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December 11, 2015 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Who Said ‘Game of Thrones’ Wasn’t for Kids? "What mother in her right mind would tell children the stories about beheadings and torture? A single parent for whom mealtimes are agony."
posted by homunculus (36 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
She must have an amazing memory because I've read all the books and seen all the show and if you asked me to give detailed plot summaries, I'd fail utterly.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:29 PM on December 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Awww this is great. I could imagine my dad doing this if Game of Thrones had been on when I was that age. He did read The Lord of the Rings to me for the first time when I was too young to even completely remember it, though I'm not sure just how much he edited - I think he depended on my child-brain to do most of that for him, since it was in words and not images.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 4:35 PM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


What mother in her right mind would tell children the stories about beheadings and torture?

Okay so before my oldest kid was born I went out and bought a Complete Brothers Grimm and then
posted by shakespeherian at 4:45 PM on December 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


I do this with my kids but I'm old fashioned and just use Bible stories.
posted by Cuke at 4:57 PM on December 11, 2015 [32 favorites]


So basically she's the real-life version of William Goldman's fictional grandfather?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:09 PM on December 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


GoT is tame compared to kids' stories like Hansel and Gretel: The Original Version
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:10 PM on December 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Surely I'm not the only one checking periodically to see if Eyebrows has any comment on this...
posted by homelystar at 5:52 PM on December 11, 2015


That's great! Yay editing. It's "Game of Thrones: The Good Parts Version"
posted by rmd1023 at 6:05 PM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


But what about the boobs? How do I explain all the boobs?!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:16 PM on December 11, 2015


Who Said ‘Game of Thrones’ Wasn’t for Kids?

Someone on Metafilter right?
posted by juiceCake at 6:31 PM on December 11, 2015


> But what about the boobs? How do I explain all the boobs?!

Shouldn't be too hard. Many mums come equipped with two.

Kids know this.
posted by oheso at 6:36 PM on December 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Okay so before my oldest kid was born I went out and bought a Complete Brothers Grimm and then

Perhaps we should be careful. There have been assertions that the Third Reich was made possible by generations of young people brought up on the Grimms and Struwwelpeter, and thus desensitised to brutality. If there is any truth in this, a generation of kids brought up on Game Of Thrones, in the current political climate, sounds ominous.
posted by acb at 7:07 PM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


What mother in her right mind would tell children the stories about beheadings and torture?

Some of my first memories are of being read to from the Grimm stories and other collections (though somewhat bowdlerized) of traditional fairy tales, as well as a children's edition of the old testament which simplified the language but kept in a lot of the atrocities. I'd like to think I am a happy and well adjusted adult, though perhaps opinions might vary.

I don't have kids but I think I'd be inclined to use stories that, unlike the TV version of Game of Thrones, don't dial the porny-rapeyness up quite so high. Minus that, though, you have a great long-form fairy tale, with all the elements borrowed from older sources.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:26 PM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I read Hansel and Gretel to the young ones the other night. Even in the "Blue Book of Fairy Tales" the brutality of the story is pretty overt but it didn't seem to phase them.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:27 PM on December 11, 2015


There have been assertions that the Third Reich was made possible by generations of young people brought up on the Grimms and Struwwelpeter, and thus desensitised to brutality.

It may alarm you to learn that many homes in your own neighbourhood are decorated with statues of a man being tortured to death.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:50 PM on December 11, 2015 [46 favorites]


Being told a story about someone getting beheaded is very different from watching it happen. I mean, when it's just words, not loving details but general summaries, how much worse it is actually from the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland? "Off with their heads!" That's not archaic, that's a freaking Disney movie. Kids have different tolerance levels for words versus "cartoon violence" versus realistic depictions of torture and death. The Lion King has a really emotionally wrenching murder in it. The thing that makes it hard for me to watch Game of Thrones the show is not what happens but how. If people can die on Sesame Street, they can die in the stories you tell your kids.
posted by Sequence at 10:57 PM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Being told a story about someone getting beheaded is very different from watching it happen.

My son and I read the Hunger Games books when he was 9 and discussed them at length, but there's no way I would have let him watch the movies. He's almost 13 now and I guess he can probably watch them.

Given the current political climate, kids could be hearing stories of things just as bad as in GoT just by having the TV or radio on during the news.
posted by tracicle at 11:34 PM on December 11, 2015


If you want the kids to behave, just tell them about Stannis "#1 Dad" Baratheon.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:08 AM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it be a viable business decision for the makers of GoT to do an edit of each episode for kids (or even just people like me who love all the stories and characters but don't like to see explicit violence)?

