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Jessica Chastain Calls Out ‘Game of Thrones’ for Depicting Sansa’s Rape as Character Development

”A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly,“ Chastain tweeted

(Warning: This post contains spoilers from season 8, episode 4 of “Game of Thrones”).

Jessica Chastain had harsh criticism for “Game of Thrones” after the show’s most recent episode saw Sansa Stark, played by Chastain’s “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” co-star Sophie Turner, said her past trauma, including rape, was an important part of her personal development.

The scene came mid-way through Sunday’s “The Last of the Starks,” when Sansa sits down to talk to Sandor Clegane — AKA The Hound — f0r the first time since they parted ways back in Season 2. At the time, Sansa was being held hostage by King Joffrey and Clegane offered to help her escape; unsure who to trust, she turned him down.

Fans of the show know Sansa experienced a lot of horrors after that. Chief among them was her marriage to lord Ramsay Bolton who, in one of the show’s most divisive storylines, brutally tortured and raped her. She eventually escaped, reunited with Jon Snow, oversaw the cruel (but let’s face it, 100% justified) execution of Ramsay, and is now the Lady of Winterfell.

Sansa and Clegane’s exchange in “The Last of the Starks” is brief, but significant. He tells her “you’ve changed, little bird,” which was the nickname he had for her back when she was a little girl being held hostage by King Joffrey. “Used to be you couldn’t look at me.”

“That was a long time ago. I’ve seen much worse than you since then,” she replies.

Clegane says “Yes, I’ve heard. I heard you were broken in. Broken in rough,” and then adds that “none of it would have happened if you’d left King’s Landing with me. No Littlefinger. No Ramsay. None of it.”

At this point, Sansa tells him: “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life.”

That last bit is what angered Chastain. “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 little bird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone,” she tweeted.