During a celebratory party at Winterfell, following the Battle of Winterfell, Sansa (Sophie Turner) talked with the Hound (Rory McCann) about all the horrors she's faced over the past few years. The Hound noted that she's not a "little bird" anymore, and Sansa, in the simplest of terms, implied that the horrors she suffered — aka, her abuse at the hands of Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) — led her to who she is today. Because of what happened to her, she's a strong, powerful leader of the North.
"Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would've stayed a little bird all my life," she told the Hound.
The moment is not sitting well with fans, and especially not well with famous fans of the show, considering it implies that without Littlefinger and Ramsay, Sansa wouldn't be a major player in Westeros right now. Jessica Chastain, who actually stars opposite Sophie Turner in the upcoming Dark Phoenix, wrote in a fire tweet: "The #littlebird was always a Phoenix."
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
Sansa wasn't the only victim of apparent mistreatment in the episode. In King's Landing, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) was captured and then executed in front of her best friend, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and partner, Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). Making matters worse, she was executed while in chains after living as a free woman since Dany had freed her in Essos. Director Ava DuVernay called this out, also noting that Missandei was the only woman of color on the show. She was such a peaceful presence, and was killed off so violently.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.