*Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead!*
In the most recent episode in the final season of Game of Thrones, all of our heroes got to kick back and celebrate their big victory after Arya Stark killed the Night King in Episode 3, "The Long Night."
Sansa and Clegane have a bit of a history from back in Season 2. While the young Stark was basically being held prisoner by the Lannisters in King's Landing, The Hound was her occasional jailer, rescuer, and, at one point, almost friend.
Clegane called Sansa "Little Bird" as a nod to her innocence, and even offered to sneak her out of King's Landing.
Sansa, however, refused this offer, which led her down a very unpleasant path. She was eventually smuggled out of King's Landing by Baelish, who was far more interested in his own well-being than Sansa's.
After a very unpleasant stay with her not-so-sane Aunt Arryn (who very nearly throws her off a cliff), Baelish marries her off to Ramsey Bolton, a psychopath and serial abuser.
Seeing how these experiences have changed Sansa, The Hound seems sad about how things turned out, saying:
"None of it would have happened if you had left King's Landing with me. No Littlefinger, no Ramsay, none of it."
Sansa responds in a way that irked many female viewers, especially those who have survived sexual assault:
"Without Littlefinger and Ramsey and the rest I would have stayed a Little Bird all my life."
With that line, Sansa seemed to be suggesting that she was almost grateful to her abusers for teaching her life's "important lessons."
Remember when Sansa was like "you know, it actually was a good thing I got raped and otherwise assaulted and abused… https://t.co/FtM1bMzACW— alanna bennett (@alanna bennett) 1557109598.0
Hi. As a rape survivor who just watched #GameOfThrones, I’m gonna go ahead and take FULL FUCKING CREDIT for the str… https://t.co/Aq5WHFBNcj— Chrissa (@Chrissa) 1557114847.0
Twitter immediately sounded off against the misguided writing, pointing out the only person Sansa should be grateful to is herself.
I love this show, but the Lady of Winterfell is where she is because of HER ability to keep pushing, not because of what they did to her.— Chrissa (@Chrissa) 1557115097.0
I mean, feel free to have your own interpretations on this scene, but don’t you dare try to convince me to change m… https://t.co/Od0mufG4Js— Chrissa (@Chrissa) 1557156601.0
This small but hugely important distinction in how Sansa thinks of her abusers is a tell-tale sign of the misogyny Hollywood is still struggling to move past.
that exchange between The Hound and Sansa was definitely written by a man. For the millionth time, rape and abuse o… https://t.co/KiprQWnj3s— Amy Collier (@Amy Collier) 1557113443.0
Sansa didn't need to go through all that trauma to become a powerful, intelligent person, and the show implying she did is just...ugh— Amy Collier (@Amy Collier) 1557113530.0
And I'm actually not saying I dislike that Sansa is a survivor. In some ways I'm glad there's representation of a c… https://t.co/Zz3dZjtoBw— Amy Collier (@Amy Collier) 1557119877.0
It's irresponsible writing. It's damaging writing. No character should ever have to claim to be grateful for sexual trauma.
The one thing I will live-tweet about this episode is that Sansa’s trauma was handled very poorly in retrospect. He… https://t.co/m8BMXvX3mb— RAINEY™ (@RAINEY™) 1557106205.0
Is this a reality for a lot of women? Yes. But it’s unfortunate. It’s a coping mechanism, not a favorable circumsta… https://t.co/5ZJQaiWFB2— RAINEY™ (@RAINEY™) 1557106422.0
“she’s not the girl you grew up with. not after what she’s seen. not after what they’ve done to her.” wow dany is a… https://t.co/FZpLm5ZPH4— treat sansa better or die (@treat sansa better or die) 1557149688.0
Game of Thrones has employed a grand total of two women writers.
The last episode to feature a female writer, "Dark Wings Dark Words," premiered in 2013.
Since that time, every episode has been written exclusively by men, and all but two episodes were directed by men.
I still love #GameofThrones but this show proves over and over again they have no idea how to write about rape. San… https://t.co/A00hCnCLZG— Alex Bruce-Smith (@Alex Bruce-Smith) 1557121757.0
dan & david making sansa say that she needed to be abused in order to grow up is such bullshit,, a woman doesnt hav… https://t.co/zwIiJdPb1A— lauren (@lauren) 1557138627.0
While the male writers and director of this scene may have had the best intentions, input from a strong female voice would have made all the difference.
It’s several hours later and I’m still so fucking mad that D&D made Sansa say that repeated sexual trauma was the o… https://t.co/10j11MEB1l— kaye toal (@kaye toal) 1557117926.0
"And remember Sansa, if not for being brutally raped and beaten you never would have become the strong powerful wom… https://t.co/PGgysecGXz— Matt Oswalt (@Matt Oswalt) 1557116621.0
And Sansa's gratitude wasn't the only feminist concern in the episode...
clearly I liked this episode better than most, but I gotta say, I find the reading of Sansa's conversation with the… https://t.co/RQc9D64ZMY— Alison Herman (@Alison Herman) 1557154560.0
this show hasn't exactly inspired the benefit of the doubt on this subject, but acknowledging the cumulative impact… https://t.co/zc3Vj1oRIn— Alison Herman (@Alison Herman) 1557154684.0
on the other hand, turning brienne into a jilted girlfriend begging her man to stay is pure unadulterated garbagio— Alison Herman (@Alison Herman) 1557163664.0
Some Twitter users gave a small defense of the show's choice, but even they had to admit Sansa's words hadn't been framed correctly.
@DavidDTSS Sansa’s not saying she’s thankful for it she’s saying without it she may not be as strong and may still… https://t.co/rrqmYqOmzP— no one🗡 (@no one🗡) 1557142729.0
With two episodes of Game of Thrones remaining, both of them written and directed by men, the show is unlikely to be moving towards a more thoughtful, nuanced view of feminism and abuse survivors... but we can always hope!
"Going through hell made me the strong person I am today" is something a lot of people who have been through trauma… https://t.co/drYntnn4KH— daeron targaryen's nephew 🔥🌹 (@daeron targaryen's nephew 🔥🌹) 1557143718.0