Ciaran Hinds annoyed by the sex and violence in Thrones, finds it “gratuitous”
By Winter Is Coming on in Press.

Ciaran Hinds as Mance RayderIn an interview with Irish Central, Ciaran Hinds talks about his experience filming Game of Thrones and his introduction to the series. He mentions that his agent pushed for him to take the role and that he was aware of the popularity of the show, but hadn’t yet watched it. Once he took the role, he set about catching up on the story.

“I saw the first series and I found some of the sexuality and violence a little gratuitous and it annoyed me but then it calmed down a bit, but the storytelling and the juggling of the storylines are fantastic. It draws you in and takes you elsewhere.”

Also, he has some good things to say about his fellow Northern Irish actor, Conleth Hill.

“I have seen his work in the third series and it is absolutely brilliant,” he says with admiration.

Be sure to read the full interview to find out why you may hear a little southern twang in Mance Rayder’s accent!

Winter Is Coming: A good interview. I found it interesting that Hinds admitted he was annoyed by the amount of sex and violence in the show. I think that is the first time that that oft-cited criticism has come from someone on the show. Still, it sounds like his overall impression was positive. And I’m glad he gave a shout-out to Hill. He doesn’t get enough love for his portrayal of Varys. What does everyone else think of Hinds’ comments? Do you find the sex and violence gratuitous at times? Are you a fan of Conleth Hill’s Varys?


208 Comments

  1. Jaqen is Q
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Yes and yes, to answer your questions.

    I think sometimes they have sex and violence just for the sake of sex and violence, which I think is a bad idea.

  2. GeekFurious
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Talk about gratuitous… how about that headline.

  3. Brandice
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Yes and Yes. heh

    Ciaran must have been REALLY annoyed watching Rome. :P It’s interesting, but the random sex in that show didn’t bother me. I think it’s because a) it wasn’t based on a novel I was already obsessed with, and b) it wasn’t used for sexposition… the sex was just sex. I think it’s all the sex monologueing that really annoys me, not the actual sex. Just makes things… awkward.

  4. Jonathanl
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The first season definitely went a bit I. The sleazy side. The series would be better without that nadir of sexposition in the brothel. I felt like the show compromised a bit to get the first season on the air, but the second season was more willing to move on past the crutches of sex and violence and was better for it. Sex and violence is part of the story, but only rarely is it the focus.

  5. Yago
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Yes, sometimes it’s a bit too much. When it adds to the story, no problem, but that’s not always the case…

  6. Nymeria
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    just have to say, that has nothing “gratuitous”, as if they read the books would know that everything is there as it should, and violence and sex are justified. The TV series is nothing compared to the books. If it bothers you, just do not see.

  7. Bee Beep
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I agree. I know sex and violence is a main part of the books, it’s just part of that world, but while watching the show I often get the feeling they use sex just for the sake of it. Like that scene with Littlefinger, Ros and the other prostitute… did it really have to be so… porn?? I thought that was absolutely gratuitous and there are many such scenes, though this one was the worst for me. Sex is part of the books but really, I found no sex scene in the book to be gratuitous, every single sex scene in the book served the story. But not every sex scene in the show serves the story. Not at all. It’s just for ratings, really, and I find that annoying, too. I feel that it takes away screen time for the STORY.

  8. Jehfm
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Me too, yes and yes. Although both are important story wise, they just go overboad sometimes and that is annoying, plus it’s terrible to watch with my parents, they get really embarassed.

  9. Mean25
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’m annoyed by the show’s bad writing. SNL skit explained it very well, thirteen-years-old children.

  10. HugeFloppyGut
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Hinds needs to grow a set of balls and calm down

  11. Sandsnake
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I think the worst parts of the show have been the brothel scenes that are thrown in. I have watched both seasons back a few times and these scenes are pretty much the only ones that I would feel embarassed to show to friends and family who do not watch the show.

    The Littlefinger scene in season one has been debated to death so I wont get into that again but they still didnt learn by season 2. The scene in the second episode where Littlefinger uses the tissue to wipe the girls mouth is the worst in the entire series and exactly the sort of thing that could put people off being associated with the show. Sex scenes when used to advance the plot are fine (Jaime & Cersei, Robb & Talisa, Danny & Drogo, etc) but brothel scenes that seem to be thrown in for pure shock factor are just unneccesary. I have watched a number of similar shows (The Borgias, Rome, etc) and none of them seem to use sex scenes for pure shock value in the way that GOT has done a couple of times.

  12. Jehfm
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Nymeria,

    Well it bothers me, but as Hinds said, the story more than compensates, besides, i never ever put my two cents in this subject before, but this time that’s exactly what is being discussed, so don’t talk like not liking an aspect of the show is enough to drop it.

  13. Jordy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    No.

    The sex and violence is not gratuitous. There’s less of it than in the books; the show left out intriguing and wonderful ideas like the Qartheen breast-baring dress; the violence is realistic for the setting. If anything, I’d like to see more nudity (if we don’t get at least a little full frontal from Jon & Ygritte this season, I’m going to be very upset). This ridiculous and prudish taboo against naked people just because they’re naked is a societal concept that I simply don’t understand.

    The fact is, both the sex and violence enhance the storyline, even when they’re casually put into scenes. And the other fact is it’s realistic, and that’s what this story and this show are all about (realistic for a fantasy setting, of course).

    EDIT: I’d also like to add, based on the fact that nearly everyone replying to this thread is focusing on sex/nudity rather than violence, that if the former bothers you more than the latter, it may be time to reexamine your values.

  14. M
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Yes, although only at times (some of it is justified by story, some of it isn’t) and I think it is more of a concern precisely because the show is so good, and I think it is disappointing that apparently they feel (from the interview about Blackwater about the producer who pushed to include gratuitous nudity to appeal to an element of the audience supposedly wants it) that isn’t enough.

  15. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I knew this would happen. Hinds is already being attacked on this forum. The guy made an honest statement that he found some of the sex and violence gratuitous. I am sure he felt the same thing about Rome. I don’t think he was being squeamish he was merely pointing this out from an aesthetic perspective. Because he does state that the story and characters more than compensates. This is a perfect example of using a provocative headline to gain website hits. This would be much better of it was merely “Ciaran Hinds interviewed” but that wouldn’t be sexy enough would it? :-p

  16. Girl Took Black
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I have to agree on both counts. Most of the sex is fine but every once in awhile it’s unnecessary, awkward, and/or annoying. The infamous S1 scene in Littlefinger’s brothel is one example of gratuitous. Osha banging Theon in S2 to ensure an escape is an example that really annoyed me.

    As for Conleth Hill, Varys is one of my favorite characters in book and series. Hill does Varys every single bit of justice he deserves and I’m entranced watching Hill portraying Varys. May Varys never die!

  17. GeekFurious
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    “and I found some of the sexuality and violence a little gratuitous and it annoyed me but then it calmed down a bit”

    FOUND… SOME… LITTLE GRATUITOUS… BUT THEN…

    All things people ignore for the sensational, reactionary, phantom argument.

  18. Melinda_O
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with Hinds about some of the sex and violence being gratuitous, but as he also said, it calms down and we get on with the story. The story is great, and one that I know my teenage son would like, and while I would have no problem with my son reading the books, he is not allowed to watch the show mainly because of the brothel scenes.

  19. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    GeekFurious,

    Yup. You got it brother.

  20. LV
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Nymeria,

    To equate the novels’ sex scenes with those in the television series is quite common, but still unwarranted.

    In the novels there are almost no sex scenes that are not written in order to disturb the reader and make a point about the characters involved or the power imbalances between them. Most of these scenes invole violence, coercion, exploitation, or manipulation for political gains. They are not meant to titillate or convey an impression of romance or desire.

    Many sex scenes in the show lack this particular approach or leave it in the background. Worse still, they seldomly add to the plot – which otherwise could have been their saving grace.

  21. Brad Villane
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Jon will be bestowing the Lord’s Kiss on Ygritte? I sure hope so.
    I also wonder if they’ll include Dany’s sex scenes from Book III? I found those a little gratuitous when reading.
    Glad to see Conleth getting some respect. He’s been spot on perfect thus far

  22. Arline
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Complaints about sex and violence? From the man who starred in ROME?????

  23. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Melinda_O,

    You must keep him under lock and key. Because If he wants to see the show…he will.

  24. Winter Is Coming
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    I knew this would happen. Hinds is already being attacked on this forum. The guy made an honest statement that he found some of the sex and violence gratuitous. I am sure he felt the same thing about Rome. I don’t think he was being squeamish he was merely pointing this out from an aesthetic perspective. Because he does state that the story and characters more than compensates. This is a perfect example of using a provocative headline to gain website hits. This would be much better of it was merely “Ciaran Hinds interviewed” but that wouldn’t be sexy enough would it? :-p

    GeekFurious:
    “and I found some of the sexuality and violence a little gratuitous and it annoyed me but then it calmed down a bit”

    FOUND… SOME… LITTLE GRATUITOUS… BUT THEN…

    All things people ignore for the sensational, reactionary, phantom argument.

    Woah, woah, woah. No one is being reactionary or sensational or attacking Ciaran Hinds. I pulled his exact quotes from the interview for the post. And everyone in the comments seems to be pretty level-headed about the whole thing. You guys are reacting to something that isn’t there.

  25. axia777
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Huh, that is dumb as shit. He was in Rome. That had just as much sex and violence as Game of Thrones.

  26. jellydonut
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Yes. I think they overdo it on purpose for the sake of shock and publicity (or because the producers are pubescent). It’s unnecessary and the show stands on its own without it.

    It’s one thing to have ‘mature themes’, it’s another to add a bunch of boobs and intestines in your face just because they can.

  27. Tarod
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    The sex, yes. I haven’t really noticed the violence personally. The scene in season two that really bothered me was the one in the Blackwater episode with Bronn right before the battle. The content of the scene was great between him and Sandor. Why did we need the prostitute with her boobs hanging out throughout that entire scene??? Would have been a great added scene otherwise.

  28. Ours is the Fury
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Hinds didn’t say anything of line or that hasn’t been said by a whole lot of people in the press. I respect that he can admit was taken aback by some of the notorious nudity and violence. And then he compliments the storylines and so on, so it’s not like he was just ripping on GoT.

    I have this weird crush on Conleth Hill, so it makes me happy to see him complimented. His Varys is amazing. I never thought any actor could do such an odd character justice, but he pulls it off.

  29. Clob
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I haven’t been “annoyed” by gratuitous violence or the type of violence. The most gratuitous scenes so far have actually been one of the things that has set the show on a higher level for me. Rodrick’s death, for example, could have been filmed similar to Ned’s without really showing anything, but I think it was absolutely necessary to do it the way they did to really display Theon’s “issues.”

    There have a been a couple sexual scenes too gratuitous perhaps but the only one that “annoyed” me was the way too long Littlefinger sexposition in S1.

    I thought season 2 lacked a bit without naked Daenerys :P

  30. Sandsnake
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    jellydonut,

    Thats exactly it. I mean would anybody mind if the brothel scene in season 2 went straight to Littlefinger and Ros talking rather than showing 2 or 3 couples who are not even relevent to the plot having sex first? And the scene where he wipes the girls mouth is just outright pointless sleaze. You can advance the story in exactly the same way by showing 2 people having a conversation.

    Begs the question do the producers think that some of the audience have such short attention spans that they need to fill a dialogue scene with sex and nudity to hold their attention?

  31. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Sorry Winter, I love this site but this headline pissed me off. That’s all I will say about it but that’s how I feel.

  32. bearpitticketmaster
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Generally speaking, I’m pro-boob.