They do it with rap music sometimes and by choice I listen to the 'clean' versions. I've heard a million guys say 'fuck' and it adds nothing to a song. Maybe this makes me bad.
posted by colie at 1:34 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


But what about the boobs? How do I explain all the boobs?!

I'm pretty sure there are no actual boobs in ASOIAF, only jugs and dugs. This means Westerosi women are always carrying around assorted pottery and gardening implements, just in case.

/Seriously peeved with GRRM's word choices
posted by sukeban at 1:47 AM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Those kids are getting the gruesomeness filtered by their mother who's clearly a smart, perceptive and compassionate person, and has made it clear that these are just fairy tales. It's about the safest (and most fun) way for a kid to hear scary stuff.

It's all about how you tell it. And why. And that you recognize when something's too much and how you respond to that.

And sure, the old fairytales were just as scary - that's true, but there were sensitive kids in the past, too, who wound up terrorized. Often that was the purpose of the stories, to make the kids afraid enough to stay well-behaved, out of the woods, away from the well, or wary of strangers. Or as in the case of the place my dad grew up in, away from the machinery of the old hydropower saw mill, which is why kids were told there was a child eating grue down there, rather than explained they could get crushed.
posted by sively at 2:17 AM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


My family just read a chapter from the Bible each morning. Considering that Genesis kicks off with the creation of the universe from formless void, followed promptly by nudity and murder... And of course there's Sodom, everything but a child sacrifice, a tent peg through the temples, ethnic cleansing with the implication of bestiality, heavily implied child sacrifice to Baal, David beloved of God commits murder for the sake of getting with the murdered man's wife. The bible sets a high bar for ugly human behavior.
posted by wotsac at 3:07 AM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not remembering it too clearly, I watched The Lion King with my 2 year old when he was home sick recently.

We got through the first scary scene OK, when Simba is menaced by hyenas before Dad Mufasa comes to the rescue. I kept saying "all fine, all fine, Daddy Lion will save him."

But later when Daddy Lion is trampled to death on screen and Simba desperately nuzzles his unmoving body, toddler kept pointing anxiously and asking "All fine? All fine?" and didn't seem entirely persuaded that Daddy Lion was just a bit sleepy...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:22 AM on December 12, 2015


About a year ago, I was out for a run on a park greenway. I jogged past a bunch of eight year olds who were clearly playing "Game of Thrones" (one of them was Jon Snow, others were yelling about Starks and Lannisters). I remember thinking Whose parents let these kids watch the show? At the same time, ASOIAF is totally the kind of thing the kids on my neighborhood would have seized upon when I was that age (we were big into Star Wars, but also Robin Hood and Pirates and various fantasy-ish stuff). Or to put another way, maybe those kids in the woods had parents like this author.
posted by thivaia at 5:33 AM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure there are no actual boobs in ASOIAF, only jugs and dugs. This means Westerosi women are always carrying around assorted pottery and gardening implements, just in case.

The show is way more pornalicious than the books, but the books do feature things like occasional Humber Humbert-esque descriptions of 13 year olds' breasts and some very direct depictions of sexual torture. Even so, it would be a lot easier to edit the books for children in terms of the sexuality; the violence seems about as prevalent in both, though the impact of reading versus watching can be quite different for many people.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:35 AM on December 12, 2015


> "What mother in her right mind would tell children the stories about beheadings and torture?"

Every single one in Germany.

Seriously, I had assumed that Struwwelpeter was a historical artifact these days, until my German friends told me that it was, in fact, a staple of their childhoods.
posted by kyrademon at 5:54 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


There was a blackout when I maybe 8 years old, and my younger brother and I were home with my dad. We lit candles and sat on my parents' bed where my dad told us the story of The Hobbit, riddles and all, from memory. We loved it so much that we made him read the actual book to us, a chapter or so a week, and then went right on to Lord of the Rings. It was slow going, since my brother would stop us every few paragraph is ask questions. We only got as far as the back half of The Two Towers, having grown a little old to be read to by then, which I still deeply regret. As much as I loved our reading nights growing up, it's that one night sitting in the dark, listening to the anxious rhythm of improvisation, enthralled, marveling that a whole story can fit inside a persons head; that's the night I remember most clearly and most fondly.
posted by WCWedin at 6:22 AM on December 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


My mom used to do this with movie plots for long car rides when I was a kid. Speed and The Fugitive are the ones I can recall off the top of my head - and after seeing the movies as an adult I know she did some heavy editing - but it definitely made for riveting car rides together.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 7:07 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


For a different perspective: when I and my sister were small, my dad used to tell us stories about real life horrors. Concentration camps, crime sprees, hostages, murders... I think it was a cheap trick to catch our attention and impress us, and he didn't have the empathy to filter or to fully grasp the effect on us.

