It was the once notorious conman P T Barnum who said “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public”. As the Foxtel Now streaming service crashed last week when Game of Thrones made Australian streaming history with an over 800,000 audience, I’m musing Barnum’s words are sadly the truth in our country today.
Before GoT fans claim, “you know nothing Fr Brendan!” I actually started watching GoT episodes: a disturbing gorge of full frontal nudity, both male and female, convenience murders, rape, celebration of the local brothel, incest, and even the attempted murder of children; and here’s the worst of twists - future episodes present these characters as the “good guys”.
I realised after several conversations good people watching GoT believe they’re only watching the drama and are extracting the evil parts as an irrelevant ignored aside. Tragically their minds will do the opposite.
The glut of pornography in GoT should be particularly symbolic to good people “just watching”. In the Bible, although she was escaping evil, Lot’s wife is punished for looking back and Jesus said. "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."
Many moral issues considered taboo for centuries in the Western World became widely accepted only years after fictional TV presented them as normal.
With this in mind, there are at least three serious future problems I see with the young and massive audience watching Game of Thrones:
GoT is sympathetic to incest. The viewer is shown the incestuous relationship between Jaime Lannister and twin sister Cersei from their point of view, challenging the audience’s natural disgust of incest by creating sympathy for their love and loss of their children.
GoT slowly desensitises audiences to paedophilia. Consider the episode where Dean-Charles Chapman aged 16 was sensually caressed in bed by the more than double his age and mostly naked 33-year-old actress Natalie Dormer.
In our days of supposed gender indifference, how indifferent would we be if these actors’ genders were reversed?
But perhaps the worst of GoT’s future legacy lies in it’s very title. Sinners will always have a place at my table, but I won’t even look in the eyes of an authority-abuser as they are history’s worst people.
The GoT producers aren’t stumbling sinners but talented, premeditating, scripting and rehearsed authority-abusers teaching there are no covenants as it’s all just a game.
That so few in authority have condemned GoT I believe only strengthens my arguments.
Perhaps GoT’s warning “winter is coming” is a prophecy after all.
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