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“Not one word” of Game of Thrones Season 6 changed in response to fan criticism

Jeremy Podeswa directed two episodes of Game of Thrones in Season 5. One of them, “Unbowed, Unbend, Unbroken,” ended with Sansa Stark being raped by Ramsay Bolton, her new husband. The scene was very controversial. Many fans were upset, and some outlets resolved to stop covering the show.

In a later interview, Podeswa claimed that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss “were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result.” He didn’t specify the nature of those changes, but some fans assumed that the producers would alter Season 6 storylines involving female characters. For example, Sophie Turner recently said that Season 6 would find Sansa “coming into her own and standing up for herself.” Might Sansa’s newfound confidence have been the result of the producers beefing up her role in the wake of the controversy?

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Entertainment Weekly, which had access to Benioff and Weiss while preparing for its recent double-issue, reports that this is not the case. Here’s what Dan Weiss said when asked if Season 6 was affected by fan criticism:

No…I can literally say 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.

Game of Thrones is a complicated show with a ton of moving parts. Storylines have to be planned far in advance, so from a logistical standpoint, it would be difficult for producers to alter something in an upcoming season based on criticism of the prior season. As to what Podeswa could have been referring to in his interview, Weiss wasn’t sure:

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 and Weiss

David Benioff concurred with Weiss, and expanded on the role of criticism in general:

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.

In addition to his Season 5 duties, Jeremy Podeswa also directed the first two episodes of Season 6. The premiere will air on April 24, and we can all see for ourselves how the story progresses.

48 Comments

  • It’s never the fan criticizing, it’s the lovely “critics” who criticized season 5. Those who saw the rape scene of Sansa and soon “take advantage” of it, calling it outrageous and unacceptable, and others follow mindlessly. The very same people who did not say a word when Shireen is burned and Margarey slept with an underaged Tommen. The “critics” saw an opportunity to put them in moral high ground and did not hesitate one second to do so.

  • It may be true that they did not change the scripts in response to criticisms. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t write the scripts while keeping some of the prior criticisms in mind.

    • They write the next season before the previous season even airs. They’re likely writing season 7 right now. That’s how tight their schedule is. It’s what they’re referring to when they say the logistics of changing a storyline would be impossible. So season 6 would have been written before any of the controversy even happened. Unless they’re psychics, they wouldn’t have been able to write season 6 with season 5’s criticisms in mind.

  • Major plot lines are set but the scripts weren’t written until after the blowup. This could have still had some impact on the writing or revisions.

  • All I can say is Thank God. If producers/directors are afraid of what fans may think of their product that they may have worked years on, & change storyline because folks don’t like it. Then, they don’t belong in the business.

    I am happy that did not cave to pressure. If they had story lines planed out a year in advance, they would be stupid to change it now. I am pretty sure that they are already thinking if not writing Season 7 scripts now.

    I just can’t stand the talking out of both sides of our mouths with these women groups. Bran got pushed out of a window in the 1st episode( that got me hooked. At that time I hadn’t read the books). Where was the outrage then, an attempted murder of a small child, or all the other violent things that happen before season 5. I guess the people weren’t pretty enough for these groups to care, right??????

    Props to Dan & David, Don’t cave

      • I am a Feminist also, but I don’t pick & choose which person I am going to back. Like I have stated before where these groups when Theon had his penis cut off, & you know that Ramsey is abusing him. They just haven’t brought it into the story. However, where was the outrage?.

        Sexual Violence is Sexual Violence no matter who the victim is. Man, Woman, or child. If you stand for 1 you must stand for all.

  • Just a hypothetical question:

    Will the battle of schemes between Littlefinger and Varys play an important role in the End Game?

  • In GOT episode, we need…
    1. Tough Guy and Thieft Guy
    2. Alcoholic GUY (Beer and hard alcohol)
    3. Farmer Rebellion
    4. Ghost

  • For starters, I still don’t know why you keep calling it rape Dan. When two people get married, and both are consenting to the deed, as they both were, Ramsey proceeded to be Ramsey. Weird, rough and with no respect to Sansa, but not rape.
    And good for the show runners to move forward and not changing things because of that scene. 42% of the fans are woman. I believe that’s why this got blown out of proportion. Wouldn’t decapitation be worse than rape? But I didn’t hear shit about how Ned was totally screwed over and beheaded.
    GOT is great because of shocking scenes like this. The Red Wedding was huge and everyone got killed in the worse way. Last seasons finale was death times ten!
    I can’t wait for the hypocrites out there to fall back into the show this year. They’ll be back by the ton, lol…
    Disclaimer : I do not condone any female abuse of any kind in real life. But it’s a show folks. And to me, that was not rape. It was Ramsey being a fuckin prick. Don’t worry though , Winter is Coming for Ramsey…

  • Sansa didn’t ” consent” whole heartedly. It was more a matter of life or death choice for her survival. I guarantee just because she was pretty much forced to marry Ramsay she DID NOT WANT HIM having sex with her THE WAY HE DID it! Which makes it for her First Time a RAPE situation. That’s how it’s rape! Marrying a man doesn’t give him the right to abuse you anyway he chooses.