And I can't know for sure if there was a lasting effect - I mean, I've battled an early onset depression all my life, and my sister grew up anxious and compulsive. We both seem to struggle with some fundamental fears. By the time our brother was born, dad had lost interest in spending much time with his kids, and my brother turned out more normal. Makes you go hmmm!

Correlation is not causation, and I'm the first one to admit that dad's stories were probably more a symptom of his general incompetence in parenting, which in turn contributed to the way we turned out. So maybe it's not the stories per se, just the fact that he was the kind of parent to tell them to a 4 year old.

But I'm still very leery of people who are adamant about little kids being able to "handle" gruesome truths just like that.
posted by sively at 8:40 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


People, I saw a billboard here in Los Angeles for season 6. IT HAD JON SNOW ON IT. PEOPLE. IT HAD JON SNOW ON IT.
posted by Justinian at 11:56 AM on December 12, 2015


Yeah, they released that last month.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 PM on December 12, 2015


Clearly I need to go out more.
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on December 12, 2015


> If you want the kids to behave, just tell them about Stannis "#1 Dad" Baratheon.
posted by homunculus at 3:37 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Once upon a time a mouse, a bird, and a sausage formed a partnership. They kept house together, and for a long time they lived in peace and prosperity, acquiring many possessions. The bird's task was to fly into the forest every day to fetch wood. The mouse carried water, made the fire, and set the table. The sausage did the cooking.

Whoever is too well off always wants to try something different! Thus one day the bird chanced to meet another bird, who boasted to him of his own situation. This bird criticized him for working so hard while the other two enjoyed themselves at home. For after the mouse had made the fire and carried the water, she could sit in the parlor and rest until it was time for her to set the table. The sausage had only to stay by the pot watching the food cook. When mealtime approached, she would slither through the porridge or the vegetables, and thus everything was greased and salted and ready to eat. The bird would bring his load of wood home. They would eat their meal, and then sleep soundly until the next morning. It was a great life.

The next day, because of his friend's advice, the bird refused to go to the forest, saying that he had been their servant long enough. He was no longer going to be a fool for them. Everyone should try a different task for a change. The mouse and the sausage argued against this, but the bird was the master, and he insisted that they give it a try. The sausage was to fetch wood, the mouse became the cook, and the bird was to carry water.

And what was the result? The sausage trudged off toward the forest; the bird made the fire; and the mouse put on the pot and waited for the sausage to return with wood for the next day. However, the sausage stayed out so long that the other two feared that something bad had happened. The bird flew off to see if he could find her. A short distance away he came upon a dog that had seized the sausage as free booty and was making off with her. The bird complained bitterly to the dog about this brazen abduction, but he claimed that he had discovered forged letters on the sausage, and that she would thus have to forfeit her life to him.

Filled with sorrow, the bird carried the wood home himself and told the mouse what he had seen and heard. They were very sad, but were determined to stay together and make the best of it. The bird set the table while the mouse prepared the food. She jumped into the pot, as the sausage had always done, in order to slither and weave in and about the vegetables and grease them, but before she reached the middle, her hair and skin were scalded off, and she perished.

When the bird wanted to eat, no cook was there. Beside himself, he threw the wood this way and that, called out, looked everywhere, but no cook was to be found. Because of his carelessness, the scattered wood caught fire, and the entire house was soon aflame. The bird rushed to fetch water, but the bucket fell into the well, carrying him with it, and he drowned.

I grew up with Grimm and Andersen, a censored GoT would probably have been less violent...
posted by Feyala at 5:44 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The bird was an asshole, and the talking sausage had it coming, but not the mouse. Poor mouse.

I grew up in a country where for Christmas and birthdays I would get money with pictures of a dismembered nude woman. I still think watching GoT before I was 10 or 11 would have given me nightmares for weeks.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 1:02 AM on December 14, 2015




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