In its first five critically acclaimed seasons, Game of Thrones was at the center of a ridiculously large number of conversations, from friends discussing episodes to social media comment chains to countless interviews with the cast and crew. And for every instance where the actual plot and characters were talked about, there was another instance where the lone subject was the show’s controversial uses of sex and violence. Star Natalie Dormer had a few choice words to say for those who only raise their voice to criticize the arguably extreme subject matter.
All I know is that I turn on the news, and it’s covering a boy drowning off the coast, or children being shown beheading videos. The horror of human nature is prevalent in our world, and I appreciate that some people want to turn on the telly for escapism – but if that’s what you want, don’t watch Game of Thrones.
Blammo! It can’t get any more logically succinct than that last point. If you want something that Game of Thrones isn’t likely to offer – such as long-lasting happiness amongst characters, heavily choreographed musical numbers, or space battles – then why would you continue to watch it? Yes, I get that watching fully-clothed characters not join orgies or not get beheaded isn’t too much to ask from a TV series in general, but those things are a part of George R.R. Martin’s source material, for better or worse, and the show could risk putting off the built-in fanbase if they were to change the story to remove all of the nudity and violence solely for the sanctity of some people’s moral centers. Fans are more important than critics. Always. Even when it means dongs and eye-gouging.
Natalie Dormer should be a spokesperson for the concept of common sense, where she just goes around telling people how to handle their self-announced problems through obvious means. Don’t want to hear about people’s political opinions and affinity for felines on Facebook? Don’t get on Facebook. Don’t like the way a band covered a favorite song of yours? Don’t listen to it. Don’t want to see what kind of painful debauchery Ramsay Bolton gets involved with next? Don’t watch the show where Ramsay Bolton does horrible things to people.
Dormer also told The Sunday Times (via Daily Star) that she does find some of the show’s scenes hard to watch, but that she can’t apologize for the actions of her character and doesn’t think hiding young people’s eyes from this kind of thing would do them any good. The removal of Jon Snow’s stabbing and the carnage that White Walkers bring does nothing to remove violence from the real world.
Though there’s probably no connection, it’s somewhat amusing that Dormer said this just a few days after Vikings creator Michael Hirst ripped Game of Thrones for using sex and violence as gratuitous ways to shock viewers, claiming he doesn’t do the same with his own show. I’m just saying it’s good timing, if anything.
Game of Thrones will return to HBO for Season 6 on Sunday, April 24. To see when everything else is debuting over the next few months, check out our midseason TV premiere.