Game Of Thrones certainly wouldn’t have worked ten years ago. On a simplistic level the series wasn’t developed enough; only three of the books (out of five now published and two more still to come) had been released, meaning the show would have little content beyond what will be our fourth series. But, more importantly, the TV landscape was a very different place. Peter Jackson had made high fantasy cool with his epic Lord Of The Rings series, so in theory this more medieval take wouldn’t have been a hard sell. But with Lost yet to capitalise on The X-Files’ success and kick more fantastical TV into the mainstream, it was either for kids or a part of our own world. And that’s not even touching on HBO, whose major shows, The Sopranos and The Wire, were gritty, crime-filled and yet to make massive waves.
Ultimately, however, Game Of Thrones wouldn’t have worked because so much of the content of George R.R. Martin’s source would have simply not been deemed acceptable in the past, if not by censors then by easily-shocked critics. Even today events like The Red Wedding, which were pretty restrained compared to some of the show’s goriest moments, still managed to cause a minor, Daily Mail-fuelled uproar, almost proving that now is the earliest we can get away with having the show.
To highlight this point, here are twelve moments from Game Of Thrones first three seasons that really push the limits of what can be shown on our television screens. There’s plenty of other moments that could have made it onto this list, but in order to keep it down to a readable length I stuck to the ones that really resonated with me.
Spoilers obviously abound from the very start…
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