Last month, “Game of Thrones” faced a backlash after another Westeros sexual assault became a plot point. The fantasy controversy reached the actual government.
“Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted last month after Sansa Stark was raped by new husband Ramsay Bolton. “Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable. It was a rocky ride that just ended.”
The outrage wasn’t limited to sitting U.S. senators. One blog decided to stop covering the show entirely.
“The show has creators,” the Mary Sue wrote. “They make the choices. They chose to use rape as a plot device. Again.”
Now, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Thrones” creator George R.R. Martin has tried to explain his penchant for personal violation as narrative.
“I want to portray struggle,” he told the magazine. “Drama comes out of conflict. If you portray a utopia, then you probably wrote a pretty boring book.”
Though Westeros is not a real place, Martin said, his creation is based on the patriarchal society of the Middle Ages. Moreover, Westeros is at war, and pretending war doesn’t bring rape is “fundamentally dishonest,” he said.
“Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today,” he said. “It’s not a strong testament to the human race, but I don’t think we should pretend it doesn’t exist.”
Martin also pointed out that women love “Thrones.”
“I have millions of women readers who love the books, who come up to me and tell me they love the female characters,” he said. “… 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.”