Game of Thrones is no stranger to controversy for its use of sexual violence, but the show has received an especially great deal of criticism following a Season 5 episode that portrayed the rape of Sansa Stark.

In George R.R. Martin’s book A Dance with Dragons, the rape happens to a minor character, not Sansa, which made many question the portrayal of female characters in Game of Thrones. (Martin, as well as Sophie Turner — the actress who plays Sansa — have also previously defended the scene.)

Martin spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the role of violence in his stories and why he views it as necessary.

Game of Thrones

Game-of-Thrones

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He said it comes down to a reflection of a “patriarchal society based on the Middle Ages,” which were “not a time of sexual egalitarianism.”

I wanted my books to be strongly grounded in history and to show what medieval society was like, and I was also reacting to a lot of fantasy fiction. Most stories depict what I call the ‘Disneyland Middle Ages’—there are princes and princesses and knights in shining armor, but they didn’t want to show what those societies meant and how they functioned…To be non-sexist, does that mean you need to portray an egalitarian society? That’s not in our history; it’s something for science fiction. And 21st century America isn’t egalitarian, either. There are still barriers against women.

Martin said the series is essentially a war story, and “rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today.” He added it would be “fundamentally dishonest” to ignore that aspect of war in his writing.

While Martin has and will continue to receive criticism — as he should — for portraying rape and sexual violence, he believes it is necessary for a conflict-filled tale.

“If you portray a utopia, then you probably wrote a pretty boring book,” Martin told the magazine.

Source (Mashable)