Nearly a year after the violent rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) on “Game of Thrones” created outrage among many fans, one of the scene’s actors is speaking out against the critics.
Iwan Rheon, who plays the rapist in the scene, Ramsay Bolton, believes the protests were misdirected.
“I think if more people put their effort into the charities that help women in the world today deal with the horror of rape, and less effort in social media about a fantasy show, then maybe things could change,” he told Britain’s Telegraph.
In the season-five scene, the sadistic Ramsay rapes his new bride, Sansa. While the action takes place off-camera, the sounds of Sansa’s cries and the distressed look of one bystander give the audience an idea of its brutality.
Fans and critics expressed their disgust with the scene and the use of rape as a storytelling device. One senator, Missouri’s
Claire McCaskill, described the sexual assault as “gratuitous” and “disgusting.” Producers even said that the protests resulted in them making changes in their storytelling for future seasons.
But Rheon, who believes that viewers would have reacted differently if the scene didn’t involve his polarising character, said the scene could’ve been far worse.
“I think it could have been done in a much more brutal way,” he said. “They didn’t oversexualize it or make it too gratuitous. They didn’t trivialize it and I thought it moved the characters forward.”
Despite his disagreement with the scene’s critics, Rheon recalled that doing it was really hard for him.
“I was dreading it,” he said, “I couldn’t sleep.”
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