    • No means no, right? Sansa never said no, she also didn’t fight it. Ok, she was crying and obviously wasn’t into, but so was Dani in season 1 and no one said a word.
      I suppose we’ll all have to agree to disagree on this and many other things in the show’s controversy.

      P.s. I’m kind of over this site constantly bringing this subject up. As ‘writers’ you should be the first not to fall in the media’s web of twisting things just to get a reaction out of society. I also feel like you are continually cheapening yourself trying to do the same to your readers.

      • Lack of no does not mean yes. Read this. Familiarize yourself with it. http://i.imgur.com/zsEr8mN.jpg

        P.S.: Yes. It is getting old how this site keeps bringing this up. Then again, this IS a GoT news site, so it’s hard not to bring this up when the news keep popping up.

      • Black Walda

        LMAO What do you think would have happened if Sansa said NO or tried fighting Ramsey?

        I’m just going to file your comment and move on LMAO SMH!!! I needed a laugh thank you.

        • When she was in the bathtub Ramsey’s girlfriend told her what he was like. Sansa’s response was that she wouldn’t be scared away because winterfell was her home. After at first refusing to agree to the marriage, when LF explained how she would be left with WF when Stannis took out the boltons, she changed her mind. She’s playing the game-the one the show is about. She could have gone somewhere else and married for love but she didn’t. She could have lit the candle but she didn’t. She wouldn’t have consented in the way you wanted with Joffrey or Tyrion either. That’s not what the show is about. It’s not a rom com. The fact that people flipped out about an act she walked into and then said nothing about Shireen tells me a lot. GoT is filled with strong female characters-it’s what I love about it. I always thought Sansa was a slow learner though -going from fawning over Joffrey to fawning over Loras. But she walked into Ramsey’s bedroom with her eyes wide open. I wouldn’t have done it but she did. She put herself in the same position she was in with Joffrey, willingly, because she wanted her home back. It’s horrific and classic GoT. Re-watch all her previous scenes with Ramsey – familiarize yourself with them. She knew exactly what he was. She was trying to be conniving like LF but then she realized she couldn’t take it.

          • I couldn’t agree more. People are willing to endure the uncomfortable to get what they want, some times extremely uncomfortable. People these days expect everything to be easy and no sacrifice or effort put forth to obtain what you want. If she wanted to make love instead of creepy rough sex then she could have stayed in the vale. She wanted her home back so she did what was necessary.

          • This is my first time ever commenting on this site but had to agree with you! She assumed that Ramsay would be like Tyrion and take her feelings into consideration. She also knew what type of people the Bolton are before she even agreed to go. She has to learn to actually play the game instead of just being a pawn. I don’t get the outrage…I mean you had to know something awful would happen to her once she married him!

  • What a shame. They should listen & remove that disgusting homosexual filth from the show. It isn’t in the books and shouldn’t be on tv :)

    • Oh Rob ,

      A woman terrified crying before she’s about to be sexually violated Infront of someone is no enough. So your saying, if a woman was crying terrified with you and shaking you would still continue. You would just continue because she didn’t say NO? Some people are just scary ! Do you even realize what you said?

      Ok so picture this: if I hooked your private bits up to a guillotine and you were crying but had so much fear you couldn’t say No. So I chopped them off. It’s technically not a crime right ? I did nothing wrong because you didn’t say no.????

  • All the women loved Drogo in season 1 even though he very much raped dany in season 1 but I guess because he is very good looking, big and muscly women didn’t mind. The hypocrisy in just these two instances was astounding.

    I’m like others this is a fictional show based on fictional books. It’s not real! There are people actually tragically being raped out there and women who need help. Go focus on them they actually need you, game of thrones doesn’t. One last point let’s see how many of those online activists really do stay away from the biggest show on the planet. I doubt very many will keep their word. So over this topic in general it was silly to begin with.

  • Ramsay so many times fucked Sansa that she should be pregnant by now. If she’s not then she’s probably infertile, or Ramsay’s bollocks are dry.

  • So D&D really believe they did such a good job in the season 5 that they do not need to listen to the feedback from the audience?

  • Seems obvious to me that part of the finale would include Dragons versus The White Walkers aka The Others. Dragonfire to counter OtherCold! The army of wights would surely evaporate leaving their masters, who are more immune to heat, needing to be dealt with. Discovery of some Dragonglass seems to be in order.

  • He’s right. Game of Thrones is not a fan service show. Fans are not writers or producers. If you like the show, keep on watching it. If you don’t, stoo watching. Simple.

  • I like this show because it is different. I like the politics, the battles, the nudity, the aggression as much as the love stories, the family values, the emotional moments and so on…

    This is what Game of Thrones is – a mix of everything just like in the real life! For people with weak heart – please, watch comedies!