HBO

Emilia Clarke Fires Back At Critics Who Say Game Of Thrones Is Sexist

The actress says it 'pains' her to hear the show being called anti-feminist

Since its debut in 2011, Game of Thrones has come under fire time and time again for its depictions and treatment of female characters. But Emilia Clarke -- who plays arguably the most boss woman on the show, Daenerys Targaryen -- is continuing to defend the show against accusations of sexism as the show gears up for its Season 6 premiere.

"There's so much controversy," Clarke explained to Entertainment Weekly. "Yet that's what's beautiful about Game of Thrones -- it's depiction of women in so many different stages of development.”

Game of Thrones has upset some viewers with graphic depictions of violence against women and rape scenes, but Clarke argues that the show portrays women not just as victims, but in power positions.

"There are women depicted as sexual tools, women who have zero rights, women who are queens but only to a man, and then there are women who are literally unstoppable and as powerful as you can possibly imagine," Clarke said. "So it pains me to hear people taking Thrones out of context with anti-feminist spin -- because you can't do that about this show. It shows the range that happens to women, and ultimately shows women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength.”

Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, also recently spoke about the subject of feminism on the show. Speaking to WSJ Cafe, she said that contrary to popular belief, Game of Thrones is actually a feminist series.

“I think that the depiction of women is a nice depiction of women,” she said. “Back then, women didn’t have half the power they have in the show. This isn’t a popular opinion but it’s definitely a feminist show because as I say, back then women didn’t have the power to control kingdoms and they weren’t becoming the strongest characters in life. In this show, some of the strongest characters are the female characters. But we have to cater to the times they are in so there are these social boundaries put upon them and they break out of them in the show.”

Game of Thrones returns for its sixth season on April 24 on HBO.