Conflicts and controversies
in Watching Game of Thrones
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This penultimate chapter examines the various controversies surrounding Game of Thrones relating to issues of adaptation and to sex and violence, among other things. Focusing on the Red Wedding and the rape of Sansa Stark, it shows how participants spoke about scenes that they found memorable and those that made them feel uncomfortable or angry. The chapter examines how moments of shock generated by the series could be accepted and appreciated as characteristics of ‘extreme storytelling’, whereas angry responses were associated with rejection of the TV show’s storylines, aesthetics or politics. It explores in detail the characteristics of responses to Sansa’s rape, placing these in the wider context of the way that debates about representations of violence – particularly sexual violence and ‘rape culture’ – have developed.

Watching Game of Thrones

How audiences engage with dark television

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