The producers of Game of Thrones have confirmed that they did not bend to criticism and alter the roles of their female characters. An early report claimed that the show's season six script had been changed after negative responses to the storyline of Sansa Stark, after director Jeremy Podeswa stated that producers David Benioff and DB Weiss were making changes to the story.
"They were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result," the director was quoted as saying in the December story. "They did not want to be too overly influenced by that [criticism], but they did absorb and take it in and it did influence them in a way."
But in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, both Benioff and Weiss stressed that "not one word" was changed. "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," Weiss said. "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."
The Emmy-award winning show has often been criticised for the storyline's attitude toward women, rape and violence. "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," Benioff said, pointing out that the scripts are written well in advance and no changes were made since.
"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," he said.
With only a few weeks to go before the start of season six, anticipation for the show is greater than what any other TV show has ever witnessed. Winter is coming to television with the season premiering on 24 April.