If it's true that we crave stories where good triumphs over evil, then why are so many people watching Game of Thrones? In this sweeping fantasy with high production values and rich source material, that doesn't happen, and I hate to break it to you if you're behind in the books, but it looks like it never will.
In George R. R. Martin's fictional universe, bad things happen again and again. I'm not just talking about the explicit sex and violence that viewers should expect from a serial drama airing on HBO; bad things include heartless, gruesome storylines: an adopted son betraying the family that raised him, a brother selling his sister to a warlord in hope of gaining an army, an honorable man beheaded at the order of a spoiled child, and guests slaughtered at a wedding reception.
"[T]he true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves," the series' author, Martin, recently explained to The New York Times.
What Martin is describing sounds like a perspective of humanity rooted in an understanding of our sin nature. But I share a conviction with other Christians that where there is darkness, there must also be a source of redeeming light. That light doesn't seem to exist in the world of Game of Thrones.
Jonathan Ryan, in his commentary for Christianity Today, compared Martin's mythological fantasy world to that of J.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. However, he writes, "Martin's image focuses on the ruin, not the glory."
That is not to say that no character in the show shows virtue or seeks honor. But Ryan is correct in noting that even for characters who attempt to do the "right" thing, there is no reward, ...1
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