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Why I Don’t Really Care About Watching ‘Game of Thrones’ Anymore

Why I Don’t Really Care About Watching 'Game of Thrones' Anymore

Up until recently, I would say that I have been the ideal fan of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” I tune in every Sunday, I don’t complain about the violence or nudity and I don’t know enough about the books on which the show is based to offer any criticism on the adaptation. Then why, as we make our way through the second half of the fourth season, have I become so jaded with the fantasy drama series? 

When the show first began, I immediately jumped on board. Having grown up on Tolkien, an HBO series about kingdoms, power dynamics and magic seemed pretty darn perfect. And for a while it was. I enjoyed the intrigue, plot twists, witty banter—all the things that “Game of Thrones” does so well. So what changed? 

The problem: “Game of Thrones” is one of, if not the most, manipulative shows on TV. 

As the series continues to achieve critical acclaim for its plotting, high production value and performances, my own interest has waned. This first happened around the time of the third season premiere. I had begun to grow disappointed with the Khaleesi character, our mother of dragons. To see her rise from passive, abused wife to the leader of arguably the most vicious people in the “Thrones” world was an awesome feat. But it’s hard to continue to root and sympathize with a character whose only distinguishing acts as of late revolve around being the white liberator of slaves. 

It’s not exactly a subtle reversal and plenty of critics have chimed in about the character’s newfound role. But while part of my distaste undoubtedly stems from this racism and the controversies surrounding a rape scene in a recent episode, I won’t use ‘a quest for justice’ as a sole excuse for losing interest. My qualms with the show run deeper. 

The rapes and racism are huge issues that fly over heads, but there’s more to it. “Game of Thrones,” for whatever reason, happens to be an extremely persuasive work of art, and that’s not necessarily a good thing for a show this light on insight. 

Joffrey the sociopathic sadist, for example, is a character who, for four seasons acts as the quintessential villain. While the “Game of Thrones” writers could have used his deplorable behavior as an opportunity to showcase how one becomes such a way, they never bother to complicate his character. He’s bad and the fans hate him for it.

The fans hate him, because an inevitable consequence of a long-running show is a die-hard fan-base. And in today’s world, fandom is more than just rooting for the mother of dragons or the good-looking bastard son. Fans name their children after their favorite characters and create chatrooms and blogs dedicated to discussion and criticism — a huge investment.
Considering a bulk of “Games of Thrones” fans are people around my age (twentysomething), I have found myself wondering how many of them actually read criticism and commentary. After all, when I see Facebook statuses and tweets that express both love or hate for certain characters every Sunday night, I become slightly enraged. Khaleesi is not all that is sacred, guys! I take no issue with fans immersing themselves in popular culture (otherwise I wouldn’t have much of a job), but with “Game of Thrones” it all just seems entirely superficial: With the show, we’re either rejoicing over the death of a character or mourning the brutally murdered. 
Last year Anna Gunn, who appeared as Skyler White on “Breaking Bad,” wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times expressing her disappointment and concern over the hate she and her character receive. While a lot of her argument was based on a gender issue, it still raised an important point when looking at fandom culture. Can we trust audiences to see nuances or will people on TV always be seen in terms of “good” or “bad?” This is my problem with “Game of Thrones.” It’s a show that makes it hard to do anything but pick sides. 
Let’s take a major character as an example: Cersei, one of the more complex and developed characters in the series. She’s a seemingly sociopathic, power-hungry woman, but the abuse she faces from her father and the love she holds for her children make her human. Yet, we still hate her — or at least the Internet does, week after week. What we see is a woman who drinks, is in an incestuous, sometimes non-consensual relationship with her twin brother and is so full of malice. Essentially, an “evil” character. Sorry if I’m not ok with that.
And, at the same time, as long as Khaleesi remains the freer of the slaves, we’ll continue to set her up as a genuine heroine. 
To be clear, my grievances have nothing to do with an annoyance over what has become mainstream. I had no issues with the massive “Breaking Bad” fan-base and I still don’t even dare question why tens of millions of people tune in every week to watch “The Big Bang Theory.” But with “Game of Thrones,” there’s something that stings.
My anger has something to do with the obvious motifs the show plays with. In the “Game of the Thrones” world there’s always an underdog, a young girl, a cripple, a man who trusts too much. At the same time, there’s always someone who looks suspiciously good naked, a tyrant of a father, a religious zealot. Sometimes, the show makes it hard to look beyond stereotypes and preconceived expectations — the manipulation. 
I don’t mean to express this contempt solely as an insult to the intelligence of viewers and fans. That wouldn’t be a fair judgement because watching the show, I have often made similar allegiances and denouncements. That’s why, as of late, I find “Game of Thrones” to be so problematic. Its characters have become too transparent. Its core values have become too blurred. It seems that the more we continue to learn about the world, the more likely we are to fall into its traps.
It is just becoming a burden to watch. 

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Comments

Lewis evans

I love the unicorn wooly rhino island

John

Divisive stuff. Eric gives some perfectly rational reasons, for him, as to why he no longer likes Game of Thrones. There’s no need to persuade him or anyone else for that matter that he’s wrong. It’s a show, it’s fantasy, it’s pretty stupid, and I’ve only ever watched one episode. But that’s my opinion, I can’t for the life of me think why anyone thinks Game of Thrones is great, I grew out of that sort of fandom in my teenage years. But then I can’t understand why some people like hunting animals or playing computer games. We are allowed our differences – and we allowed to comment about them if we wish to.

Olga

I totally agree with you. I’ve been a huge fan of this TV show for the same amount of time until one day this show has become surprisingly boring for me to watch. It’s good, complex, yes, but the story’s main directive jumps from one place to another, there’s nothing concrete in the story, nothing that you can talk about being 100% sure. I think it’s just too crazy for me. Plus the fandom. It’s insane. Every single person that read a book thinks it’s his holy duty to spoil the plot for others. I love good complex stories but I better read some classic literature.

Matt Gumbley

If you are interested in the way that this kind of drama can be manipulative then you check out Brecht and the cinema of Micheal Haneke. Holla

Marc

The comments on this article are really amusing to read. Butthurt often?

nicholas

The reason I don’t really give a flip about Game of Thrones myself is that there are almost no characters with any truly redeeming qualities and the few that are close to it are likely to be killed off. The world they inhabit is bleak and devoid of any justice at all. It’s exactly the reason I stopped watching Walking Dead as well. The nihilistic extreme moral ambiguity of these shows is simply a depressing sign of the times we live in. Sorry, not being a foo-foo english lit or journalism major, i’m not particular interested in making some sort of half baked analysis about how GOT reflects the ills of society. I want a show with some old fashioned heroes who a basically good and hopefully win the day. That’s why it’s called escapism – there’s enough politicking, corruption and nihilism in the real world to make one go bonkers.
And another thing, it always makes me cringe whenever someone who is, ostensibly, a caucasoid male is so deeply offended by ‘gender inequality’ and so-called white racism…it’s shocking to me that you types of people cry righteous indignation about a rape scene and yet make hardly a peep about watching a pregnant woman being gutted on her wedding day. Such is the perspective lacking bizarro world of the limp-wristed post-feminist socialistic metrosexual drone. Oh well if society ever does collapse at least you all won’t last too long.

Jsjbfjr

As a non-watcher of the show but someone who suffers from a lot of my friends obsessing about it, I really enjoyed reading this. I don’t know most characters you’re talking about, even after watching about 10 episodes out if context, I still feel like I’m watching pokemon or something like that. Thanks for your article. I simply find it hard to find something to like about the show.

Joey

Oh my god! Somebody doesn’t like the show… I’ve read the books and loved the series to start… but it has become a heaping pile of shit… you’re saying if he doesn’t like the show, don’t watch it… you knew this article was a negative review of the show so if you’re going to get all upset, DON’T READ IT!!

Jordan

Games of Thrones is fundamentally misogynistic. It is an outdrawn rape fantasy. And I submit that anyone with common sense and any sense of morals should boycott the series. Don’t let your mind and spirit be polluted by this simple-minded, debased depiction.

