June 3, 2015 4:25 PM EDT

The author of Game of Thrones has finally responded to the question everyone wants answered—why the gratuitous violence against women in the books and TV series? His answer, to Entertainment Weekly: look around.

“To be non-sexist, does that mean you need to portray an egalitarian society?” George RR Martin said, responding to the critique that his fantastical world of Westeros needn’t be so violent or patriarchal. “That’s not in our history; it’s something for science fiction. And 21st century America isn’t egalitarian, either.”

Martin pointed out that his books are based on the Middle Ages—”not a time of sexual egalitarianism”—and in the midst of war, no less.

“If you’re going to write about war, and you just want to include all the cool battles and heroes killing a lot of orcs and things like that and you don’t portray [sexual violence], then there’s something fundamentally dishonest about that,” Martin argued. “Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today.”

Of course, it’s not just about honesty for Martin. “Drama comes out of conflict,” he told EW. “If you portray a utopia, then you probably wrote a pretty boring book.”

Martin’s books are hardly boring. The Game of Thrones TV series based upon them is HBO’s most-watched original series in history; its April 12th Season 5 Premier alone drew over 8 million viewers.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

Read next: George R.R. Martin: 5 Characters He Wishes Were on Game of Thrones

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