But enough. That last scene is almost enough to make me turn off the show. I haven’t decided yet. My stomach is still in my throat—and not in a “Oh, this is exciting, I wonder what they’ll do next” kind of way. We’ve seen more vile sadism over the course of the show, much of it from Ramsay himself. We’ve even seen another wedding-night rape, before Dany thinks of Khal Drogo as her sun and stars. This is different, all the more disturbing for being unnecessary, as you so accurately point out, Chris.
I suspect D.B. Weiss and David Benioff think they’ve developed Sansa into a character who controls her own destiny, who has used her time with Baelish to carefully study his skill at maneuvering and manipulation others. We’re supposed to see her as having agency, reluctantly accepting this alliance, enduring the unpleasantness for the chance to potentially exact vengeance on the Boltons. The kind of woman who can dismiss Myranda with: “I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell,” you miserable wench. “This is my home, and you can’t frighten me.”
That’s not what I saw, however. If you’ll forgive me for mixing shows for a moment, this isn’t Joan on Mad Men going to bed with the slimy Jaguar guy, using the only advantages she believes she holds as a woman to secure a partnership and financial security. Sansa is a girl whose body has been traded to further someone else’s ambitions. She doesn’t have a choice; she’s never had a choice.
Sansa has always been good at summoning her haughtiest attitude to protect herself, but it isn’t working this time. She’s all alone, and she’s petrified. The North may remember, but the Stark loyalists aren’t much good when she’s being raped on her wedding night. In King’s Landing, Sansa at least had the Hound looking out for her at the beginning; having turned away Brienne, she has no personal protection. If Theon can break free from his Reek chains, he might be able to help Sansa, but she doesn’t know that. As far as she knows, he betrayed her family, murdered her little brothers, and nearly destroyed Winterfell.
And Baelish. Admittedly, no one ever really knows what’s going on in that fiendish little scheming head of his. But his part in this plotline strikes me as most unrealistic of all. Yes, he’ll say anything, sacrifice anyone, do anything in the service of his favorite cause—himself. (He did marry wackadoodle Aunt Lysa, after all.) So maybe his relationship with Sansa has just been a very long game, maybe he finally saw a way to play that card to his advantage and did so.
The one genuine thing we do know about Baelish, however, is his love for Cat. Since her death, he has expressed that love primarily through his creepy obsession with her daughter, but also in protecting Sansa. Nothing we’ve seen would lead us to expect that Baelish would knowingly hand her over to a sociopath to be raped and tortured in the name of political marriage. Sure, he claimed to have heard very little about Ramsay, but this is Baelish—he has a dossier on every field mouse in Westeros. In that conversation between Ramsay and Baelish several episodes ago, both men lied to each and knew they were each lying, but why?