'Game of Thrones' Is the Pro Wrestling of Prestige TV

The over-the-top series has its moments, both epic and cringe-inducing. That’s why it’s fun.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/8xakzp/game-of-thrones-is-the-pro-wrestling-of-prestige-tv

Max Landis’ Wrestling isn’t Wrestling was my gateway into wrestling. I originally found fans cheering for people who would seemingly deliberately try to kill their opponents really put me off for a long time. The end of the video in particular put into context a lot of the drama that goes into the wrestling product by basically focusing on the storytelling of wrestling rather than the actual wrestling.

What got me into the “combat” was honestly watching a ton of extreme sports videos & really just admiring the work was required into inventing & learning something as simple as an kickflip or a corkscrew. Somehow I ended up connecting tricks in skateboarding, aggressive inline skating (I think it’s dope leave me alone), snowboarding & freestyle skiing with the tricks that are done in acro & circus watching my SO’s sister. At the time I didn’t care much for acro or circus but viewing them from the same lens that I do for the previously mentioned sports made me understand why people did it & how people performed those tricks.

Combining that new understanding of tricks & the previously mentioned video I began looking at wrestling again, although the WWE style of slams & brawling bored me. However, I found that Lucha Libre had more of an areal move-set which I could connect with circus & extreme sports. That in the end is what lead me to enjoying wrestling to the level that I do now.

Edit: If you have the time Spencer Hall over at SB Nation wrote a really good piece on Lucha Underground.

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Great article! If you have a hard time getting into the in ring action, you should try checking out the japanese promotion NJPW. The style is far more physical and “fighty”, kinda like a staged MMA fight in some cases.

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Don’t really care for this take. Reads as “I like this show but it’s Problematic/people make fun of it so I have to like it ironically” to me.

Also don’t agree with the “there’s too much sexual violence” take. The show’s about a society where women have little to no agency and are not even given the option to consent before being married off. It’s a feature, not a bug. Sure it’s stumbled in its handling of it from time to time (Jaime raping Cersei in the sept comes to mind) but to dismiss it as entirely thoughtless is a misreading imo. There’s lots of thematic depth to the show. It’s not the books, but it’s mostly good (except for Dorne. Best to ignore Dorne.)

I’m curious why Danielle can’t take this show seriously anymore though! I wonder if it’s because it lacks the attention to detail of the books, since things just kind of happen out of nowhere on the show sometimes, which also gives me pause too (Arya murdering the entire Frey family with ease was… not something George would have written like that, for sure)


As a wrestling fan I don’t condone anyone watching it.

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Hey there—and thanks for speaking up! I certainly don’t think I need to take the show ironically because it’s problematic, it’s that the show has gotten so unbelievably over-the-top in tone (see: the sand snakes last season, Arya this season). There is plenty of sexual violence in the books—still problematic, but doesn’t keep me from reading them.

FWIW, I think turning a series as long and detailed as ASOIAF into ten-episode season prestige TV requires herculean effort, and that explains why so many characters are basically caricatures at this point. But it’s become an exceptionally silly TV series, imo, and I still really enjoy it for what it is.

Thanks for the reply! I don’t agree with it being “exceptionally silly” but it has moments that are sillier than intended for sure (“Hodor’s reveal” made me laugh last season, which probably wasn’t the intended effect) but overall it still takes its core cast seriously enough for me to remain invested in them, despite a lot of them being a lot less likeable than in the books (Daenerys especially).

And not to go too far off on this tangent - do you think the actual handling of themes related to sexual violence in the books is problematic or just the fact that it’s depicted at all?

What comes to mind after this week’s Game of Thrones is actually an anime called Full Metal Alchemist. Its based, as most anime are, on a beloved manga. That happened to be still being written. So they were taxed to write a script for themselves that wrapped up the story. Years later, the Manga was finished, resulting in a story that had the same general outline, but vastly different plot, so different they actually made a second anime series based on the “new” manga story!
It was like watching a single story diverge at a certain point, gradually changing into two separate realities.
That’s the same impression I’ve had watching game of thrones since the divergence point (when the book material ended). Not necessarily a bad thing in fact interesting in a meta fiction kind of way.
Unfortunately you get the idea, justified or not, that the tv writers are filling in blanks rather than writing new material.
Sorry for getting sidetracked