Game of Thrones writer G R R Martin has defended the portrayal of violence against women in the hit series and his books, saying his fiction is merely reflecting the reality of Middle Ages.
The book and its small screen adaptation have often come under fire for the poor depiction of its women characters and there was a huge backlash over the martial rape of Sansa Stark's character in the latest series with many women calling it unnecessary and in bad taste.
Martin said he was not writing about "utopia" but a fantasy which is deeply rooted in the reality of middle ages despite its fantasy tone, reported the Entertainment Weekly.
"Now there are people who will say to that, "Well, he's not writing history, he's writing fantasy-he put in dragons, he should have made an egalitarian society.'...
"I wanted my books to be strongly grounded in history and to show what medieval society was like, and I was also reacting to a lot of fantasy fiction. Most stories depict what I call the 'Disneyland Middle Ages'-there are princes and princesses and knights in shining armor, but they didn't want to show what those societies meant and how they functioned."
The author said despite the recent backlash there are millions of women who love the books and its female characters, some of which are very strong be it Arya, Daenerys Targaryen and Brienne while others love Sansa and Queen Cersei despite her obvious flaws.
"And then there's the whole issue of sexual violence, which I've been criticised for as well," Martin said, war is not only about "cool battles and heroes killing orcs".
"... you don't portray (sexual violence), then there's something fundamentally dishonest about that. Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It's not a strong testament to the human race, but I don't think we should pretend it doesn't exist.
"I want to portray struggle. Drama comes out of conflict. If you portray a utopia, then you probably wrote a pretty boring book," said the writer.