Game of Thrones is rarely kind to its heroes, but this week’s “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” has drawn even more controversy than usual for its horrific final scene.[Spoilers to follow]
In the scene, Sansa Stark is raped on her wedding night by her new husband, Ramsay Bolton, as Theon Greyjoy watches in horror. It’s a moment that would be awful in any light, but fans of the George R.R. Martin novels on which Game of Thrones is based are particularly shocked, since the scene does not occur in the novels. (Ramsay does rape his new wife, but it’s a relatively lesser-known character, not Sansa Stark.)
With the controversy growing, Martin took a moment to weigh in on his personal blog, emphasizing the fundamental difference between his novels and the TV series.
“I have a lot of fans asking me for comment,” he wrote. “Let me reiterate what I have said before.”
“How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life: she was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story.”
“There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds.”