SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains information from Sunday night's episode of "Game of Thrones," "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken."
Image via HBO/HuffPost
Sansa Stark's new husband is no prince charming.
Following her wedding to Ramsay Bolton in "Game of Thrones" season 5, episode 6, the oldest daughter of Winterfell was brutally raped by her new husband, who -- disturbingly -- also forced his brainwashed servant Reek, aka Theon, a childhood companion of Sansa's, to watch.
And the scene is difficult for anyone to watch, even viewers who sat through a season watching Theon/Reek's prolonged torture and humiliation, and then saw half of Sansa's family get murdered (not to mention that other scene).
Following a deluge of angry emails Monday, series author George R.R. Martin defended the episode, reminding fans that the show and the books are two fundamentally different creatures. (Sansa's treatment in Sunday night's episode doesn't occur in the books.)
"I have a lot of fans asking me for comment," Martin wrote in a blog following the airing. "Let me reiterate what I have said before." He went on:
How many children did Scarlett O'Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life: she was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story.
There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds.
Martin also took the opportunity to commend HBO for its work on the show; he ended with a caution, "Sometimes butterflies grow into dragons."
Nevertheless, the post was likely of little solace to fans, many of whom vented on Twitter after the episode:
Didn’t think it was possible, but that was the creepiest ending to a Game of Thrones episode ever.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) May 18, 2015
— Jamie Tarabay (@jamietarabay) May 18, 2015
Regretfully I am unable to attend your wedding as I’ve watched every season of Game of Thrones
— Grant Tanaka (@GrantTanaka) May 17, 2015
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) May 18, 2015
✔️emotionally traumatized by Game of Thrones
— Tyrion Lannister (@GoT_Tyrion) May 18, 2015
Then again, Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa Stark, says she "secretly loved" the scene -- or, rather, the challenge of acting it out.