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HBO Changes Its 'Game of Thrones' Strategy, and Iwan Rheon Breaks His Silence About Sansa's Rape

By Cindy Davis | Game of Thrones | March 2, 2016 |

By Cindy Davis | Game of Thrones | March 2, 2016 |

Shazam! Not only will we high and mighty (not me) book readers basically have jack shit to go on in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones, neither will the press (thanks, Obama!). We are all on equal ground, mothereffers! In a big reversal from last year’s Whee! Everybody pirate, it’s a compliment! (slight exaggeration) policy, HBO’s Michael Lombardo says GoT is now on LOCKDOWN.


What does that mean? Well, after last year’s massive, spoilerish leaks of the first four episodes, the cable network is sending out zero early screeners to critics, the media, and “Hollywood insiders” (even Obama?). Here’s what the programming president said about how things are being handled this year.

“We’re not sending out press copies this year, anywhere in the world. There will be no copies for review.

It’s painful for Dan and David [when leaks happen]. When you have press copies, inevitably friends ask, ‘Can I see your copy?’ There are things that happen. We talked about the upsides and downsides. Some of the press are fans who might be disappointed, but they’ll understand.”

That’s right, friends; now we’re all out in the cold together.


Hey wait, this could be good!


Um, guys?




And just in case you haven’t heard enough people’s thoughts on Ramsay Bolton’s wedding night rape of Sansa Stark, after all this time, Iwan Rheon has something to say. Asserting his thoughts that the show had “handled the scene very well,” Ramsay’s alter ego seems irked by complaints.

“They didn’t oversexualise it or make it too gratuitous. They didn’t trivialise it and I thought it moved the characters forward. I think it could have been done in a much more brutal way.

I think it’s because it was Sansa. She’s a character that everyone loves and, apart from Theon Greyjoy, has had the worst time of it on the show. If it had been someone else, there would have been no mention of it.

There are so many rapes on the show. A lot of people do get raped and nobody bats an eyelid. There’s much less talk of burning children, for instance.

It’s a true depiction of the world that we have created on the show. It’s also true of what happened in the world that the show is hypothetically based on. And it’s true of what’s still happening in the world today.

I think if more people put their effort into the charities that help women in the world today deal with the horror of rape, and less effort in social media about a fantasy show, then maybe things could change.”

Personally, I disagree with a couple of things Rheon says; a lot of people get raped and no one bats an eyelid? Apparently, he doesn’t read around these parts, because we were batting all over the place. And we were equally, if not more horrified by what happened to Shireen; that incident was much closer to my own breaking point than Sansa’s rape. But, people weren’t only bothered because they like Sansa as a character — in fact, she used to be quite despised — people were bothered because multiple unnecessary rapes were depicted, culminating in this particular happening, created outside of the character’s book storyline for no apparent reason. If Sansa’s rape “moved the characters forward,” I’d really love to hear about that; perhaps Rheon knows something we don’t. Regardless of her rape, Sansa would have wanted to get away from Ramsay. Regardless of her rape, Theon would have wanted to escape. Regardless of her rape, Sansa could have convinced Theon to make a run for it together; they were bonded by their fear of a sadistic, terrifying nutcase, and rape never needed to enter that equation. All that said, I agree with his last point, and we can all do more in our lives to help real rape survivors.

Despite his feelings that the scene was well-handled, Rheon did say he’d struggled before filming, and spoke of his respect for Sophie Turner.

“”I was dreading it. I couldn’t sleep.

That particular scene, for such a young actress, she dealt with incredibly well.”


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)