  33. Malcatraz
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Bee Beep,

    The books are filthy and so I think the amount if sex is about right. However, the people playing the main characters are mostly big enough names that I don’t think they’re likely to disrobe for the cameras as much as their characters do. I think that’s why they’ve created Ros, and yeah, the result is that the she feels a little gratuitous and tacked-on, rather than motivated as it feels in the books.

  34. Winter Is Coming
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    Winter Is Coming,

    Sorry Winter, I love this site but this headline pissed me off. That’s all I will say about it but that’s how I feel.

    Fair enough. I felt it was pretty reflective of the most newsworthy quote from the interview. And, like I said, I’m not attacking Hinds for his views and neither is anyone else here. Most people seem to agree with him!

  35. HugeFloppyGut
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming: Fair enough. I felt it was pretty reflective of the most newsworthy quote from the interview. And, like I said, I’m not attacking Hinds for his views and neither is anyone else here. Most people seem to agree with him!

    I don’t

  36. Malcatraz
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Yeah guys, the headline might bother you because it sucks having someone criticize a show most of us love, but when an actor on a show says something in the press against the show, no matter whether he mitigated it or not, it’s news. The headline is appropriate.
    Winter Is Coming,

  37. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Sandsnake,

    I actually wasn’t bothered by the brothel scene in season 2. For me that scene showed Littlefinger at work. People having sex being watched by another person being watched by Littlefinger. There is no indication that LF is perving at all. This is how he collects his information on his betters. The audience shares the nobles POV for a brief moment becoming voyeurs only to be observed by another. Its unsettling but that’s why it works. For me D &D have gotten LF perfectly. Here is a man devoted to bringing low all of those who looked down upon him. He is isn’t afraid to trudge through the muck, the piss, the shit and to paraphrase Shae in S2x1 “the cum”. It then leads into a follow up on the events of the babykilling with Ros and this is why i find the mouth wipe so significant in this regard as it is from this matter alone that “bastards” like Maeghan’s baby are derived. Its a visual dismissal of human life. Add to that his threat to Ros. Here
    LF substitutes Cersei for Ros as he is still reeling from her threat in the previous episode.
    I thought it a fantastic scene personally, yogurt and all.

  38. Jaime Saltcliffe
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Sandsnake,

    Totally agree. The scene with LittleFinger wiping the spunk from the girls mouth was gross and unnecessary especially with the key hole to key hole transition that preceded it. The gratuity never bothered me before that scene, although I was fully aware of the criticism. In fact, I enjoyed the sexposition of that scene in Season 1 with Ros and LittleFinger. It was highly quotable and hilarious!

    Sex is important to ASOIAF. It reveals a lot of characterization (often perversion) and empowers GRRM’s female characters as a tool to control their male counterparts. Medieval societies were brutal and sex trafficking was thought as a legitimate business at the time. But lets hope the Showrunners calm the HBO execs down and use a little more taste when showing it in the show.

  39. Zack
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The sex is OTT in the show, and it’s one of the things I dislike, and I absolutely think it’s unnecessary for that to be the case. Just because they can show something doesn’t mean it has to be done so frequently. HBO is the only place for the show because there do need to be the occasional scenes of prolonged sex, but not as much as they do. The worst scene of this type was in season 2, though, that ‘play with her ass’ scene with Littlefinger, I fucking hate that scene to death, and upon rewatching season 1 I couldn’t get nearly as annoyed by the gratuitous sex as I was the first time around because none of the scenes were as shitty as that one.

    So I’m not at all surprised to hear of Hinds’ distaste of that stuff. And I would also say he and you are entirely correct about Conleth Hill as Varys, too. He’s one of those minor characters I think more time should be spent with because he’s just so brilliant.

  40. Petter
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    axia777,

    Too lazy to read the article? Aand no, it isn’t the same. A lot of the sexual scenes in GoT are just plain bad writing.

  41. Grijnwaald
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I understand what he is saying, especialy as I watch it with my father, which can get pretty awkward, reminds me of Maisie’s season 2 thronecast interview http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yYnK5ZLMKVA

    However, the sex and violence is what makes it so gritty and real and as awkward and pointless as it may seem, sometimes it’s neccessary (but too much will ruin some episodes).

    Conleth Hill? I’ve nothing bad to say about him, he’s bloody brilliant as Varys and I can’t imagine anyone else playing him.

  42. GrrrrrrM
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The sex in the HBO version was so over the top compared to the discreet mentions of sex in the books, anyone who says differently is lying. Yes, the sexuality of the times was reflected in the stories, but always tastefully and never in graphic detail. The fact that Littlefinger owned a brothel or two was to illustrate that he had a variety of ways to generate coin, not meant to be a focal point of the plot. It wasn’t. HBO made it seem like he was just a pimp who came to court now and then.

    One of the most outrageous changes to the story in season one, was the scene between Dany and Drogo. In the book, it was a beautiful moonlit ride on their wedding night to a place out in the Dothraki sea of grass. She deliberately and carefully removed all the silver bells from his braid and he treated her gently, which was the point; to show that this brutal killer was a romantic, caring lover towards his new bride. He covered her in kisses and *she* guided his hand towards her. He didn’t rape her dog style like HBO showed.

  43. axia777
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Petter:
    axia777,

    Too lazy to read the article? Aand no, it isn’t the same. A lot of the sexual scenes in GoT are just plain bad writing.

    Oh right, as opposed to opening the show Rome with the red headed matron of that House riding the horse dealer like a carnival ride? Come on now. Don’t throw stones in glass houses.

    And if he, or anyone for that matter, thinks the show is bad they should never read the books, ever. The books are so much more graphic. LOL

    Over all I think he will be find and his performance will blow it all of the water. Him as Ceaser was brilliant. I look forward to seeing him as Mance. This is going to kick ass!

  44. Samuel
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I’ll readily admit that my love for the books made me let almost anything go by without much bother from my side, though the brothel scene(s) was a bit too much even for me. Trying to put that aside: of course HBO is putting on an extra layer of everything, sometimes just because they can. And I completely understand that some people will be put off to the point that they stop watching.

    With that disclaimer out of the way, I do think the headline is walking very closely to what I would call link bait. Kudos for at least including the rest of the quote before linking to the entire interview, but I came here thinking he was ripping the show completely. What you made a headline out of was just his (very valid, mind you) initial opinion.

    Keep up the great work you’re doing, but mind your headline editing.

    Winter Is Coming,

  45. Josla
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    No and yes. the books have way more “gratuitous” sex scenes that the show has left out. basically, the relationship between tyrion and shae was purely based on sex and the descriptions of it were very very explicit. I remember how much I hated it that Tyrion apparently could only thing about f**cking shae, even waking her up to take her. So far the only scene that I disliked was the brothel one in season two, mostly because the whore’s movement were too close to a real sex act. Conleth on the other hand is just superb. I wish he had more screen time and an arc of his own

  46. Watson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    With so many great actors, and with so many of them being so forthright in interviews, this was bound to happen. I’m glad it was somebody as coherent as Hinds.

    Gratuitous isn’t the word I would use. People spent far more of their own lives naked than any show depicts; even in GoT, I can’t call that gratuitous. I do think the nature of the nudity is problematic. It’s so disproportionately female, and so clearly intent on showcasing modern beauty standards that it is hard to imagine that it is motivated by anything other than somebody’s sex drive. Why even our favourite runaway Wildling Osha apparently has time for Brazilians. It’s a shame when the nudity ends up detracting from, rather than enhancing, the grittiness that the show usually aims for.

    That all said, Ciaran Hinds was in Rome… just saying.

  47. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    axia777,

    Right, so the main character of the series, a decadent, liberal widow who is a composite of Atia/Fulvia/Claudia offering sex to a man she uses again and again throughout the series for her own ambitions to ensure his loyalty is a pointless, gratuitous scene? That scene set up her character and the show’s truthful approach to Pre Christian morality perfectly.

    And did you watch the show? His name is Timon, a Jewish Freedman who is a recurring character throughout the show. He wasn’t a horse dealer.

  48. Jordan
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I feel bad for those who are so uptight. That must be a pretty stale way to live lol. The nudity and sex doesn’t bother me one bit, as a matter of fact I like it. As someone mentioned before, the books are FILTHY, and the shows nudity and sex is very toned down compared to the book. Nudity is nudity, I don’t understand how you can read and enjoy all of GRRM’s books but get offended by nudity on screen? So you have no problemenvisioning Theon getting raped and tortured, and no problem reading about Tyrion’s detailed sexscapades but a pair of boobs on screen and everyones getting all bent out of shape. Just makes no sense to me.

  49. Mars5446
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Malcatraz,

    I think it’s more about the fact that in his quote he’s referring to a feeling in the past tense, when he started viewing the show, whereas the headline inflates the criticism slighty by making it seem present tense and like more of an attack than it was in context. I don’t think that was intentional, the WiC folks are way more interested in bringing us good intel than anything else.

  50. Steven Swanson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming:
    Woah, woah, woah. No one is being reactionary or sensational or attacking Ciaran Hinds. I pulled his exact quotes from the interview for the post. And everyone in the comments seems to be pretty level-headed about the whole thing. You guys are reacting to something that isn’t there.

    But it is there, you chose to feature that quote in the headline because it would attract the most attention. The full quote is far less incendiary.

    And I kind of agree with Hinds, I’m not offended by some of the extra sex scenes other than on an aesthetic level, because they’re obviously put in simply because they’re sex scenes and not to advance the story (despite some people’s insistence that they were all in the books, which isn’t true). I don’t see the same thing with the violence though, that should be pretty relentlessly graphic.

  51. Ours is the Fury
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a matter of prudishness, but sometimes the excessive use of nudity lessens the effect of it, and I question why they have the nude scenes they do. I’d be happy to see a loving scene between Cat and Ned, for example. I’m not bothered by Littlefinger’s brothel scene in S1E7, because I know what they were going for, but the visual metaphor was a bit labored, and the noises distracted from Aidan Gillen’s acting.

    There is also the exploitative nature of it to be considered. Most of the time it’s attractive young women getting totally naked for no real reason, with those added sex scenes possibly robbing other characters like Sansa of screen time. I don’t have a problem with nudity, but it’s hard to come up with a truly good reason to bother with that brothel scene in S2 when Littlefinger is wiping the semen off the woman’s mouth. It seems like a cheap attempt at shocking the audience, when really it just inspires eyerolling.

    Sex and violence are aspects that can add to the show. I think Rome was great at that, actually. In GoT, there are several scenes that could benefit from sex/nudity but we aren’t seeing those scenes, is the problem. We’re seeing random boobs, which is a bit shrug-worthy.

  52. Jake
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    HugeFloppyGut,

    It sounds like you need to calm down. People are entitled to their opinions, and he even said “it annoyed me but then it calmed down a bit”.

  53. He who slithers
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    violence: meh, i am not bothered by it. But, then again, I have become so desensitized to violence over the decades that that doesn’t mean much.

    The sex/nudity… gratuitous? Maybe, but, then again, maybe that is the point. The only time I got a little uncomfy was the oft-mentioned Ros scene in the brothel. Well, tbh, I loved the scene but I was watching it with my wife and I was getting concerned that if that scene went on one second longer she would start to squirm a bit. She didn’t, but I had a feeling we were on the edge of uncomfortableness.

    As was mentioned further upthread, HBO has pulled some punches when it comes to the nudity–think of how Dany’s dress should have been, with one boob exposed. Damn you HBO, damn you. :)

    What struck me the most about the interview was how little Ciaran knew about the series/books.

    from the interview:
    Rayder’s part defines the Game of Thrones series, which Hinds only realized as he began to play the role.

    “If I’d known that I would have practiced a bit more,” he laughs. “Maybe they’ll put me right. I’m waiting to catch up on what they have planned.

    Yikes…

  54. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    I loathed the Brothel scene in 1×7 but did not roll my eyes at 2×2 at all. A good reason to defend that scene? Check out my interpretation of the “Nightlands” brothel scene several posts up in reply to Sandsnake’s indignation.

