Should Christians watch Game of Thrones? Let me tell you where I stand on this. Up until this year, I had never watched an episode of Game of Thrones. In fact, if someone told me they watched Game of Thrones, I automatically assumed they were into porn. Pretty judgmental, I’ll admit it, but hey, that’s what everyone else was saying. I didn’t visit any of the GoT episodes until after we visited Iceland, where most of it was shot. My husband and I decided to start with season one, episode one. We made our way through the next seven seasons and wow, what a world we entered. Suddenly our language started incorporating words in Valyrian, and we characterized people we knew as Lannister or Targaryen. We felt like we had found a more mature Harry Potter fantasy world to revel in! The dragons, powers, kingdoms, rivalries, battles, houses, oh my! So much fantasy goodness.
But then I saw someone share an article on about why all Christians absolutely shouldn’t watch GoT, written by a man who had never watched it. And I felt like I had to write a response. As Mark Twain said, “Write about what you know.”
People will say, “The nudity will cause you to stumble. It’s sinful how they show their bodies.”
This reminds me of a time when I worked at a Christian summer camp. The camp director made my friend change out of her regular Nike shorts because “they showed her thighs, and that’s not protecting her brothers.” Thank you, man, for asserting how a woman is causing you to stumble. Oh wait, she’s not the one causing you to—you are. Let’s get that straight. Some things haven’t changed since Adam and Eve.
Also, I’m not into nudity. whether that’s in a rated R movie or in Game of Thrones so I did the one thing that makes sense…I fast forwarded through it. Seriously, I had the remote in my hand and fast forwarded through any scene that was slightly suggestive. Did we miss any of the story? I don’t think so, since we still know what is going on. What this tells me is that you don’t need to see the nudity to know what is going on in the show. I repeat, you don’t need the nudity in GoT to enjoy the show. Also, my husband and I set ground rules ages ago that we would never watch an R rated movie or show alone for accountability’s sake. We’ve kept up with that.
People will say, “Well why even watch R-rated entertainment if there’s a chance it could tempt you?”
There’s a chance anything could tempt us. We’re not sitting in a plastic cube because of that, are we? I enjoy listening to rap *gasp* and sometimes I drink tequila *double gasp*. But those things don’t cause me to sin. The same goes with this show. I really enjoy the fantasy genre, and I love how imaginative everything is (I almost got married at Harry Potter World).
Just because there is nudity (which I can and do avoid) doesn’t mean it’s out of the running to watch! People completely exaggerate how many r-rated scenes are in the show. The difference between season one scenes (shock factor) to season seven scenes (seasoned story-line) is significant. But if you are a Christian who struggles with pornography, you should not watch any of this show or anything R-rated at all.
People will say, “Violence and magic are not healthy to watch.”
Some of it might not be, no. And you know what? You have the power to click this little button on your remote that moves the show along ten seconds (hint: it’s the fast forward button). The violence is fake, people. Like all television shows. It’s just that simple. I don’t watch movies like Inglorious Basterds or Django and feel an impulse for violence. The same goes with Game of Thrones. Kingdoms battle with one another for the Iron Throne. Obviously, there is going to be violence there. Yes, there’s magic, but again, just like with Harry Potter, it doesn’t make me want to whip out a cauldron and start chanting. Like, can we please stop being absurd? To the parents who vehemently denied their kids Harry Potter, you make me cringe. Thank you for spending precious time misprioritizing what to teach the next generation.
People will say, “How does it bring glory to God? You are supposed to do all things for the glory of God, Shruthi!”
Honestly, GoT takes you on a roller coaster because bad things often happen to good people in the show. It’s infamous for it. And good things happen to bad people. This is very much like life today. Ultimately, my hope is not in who will sit in the throne (or presidency), if the wildlings (or immigrants) are allowed to enter the country, or who the “prince who was promised” is. I know who the real King of Heaven is, and He is Jesus. My faith does not waver because of GoT; if anything, I see even more the need for God in a world where people are without hope.
As a film and TV graduate, I enjoy the elements of the creation of GoT. I think it’s incredibly creative, well done, beautiful, and has a lot of depth. I sit there amazed at the sets, subtle acting, screenplay, and cinematography. The locations where the show is shot are half the beauty. Moving from Croatia to Iceland, the scenes take you on a journey of the beauty of nature. Why do we sit here picking it all apart because of what five seconds in an episode covers? Literally, the finale has five seconds of semi-nudity in it, and we didn’t watch any of it.
So, should Christians watch Game of Thrones?
The truth of the matter is that if you don’t want to watch GoT or read Harry Potter or drink alcohol or listen to rap music or practice yoga, don’t. If those things cause you to sin, flee. But the moment you start telling others that those are sins for everyone because they affect you or someone else you know in a negative way, you’ve entered a very dangerous territory called self-righteous judgment.