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Game of Thrones is one of the most popular series on television. Because of it’s grand scale and huge fanbase, the plots of various episodes are often picked apart by both viewers and news outlets. This conversation only grows louder when HBO’s Game of Thrones steps away from the plot of the source A Song Of Ice And Fire novels. 

One of the most controversial scenes in Game Of Thrones happened last season with Sansa Stark. Last season saw Sansa traveling back to her home in Winterfell, and quickly becoming engaged to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton. On their wedding night, we were made to view poor Sansa be sexually assaulted by her new husband, all why Theon Greyjoy was forced to watch. Now the writer of the episode, Bryan Cogman has opened up regarding why the scene had to happen:
When we decided when we were going to do that we were faced with the question: If she’s marrying Ramsay, what would happen on her wedding night? And we made the decision to not shy away from what would realistically would happen on that wedding night with these two characters, and the reality of the situation, and the reality of this particular world.

As horrible as the scene was to watch, he does have a point. Bryan Cogman’s statement, which comes to us from EW, was said while contributing to the commentary for the episode on the latest DVD for Season 5, and while the scene may have seemed vulgar upon first viewing, Cogman’s perspective does change things a bit. 

The need for couples to consummate their marriage on their wedding night is absolutely mandatory in the world of Game of Thrones. This physical act cements that the two are, in fact, married and will hopefully be having heirs as soon as possible. In fact, Westeros wedding receptions contain a moment called the “bedding” ceremony, where the wedding guests carry the bride and groom to their bedroom while also stripping them of their clothes. Sansa was only spared of this during her wedding to Tyrion Lannister due to his gentlemanly ways, pity for her, and love for Shae.
Considering how desperately the Bolton family is trying to keep control of Winterfell, Ramsay had to consummate his marriage to Sansa in order to give validity to their union. And because Ramsay is a psychopath who delights in torturing others, it’s unlikely that their first time would be comfortable or considerate for Sansa. 

Of course, there is still the debate regarding how much of the scene the audience needed to see. Could this turn of events have happened off screen? Or was this the last straw for Theon to finally reclaim his identity and save Sansa in the season finale?

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 24th.