  55. Zack
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    This is about as well-stated a position on the topic as I’ve read, I would like to thank you for putting it so well. Especially your closing two sentences.

    It’s pretty clear when they choose scenes to feature for purely titillating purposes rather than letting the story dictate where the nudity should occur. That is when I am bothered. And it is often the case in the sex scenes that they are shooting for their straight male audience who will appreciate female T&A, rather than being objective and giving the ladies eye candy too. Drogo and Theon had their moments, but those scenes of nudity in comparison to the female nudity, it’s barely a drop in the bucket. That really should be addressed.

  56. Handmaiden of Dany
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes Conleth Hill is awesome! He has been the best Varys that I ever could have imagined.

    Can’t wait to see Ciaran Hinds as Mance also.

    About the sex-everyone has their own opinion. To each his own.

  57. Safia Saleh
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree with him. It was in poor taste especially since Ross wasn’t even in the books! Time could be spent developing core characters stories better such as Sansa and Arya. I really like Varys. His portrait brilliantly. Hope the next season cuts down in the cringe worthy sex scenes.

  58. axia777
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    axia777,

    Right, so the main character of the series, a decadent, liberal widow who is a composite of Atia/Fulvia/Claudia offering sex to a man she uses again and again throughout the series for her own ambitions to ensure his loyalty is a pointless, gratuitous scene? That scene set up her character and the show’s truthful approach to Pre Christian morality perfectly.

    And did you watch the show? His name is Timon, a Jewish Freedman who is a recurring character throughout the show. He wasn’t a horse dealer.

    Never said it was pointless. Just that it is gratuitous. To pretend other wise is funny.

    And who cares if I forgot the characters Timon’s name. Yes, he was a horse dealer. She got him to do so much more because he was a fool thinking with the wrong head.

    And yes, I have watched Rome. I own it on Blu Ray. As far as game of Thrones goes for example the whore house setting/scene sets up the Littlefinger character. It perfectly shows his predisposition to using other humans as cattle for his own uses no matter what the cost. So what’s every one’s point again?

  59. Ours is the Fury
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,
    I think that is how the scene was played, with LF peeping and acquiring info, yes, and he isn’t afraid to get a little dirty. But I still don’t think that sentiment was worth that scene. We already know those facts about him- his sneaky ways and spying were discussed often in S1, especially with Varys and Ned, and that he isn’t afraid to get hands on- well, we saw him put a knife to Ned’s throat. I understand the idea of the scene, but it still seemed like an excuse to show a beautiful naked woman going down on someone and having a mouthful to show for it. I think I actually laughed when I first saw that scene, and not in a genuine oh-this-is-clever way. It was in a this-is-just-silly way.

  60. axia777
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Jordan:
    I feel bad for those who are so uptight. That must be a pretty stale way to live lol. The nudity and sex doesn’t bother me one bit, as a matter of fact I like it. As someone mentioned before, the books are FILTHY, and the shows nudity and sex is very toned down compared to the book. Nudity is nudity, I don’t understand how you can read and enjoy all of GRRM’s books but get offended by nudity on screen? So you have no problemenvisioning Theon getting raped and tortured, and no problem reading about Tyrion’s detailed sexscapades but a pair of boobs on screen and everyones getting all bent out of shape. Just makes no sense to me.

    THIS. SO SO SO MUCH.

  61. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    To each their own. I believe 100% that reason for the “wipe” was as I have stated. I found it profound. C’est la vie.

  62. charles
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    actually, i kind of got the same thing. The article was much lighter on the criticism than the way you presented the quote in the headline. I don’t know, but that’s what it seemed to me.

  63. Hi-Fi
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Sex (and with it, nudity) is a huge aspect of people”s lives. I don’t find its presence in the show gratuitous at all, it’s just… natural. I don’t know, it really doesn’t bother me at all.

    I do agree about Conlet Hill. He’s probably my favorite actor from the show and I hate how he gets so little praise. His Varys is pretty much perfect.

  64. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    axia777: Never said it was pointless.Just that it is gratuitous.To pretend other wise is funny.

    And who cares if I forgot the characters Timon’s name.Yes, he was a horse dealer.She got him to do so much more because he was a fool thinking with the wrong head.

    And yes, I have watched Rome.I own it on Blu Ray.As far as game of Thrones goes for example the whore house setting/scene sets up the Littlefinger character.It perfectly shows his predisposition to using other humans as cattle for his own uses no matter what the cost.So what’s every one’s point again?

    So by this argument ANY use of nudity in a film/series is gratuitous? What about I Claudius?
    Atia was the main character of a series about the decadence of Ancient Rome, It would be stupid if she wasn’t naked.

    We have a Patrician woman, a widow desperate and ambitious as she has attached herself to Caesar’s star who needs to acquire allies. In this scene she is trading her only currency as a woman in this age, her body, for information/protection. In this same scene which is deliberately eroticised we see her break off and in a very everyday conversation while drinking water passed to her from her body servant discuss business. This scene sets up one the several uses of sexuality in the series. How could she not be naked?

  65. mags giantsbabe
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I came on here thinking Ciaran Hinds was slandering the show when I read it on fb, and then saw that he was simply a “little annoyed”.

    I love this site but also creating headlines such as “Kit Harington hypes up season 3″ really pissed me off. And then at the bottom “so do you think he’s for real, or just promoting his film career?” If it was Peter Dinklage or Charles Dance doing the hyping, the headline would read something like: “PD shares his excitement over S3″.

    I agree that the sex should be meaningful and intimate, but no harm in it being humorous and not to be taken seriously at other times.

    Bring on Jon and Ygritte :D

  66. alice
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m not bothered by the nudity or the violence, but I have to say sometimes it’s very gratuitous, especially the nudity, sometimes there is just no reason for it to be on screen, and in season 2 there were some scenes wrote just to have a naked girl.

  67. Mike Ernst
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I agree totally regarding the sexual aspect of Game. Although violence and sexuality is part and parcel of the human condition, it does not need to be quite so gratuitous. We are not teen age boy’s that need to have sex thrust “no pun intended” into our faces! Sexual aspect could be toned down somewhat , not removed as it is part of the story. Just needs a little less as a hint is as good as the whole act when it comes to nudity or the sexual act.

  68. Hi-Fi
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    If anything, I’d like to see more balance. Some male full frontal in Season 3, please. Thanks.

  69. Tom
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Why would anyone have a problem with titties and action?

  70. NomadicDirewolf
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t necessarily find the amount of sex in it annoying, its just the scenes when they have sex and nudity for the sake of it. Sometimes it can help to build up an atmosphere or a character, like when bronn had that naked hooker on his lap before the battle of th blackwater, or when tyrion first appears on the show in episode 1. But there were certainly scenes, almost all with ros in that seemed a bit sex for the sake of sex. Violence-wise however, there has been very little divergence from the books in that, if anything there’s less than in the books, and the depiction of it is just how things really are rather than designed with only entertainment in mind, and thats to be admired rather than hated

  71. axia777
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor: So by this argument ANY use of nudity in a film/series is gratuitous? What about I Claudius?
    Atia was the main character of a series about the decadence of Ancient Rome, It would be stupid if she wasn’t naked.

    And it would be stupid if the prostitutes were not naked in Game of Thrones. They are whores. They get paid to have sex. The whole Ros scene in the whore house was to show how callous of a man Littlefinger is. It frames his character up. So again, what is everyone’s point again?

    Again, the gratuitous sex is just mirroring the books. In fact, the books are way more gratuitous than the shows by far.

  72. serum
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I love the show and I have no problem with the violence or sex, keep doing what your doing D&D! Caesar is the man and I have no problem with his comments/opinion. Conleth Hill is a master and I believe that no other actor could portray Varys as well as he has!

  73. Starfish
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the sex and violence in the show… what is with this prudish attitude we have toward things like that?

    The sex is there because it needs to be, the books are even more graphic and it serves a purpose. The show is very realistic so I’m sure that if Westeros WERE real, things of that nature would happen all the time. Sex is the most natural thing in the world, and it’s HBO so they can do what they want. There isn’t even THAT much sex shown. The brothel scene in season 1 was the most intense and it serves to show Littlefinger’s twisted, conniving mindset.

    Honestly, it’s not a big deal. You get what you pay for. You want tame and censored? Go watch basic cable.

  74. Valdred Dethstorm
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Some comments on this article are just ridiculous.
    Get a grip, people. How terrible, gratuitous boobs of beautiful women, LET’S COMPLAIN AND WHINE GUYS!!!1111!!1!

  75. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    axia777,

    I would say we should just agree to disagree but I also realize what would be agreeing to? Lol!

  76. axia777
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    axia777,

    I would say we should just agree to disagree but I also realize what would be agreeing to? Lol!

    Sure, it is all good. Peace.

  77. AdrianAegon
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    He says SOME of the scenes. And I agree.
    Good scenes: Viserys and Doreah, Drogo and Daenerys, even Theon with Ros (upcoming:Jon and Ygritte :X) – scenes that trully have a purpose
    Bad: the ones with Littlefinger – I’m sorry, but couldn’t they have shown LF story in a diff way? they definitely have imagination, so is it because of the pervy producer Neil Marshall talked about? The scene with Armeca and LF cleaning her mouth was just… silly is little said.

    The sex in the books, and sex in the show are 2 completly diff things. Reading is a lonely process, while watching may not be.

    And yes, Conleth Hill is, imo, perfect as Varys! Perfect! 100%! Even Peter Dinklage has 99%, and that is because is far too handsome :)) COnleth Hill should get more appreciation and awards. Even we, now talk more about what Ciaran Hinds said about the sex, than what he said about Conleth Hill. We should be ashamed..

  78. Joshua Taylor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
  79. Nedro
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I love boobs.

  80. Wastrel
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure people all understand what ‘gratuitous’ means.

    I have no problem with the amount of sex in the series. As people have said, there was just as much on Rome, and i had no problem with that (well, mostly).

    My problem is that the sex often seems gratuitous – and worse than gratuitous, obstructive. Sex is useful to establish a character or a situation, or because it’s nice to watch. The sex on GOT was often neither plot-required nor displayed just for its aesthetic value. It just got in the way. The rest of the series had to be rushed in order to fit in pointless sex scenes that we couldn’t even enjoy as sex scenes because someone was always expositing something boring at the same time (and we couldn’t concentrate on the exposition because there was a sex scene going on at the same time). Many times I just wondered… why is there a sex scene here? WHY!? The only conclusion I could reach was that there was some sort of quota for them.
    [The second season was better in this regard]

    [[Since it's been raised: the initial Atia sex scene is a great example of non-gratuitous sex. It established the character of Atia. It established the character of Timon, and the relationship between them, which would go on to be very important. [Contrast, say, the early sex scenes with Tyrion and Theon in GOT, where their partners were someone without plot significance and the partnership was never again revisited]. It established the setting, as a place where rich aristocratic women could happily have sex with random men. And it subverted expectations: – time and again we’ve been shown opening or near-opening sex scenes on TV and in films, in which we’re introduced to our important male character… but this time, the man turned out to be a random lacky, while the woman who in most shows/films would be a whore turned out to be rich, powerful, and a central character.
    ((Bit of a shame that Hollywood still has to make sure to show any woman enjoying and in charge of sex as ultimately evil and deeply flawed, but one step at a time, i guess…))]

    Oh, and Hinds is right about Hill as well. I think Hill has been giving almost certainly the stand-out performance of the show so far… pity his character avoids attention so much that a lot of people have overlooked him.

  81. Wastrel
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Wastrel,

    Sorry, I lost track of my point there.

    My original point was that it’s not that there’s necessarily too much sex, but that the sex is badly written, and gets in the way of the plot and the pacing rather than furthering them.

