HBO’s "Game of Thrones" is a fantasy series that follows a wide variety of characters through a medieval fantasy setting. The story is primarily focused around political corruption in the fictional country of Westeros. While this may sound boring to some, the way the material is presented is reminiscent of horror films. While "Game of Thrones" may not sell itself as a horror story, it definitely achieves the goal most horror films often try to achieve.
"Game of Thrones" has become infamous for frequently killing off major characters. The show likes to build characters until they become fully fleshed-out and adored by fans, and then kill them when it’s least expected. This effectively makes "Game of Thrones" a more effective horror story than most of
Horror films often rely on the use of suspense and violence; two things "Game of Thrones" has and abundance of. Scenes of over-the-top torture (often inspired by medieval history) are frequently seen in the show. These scenes are plentiful, but never become overused. The audience wants to look away, but morbid curiosity keeps their eyes glued to the screen. This is much of the same way films like "Saw" and "Friday the 13th" keep the audience scared and engaged.
"Game of Thrones" may not always have a masked figure stalking the main cast, but there are enough untrustworthy people in the series to make you feel consistently afraid. There is not one single masked murderer, instead there are many murderers who hide in plain sight. Sometimes that can be scarier than any Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees.
The main story in "Game of Thrones" may be focused around political intrigue with tropes from horror films, but the subplots in the series are where the main attraction lies for horror fans. "Game of Thrones" has subplots about zombies, witches and cults. These are nothing new for the horror genre, and are often considered cliché, but "Game of Thrones" often bends the rules about what these things can do. For example, the "zombies" in "Game of Thrones" are more intelligent and much more menacing than the ones found in "The Walking Dead." This makes the horror elements in "Game of Thrones" feel more unpredictable, resulting in a much scarier story.
While "Game of Thrones" may not be classified as horror, there’s still plenty for fans of the genre to enjoy. While a show loosely based around medieval history and politics may not sound like a scary, nail-biting series; it’s definitely worth watching for horror fans. Even if the things you see won’t make you sleep with the lights on.