... some critics have complained about the show’s depictions of sexual violence. But Mr. Martin said it was an inescapable aspect of this world. “Rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought, from the ancient Sumerians to our present day,” he told The New York Times in an email last month. “To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest.”
But to pump them up to the point where (grotesque) violence and (brutalizing) sexuality become the narrative fulcrum of literally every episode is equally dishonest. It leaves us with the idea that there's no other way to talk about the past — or those specific aspects of the past — except in this lurid fashion.
I get disgusted with the We're Only Being Honest, Life Was Like That defense of sex-n-violence because it stems from a misconception of how these things can be discussed "realistically" — or rather, that being "realistic" about something means to depict it as harshly and nastily as possible. Explanations or insights make way for mere depictions, and in the end the only thing people wind up coming away from the material with is: Gee, glad I didn't have to live through that!