Obviously, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series is one of the most popular TV shows in history with millions of devout fans watching, obsessing over, and analyzing each episode, not to mention concocting elaborate theories, OTPs, and fan-fiction, as well as dressing up as characters from the show at any opportunity.
However, there are a small number of defectors – those who have willingly left the GoT community. We take a look at the reasons why…
1. The Treatment of Women
In an article for Elite Daily, Alexandra Svokos said that she started out as a huge fan of the show but began to lose interest due to the way female characters were treated, and the handling and frequency of scenes of sexual violence.
She said, “where I once felt growing excitement, I instead felt anxious. It seemed like every episode just wanted to present some new horror, especially where it concerned the treatment of women and sexual violence.”
From Joffrey’s abuse of sex workers to Sansa’s rape on her wedding night, to Jamie’s assault of Cersei, which the showrunners insisted “became consensual in the end,” Svokos felt the issue was consistently handled in a flippant and irresponsible manner, and she’s not alone.
George R.R. Martin has defended the inclusion of sexual violence as historically accurate to medieval times and times of war, however Emily Canal of Forbes had this to say:
“Sure, rape did happen and continues to occur every day without being gender specific. But let’s not forget that women in history had lives beyond that violence, Mr. Martin. And were dragons, demon fire babies, and ice zombies a part of war?”
2. The Sheer Number of Characters and Storylines
Catriona Wightman for Digital Spy cited the multitude of plotlines as one of her main reasons for giving up on the show:
“There’s no doubting Game of Thrones‘ ambition – it’s a stunning, sprawling world. But its ambition was also its main problem. While I was dying to know more about Daenerys’ next move or Sansa’s struggles in King’s Landing, the sheer number of characters I didn’t have any emotional investment in – and their dull traipses across dull landscapes – became too much for me.”
In an article from last year entitled ‘Why Is This Season of Game of Thrones So Boring?’, Lara Zarum at Flavorwire voiced similar complaints:
“The series has too many plates spinning in the air — too many characters, too much plot…the problem is that the show has spread itself between so many plots in so many different settings that each story only gets a few minutes per episode to advance, if it makes the cut at all. It takes so long for each plot to advance that the details start to become fuzzy, even if you binge the show instead of watching it week by week.”
3. Everybody Dies
Via Tell Tales
So, of course, the first blow was dealt with the beheading of Ned Stark at the end of the first series. It was totally shocking, unexpected, and heartbreaking. Then came the stomach-churning horror of the Red Wedding. Now things have gotten to a point where remaining fans take weekly bets on who will pop their clogs in the upcoming episode. While some find this exciting, others became desensitized to the deaths of beloved characters, so frequently are they killed off.
Mate Jarai asks in an article for screenrobot.com: “As the key deaths pile up, and more and more story arcs are beheaded, stabbed and crushed to a premature end, is the shock factor moulding into frustration rather than pleasure, and are viewers running out of characters to emotionally invest in?”
4. The Treatment of Race
Star Wars actor John Boyega recently blasted Game of Thrones for its lack of diversity, saying it has ‘no black people.’ While it does have several minor characters of color, Boyega is right that there are no lead characters who are not white. The show has drawn criticism for its depiction of slavery and abolition in a storyline surrounding Queen Daenerys Targaryen, who sets out to end the slave trade.
The scene cited as most problematic sees Daenerys, having successfully liberated the city of Yunkai, “borne aloft by the darker-skinned inhabitants of the city” and was slammed for its “colonialist” undertones. Danielle Henderson used this as one of the examples of the racism that led her to stop watching the show.
When asked by a fan why all people of color seem to hold service positions in the show, George R.R. Martin said that while Westeros 300AC was “nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America,” more POC leading characters can be expected in ‘Winds of Winter.’ However, it looks like a growing number of ex-GoT fans won’t be sticking around for these new characters, feeling that it’s too little too late.
Featured Image Courtesy of Digital Spy