  82. AdrianAegon
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Varys in the books is not a character to like, but in the tv show, he’s just AWESOME! So, because there are far to few news about him I would like to share this. I would call it best Conleth Hill\Varys moments, but all his moments are great so:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvn552vFRO0 – “…and I keep on paddling!” Gyah! I love it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpL6Fwu0wkw – the infamous riddle scene. My personal favourite in all game of thrones. “Power resides where men believe it resides.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_WQUOHZ6Dg -the two Ned-Varys brilliantly scenes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmVos4TDLSA

    and of course Varys – LF http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV6ecIfYBg4

  83. Morrigan
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    To people bitching about Rome: how do you know he didn’t feel the same about Rome? Talk about fallacious BS.

    Anyway, he’s not entirely wrong about the gratuitous sex; the brothel scenes were completely gratuitous and added nothing to the story, and there were other scenes like that as well. I agree with Mean25 on this. I don’t recall an instance of gratuitous violence in the show, though.

    Winter Is Coming:
    Woah, woah, woah. No one is being reactionary or sensational or attacking Ciaran Hinds.

    How about the comment that told him to “grow some balls”? How is that not a personal attack on the dude? (It’s certainly completely irrelevant, anyway. It takes more balls to criticize something popular, rightly or wrongly, than say nothing.)

  84. Lex
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree that the headline is very misleading. Sure it’s an actual quote, but it’s taken out of context. As a headline, it just leaps off the page with a strong negative connotation.

  85. Darquemode
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I tend to agree with Hinds and I do not find it surprising in the least that someone who has not seen the series may be shocked by the sex and violence.

    I think it is very difficult to accurately show the vicious world where sex is a major power at play without some graphic violence and some sex. It is and adult series for an adult audience.

    That said, I think some of Littlefinger’s scenes were completely over-the-top if not unneeded. I think D&D felt the need to establish Littlefinger a bit more than in the books and felt the need to add brothel scenes that showed him in his natural environment. I understood why, but how they did it at times went beyond the scope IMO… Even if they were often fairly effective in showing what D&D wanted.

    ETA:
    I think the headline is alright. It expresses one of the more dynamic quotes from the man and of course it gets page hits! XD

  86. Tar Kidho
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Hinds on all acounts and think it’s good to see an actor who’s still on the show sharing their opinion about this. I’m not from a prudish family at all (being European and non-religious), but because of some scenes in season 1 I feel like I can’t recommend the series to my parents, which otherwise I’d definitely do for the terrific dialogue…

  87. Rygar
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    You can’t be gratuitous without you being between a tit, so…. more titties please.

  88. zambi76
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but I’ll never get those complains about “all that horrible sex” on the show. Maybe it’s because I’m a perverted middle European, I don’t know. But every time I hear them I have to confess the word “prude” does indeed pop up in my mind.

    Since I myself on the other hand am very squeamish about violence of any kind, it all evens out in the end, I guess, and you folks can call me a “pussy” in return.

  89. KG
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Jordy,

    You don’t understand it, so you’ll settle for mocking it as “prudish” and “ridiculous.”

    How dare people think differently than you, eh?

  90. GeekFurious
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming:
    Woah, woah, woah. No one is being reactionary or sensational or attacking Ciaran Hinds. I pulled his exact quotes from the interview for the post. And everyone in the comments seems to be pretty level-headed about the whole thing. You guys are reacting to something that isn’t there.

    The headline says “finds it” as in he is still bothered by it. That’s disingenuous. He “found it” gratuitous when he first watched it. At no point in the article does he use the word “find.” So he doesn’t find it gratuitous. That’s a sensational headline.

  91. Petter
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    axia777,

    No one said that the show is bad, but almost every sexual scene at this point have been. Can’t think of scenes as bad in Rome tbh, so keep your silly phrases. No one is interested.

  92. TheAnchoress
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Wastrel,

    I agree in part but not entirely. Dave and Dan do have intentions behind all their choices, whether or not they come off is a matter of execution. It does seem like, particularly in S1, sex scenes are given to characters the show needs viewers to remember but doesn’t have something quite concrete to do at present (see: Theon, Viserys, Pycelle (!), and Littlefinger of course). It’s a nifty strategy for trying to engage non-book readers with the depth of the character bench and sneaking little pieces of motivation or mythology into the conversation, but aside from narratively juggling the balls, as it were, yeah, the sex itself in there is rather gratuitous. They find a better balance in S2.

    Amen on the Atia intro. Rome used sex as the way to flaunt/gain/lose power in lieu of spectacular battles. It refocused the normal roman epic down to tv size, subverting expectations for it, and sex scenes were an integral part of that. They had a purpose as a specific narrative device, whereas Thrones uses sex for a variety of purposes, some of which are clearly more successful than others.

    Glad Hinds speaks his mind, regardless of what we might think of the same thing. We can all agree, at least, on how FABULOUS Conleth Hill is.

  93. zambi76
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    We can all agree, at least, on how FABULOUS Conleth Hill is.

    Quoted for truth.

  94. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for more nudity. I’d prefer it if some of the stars of the show would bare it all like Emilia and Carice have. And yes, that includes the guys on the show for those who would enjoy it. It’s about time for Kit to follow in Alfie’s footsteps and hang dong in S3.

    As for violence being gratuitous, I can’t wait to see the reaction when Robb and Greywind’s heads are transposed.

  95. Rygar
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I find nudity in the show to be most welcome. Tits and krakens in particular. They also abound on the internet. Oh look, I just found some.

  96. AdrianAegon
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    GeekFurious: The headline says “finds it” as in he is still bothered by it. That’s disingenuous. He “found it” gratuitous when he first watched it. At no point in the article does he use the word “find.” So he doesn’t find it gratuitous. That’s a sensational headline.

    Plus, he says “some” of the sex and violence scenes, while the title implies that all sex and violence scenes. That’s why so many people flared up.

  97. Darquemode
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    GeekFurious,

    You think he finds it less gratuitous now than he did upon first watching it?
    I don’t, and I doubt his opinion has changed on the topic. He can still be annoyed by some of the sex and violence and think that overall it is a quality production filled with brilliant performances. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  98. Winter Is Coming
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    GeekFurious, if we really want to parse his language, it appears his opinion of the sex and violence being gratuitous has not changed. He merely says it “calmed down a bit”. And he couches the whole thing in a compliment about the storylines, to take some of the sting out of the criticism.

    My intention with the headline wasn’t to make it sensationalist, but to pick the most newsworthy aspect of the interview and reflect that in the headline. I’ve done the same thing with other interviews as well. I had to abbreviate and summarize his quote to make it work as a headline (originally I had in quotes “a little gratuitous” but that made the headline three lines long, which looks bad, IMO). If that summarization misrepresents Hinds’ view, than I take full responsibility.

  99. hillaire
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    All,

    Actors are idiots.
    It is known.

    Whats the big deal with abit of nudity, if it bothers you that much I suggest you take a look at the world around you and grow up.

  100. Steven Swanson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Wastrel: I’m not sure people all understand what ‘gratuitous’ means.

    I have no problem with the amount of sex in the series. As people have said, there was just as much on Rome, and i had no problem with that (well, mostly).

    My problem is that the sex often seems gratuitous – and worse than gratuitous, obstructive. Sex is useful to establish a character or a situation, or because it’s nice to watch. The sex on GOT was often neither plot-required nor displayed just for its aesthetic value. It just got in the way. The rest of the series had to be rushed in order to fit in pointless sex scenes that we couldn’t even enjoy as sex scenes because someone was always expositing something boring at the same time (and we couldn’t concentrate on the exposition because there was a sex scene going on at the same time). Many times I just wondered… why is there a sex scene here? WHY!? The only conclusion I could reach was that there was some sort of quota for them.
    [The second season was better in this regard]

    This, well said.

  101. Rygar
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Finds Found, Hinds Hound. Let’s Go Rangers!

  102. Steven Swanson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    hillaire:
    All,

    Actors are idiots.
    It is known.

    Whats the big deal with abit of nudity, if it bothers you that much I suggest you take a look at the world around you and grow up.

    I suggest you actually learn to comprehend the criticism rather than assume it comes strictly from prudishness. Like Wastrel said above, it’s not that the sex/nudity scenes exist, it’s that some of them feel forced and clunky, and rather than contribute to the quality of the show make it feel a little tawdry.

  103. Mad Hatter
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    He makes a good point. Gratuitous nudity is when nudity is used to cover up for a lack of something else (plot, acting, drama, etc.). It’s like, well this is getting a little depressing and dull … so here’s some action bewbs and pubes to cheer/wake you up! (Uh, thanks HBOMG.) There have been several points in this show where it has felt like that and it’s annoying because with this story and this cast there is really no need for it. If you want nudity, it’s not like there’s a big shortage of that on the internet and elsewhere in the media (and in your own life?) People campaigning for nudity, demanding it like it’s owed to them, are the ones that sound like skeezey sex-obsessives, modern day bluenoses insisting that everyone shall conform to their nudity standards and requirements.

  104. Richard
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I think Joshua has it right. The so called gratuitous sex made some rather good points and illustrated both the use of the brothel and the re-education of Ros to her upcoming position plus the scene in season two. All move the characters along and that is not gratuitous at all. Same with the violence of the male child killing. You need to see it. This grittiness is part of the books and parts of the theme.

    Maybe a brothel without seeing sex is enough for people but rarely would it describe the utilitary nature of sex commence and the human quotient. So from this viewer and reader I thought those scenes nailed it.

    The violence has been necessary as well. I thought one of the themes George was
    employed was the human costs of war, the suffering by everyone. How it mutilates our souls and society. SO yes show all in its grittiness!

    That is part of George’s books. He takes the romance out of fantasy.

  105. Chris
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Hinds deserves credit for saying something and having the fortitude to say it.
    Oh… and having the sensibility simply to notice in the first place.
    Yes, there was all kinds of utterly gratuitous sex, in the first season especially.
    Yup, the books were loaded with sex and it made sense in context.
    In the show, some of it seemed appropriate but a lot of it seemed more like a cheap, unimaginative, way to have two (or more) people talking to reveal elements of backstory… the now infamous “sexposition.”
    Surely, there are infinite other kinds of “business,” to use the term of art, in which characters can be engaged while they reveal plot points.
    Yes, yes, it’s cable but, seriously, why oh why did we have to see Roz’s crotch.

  106. Arthur
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    There is no doubt in my mind he is talking about Ros…

  107. Kellie
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Bee Beep,

    I agree! I stopped watching the show after that scenes it was excruciatingly gratuitous! It’s when I decided to read the books instead. Then I fell in love with the story and gave the show another go. Glad season 2 toned it down :)

  108. mike
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    I totally agree.

    It is a huge part of GRRM’s books and to gloss over the sex and violence in the show would undermine the gritty atmosphere that is vital to the series.

    Also, Hinds must not be watching HBO at all because most of the shows are filled with sex and violence. Boardwalk Empire may be even worse than GoT at times. I don’t think either show uses it without reason. It’s part of the storytelling.

  109. Al Swearengen
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I kinda find this hard to believe from the man who starred in Rome, I mean Rome’s pilot was pretty notorious for its sex and violence.

    Ciaran was obviously not a fan of Deadwood either :-)

  110. Udi
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Jordy,

    Enhance?!
    Fancy word for a sell-sword
    :)

  111. Mike Chair
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    If GoT’s sex and violence is gratuitous then why am I paying so much for HBO?

  112. ACVG
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Tarod,

    while I’m not “pro-nudity” in any case, I found that the young topless brothel worker on Bronn’s lap during the first half of his conversation with Sandor added a lot to the scene… Bronn is among friends about to enjoy some woman time and having her there on his lap “ready to go” or whatever just highlights how much of a dark cloud Sandor is bringing to the pre-war festivities.