THE GNONOM

Killing off main characters, forcing one not to form attachments to main characters is an exercise that can only be realistically repeated once or twice. After that, the story devolves into chaos that mirrors real life. I think I’ll just go live life instead of waste time with "Game of Thrones".

the sane

you guys are clearly nuts. you the manipulated mass turned on to what everyone else is doing.

Paul

Great acting and production though- although I agree most are stereotypes… Each to their own. I see why people like it, but personally I think the writing is very poor.

Paul

He’s allowed to have an opinion guys. Personally, I lost interest after series 2. The show, much like the books, has NO direction, no narrative flow, and it meanders wildly. Whole character arcs or plotlines never come to fruition, it’s a really infuriating and unfulfilled watch. I have no fairth in the writers to bring all these loose threads into a cohesive whole. Even the aurthor seems to not know what the hell is going on- the next book was meant to end it, now he wants to write another one… I don’t need my stories tied up into neat little packages, but I don’t like wasting my time either. Excuse me for simplifing this, but; almost everyone from season 1 is dead (and I enjoyed the first season, had promise), ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the bimbo with the dragons is still dragging her ass through the desert, the zombies have only just shown up. It’s a one trick pony- bring in hero, invest in hero, kill hero to showcase a villain, repeat. For God’s sake, it’s still INTRODUCING characters!!! Reign it in!

AlfieisKing

this is a horrible show and people that think’s it’s smart are defending a great idea that has been twisted to garbage. It’s depressing to watch and not smart. Only reason people watch it is because it got people hooked. It’s like a bad relationship; one where people will be thankful they’ll break free from

Alex contri

I agree with you to some extent but ur clearly one of those fans who doesn’t understand the show at all. I read the books and watching u call daenerys the khaleesi character is hilarious.

    KJ

    What is it with people like you? And when I use the phrase ‘people like you’, I mean those who have left comments with assertions in the tone of ‘if you don’t like what I like it must mean you just don’t understand it’ or ‘it’s just too smart for you to comprehend, that’s why you don’t like what I like! Look how much smarter than you I am. Der . . . ’. In short, the type of people who suffer the arrogant delusion that anyone who does not share their opinion of something, who disagrees with them on something, just ‘doesn’t understand’. I am terribly sorry, but this is an egregious fallacy. Not only that, but it smacks of an obnoxious degree of conceit and outright oblivion. My dears, people can disagree with you; they can truly dislike something that you enjoy while still possessing perfect understanding of it. Just because someone does not like Game of Thrones does not mean that they ‘do not understand the series’. I am quite tired of people such as yourselves – and you know who you are, I would be truly remiss if I had to name names since the ones who left the type of comments I am referring to should know perfectly well who they are – using inane arguments like that to defend something; it is an exceptionally poor defense that only serves to illustrate the fact that there is nothing about your obsession worth defending.

    On a side note, I am not a Game of Thrones either. I have read the books, I did not care for them; not for the questionable storytelling ability of the author nor for his, in my opinion, lackluster characters. Why I find them lackluster is a tale for another time, however, since I have already depleted all my allotted spare time for silliness for the day. Farewell!

Justin contri

You clearly don’t know what your talking about considering you called daenerys the Haleakala character. The entire point is that no characters are truly good or bad. For example daenerys fed a guy who could be innocent to a dragon. Your annoyed by the mane stream fans which makes you a hipocrit because u clearly are one considering you don’t know one of the most important characters names.

    Roger

    I thought “Haleakala” was a mountain in Hawaii, poor misinformed me :-(

Mikey

Wow. The comment section for this article is just extremely disheartening. Can no one read something they disagree with without going absolutely berserk? The author makes a lot of valid points, namely that many characters are stereotypes (that doesn’t mean the book characters are, or the show is intending them to be, but sometimes they do come off as one-dimensional). Anyhow, I enjoyed this article, still love GoT too much to give it up, but at least I can recognize its shortcomings instead of being blind to them.

Raael

The plot is densely woven and thrilling to follow, but GRRM falls short of fantastic character building. 0% of his female characters are realistic or complex in the books, and all resonate with what reads like his personal negative perception of women

Bry

I agree with you. However much of the stereotypes and preconceived expectations you speak of come directly from the show writers. I really do dislike what they have done with Martins work. Much of the grey area you speak of exists within the books to a much much greater extent. But when they translate it over to the show it seems as though they are trying to tell the story to a teenager that knows nothing about life. Everything must be blindingly obvious for the hordes of idiots that tune in each week or they wont understand though right?

Meg

Wow as usual people leap to defend game of thrones like it gospel. I’ve read the books and I’ve watched the show and I just don’t like it. The author uses death too much, it’s lost a all shock value and become a way to get his characters out of situations he can’t be bothered to think of an actual solution for, the characters everyone likes mostly get on my nerves son e they’re the most shallow least developed ones in the books, honestly I find cersei to be much more interesting than Danaerys, and the constant POV changes are annoying, which is why several of my English professors share my disdain. I’m not saying it’s terrible or the worst, it’s alright when you get past it’s flaws, but I think it’s over hyped as hell. It’s the only high fantasy mainstream piece in the media at the moment and people love the idea of it so much they look past it’s flaws. Honestly I think there’s better books out there, but again it’s certainly not the worst and is alright I guess if I’m really bored.

I SPEAK TRUTH!!

IT’S 100% OBVIOUS YOUR A OVERLY INSECURE AFRICAN AMERICAN WHO ONLY PAID ATTENTION TO ANYTHING THAT REMOTELY COULD HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH SLAVERY. YOUR PATHETIC AS HELL AND SERIOUSLY NEED TO STOP WRITING, IT’S NOT YOUR FORTE. GO WATCH DJANGO IF YOU WANT TO WATCH SOMEONE RISE UP AND TAKE THE REIGNS ON SLAVERY TO HELP BUILD UP YOUR RIDICULOUSLY LOW AMOUNT OF SELF ESTEEM AND SECURITY. GOOD DAY ;)

Tharkun

Game of Thrones is a fun bit of escapism, nothing more. G.R.R. Martkien is no J.R.R.. Tolkien when it comes to creating an otherly world that feels real but also has a detached mythology unlike any other (even though it is inspired by Norse/Finnish mythology). The plot lines and characters are easy enough for me to follow and understand. I think you’re overthinking the show and its impact on popular culture. The reality is it doesn’t have much impact, just like video game arcades didn’t back in the 80s, or Nintendo/Playstation/Gameboys didn’t negatively impact young people’s lives in the 90s. Millennials…chill the F out! LOL

Weesnaw

This is so incredibly refreshing. I am genuinely disturbed not only by the show itself, but probably even more by how much people love it and defend its worst attributes. It’s been bugging me for a long time and this helped me finally put my finger on why that is. The characters have depth, but it’s almost a false depth, because they aren’t truly human. They are either good or bad, and something about that feels so toxic to me. It’s not a hopeful show.

I understand passion fans have for a show, and I think it’s great most of the time, but that’s why I think the passion people have for this show is a little disturbing, because I don’t think it’s something that is a positive influence on this world, and I don’t think the writers are being nearly as true-to-life as it may seem at first. If you want to watch something that makes you hate humanity, watch Game of Thrones I guess…it just makes me tired and sad, I wish there would be more high-budget fantasy series like GoT, but with different writing and a different approach.

Jane

Anthony, hi, I’m sorry but if you think the series has remained faithful to the book, go read it again because clearly you haven’t.

sara

Fuk you game of thrones fans

Mara

THANK YOU! My bf is crazy about the show, but mind you, he’s like the most childish grown man I’ve ever seen. And to be honest, only a childish person likes these kinds of shows, where nudity and violence are at their prime. What is so fun about this series? There’s so much filth and blood and sweat and omg, so many boobs -.-. The f*** with this show, it’s brainwashing kids and other people, promoting violence, incest, raging sex etc. Only people with low morals love the show, I prefer something that teaches me a lesson, that makes me want to be better, kinder… Don’t we have enough violence in the world that we actually need to see it in movies also? And when I see the score on Imdb, it angers me even more. 9.5?? Really?? It’s like everyone has gone mad… I am sure there will come a day, many years from now, ehen every die hard fan will ask himself: what the heck did I watch all those years? :| Life is hard and promoting violence like this should be beanned somehow. No one forces me to watch, I have not seen any full episode and never will. Can’t we do something to stop the show from going? I would do anything to stop this madness, I have a 14 yo cousing who watches it :(. I am truly angry, and now it’s on again, the frenzy has started once more…

sean

I agree with the author. Its merely now just a mainstream show that recieves plaudits from the masses by default. The characters are weak. GoT is a fantasy show that doesn’t even consistently deliver on its premise. We’re teased with Dragons and whitewalkers and lame sorcery. The best character died in the first season and when Tyrion finally dies the show will lose some of its magic.

prateek

P.S. Most of the fans I meet can hardly remember significant characters in the show. They just watch it for Nudity & violence, which is very sad but nonetheless true.

