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The Game of Thrones showrunners have taken some flack in recent months over their depiction of certain acts on the show. However, recently Dan Weiss and David Benioff sat down to talk about their amazing string of Emmy wins this week, and also got in a few eloquent thoughts about offending audiences and why they are creating the atmosphere they have created on the hit HBO fantasy drama so far.
We never set out to offend anyone. To try to offend anyone would be juvenile, but to be afraid to offend people would be cowardly. There were people saying they were never going to watch again. We’re just trying to tell the story the best we can. This means a lot, it’s a very nice feeling.
Game of Thrones has always been a show that features a lot of excess in terms of violence, sex and even drinking. But as it has grown more popular, certain entities of the population have grown disgruntled with the brutal treatment of some of the characters. During Season 5, a rape scene between the clearly awful Ramsay Bolton and Sansa Stark on the night of their marriage caused a lot of people to bolt from the show (and a lot more people to complain on the internet). But Benioff and Weiss' comments to EW illustrate that they are out there making the show they want with the ultimate end goal of creating something impressive rather than offending the internet.
Part of the problem with Sansa’s rape may have been that it was not canon. Game of Thrones has, thus far, mostly followed George R.R. Martin’s popular A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, and while the show hasn’t stuck like glue to every plot in the books, a lot of the overarching stuff has remained the same. But Sansa’s rape bothered some viewers, likely because of its timing and the fact that Sansa had finally begun to show some agency just before she was brutalized. It struck a chord with a lot of people who could accept Rob Stark’s pregnant wife getting killed and Oberyn Martell getting his skull crushed but just couldn’t stick with the show when it took down Sansa another peg. (Although I’d argue Theon’s added penis scene may have been harder to get through)
The thing about Game of Thrones is that the characters are living in an already-rough world in a rough time period. We’ve known since the beginning that Game of Thrones is violent and features a lot of moral grey areas alongside wholly upright and morally bankrupt individuals. I’ve always thought the complexities were some of the more fascinating components of the HBO drama, but the good news is, if Game of Thrones isn’t your cup of tea, you are always welcome to change the channel. Plus, since HBO is a subscription add-on, you’re also more than welcome to place your money elsewhere, as well.
If you do dig the various directions that Game of Thrones went in during Season 5, you’ll be pleased to hear the show is already well into production for Season 6. We already learned about some new characters Weiss and Benioff have added into the fold, as well as plenty of details regarding the new season. You can check out what we know about Season 6.