George RR Martin defends Game of Thrones’ sexual violence

by Rachel Baker on May 7, 2014

I’m sure you’ve already read all the stuff about how Game of Thrones had a few rape scenes that weren’t in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. And frankly, I’m kind of sick of hearing about it, but I ran across this the other day and haven’t been able to stop thinking about what Martin has said here.

In my humble opinion, I think the problem is that Martin should just come out and say he wasn’t courageous enough to write rape into the books. He says below that “to omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the books”.

And he’s right. By saying that, though, the problem then becomes that he, the author, wrote the books and specifically the scenes as fundamentally false and dishonest. And that’s a problem for me.

Fantasy author George RR Martin has said that omitting scenes of rape and sexual violence from the epic Game of Thrones series “would have been fundamentally false and dishonest”, as fans express mounting concerns about the graphic way certain scenes from Martin’s novels have played out in the television adaptation.

Martin was responding to questions from the New York Times in the wake of claims that the hugely popular HBO adaptation of his A Song of Ice and Fire series of bestselling books is trivialising rape through an overreliance on sexual violence in the storyline. One recent scene to have drawn particularly vehement online criticism saw the character Jaime rape his sister Cersei in the tomb of their dead son – a divergence from the books, where the sex is consensual. Writer Danielle Henderson said in the Guardian that she was quitting the series because she was “exhausted by the triumph of men at the expense of women as a narrative device”.

But Martin told the New York Times that although his books are epic fantasy, they are based on history (the series is loosely inspired by the Wars of the Roses). And “rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought, from the ancient Sumerians to our present day”.

“To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the books: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. (And the heroes too). Each of us has within himself the capacity for great good, and great evil,” the author said.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/06/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-sexual-violence

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