  113. Fire And Blood
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I love Ours Is The Fury like a sister, but as in many cases we disagree, and on no single topic more than what consists of “nudity.”

    But first and foremost is the discussion that Winter’s headline is or is not sensationalistic. In a sense I guess it could be considered that, but it probably still doesn’t come across half as offensive as some of my past headlines. (I have been known to even capitalize odd words for no apparent reason, ala the New York Post!) (And I! Have! Added! Exclamation points! For no apparent reason!)

    So I am not against occasional sensationalism. Make the headlines what you will; we’re supposed to be both informative and fun.

    Back to nudity: the supposed superiority of the female form over the male in (what could be primarily considered) “normal” society drives this very argument. That breasts have this “magical” ability to titillate but a bare male torso does not?

    (If you think that’s not the case then you haven’t been to Tumblr.)

    Because let’s be real: there are twice as many topless men on GoT as there are topless women. Just take a look at any scene shot on any street in King’s Landings.

    The only thing that places the female torso higher than the male is your own puritanical upbringing. That’s all. In no other way is it logical to place a higher (or more shocking) value on female nudity. (In fact, I could argue the opposite; women’s breasts serve a much greater purpose than male breasts do. You want unnatural? Male nipples are unnatural, and should be therefore considered more shocking.)

    So yes, by all means, if sex offends you, let it be known. If violence turns your stomach–it should–protest as you will (though keeping in mind violence is meant to disturb).

    But please don’t equate nudity with sex. They’re two different topics.

    At least that’s my (unpopular) opinion.

    P.S. LOVE Hinds!

  114. dizzy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    This almost feels like a “gate”…

  115. Rygar
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,
    Love her like a Lannister sister or a Targ sister or a regular sister?

  116. Ours is the Fury
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    They are two different things. Male and female breasts should be treated the same but they aren’t. To pretend they’re viewed the same way as society is denial of the obvious. I sure wish our bodies were treated equally, but they aren’t. I’m pretty sure people don’t have conversations with your chest, FaB, though I’m sure it’s uh fab.

    Multiple people have pointed out that we’re not offended by nudity or sex when criticizing it – quite the opposite. The problem is that the writing of those scenes where nudity and/or sex is added into the scene randomly is usually bad. I have no problems with Theon’s sex scene with the ship captain’s daughter though some thought that was gratuitous. Yeah, there’s some exposition, but the scene is in-character and doesn’t seem like it came out of nowhere. It’s based on a book scene, and Theon likes the sound of his own voice. It’s believable.

    When people insist the criticisms are based in prudishness, it’s clear they aren’t even reading the discussion here. All I see are people commenting on the writing, the function and the believability of the scenes. Sex and nudity are great, but let’s not sacrifice the writing either.

  117. Zack
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood: The only thing that places the female torso higher than the male is your own puritanical upbringing.

    This seems a bit disingenuous. The show doesn’t need to be on HBO to show a topless male. Hell, doesn’t need to be a cable show, period, to show a male topless. I think it’s reasonable to expect R-rated male skin since we’re supplied plenty of equivalent female skin.

    Which skin happens to be R-rated differs to a point, so adjustments may need to be considered.

  118. Mike Chair
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    dizzy: This almost feels like a “gate”…

    Almost. If Varys appeared full monty it would be a gate.

  119. dizzy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Got to go with Sue-Fury on this one.

  120. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Rygar,

    More likely a Targaryen sister.

  121. Chibarin
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Yep, that’s it. He’s now my favourite person on this show.

  122. dizzy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    However, you want gratuitous watch Spartacus. I love it, but I hold HBO and Thrones to a higher standard. Maybe I’m wrong.

  123. dizzy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Mike Chair: Almost.If Varys appeared full monty it would be a gate.

    Coming in season 3 …

  124. barak
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Tarod: The sex, yes. I haven’t really noticed the violence personally.

    Whoa, wait, you haven’t noticed all that in-your-face violence? Like in S1 when whatshisface, Arryn’s ex-squire-now-knight dies and the camera lingers on him choking and the blood spurting out of his neck for a good number of seconds? (That scene in particular reminded me of Monty Python’s “Scott of the Sahara”…)

    It’s kind of funny that everyone is outraged by the sex and nudity but doesn’t seem to mind stuff like seeing Dany eat a horse’s heart (real or not it looked disgusting), the camera relishing in people dying violent deaths, someone’s head getting smashed to pieces by a rock or The Tickler doing his thing, Joff doing his own thing with the prostitutes, just to mention a few? I mean technically these are all gratuituous and the story wouldn’t have been impacted if they hadn’t been shown only implied……… but of course brutal violence is less objectionable than naked people having sexytimes.

    The only sex scene that bothered me in GoT so far was the infamous Littlefinger & his girls scene in S1, simply because it went on for too long and got boring and uncreative. The brothel scene in S2 I actually liked, including Littlefinger wiping the girl’s mouth. Was it sleazy and uncomfortable to watch? Sure. I believe that was the point.

    I’m not saying all sex scenes have a point in GoT but the sex and violence are part of the show’s image, it’s “in-character” for the show as well as the characters themselves. I can see how some people can find it annoying but people being so uncomfortable about the sex but not the violence is ridiculous.

    That said, I have to lol at all the anger directed at poor Hinds who didn’t even trash the show or anything.

  125. Mike Chair
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    barak: It’s kind of funny … outraged by the sex … doesn’t seem to mind .. Dany eat a horse’s heart …

    I remember Emilia saying in an interview that it had the consistency of a Gummy Bear. Didn’t we have a post a while back where we were suggesting different GoT memorabilia ideas? Horse Heart Gummy Bears. A little late, but there it is.

  126. The mighty hodor
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    It is far too much!

    I’m fine with violence and sex if its part of the story, but when it’s a random scene with two girls pleasuring each other it gets a bit annoying.

    I guess that’s why the show is so popular with the video game players, they can get their kicks from seeing naked people.

  127. Loco73
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Yeah……you know what? I want more sex and violence on then show LOL! Coming from a man who was Caesar….I find his objections quite strange! “ROME” was after all quite laden with both sex and violence!

  128. Brandice
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    IMHO the sex scenes take up a disproportionate amount of time in the episodes they are included in. Yes there is sex in the books, but the time it takes to read through them is much shorter than on the show, while long portions of story from the book get the “short treatment” on the show. I think opposition to the sex scenes in GoT has more to do with losing out on other more important things. Plus the sexposition just comes off as silly. A tasteful love scene with some boobies? Sure, hit me up. A sex scene where one character blathers on and on? Weird.

    Next time you are having sex with your *whoever*, try either having a meaningful conversation the entire time or just make a speech about something, and see if it feels weird. :P

  129. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Brandice,

    16 minutes total in the two seasons. That is how much time the scenes have taken. That amounts to less than a minute per episode.

  130. witless chum
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I think he’s right in literal terms, the nudity on pretty much all HBO shows tends to be a little softcore porny, as in, it’s usually there to tittilate me as a male 18 to 34 viewer, as opposed to being strictly needed for the story (not as bad as on certain Showtime series, hi David Duchovny!). They excise the Ned/Catelyn sex scene from the books and add like 10 naked whores to Tyrion’s introduction. Same for some of the violence. It often seems like, especially in Blackwater, the violence is more like “Wow, look at that” than “Wow, that’s disgusting.” We see Sandor absolutely fucking people up in combat. I think if the show was just aiming to show off the brutality of its setting; we’d see Sandor chop Mycah almost in half, not an anonymous armored dude.

    But I don’t think any of that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s fun to be titillated, after all, and this is entertainment. I might care about it more if I was more a fan of the show as opposed to a fan of the books who watches the show more out of curiosity than the way I watch something like Breaking Bad. Mostly knowing what’s going to happen next for the characters unavoidably gives me some distance. Plus, my parents let me watch inappropriately violent movies and read too-adult books at an early age, which I’m told must have rotted my soul and made the baby Cthulu cry. And the Catholicism didn’t take at all, so I don’t feel bad about it.

    On one hand, if breaks my suspension of disbelief a little bit when every single person you see naked is physically perfect (except Hodor, no offense to Kristen Nairn) and the camera sorta lingers and leers at the naked whores. On the other hand, Esme Blanco is real purty and even moreso without her clothes.

    *I feel like I should mention every time the nudity on Game of Thrones is discussed that Natalie Tena’s strong belief that Osha should have a huge bush and arguing the point to the people who make those kind of decisions for is the most endearing thing I’ve heard any adult cast member say. She must be good people. And she’s so right.

  131. David The Grey
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Probably a bit late to add my 2 cents, but I felt that the actor’s statement was a bit odd after having performed in Rome, which had plenty of sex & violence.

    But what bothered me more about the interview was that the actor seemed to have almost no investment in the role. I got the distinct sense that this was just a job, might as well do it so he could visit his family whilst in the area, etc.. Perhaps I’m being sensitive and maybe there was something he felt he could bring to the table playing Mance and that is why he took the role but it just wasn’t mentioned in the interview. I rather like it more when the actors seem to be excited about their parts even if it’s just another job.

    At any rate – I hope it is just me and that he wins me over with his portrayal of Mance, as all of the actors have done with their characters. Can’t wait for Season 3 to start and I know it’s going to go so fast.

  132. Flick
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,
    I’m going to join you with that Conleth Hill crush! I think he’s rather lovely.

    As for Varys, he plays the part with such skill. So subtle but so wonderful in bringing both humor and layers of gravitas and cunning. One of my hopes for season 3 is some fantastic scenes for him (and more appreciation).

    So excited for Hinds, too. I’m hoping he brings something interesting to the Jon Snow scenes which I’ve always found somewhat less than interesting.

  133. Joe Bowers
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I think those that have actually read the books would say that there is not nearly enough sex and violence in the HBO version to keep it true to the source material.

  134. WildSeed
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I hope Hinds’ perspective references the unnecessary sadist Joffrey scenes, in
    particular. That was disgusting . If he’s read any from the books, he’d be content
    with the omission & details of Lolly’s rape. Personally, I rather enjoyed the nudity,
    when inserted at appropriate moments. It is well fitting for that era. Renley and
    Loras’s foreplay would have been fine, in a movie, but took up precious $moments
    clarifying the strengths of either character. GoT Renley ‘s best scene was his last in
    Catelyn’s company, and discussing his political perspectives.

    Hinds seem to have tried on his new skin, as the Mance character. I am anxious
    with anticipation, on how he will own their role. He’s never failed thus far,
    let’s hope the script does the role justice. So long Qhorin Halfhand, hello Mance :D

  135. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I find it appropriate that this discussion comes up as we are 69 days away from season 3′s premier.

  136. Ours is the Fury
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Renly and Loras actually merited a longer love scene. If they’d given them more naked screen time, I’d be alright with it since they had a real relationship that mattered to the story

    Joe Bowers,

    Funny, the criticism I see is coming overwhelmingly from people who have read and love the books.

  137. Steven Swanson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Joe Bowers:
    I think those that have actually read the books would say that there is not nearly enough sex and violence in the HBO version to keep it true to the source material.

    Actually I’d say there isn’t enough focus on the food in the show to remain true to the source material. There’s a lot more food porn in the books than sexy porn.

  138. Ser Tahu
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    yes and no. the sex is definitely gratuitous (examples: the five minute girl-on-girl Littlefinger monologue, the whole of episode 12, and almost every Ros or brothel scene). one of my main complaints is that even though there is quite a bit of sex in the books, with the exception of maybe one or two scenes it really didn’t feel gratuitous, but in the tv series it seems like a lot of the time the sex is there for the sake of having sex there.

    as for the violence, I don’t think it is particularly gratuitous given the source material. Also, compared to some of the gore in other series’ *cough* The Walking Dead *cough* it really isn’t that bad.

