Sadism Sells?

got8At the urging of oh, say, most of the people we know, Wes and I started watching Game of Thrones a few weeks ago. Aside from the copious nudity, we love it. The acting is great, the story is interesting, it’s a fun show.

I’m starting to have a bit of a problem with it, though. We’re in the wilds of season three and all the violence is starting to seem a wee bit torture porn-esque to me. Granted, I’m a softie. I have a hard time with violence in general. When I was researching North Korea for my newest book, I suffered frequent, intense nightmares. Really, I have no stomach at all for the depths of human evil.

Maybe Game of Thrones isn’t the show for me, then. Other people seem able to handle the violence just fine (except for the infamous Red Wedding scene. I’ve been told I should probably skip that one) so maybe I should stop watching. It’s hard to imagine doing that, though, because I really like the chessboard they’ve set up here. I want to know what happens. I even sort of like some of the characters (unlike with Breaking Bad, where I actively dislike almost everyone on that show).

Let’s not kid ourselves. I know I’ll keep watching, and I’ll keep being upset and disturbed by it. The story is just too interesting to abandon just yet.

I suppose it’s just naive on my part to wish the show makers (or maybe it’s George R. R. Martin?) weren’t so dedicated to violence and gore. I’m not sure I buy that’s it’s an integral part of the narrative. Is it even safe to say that this kind of thing sells these days? Would the show be any less popular because it was less…well, for lack of a better word, sadistic?

Fans of the show, what do you think?

(By the way, I can’t wait to see what kind of spam comments I get from this post. With words like “sadism” and “Game of Thrones” and “violence” and “Breaking Bad.” Oh man, it’s like skeeve bait.)