Prateek

Personally, I agree on the show being superficial, at times hollow, in its underlying ethics. I’ve also read the first book of the series, a mammoth 850 page book which, for the most part, tries too hard to be different from fantasy-fiction predating it. Many critics have hailed the book for its unconventional realism and modest use of magic(compared to stereotype fantasy fiction). Historical fantasy, they call it, is a unique genre in itself, as even the author once said, with regard to "The Red Wedding", that there exist events in history more vicious and violent than what I’ve portrayed in my book. I appreciate the beautiful portrayal of violence in book/show, but when it comes to portraying love/emotions, it fails(very terribly at that), perhaps it’s too focused on violence, which is an hollow act at the center(if you take out the satisfaction, courtesy:The Imitation Game), that it doesn’t see past it. There are tons of different character, we are supposed to feel are complex, but are hollow at the center. Only a few character grow in different dimensions(most notably Arya), all others were born with such complex demeanor(without an explanation).
Another significant thing is the lack of artistry, in book which later propagated to the show(book was much better). An instance of which is the names of the chapters, based on character POV, which is less artistic and more methodological.

Chris Mankey

"Why I Don’t Really Care About Watching ‘Game of Thrones’"

Because you write for something called "indiewire " and hiring moraccan extra’s to
portray freed slaves is "racist" in today’s oversensitive world.

Jamie

What a load of fools commenting ^
Complete butthurt fanboys, nothing more.

Peterson

No one is named "Khaleesi" here. You can think whatever you want about the series, but it won’t stop the fact that A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most popular series out there, George R.R. Martin is the modern Tolkien and a VERY popular author, and the TV adaptation is the most watched show on television. You’re an outsider who, judging on your belief that someone is named "Khaleesi", doesn’t know much about what he’s talking about.

    Gloum

    The modern Tolkien, seriously? Did you every opened a Tolkien book or you’ve just seen the cinema adaptations? Don’t even dare to insult Tolkien like that, Martin is nowhere near the level of Tolkien. Did he invent a new genre by himself? Did he wrote encyclopedies for his books? Did he invent a langage? Srsly, gtfo with your f* “Martin is the new Tolkien”.

big mike

Game of throne sucks. Do something else with your lives. Wasting hours upon hours of this drool. Terrible acting, terrible accents, terrible plots. Read a book, put down the TV remote.

Alex

Man. Comment section is nasty. As a non-fan of the show that watched on non-Sunday nights to be able to connect to my peer group, I must say the author has a point. I’m a literature guy. Sure, as far as mainstream culture goes, this is about as much moral complexity fans are willing to take. It’s nothing earth shattering. For something that prides itself on being extraordinarily well written strictly from a development standpoint, its a little lackluster. There are many other aspects of the show that make up for it, and I find it to be enjoyable to watch.

havoc

It’s a movie about incest. Lots and lots of incest. That’s why it’s so popular.

Grant

Completely agree, Game of Thrones has no substance no artistic value.

It will never reach the level of The Wire or Breaking Bad.

Boom!

Historisto

Interesting that you find the idea of white folks liberating slaves "racist". For one, the abolitionists were mostly white….

Yarg

Most overrated piece of fecal matter garbage every to be crapped out of the butthole of HBO. It’s a Lord of the Rings wannabe that is festering cheese. The only draw is the porn that attracts all the masturbation addicts, that’s why it’s popular. Smart people stick to real fantasy, not this trash.

ben

Its overrated all white cast super fake drama and characters gets on my nerves. I’m a combat veteran and its action if any is dramatized and stretched for these viewers getting them confused on how war really is. Game of thrones is a big hit but it must be the same viewers of Twilight and Harry potter sagas with all the magic and drama

Fantasy is the best genre

All these comments (in the comment section) suck and may i say that all of your arguments make sense… when oberon got his head popped like a baloon i laughed my arse off but than i was enraged… the first season of game of thrones is the only season with any sought of depth… the characters as you said use witty banter and the twists and turns are great… but now danerys sucks balls and everyone is just so friggin’ stupid…

also it makes me worried for the way fantasy will be portrayed in film and movies? i doubt we will ever see another Game of Thrones season 1 (level of quality) ever again… especially since the desolation of smaug and the hobbit trilogy have become utter trash…

Maisy

I appreciate your article!

jordan

You’re really stupid. Like really stupid. Wtf don’t watch it then, but you’d be missing the best show on television. It’s a waste on you though.

Lord of Excess

How this really bad rip off fantasy novel became an HBO show escapes me (for the record I’ve read the books and seen the first three seasons of the show). But what really puzzles me is how this has become such a big phenomena. The irony here is that "writers" can’t even put that into words. The show is bad, the books are pulp, everything about it is shallow and meaningless and a pale reflection of better stories that have long since been told. Yet, being the worst read, least educated society in a long while people lap this stuff up like it is "new" and "fresh" and "amazing" or "awesome" (top shelf all the way).

Life in the post millennial age is going to just get worse …

Miguel

I am sincerely intrigued by how passionate everyone is about a television show. I have never watched it but I am going to start and see if it has the same effect on me. Can anyone tell me where I can view Game of Thrones from the beginning?

alex miles

I’ll second the reality check, but on a more basic level.

Game of Thrones is a lazy soap opera that will age poorly; but writing an angry article in language that accentuates your high culture and impressive maturity isn’t so different than the fans you’re commenting on.

I started reading this because the first sentence made me think it would be articulate and thoughtful, but only articulate really happened. I get it. This show pisses you off. You can write eloquently.

But the people you disagree with didn’t give a f*ck at the beginning of the article, and still don’t give a f*ck at the end. Your condescending tone took their f*cks away, so they have none to give.

How about an informative piece? Or you can stay bitter about all those fans who love a terrible show because they have terrible taste because they don’t understand cinema like you do.

And that last sentence is just lazy. If it’s a burden, then stop. Just. Stop.

olog-hai

GoT sux

Ab

My my mt.. The guy expresses an idea, says why he came to dislike the show and he is jumped upon. I had a dream, that some day, people could talk about stuff together without polarisation, without a childish and almost dangerous "us vs them" ethos. Let me add my voice to this circus: the issue with the white saviour is the it’s disgusting to portray the end of slavery like that, but then again, what to expect from a show which is basically longing for a time where white dudes were brandishing swords to defend their white kings, a time where black people were slaves or whores (or doesn’t exclude the other), a time were defending humanity (as always) fell to the white dude, in a world where people of all ethnicities live. But what game of thrones has achieved (besides selling feudal European families warring during the dark age as original writing) is this: men and women, old and young, applaud and fanatically defend what is nothing less than the ultimate fantasy of female subjugation. A show so sexist that even the (only) strong female character (you know the one) achieves this status by being the "mother of dragons" – mother, first and foremost, and of dragons, no less. Dragons, winged phallic symbols, "buy" her this newfound respect which immediately lead to her being the white saviour (an idea so abhorrent in and of itself) who commands an army of men, 8000 unsullied. Hold on, are they really men? No, they are not. So, this strong female character only achieves respect after she "gives birth" to 3 flying phallic symbols and then lead an army of emasculated men.. Nice. Meanwhile, women are used as chatel, owned and have no more humanity than than a Persian carpet, so much so that when this misogynistic man-child forces a woman to beat another bloody, no eyebrows are raised, because, you know, it was all a lesson: do not dare play games with the king, dwarf.. I mean holy shit, how do you people live with yourself defending stuff like that? It’s a manipulating show, so morally bankrupt that in the book the authors (who calls himself a feminist) enjoys the role of the make voyeur in describing his female characters. It’s a show with so much underlying sexism, racism and plain bigotry that one ought to wonder: whatever happened to glorifying the good in humanity? Or are we so depraved that a show about rape, molesting, incestuous sex, genocide, creepy old dudes wanting to get it on with girls whose mum they had fallen in love with, murder of women coz the king wants to get better at firing crossbow so he will use one as a living target, torture, throwing kids from a tower (and crippling them) to protect incestuous "love", are we so depraved that such a show is entertainment? Apparently we are and apparently it is.

