Please DO NOT continue with this article if you are not up to date with the latest season as this article does contains spoilers.
Game of Thrones is an award winning T.V show from HBO set in a fictional realm where almost everybody wishes to sit on the Iron Throne. Although the story telling, score and characters are all phenomenal - there is a dark side.
The brutality and cruelty depicted in this show is simply shocking. There should be no doubt that this is intentional to shock audiences,but this means it is hard to stomach-especially because the audience develops attachments to characters and any form of cruelty towards them is hard to accept.
This has not stopped the shows producers though. They are sticking quite closely to the books written by George R.R. Martin, which unfortunately includes a lot of violence and cruelty towards the characters.
One of the first instances of cruelty, and there are many, is the scene above where one of the main characters is beheaded in front of his daughters. This was not the only thing that was shocking in the series, but I feel it helps give a good understanding of how vile this world is, especially towards women. In this fictional world, a beheading like this is not unusual, but has a huge affect on the audience.
Joffrey Baratheon is a character who was the definition of cruelty. In fatc he was responsible for Ned's beheading , which is just one of his many evil acts. He tortures his soon-to-be wife for crimes she did not commit, such as feuds between the Starks and the Lannisters. He takes it upon himself to have his soon-to-be wife beaten in front of a crowd and orders her to be stripped of clothing. If it were not for his other uncle, he would have succeeded. He has prostitutes 'entertain' him and he orders one tobrutally beat the other with a mace for his amusement! Again, in this world this is not unheard of. Joffrey is the epitome of cruelty in this world and many rejoiced when he finally left the show.
The Red Wedding
The red wedding was another example of cruelty in the realm. Robb Stark (featured above) feels he has a right to the Iron Throne and calls himself the King of The North. During the red wedding every member of his clan is slaughtered in a barbaric fashion.
His wife (above) was pregnant with his child and she was stabbed multiple times in the stomach as a means to her demise. She died from her injuries. After witnessing this, he was then stabbed and shot with arrows so that he would die - eliminating him as a threat for the Iron Throne. This all takes place in front of his mother who witnesses the slaughter of her eldest son, daughter-in-law, unborn grandchild and most of her clan. In a desperate attempt to stop the killing and perhaps save her son, she takes the host's wife hostage and eventually slits her throat. In return, her throat is also slit. Just another example of the barbaric nature of the show.
Children are also acceptable to kill in Game Of Thrones. In earlier episodes, we saw the burning bodies of two small children and in the photo depicted above Princess Shireen is being sacrificed. She is burned alive by her father in the hopes that his 'sacrifice' will allow him to win the battle and take the Iron Throne. This is not the case, however, and audiences witness Princess Shireen screaming and begging for her life. This was a hard episode to endure as generally children are not harmed like this.
Theon Greyjoy is by no means a lovable character. He is despicable in his acts and his attempts to impress his father. However, he meets a character named Ramsey Bolton who is unbelievably cruel and hurtful. The flag for his house is a flayed man on a cross, and Ramsey takes that in his stride. With Theon as his prisoner, he tortures him; Removing the skin from his fingers and also removing his penis as part of his sick entertainment. He does these acts slowly to inflict as much pain as possible and also to extend his enjoyment of the situation. He also sends Theon's severed penis to Theon's father as a sick gesture.
He breaks Theon's will and renames him Reek, making him sleep in the kennels with the dogs. Ramsey also enjoys hunting, but for humans. He seduces girls and when they are vulnerable and trusting, he releases them into the woods and then coldly hunts them down. He also becomes the husband of one of the main characters.
Lady Sansa returns to Winterfell, her home, and marries Ramsey as advised. She then discovers just how cruel he can be firsthand. On her wedding night, she is raped in front of Theon, who is forced to watch - and that is only the beginning. She is repeatedly raped and beaten by Ramsey and is made to feel isolated. Many peasants of Winterfell see her as the rightful heir instead of Ramsey, and when they try to help, Ramsey has them tortured, killed and put on display. Then, he shows Sansa so that she knows she is alone. Ramsey Bolton is one of the cruelest characters on this show.
Daenerys is another character that audiences love. However, despite her being a strong dominant character she did not start out that way and audiences witnessed the brutality she suffered . She was sold by her brother to a stranger in the hopes that her brother would get his army. The decision was not hers. On her wedding night, her new husband gave no regard to her or her comfort and proceeded to force himself upon her - and it was her 'duty' to be obliged.
However audiences could see the pain in her eyes and this added to the sense of cruelty. She then became pregnant and her brother continued to be violent toward her. He disregarded her feelings as he was the eldest and he could do what he pleased with her. During her pregnancy, her husband (who she has grown to love) gets mortally wounded. She makes a deal with a witch to bring him back, but it would involve a sacrifice from her. She goes into labour and loses the child but has hopes that this sacrifice may have spared her husband. However, the witch double crossed her and he is unrecognizable as the Khal he should be.
These are just a few examples of the culture in Game Of Thrones, where it is okay to rape, beat, kill and torture men, women and children. The brutality of the show, I feel, is what also makes it a hit. In today's society, this is shocking. However, there were times when this was deemed okay. As well as Game Of Thrones being a massive hit for it's story lines, amazing score and its ruthlessness - I feel the horrific violence in the show is a good reminder to all who watch that this used to be acceptable. Many sitcoms in the 1950's were of a married couple and the wife would threatened with violence.
I wrote an article before about Game Of Thrones in regards to how it was a blessing to womankind , given how dominant and important the female characters are. However, they had to endure horrendous things to achieve that.https://moviepilot.com/posts/3593025?lt_source=external,manual
Do you think HBO is right to keep the violence in? Do you think that the hardships endured by characters helped define them? Please let me know in the comments section below. Until next time folks-Ciao!