X-Men: Dark Phoenix actress Jessica Chastain took aim at HBO’s Game of Thrones stating for using rape as a form of female empowerment. The actress took to Twitter to take aim at a bit of dialogue after the Battle of Winterfell.
Chastain specifically took aim at a scene between Sansa Stark, played by fellow X-Men actress Sophie Turner, and The Hound, played by Rory McCann. In that scene, the Hound made a suggestion to Sansa that she more than likely would not have had to suffer at the hands of Littlefinger and Ramsay Bolton if he had gone with her.
The hound states, “none of it would have happened if you’d left King’s Landing with me, no Littlefinger, no Ramsay, none of it.” To which Sansa responds, “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life.”
Chastain commented on the scene, “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”
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 pic.twitter.com/TVIyt8LYxI
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) May 7, 2019
Reactions on Twitter were a bit mixed. Some fans pointed out that Sansa was acknowledging that what happened to her has definitely shaped her.
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
The idea that our hardships make us who we are is not an endorsement of the evil things people do to us. It is a perfectly acceptable plot device to have Sansa embrace her experience as shaping her. No one is suggesting the rapist deserves any credit for it.
— Jason Mirabella (@jason_mirabella) May 7, 2019
If Sansa chooses 2 see her trauma as a catalyst 4 realizing her inherent strength, that strikes me as a healthy way of coping, a survivor’s understanding & peace. It doesn’t mean her trauma was necessary, it’s just looking @ something horrible w/ strength. A reclamation of sorts
— Connor (@ConPerignon) May 7, 2019
One person noted the way the show has treated Sansa was “disgusting.”
she gained more strength without getting repeatedly assaulted in the books. she was never even supposed to be sold to ramsay and that’s why it’s even more disgusting they’re trying to justify it now through her lines.
— ً (@sansasrark) May 7, 2019
At least one person blamed men.
That line was written by men ….
— I love Arya Stark 3000 (@CarineK) May 7, 2019
Jamie Walton, the President of the Wayne Foundation, which advocates for victims of sex trafficking, claimed that Jessica Chastain missed the entire point of the conversation. She pointed to the evolution of the character from Season 1 to now and her own personal growth.
1. Sansa showed her strength by granting the Hound absolution for the guilt he was clearly harboring. That was the point of the conversation.
2. Sansa wasn’t strong when the show started. 🤦🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/2MFffcD0oy
— Jamie Walton (@JamieWalton) May 8, 2019
Actress Sophie Turner spoke to Rolling Stone regarding the backlash of the Ramsay Bolton rape scene, “I think the backlash was wrong because those things did happen. We can’t dismiss that and not put it in a TV show where it’s all about power — and that is a very impactful way to show that you have power over somebody.”
She would then discuss how the conclusion of the Ramsay Bolton storyline “made it a really great storyline.” Turner elaborates, “Killing him with the dogs, that 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.”
What do you make of Jessica Chastain’s comments? Do you think she completely missed the point of the scene? Or do you think her argument is valid?