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'Game Of Thrones' season six to be less 'brutal' following criticism of Sansa Stark rape scene

New series will begin in April 2016

Press/HBO
The new season of Game Of Thrones will be less violent and "brutal", one of the show's directors has stated, following recent outcry over a rape scene featured in season five.

Character Sansa Stark (portrayed by Sophie Turner) was raped by Ramsay Bolton (played by Iwan Rheon) during season five episode 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken', a scene that led many viewers to complain.

Now the director of the episode, Jeremy Podeswa, has said that the show has taken the criticism into consideration.

"We were aware ahead of time that it was going to be disturbing but we did not expect there would be people in Congress talking about it," Podeswa said, according to Variety.

"It was a difficult and brutal scene and we knew it was going to be challenging for the audience, but it was very important to us in the execution that it would not be exploited in any way."

"To be fair, the criticism was the notion of it, not the execution. It was handled as sensitively as it could possibly be; you hardly see anything."

Podeswa added to The Telegraph: "It is important that (the producers) not self-censor. The show depicts a brutal world where horrible things happen."

"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."

"[The show's creators] were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result."

Season six of Game Of Thrones will begin on HBO in April 2016. In the UK, the show airs on Sky Atlantic and was "simulcast" with HBO for the entirety of season five.

New cast members for season six include veteran actor Max von Sydow, who has been cast as the Three-eyed Raven, and Withnail and I's Richard E. Grant, who will play the manager of a visiting theatre troupe. Meanwhile, Golden Globe-winning actor Ian McShane has also joined the cast in a currently unknown role.

Watch a trailer for the new season below.

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