Did Game of Thrones go way, way, way too far?

Dear, brave Game of Thrones fans.

Are you okay? Have you recovered? Did you manage to make it into work this morning, after experiencing the trauma of last night’s episode?

Yesterday evening, social media was awash with 140-character messages that had the basic premise of, “Euurraaagghhhowww.”

Because Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 8 may have finally crossed the line in terms of how much violence its viewers are able to deal with.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, click away now. We mean it. Be gone.






Still here?

You have been warned…

Did we mention the spoiler alert?

Prince Oberyn

In last night’s episode, the dramatic fight between Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), known as the Red Viper, and The Mountain (professional strongman Hafthor Julius Bjornsson) – which was to determine the guilt or innocence of everyone’s favourite character, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) – finally took place.

For a while it seemed like everything might be okay. The lithe, snake-like Oberyn danced around The Mountain, cutting him down with ease. But vengeance was his downfall, and while Oberyn took a good couple of minutes to talk about his bloodthirsty desire to have revenge for the rape and murder of his sister – The Mountain struck back.

And here’s where it gets horribly, horribly gruesome.

Oberyn was pinned beneath The Mountain. The Mountain started gouging out Oberyn’s eyes with his thumbs. And then OBERYN’S HEAD EXPLODED.

Look, I admit it, I had my eyes closed for approximately 70 per cent of the time while this scene was playing out. Unfortunately my viewing companion was not so lucky, and spent the next half hour saying, in a sort of stunned, hurt voice: “God. That was really full on. That was just… Eugh. I can’t believe they… God.”

The question everyone is asking now, is ‘Did Game of Thrones go too far?’

Screenshot from News.com.au.

Look, we have all already dealt with The Red Wedding, which was particularly horrific because it was so surprising. (Unless you’re one of those clever chickens who knew when The Rains of Castamere started play, that shit was going down). But last night’s episode felt like a heretofore unseen level of gore – perhaps because the scene played out so slowly.

The Mountain

It wasn’t over with one fell swoop of a broadsword. Instead, The Mountain deliberately and painfully slowly gouged the Viper’s eyes out and crushed his skull like it was a ripe tomato.

I say again: Euurraaagghhhowww.

Director Alex Graves gave an interview to the Hollywood Reporter about last night’s episode, and said of the scene: “I storyboarded it for, ‘This is when we’re going to use Pedro, and this is when we’re going to need some kind of a head that can implode.’ I sent our makeup supervisor off and he built this head to use for the shots. Then the visual effects guys took it home by putting a little swelling in the head, and making the one eye look really bad. The last composition that we barely got before the sun went down was of the two of them lying dead – the effects team made that even more gruesome. They rearranged some of his brain matter.”

Thanks for that, Graves.

Game of Thrones is a show known for its shock value. Before we all became desensitised to the quantity of mammaries on display every episode – that was shocking. When Ned Stark was beheaded in full view of his daughter – that was shocking. When Ramsay Snow cut off Theon Greyjoy’s penis – that was shocking. When, at the Red Wedding, Rob Stark’s wife Talisa had her stomach repeatedly stabbed, killing her baby – that was shocking.

This season already, numerous websites have asked whether HBO has overstepped what is appropriate for prime-time viewing.

The Game of Thrones episode involving – gasp – ‘a scene with prostitutes’.

Website io9 asked “Did Game Of Thrones Finally Go Too Far?” when the show had anti-hero Jaime Lannister rape his sister, Cersei, a few episodes ago – a scene that did not occur in the books, and I personally feel was not at all appropriate.

The Daily Mail asked “Has Game of Thrones gone too far?” when the current season started with a ‘scene involving a group of prostitutes’ – oh, the HUMANITY.

Seeing violence – whether physical or sexual– on Game of Thrones is nothing new. And while you may not think that content should be shown on television at all, eye-gouging is almost par for the course.

But then again… Euurraaagghhhowww.

What do you think? Did Game of Thrones finally go too far?