and rape as learning experiences. That scene is probably the best example of why we need more female fantasy writers,” added a third. 

Chastain acts alongside Turner in the next X-Men installment, Dark Phoenix - which makes her statement about her co-star’s GoT character even more powerful. 

Image: HBO

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