    Roger

    I’ve never watched this show and I have no desire to. I don’t want any further voyeuristic reiinforcement of the dysfunctional violent fantasies that have engulfed America for too long, and may very well lead to Donald Trump’s anointing as our next president (God help us!) If I were writing/producing this “steaming pile of horsedung” I would have the combined Byzantine army and fleet (to stick with the theoretical historical period) march/sail in, kill everyone in all the kingdoms, take over their territories and be done with it all.

jay McNulty

Having heard so much about this show and knowing folk who act in it when I got time to watch it wI was stunned at how BORING it is! But then it’s a TV series, with all the follow-on requitrementas of a soap. No problem with gthe soft-porn stuff, no problem with the plagiarised Fantasy schtick, but the dialogue and acting is wooden beyond belief. I’m embarrassed now to have to meet up with the folk i know in it. Gonna have to lie to them. mkind you they’re pretty scathing about it themselves so why should i worry?

C

Surprising how the hardcore fans come out of the wood-works with their shovels and axes when criticism is made. Criticism should be a part of any fan; if you can’t look at a favorite work and criticize/analyze it appropriately, you’re not fully enjoying the work. It troubles me to see fanbases turn anal when even one bad adjective is used.

fury

What is your point exactly?

D

Her name. Is not. KHALEESI!
Bloody hell, are you sure you've watched it? You don't know one of the main character's name?
Her name is Daenerys!
I'm sorry, I don't think I need to say anything else about this article. You didn't know one of the main character's NAME, for crying out loud. Why should anyone pay attention to your opinion on a series which you clearly don't know well enough to write anything about?

tutu

you are full of crap.

shamoun

dis article is crap.

Hefty cock

Game of Thrones: The Show Nerds Get Angry At You For Not Liking

Leila

I couldn't agree more that the writing for the Game of Thrones "makes it hard to look beyond stereotypes and preconceived expectations."
It's blatant obviousness parading as novelty, and smacks of cheap tricks – hence, the manipulation Eric Eidelstein writes about in this article.
Smart marketing move by the series creators to pander to the common denominator – a mostly uneducated audience that wants the cheap thrills of graphic sex and violence instead of substantive story, plot, and character development.

keymaster

HBO wanted to do a fantasy drama, the production is excellent and merits viewing, but I think the producers should have picked a book series that is actually finished to adapt a series with. My gripe with Thrones is from people who began reading these books only because of this TV series, people conflate the books with the series production as excellent writing–hype–meanwhile there's Martin shitting bricks and sweating bullets having to figure out how to end this project–And everyone expects a masterpiece. I genuinely feel bad for the guy; nobody should be put in that position. I seriously fear for this show's longevity given that without the sex, gore, and cgi, this show is a lot of melodrama and for the sheer size of the narrative and characters it's unfocused therefore one dimensional.

Karl

Is this a cheap facade of this website to gain some visit? This article hasn't made a single logical criticism. It's just like "I don't like it, because I just don't."

Doris Idar

I have found this show quite disappointing from the start. I fell asleep on ALL episodes of season 1 and stopped forcing myself to watch after the second one of season 2. So called sex, cheap violence: I've seen better in history books. It feels like an anti-fairy tale for ungrowned up young adults who still need to defeat their childhood dreams. And who still thinks we should all conform to their likes and dislikes. This is a TV SHOW guys, and as evrything in this world, it is a matter of taste: I do not force you to adopt mine so leave it.

Casey

Is this some kind of a joke?

Andrés

The only real critique you can make to the series, and the books, as they keep going is a feeling of desintegration. More and more there is less of a protagonist (without Ned, without Rob, Cat…), and is harder to understand who is this all about or what do we have to hold on to.

The series looses a bit of its depth because there's too many people and we don't feel things through anybody in particular except perhaps Tyrion, and we just jump around being amazed. I think this and some other narrative techniques may be lowing A BIT the quality and intelligence of GOT. Just a bit.

This more or less is the kind of thing your article could have talked about, but what you wrote is INDIEWIRE deciding they will get more readers being polemical about GOT. And yes, they do. Congratulations for your sad victory.

amanda

Totally agree! I really loved the show so far and would like to keeping loving it.. but yes. Dying for some depth.

Tu abuelita

stupid article go watch Honey boo boo instead i dont really care

Sameer Ketkar

While I have many issues with GoT (mostly the often-boring long-march storylines), I find a lot of your points to be kind of ridiculous. Cersei, for example, while being a somewhat nuanced character, is not shown to be abused by her father, and her love for her children is never shown in any way not related to her own power. She quite literally uses her love for her children as a power play every time that love is expressed; that is what makes her villainous: acting in a deplorable manner despite her supposed love for her children (something that I personally think is an act she puts on to gain power and leverage). Every character in the story is afraid of Tywin — his children most of all. Being afraid of Tywin does not make a character sympathetic or likable. Frankly, Tywin "loves" Cersei and Jaime in the same way Cersei loves her children: He sees them as useful pawns in his games. Among the siblings, only Tyrion is truly abused by his father.

I can't stand Dany because I find her boring, but superimposing a 21st century anything-white-people-do-regarding-slavery-is-inherently-wrong attitude onto her storyline is just plain offbase. It doesn't fit into the themes of the show or even into criticism of the show on any level. It sounds like "white man's guilt" in your criticism, but not so in the actual story — because Dany herself was a slave to her brother for so many years; and was then sold to become a concubine to a warlord. It's believable that she feels empathy for slaves.

While I agree that Joffrey is not a complicated character, have you ever met a rich spoiled brat? Believe it or not, the really spoiled, coddled ones act a lot like pre-coronation Joffrey. It's a very believable result of growing up coddled. It's not complicated, but it is 100% realistic. Now give such a spoiled, coddled individual the powers of a king, and watch out — he might just turn into a monster.

May I ask you a question: Have you ever tried looking beyond the stereotypes in the show? Because almost every character has shades of both good and evil. Even Joffrey, in his death throes, showed the humanity of a little boy crying for his mother. The Hound is very human, yet capable of great violence at a moment's notice. Arya is incredibly nuanced and multi-faceted. Tyrion is very multi-faceted. Even Bronn has a lot more to him than meets the eye. Jaime has many great faults but also several redeeming values. Jon Snow is annoying and bland and somewhat one-note — until he literally sleeps with the enemy and starts having feelings about everything. Bran is slowly growing into some sort of bigger-meaning role. Hodor, sure, is one dimensional comic relief. Stannis is very multi-faceted, as is Melisandre. Even Roose Bolton shows hints of humanity at times — if only in his knowledge that Theon Greyjoy could be more useful to their exploits than Reek.

I find it odd that you decided to not even mention all these incredibly nuanced characters in your article. Perhaps you need to re-watch the series. Like I said, I find a lot of the show to be boring, and perhaps you do as well — since you clearly haven't been paying attention to the proceedings.

viberunner

Joffrey is that way because he's the offspring of incest. If you'd have paid attention to the show, instead of just mouth breathing through it waiting for an opportunity to blog to "bulky 20 somethings", you might have noticed that.

Paul P

Joffrey is like a Benjamin Button version of Henry VIII. Henry became more nasty as he grew older and more ailments got him for his hard eating and drinking, etc. Joffrey shows his nastiness at an earlier age as if the psycho mutation happened in the womb.

