Unless you’re living under a rock (or the proverbial bushel), it’s impossible to have missed the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones. Part fantasy epic, part prestige television, its controversial subject matter has made it a bit of a touchy subject for Christians. Both straight-laced Protestant pastors and boozy Catholic rabble-rousers have condemned the show for its graphic sex and violence. More importantly the fact that the author of the books on which the series is based has blown through multiple deadlines and promises to his readers demonstrates the precipitous decline of moral values in America.

Yet the Bible—a book that we all have in our homes—is also full of graphic violence and descriptions of sexual perversity. The unsavory content covered in an hour of Game of Thrones is surpassed by 10 minutes after lights-out at any Christian camp hosting boys between the ages of 8 and 13. So we must ask ourselves whether there is some redemptive value in Game of Thrones’ blood, guts, and boinking. After all, we don’t want to repeat the Christian subcultural errors of the 90s that condemned Harry Potter (which is probably the closest thing to decent literature most millennials will bother to read) or Dungeons & Dragons (which is really a great way to develop the skill of loving something bizarre and arcane, a necessary prerequisite for full participation in any Benedict Option community).

Thus, we must look to see if there are Biblical themes that we can apply and use to relevantly communicate the Good News to our neighbors who are fascinated by the show. Is one of the many characters who gets eviscerated a Christ figure? Does the darkness and despair of the series point us to our longing for a True King? Are the sorcery and swords meant to help us more deeply imagine a world in which monsters can be slain? Is there a Gospel message in Game of Thrones?

No. There isn’t.

Posted by Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org

  • Matthew Miller

    Genuine LOL

  • David Wolf

    Oh snap!

  • RustbeltRick

    “A regular contributor for Afraid to Engage Pop Culture”

    • Scott Tenerman

      He is entirely correct. I’ve read the first three books of the series a dozen times apiece, book four at least six times, and the fifth and most recent book twice. The books aren’t entirely without value, especially the first three, but the last one was utter trash. The TV series stripped the only traces of what’s good from the books, and presented a completely nihilistic vision.

      Afraid to engage in pop culture? It’s like saying “afraid to step in dogs—“. Not afraid, just don’t wanna.

  • Cal P

    The conclusion gave me a sigh of relief.

  • David Mosher

    This was fantastic!

  • Mike

    I’m sorry, but where is the soft-core porn in Harry Potter?

  • Scott Tenerman

    WHEW.

  • John

    Does this article make any meaningful contribution to society or provide any thoughtful relevant commentary?

    No. It doesn’t.

    What a load of utter, holier than thou, masturbatory nonsense.

    • BWF

      I didn’t have the same reaction. I actually found the satire in the form of the article pretty pointed, even though it was brief. Even as someone who is a serious fan of the Song of Ice and Fire books (the basis for the show), and whose problems with the TV series lie mostly with the unfaithfulness to the written source material, I can still appreciate the point that is being made (or, at least my guess of what the point is).

      Walther’s take(linked in the article), though – that was definitely a useless piece of malarkey.

      • John

        I’m not sure how this should be viewed as satire, except potentially satire of the author’s own work? Again, he makes no effort to address any of the points he seems to be refuting, no discussion of the actual content, and not even the briefest acknowledgment of any actual themes in the show, whether good or bad.

        It’s click bait, pure and simple. And worse than that, it seems to be click bait derived from the author’s own self satisfaction.