Can a Christian watch ‘Game of Thrones’?

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Emilia Clarke as Calisi in Game of Thrones espisode 24. Photo courtesy HBO

Emilia Clarke as Calisi in Game of Thrones espisode 24. Photo courtesy HBO

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(RNS) Is there anything morally redeeming about “Games of Thrones”? Some worry that HBO's fantasy tale is the antithesis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s good-over-evil stories, but others perceive a theological framework that could inspire Christians.

  • David Thompson

    “Still, some have also detected a genuine theological framework behind the show that does not reject Christian teachings but instead reflects them in important ways.”

    Nobody cares about Christianity back then. Even today 2/3 of the world lives happily without Christianity. Which goes to show that morals are an evolved sense of values, not something from some unknowable deity.

    And life does work like that back then and today. Power is seized from one person to another, by various methods, according to culture. We just dress it up and use the media to make it look acceptable. But you already know this.

  • humanistJohn420

    Remove the magic from game of thrones and you have medieval Europe under christian rule.

  • Dewd the Agnostic

    So some Christians are taking a little spiritual umbrage at the lack of moral redemption apparent on Game of Thrones ? How hypocritical. The show is a mirror image of Europe in the Middle Ages, less the supernatural magic. Look at that era , then ask again: How can a Christian be condescending towards Game of Thrones and not in the next breath be equally condescending to the Catholic church’s many atrocities and body count in the millions, Old World and New , which continue to this day ?

    Be thankful that only 5.5 million people see Game of Thrones each week ( actually probably more like 12 million ). That means here in America 320 million have no idea what the moralistic fuss is all about. Take solace there. Those of us who are enraptured by GRR Martin’s bloody novels and HBO’s cinematic rendering of same have no need of your moral ambiguity and hypocrisy . Come to think of it, that’s barely the tip of the religious hypocrisy spear…

  • John McGrath

    Don’t watch Thrones, but from this article I don’t see how it differs greatly from the Borgias. In costumes, of course, but the same in the triumph of power over justice.

    How can anyone doubt that power triumphs over justice as they watch the religious right create virtuous hatred, and amoral corporations make public policy solely in their wealth grabbing interests?

    If the earth itself could speak, it would agree that power triumphs over justice. With humans as the evil gods of power.

  • Rick

    In re Mr. Paeth’s final quote above: I refer him to Niven’s Law.

    “There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author.
    The term is ‘idiot’.”

  • Stephanie Sanchiz

    Christians do not have to watch ‘Game of Thrones.’ If they want to see “senseless violence and amoral machinations,” they should just read their own history.

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  • David

    Can a Christian watch Game of Thrones?

    Unless they are blind or otherwise visually impaired in someway, the answer is yes. Yes, they can.

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  • Dennis

    I am quite “confused” by the comment of Kazee. Why? Well, because there seems to be misunderstanding of what a christian is. In general a devoted christian wants to live an authentic life style, namely following Jesus Christ and his teachings because Jesus has risen from death and a personal relationship with him is possible and the clue of it all. The bible is our fundamental framework for our understanding of God; his revelation in history and his compas for a fulfilling life. In this worldview, we dont want to participate or support any kind of violence, hate, evil in this world. So why would a christian watch violence, nudity etc. packed in a fantasie storyline?
    This world is full of evil. Do we have to entertain ourselfes as human beings by watching movies where violence, nudity etc are shown and sometimes even glorified?!? Bread and games to keep the mass of people blinded and content with their status qou, like in roman empire. That drives the “average” citizens but shouldnt drive a christian life style!

    I clicked on a youtube clip “best scenes GoT season 1”. Started of with a couple obviously engaging in intercourse and a boy seeing them; guy throws boy from the tower they are in, down to his death, stating “things I do for love”. If this is the love they are illustrating, killing an innocent 10year old boy, well….do I have to say more? Clicked through the 35 min. video and came to a following scene: a guy gets smolten gold over his head and dies painfully.