Adam

I am a huge fan of GoT and think that you are wrong in your analysis. Joffrey is a monster but he isn't the villain – nobody is perfectly good or evil and he is a MacGuffin. The other characters are portrayed accurately when compared to the book, and they are extremely nuanced. The problem you present is that others can't see the nuance.

And that's what's most upsetting about this article – the fact that you are so obsessed with others reactions to the show. As a critic and writer, you should be able to distinguish between others reactions and the actual quality of the show. Dany is an extremely nuanced character and if you knew anything about the plot to come you will see that this is not the only way she is portrayed. The show is taking the third book and expanding it to two seasons – obviously slower parts of the plot (like Dany) are going to feel dragged out.

I find it disturbing that rather than present an analysis of each episode and the quality of the show, you think that I (and the rest of your audience) should stop watching simply because you feel that people on the internet aren't intelligent.

I love the show. I think it's brilliant and engaging. I don't follow people on Twitter who say dumb things about the show, so I don't see dumb Tweets. Instead I talk to the intelligent friends I have who also watch the show. Then we have productive conversations.

There's your solution.

Matt Treasure

The series is an accurate, truncated reflection of the novels. The novels are written in a specific dark-ages medieval manner. It's basically a period piece with elements of fantasy woven in. To criticize the characters and writing is to remove them from the world they exist in. You can't hold these characters up to 2014 society and judge them based on life today, just as you couldn't go back to the 1400s and start calling the ruling powers of Europe "problematic" or "racist." Of course they were, it was 1400! If you want to criticize something, pick something in the real world that exists today.

Fred

"Joffrey, the sociopathic masochist, is a character who for four seasons is the quintessential villain, and they never bother to complicate his character."
He's the KING! Nobody tells the king what to do. A king does what he likes! This is literally a direct quote from the show.

Jun Snuh

This article is fraught with ridiculous arguments and is an inane attempt to manipulate and dissuade viewers. Eric, in reality, as most of us here can agree, you are so so wrong. GRRM has said in countless interviews that he created characters that were morally ambiguous not only to make people think, but also to create a realistic, immersive world. He wants people to ask questions like what would I do in their situation? Did they make the right decision? Why? You know Eric, things smart people think about.

I don't know if you know this Eric, but in the real world there is rape, there is racism, there is violence. Nobody is absolutely good, we all make mistakes. GoT is not a crusade to end these things, even though in reality there should be, it's just compelling storytelling adapted from a series that's been around for almost two decades. Period. End of story.

To any INDYWIRE editors reading this, if you continue to hire idiotic, and intellectually vapid writers, you will lose me and the majority of your readership.

Jeremy

Read the book! Then maybe you will understand the characters a little better! For a mildly intelligent person such as yourself, I'm sure it won't take long. :)

Roberto

You don't even know what you are talking about. Please try to understand the show before criticizing, I am sure you haven't even read the books. Maybe this show is too smart for you mate.

Bunglemas

There is a campaign against HBO, but sorry they have the best shows since Oz. I remember watch this graphs about how misogynist and racist HBO is (counting if the showrunners are white/black, female/male) and the same thing with the "polemic" incest-sex-scene-front-a-death-body… Common, is fiction and we are grow up I guess

By the way, I'm only disappointing because I eat two big spoilers, so I know what happen until the next episode but no more. This is the one problem with the show, the rest are bullshit

John

I was interested in hearing this take until you mentioned transparent characters. George RR Martin's work emphasizes an individuals capacity for acts of good or evil go hand in hand, depending on the circumstances where they find themselves. This is more realistic than you can dare hope for current TV. (I consider myself a good person but if they show my life up on a big screen in the afterlife, there are going to be moments when I duck out to the bathroom for a cigarette.)

If the characters are transparent then your failure to understand why Jaime would force himself on his sister are a reflection of your own intellect. Instead you stuck your head in the sand and followed the avalanche of wannabe critics that were afraid to miss out on the action created when someone pointed and yelled "fumble!".

If you don't understand why Jaime would be angry with his sister (rape is about anger) and force himself on his twin whether she ends up consenting or not, I can explain it to you. If you don't know why Cercei isn't more upset with having Jaime try to hurt her with the one thing she has been using to control him his entire adult life then that's another failure. It's all there.

If your beef with such scenes is it ruins their character arc then that's ANOTHER failure. I know, you wanted to like Jaime. But you can't openly like a would be child assassin that openly revels in his sins and killed a fellow Lannister in an attempt to get back to sleeping with his sister. So when he stumbles during his "redemption arc", it feels like a gut punch.

How many characters have you rooted for only to have them taken away?
How many Starks have to be beheaded before you figure out what you are watching?

There are a few characters that could be considered on the opposite ends of the spectrum like Ned Stark and Joffrey Baratheon, but for the rest, the good vs evil mantra doesn't always hold water. Think of it more like you are watching a medieval Godfather saga and the author lets you get to know all of the families involved instead of just the Corleones. Under this condition you may find yourself rooting for a Lannister and a Stark, or an individual that is less than an upstanding citizen.

This is also why the violence on the show seems more, well, more violent. If you are invested in all the characters in some fashion, then there is more of a sense of outrage or loss when said violence is portrayed. I would argue that this is a commendable quality in direct contrast to modern cinema.

In order to be invested you have to let the story build, exercise patience while observing character development. If you can't enjoy the interludes maybe you shouldn't watch. I would argue that if there were battles and deaths every week, you'd rapidly get bored with that too.

This is an unorthodox storytelling. Using convention parameters to judge it is a mistake. If you can throw them out the door, delve into the material, do your research, be an original thinker, then I will follow you with the same voracity that I follow Game of Thrones.

Drakonian

shut up jew

Matthew

Maybe its because of my knowledge of the books, but saying that the characters are "transparent" is simply wrong. There are of course some exceptions (e.g Dario Naharis is pretty much the "sexy bad boy") but the majority of the time each character has reasons for who they are. Dany, being forced to do as shes told her entire life and slowly turning into a queen. Theon, the last male heir of the Greyjoys, stolen from his family at a young age and having to go against who he is to please his father. Even Joffrey, a victim of incestuous madness, was doted on by his mother, ignored by his father and told from birth he would have all the power in the world when he came of age. Every character has their own great back story and development if you simply look for it and don't just take whats on the screen at face value.

Kane

This article is bullshit your supposed to hate the characters. I hated cersie when I read the book but loved her character at the same time for how ferocious she is and how she copes in a male dominant world. The series does the book justice by far. stereotypes, characters you love to hate and people looking good naked is what people call entertainment. You slating the series is no difference between some internet hater slating skylar from breaking bad. You know nothing your point is null and void you sir are a grade A tool. Try picking up a book and feeding your brain something useful !!

Dominique

You're over thinking it, it's a TV show, not a therapy appointment. It's entertainment.

Frantz (Chi) Dumel

This article was pointless. I was anxious to hear the reason behind his disdain for the show, but never got anything but a pointless rant. George Martin (the author) is expressing what he felt the fictional world would be like. His interpretation of the fictional world is actually very similar to what our world once was and still is in many ways. I'm disappointed in the fact that I wasted my time reading this, I thought I was going to learn something. I'm glad those who left comments felt exactly like me. What a waste of time!

George

'I have found myself wondering how many of them actually read criticism and commentary.' – could you be any more condescending? It's a t.v show, made for entertainment derived from a series of literary novels. If you've gone off it fine but don't try turning this into some pseudo-intellectual debate where your dislike makes you appear somewhat enlightened.

James

This article is basically a rant. You start off with your point…And you never actually explain or give any substance to back it up. It was just full of blah blah blah. Im an avid fan of the books of the show. I could write a better article than this and the pro's and con's without going into this childish drivel about nothing whatsoever.

chiara

I completely agree, after years of obsession, rooting for Danaerys and Arya and being strangely mesmerised by Cersei, I have suddenly gone cold in the episode straight after the Purple wedding. Partly it was the fact that the grimness was just too much (the rape…those crucified little children AND the revenge, which was even worse!) but I couldn't understand what had happened to me and why I was suddenly not enjoying it anymore. Glad to read I am not the only one.

jordan

Whilst reading this all I could think was "Jesus, this is possibly the stupidest critical article I've ever read, how did anyone think this was worth posting", then I saw the comments and saw I was not alone, and thus I'm satisfied that this is indeed the worst thing I've ever read on a respected site. That's all I have to say really, it just hurts to think about it.

