As a fantasy fan, it bugs me that I can’t watch GOT. But I have my reasons.

I keep seeing memes about “I’ve never watched an episode of Game of Thrones.” Some people act like it’s a badge of honor. Others, as if it were a sign of serious stupidity or bad taste. I am in the “never watched” camp, but it’s not something I’m proud of. It’ s just a simple fact.

As the internet rants on about GOT, making jokes about dragons and incest and wondering who will survive the final season, I wish I could watch the show. This is a cultural phenomenon that encompass a lot of people (everyone knows that winter is coming). I’d like to be part of the crowd and I feel like I’m missing out, but I can’t do it.

SPOILER ALERT: While I’ve only read the first three books in the A Song of Fire and Ice series, I’ve heard or guessed some of the things that happen after that. If you’re caught up on your GOT viewing, you’re way ahead of me. If not, I might accidentally tell you something you didn’t know yet (but if you know anything about GOT, I doubt it.)

When I read the first book, I was intrigued. George R. R. Martin got my attention with his unusual story-telling. Ned Stark was clearly the hero. Despite the pain and personal sacrifices involved, he did the right thing. And then suddenly he was dead. I was surprised, and wondered where the series could be headed.

I was also mesmerized by the dwarf Tyrion Lannister. I still don’t know if he’s officially a villain or not, but he did lots of horrible things and was clearly untrustworthy. Admirable was not a word you would use to describe him. So, why did I like him so much?

Tyrion had clearly been through the wringer, abused by everyone around him, including and especially by his powerful family. His dilemmas had layers and he was smart. He’d learned from his hard life, but he was still capable of making mistakes. I found myself wanting him to win.

Initially, I found all the bad behavior and unexpected characters riveting. It was hard to tear myself away from the betrayals and gore, but over time, reading the books left me needing a shower. I was Bran Stark, a voyeur, watching these ugly lives unfold and hoping things might change for the better if I just stuck with it.

Then Littlefinger took Sansa away. The way he drooled over the daughter of the woman who had rejected him made my hackles rise. I wanted to save Sansa. She had already been through so much, her every choice another disaster. By this point, the only thing I could trust Martin to do was abuse her even more.

This was the final straw for me. I love fantasy and adventure, but I wasn’t up for this new take, where the good people all suffered or died and the most heroic had ambiguous morals at best.

Some argue that this style of fantasy is more realistic, more in tune with the real world. But I’m a Lord of the Rings fan for a reason: I need hope. I need to believe that doing the right thing will eventually pay off, that sacrifice will be rewarded, that good will prevail.

A Song of Ice and Fire left me with no hope at all.

Are you able to watch Game of Thrones?

10 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Watch Game Of Thrones”

  1. I have never read the books or watched the series – and never plan to do either. Why? Because I was there when my husband read the books. He did nothing but complain about the actions of the characters and how all the ones he liked died. He gave up after book 4, convinced that George R. R. Martin kills off characters just because he can, not necessarily for any need of plot. Earlier in the series he kept trying to talk me into reading the books. I told him it was never going to happen. I read for pleasure and books that I *know* are going to do nothing but make me angry aren’t going to make the cut.

    1. It does seem that the characters you like are either being tortured or killed… that got old for me. Also glad to hear I’m not the only one who gave up in the middle. Tell your hubby I get it! 😉

  2. I have not read the books or seen the show because I could tell from reviews and conversations with people who had that I would not enjoy them. Like you, I need hope.

    1. It was hearing how other friends couldn’t put down the books that got me to try them at all. Nothing like peer pressure…! 😉

    1. So I’m not the only one! Not sure why I thought I was… I guess because there’s so much hype about the show right now.

  3. I’m a huge LOTR fans. Read all the books multiple times, watched the movies over and over. Love the good vs. evil of it, and the triumph of good through valor, effort, and commitment. And that’s probably why I can’t watch GOT and couldn’t read the books. I just don’t want to spend time in that kind of world.

    1. I also adore LOTR. In some ways Tolkien had spoiled me for many fantasy stories. I love warriors that are honorable and kind as well as strong and determined, but not a lot of literature lives up to that. Also underdogs who do the right thing despite the cost to themselves and wind up succeeding. Stories full of hope.

      1. Yes, Tolkien was the first fantasy I ever read, and it spoiled me bad. I read a lot more fantasy, looking for more of the same, never found it, finally gave up, realized it’s pretty much in a league of it’s own. Have gone back to it many times since, it never gets old.

      2. I also love fairy tales, so I have found many fantasy novels that resonate for me. I agree that LOTR is in a class by itself, however. Some authors do manage to build fairly complex worlds of that own, but there’s only one Middle-earth.

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