'Game of Thrones' just made a big divergence from the books

Sansa and LittlefingerHelen Sloan/HBOLittlefinger comforts Sansa

The biggest shock of Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” came from a major turn in a main character’s storyline.

Fans of the “Game of Thrones” series watched as Sansa’s storyline veered greatly from the books. It’s one the largest divergences from from the text so far.

It starts at Moat Cailin, where Theon/Reek looks upon the gruesomely flayed remains of a man and woman hanging from the castle walls. After learning that Ramsay has been skinning northern lords alive to get their families to pay taxes, his father, Roose, teaches him a lesson about political strategy and how fragile their current position is.

With the loss of Tywin Lannister as an ally, they are vulnerable to uprising from the northerners. Roose tells his son that marriage between families, not physical brutality, is the best way to seal alliances. “As it happens, I found the perfect girl to solidify our hold on the North.”

The show then cuts to Sansa and Littlefinger. The last known living Stark, Sansa is the rightful heir to Winterfell. She’s the perfect person to keep the northerners in line; the daughter of the beloved, late Ned Stark and sister to the former King of the North, Robb.

Sansa Starkhbo.comSansa cowers, humiliated in court by Joffrey

For those of you who aren’t familiar, or who don’t remember, here’s a quick reminder of who Ramsay Bolton is, and why he’s the last person Sansa should want to marry.

The Lannisters, you’ll remember, teamed up with the Boltons and Freys to massacre Rob Stark and his army in the Red Wedding. They cut off his head, and gruesomely attached his direwolfs head onto his body, parading it around the burning Stark camp. Catelyn Stark’s throat was slit, and she was later thrown naked into the river.

Ramsay Bolton (then using the name Snow) lay siege to Winterfell, killing dozens and capturing Theon. Ramsay then tortured him until he turned him into “Reek,” unrecognizable and mentally broken. For sport, Ramsay hunts women with his dogs, and skins men alive in front of their families.

And Sansa thought Joffrey was a piece of work.

Robb Stark's Deathhbo.comRemember how Roose Bolton stabbed Robb in the heart? Yeah so does Sansa.
Robb Stark's body after the Red Weddinghbogo.comRobb’s body with the head of his direwolf, Greywind.

So we watch Sansa realise what it means when Littlefinger brings her to Moat Cailin. Naturally, she’s horrified at the idea of seeing the Boltons, let alone marrying one. She initially refuses, insisting she’ll starve herself or run away if this is truly her fate. But Littlefinger steps in as a master manipulater, saying that he won’t force her but that she should look at this as an opportunity.

“You’ve been a bystander to tragedy since the day they executed your father. Stop being a bystander … There’s no justice in the world, not unless we make it. You loved your family, avenge them.”

This speech settles on Sansa, as she looks over Moat Cailin and her future. After hardening her expression into one of resolve, instead of fear, she gets back on her horse and rides towards the castle. Littlefinger watches her trot off, smiling like a proud and creepy uncle.

Sansa Stark Season 5HBOSansa gives Littlefinger a horrified side-eye as they discuss her fate

So how exactly did the show writers decide that Sansa hadn’t quite had her fill of atrocious fiancés?

In the books, Ramsay is indeed engaged, but it’s to a young girl named Jeyne Poole who was forced to pose as “Arya Stark.” No one knows where the real Arya is, since she escaped King’s Landing after Ned’s execution. So the Boltons capture Jeyne, and pretend she is a Stark in order to keep the Northerners from rebelling against their new wardens.

The last time we see Sansa in the books (“A Feast of Crows”), she’s with Littlefinger in the Vale, scheming to marry a lord in that territory. There is the implication that Winterfell is in her future, but not through anything close to an alliance with the Boltons. It is assumed the Littlefinger is scheming to usurp the Boltons and take back Winterfell with the help of the lords of the Vale.

It seems as though the showrunners have opted to simplify this plot, and hand over a real Stark girl to the Boltons for political leverage. Meanwhile, Littlefinger is still scheming to undo the Boltons, but it appears as though he’s going to use Sansa in this mission. She has the motivation of vengeance, but what’s the endgame? What does this change mean for the future of Sansa, Littlefinger, the Boltons, and Winterfell?

Roose Bolton and Ramsay BoltoyHbo.comThe Boltons await the arrival of guests in their court

We know froman interviewwith the actor who plays Ramsay, Iawn Rheon, that there are some disturbing scenes to come in season five.

“There were some things in this series that I was really disturbed by. Just before the scene I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this’ but it’s my job so you’ve got to get on with it,” Rheon told ITV.

So what horrors are in Sansa’s future? Last December, Turner, who plays Sansa, gave a brief interview at the British Film Award. She was asked what some of her upcoming season five scenes were like, and her response was downright eerie.

“There was one scene which I did do which is super, super traumatic,” she said. “It was just really kind of horrible for everyone to be on set and watch.”

Not just super traumatic, but super SUPER traumatic. We can only speculate what that might be, but this voyage into the Boltons’ lair is most likely the cause for the terror to come.

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