Luke

I think someone is just reading too much into a TV show and should perhaps go outside for once…

pablo

Glad you could see that. Just, it was obvious from the very first season.

Robert James

This read like a poorly written, knee jerk high school comparative literature paper. Your arguments with the treatment of women, to the 'rape scene'' and Khaleesis character arc are so weakly supported that you should really re read the basics of how to build an argument and write a basic article. I am a fan of the show simply because it is in a very dark way, empowering of women and quite real in th treatment of them (and of men) at the same time, whether you lack the patience to see how the various stories play out is another thing. I assume you would prefer the Dragon queen to start slaying everyone immediately to 'keep u interested'. Similarly, I would hate what your narrow little view would make of shows such as Ray Donovan or True Detective etc….very disappointing for a great publication as Indiewire. Back to English 101 Eric

Jack

I think the character of LittleFinger, Petyr Baelish, single-handledly deconstructs this feeble attempt at a argument. Jamie Lannister achieves this too somewhat. Lord Varys, Arya, Tyrion, they all don't conform to the sweeping generalisations you've made. There are plenty more things you could criticise about game of thrones; weak acting in places, the unnecessary graphic nature of the sex to name a couple. But you've tried so hard to seem different and intelligent, your points have little to no substance.

Jeremy

The criticism put forth in this article is so unfounded that it is difficult for me to even consider posting a response, as there is just so much to respond to and I'm already late on a deadline.

So I'll keep it simple and simply say, there is not always someone who "looks suspiciously good naked." There have been a at least a few whores we have seen prancing around the brothels that did not fit that description, but even if the quality of their nakedness could be argued about, without question, the girl that Theon has sex with before going back to the Iron Islands is not anywhere near the level of "suspiciously good" when it comes to how she looks naked. Her breasts are terrifying.

Ed

What a load of shite, none of the characters are black and white/ love or hate, that's one of the show's best features. I don't think GoT has changed at all since it started, if anything it's only got better.

jason

blahahabladidadfukgivesshizzlewhatugottasayaboutmynizzle?izzle?

Dimas Avila

No one cares! People will continue to watch and your arguments don't seem to tie in together very well. Every character is very well developed look at this season. The entire seasons seem's devoted to that. Even this past Sunday's episode, the Hound opened up to Arya, and we dive a little deeper into why he is the way he is. Or look at how much we continue to find out about Little Finger and his behind the scenes ploys and schemes all while understanding his previous love for Kat. So no you're totally wrong and there really is never any picking of sides, it's always so hard to decide when you never know what will happen next.

T.

You really took a long time to say, "I'm bored with the show." Go read the books?

Dan

Jesus Christ, Eidelstein! I just googled you so I could put a face to how much I despise you after reading this drivel. Go stand in the corner while everyone else enjoys GOT.

You

Dude. You should read all the comments below. I have. And they're right. As tempting as it might be for you to say, "Waaa, all the GOT fans trolled me and that's why NO ONE liked my stupid post," I hope you'll read what's below and grow from this. Cause you've MILES away from being a real critic, and these comments can actually help.

MuffinHeadicus

This article was about what again?
It comes across as a rant of blah blah blah. It speaks, but it doesnt actually say anything substantial.

Kinda like this example, "I hate ice cream. Ice cream cold. The coldness of ice cream is the reason why it's so popular."

See? I do it too.
I can also make erroneous and fallacious statements and broad sweeping generalizations all while not saying much substantial. But look! I did it using far fewer words. Hire me.

DAN

Waste. Of. Time.

Andrew

You tried so hard to sound different and intelligent and you just came off looking stupid. You dedicate a decent percent of your article to Daenerys and you don't even know her name raising the question of how big a fan you really were. You also seem baffled by why people would hate a character who is arrogant, shameless unsympathetic, a lier, hypocrite, and actively hates and tries to kill her younger brother. Just because people have redeeming qualities doesn't mean they should be revered. I appreciate her character and what she brings to the show but I don't have to like her.

It just seems like you're trying to hard honestly. You complain of "obvious motifs" with "an underdog, a young girl, a cripple and a man who trusts so much. The truth all those people exist in the real world. It's next to impossible to create a new type of character . Talent lies in making these people your own and unique.

Tell me where you have seen an underdog that thrives like Jon Snow and inspires people like he does despite his low station. I would love to see the story of the little girl who becomes a killer to avenge her father the way Arya Stark has. The power Brandon has despite being crippled is pretty unique and he's only touched the surface. Then we have the typical hero, the honorable man who trusts too much. And do they do too Ned Stark? They kill him in the first season.

As a viewer you can like and dislike whatever and whoever you want in the show. Just realize there's going to be tropes, motifs and stereotypes in all forms of entertainment. All in all, I think Game of Thrones does a great job of changing our perceptions of these devices and makes us question everything we think we know of storytelling.

Jason

I think you are looking WAY too deep into internet opinions and criticisms. These characters are some of the most fleshed out, complex people on television right now. You cannot blame the show for fans who don't comprehend its complicated nature. The show is executed marvelously. The fact you are talking about racism and the rape scene controversy proves how little you know about this world in GOT. IT IS NOT REAL LIFE. Enjoy the show or not, but do not generalize its viewers and its intentions.

Brazen Lee

While I agree that GoT is very problematic in it's racial themes, and that a lot of the subtler issues would go over the heads of many fans, I still find sitcoms to be WAY more problematic and influential on society on general.

Brian

My first thought is why you think anyone would care why you personally are not watching any show. Then I read the rest of this and realized that you are not actually a professional writer, you are essentially a basement blogger that is just not the core demographic for Game Of Thrones, which according to Harvard is:

*Higher than average intelligence
*Successful
*From a stable home life

Have fun with the absolute blacks and whites of the story telling universe. The rest of us will dealing with the grey spaces that make you think.

Nathaniel Poe

You're an idiot, Eidelstein. It's not worth rebutting your ignorant arguments because you'd have to have a smattering of intelligence, a modicum of education and at least a hint of self-reflection in order to barely understand why your hit piece was so over-the-top moronic. But rest assured, you are (as the saying goes) "dehydrated rock-hard stupid."

s

I have no issue with someone disliking Game of Thrones because the story, characters, darkness, violence, nudity, etc. do not appeal to them. That's a completely valid point.

But your article seems to say that you are jaded about Game of Thrones because:
-There are characters that are just plain evil (Joffrey, Ramsay). This series reflects reality. Sometimes people are evil just because. Look at the history, and you will uncover many sadistic and cruel people. Why should a fantasy series be any different?

-Characters, like Daenerys, have reversed their role (Daenerys. Her name is Daenerys, not Khaleesi!!!!) going from slave to slave liberator. Isn't that the point of long-form storytelling? Character development? You may not like where her story is going, but I think it says something about her character that she's willing to put off her quest to reclaim her throne until she can rule the slaves she has liberated.

-The fans are passionate about the show by posting Facebook status updates rooting for or decrying the characters (uhhhh….is this really a complaint?)

-Stereotypes. Um, excuse me, but how many other series have main characters that include a dwarf, strong women who are not defined by their husbands, children who aren't precious little kids but real characters, an androgynous female knight with more honor than most of the male knights, a eunoch, need I go on? If anything, this series turns stereotypes on their head. The damsel in distress is Sansa and she's gotten a strong wakeup call since the series began. The famous knight? He got his hand lopped off and now he's lost his identity. The cripple is on his way to uncovering incredible power within himself. The dwarf? He's possibly the smartest, kindest character in the series. Characters who are honorable and believe everyone else should be as well get their heads cut off.

As others have stated, I really don't understand what point you were trying to make

Evan

Has anyone noticed how Daenerys is now doing the exact same thing as Rob Stark was doing before he was brutally murdered? Rob Stark had promised to march his army across the land and take King's Landing. However, in the middle of his flawless winning streak, he decides to settle down in the meadow and do nothing but court Jeyne Westerling (who the 'f' cares?!).

