‘Game of Thrones’ Chastized by Jessica Chastain & Ava DuVernay Over Rape & Racial Insensitivity

Jessica Chastain and Ava DuVernay are taking HBO to task for what they say is the premium cabler’s insensitivity to rape and race on the blockbuster Game of Thrones.

Following Sunday’s “The Last of the Starks” episode Chastain on Monday criticized the show for using the rape and torture that Sophie Turner’s character, Sansa Stark, endured throughout the series as the reasons for her strength.

Throughout GoT‘s run, the Sansa character has gone through several transformations, from the princess of Winterfell asking to be wed to Prince Joffrey, to the strategic ruler of her family’s house.

In the fourth episode of the eighth and final season of the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss executive produced show, Sansa reunited at a victory banquet with the Hound (Sandor Clegane), the warrior who briefly protected her when she was trapped in King’s Landing with the evil Lannisters.

The Hound remarked that when he first met Sansa, she couldn’t look at him, and he had since heard she was “broken in rough” by Littlefinger and Ramsay Bolton. After marrying Sansa, Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) raped her multiple times in Season 5, which at the time led to criticism of the show’s use of rape as a narrative tool.

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“You’ve changed, little bird,” the Hound said to Sansa in “The Last of The Starks.”

“Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life,” she replied.

There has been criticism that the lack of female writers and directors on GoT led to the unsatisfying depiction of Sansa as a survivor of sexual assault.

Meanwhile, DuVernay was dismayed that in the same episode, the only woman of color, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) had been killed off in the third to last GoT episode’s closing minutes.

HBO did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment on the criticisms.

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