Game of Thrones has become well known for its grand set pieces and amazing action sequences. Yet, these usually come later on in any given season's run. That's not true of Game of Thrones Season 6. While some of the inaugural episodes of seasons past have slowly set up what's to come in the future, this latest premiere has a lot of questions to answer. And it's not going to be a quiet hour. Frequent Game of Thrones director Jeremy Podeswa had this to say, hinting that the first Game of Thrones Season 6 episode is definitely one that can't be missed. He then went onto talk about how the Sansa rape scene from last season has helped to change the show in some ways.

"Doing the first episode of a new season is always a bit tricky because they tend to lay down a lot of tracks for the season and check on where the characters are now. They're not usually the most dynamic episodes. Happily for me this year the producers tried to work against that. The season gets off to an amazing start, stuff of consequence happens and the first two episodes are really strong."

It is speculated that the now-shared story thread between Sansa and Theon will be picked up in the first two new episodes of Game of Thrones. It's possible that the effects of Sansa's abuse at the hands of the Boltons will also be further explored. This very popular TV show has set up a world that is cruel, especially when it comes to the treatment of women. It's doubtful that will change as the series continues into the future. But at the same time, the drama will also continue to evolve as it reaches its inevitable conclusion in the next few years.

While Game of Thrones is a bonafide hit six years running, it hasn't been without its fair share of criticism. And there has been plenty of controversy. Perhaps none more so than concerns over how the dark fantasy series often utilizes rape and sexualized violence to continue pushing its narrative home. Sansa Stark's storyline came under heavy fire, when she was forced to wed the extremely violent Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones Season 5. Jeremy Podeswa directed the episode featuring the Sansa rape scene titled 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken'. Jeremy Podeswa opened up about how the general response to that scene is helping change what arrives on screen in the future. And how it will impact upcoming episodes. Jeremy Podeswa is directing the first two new episodes. Speaking at a recent breakfast briefing at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, he revealed that the Sansa storyline has played a role in crafting what comes next. He had this to say to Forbes.

"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. 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.I welcomed the discussion about the depiction of violence on television and how it could be used as a narrative tool sometimes and the questionable nature of that. 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."

Jeremy Podeswa claims that most of the criticism came from the notion of the rape scene, not how it actually played out on screen. In truth, a lot of criticism was aimed at the aftermath of the event. Especially how it impacted Theon Greyjoy, and helped push his story along rather than focus on the repercussions it had on Sansa. Will the new episodes push things into a better direction? We'll have to wait until these new episodes debut this spring to know for sure.

B. Alan Orange