How I’ve been desensitised by Game of Thrones

I used to be satisfied with period drama's subtext and secret longings but Game of Thrones has changed all that, says Ellie Walker-Arnott

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Hi, my name is Ellie and I’m addicted to Game of Thrones.

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I recently tuned into the first series of HBO’s big budget George R. R. Martin adaptation after two years of thinking it just wasn’t my cup of tea – truth be told, it really isn’t. I’m much more of a sentimental, rose-tinted, floral dresses and period chintz kinda gal – but somehow I’ve consumed hours of the gory, sexy stuff and I’m romping towards series three at an alarming rate.

There was a time not so long ago when I was satisfied with Downton’s little dramas. Can you recall the episode when Lord Grantham’s dinner shirt went missing? What a kerfuffle that was.

I loved those East End midwives who spend their days helping the needy and generally being wholesome and upstanding. Remember the slow burning romance between Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette in series two of Call the Midwife? Those two barely brushed hands or uttered a word to each other, but I felt it all the same. The same goes for Denise and Mr Moray’s longing looks and secret stolen kisses in The Paradise- not to mention that sugary sweet department store filled to the rafters with silk scarves and soft leather gloves. What more could a period drama fan want, eh?

But now that I’m a Game of Thrones addict things have changed.

To begin with I was skeptical. As a rule I can do without fantasy. Dragons? Pfft. The level of violence in Game of Thrones shocked me, the grim and cruel Seven Kingdoms were no pretty department store or plush ancestral pile and everyone was having sex ALL the time, all over the place.

But as soon as poor Bran went flying out of that tower window at the end of episode one I was hooked. (Damn those wily Lannisters.)

In Game of Thrones there’s no pootling along, no whispered nothings, no subtext. If you want something (a new kingdom, your favourite prostitute or even to bed your sister) you just do it. Right there. On the screen.

Each hour of GoT is gripping, each instalment a massive game changer. There isn’t a wasted minute. That is, unless you count the fairly frequent occasions where the camera lingers on some boobs a bit longer than necessary. (To start with I didn’t know where to look but now TV just looks strange without a pair of nipples bobbing around in the background.)

It’s not even like telly’s current period drama The White Queen is all prim and proper. There’s scheming, social climbing and lots of sex. But now I’ve been exposed to GoT it’s not the same. The addict inside of me just cries ‘Where’s the blood and boobs?’

This strange, gruesome and grisly drama has taught me not only to brace myself for graphic content and scenes of an adult nature. But to expect it.

What on earth am I going to do when lovely Downton Abbey returns this autumn. Perhaps I need to go cold turkey…

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