I'm going to tell you a secret. Most of my friends don't even know this one. The main reason? Because it's an extremely unpopular opinion that almost no one wants to hear. Here it is: I hate Game of Thrones. For the past several years, as the U.S. has been experiencing Game of Thrones fever — constantly throwing fan theories around, discussing badass fight scenes, and debating whether Jon Snow was alive or dead — I have been indifferent. It's a weird feeling for me, not liking a cult TV show. I'm a big fan of science fiction and fantasy. I love fandoms! I can't go a day without referencing Harry Potter. I'm a girl who loves both Star Trek and Star Wars, and can talk to you for hours about the DC and Marvel universes. I'm even a big Lord of The Rings fan. But I can't get on board with Game of Thrones. It's not like I haven't tried. I read the first book in the series. And I hated it. I watched six full episodes from the first season and I cringed. I've had a few friends try to get me to "see the light." My friend Sara and I used to have full-on debates about why I should give GoT a chance. Before writing this, I even asked her to tell me again why she loves the show. Her answer totally made sense. "I'm really into the mythology of the world that [George R.R. Martin] has created," she said. "Mostly, I like how the books and the show tackle the subject of morality, and I like how there's no clear good or evil side. There are definitely villains in the story, but a lot of times people you're rooting for will have shades of grey." That's a great answer! Really. But it's still not good enough to convince me.
I'm not writing this to hate on GoT fans. As someone who is very strongly connected to her fandom universes, I have no right to judge people. I'm actually writing this because I'm tired of being judged. I'm tired of having to endure plot details and theories and questions. And so are the others.
I don't enjoy watching people destroy, degrade, and abuse each other. I don't want to sit through hours upon hours of brutal cruelty and domination.
Yes, there are others. We're a rare breed. We hate Game Of Thrones, and we're forced to carry that displeasure in silence for fear that social media, friends, family, and significant others will judge us. They'll try to turn us. They'll demand that we give it another shot. Here's another confession: We don't want to. When I first kicked around the idea of even writing this down, I had to brace myself for what I'm sure would come way: Anger. Rage. Judgment. So I looked for others like me.
I found a few articles that I connected with, as well as some quora discussions and Facebook groups dedicated to pointing out their personal issues with GOT. But I wanted some people IRL. To do this, I took a final step: I emailed every person at Refinery29. Hitting send on that email made me anxious. But if there were others like me, then let it be known. And there were. I received full diatribes from men and women about their hatred for the show. One of the social media editors said, "I just CAN'T watch it. I've tried many times, but everything is so random that it sounds like they're talking jibberish. Also, why is it so violent ALL the time? Do they ever just chill? I totally get what people see in it, but I just can't get on board."
Another editor told me, "I don't have a good reason other than the fact that I could never remember any of the characters' names — I think early on, like shortly after Ned Stark died, they just had WAY too many competing storylines. And so I'd watch an episode and have no fucking clue what was going on."
Another said, "I dabbled in watching it for a few weeks, but I think the moment I was fully turned off was when I was sitting in a gross, fratty college house with my now ex-boyfriend and 20 of his (mostly male) friends that I didn't really know. I was minding my own business trying to just eat my sandwich in peace, semi-paying attention, and then the scene with the brother and sister having sex came on, and it was the final straw. I was permanently scarred." My personal favorite two responses: "I don't hate it. I just don't care about it at all," and "there are better uses of my time. I’m not going to contribute to brain rot. I don’t know what this is and I don’t care to find out!"
Out of the 40+ responses that I received, I found three reoccurring themes that summed up my hatred: 1. While I can stomach some violence, I cannot stomach rape and incest on screen. Even my friend Sara has said that the hardest part of convincing a non-believer is "the problematic way the show treats the issue of sexual violence." I don't enjoy watching people destroy, degrade, and abuse each other. I don't want to sit through hours upon hours of brutal cruelty and domination. And I can't sit through seasons of incest and rape. It nauseates me (literally), Sorry, not sorry.
2. I don't have the patience to remember all the names, and all the characters, and all this alternate world has to hold. I know that sounds like a lame excuse, but even my father has admitted to watching the show week after week, and sometimes "forgetting who the hell that guy is again." It's exhausting. I have too many things to remember already. How can I be a walking and talking encyclopedia about Black Panther or Batman if I have to remember all this too? 3. Quite frankly, I just don't give a damn. Maybe that doesn't seem like the most compelling argument, but I think I'm entitled to it. Just like you're totally entitled to read me rambling on about a show I hate, and think I'm batshit crazy or an idiot. I don't want another TV show. I don't want to be a part of the pop culture phenomenon. I really didn't care if Jon Snow lived or died. I don't need to see the Mother of Dragons walk out of flames naked, and I have no interest in plot theories. I don't judge you for not watching The Flash or Arrow or Better Call Saul. I don't ask you why you never gave Fargo a try. And I totally understand if Pretty Little Liars isn't your thing. So spare me. Let's agree to disagree.