I don’t watch HBO’s “Game of Thrones” in spite of its fan base, its pop culture cachet, or its accolades. Sure, I like swords and sorcery as much as the next person but GOT, based on the A Song of Fire & Ice series by George “Rockin’ Raccoon” Martin (that’s what the RR is for, right?), is too smutty, too violent, and too nihilistic in its worldview for my taste. And that’s also why I won’t bother with the books. Martin’s series sort of kicked off the trend of R-to-NC-17 rated dark, amoral, nihilistic fantasy. Again, not my thing. The world is crappy enough as it is and even if it’s “fake,” I don’t need to watch children get tossed out of windows (when I’ve seen police reports of real people doing the same sort of thing), brutal rapes, or graphic castrations.
Which makes me wonder after four years of spectacles like the Red Wedding and other atrocity exhibitions, why were people bothered by a particular rape scene that aired last week? Some were outraged to the point where they insisted they couldn’t watch the show anymore. The Mary Sue went ballistic. You mean everything else that has happened was hunky dory with you and fine entertainment but somehow this was a bridge too far? Huh?
It’s not as though GOT was family-friendly fun and adventure until this suddenly got dropped on the show. I could understand viewers being upset if that was the case. It seems to me what happened was pretty much what’s been going on with GOT since it started airing. Come on, HBO didn’t decide to adapt Martin’s books into a series because HBO execs just love dragons. HBO could’ve adapted Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series ages ago if that was true. HBO was drawn to the series because HBO loves to push the envelope on content, and by that I mean boobs, genitalia, softcore sex scenes, blood, guts, and vulgarity, and Martin’s books presented plenty of opportunity. Some of the complaints about the rape scene claimed it was gratuitous. Well, yeah. HBO specializes in the sensational, shocking, and gratuitous. Ever wonder why it, Showtime, or Starz never developed general audience/PG-rated/everybody-can-watch fare? HBO only wants programming that’s “out there” because the more outrageous it is, the more buzz it will get, especially from the right tastemakers who seem to value this kind of thing above anything else. During this year’s Cannes film festival, the movie that got big crowds practically slugging each other to get in to see was a 3D porn movie masquerading as an art film. That’s what our so-called betters and “sophisticated” people are drawn to these days.
Maybe some viewers got snapped out of a stupor when this scene made them feel, well, icky inside. Maybe the culmination of four years of “eeek” finally bubbled to the surface. Or perhaps some of the social justice warriors out there realized that they can’t keep talking about the “rape culture” meme and complain about Grand Theft Auto if they shrug off rapes on entertainment that they like.
Time will tell if this means Fonzie has slapped on his waterskis as far as GOT is concerned and if it will start to lose support among the geek crowd, which has become increasingly politically correct. But I knew it was a crocodile all along. I didn’t wait for it to bite me in the butt to figure that one out.