Watching Game of Thrones with my teenage son

Readings staff member Chris Gordon tells us what it’s like to watch the complete Game of Thrones series, with her teenage son.

Here is the stark truth:

  • I am not a fan of fantasy films or novels.
  • I’m well aware that dragons are not real.
  • Gratuitous sex and violence does not please me.
  • I hate anything to do with zombies.

And yet, I’ve somehow managed to watch all available seasons of Game of Thrones, without missing one single minute. Though not exactly willingly…

A while back I told my teenage son he could only watch the series if he read the books first. And, because several people had already warned me that George R.R. Martin wrote about sex and violence without a feminist framework, I also told him that I would be watching the bloody series with him. (Such is the sacrifice of motherhood.)

That said, I thought I was done and dusted. I brought him the mile of books and forgot all about my promise. Until the wretched teenager read every page of every book and then brought home the first season and we began the marathon.

Martin has told a rollicking good tale, but he has also done us, the viewers and the readers, a great disservice. Here is a storyteller of extraordinary imagination, with the world in his hands, and an opportunity. He could right the odds and tell the same story – without constantly parading naked women, without repeatedly featuring rape and violence toward women, and, without having all mothers afraid to be independent of their sons.

If Martin had created the epic tale of the Seven Kingdoms with some notion of true equality and indeed leadership, then I would not feel compelled to have a running bet with my son about how much porn he must watch to create and imagine such trivialising of women.

Game of Thrones is a terrific story full of battles, barbarians and broken hearts. But it would be better still if the women were allowed to keep their clothes on. And it would be much, much better if the women were not always the victims of crime, real or otherwise.

Winter, it seems, is here.

Chris Gordon is the Events Manager for Readings. She writes on the topics of gardening and cooking for Readings and has a weekly blog where she discusses living and gardening in small urban spaces. Find out more at Open Source Outside.