The point about ‘Game of Thrones’… is that conscience and fear of judgement are entirely absent from the lives of all, and that this is most evident in the deeds of the most successful characters. Compare Hamlet’s self-torture over whether he can kill Claudius , when Claudius is at his prayers. Or the genuine horror of the English people at the alleged murder of the Princes in the Tower by Richard III.
- One, Hamlet was a fictional character written in the Renaissance, not the Middle Ages. Thus, his behavior is at best an indication of what Shakespeare thought a Prince would behave like, not what they actually did.
- Two: okay, so the English were properly horrified. But I want to point out that Hitchens is undercutting his own point by bringing up the idea that Richard III would do that. Game of Thrones is about the medieval elite and their ruthless power grabs–just exactly like the real-life power grabs of people like Richard III, Henry II, Henry VIII and so on! He complains “conscience and fear of judgement are entirely absent… in the deeds of the most successful characters”, and yet, by his own showing, the most successful people in the actual Middle Ages were the same way! Nice guys, by most accounts, finished last in the Middle Ages.
Remember, I have no wish to defend Game of Thrones. I’ve never seen it, and for all I know it may be the worst and most loathsome thing ever to darken a television screen. I just have issues with Hitchens claiming that “the society it describes is far worse than the Middle Ages”.