While “Game Of Thrones” is undoubtedly the most popular show on television, it’s also one of the most controversial. In season four episode “Breaker Of Chains,” Jaime Lannister rapes his twin sister Cersei, a disturbing sequence made all the more baffling because in the books, the sex between them is consensual. The scene caused a firestorm of online chatter about depictions of sex and violence on the show, and in the culture of TV media in general, and at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, HBO President Of Programming Michael Lombardo responded to concerns and criticism.
“I appreciate there was some controversy, and it generated a conversation about what consensual sex is and isn’t,” he said about the Lannister sex scene.
The executive argues that subscribers to HBO are paying to get uncensored content, and that he leaves the decisions to how much (or how little) sex and violence is in “Game Of Thrones” to writers Dan Weiss and David Benioff. “I don’t think (graphic scenes) have ever been without any purpose. Dan and Dave are two very sober, thoughtful men. They have books as a map, which involve wars, violence, sex. We have certainly not given them an edict or a note that they need to tone down the sexual content in the show,” Lombardo said, also adding: “As long as I feel that (violence) isn’t the reason (people) are watching the show, that it isn’t a show trying to attract viewers with sex and violence, I am not going to play police.”
And Lombardo underscores that latter sentiment again, stating HBO’s role is to balance creative expression with ensuring things don’t go too far. “People responsible for programming have two responsibilities. To be responsible, not to have sex and violence that’s gratuitous. That is certainly not who we are. At the same time we don’t want to be a censor that inhibits the authentic organic creative process by policing how many breasts should be on a show,” he said.
Thoughts? Hit our comments section and we’ll see if anything changes on “Game On Thrones” next year when it comes to boobs and blood. [Variety]