Game of Thrones TV Poster Image

Game of Thrones

(i)

 

Artful fantasy series heavy on sexuality and violence.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Network: HBO
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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 rampant betrayal. Some women are empowered; others are not. People of color are typically depicted as barbaric or animalistic or as slaves.

Positive role models

Most of the characters behave in questionable, unethical ways, but some make moral choices.

Violence

Frequent graphic, gory violence, including executions and their bloody aftermath, and large-scale battles with powerful and gruesome fight scenes. Swords, crossbows, clubs, and any number of other weapons visible. Sexual violence also is graphically depicted. Skeletons, zombie-like creatures, and dragons are among the show's scary fantasy creatures.

Sex

Extensive male and female nudity; sex is graphically portrayed. Adultery, prostitution, consensual incest between adults, and sexual bargaining are themes.

Language

Modern swear words, such as "f--k," "c--t," "c--k," "s--t," "bitch," "bastard," and more.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Pipe smoking is visible; characters are frequently depicted drinking excessively and sometimes behaving hedonistically, irresponsibly, or violently as a result. Drugs are used to poison people. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Game of Thrones (based on the novels by George R.R. Martin) is big-budget fantasy series that frequently depicts brutal battles and graphic, detailed acts of violence (including those against children and women), as well as lots of nudity and no-holds-barred sexuality. The latter is portrayed in an especially iffy manner, with explicit discussion and depiction of incest, adultery, and rape. Strong language, including "f--k," is frequent. Although the series is well produced, even the most sympathetic characters make plenty of iffy choices, and the over-the-top content is questionable for all but adult viewers.

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 of intertwined characters through political intrigue, emotional drama, and fierce battles. Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) begins as the show's central figure, acting as chief adviser for his boyhood friend King Robert (Mark Addy). Stark must act as protector and patriarch of his family and the throne itself as threats emerge from both distant lands and nearby traitors. As the series progresses, betrayals large and small change the political landscape of Westeros irreversibly, leading to ever more complicated alliances and plot twists -- not to mention brutal battles and struggles for survival.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

As with most HBO series, Game of Thrones benefits greatly from the budget and talent poured into its execution. This is an artful series; the script is intelligently written, the show is well-acted, and the direction and cinematography are easily on par with any Oscar-nominated film. It's easy to get drawn into the machinations of Westeros; the show is compulsive viewing.

All that said, there are moments of brutal violence and sexuality that might pull viewers who aren't ready for them out of the narrative. Certainly Westeros is a dark world inhabited by some very disturbing characters, but the violence is at times lingered upon in a very unsettling way. Although these moments may be mitigated by later plot developments, that doesn't change their impact as they happen. For viewers who can tolerate these incidents, the merits of the series may win out, but it won't be for everyone.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of sexual violence on television. Is the sex depicted in Game of Thrones appropriate for the story? What messages do viewers take away about sex from watching this series?

  • Does the show's violence go too far? Is it too graphic? Why, or why not?

  • What are women's roles in this series? Are they important players, or accessories? What about people of color? Where do they fit in?

TV details

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
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

This review of Game of Thrones was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 13 year old Written byRenaissancemama May 16, 2011

Parents should have been warned!!

I have been watching this with my almost 14 year old son who loves anything to do with knights, medieval life, battles and armor. However there is way way too much graphic sex in this series to make it comfortable for a kid his age to watch, especially with his MOM right there. But more than this - the show airs on Sunday nights at 9 (still pretty early) and there is NO warning for parents, no hint that there is going to be graphic sexual scenes. The last episode ( 5-15) features a scene with more full sexual activity plus full full frontal nudity for the woman and the man (albeit for one quick second) but still...this show has such a good story line - the sex is gratuitous and unecessary. The makers could hinted at sex between characters more subtley but instead seem to enjoy making parents squirm. I am no prude but I wish there had been a rating on this and a much much later hour!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written byTrying2BagoodMOM April 18, 2013

Not appropriate for children or adults

The sex in the movie is sometimes pornographic. There is gay sex, lesbian sex, incestual sex, and violent sex. Not appropriate in some scenes even for adults. I am not watching any more episodes.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written bytheanonbanana April 1, 2014

Great Show - ... Not for kids.

Alright- so, being a senior in high school, one could imagine that I have heard at least once (well- in my case at least 8 times) someone tell me: "Watch Game of Thrones! It's an amazing show!" - I was warned that a lot of the episodes had a fair amount of sex and violence, but the story and artistry in the show compensate for that fact. So- I tried giving the show a try. I admit- I fell in love with the show at first, the characters were so believable, the setting was that of medieval times, the plot so complex - overall, very addicting! I was slightly disturbed by the amount of unnecessary graphic sex in the show- but due to my interest in the plot, I just pushed it aside and just took it as part of the story. Well- I made it to about the 7th episode in the first season until I came to the conclusion that perhaps I shouldn't be watching "Game of Thrones." I found that the excessive sex and violence in the show was desensitizing me - thinking to myself: "I'm only 17, why am I exposing myself to these things?" Along with this- I also realized that my parents would probably not approve of what I was watching - if my parents were in the room, I'd definitively not feel comfortable with them sitting there watching with me - therefore, it's not something I should allow myself to watch, even though I am alone. Yes- the plot is great, and I was really interested in the show- but I'm going to hold off on watching it until I'm older. It's not appropriate for people my age- parents should think carefully about what they are exposing their children to before allowing them to watch it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex