"Game of Thrones" may be one of the most popular shows on television -- and has the Emmy hardware to prove it -- but it's not immune to backlash. One complaint that's gotten a lot of traction lately is that the show is sexist, something that surfaced most recently after last season's controversial Sansa storyline. Now, star Emilia Clarke -- a.k.a. Daenerys Targaryen -- has struck back, declaring that the sexism criticism couldn't be further from the truth.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Clarke discussed what fans can expect in the upcoming sixth season, and, like she's teased before, the actress promised big things ahead for her character and the rest of Westeros. But when asked to address what critics have been saying about the show's approach to female characters, Clarke dismissed that talk, explaining to EW that the series is actually a great one for women.

Here's what the actress told the magazine:

There's so much controversy. Yet that's what's beautiful about 'Game of Thrones' – its depiction of women in so many different stages of development. There are women depicted as sexual tools, women who have zero rights, women who are queens but only to a man, and then there are women who are literally unstoppable and as powerful as you can possibly imagine. So it pains me to hear people taking 'Thrones' out of context with anti-feminist spin – because you can't do that about this show. It shows the range that happens to women, and ultimately shows women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength.

Sophie Turner said some similar things during a recent interview, and we'd certainly agree with Clarke that the show features a huge spectrum of women. You can choose sides on the issue yourself when "Thrones" returns for season six on April 24.

[via: Entertainment Weekly]

Photo credit: Helen Sloan/HBO