LONDON A top television executive has fended off suggestions that Game of Thrones uses violence against women as character development.
In a discussion panel at Edinburgh International Television Festival, managing director of content at Sky Gary Davey rejected the idea that the show’s female characters are subjected to more violence than their male counterparts.
There is also a lot of violence to men. For anybody whos watched the show it can be a very violent show,” Davey said when questioned specifically about the rape of Sansa Stark in Season 5 of the show.
“I dont think the violence against women is particularly highlighted. It is just part of the story. The rape happens, its part of the story, it was in the books, Davey continued.
Season 5 episode 6 of Game of Thrones in which Sansa Stark is raped by Ramsay Bolton on their wedding night prompted an angry backlash from viewers who deemed the violence “gratuitous.” Indeed, US Senator Claire McCaskill called for a boycott of the show, and culture blog The Mary Sue announced it would no longer write about Game of Thrones.
Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones.Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.
Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) May 19, 2015
The backlash to the rape scene also prompted Game of Thrones author George RR Martin to defend the show’s sexual violence.
Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. Its not a strong testament to the human race, but I dont think we should pretend it doesnt exist,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly.
I want to portray struggle. Drama comes out of conflict. If you portray a utopia, then you probably wrote a pretty boring book,” the author continued.
Gary Davey said that Sky had only received three complaints about the show’s sex and violence content, but conceded that the last two seasons had been “pretty intense”.
I think it is bit silly, it is not like sex and violence on TV is a new idea. I feel like Ive been defending it for most of my adult life. In fact Im not sure its any worse or any better than its ever been. And I think part of the issue is context,” Davey said.
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