At Comic-Con this past weekend, author George R.R. Martin responded to criticisms that the Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon seems to have explicit misogynist themes.
“I get inspiration from history, and then I take elements from history and I turn it up to 11,” Martin said (via Entertainment Weekly), specifically responding to a question on why Westeros was seemingly so against having a queen ascend to the Iron Throne. “Game of Thrones is, as many people have observed, based very loosely on the War of the Roses. [House of the Dragon] is based on an earlier period in history called the Anarchy… I don’t think Westeros is particularly more anti-woman or more misogynistic than real life and what we call history.”
In a recent interview, director and co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter that compared to Game of Thrones, this upcoming series “pulls back” on the amount of sex–though notes that sexual assault is still very much part of the show’s world. Sapochnik adds that in bringing stories of sexual violence to the screen, the intent is to be “careful and thoughtful… [we] don’t shy away from it. If anything, we’re going to shine a light on that aspect. You can’t ignore the violence that was perpetrated on women by men in that time. It shouldn’t be downplayed and it shouldn’t be glorified.” One point of criticism facing properties such as Game of Thrones is why a fictionalized universe needs to include sexual assault at all.