Today in “the pot calling the kettle black” news, the creator of Vikings called out Game of Thrones for it’s excessive sex and violence. Fans of GoT are by now well-accustomed to the many shocking moments each season whether they be a guy getting his head squeezed into oblivion by the strongest man in the world, or an entire family being brutally murdered at a wedding that was supposed to be an altogether peaceful affair (they ate the bread and salt!). Over on Vikings, things aren’t exactly happy and carefree every episode. Although they don’t have the freedom that HBO shows do to show gore at will and utilize “sexposition” as a narrative device, it isn’t like Vikings is the Teletubbies of cable TV either.
Michael Hirst though, takes exception to the idea that the two shows share the same sensibility for hooking viewers and moving the plot along with violence. In recent comments, he worked to distance Vikings from being compared to one of the most popular shows on television. As Winter is Coming reports, Hirst said:
I feel like a lot of other people, that sex in Game Of Thrones and other shows is completely gratuitous and unnecessary and a lot of the violence is gratuitous… It’s largely to shock.
Which is true, on some level. Much of what Game of Thrones does is to shock people. It is brutal and comes out of nowhere and makes people cringe. But it also, most of the times, connects directly with the story and moves the plot along in a realistic way based on the show’s setting. If that isn’t Hirst’s chosen method of showrunning then there is respect to be had for his decision, but there’s also the fact that if all shows on television shied away from using violence as a propulsive method of storytelling then things might get awfully boring.
You can appreciate well-used violence in shows, appreciate the sparing use of it or complete lack of it, and chastise shows that use it incorrectly. The nice thing about the current TV landscape is that fans of genre shows can pick and choose what shows they love based on how each show uses different categories of violent content, as well as many other qualities. There’s no need for infighting between fandoms, or showrunners, with all the available options on the table.
(via Winter is Coming)