  139. Ryan E
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Violence has been pretty much spot on in my opinion, not all that gratuitous. I don’t mind the sex myself but I can understand how some could see it as a little over the top… you can definitely tell HBO tosses a little extra at the sex scenes to appeal to some and to generate a little buzz, like is also done in True Blood.

  140. Lexyvil
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with him about some of the meaningless sex scenes that were added. It didn’t in my opinion enhance how the plot progresses. There are times when it’s used rightfully, though some of the scenes don’t fit well in important situations.

  141. WildSeed
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    You are right, of course, Renley and Loras did share a intimate relationship , some
    would add , reason for Loras’s revenge. I admired them both, I just wished there
    was a balance of time to lend more substance to both character strengths/love.
    To be true, no one had “sufficient ” time, life just occurs as it must ( ask Ned ).
    At least Loras, the gallant knight, will benefit from the few extra minutes per
    episode in future seasons.

  142. Phil
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    The sex & violence only strikes me as being REAL… so many TV shows and movies seem so fake to me because everything is so restrained. It may be gratuitous in GoT but it’s a breath of fresh air really, haha.

  143. WildSeed
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic: has anyone checked out the fan based Web Series known as
    ” Dunk and Egg “. I just read about it at Nerdist.com.
    Re: Chase Boyajian, et.al. Any good ?

  144. Baramos
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    He’s Ciaran Hinds, man, he don’t have to put on the kid gloves. The sexposition is ridiculous on the show. Even some of the gore was a little pointless.

  145. Roopert
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    I think the concern over the title of the article as sensational may come from a difference of perspective. If you’ve read the article, then that is a pertinent point and a good way to reference it but its softened by the knowledge of what he said that was great about the show. If you just bounce to the site and see the initial title, it is a little jarring. I think most of us love the show and many of us love the books and can be defensive of both or either so if you see one of the most anticipated new stars of the show saying he’s “annoyed” by anything about the show, it comes across as a wee bit ungrateful and dismissive. When you read the article or what Winter wrote, you realize that while yes thats what he said (and the man is entitled to his opinion) he did have some really nice things to say about the show.

    And SO happy to see some Varys love :-). I’ve thought for quite some time that Conleth Hill is one of the most underrated actors on the show. You see articles all over that show a lot of love for almost anyone else but he does a fabulous job with a character that I think is just as complicated as any in the books or in the show and Conleth brings him to life beautifully.

  146. Morgan King
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    The base entertainment value of sex and violence in the show provides catharsis and stylistic contrast. It’s a great way to break up dour seriousness with something both jarring and luridly pleasurable to view. It’s fine.

  147. Saark
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Very Huffington Post-esque headline, WIC.

    tut tut :)

  148. john
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    The thing is that most people are not used to the level of nudity that HBO shows have. It’s not the norm.

    A lot of people hadn’t seen anything on HBO once they started watching the show. HBO does it differently, doesn’t meant it’s worse, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily gratuitous.

    Other cable/broadcast networks won’t even show the girl’s boobs in sex scenes. Same deal with most movies. Sex scenes are generally portrayed as very tame on television.

  149. Morgan King
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    john,

    That’s more the product of the box office changes in the 90s when PG-13 movies started making more money than R movies. Nudity is broadcast on standard cable in many parts of the world – ‘the norm’ is pretty culturally relative!

  150. john
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Morgan King:
    john,

    That’s more the product of the box office changes in the 90s when PG-13 movies started making more money than R movies. Nudity is broadcast on standard cable in many parts of the world – ‘the norm’ is pretty culturally relative!

    It is culturally relative but it’s also true that most television/movies that Western people watch originates in the U.S so people don’t really see that much nudity on television/movies anyway. And honestly, HBO’s level of nudity will be seen as “gratuitous” even by European standards.

    And by “many parts of the world” you must mean Northern Europe. Most of world does not show nudity on primetime teleivision.

  151. Ninepenny
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I’d say some of it was gratuitous simply because it felt as if it was added to meet a HBO quota rather than fitting naturally within the story.

  152. Ninepenny
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    According to http://winteriscoming.net/2012/06/blackwater-director-neil-marshall-on-nudity-and-creating-the-battle/ one of the full frontal scenes in Blackwater was added at the request of an exec speficially for the “pervert side of the audience” (as M points out). If this practice was common then it is not surprising that such elements can seem as if they were added-on as ‘fan service’ rather than feeling as if they were simply a natural part of a world which contains sex and violence.

    Game of Thrones somewhat reminds me of the early episodes of Torchwood, which seemed to be trying to show how ‘mature’ they were compared to Doctor Who by having a lot of sex, but it actually made the show feel far less mature because it felt as if they were just doing it because they couldn’t on Doctor Who and were trying to indulge themselves and make a point instead of trying to make a good show.

  153. ChristineMarie
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I think these cries of “prudishness” are unfair and often missing the point. I don’t have a problem with sex/nudity that drives the story. But so often I feel they stick a naked woman in a scene (and yes, it’s always a woman) purely to tantalize the males, and to me as a female viewer it feels exploitive and demeaning.

    Imagine the reverse: women sitting around and talking while naked men stand around or even sit on their lap, contributing nothing except their nakedness. It would feel a little weird, wouldn’t it?

  154. Delta1212
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m literally reading this while watching him have faily graphic sex with Cleopatra, so that’s amusing.

  155. Nancy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I applaud Ciaran Hinds for giving his honest opinion. He’s entitled to it. Let’s be fair, GoT has been criticized for it’s sex scenes, some of them are pointless-there just to be there and some actually move the plot forward (Bran witnessing Jaime and Cersei in action). The infamous brothel scene in season 1, as someone did mention upthread really distracted from Aiden Gillian’s acting, it took the poignancy out of Littlefinger’s long set seething jealously.
    I know the show is going to have explicit scenes but do it for the sake of plot not just to have a sex scene. As for the violence, well most of that it is in the books. It made me squirm while reading and I squirm when I watch. If the sex and violence bothered him that much, he wouldn’t have agreed to do the show. And he is spot on about Conleth Hill.

  156. Independent George
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Yup and yup.

    Again – the key word is gratuitous, and from reading the comments, most people here understands the difference. What amuses the hell out of me is the way they can throw in extra sex for Littlefinger’s brothel scenes even as Jaime & Stannis manage to have sex fully clothed. Or how they’re willing to go the extra mile to have the Hound cut a guy in half, the mob ripping the high septon’s arm off, or Stannis chop the top of a man’s head off – all of which took me completely out of the scenes for their ridiculousness.

    I love the show, but a little more restraint would help things out quite a bit.

  157. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Did the nudity and sex in ‘The Sopranos’ “move the plot forward”? Not really. Does the nudity in other HBO shows like ‘Boardwalk Empire’,'Deadwood’,'True Blood’, and ‘Rome’? I’d say for the most part no. What the hell is supposed to happen in a brothel? What is so gratuitous about people having sex in a place where they go to have sex? The Littlefinger sexposition scene in season 1 was lengthy and is the only scene I think was over the top. Other than that I think the nudity has been on par, and even lesser than most other HBO shows.

  158. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Independent George,

    The High Septon was ripped apart in the books too. Jaime and Stannis being clothed was because the actors probably refused to do nudity. Perhaps they could have used a stand in, like they did with Cersei and Talisa during their sex scenes.

  159. Jaime Saltcliffe
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Truth is, rewatched both seasons with an ex-girlfriend and we often paused the show for a little hanky panky. So thank you David and Dan for cutting out the foreplay in the living room!

    Second truth, people take their opinions too seriously…

  160. Lundy
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes and yes. Example; the killing of all of Robert’s bastards. This was implied in the books, never in your face, as it was in the first Episode of Season 2. I found it very off-putting and know of a couple of people so disturbed by it all, they stopped watching the show. So if it chased off two I know, how many others that I don’t know, turned off the series?
    Counter productive to a shows success if you ask me. Surely another way to portray the incidents could’ve been found…

  161. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Lundy,

    It must not have chased off too many considering the audience grew throughout season 2.

  162. Shawn Simpson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Jordy,

    Oh ye enlightened one! Climb down off yon high horse. The issue is not nudity in and of itself but of excess beyond that of artistic integrity. There is absolutely no need of wiping joy-juice off a prostitutes mouth nor of the graphic depiction of a sadistic beatdown to further or advance the story. I belive Hinds’ gripes are perfectly legitimate. Will it stop those who love the story from watching? Most likely not for its merits outweigh its detractions but hopefully the writers will catch on and tone it down. Ultimately, this show is not for pubescent boys.

  163. Zack
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Perhaps I am not remembering Deadwood clearly enough, but I don’t recall too many extended brothel scenes where naked whores were instructed on proper methods and what-have-you, with accompanying sex noises and everything else that comes with those scenes.

    I do remember Al giving monologues while getting head, during which times the whore would usually be positioned off-camera. Imagine that! A show on HBO featuring its characters doing what real people do while keeping the plot moving forward and the camera focused on things other than skin. That type of scene is analogous to those Renly-Loras scenes which were fairly tastefully done in my view. (So I’m not saying that any type of sex scene dpesn’t work for GoT. But certainly there are a fair number that don’t.)

    And remember, in Deadwood, Trixie and Joanie, despite being prostitues, were stars of the show appearing in nearly every episode and tasked with a hell of a lot more than showing skin. They weren’t there for T&A but because the story called for it. The whores in GoT pretty much just get fucked all the time while other people monologue at them. It’s awkward writing.

    I’m not in a position to comment on Sopranos, not having watched much of it (only season 1). It’s quite possible I would have felt its nudity was gratuitous as well, but for the most part what I remember is the characters gathering to talk in strip clubs where the nudity was peripheral at most, rather than the focus.

    The Wire wasn’t excessive, either, so surely a show merely being an HBO staple isn’t enough of a reason to pack it to the breaking point with gratuitous nudity or sex.

  164. Zack
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    And True Blood is an example of a show that I never bothered getting into in large part BECAUSE what I did see of it was so ridiculous with its nudity; and indeed there is a segment of viewers who lament the nudity in Boardwalk Empire as unnecessary as well.

    I’d say Boardwalk approaches Thrones in that respect, as there are scenes in that show that dwell on the nudity to the detriment of story advancement, but–my opinion–its worst offending scenes don’t seem QUITE so OTT as Thrones.

  165. Independent George
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    It’s one thing for Jacelyn Bywater to report that he was ripped apart by the crowd; it’s another thing entirely to show them performing the biomechanically impossible with their bare hands, which turns a horrific act (murdering a priest because he was too fat to walk while the city starved) into a cartoonish one. Especially when, thirty seconds later, a man decides to attack the hound by swinging a rock at his armored chest. They put all that effort and expense into a gratuitously gory scene, only to then insert a half-assed bit of choreography as an afterthought. The point is, the sequence becomes less harrowing by going for the excess.

    As for Jaime & Stannis’ scenes, it is exactly as you said: if they have a no-nudity clause, the simple solution is to either use stand-ins, or to film them with their pants down, but their shirts hanging down over the naughty bits. While it’s true that Stannis is so manly that he can get a woman pregnant just by staring at her, that just doesn’t translate to the screen very well. The gratuitous sexuality of Littlefinger’s scenes just makes the lack of sexuality in Jaime & Stannis’ scenes even more ridiculous.

