Through three and a half seasons of Game of Thrones, author George R.R. Martin has had to defend the amount of sex in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, the violence in The Red Wedding, some of the white-washing of HBO’s casting, the disturbing sex scene two weeks ago, and now he is defending the frequency of rape in his book series to The New York Times:
“An artist has an obligation to tell the truth. My novels are epic fantasy, but they are inspired by and grounded in history. 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.”
Martin also notes that the amount of violence and rape in A Song of Ice and Fire is “no darker nor more depraved than our own world,” that the problem with anyone who finds the rape scenes “titillating” is more a problem with that viewer than the scenes themselves, and that the artistic choices in the HBO series are not his to make. They are in the hands of others.