Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has addressed criticism on the treatment of women on the hit HBO show.
Speaking on EW Morning Live on Entertainment Weekly radio, Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, explained her views on the reaction by fans and critics.
"Obviously it's never nice hearing criticism about something that you, and you know everybody else, puts their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into," she said. "But in the same breath, it’s a shocking show so it’s going to invite commentary."
Game of Thrones is never far from controversy, but season five came under particular scrutiny due to plot lines involving Sansa Stark and Cersei Lannister.
Clarke's comments follow those by actress Amanda Peet, who is married to Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff. She defended the script by saying the writers create "some of the greatest female characters on TV".
"I think the thing that’s important to remember is that sadly, first and foremost, it’s a story that we’re telling that is make-believe… so whilst there is a political commentary that people can take from the show… I think not taking it too seriously is the key here," Clarke suggested.
Shocking Game of Thrones scenes
Shocking Game of Thrones scenes
1/9 Sansa/Ramsey rape scene
Season 5, episode 6: Fans were outraged as the episode ended with Sansa Stark being brutally raped by her new husband, Ramsey. The camera soon panned to Theon as he watched on, terrified.
2/9 Shireen burns at the stake
Season 5, episode 9:Stannis burns his daughter Shireen at the stake after Red Priestess Melisandre advises him to make a sacrifice to gain more power
3/9 Theon gets his penis chopped off
Season 3, episode 10: While being tortured by Ramsey, Theon Greyjoy goes through all sorts of pain. The most horrible though is when his penis is cut off and then sent to his family.
4/9 George Bush’s head on spike
Season 1, episode 10: According to the directors, they couldn’t get enough prosthetic heads made up for the show and ended up using the spare one’s lying around. One of those just happened to be the fake head of George Bush, which eventually ended up on a spike.
5/9 Joffrey murders two prostitutes
Season 2, episode 4: In one of his most violent moments, Joffrey finds himself with two prostitutes in his room and the most disgusting thing he can think to do with them, uses them as living targets.
6/9 The Red Wedding
Season 3, episode 9: It was the turning point for the entire show. Just as everyone thought it was going the Starks way, they nearly all end up murdered in one of the bloodiest episodes of any TV series ever.
7/9 Rat torture
Season 2, episode 4: Torture is a pretty common occurrence on Game of Thrones, but none were quite a bad as this. In the scene a bucket of rats is put to a man’s chest and then heated up with a flame so they must eat through the man to escape. Terrifying.
8/9 Mountain head explosion
Season 4, episode 8: Just as everything was going Oberyn Martell’s way, it all literally blew up in his face. The warrior ended up looking like a squashed watermelon in one of the most awful scenes in the entire series.
9/9 Theon botched beheading
Season 2, episode 6: Beheadings: In one of the more gruesome beheadings, Theon strikes Ser Rodrick Cassel not just once but four times in the neck, finally taking it all the way off with a kick.
The actress recently raised the hopes of diehard Game of Thrones fans by becoming the first cast member to suggest Jon Snow might be able to survive being stabbed repeatedly in the guts.
Viewers have been speculating about Kit Harington’s character since the season five finale saw him "murdered" by his own brothers of the Night’s Watch.
Showrunners have insisted Snow is "deader than dead", but Clarke said if she “had to bet, I’d say there’s like a 50/50 chance [of Jon Snow returning]. There’s some very helpful people there who could bring him back to life”.