Now the Khaleesi is doing the SAME THING! Her promise for 3 seasons was to gather an army, get ships and take back the iron throne. Now she has an army, she has ships, she even has half-grown dragons and what does she decide to do? Sit on her fat ass and RULE?! Are 'f'ing kidding me?! Who the 'f' cares?! I want to see her use her army and her dragons! I've never been one to root for Daenerys, but especially not now. What a waste of the legendary unsullied warriors and, not to mention, 'f'ing dragons for God's Sake!

Red Vipaah

Honestly dude, I don't read the book, but I do read the summary of some chapters and let me tell ya, ASoIaF is more complex tgan Game of Thrones, particularly in character wise. I think that's saying something bcs GoT is already complicated as it is. In the show, the personality traits of each character is a bit tone down I supposed, so they'll be more understandable to the audience. There's a lot of bipolar(ness) in the book. For example, you'll find out that the fan-favorite, most amazing characters like Tyrion ans Daenerys can be just as much of an asshole like Joffrey or a cunt like Cersei. And I personally think most of us wouldn't like it if it'd went that way, and I think the producers did a good job on making most of the characters stand in between good and evil.

LW

I'd say that Breaking Bad was the more manipulative show.

Randy Focazio

You are an idiot , how you are paid to write criticism may be the 8th wonder of the world.

JRR

You grew up on Tolkien, now you're struggling to see anything but 'blacks' & 'whites' in characters like the Hound, Little Finger, Tywin Lannister, Arya, etc. Oh, and you're bored because mama dragon's story should have ended once she finished Hollywood’s prototypical character arch. Got it. I for one am super looking forward to your review of Lord of the Rings because MAN, does that world always seem to have an innocent Hobbit underdog. Am I right? Buncha nasty orcs making it hard to look beyond stereotypes & preconceived expectations (of orcs). Sauron and the ring wraiths? My twenty-something friends badmouth them on my Twitters like pretty much all that times and I’m like OMG guys WTF you’re being manipulated! I think Arwin is a liiiittle too conveniently hot for a ‘noble maiden,’ Gandalf is a bit too obvious with that whole coming back from the dead in white and *something snarky about how people respond to fictional worlds with emotions.* I wish Legolas were here to back me up, that guy is TOTES AWESOMES!

Jake

Game of Thrones audience is comprised of people in all ages, races, and genders. You're completely wrong in saying that the majority of it's audience is 20 something year olds. This was a terrible article where you hated on the fans, plump characters into categories, and complain more about the fans. Just go watch Vikings and let the rest of the world enjoy GoT without your stupid childlike articles.

James

Sounds like you got a problem with the fan base, not the show. You have a problem with how fans perceive the characters and the show. The showrunners do a great job presenting several grey characters(Cersai is presented as a grey character as well; just because most fans have her and see her as evil does NOT mean that the show runners portrayed her as pure evil). I don't understand what you're trying to criticize about the show because what you say makes no sense except if you're trying to bash the fan base. This show will go down as the best show in history. No one cares if you don't want to watch and no one will read much of your articles because this one was so dumb(probably shouldn't have published this article but we can chalk it down to your age and lack of experience). You're in the 1% here, and when you're in the 1% it's probably best NOT to post that 1% opinion, especially if you don't even have valid reasons!

Rick

My bigger issue has always been about just how boring an actress Emilia Clarke is. The Dany role for the longest time was only important and special because all her supporting characters said so, not because she was doing anything with the role. The fact that she seems to get the bulk of the recognition even though every other actress on the show is doing better work by a wide margin pisses me off.

Jen

Joffrey is a bad character because he has had everything handed to him his whole life and expects to have that continue after he is king. Everyone is his to rule and torment. Plus he has similarities to Aerys II aka "The Mad King" that his father Jamie killed during the rebellion that gave him the nickname "Kingslayer". The product of incest, mental illness, and monarchy, spoiled-brat syndrome. He is the product of total power, but with no capacity to deal with such a role, hence why his grandfather is basically the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Plus his mother loved and cared for him so much she let him have anything he wanted while proclaiming he can do what he wants when he becomes king. He's basically the Justin Bieber of Westeros. Oh and he killed Ned and that's enough for me. So maybe if you actually paid attention to the nuances of the show and not just Joffrey yelling at everyone you would get it.

John McGrath

The show is a soap opera/melodrama with an exotic setting. But it's more of a melodrama, slightly skewed. As a melodrama it deals in a battle of overdrawn good vs overdrawn evil. The skewing comes from presenting all the characters as on the evil side, yet capable of some good deeds, instead of merely doing evil. In most cases the evil comes from being wronged and the need to survive by getting tough and evil. We clearly see that what was done to the characters was wrong. That putts us on their side, and we then approve of the wrong that they do. Revenge is sweet, even if misdirected.

The good as a value is inferred from the actions of the characters, their few good deeds and their many evil ways. What the good is mostly discerned from its absence. So if the good is not strong in this world, where is it supposed to be to balance the bad? Presumably it's supposed to be in the discernment of the fans. But instead the fans fall in love with the evil of the characters because of their style. Is that unusual in this world? We worship the sociopaths/psychopaths who rule over us with style and grand larceny. When we are wronged by an act such as 9/11 we go on a rampage of violence. That's the way we are.

I wonder if Milton's Paradise Lost were one of the inspirations for this show. Another epic melodrama of good vs evil where all of us – including clergy persons – fall in love with the Devil or grudgingly admires him instead of the wimpy God. We admire how the Devil refuses to lose. Refusing to lose seems to me to be the main motif of this show.

P.S. I watch it only rarely. What's wrong with me?

Tommy T

This article was arguably the most embarrassing, emotionally driven decision I've seen published in a bit. Regardless of your actual opinions and analysis of the show, you should have known better and placed this writing on your social media or inside a desk drawer.

Joe Tyrrell

Well, you certainly achieved your aim of provoking sputtering, dribbling outrage from the fans. But perhaps you'd have more sympathy for the show if you waded through the books, where Tyrion never moves in any way other than "waddles," where every time Brienne appears we're reminded that she's ugly and flat-chested, where it's not enough for a sea lord to assemble a fleet, we need to know the name of every ship and the day it arrives. "Wearing" only skims the surface.
Of course, it's also a tale with dragons and magic and zombies and a fair amount of realpolitik. For all the cardboard villains _ Joffrey, Ramsay Snow, Karl Tanner, Walder Frey _ there are other exceptionally well-rounded characters _ Tyrion, Arya, Petyr Baelish and yes, Daenerys. It seems strange to decide halfway through that since you don't like where Daenerys is at now, that must be the end of her character arc.
(And yes, George R.R. Martin's Targaryens are bizarrely Aryan; then again, Tolkien featured swarthy villains from the south and east against noble white folks.)
We've entered into the muddled, padded, repetitious portion of Martin's work. But except for the occasional glaring misstep, such as the Jaime-Cersei rape, the show has done a good job of moving things along while remaining more or less true to his world. And when things really bog down, you know it's time to kill a Stark.

Adam

Going to be a bit harsh here and say this doesn't really make any sense.

You can't really write a story on this scale without resorting to stereotypes. Stereotypes are just a catalogue of observations of a large array of stock characters that are needed to push a story forward. Conflict is the essence of drama. Nuanced characters are one thing, but if you try to move too far into the realms of ambiguity and character subversion you simply won't have a story to tell. That's particularly true of a story the size and scope and style of this one. There are so many characters in the show some of them will inevitably fall into the realms of stereotype. It's impossible to be otherwise.

I don't really see the point that's trying to be made. It would appear the article is blaming the trajectory of a story for manipulating its audience. It's just a story. If individuals are silly enough to act irrationally on the love or hatred of aspects of the show that is their prerogative.

I don't usually get involved in internet debate but I did feel this article was particularly poor, sorry to say. It just seems to be headline-baiting diatribe. I guess to that extent the article has served its purpose, but it's a bad analysis of a non-subject. And that's leaving aside the most obvious and pertinent point that this is based on a long established series of books and cannot really deviate too far from that story. It's a bit like criticizing the dialogue in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.

