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You don’t have to be an avid Game of Thrones fan to know the show is graphic, to put things gently. Each episode is packed with violence and gore, and none of the characters are exempt.

But it’s not the blood and guts that has people talking. In fact, most debate surrounding the HBO original series has been in line with issues regarding violence against women, especially after Cersei’s Walk of Shame in Sunday’s finale, which was arguably the most powerful scene in the history of the show and also the most difficult to watch. Entertainment Weekly spoke to avowed feminist Gwendoline Christie, who GOT fans know as “Brienne of Tarth,” about her thoughts on how the show portrays women in what seems to be a man’s world.

Christie plays the physically toughest female by far on the show, and possibly the strongest character of all. She has always been clear about her attitude towards gender equality and female empowerment, but also recognizes that the show has its purpose and is deeply rooted in historical events. Violent acts of abuse and exploitation are sadly a staple of our society’s history, and according to Christie, the show does not wish to hide that. Of course, she understands that some scenes are difficult to watch, but she reminds us that they should be. The fact that many people now recognize that behavior as brutal and barbaric shows how societal views towards women as a whole have certainly changed for the better.

Christie told Entertainment Weekly:

“Women have been treated appalling in history. Men have too. Human beings have. What this show is doing is shining a light on women and has an exploration of female characters that has rarely been approached before—and I applaud that.”

Christie argues that the show’s violent scenes against women serve a broad purpose, and exist to encourage viewers to question how all of us as people treat each other, not just how men treat women. She says the scenes “should further illuminate human consciousness about how we interact as human beings.”

Christie thinks it’s important to keep in mind that most violent acts against women in the show do not happen in isolation, and often involve characters whose story lines are clearly unfinished. Characters are not defined by any one moment or scene – in fact, it’s how characters responds to their lowest of lows that reveals their real strength.

Christie said:

“Those downfalls and points of agony and pain that affect us so acutely with these horrific events that the female characters go though, those events are not the only things that happen in the show.”

She added:

“The show is so dense and so complex. This isn’t just a season-by-season story, we’re looking at this story as a whole.”

Some people may argue that Thrones writers take violence and gore one step too far, and they have a right to feel that way. But at the end of the day, it’s a television show, and like all shows, it’s not for everyone. The truth is, almost every character in Game of Thrones is subjected to acts of violence and is a victim of the few powerful characters, not just the female characters. Tyrion was constantly berated for his size. Jon Snow was never good enough. Theon lost everything.

All of the characters suffer hardships, they experience violence and they feel pain, and to disregard female suffering in an attempt to take a stand against violence towards women would send a completely different message than intended. That message being that women are not strong enough to handle seeing female victims on-screen.

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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