I have a confession to make about Game of Thrones: I watched the first couple of episodes, and then stopped completely, chiefly because the show gave me (literal, sleeping-time) nightmares. I found this very puzzling, because in my 50 years I have seen more than my share of media sex and violence, ranging from non-graphic to ultra-graphic, and it’s never had much of a palpable effect on me. But somehow Game of Thrones got to me at a level that made my subconscious rise up in protest. I think it’s because Game of Thrones doesn’t just portray cruelty with great vividness — it actually creates a convincing world in which cruelty is the fundamental fact: a world that combines the harshest insights of Hobbes and Machiavelli, totally unleavened with a more-optimistic view of human potential. My faith in God, and my faith in Man, are frankly not strong enough to bear up emotionally against such a worldview, asserted for some 80 hours. The interesting corollary here is that someone of much stronger faith than I could get a great deal out of Game of Thrones – the acting, the special effects, etc. – without any spiritual harm, and should therefore watch it. So the answer might be that only Christians – or, more accurately, only people who have a strong, life-affirming faith, whatever their religion happens to be – should watch Game of Thrones.
Should Christians watch "Game of Thrones"?