Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on Tuesday slammed the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” for airing a “gratuitous” rape scene in Sunday night’s episode.
McCaskill tweeted that the episode’s final scene, in which the young Sansa Stark is raped by her new husband on her wedding night while a former childhood friend is forced to watch, was so “disgusting and unacceptable” that she would no longer watch the show:
Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones.Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) May 19, 2015
The senator, who is known for her efforts to combat sexual assault in the military, became perhaps the highest-profile “Game of Thrones” fan to voice a complaint that’s become increasingly common among viewers disenchanted with the show’s weekly parade of sexual violence. Male characters have forced themselves on their female counterparts since the show’s first season, and one incestuous rape scene that aired in the spring of 2014 sparked particularly vehement critical backlash.
There’s something to the criticism that the rape scenes on “Game of Thrones” are “gratuitous,” as both the scene McCaskill objected to and the incest scene mentioned above were departures from the books on which the show is based. George R.R. Martin, the author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, addressed fans’ outrage Monday on his blog without taking on the rape scene itself.
“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,” he wrote. “And over here I am trying to write the best novels that I can. And yes, more and more, they differ. Two roads diverging in the dark of the woods, I suppose… but all of us are still intending that at the end we will arrive at the same place.”