Game of Thrones reflects the horror of human nature, according to star Natalie Dormer.
The 34-year-old plays Margaery Tyrell in the hit HBO drama series, which received a lot of criticism at the end of its 2015 season for its depictions of female characters.
One woman was raped and a much younger girl was burned alive, but Natalie is quick to defend the show's narrative, insisting the harrowing scenes are true to life.
"All I know is that I turn on the news, and it's covering a boy drowning off the coast, or children being shown beheading videos," she explained to British newspaper The Sunday Times' Culture magazine. "The horror of human nature is prevalent in our world, and I appreciate that some people want to turn on the telly (television) for escapism - but if that’s what you want, don’t watch Game of Thrones.
"I choose fantasy to vent, to process complex political, sexual and social politics at the safe distance of fiction. For me, that’s what art should be.”
Natalie concedes there are "some misogynistic characters in Game of Thrones", but their presence can help draw attention to serious issues which affect people in the real world.
"I think the fact it can start a conversation about the statistics of rape and how much it happens within the family..." she added, "I’m not saying it’s OK... I find parts of the show difficult to watch, but I don’t think we do young people any favors by sheltering them."
If Natalie does have any reservations about her character or a particular scene, there's nothing she could do about it even if she wanted to.
"You sign on the dotted line, give them seven years and don’t get to alter the writing," she explained. "I can’t, as Natalie, defend everything Margaery does, as that’s not my job.”