I don't really understand what "core values" you feel Game of Thrones has ever expressed? Or how the show has somehow been diluted by the fact characters have turned out a certain way. I'm all for critical analysis but I just can't see what's even being said here.

Bethany

Your argument is coming across to me as "the show is problematic because fans have extreme love-hate relationships with the characters" and "the characters are not nuanced because some fans don't get the nuances."

I understand being bothered by some people taking a show too seriously or missing some of the points it is trying to make, but it's unclear to me how any of the things you mentioned are problems with the show. It sounds like you understand that the characters have many sides (except maybe Joffrey…he mainly just had the one side…walking anti-incest PSA right there) and that your problem is actually with some of the fandom's reaction. I don't really understand how this is a complaint against the show, since the whole point of good storytelling is to engage the audience.

Elaine

No, I see I'm not the only one who noticed the masochist/sadist error. Bad job all around. I also take issue with the assumption that the GOT audience is comprised of 20 somethings. A simple Google search reveals that GOT has a wide audience- almost 50/50 on gender (58 % men) with an average age of 41.

Liselore

If you think that 'Game of Thrones' deals only in flat characters, maybe you haven't been paying too much attention. While I'm not a die-hard GOT fan, I can see that even characters like Cersei or Tywinn have their redeeming qualities (remember those Tywinn/Arya scenes from season 2? Remember Cersei's history and her love for her children?). Or, consequently, 'heroic' characters like Daenaerys or Jon Snow have their flaws (remember the last episode, where Jorah tempered down Khallesi's vengeful wrath against the slavers?). If these messages don't come across on social media, that is hardly the fault of the filmmakers or the writers, but rather depicts the short-sightedness of you and/or your friends' 'vision'.

Randall

Agree with the Khaleesi character, sick of that

john

Reading this article was painful. Can u replace that 60 seconds for me. Look up the word fantasy….moron !

Elaine

Am I the only one that noticed that the author called Joffrey a masochist rather than a sadist? Apparently whoever picks the featured sidebar quote didn't

bwunderlick

Not watching the show anymore is fine but this is some poor writing/analysis.

Vin

Man, the comments.

I disagree with the author too, but jesus – one can't hold a non-fawning opinion about a fantasy or comic book film/tv show without the fanboys bringing out the knives. Get a life, people.

M

The assertion that you "grew up on Tolkien" and then admit to being a 'twenty something' in your critical analysis of GoT, exposes that you are not truly grown up. Why don't you go out into the world and gain some experience into why some characters have ill defined boundaries between good and evil? Stop writing this drivel trying to convince us you are wise beyond your scant years.

Lizzi

This is the kind of opinion writing that I wish was more visibly present around the internet. While people are certainly going to hate on you for having an opinion, weird that we all have those, about a massively popular TV show that is opposing to the general public, I feel that this conversation is important to have.
With these shows it is so easy to get swept up in the grandeur of it all and while these shows certainly don't require a critical approach to them, they can be absorbed as purely entertainment surface level, your disagreement with many of the show's stereotypical tendencies is part of the conversation that some people are actually looking to have….or at least should be having.
And while this is a show that does seem to promote the idea that everyone has their own motivations, are these motivations truly resonating, or for another matter, realistic, if they are entirely predictable in terms of the character cast that these characters have been placed into?
I appreciate your approach to the uncertainty that is Game of Throooones.

Sam

It's possible that you may want to look up the definition of the word "masochist" before you next feel compelled to share your opinions with the wider world.

Understanding what (fairly basic) words actually mean is quite an important part of a writer's job.

CDUB

There is a book out called "The Are No Bad Movies (Only Bad Audiences)" which makes a point to skewer smug reviewers who know better than the rest of us. It sounds to me that you are simply not the right audience for GOT, so it is probably best you go away, but of course you won't do it quietly – and there is the truth in this. Indiewire knows that writing about GOT is good for their business, so they are quick with a recap, or a finger wag, or a back handed compliment that the series "has finally gotten back on track." Never mind this has been their best season yet. The know it alls at Indiewire want it both ways. They want to be above GOT, but they want some of the GOT charm to rub off and increase eyeballs. Hypocrites.

Karen

Don't you mean King Joffrey the sadist?

Dear Indiewire

All this stupid narcissistic website (and all its social media platforms) is are dumb articles aimed at grabbing the attention of viewers by using really dramatized language in their subject headings. They have no journalistic merit. Everyone who writes them should walk into oncoming traffic.

Holli

This article is ridiculous.

greghoarse

First of all, the producers, the writers and George RR Martin himself, are trying to make the characters on the show/book as realistic as possible. Meaning: there's not one character who's entirely good, or entirely evil because there's always good and evil in everybody. In my opinion, Daenerys was good in season 1 and 2 , but as of now she becomes rather overwhelmed with her pride and the power she has achieved so far. she's become too perfectionist that she'll do literally anything to create her ideal world. She's starting to show her Targaryen blood, and it's not a good thing. I agree that she's curently walking on the wrong path rn. As for Cersei she's been a cunt in most episodes, but she's still has sides that makes people like me, at least, want to sympathize with her. For gods sake she's never trully find happiness in her life, except drom her children before they grow mature and vicious. A lot of other characters have gone to this phase as well.. Arya has become a killer, Jaime's redeeming himself, etc.. Anyway, It's hard to start hating on it now when you've already got hooked with GoT this far. There will be a lot more twists to come a long the way, a lot of unhappy ending, a lot of main characters that will be gone and new one that will emerged. It's too soon to start complaining

Biscuit

There isn't a show on TV that does a better job at avoiding the "good vs evil" angle. The whole point of the show is that every character has their own motivations, but they aren't good or evil just to be good or evil. There really are no "sides" to pick, which makes this article laughable. You say you grew up on Tolkien, that is a good vs evil story. In a world where almost anything can be put in a TV show or movie, it definitely ironic to see complaints about rape. People had no problem as heads were chopped off for 3 seasons and incestuous relationships birthed bastard childs. And as for Breaking Bad, my issues with Anna Gunns character had nothing to do with her being a woman. Her acting was weak, particularly when she shared scenes with Cranston. She was overmatched. And her character had the same arc through most of the show. At least she wasnt the least developed character on the show. Where is Walt Jr. anyway?

Corona Eye

It's rare to see any real critical analysis applied to these shows which exploit emotion and thought to such a degree. I don't watch any of them. I stick to Honey Boo Boo, which I KNOW is bullshit and doesn't ask for my heart and soul while watching it.

Anthony

You're a writer. For indie wire. Complaining that people are too attached, negatively or positively, to characters in a show. And seeing Facebook status' that express this "slightly enrages you"? You need a reality check. If these people weren't so passionate about this show, or breaking bad, or whatever else…what would you be writing about? This entire article sounds like a-for lake of a better term-hipster rant complaining about something because it's too popular. And to indict the show for any of these perceived "transparent characters" (lol…) is even more absurd when you realized that this series has remained very faithful to a very popular book.

Dany

It's amusing that you don't even know the name of the character you are complaining about.

U R AnIdiot

Bye. Stop watching it then.

Go watch the 100 or something with real character development. O.o. bahahahaahahaha

Ser Pounce

This is a really shallow analysis and it makes you sound like you're part of the oversimplifying crowd. Almost the entire show is dedicated to showing the shades of grey between the two poles of good and evil. Very few characters are entirely good or evil and those characters almost immediately die, precisely because they're unable to play the game of realpolitik. If you find it a burden to watch, maybe that's because you don't like burdening yourself with moral uncertainty.

Evrim

Couldn’t agree more with you. I recently started watching the series and wanted to see the fuss, and boy the show sucks… I liked the first season somehow but the more i watched the more i hated the show… Whats with all this manipulation, rape , racism!! Its just cheap drama plot in bigger scale … A show that goin to make you sick till the end and try to remedy it with a cheesy ending! It seemed OK at first, im half way through season 3 and its really unwatchable and you said that little king goin to be in the show for 4 seasons is goin to make it even harder to watch ..

Robert

Vikings is better, the carachters, everything..

    Robert

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