While Game of Thrones regularly angers its fans, Sunday's episode is drawing criticism for its depiction of the brutal rape of Sansa Stark by her new husband Ramsay Bolton.
The event was particularly shocking to fans of George R.R. Martin's books, as it completely deviates from the original text, in which Ramsay marries Jeyne Poole, a character that hasn't been seen on the HBO series since Season 1.
Martin, for one, stepped forward to defend the producers' narrative choice.
The author wrote on his official LiveJournal:
"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....Prose and television have different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements. David and Dan and Bryan and HBO are trying to make the best television series that they can. And over here I am trying to write the best novels that I can."
Meanwhile, the inclusion of rape as a plot device has had other effects, with pop culture and feminist website TheMarySue.com making the decision to stop covering the show: "There's only so many times you can be disgusted with something you love before you literally can't bring yourself to look at it anymore....The staff of The Mary Sue feels the same. You may feel differently."
Bryan Cogman, the writer of the episode, also commented on Twitter, saying that it was "Sansa's choice to marry Ramsay and walk into that room. She feels marrying him is a vital step in reclaiming her homeland. Not trying to change anyone's opinion of the scene (negative or otherwise) but that it what I was..Okay, LAST word. In NO WAY...NO WAY was that comment an attempt to 'blame the victim.' If it seemed that way I'm deeply sorry."
How do you feel about Sansa's assault? Did it cross a line or was it a necessary evil?