‘Game of Thrones’ Bosses Deny Changing Season 6 Over Rape Criticisms
Distracted thought we are by every clue toward Jon Snow’s return, Game of Thrones fans remain uneasy at the prospect of further depictions of sexual violence, and disproportionate misfortune for female characters. A prior Game of Thrones director even suggested producers had heard concerns, and would tone down sexual violence in Season 6, but not so, say showrunners. What fun!
Late last year, Game of Thrones director Jeremy Podeswa implied that series showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had at least taken into account some of the increasing controversy around the show’s use of sexual violence, potentially influencing Season 6 shooting:
[They] were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result … They did not want to be too overly influenced by that (criticism) but they did absorb and take it in and it did influence them in a way.
That said, Weiss told Entertainment Weekly in no uncertain terms, that “not one word of the scripts this season have been changed in any way, shape or form by what people said on the Internet, or elsewhere.”
The pair explained:
Weiss: Jeremy is fantastic. It’s hard to know what the context was – whether or not that’s exactly what he said or he said something adjacent to that and the words got shuffled around because whoever typed it up liked the way it sounded better. Who the hell knows? He’s made completely outstanding, wonderful episodes, and is also a wonderful human being. So I have no idea if he said those actual words, but that’s just not a factual statement.
Benioff: The thing that’s slightly frustrating is the idea that we’re responding to criticism from last year, so therefore we’re going to beef up the female roles – that’s blatantly untrue. What happens this year has been planned for quite some time and is not a response. We can take criticism – and certainly we’ve gotten our share of it – but hearing people look at a middle chapter of a story and make claims about the story as a whole … it’s not in any way a response to online criticism, or any other type of criticism.
On the one hand, it makes sense that the duo wouldn’t necessarily acknowledge outrage influencing any of their ability as storytellers, though it’s a dicey prospect to double-down on the use of conventions that have alienated a significant portion of viewers.
We’ll all find out for ourselves on April 24 (thanks, HBO) but what new controversies might Game of Thrones Season 6 bring? Check out the latest trailers below.