This blog post contains information* from previous seasons of Game of Thrones. *Information, not spoilers, because if you do plan to watch old seasons and haven’t yet, you’re really late to the game (of thrones). (Sorry.)
While typing this I can hear the unmistakable sound of a sword, bloodily and torturously being used to maim the innards of a, most-likely, bearded and topless man. No, I haven’t relocated to historic Rome, I am besides my boyfriend on the sofa. I, typing on my laptop, am facing one way, him, watching Game of Thrones of his, facing the opposite. I can’t see his screen, nor do I want to.
Up until approximately 50 minutes the infamous episode 9 of season 3 of the show, I was an avid watcher. I loved the characters, and watched with fear of which Stark character we would inevitably lose at the end of the series. The majority of them, it turned out.
It’s a bloody show, no doubt about it. The blood makes the show what it is in many ways, and it wouldn’t be half as successful without it. But cut open any man and his blood will eventually run dry. When that happens, his blood is shed, and what’s done is done. Not in Game of Thrones though. When a man’s blood runs dry in Game of Thrones, several more men are found, accompanied by women, children and pets. No amount of blood is enough. But funnily enough, this isn’t a question of quantity. My opposition to watching Game of Thrones comes from what we now consider entertainment.
Season one ended with the shock of Ned Stark losing his head. ‘What now?’, we all thought. The main character had gone so soon. But this was not just a dramatic end to the first season, this was an act of violence ranking high on the shock scales which set a precedent. A precedent which had to be topped and made bloodier each time. So we had The Red Wedding.
If you haven’t guessed already, the moment in particular that turned me against the show forever was when Rob Stark’s pregnant wife had a sword plunged into her stomach. It was disgustingly violent, to a point where it went far beyond creating shock and entertainment in the form of gore. Importantly, this event never took place in the books by George Martin, and was made up as additional violence for TV. I intensely dislike what this says about what a TV audience needs to remain interested, and what TV writers think their audience needs and wants to see. It was completely unnecessary and put me off watching again.
Some people think I overreacted and that the moment in the scene was fine to be part of it. My creepier acquaintances think it was good. I hope I don’t know anyone that enjoyed seeing that. Yes, it was fictional, I know that, but the question is why do we need to push the limits of violence in entertainment to such horrific extremes? Who really, honestly wants to see that? And would you trust their mental stability if they voiced this preference?
So no, I will not be watching season four, or any other. I would however, consider tuning in again if Daenerys was given her own spin off where she toured the world, freeing slaves with her dragons and swishing about in blue gowns, making everyone smile. But I’m told this is unlikely.
Until then, I’ll enjoy hearing that addictive and quite frankly, amazing theme tune from the safe distance of the other end of the sofa. Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Game of Thrones is amazing. It’s amazingly good. It just needs to stop pushing its own boundaries before it risks alienating its audience with sheer extremes.
If you’re with me on this, and don’t have someone playing the theme tune nearby, then have a listen to this acoustic version, played by one of Madonna’s violinists. It’s amazement without the gore. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yydcG9woWA