Game of Thrones
By Matt Springer,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Artful fantasy series heavy on sexuality and violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series is all about power -- who wants it and how they get it. Themes of family, faith, and loyalty run throughout, as do moral ambiguity and betrayal.
Positive Role Models
Most characters behave in questionable, unethical ways, but some make moral choices. A few heroes -- like Brienne of Tarth and Samwell Tarly -- dedicate their lives to loyalty and knowledge.
Women are often depicted as objects, subject to the whims (and violence) of men. People of color are shown as barbaric or enslaved. LGBTQ+ characters are few and far between, all falling into clichés of being killed and/or sexually deviant. Bran uses a wheelchair but the character leans on disability stereotypes of having magical powers. Tyrion is the lone positive area, as one of the only roles for a little person on television that has depth and character development over the course of the series.
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Violence & Scariness
Frequent extremely graphic, gory violence, including murders, executions, and their aftermath. Large-scale battles with long, gruesome fight scenes. Swords, crossbows, clubs, and many other weapons are visible. Sexual violence is graphically depicted. Skeletons, zombie-like creatures, and dragons are among the show's scary fantasy creatures.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Extensive full-frontal nudity; sex is graphically portrayed. Characters cheat on partners sexually, engage in sex work, use sex to bargain. Incest takes place between adults.
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Words such as "f--k," "c--t," "c--k," "s--t," "bitch," "bastard," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Nothing obvious on-screen, though Ed Sheeran makes a cameo. Game of Thrones-related merchandise available.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Pipe smoking. Characters are frequently depicted drinking excessively and sometimes behaving irresponsibly or violently as a result. Drugs used for various motives.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Game of Thrones (based on the novels by George R.R. Martin) is a big-budget fantasy series that frequently depicts gory, brutal battles and graphic acts of violence (including against children and women), as well as lots of nudity and sexual acts, including incest, orgies, and sexual violence against multiple female characters. Strong language, including "f--k," is frequent. Although the series is well produced, even the most sympathetic characters make iffy choices, and morally ambiguous content is questionable for all, even adult viewers who will need to think critically about what they've just seen on-screen.
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Game of Thrones
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What's the Story?
Adapted from the popular series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, GAME OF THRONES is set in the fictional medieval kingdom of Westeros and follows a large cast intertwined through political intrigue, emotional drama, and fierce battles. Throughout the seasons we meet characters like Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), all of whom fight for the right to sit on the Iron Throne. As the series progresses, betrayals change the political landscape of Westeros irreversibly, leading to ever more complicated alliances and plot twists. Not every character we meet makes it to the end.
Is It Any Good?
As with most HBO originals, this series benefits greatly from the budget and talent poured into its execution. Game of Thrones is an expertly produced epic and well acted, making it one of the most critically acclaimed series in history. It's easy to get drawn into the machinations of Westeros, and the complexity of the twists and turns make rewatches endlessly satisfying.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the impact of seeing sexual violence on television. Are the assaults depicted in Game of Thrones necessary for the story? Are there ways to convey sexual violence in a story without causing extra harm to viewers, including survivors who may be watching?
Is the show too gory? Why do you think violence is so common in entertainment media, and does Game of Thrones take things too far? Why, or why not?
How are women and people of color portrayed? Why do you think that is? What are their roles in this series? Are they important players, or accessories?
- Premiere date: April 17, 2011
- Cast: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Kit Harington
- Network: HBO
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Awards: Emmy, Golden Globe
- Last updated: February 26, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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