Brutality and Reality – Is the Game in Game of Thrones Getting Too Violent? by Olga A.
Virtually anyone who has ever studied the Middle Ages as an era, would be more or less comfortable with the fact that whether you like it or not, the medieval epoch was a time when violence was widespread and common. I suggest that those of us getting a tad too nostalgic for the sword-and-cloak age think about this: the hazy uncertainty surrounding the law, especially criminal; the sheer and abrupt savagery with which the supposed justice was carried out, in cases when it was; the concept of human rights being unheard of… Of course, you may say, there is quite enough violence and pain in the world as it is now. I agree with you thoroughly on this one – however, it has to be said that in the thirteenth century, for instance, things would have been a great deal worse (not to mention the other delights such as the plague).
It is nevertheless easy to forget about the huge role that violence played in medieval culture, when we are leafing through the latest and most exciting fantasy novel. In the fantasy realm, death may be abundant and ever-present, but it is either romanticized or impossibly heroic. Or else, it’s the bad Orcs who get killed. Things happen differently in the realm of story-telling, so it seems.
Not so for the Game of Thrones universe! *SPOILERS IN PREVIEW BELOW*
Possibly the main reason to why exactly it is so fascinating to watch (and why some claim it makes for “uncomfortable” viewing), is the fact that the show deals with the events as they would have happened in reality, had Westeros et al been not fictitious, but authentic medieval-style realms. Whilst Tolkien’s Middlearth, strange and beautiful as it is, can strike some as a rather “sanitized” cosmos (which might be explained by the fact that it is being presented largely through a hobbit’s eyes), the Game of Thrones is not afraid to deal with the topics which undoubtedly were only too real in the medieval world, and which would be present in any universe, if it should claim to be more or less real. People get killed – often with extreme brutality; terrible secrets come to life; and yes, sex also plays a part.
The Daily Mail seems to have been quite shocked by the finale of the “Rains of Castamere” episode. I admit that I was, too (the death of Catelyn Stark was especially poignant). The reaction of the viewers was natural, given the horror of the scene. Yet unfortunately, this is the way things actually were in the medieval era (and still are in many places all over the globe). The gracious legend-like charm of Middlearth will endure – yet Westeros reflects what would have really been.
See what the Daily Mail say here.
Do you prefer the realistic, yet gory portrayal of fantasy universes? Or would you rather have Tolkien’s fairy-tale approach? Leave your comments here!
About Reporter: Olga A.
Hailing from the swirling mists of London, I am a freelance journalist in my free time, and a huge fan of J R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” as well as an admirer of the “Game of Thrones,” a worshipper of H P Lovecraft, a follower of R. Howard, a Star Wars aficionado and an Ursula Le Guin enthusiast. My other favourite things include Middle Eastern dance (sometimes somewhat discourteously referred to as “belly” dancing), Yoga, sunsets over the dreaming spires of Oxford and plush owls. Oh, and green tea too.