If you’ve recently picked up a copy of Entertainment Weekly or tuned in to a pop culture channel, you’ve probably heard about Game of Thrones, a phenomenon that began as a book and has become a very popular show on HBO.
This Generation’s Harry Potter
I was in high school when J.K. Rowling’s incredibly successful Harry Potter series came out. I loved getting engrossed in the books, but once my parents heard about the witchcraft themes, they took my books away, declaring them “too evil.” Back then, I was disappointed at their decision, but as I got older I understand my parents thought I was too young to differentiate what I should believe or how the book might shape my morals.
But now as an early 20-something I face a similar choice of what I let into my mind, but this time the choice is completely mine. I heard a lot about the book Game of Thrones from my older sisters so I decided to read them even though I knew they had a very “mature” (aka evil or sinful) plot line and characters.
If you are thinking about reading the series, here are a few things you should consider first:
Things Are Escalating
The definition of what is “mature” has escalated in terms of what is considered okay for consumption for older teenagers and 20-somethings.
For example, Teen bands of the 90s, such as *NSYNC and the Spice Girls, were considered by some to be sinful influences as their lyrics had sexual undertones. Today, Miley Cyrus is one pop star who’s constantly making waves. Unfortunately, she’s content doing it in the public eye, often wearing very little clothing, and in one case, even lighting up a joint as she accepted an award on television.
The point is, decades ago, parents mostly had to worry about urging their teens to avoid haircuts that could be seen as disrespectful. Now we have a much harder task: steering away from the media or celebrities who like to push the boundaries, such as Cyrus.
While Game of Thrones might be considered this generations Harry Potter, the themes, language and situations in the books far surpass any “evil” there was in Harry Potter. If you are considering reading Game of Thrones, don’t go in with blind eyes. Make a conscious decision to skip some parts if they become too scandalous. If you are finding the book affects your mood or language in a negative way, be willing to put it down. Even though you are at an age to make that decision for yourself, you still need to set boundaries or even warning signs that you need to stop reading them.
To Read or Not to Read?
Game of Thrones is certainly written for a mature audience, and some reviewers recommend it for people who are 16 or older but I wouldn’t suggest reading it till you’re out of college and your faith and moral foundation is firm.
It’s important to know up front the writing features a very graphic style and covers themes that could be seen as offensive. Generally, the battle scenes are not quite as intense as other topics, such as incest.
For teens, allowing mature content like Game of Thrones into your mind could gradually destroy your moral value system, because you haven’t taken all the steps to prevent today’s culture from polluting your minds (even though you may not think so you are still very impressionable).
It’s always best to err on the side of caution to make sure you’re not getting the wrong ideas while reading popular books or watching films.
Being a Christian is consistently challenging when it comes to the media. That’s especially true since so many popular television shows and musicians don’t align with biblical values. However, Game of Thrones is filled with excellent writing and many well-developed characters that can teach life lessons to readers. You just have to be careful in what context those lessons are learned.
The book series is certainly not appropriate for kids, but as you reach adulthood (early 20s) if you really want to read the series then do so with these cautions in mind. Since the television episodes are even more vivid in the themes they cover, those should be avoided completely.
Guest Post By: Alicia Lawrence
Alicia is a content coordinator for PA’s tech company of the year and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Ask Miss A, Gen Pink, and Lucky Magazine. Twitter: @Alicia_Lw