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Monday, 23 October 2017

Game of Thrones and Religious Fanaticism


(Contains spoilers.) One of the many things I love about GOT is its honest portrayal of human behaviour. The show really expresses the dangers of religious extremism and taking things too far. Even in this make-believe world, everyone believes that ‘their’ God; be it the Seven Gods, the Lord of Light, the Many Faced God or the Drowned God, is the ‘true’ God.  

Season 5 showed scenes that really depicted the horrors of religion to the point where I could barely watch. One scene is where Stannis Baratheon’s daughter is burned alive as a ‘sacrifice’ to the Lord of Light. Lady Melisandre, a fanatic of her ‘Lord’, believes that in order for them to win Winterfell, they need to sacrifice Princess Shireen. (Just as she felt they 'needed' to sacrifice others for this Lord of Light). It’s one of the more disturbing scenes of the show (and there are a ton). What’s sadder is when Queen Selsye runs to save her only daughter, clearly regretting her agreement regardless of her beliefs, she is pushed back. King Stannis turns away, expressionless as his daughter is killed in the name of religion.

Another horrible scene which I felt went on TOO long, like jesus they made their fucking point, was when Cersei Lannister was forced to walk naked through the streets of King’s Landing. Behind her walked one of the nuns, ringing a bell and uttering ‘shame’ over and over again. This was Cersei's 'punishment' for her 'sins.' Yes of course incest and adultery are not the best of things but how is that a reasonable punishment, and why 'punish' people at all? People threw things at Cersei and hurled abuse at her. Cersei is not a likeable character, she’s a bitch (although nowhere near as vile as Joffrey), but I don’t think anyone deserves that. She deserved that as much as poor Theon deserved to have his penis cut off and be called ‘Reek.’

Just like real life religions, religions in GOT place belief over reason. They snarl at the horrors of fornication, homosexuality, incest; believing these things to be punishable by death. Why do religions hate sex so much? Do they want people to be miserable? Followers of the Faith of the Seven go and destroy Lord Baelish’s brothel – why? Are their dicks tiny or something? I know it’s just a TV show but this isn’t about TV, it’s about reality. In real life people are killed in the name of some imaginary genie who hates sex and things that people enjoy like rock music or salsa dancing or alcohol.

Luckily, not all people are ‘radical’ followers of their religion; i.e. most people in the world of GOT and real life don’t follow their Holy Books of Bullshit down to a t. I think it’s nice and ironic that in the show there are all these different religions and Gods with us as viewers not knowing which is ‘right’. I believe a ‘God’ is as real in Game of Thrones as it is in our world. (Though I suppose you could say George R R. Martin is the true God of Game of Thrones, as he created it). People truly believe that their beliefs and their God is real, making them atheist to all of the other possible ‘Gods’ out there. When you step back and take them all for what they are, you realise that perhaps maybe none of them are right and have all been invented by humans to 'explain' things we can’t understand.


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