We love Game of Thrones, but we'd be the first to admit that it's not exactly a family-friendly program. It comes as no surprise that a Christian group is organizing a boycott of this very, very adult show, but among the usual reasons of sex, violence and magic, they also manage to take digs at the acting and the depressing low light ... and even admit that they just can't follow what's going on.
[UPDATE: As many of you have pointed out in the comments section below—we accepted as real a post on a satirical site that's the religious equivalent of The Onion. But we didn't want to take the posting down so you'd know that we knew we fell for it and that we're listening to what you have to say. Thanks for setting us straight!]
This particular boycott stems from a feature written by Stephenson Billings on the ultraconservative website Christwire. The piece, entitled "12 Reasons to Boycott Game of Thrones in 2012," begins by chastising HBO for promoting "sorcery, sexuality and socialism ... to America's young adults." You know, as if this was a CW drama that just wound up on the wrong network.
"In essence, Game of Thrones is a poorly produced copy of Mel Gibson's Braveheart with a dash of smut straight out of Hustler Magazine added to spice up the frustratingly complicated drama," Billings writes. "It can be preachy and pretentious one moment, and decidedly X-rated the next. You will witness effeminate men having sex in bathtubs while speaking about dragons, dead bodies splayed out in satanic pentagrams in the snow and some of the most artificial acting ever broadcast on the small screen."
And that's just from the opening paragraphs. Billings goes on to outline 12 reasons why you shouldn't tune in to the series. There are predictable digs at the sexuality of the show, "including incest and lesbianism," and then a dig at witchcraft in which it becomes clear that Billings didn't quite finish his research before writing the piece.
"Deadly potions and menacing spirits dominate the storyline, but there is no mention of Jesus despite the fact that His love was the backbone of wisdom in the Middle Ages."
It's probably not important to Billings or any of his readers that Game of Thrones is set in a separate and entirely fictional universe, not the Middle Ages, but it's hard for fans like us not to notice glaring stuff like that. This is followed by a dig at the show's extreme violence (of course), and then it gets personal as Billings goes after actress Emilia Clark, who co-stars on the show as Daenerys Targaryen.
"This pretty young girl unfortunately lacks the intellect or the sophistication to appear on prime time television. The producers seem to know this and require her to disrobe in every scene," he wrote. "Her gentle, undeveloped teenage body does not evoke womanhood, but the innocence of a lost child, alone on the side of a highway and ripe for the picking."
Well, never mind that—though she plays a teenager—Clarke herself is 24. It's time to go after the Emmy-winning Peter Dinklage now, who has apparently become some kind of sodomy icon for kids.
"Children identify with Dinklage because of his small size and comical accent, but his obsession with anal penetration crosses the boundaries into pure propaganda. How many children will watch the little man and want to try his grunty thrusts at home?"
We would agree that it's probably not a good idea to plop kids down in front of the TV when this particular program is on, but it's not Dinklage's fault that he's small. And where's this "comical accent"? Is Billings seeing this show and thinking of a Munchkin?
The dig at Dinklage is followed by more predictable ranting against homosexuality, drinking, paganism and a lack of positive role models on the show. Then it gets weird again, as Billings claims that the "dark cinematography" of the program will cause depression in teens.
"Many youth subculture groups, including Goths and Skinheads, prefer to inhabit the world of the night. In darkness they find convenient cover to master their addiction to drugs and sexual violence. Does Games of Thrones actively promote marijuana usage and rape? Should parents really sit idly by as we await the answer to this important question?"
Wait, did we just go from "dim lighting gives you the blues" to "dim lighting causes rape"? Yeah, it looks like we did.
But perhaps the most amusing bit of this lengthy diatribe against the show is reason number 10 on Billings' list of 12, in which he basically admits that he didn't know what was going on while he watched the show anyway, and spins this into a claim that HBO is secretly making the show too complicated for grownups because they really want to corrupt teenagers with its naughty naughtiness.
"Most parents will find the thick European accents of the actors confusing. The story, vamped up from the original book, is frustrating for its leaps of logic and implausible romantic scenes. The producers of Games seem to understand this and have crafted the series so that it intentionally turns away older viewers. Should we be suspicious that they have worked so hard to have some private alone time with America's children?"
It's understandable that an ultraconservative Christian would want to tell people not to watch this show. Billings is clearly not the intended audience. What's more bizarre is that he has made the leap from thinking this show doesn't jibe with his values to thinking this show isn't for adults at all. Or maybe he just had trouble coming up with 12 whole reasons and he had to make some stuff up. Either way, do you think he'll affect the season two ratings at all?