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Jessica Chastain Calls Out 'Game Of Thrones' Over Rape Plot Device

Huffington Post

EdChat™ Nomad
Aug 11, 2016
Warning: spoilers for “Game of Thrones” below.

Jessica Chastain has called out “Game of Thrones” for the way in which it used the rape endured by Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner) in an earlier season as a plot point in Sunday’s latest episode.

Chastain said dialogue between The Hound (played by Rory McCann) and Stark as they marked victory in the Battle of Winterfell suggested the latter only possessed her current strength because of the harrowing sexual assault she’d suffered from Ramsay Bolton (played by Iwan Rheon) in season five of HBO’s epic fantasy drama.

The Hound told Stark: “You’ve changed, little bird.” He claimed that “none of it would have happened if you’d left Kings Landing with me, no Littlefinger, no Ramsay, none of it.”

Stark replied: “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life.”

Chastain tweeted that “rape is not a tool to make a character stronger.”

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.#GameOfThrones

— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) May 7, 2019

“A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix,” she added. “Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.”

Chastain’s comments provoked debate on Twitter:

I love this! You are so right @jes_chastain. I was thinking the exact same thing during the show. #GameofThrones

— Kristi Gordon (@KGordonGlobalBC) May 7, 2019

i am really going to regret commenting on this—i just know it.
assigning meaning to abuse and trauma is fairly common
and it can be a very helpful (and valid) coping mechanism for survival and healing.
it doesn’t mean she’s not strong on her own.

— real live ghost (@ghostfacekelly) May 7, 2019

What she said.

— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) May 7, 2019

I get your sentiments, but would she have realized that strength if not for the tragic events that happened. Everything shapes you. Good and bad.

— Nadine (@Rosannasfriend) May 7, 2019

Thank you. That bothered me, too.

— Dave Cullen (@DaveCullen) May 8, 2019

Men refuse to write women who *don't* find strength out of sexual trauma. It's the only possibility they seem to be able to imagine for us.

— Courtney Enlow (@courtenlow) May 7, 2019

Turner, 23, stars alongside Chastain, 42, in “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.” She has not responded to Chastain’s criticism of the scene.

But on Bolton’s savage death by his own hounds, Turner told Rolling Stone magazine last month it was “the most satisfying scene.”

It made me so emotional because I’ve been waiting so long for her to stand up to the people who have done her wrong,” she explained.

Marc Piasecki via Getty Images
Jessica Chastain stars with Sophie Turned in "X Men: Dark Phoenix."