No question about it: this is a major NC-17. It's so filled with sex (and violence) that it has garnered some major criticism from people who argue that George R.R. Martin includes unnecessary scenes of sex and rape.
As awful as these images are (and they're definitely not for the young or the weak of heart), they succeed in emphasizing what a dangerous world this is. (For more insight into the danger of this particular world, please head over to our "Setting" section.)
How do you feel about the sexual violence in this book? Do you feel it is gratuitous (too much)? Should Martin have been more sensitive? What role does this violence serve in terms of moving the story forward or setting the scene?