    Of course, a movie like LoR by Peter Jackson also contains lots of violence, for some parts drugs (hobbits smoking) etc. but at least it is very obvious a fight between good and evil, and evil is illustrated in a fantasy way (orcs, trolls…). But one can also discuss if a christian should watch such violence as well.
    I think as Western christian I am so used to it, its part of the culture;
    christianity in its core is based on grace, still, I cannot differently than think that it is not good to feed violence and immorality etc. So for most parts I try to avoid such movies. 15 years back, as teenager the worst thing I saw was the Terminator, and nudity was usually not shown that often in 12+ movies, not even in average 16+ movies. Nowadays, there are movies where it is completly normal to show teenagers having sex, trying drugs etc. Think where this road will lead to…has the sexual revolution of the 60’s and freedom we experience nowadays leed to more stable and healthy relationships for couples? Judge on your own reason. We got from one extreme (talking about sex is bad, or worse, sex itself is ‘evil’) to the other extreme and the fruits are slowly becoming observable. Honestly, I hate it. Almost no place anymore without bombardement of sex, violence or other stuff. Sitting in the public train, teenagers playing shooter games, sometimes even watching porn, talking about sex or about their last party and how funny it was…….hedonic life style is the new God of the indivualistic modern society, even though “The picture of Dorian Gray” should have told us a lessons already. But thats humans….stupid….sooo utterly stupid, even though we are made in Gods image and possible of creating lots of great stuff.

    Oh, and for the last part, that a loving God would/should intervene in this world? Obviously, love could not exist without free choice to love, and this free choice comes with the burden of acting/choosing differently, resulting i.e. violence/hate. In christian worldview, we all carry a evil root deep within us. This is the root of evil, neccessary to see what good is….without point of reference we wouldnt know a difference. God made us humans responsible for this earth. Why not start act in responsible manners instead of accusing God for all the ‘bad stuff’ we humans do to each other?

  • Mace81

    I find it quite sad that many religious people try to veto or curtail their ilk from watching certain shows.

    Just because Game of thrones or Harry Potter doesn’t have anything to do with Mohammed, Christ, Shiva or Zeus, is a very narrow-minded reason to deprive yourself of the creative fantasy, or at the very least be adult enough to determine whether it’s suitable for your taste – morally or otherwise.

  • ricky

    ok, I’ll start by saying i love the show, I love all medieval shows and shows set in times of kings queens and conquest,fantasy or otherwise, I love sword play and tales of magical creatures and strategic politicking Reign, White Queen etc. once i start to watch game of thrones I can’t stop and sometimes you have to watch it more than once to keep track of the 257 plus characters and scenarios. But from a christian slant game of thrones is set in a a similar setting to lord of the rings or even Alice in wonderland. this is not earth, yes it integrates earths politics but this is more like middle earth, the 2nd realm and therefore has nothing to do with Christ, you would spend hours trying to identify who is good and the saviour, the lord of light and fire portrayed as good spits out demonic shadow creatures. the mother of dragons is much liek the antichrist appearing as a savior while her dragons police the air. smh this is a land where evil is fighting evil, demon princes fighting for a iron throne similar to the throne ares or mars sits on, there is no good, there is conquest and power. lord of the rings actually came closer to imitating a christ like chararcter with the final king even looking like him. this is a battle in the realm of faes and witches and magical beings, my personal favorite is mother of dragons. she comes across as a sought of mary (misa-mother) but mary was not raped into submission, she was a virgin and she wasn’t mother of flying serpents she came to mash the serpents head under her heal and her son did not die by black magic in birth and give spawn to flying serpents he died on a cross for pure love and sacrifice and gave spawn to the king of king lord of lords and the conquering lion of the tribe of judah. and the lord of light and fire the one through god is none other than “lucipher light of the morning” so my point is Christians don’t get too caught up in trying to find some comparison, but you can learn from watching the show because politics is politics good bad or indifferent. is either you watch the show or you don’t simple as that but that show is not about Christians, its not a war fought in heaven or in earth its a war between the 7 princes of hell to rule the nether realm and we all know who wins that…………… will be a close call between mother of dragons if she can control the dragons which will most likely turn on her and kill everyone or the king and his witch.whore……..should be very interesting

  • Sarah Smith

    Game of Thrones is a well written, well produced and indeed addictive show. However the extent of the explicit content is a symptom of a very large problem in the increasing and public sexualisation of society – to which when you watch you participate in its perpetuation.

  • richard

    Exactly this. Aside from the GoT world being polytheistic, the two worlds aren’t all that different. Rulers hiding behind divine sanction, a hopeless, horrendous separation between rich and poor, and brutality carried out “in the name of…”.

    The idea that this world will become the GoT world in the absence of Christianity is laughable at best, and an insult to humanity and common decency at worst.

    It was Christian beliefs that saw countless innocent people murdered and burned for witchcraft and heresy.