Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sansa Stark Shouldn’t Be In Winterfell

Honestly, it’s not my goal to turn this blog into a weekly commentary on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the show’s divergence from George R.R. Martin’s novels are starting to bother me, even though I still enjoy watching every week. As always, *SPOILERS* will follow for those who haven’t read the books.

This should have never happened.
Let me just say it: Sansa Stark is NOT supposed to be in Winterfell! She’s not supposed to be in the clutches of that maniac Ramsay Bolton. She just isn’t. 

Sansa has already endured one insane little man in Joffrey, and not even George R.R. Martin – who is notoriously ruthless towards his characters – was sadistic enough to throw her into a bedroom with Ramsay, who may be the most purely evil character in A Song of Ice and Fire. In the book, Ramsay’s victim is Jayne Poole, a minor character who is forced to pose as Arya Stark, only to be abused and broken by Ramsay. But Martin never makes us watch. He just shows us the effects: a shattered, terrified girl, covered in bite marks. This was never meant to happen to Sansa. Perhaps Laura Hudson said it best in her recap on Wired
Forcing [Sana] back into the role of victim and sexually humiliating her at the hands of yet another sadistic fiance adds nothing that we haven’t seen before, and indeed, feels regressive. All the forward momentum of her character development is undercut by this assault, transforming her back into the same little girl she was at King’s Landing, weeping as her dress was torn off. Shoehorning additional abuse and rape into her story at this point isn’t just upsetting; it’s boring and counterproductive. Poorly done, show. Poorly done.
Look, I understand the writers had to do something with Sansa since her entire story line from the books was completed last season. But clearly, Martin has a plan for her because she’s a viewpoint character in The Winds Of Winter – and being Ramsay’s victim isn’t it. 

The show’s writers are combining characters to limit the number of story lines they have to portray this season. Sansa has become Jayne Poole. Ser Jorah is playing the role of himself and a bit of Jon Connington’s now that he’s secretly contracted grayscale. Jaime is playing the role of Arys Oakheart in Dorne. But the problem is, Jaime still needs to play his own role, as he does in the books. And so does Jorah, and so does Sansa. With Ser Barristan dead, maybe the show is setting up Tyrion to take his role as the Hand of the Queen in Meereen. But that’s not supposed to happen either. Tyrion undoubtedly has a different role to play, even if we have to wait for The Winds Of Winter to learn what it is. 

I’m not blaming the writers for having to stray from the books (although if they had added in the Ironborn story line and kept Dorne its own subplot (sans Jaime), they might have had enough material to get through season 5 without changing too much). But with Sansa Stark, I can’t help but believe the writers made the wrong choice.

** Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes


Bill said...

That Sansa in Bolton clutches business bothers me too, Joe. I don't see the value of it.

I also wonder where they're going with Arya. I found her story line one of the least interesting once she got to the weird cult house. They're spending a lot of time on it in the series; maybe because they like the character and actress.

Didn't Tyrion get grayscale in the book, or am I remembering wrong?

Isn't Cersei supposed to be in prison instead of the queen?

They keep us watching though!

Joseph Finley said...


Thanks for the comment. We obviously agree about Sansa. I think Arya's story will progress per the books for the most part, at least this season. Tyrion never gets Grayscale (to my knowledge), but he does fall into the river when the stone men attack. The only one who gets the disease is Connington (now Jorah). And Margery does get imprisoned in the books -- but Cersei has hers coming! (In the books, her brother does not get arrested, however; instead, he gets severely wounded during a siege Cersei send him on). By the way, I expect Cersei's tale will follow the books pretty closely this season.

Bill said...

Thanks Joe. It's been several years since I finished the book series and the divergent TV story line has confused me quite a bit.

Bill said...

Since they TV series is completely untethered from the books, I was trying to imagine where this might go. As you noted, the story line set in "Reek's" home islands has been dropped. Might watching Ramsey abuse his former "sister" push him over the edge into violent retaliation overcoming his conditioning? Leading to a Stark recovery of Winterfell? Just a thought.