And by those guys, I mean David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners (and current writers) for Game of Thrones. (Potential spoilers ahead.)
I enjoyed seasons 1-4, and it started to slide downhill fast for me after that, until I’m simply hate watching the current season out of morbid curiosity.
These two are shit at writing. They have had many opportunities for good story arcs and plot devices and character development and they ignore them. It seems, instead, that they operate from a belief that building expectations and then failing to deliver payoff is some kind of shocking ‘what a twist’ move.
Worse, though, is their callous disregard for the subject matter they’re using. Not only have they used rape as a plot device, they gave Sansa dialogue that suggested she had come to terms with her rape earlier in the show because she viewed it – and the rest of her trauma – as being responsible for her current strength.
I want to address a couple of things: first, the idea that ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ It doesn’t. Sometimes whatever doesn’t kill you leaves you maimed for life. We claim suffering increases strength because it gives us an excuse to turn away from suffering and to be apathetic and deny resources to people that need help.
Secondly – the Sansa of seasons 1-4 is hands down one of the best characters on Game of Thrones, even though the audience often reviled her or viewed her as useless. Sansa didn’t become strong because she went through trauma – going through trauma revealed that Sansa was one of the strongest and most resilient characters on the show – that she was a true survivor. Sansa was -already strong- before she went through trauma. She had just never been placed in a situation where she had to call on that strength. Sansa was truly Catelyn Stark’s daughter.
Ned Stark didn’t survive King’s Landing. Arya wouldn’t have survived King’s Landing had she been in Sansa’s situation. Sansa survived King’s Landing. But because she survived as a feminine character that didn’t engage in violence, her strength and resilience were devalued, dismissed, and now credited to her trauma instead of to her.
And that is why I’m now saying fuck David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.