  166. m3shwerks
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    I understand the use of peepholes for insight on Littlefinger’s character, but it goes too far when Littlefinger wipes Armeca’s mouth. And if that wasn’t sleazy enough then we have to watch her making out with that guy directly afterwards, ughh. I still can’t watch that scene and I have to fast forward through that part each time. To quote Tommy Carcetti “I hate it, I hate it more than anything, I fuckin’ hate it” :)

  167. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    m3shwerks:
    Joshua Taylor,

    I understand the use of peepholes for insight on Littlefinger’s character, but it goes too far when Littlefinger wipes Armeca’s mouth.And if that wasn’t sleazy enough then we have to watch her making out with that guy directly afterwards, ughh.I still can’t watch that scene and I have to fast forward through that part each time.To quote Tommy Carcetti“I hate it, I hate it more than anything, I fuckin’ hate it”:)

    That’s exactly how I feel about spending time complaining about sex/nudity. Wiping cum off of a whore’s mouth and said whore returning to work is exactly something I’d picture happening in a brothel in Westeros.

  168. Gatorfisch
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap:
    I find it appropriate that this discussion comes up as we are 69 days away from season 3′s premier.

    Well played, ser.

  169. Shadowcat85
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Ours is the Fury,

    100% agree- well said

    Also, Conleth Hill will be on Suits this season. Can’t wait!

  170. King David
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    I had no idea people were so against the use of sex and nudity on the show. Get over it! For one this show is on HBO, infamous for this kinda stuff. Secondly the books are worse than the show. The are some scenes in the books that go way to far to put in the show. The scene in the sept when Jaime and Cercei fuck and they smeer blood on the marble… That’s pretty disgusting and makes Ros look like a Disney princess.

  171. Rebecca
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    I’m not offended, but I find most of the sex scenes to be pretty boring.

  172. NousWanderer
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    To answer the questions: I’ve never found the show’s sex, nudity or violence gratuitous (I actually think S1′s brothel scene is fantastic), and I think Hill’s portrayal of Varys is one of the show’s best.

  173. Mikken's Mark
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Im hoping they ramp up some scenes with Lord Varys this season. A few nude shots wouldnt bother me, id be totally cool with that.

    ^Mikken’s mark

  174. Mikken's Mark
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    NousWanderer,

    Yo we’re on the same page about the spider

  175. Mikken's Mark
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    m3shwerks:
    Joshua Taylor,

    I understand the use of peepholes for insight on Littlefinger’s character, but it goes too far when Littlefinger wipes Armeca’s mouth.And if that wasn’t sleazy enough then we have to watch her making out with that guy directly afterwards, ughh.I still can’t watch that scene and I have to fast forward through that part each time.To quote Tommy Carcetti“I hate it, I hate it more than anything, I fuckin’ hate it”:)

    J Tay, straight ignorant bro…….you can clearly see a table in the background with cream cheese bagels chillen on it. Maybe next time when youre fast forwarding press the pause button. Just a thought.
    Mikken’s Mark

  176. Monica
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Yes! The problem is serious. (SNL was right). The sex/nudity detracts from good writing, and highlights the bad! With so much painstaking effort put into the show, why make it look trashy? GoT is good drama with great characters. Gratuitous sex, bordering on the ridiculous, prevents the show from being taken seriously at Emmy time…

    Hill is great!

  177. Currer Bell
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    How one judges if a scene is gratuitous? Imagine, if you will, when the series is eventually sold to, say PBS or even NBC. If a sex/violent scene is still there for broadcast TV, it is not gratuitous. Censors on broadcast TV are looking to eliminate bare boobs/blood’nguts so if they have to leave them in, the scene isn’t gratuitous. By these standards mouth wiping, brothel job training, and lingering shots of blood spreading are gratuitous and are on HBO because it’s HBO and they can.

  178. Mat
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    your headline is extremely sensationalist and clearly more about website hits than good journalism. I’ve lost some respect for this site because of this.

  179. babar
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming: I had to abbreviate and summarize his quote to make it work as a headline (originally I had in quotes “a little gratuitous” but that made the headline three lines long, which looks bad, IMO).

    “Ciaran Hinds finds the sex and violence in Thrones a little gratuitous”. Here you go: two lines.

  180. Fire And Blood
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I do love the fact that we have a good ol’ fashioned ‘gate going on!

    Hindsgate!

    (Hindsgate: just another way to support the bottom.)

    Fury and I will always be at odds with regard to the nudity thing. I’m not going to change her mind she’s not going to change mine. And I readily admit my opinion is not the popular one. I’m cool with that. Equalism lives!

    As for the various sexposition scenes…

    Aside from some wayward (or amplified) bits of sound, I pretty much enjoyed all of them. I got what they were doing with the Littlefinger scene, even if it could have been handled better. I thought wiping Aremca’s mouth was hi-larious; that wasn’t meant to titillate, it was meant as a major gross-out. Score.

    And the best one was Viserys and Doreah in the bathtub. I learned more about those two characters in that short, sweet (if conflicted) moment than through all their other scenes combined; Harry Lloyd and Roxanne McKee nailed it. The saddest part was that it set up Doreah’s love of dragons, which the show then attempted (and failed) to exploit properly in telling her downfall at the end of season 2.

    Sad, really.

  181. Empress
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Yes, sometimes I feel embarrassed when I watch the show and there’s this strange taste of porn. BUT I guess we can be happy, that we only have to watch some whores doing their job and not other scenes from the book. Maybe they are not as detailed as scenes on the screen, but I totally prefer seeing Ros’ boobs than Lollys Stokeworth being raped by 50 men.

    Violence, yeah, well… as long as they don’t do stuff like Startacus… :D

  182. Chickenduck
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Everything I think has already been said, but I’m bored, so here goes anyway:

    1. Yes, the sex and violence are often straight out gratuitous. At least one writer has gone on record saying he was instructed to add more sex and violence “because we can.” But let’s be honest, the trashiness is part of the appeal.
    2. The headline of this article makes Ciarán’s opinion sound far worse than it actually is when you read the article. BUT it’s pretty common media practice… And I’ll be honest, I’ve done a bit of freelance journalism and been guilty of worse.
    3. I’m pretty sure a lot of the people commenting on this thread didn’t actually read the article with Ciarán and are just ranting…

    Anyway, let’s see if they go hardcore and show us a naked Unsullied this season. Or Varys. Like that scene in Dogma, you know, when he drops his daks and says “I’m about as anatomically correct as a Ken doll.” Now THAT would create talk.

    (Not really expecting that to happen).

  183. MRR
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    That said, it’s important to note that “gratuitous” doesn’t just mean “too much”, it means that it’s pointless or without good reason—and Hinds didn’t say all of the sex/violence was gratuitous, only some of it.

    The worst offender for violence is Blackwater, by far. An otherwise interesting episode was marred by silly horror-movie style severed limbs which really have no place in a show like GoT. As far as sex goes, there was a Littlefinger sequence in S2 that was entirely uncalled for (the blowjob/kiss gag), and the Joffrey sadism scene wasn’t really needed for us to get the idea that Joffrey is a jerk.

  184. Tom
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Hi-Fi,

    No thank you

  185. Sayslah
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    What, is winteriscoming.net turning into a regular media outlet where the title skews the actual comments to make more people read it? After reading the title of this post and reading the actual interview, this site suddenly annoys me.

  186. witless chum
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    What is it called when people are butthurt about other people being butthurt? I propose butthurt squared as a term for this kind of situation.

  187. Wastrel
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    ChristineMarie: exploit

    Hey, I’m a man and I find it exploitative and demeaning… toward men! It feels as though the producers are saying (and from reports apparently they ARE saying) ‘most of our audience are young men, young men are obsessed with sex, let’s throw in some entirely unmotivated sex, because that way the guys are sure to be hooked!’

    Yes, I like looking at pretty naked women. I like shows that give me pretty naked women to look at. But I don’t like shows that make it obvious that they’re doing it just because they think it’ll get me to buy their stuff. That just makes me feel exploited – and demeaned, because they seem to think that I’ll prefer naked women to, say, meaningful character development scenes. They’re trying to appeal to the lowest and least sophisticated preferences of their audience, which as part of their audience I find kind of insulting. Sure, please, give me naked ladies, but only as an extra to the actual plot/character/writing/etc that I’m actually here for. Not as an obstacle. {I also think it says very little for their own self-regard. If they think they can’t engage me without flashing tits in my face, it makes me question their ability as storytellers. I suppose it’s probably true in real life, too. If a girl I knew got men to like her all the time by constantly flashing her tits at them… well, I’d enjoy that on one level, of course, and at first I’d admire her boldness in doing so. But pretty shortly I’d start to feel manipulated, and i’d start to think of her as lazy and unimaginative.}

    [I do also appreciate that the female nudity, even if not gratuitous, might be offputting to a female audience, just as constant male nudity would be offputting to me. However, I see this as an entirely different issue - that's about whether the show (and all TV) is too aimed at men and not enough at women, which is an interesting question and one I can be intellectually engaged by, but it's not one that personally involves me, as it were. And I think that that's a political (and commercial) issue, rather than an artistic issue. Whereas I think the sec scenes in GOT fail artistically, whatever your politics.

    Regarding your inversion suggestion: actually I probably would quite like a show that had a bunch of naked men wandering around gratuitously while the clothed female main characters talked. I'd dislike viscerally the pure fact of the male nudity (since I tend to find the male body rather visually unappealing - prudish and psychologically warped, I know, but there it is), but I think this would be far overwhelmed by both the interestingness of the setting and the boldness of the show creators. Boldness is good; it's the opposite of what GOT shows. It'd feel weird, sure, but weirdness isn't bad in art.]

    A couple of other things:
    a) I am not prudish. I’d have no problem with, say, the Qartheen all being bare-breasted. Or even if they decided Westeros was a giant nudist colony. It’s not the nudity, nor even the sex, it’s that the sex is neither enjoyable in its own right (neither titillating (because exposition is a turnoff) nor artistically enjoyable (because it’s just ridiculous)), nor something that adds to the rest of the show. It’s manipulative, silly, obstructive, and badly-written. Perhaps it’s worth clarifying, actually: the worst thing about the sex in GOT isn’t that it’s gratuitous, it’s that it’s just plain bad. The fact it’s also mostly gratuitous just shifts it from ‘bad’ to ‘unjustifiably bad’.

    b) a few of the violence shots are gratuitous, but mostly because they look unrealistic and silly. Overall, however, I’ve not problem with the violence. This isn’t because violence is less ‘offensive’ than sex. It’s because a) the violence is presented as violence, not as bloodsposition, and b) this is a series about violence. Killings and battles are essential to it. The sex… isn’t. If HBO wanted to do a series about daily life in a mediaeval brothel, I’d have no problem at all with it having a hell of a lot of graphic sex scenes (provided they were done well), because, well, that’s what it would be about. But GOT is about the game of thrones; they shouldn’t try to hide the role that sex plays in this, but they shouldn’t let their themes get hijacked by meaningless sex scenes either.

    c) I’m very disappointed with the headline. It completely skews Hinds’ reported opinions by taking words completely out of context, and even just making stuff up (there’s a big difference between ‘I am annoyed’ and ‘At first, I was annoyed… but…’). It’s manipulating the readership, and is disrespectful to the actor. I expect this from professional rags, of course, but I’d hope that a site run by ordinary fans could do better. Emulating tabloid practices is not very admirable either artistically or ethically.

  188. Clambake
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Conleth Hill is superb. Yes on gratuity. If the scene is taken straight from the book then it is not gratuitous. Remember the scene in Season 1 with Viserys and Doreah in the tub? First, Roxanne McKee is gorgeous so don’t get me wrong. But that scene went on for like 10 min. with Viserys droning on about names of dragons. It was so boring. They could’ve taken something from the book and we would have 10 more minutes of great TV. Instead we got that.

  189. biobi
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    For the people who think there aren’t explicit sex scenes with loads (pun intended) of detail in the books…

    Read them again. Seriously. The “seed” is strong.

  190. Essos Travel
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I’ll ignore the sex bit. I just wanted to chime in and say how fantastic Conleth Hill is.

