In a medieval-like set, several families fight – or are unwillingly caught in the fight – for political power. The plot inevitably leads to murders, reveals bizarre relations between siblings, allegiances are formed and then undone, children are killed, bastards are cast away, women are raped, men are emasculated. Hostages are taken. There’s courage, challenge. Honor pays by the hour, but some die for the code they lived their entire life by.
On the other hand, we have dragons, some zombie-like creatures, characters with the ability to manipulate animals. On occasion, a woman gives birth to a shadow. Taking all these into account, Game of Thrones is considered a fantasy drama. I am not about to challenge that, but I want to make the point the pole of whatever is outrageous in this series resides in the accuracy with which it depicts a very likely reality, not in its obviously fantastic elements.
I, for one, am a complete fan of Game of Thrones. In fact, I absolutely adore virtually all quality productions classified fantasy. The genre simply strikes a chord within me. When it comes to Game of Thrones, what astounds me is the show is either fully embraced by those who enjoy watching it, or rejected and severely criticized by those who don’t.
In my view, the public that rejects the show simply can’t swallow the realism of it. The drama of it. They claim violence is too extreme, that sex is too brutal, that murders are too unexpected. There is nothing idyllic about reality. Reality is nothing but a series of violent episodes and traumas, at least if we project it in a past known for its ruthlessness.
Should a TV show be allowed to reflect without retouching such a reality? This is an endless discussion that benefits no one with any conclusion. In truth, the realism of Game of Thrones is a plus: where there is scandal, it means a limit is about to be transgressed. And I revel in how people who feel their limits challenges try to defend their system of values, as peripheral as cinematographic values are in general.