Jessica Chastain hits out at Game of Thrones for 'using rape as a tool'
Jessica Chastain has criticised Game of Thrones writers for using rape as a plot device to further character development.
The actress spoke out against the HBO drama in response to a controversial scene in the show’s most recent episode, in which Sansa Stark’s rape was used to account for her strength of character.
Sansa, who is played by Sophie Turner, was forced to marry the evil Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) in season five, and was assaulted by him multiple times.
In episode four of the show’s concluding series, she reunites with the Hound (Rory McCann), who calls her “little bird” and says that she has “changed” since he last saw her.
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)
“Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life,” she replies.
After the latest instalment aired, Chastain called out the show for its handling of a sensitive storyline.
“Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger,” she wrote alongside a short clip of Turner sitting on the show’s Iron Throne.
“A woman doesn’t need to be victimised in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone #GameofThrones.”
Chastain is set to star alongside Turner in X-Men sequel Dark Phoenix, which is set to land in UK cinemas on June 5.
Turner previously opened up about the contentious storyline in an interview with Rolling Stone, disagreeing with the criticism.
“I think the backlash was wrong because those things did happen,” she said. “We can’t dismiss that and not put it in a TV show where it’s all about power – and that is a very impactful way to show that you have power over somebody.”
She went on to argue that the season finale, in which an “empowered” Sansa helps orchestrate her husband’s murder, “made it a really great storyline”.
“It made me so emotional because I’ve been waiting so long for her to stand up to the people who have done her wrong,” she told the magazine.
Game of Thrones continues on Mondays on Sky Atlantic at 2am and 9pm and is available to stream on demand on NOW TV.