Game of Thrones is well known for its inclusion of multiple sex scenes, naked women and lewd on-screen antics. Many people believe this to be part and parcel when it comes to the fantasy genre, and indeed also to George R.R. Martin's critically acclaimed novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
However Bernard Cornwell, author of Sharpe and writer behind new BBC drama The Last Kingdom, has called out the series for its need to use "sexplanations," a device used to distract viewers from boring plot expositions.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Cornwell admitted that he was not a fan of Game of Thrones.
"So many characters. So many strands. You have to have large sections where the plot is explained; just have to sit there and be told what’s going on.
This is very, very dull. So they put a lot of naked women behind it all, They’re called ‘sexplanations’ in the trade. My programmes won’t need sexplanations.”
The author, not happy with comparisons of his series with George R.R. Martin's, believes that it is the realistic approach to his novels that gives him the upper hand. Discussing the upcoming production of his novel, The Last Kingdom, Cornwell had this to say:
"If I was a commissioning editor at the BBC I’d say, 'We want Game of Thrones – boys, let’s have dragons and tits, but as much as I love George's book, it doesn’t have that grounding in reality. Mine continually has to come back to this real story – the making of England."
Not a stranger to the screen, Cornwell's Napoleonic novel series centering around rifleman Richard Sharpe was adapted into a series of Sharpe television films, and he will again hit the screen, courtesy of the BBC.
The Last Kingdom is set to become Game of Thrones's biggest rival to date, with the BBC investing £10m into the new eight part Viking drama series. Adapted from the 2004 novel, The Last Kingdom, the series will depict Alfred The Great’s battle to the unify England as a fighting force to combat the Viking threat.
The series will combine historical figures with fictional events. Already known for his talent at writing historical novels, Cornwell in the past has stated how he keeps to a strict writing formula.
"Kick off with a battle – gets the book off to a nice, fast start. Lots of dead Frenchies. Introduce the plot, right? Plot begins to sag? Wheel on 40,000 Frenchies and start slaughtering them. Keep it moving. More plot. Finish with a set-piece battle that ties up all the plot ends and kills off the four villains. Works every time."
Set in 872, The Last Kingdom will revolve around main protagonist Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), the orphaned son of a Saxon nobleman. Kidnapped by Norsemen and reared as one of them, Uhtred is forced to choose between a kingdom that shares his ancestry and the people of his upbringing, constantly testing his loyalties.
Produced by Carnival Films, the book has been adapted by BAFTA-nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard. Premiering on BBC America on 10 October 2015 and later the same month on BBC Two in the UK.
Read the full interview in full here.