Friday 30 September 2016

Game of Thrones season six - Criticism of depictions of rape has led to ‘changes’

Published 21/12/2015 | 10:29

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in a scene from Game Of Thrones (HBO/AP)
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in a scene from Game Of Thrones (HBO/AP)

Criticism of the depictions of rape in Game of Thrones has led to 'changes' in how the issue will be tackled in season 6.

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Director Jeremy Podeswa, who has directed two episodes of the hit HBO series and is in line to direct more for the upcoming season, said that the criticism of the portrayal of rape has led the creators to rethink the approach.

David Benioff and DB Weiss were, he said, "response to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result."

Speaking at Fox Studios Australia, Podeswa added, "It is important that [the producers] not self-censor. The show depicts a brutal world where horrible things happen.  They did not want to be too overly influenced by that [criticism] but they did absorb it and take it in and it did influence them in a way."

Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones
Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones

The show was criticised in particular for its portrayal of the brutal rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) by Ramsay Boldon (Iwan Rheon) on her wedding night in season five.

"It was a difficult and brutal scene and we knew it was going to be challenging for the audience," said Podeswa.

"But it was very important to us in the execution that it would not be exploited in any way. To be fair, the criticism was the notion of it, not the execution. It was handled as sensitively as it could possibly be; you hardly see anything."

That particular rape did not feature in the books, written by George RR Martin.  However, Martin has previously defended the sexual violence in the series.

Martin has pointed out that the books are set in the Middle Ages, which "were not a time of sexual egalitarianism".

"I’m writing about war, which what almost all epic fantasy is about," he told Entertainment Weekly.

"But if you’re going to write about war, and you just want to include all the cool battles and heroes killing a lot of orcs and things like that and you don’t portray [sexual violence], then there’s something fundamentally dishonest about that."

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