Here’s How Much Twitter Hated That Game Of Thrones Rape Scene

An analysis of all the tweets surrounding the May 17 episode found Sansa's wedding night rape infuriated the audience

Nick Briggs
May 21, 2015 at 12:58 PM ET

Fans of the HBO series Game Of Thrones have come to accept that graphic violence, tragic twists and the early demise of beloved characters are part and parcel of the show. The showrunners adapting George R. R. Martin’s epic book series haven’t flinched in depicting violence, death and brutality.

But the May 17 episode that ended with the wedding night rape of Sansa Stark hit a nerve with many viewers, who took to Twitter en masse to vent. Nearly 60 percent of tweet reactions about the rape hated it in some way, were afraid of it or were upset by it, according to Canvs, powered by Mashwork, a company that analyzes real-time TV-related tweets captured by Nielsen.

There was already a slew of editorial and political backlash after Stark was wed to psychotic Ramsay Bolton, a character whose family sigil is the Flayed Man. That should indicate his other twisted predilections, which audiences have already had to grit their teeth and endure. The May 17 episode saw 2.5 times the average level of reactions to brutality compared to other tweets during episodes this season, Canvs found. The company found this through isolating keywords in tweets captured by Nielsen.

The show garnered more tweets than usual at 98,900 throughout the whole episode’s airing. Nine percent of all tweets during the episode were tweeted during the rape scene. People expressed the word “hate” in 42 percent of their reactions during the time was being broadcast, while “crazy” was present in 19 percent of the tweets. About one-fifth of the reactions to the rape expressed “love.” They were nearly all sarcastic.

Audiences took more offense to this rape than to a sex scene in last season which many viewers considered a rape, when Jaime Lannister forced himself on his twin sister Cersei while their dead son Joffrey lay nearby. Only around 400 reactions referenced the rape during that episode, while more than 1,600 reacted to Sansa’s rape, Canvs found.

While almost half of Twitter reactions to Ramsay expressed hatred towards him, there was also a healthy promise of love towards whichever character might kill him in the future.

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