Game of Thrones: George RR Martin insists omitting rape would be 'fundamentally dishonest' and criticises 'Disneyland Middle Ages' stories

Sexual violence is a regular occurrence in both the TV show and Martin's books

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The Independent Culture

George RR Martin has rushed to defend Game of Thrones from accusations of sexist and gratuitous levels of sexual violence.

The 66-year-old author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series on which the hit HBO series is based spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his views on the whole debate, insisting that the dramatic storylines would be "pretty boring" if the world of Westeros was "portrayed as a utopia".

"I'm writing about war, which is what almost all epic fantasy is about, 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," he said.

"Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It's not a strong testament to the human race, but I don't think we should pretend it doesn't exist."


Martin went on to argue that presenting an egalitarian society in Thrones would be inaccurate as it is "not in our history and 21st century America isn't egalitarian either".

He has confirmed numerous times that his books are based on the Middle Ages, when society was both heavily patriarchal and also classist. But Martin also knows that critics will argue that, as Thrones has a fantasy theme, he could easily make it more feminist.

"People will say 'Well, he's not writing history, he's writing fantasy - he put in dragons, he should have made an egalitarian society'," he said.

"Just because you put in dragons doesn't mean you can put in anything you want. I wanted my books to be strongly grounded in history and to show what medieval society was like.

"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 these societies meant and how they functioned."

Martin was recently forced to reaffirm the difference between the TV show and his novels after Sansa Stark's brutal and unexpected rape sparked a flood of emails and social media comments from fans.

Other shocking moments have included Cersei Lannister being raped by her brother Jaime and King Joffrey using two prostitutes as living targets.