As I have said many times before, I had no interest in watching Game of Thrones but have been fascinated by it as a cultural phenomenon that garnered a huge amount of media attention. So I was interested in this article by Jon Schwarz titled THE RISE OF GAME OF THRONES WAS PART OF THE FALL OF AMERICA because he is enough of a fan that he watched the entire series and yet can provide a dispassionate analysis about what the show’s popularity says about its audience, by which I mean all of us, not just those who actually watched the show.
If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, you should know that all the celebration it received is justified. The writing was, at least until recently, deeply gratifying for anyone who likes words. The acting was beautifully precise. The design and technical production were wizardly.
But there was always something unsettling about the show: its unremitting thirst for cruelty. Incest, decapitation, tongues torn out, pregnant women stabbed in the stomach, castration, people having their skin peeled off, rape, crucifixion, children thrown from windows, children jumping from windows, children being burned at the stake, people eaten alive by dogs, more incest. Then it culminated in actual genocide. Its enormous conglomeration of talent was harnessed to exquisitely depict ever more baroque barbarism.
Of course, great stories almost always involve some degree of violence. It’s hardwired into humans to pay close attention to it, for good reason.
But because that’s true, the bad stories pumped out by America’s entertainment factory include violence as well, because they don’t have anything else. Game of Thrones was perfect for an audience that’s been marinated since birth in bad stories full of more banal brutality. Like drug addicts, we needed higher and higher doses for our burned-out nervous systems to feel anything. The core viewership for Game of Thrones was people who are rich enough to afford an HBO subscription — and therefore have almost any kind of distraction instantly available to them — yet deeply bored.
As with all highly popular shows, there are parodies and here is a review of a pornographic parody titled Game of Bones 2: Winter Is Coming Everywhere.