Game of Thrones portrays a world where God doesn’t exist—and that world is terrifying.
As we watch numerous family houses battle for the Iron Throne, we meet many different gods: the Old Gods, the New Gods, the Great Stallion, The Lord of Light, and others. Yet none of them remotely imitate or borrow from Christian doctrine. These gods sanction murder, torture, human sacrifice, and rape. The societies of Westeros and Essos have little room for mercy, compassion, and unconditional love. This is a depraved world. King’s Landing is infamously heralded as the most deplorable city of Westeros, but the North, the Iron Islands, Dorne, and other regions are not any better. The majority of the characters, even children, are more than comfortable with adultery, incest, theft, and homicide. This world is so fallen that I wonder: if God was in it, would he destroy it?
When I struggle with doubt, it’s often because of a different, but related, question: if God is so merciful and loving, why did he bring humanity to near extinction with the Flood, or smite Sodom and Gomorrah, or command the Israelites to obliterate their enemies? Was humanity truly so lost that it was beyond redemption? After watching eight seasons of Game of Thrones, I say yes.
I’ll spare you a litany of the atrocities the show has depicted. Whether murder, sexual violence, or child sacrifice, the people of Westeros and Essos have succumbed to evil. It doesn’t matter the motivations involved or if the victims are “deserving.” It is evil. And God is a righteous God who will not stand for it.
So I can picture the world before the Flood, one that looks like Game of Thrones, and I understand why God nearly ended it. Because that darkness would have swallowed the little light left in the world and brought everything into darkness. It grieved him to have to kill his own creations, but he’s also a protector of those who love him and follow him.
The noble people of Westeros and Essos are few. Jon Snow, Robb Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Samwell Tarly, Missandei, and Gilly are something like Lot and his family, who were spared from Sodom and Gomorrah. Are the lives of these few reason enough to preserve a world that has given itself over to abomination?
I’m so relieved we live in a world created by a God who abhors evil and protects his people from it. Our God is a God of love, but he’s a God of justice too. I truly understand the meaning of that now.