Rape of the Schlock

I’ve not watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, nor read the books.  I do not intend to start.

At first I would retort that I don’t watch Game of Thrones because I’m not that interested in “Lord of The Rings with breasts.”  Much like the way Battlestar Galactica used “frack” as a way to show how it could use an f-word without losing its rating, I find the use of gratuitous sex to be poor and lazy writing.  Great writing uses the boundaries to the author’s advantage.  Anyone can re-write the rules for their own benefit.

Turns out, others are willing to risk the wrath of Deep Throners.

Criticizing “Game of Thrones,” it turns out, is about as thankless a task as criticizing Ron Paul. Somebody has to do it, but be prepared to get an earful from legions of angry and fanatical supporters.

What I find particularly annoying about “Game of Thrones” fans is that they have been pampered by universal praise from highbrow critics—which in my book is a sure-fire sign that you’re on the wrong track—so they can’t imagine anyone could possibly dislike the show. If you do dislike it, they become belligerently defensive and feel free to impugn your integrity, claiming that you could not possibly have even watched the show, so you’re basically faking your review.

Sounds a bit like Dallas Cowboy fans, too.

But then after a week of this sort of thing, “Game of Thrones” serves up an episode in which this happens. Let’s just say that if it were an episode of “Friends,” it would be titled, “The One Where the Guy Rapes His Sister Next to the Corpse of Their Murdered Child.”

Really, at this point “Game of Thrones” has descended into self-parody, because that is exactly the kind of scene a satirist might have invented to mock the show’s promiscuous lust for shock value.

Is a justification really necessary for why a person would choose not to watch sibling rape, let alone a show where it may occur?  At the risk of sounding transformational, the best way to “engage culture” here is to simply condemn it.

As for the idea that “Game of Thrones” is uniquely unpredictable, it is becoming dreadfully predictable. Here is the pattern: every time we start to like a character, he will be a) killed, b) made to suffer some agonizing humiliation, or c) promptly commit some horribly immoral act, making him unlikable again. That’s not creative; it’s a schtick.

The common theme of these defenses of “Game of Thrones” is: heroes are boring, they’re unrealistic, they’re a myth. Instead, “Game of Thrones” puts us in touch with brutal, cynical reality.

See what I mean? No one is really challenging my factual description of the show. They’re complaining that I reject a dark, brutal worldview as realistic, interesting, and desirable.


What’s most interesting about this objection to Game of Thrones is that it comes from an atheist.  His worldview raises more than a few issues about why he objects, but that is for another time.

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One thought on “Rape of the Schlock

  1. I actually do watch Game of Thrones, but I do agree with Tracinski that we're in an era where all respected film/TV series seem to be “dark” stories with “anti-heroes” as protagonists. While it's certainly a product of the times, it's really just set a new standard of predictability in both character and story arcs.

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