Game of Thrones

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Game of Thrones TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Artful fantasy series heavy on sexuality and violence.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 149 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 281 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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
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. 

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byinnocenteyes13 July 6, 2012

Reality Check

I can't help feeling the websites review is biased and igores the positive aspects of the show. Firstly the languange and violence it condemns is hardly ex... Continue reading
Adult Written bypennythegreyt May 2, 2013

Great show, not kid friendly!

No one can deny that they show is great, however there are far too many "HBO Originals" if you know what I mean. There is a scene of a man watching a... Continue reading
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 G... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTodd . December 19, 2012

Amazing for everyone

I read A song of Ice and Fire when i was twelve, and have seen the show also. Many people talk about how the violence and sex are unnecessary, but it is not. If... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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