The television show has strayed from the written material on more than one occasion which has brought about strident objections from fans, overwhelming messages on the Twitter-verse and quite vocal diatribes on YouTube and other media outlets, however, nothing yet compared to fan reaction to what happened to Sansa Stark on the episode titled “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.”
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
This episode has Sansa tying the knot with Ramsay Bolton. For those following the show each week this should have come as no surprise. But, it was what happened almost immediately after the vows were exchanged that has fans in knots and gasping for breath. It was bad enough that those at HBO decided to marry Sansa off to Ramsay, which contradicts Martin’s written tale but the humiliation the poor young virgin had to go through on her wedding night made The Red Wedding look like a friendly Friday night fight at your local pub.
I don't wish to spoil it too much for those who have yet to see the episode but suffice it to say Sansa is a virgin no more, Theon Greyjoy’s humiliation and fall from grace gains new and deeper depths of depravity at the hands of Ramsay’s hellish cruelty and the fact that Theon was forced to sit in for Sansa’s dead father and is the one picked to give away the bride while later to stand in utter helplessness as he witnesses his childhood playmate being sexually tortured.
In recent interviews on the subject of this episode actress Sophie Turner (Sansa) said that after getting the script she was excited about it. Talking with TIME, Turner commented “When I read the script, I kinda loved it. I love the way Ramsay had Theon watching. It was so messed up. It’s also daunting for me to do it ... But I secretly loved it.”
Martin isn't quite as direct about his love or hatred for what the show’s director did with that wedding night scene. In his written story Sansa never is violated by Ramsay. In fact he marries another character in the story. Martin has supported changes made by HBO to his books in the past saying how he recognizes the need for producers and directors to reinterpret some of his grand tale in order to make it flow in a media format more smoothly within such a condensed setting. Everyone is waiting anxiously for some kind of public statement from Martin about this latest dramatic derailment, especially since many fans are so upset over HBO’s controversial rendering that they are threatening to never watch the show again.
Next week’s episode - “The Gift” - may allow some of the Sansa/Ramsay/Theon dust to settle but if the past is any indicator of what is to come one can be sure of one thing, the controversy is just beginning.