*Here be spoilers sure as winter is coming*
1. Yes. It was horrific. I would go so far as to say even worse than the Red Wedding.
2. Yes Sansa is not raped by Ramsey in the books, not yet anyway….
3. HOWEVER Sansa’s childhood friend is instead married off to Ramsey, as a fake Arya, cementing his hold on the north.
4. So this is not an added rape where none existed before, this is a rape transferred from one character to another, presumably because very little of Sansa’s future storyline is left in published books, and they wanted to avoid complicating matters by adding yet another character into the Westeros mix.
5. Many have pointed out that you do not SEE the rape in the books, which is true. However, in the books you see through Reek’s eyes, not fake Arya’s, and what you DO see is perhaps equally horrific- Ramsey makes Reek cut the dress off his bride, then when she is stripped and positioned as he wants her, he asks Reek to ‘get her ready for me’. Not exactly a PG moment…
6. The problem comes if this transferal of horror is purely to redeem Reek through heroism, leaving Sansa victimised purely as a plot device to colour Reek’s journey effectively.
7. If Sansa, who has already suffered so much, reverts to the victim of previous seasons simply so Theon can shed his Reek skin, then she is suffering for the sake of a man, yet another female protagonist rapedpurely so the show writers can keep in a male storyline.
8. If, on the other hand, Sansa rescues herself, perhaps (please God) killing Ramsey in the process, then Sansa’s character will have grown from the trauma, and emerged phoenix-like, stronger and brighter than ever.
9. The key point is not the rape itself then, which was always a feature in some form (and, lets face it, was going to happen at a Bolton wedding), but rather what happens after.
10. Sansa must save herself to save the credibility of this editorial decision, proving that the rape was not a plot device to redeem Reek, but an ordeal from which she can triumph. Fingers crossed…