    His pieces with Littlefinger are wonderful, but my favorite part of his performance was in Season 1, when he visited Ned in his cell. Varys in those scenes is a bit different from Varys the rest of the time. The voice is a tiny bit deeper, the delivery less ornate, the accent is ever so slightly more broad. And in those few moments he managed to convey that the Varys you’ve got used to, and see the whole rest of the time, is a performance itself.

    It’s mainly a product of the medium, but I remembered how long and what pains the books had to take to get me to understand this about the character. It took Conleth Hill about ten seconds into his conversation with imprisoned Ned to convey that whole concept. He has me glued to the TV whenever he’s on screen ever since.

  191. Bro without Banner
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    no one show him that spartacus crap then!!!!

  192. tati
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    He can’t have read the books, then, else he’d know that that books were filled with sex and violence, even if they aren’t the same acts we see on screen.

  193. Rygar
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Conleth actually takes a character I loved in the books and makes him better. How silly would it have been if he just floated around giggling with powder puffing off him? Kudos to D&D for making him more stoic and serious, while still keeping his charm, wit, and sense of humor.

  194. framistat
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Yes to both. There is enough substance in the story that I would prefer to have the substance to the sex and blood. It is hard enough to squeeze these books into 10 hours of film, without wasting space.

  195. MX
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I actually liked the LF brothel scenes, and I am a female.

    On the other hand, the Tickler rat scene was the absolute worst for me and the only one when I had to leave the room and I considered not watching the show any more. I am ambivalent about Ramsay, and I might have to skip all of his scenes.

    But then again, I am a European-born US citizen and I experienced war (don’t want to be specific here, but it’s not WWII).

    A preference for violence rather than sex has deep roots in the US, when among other things it was easier to kill Native American women than to have sex with them.
    This is especially the case during the 19th century, while in the 18th century there were many people of mixed parentage in the South, with Scottish fathers and Creek or Cherokee mothers. It continues to this day, when most soldiers in the US army get dismissed or penalized for sex-related actions rather than for gratuitous killing.

  196. Bobben
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Its funny really. Hinds mentions sex and and violence as two things that put him off a bit, but the only thing we discuss here is the sex part. Beheadings, torture and dismemberment isnt cause enough to get mad at the show, but a little over the top f*cking is? Yeah, its a brutal world, Westeros, I get that, and you could argue for various reasons it needs to be displayed. But its also a sexy world, however we cant show that because sex is more offputting? Why? I’m not defending all the sex in the show, in fact, I dislike some sexscenes, but have no problems with the violence. So I guess Im no different… It is, however, a bit weard that so much indignation is directed at the sex, but not the gore.

    Ah yes, Conleth Hill… when I read the books and tried to imagine the story on screen, I always pictured Varys to be perhaps the greatest challenge for an actor to portray. Varys is such an unique character with so many layers I didnt see how it could be done. He is in the top three category when it comes to well casted characters. Varys steals the show every time he’s on screen. Give Conleth Hill more screentime and rewards damn you!!!

  197. A Secret Baratheon
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I find it a bit hypocritical that people often complain about the “gratuitous” nudity, saying how unneccesary it is to have topless women in exposition scenes, yet no one ever mentions the scene in the first episode where Jon, Robb and Theon are getting shaved for the royal visit. Was there any reason for them to be topless? Did it add to the scene? No, it was purely for female fanservice.

    The only scene I’ve found truly gratuitous was the Joffrey scene is 204. We already know he’s a sadist and a psychopath. The scene with the two whores just re-iterated what we’d already seen in the scene with Sansa, just in a more horrifying and uncomfortable way.

  198. queenofthorns
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Yes. The sex used in the show is gratuitous, and some of the violence as well.

    I watch plenty of other shows on premium, and ‘Thrones stands alone in the akwardness, pointlessness, and non-sexiness of its sexual content. It’s just plain gross and gratuitous, not hot, not interesting, just sex for the point of sex.

    Which is especially annoying considering how GRRM’s sex and nudity always has a purpose tied to character or plot, even though there’s a lot of it. D&D need to get their heads on straight and watch some better shows and mimic them in this regard.

    Some of the violence is gratuitous to the point of silly, such as when Stannis cuts the top of that guy’s head off in Blackwater. Or, IMO, when Drogo rips that guy’s tongue out. C’mon, really? That’s not “cool” or “badass” – it just makes me giggle…

    Bobben: Yeah, its a brutal world, Westeros, I get that, and you could argue for various reasons it needs to be displayed. But its also a sexy world, however we cant show that because sex is more offputting? Why?

    I’d have no problems with the sex if it was done well OR there was a plot purpose to it. The sex in Thrones qualifies for neither with only a few exceptions.

  199. Wastrel
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Essos Travel:
    I’ll ignore the sex bit. I just wanted to chime in and say how fantastic Conleth Hill is.

    His pieces with Littlefinger are wonderful, but my favorite part of his performance was in Season 1, when he visited Ned in his cell. Varys in those scenes is a bit different from Varys the rest of the time. The voice is a tiny bit deeper, the delivery less ornate,the accent is ever so slightly more broad. And in those few moments he managed to convey that the Varys you’ve got used to, and see the whole rest of the time, is a performance itself.

    It’s mainly a product of the medium, but I remembered how long and what painsthe books had to take to get me to understand this about the character. It took Conleth Hill about ten seconds into his conversation with imprisoned Ned to convey that whole concept. He has me glued to the TV whenever he’s on screen ever since.

    Absolutely. What Varys has to do is convey that he’s untrustworthy and manipulative, but at the same time convey that he’s being honest and principled WITH YOU. It’s the same as Littlefinger has to do in the first season; but Gillen failed at that in my opinion (he was always too shifty, so ned looked an idiot for trusting him; the book version made him less sinister, more loveable roguish, let us think that Ned was seeing the real him even when the lannisters weren’t); and also Varys has to play that role with both Ned AND Tyrion.

    And Hill does it marvellously. I genuinely felt that Varys was a good guy in both seasons, and that he was on both Ned’s side and Tyrion’s side… even though not only have I seen what he does on the show, I’ve also read the books and know what (he says) his goals are and what he’s going to do in later series. But I still like him!

    Varys was always going to be one of the hardest roles of all (because as well as the above he also has to avoid being too camp and ridiculous), and Hill would be doing a good job just to make Varys a tolerable character who didn’t let the show down. Instead, he’s so good at it that he’s a real standout even with a more difficult character to work with.

    [The other one this may apply to is Dillane's Stannis. Again, a seriously difficult job, done with panache - pity he's been written to be so tangential to the show. Even in Season 2, which ought to have been his season, he never seemed a central character.]

  200. Perkins
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Well I guess I can’t wait for him to meet rholler.

    I just watch 20 minutes of Spartacus and makes thrones look like yo gabba gabba.

  201. Kate
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Some of the sex in the show is gratuitous, no doubt. I’m not offended by it, but I find some of it trivial and unnecessary, especially when I know that elements of the texts that I enjoyed didn’t make it into the show. Frankly, you could argue there is “gratuitous” sex in the books too. But few people do, because those sex scenes are embedded within 1500 pages and we don’t have to sacrifice anything to read them. On the show, every frame is a choice, so it’s easier to resent the five minutes of Littlefinger instructing his whores when you were hoping to see some other character/plot point on screen.

    I am a lifelong, die-hard HBO fanatic. They offer the best programming on television, hands down. But it’s a premium channel, and they can show sex/nudity/violence, and so they will. When it comes down to it, people like sensationalized things. The execs at these networks get that and want to cash in on it. So while I do find some sex on GOT gratuitous, I just accept it and move on.

    As for the headline of this article, people are clearly getting way too worked up. Sure it could have been structured better with regards to objectivity and attribution, but this isn’t The New York Times. Plus, all of us will read the text beneath it and understand the point of the article. Take a chill pill kids!

    And I’ve said this a million times before but since it’s on-topic I’ll reiterate: Conleth Hill is one of the greatest actors in the entire production of GOT and does not get half the praise he should. I don’t know if any other portrayal in the series comes as close to the way I imagined a character as Hill’s Varys.

  202. Clambake
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    It seems like D&D try to come up with scenes of sex and violence that are on par with GRRM but they fail miserably.

  203. Jen@House Stark
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Seriously? This is Game of Thrones, Mr. Hines, not Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. Of course there is going to be sex and violence, that’s what you signed up for, duh.

  204. Rain
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone seen Spartacus? Every other scene in that was a brutal murder or an orgy. Sometimes you had no chance avoiding it because it’d just flash up right in your face. Anyone would mistake that for a cheap and tacky display of boobs and blood, and yet the story arcs and characters were absolutely amazing. It really doesn’t matter. Let a show chose to be whatever it wishes to be.

  205. hashblower420
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Right. It’s not so much that there’s tons of tits, pussy and ass as it is the bad writing that makes it necessary. “Sexposition” is probably one of the worst things about this non-canon adaptation and the writers seem to be really big fans of it.

    Also, that token response of “herr derr there’s sex in the books” is a typical strawman. 95% of the sex in the books is used to delve into characters motivations and the dynamic between those characters and they’re generally very awkward and messy.

    The shit in the show is just meant to create controversy and draw in more men. Oh, and the violence isn’t necessarily over-the-top but it’s pretty stupid at times. Jorah cutting open Qotho’s cheek killed him instantly? Lolokay.

  206. Teday
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Nymeria,

    Yeah, because Ros and the all the prostitute training scenes are in the books. They are entirely gratuitous. A sex scene is probably the strongest visceral image a human being can see, it’s shocking and exciting at the same time, when made used to strengthen a point or introduce the love of two characters it lets you know, ok these two are really connected now. But when it is used to fill what would normally be “boring old exposition” it really takes you out of the scene.

    I mean there are three scenes I think we all agree negatively effected their episodes. Littlefinger explaining how he fucked his enemies instead of killing them to Ros and the other go to prostitute. Doreah fucking Vasarys to get a run down on dragon lore. And from last season Ros training her own prostitutes then wiping the mouth of the other.

    My brother has worked for HBO before he says there is one producer who is like the sex and violence guy. He watches everything they make and his only comment is ever “more tits.”

  207. S.R.
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    I agree with Hinds opinions, though I love the story often have wished I could delete a line here, a scene there that go over the top with the sex AND violence, and make them simply vulgar or pornish.

  208. LivveHult
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I could so easily say loads of things that have been said here before.

    What I really want to say and comment on is this.
    Look back at a generic sample of the comments and ponder a moment.
    Which “side” of this “gate” has the most eloquate or throught-through comments? And which has short and -yes I’ll say it- “gratuitous” immature and thoroughly (to me at least, and probably more) eyerolling/slightpukenducing Hustler-ss-my-faavourite-mag sounding comments?

    What about that? Just provokes me, it does. Then again. I think how many trolls meander this way and almost manage to shut my mouth.
    This is, on the other hand, the same type of commenters that on some sites would not hesitate to reply to my writing now with an oh-so-witty similar tasteless response and suggestion about my mouth.
    thankfully I know it won’t be allowed here.
    Now if that sounds prudish to you?
    Then you need to get a better dictionary.

    It just means that I expect some curtesy between strangers.
    As I expect to be allowed to have my opinion heard if I choose it, without anyone telling me to shut up, – as some posters have here – and “grow up”.
    Seriously? “Grow up”?
    The people needing to grow up here are the ones – as have already been pointed out several times – claiming others need to do it if they can’t stand some boobs or don’t want more whores in action.

    This is already way to long.
    But I feel the maturitylevel of this commentline is way below the belt in some ways, and it could do with a comment on it’s own.

    Also, thanks Wastrel, agree with eveytinf except about the headline.
    I think it’s fine. Not the most misleading I’ve ever clicked.


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