Jessica Chastain Slams Game of Thrones: 'Rape Is Not a Tool to Make a Character Stronger'
Jessica Chastain tweeted that a "woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly"
WARNING: The following contains spoilers from season 8 of Game of Thrones.
Specifically, the actress spoke out in reference to Sansa Stark’s sexual assault, which occurred in season 5, and is now once again part of the storyline in the show’s eighth and final season.
The latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Last of the Starks,” featured a reunion between Sansa Stark and The Hound during the drink-fest that was the Winterfell banquet.
The Hound, who once tried to convince Sansa to leave Kings Landing with her in season 2, tells her that had she escaped with him, she would have avoided the abuse she suffered throughout the series — including her rape by the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton.
To which, Sansa wryly replies, “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would’ve stayed a little bird all my life.”
In response to this line, in particular, Sophie Turner’s co-star in Dark Phoenix, Chastain, 42, voiced her concerns about the message behind this dialogue.
“Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger,” Chastain wrote on Twitter on Monday, in addition to sharing a GIF of Turner, 23, on the Iron Throne. “A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The #littlebird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.”
Recently, Turner spoke with Harper’s Bazaar UK for her cover story about how saying goodbye to her character was like “a death in the family” and how her character’s rape inspired her to become an activist.
“Initially, I didn’t feel there was anything that stayed with me from all the things Sansa went through,” she told the publication. “But though I think it hasn’t affected me emotionally, I did start thinking about the domestic abuse and rape, and it spurred this little part of me that might be an activist.”
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Turner previously opened up about Sansa’s controversial rape scene and defended the plot choice against criticism.
“I think the backlash was wrong because those things did happen,” Turner told Rolling Stone, referencing the show’s medieval setting.
“We can’t dismiss that and not put it in a TV show where it’s all about power — and that is a very impactful way to show that you have power over somebody,” she added.
The Game of Thrones star also opened up about Ramsay’s death by his own hounds (no relation to The Hound) and how it was a fulfilling scene for the series.
“Killing him with the dogs, that was the most satisfying scene,” she admitted. “It made me so emotional because I’ve been waiting so long for her to stand up to the people who have done her wrong.”
Read PEOPLE’s full recap of “The Last of the Starks” here.