I am not a huge fan of gore, so when GoT frenzy was taking over the world, I resisted. But the ubiquitous excitement for the sixth installment of the fantasy series made me wonder (and feel a little left out) what the fuss is all about. So I started watching re-runs on TV.
But Game of Thrones is not the same after our censor board is done with it. This is what happens when you watch it without all the sex and violence:
1. All the characters seem to overreact: The show is still shocking with its cliffhangers and sudden, grisly deaths. But all the cuts take the edge off most iconic scenes. So you might be forgiven for thinking that Jaime Lannister overreacts when he pushes Bran Stark off the tower window – because unlike Bran, you don’t catch a glimpse of the queen’s incestuous relationship with her twin brother. The edited 5-second shot of the Lannister siblings cuddling may give you the impression that Cersei is having an asthma attack and her brother is comforting her.
2. It makes you sharper: Each episode requires zen-like focus to put together the pieces. How else are you going to figure out how many dragons Daenerys has? By counting them each time they appear! For in the morning-after scene, where Daenerys Targaryen becomes the Mother of Dragons, all you get to see is a close-cropped shot of her sooty face and neck with one tiny, red dragon croaking on her bare shoulder.
3. This Disneyfied version shields you from horrors: Ramsay Bolton for one. His torture and castration of Theon Greyjoy is not all that horrifying (you deduce what happened when you see Ramsay eating a sausage later). You’re spared watching The Mountain gouging out Oberyn Martell’s eyes and crushing his skull. You remain blissfully unaware of the murder of Ros, the red-haired prostitute. And also Jaime’s rape of Cersei next to the dead body of their son Joffrey. If you watched GoT on TV, these things never happened for you.
4. The subtitles are a Rubik’s cube for the mind: ‘Sex’ is changed to ‘intercourse’, ‘arse’ to ‘backside’, ‘shit’ to ‘crap’, ‘rape’ to ‘violate’. So… synonyms save our culture?
5. You feel a deep gratitude for the Internet to make sense of the plotlines. Or, you’d still be left wondering what Melisandre gave birth to in the cave.
6. You realise that good storytelling needs no frills: The sex, violence and sexual violence may have helped increase the show’s ratings. Or as George RR Martin maintains, depict the “true horrors of human history” (the series is loosely inspired by the Wars of the Roses that took place in England of the 1400s), but the struggle for the Iron Throne and those caught up in it hold your interest and command your love and loyalty even in this PG-13 version.
From HT Brunch, April 24, 2016
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