Game of Thrones is certainly not a programme for the faint-hearted, often characterised by its graphic scenes of sex, violence and rape.
But Michael Lombardo, an executive at broadcaster HBO, has defended the content of the hit fantasy series, claiming it is not "without any purpose".
Speaking at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, the president of programming said: "I personally don't see myself as a libertine. I don't think [graphic scenes] have ever been without any purpose.
"Dan [Weiss] and Dave [Benioff] are two very sober, thoughtful men. They have books as a map. Which involve wars, violence, sex. We have certainly not given them an edict or a note that they need to tone down the sexual content in the show."
The series, based on George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels has been criticised for gratuitous nudity and extreme violence. In the latest series a rape scene caused a fallout among fans, particularly as the way in which it was filmed was viewed as a departure from the books.
Game of Thrones season 5 cast
Game of Thrones season 5 cast
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Oscar-nominated New Zealand actress Keisha Castle-Hughes will play the fiery Obara Sand, one of Prince Oberyn’s illegitimate daughters, who is seeking revenge for her father’s murder at the hands of the Mountain in season four
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Nymeria “Nym” Sand will be played by Jessica Henwick, her best known role to date is in television series Silk and Spirit Warriors
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Jonathan Pryce will star as the High Sparrow, a religious figure who could be making waves in King’s Landing
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Alexander Siddig, who will be playing Doran Martell, the stoic ruler of Dorne and the older brother of the gruesomely slain Oberyn
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Enzo Cilenti (left) will take on the part of the slave trader Yezzan
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London-born star DeObia Oparei will play Areo Hotah, the loyal protector of Doran Martell
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Rosabell Laurenti Sellers will play Tyene Sand, one of the illegitimate daughters of Oberyn Martell, the Prince of Dorne
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Myrcella Baratheon will be played by newcomer Nell Tiger Free
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Newcomer Toby Sebastian will take on the role of Trystane Martell, the youngest son of Doran
In response to this, Lomabardo said: "I appreciate there was some controversy and it generated a conversation about what consensual sex is and isn't.
"People responsible for programming have two responsibilities. To be responsible, not to have sex and violence that's gratuitous. That is certainly not who we are.
"At the same time we don't want to be a censor that inhibits the authentic organic creative process by policing how many breasts should be on a show.";
He added that because viewers must pay to watch HBO it is not necessarily an all-ages appropriate channel.
He said: "As long as I feel that [violence] isn't the reason [people] are watching the show, that it isn't a show trying to attract viewers with sex and violence, I am not going to play police."Reuse content