The director behind the highly controversial Game of Thrones season five episode ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’ has revealed the show’s creators took the public backlash to heart.
The episode, featuring a scene in which teenage character Sansa Stark was raped by Ramsay Bolton while her childhood friend Theon Greyjoy watched, generated widespread outrage for its disturbing portrayal of sexual violence.
“We were aware ahead of time that it was going to be disturbing but we did not expect there would be people in Congress talking about it,” director Jeremy Podeswa said on Friday at a breakfast at Sydney’s Fox Studios.
“It was a difficult and brutal scene and we knew it was going to be challenging for the audience.
“But it was very important to us in the execution that it would not be exploited in any way. To be fair, the criticism was the notion of it, not the execution. It was handled as sensitively as it could possibly be; you hardly see anything.”
The Canadian television director, who has also worked on Boardwalk Empire and American Horror Story, added that the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, took the criticism on board and made some changes.
According to Podeswa, Benioff and Weiss “were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result”.
“It is important that (the producers) not self-censor. The show depicts a brutal world where horrible things happen. 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.”
“I welcomed the discussion about the depiction of violence on television and how it could be used as a narrative tool sometimes and the questionable nature of that,” Podeswa said of personal thoughts on the matter.