A Game of Thrones rerun on UK channel Sky lands the network in hot water, as the episode aired unrestricted on the network early in the morning.
UK television network Sky has been formally condemned by TV regulator Ofcom after the channel aired a Game of Thrones rerun early in the morning without a pin code restriction to prevent younger viewers from seeing it. Game of Thrones is best known for its many graphic qualities, with a myriad of scenes involving heavy sex and violence featured since season 1. The inclusion of these elements in the show paints Westeros as a much darker fantasy setting than other popular fantasy worlds like Middle-earth.
According to Deadline, Sky was formally censured by Ofcom because the channel aired a Game of Thrones episode at 7:35 a.m. on August 19 without the use of a restrictive pin code that could prevent younger viewers from seeing the episode. Interestingly, Ofcom did not cite the violent or sexual nature of the series in their condemnation, instead focused on how the episode could expose audience members under the age of 18 to offensive language. In an apology regarding the episode, Sky revealed the unrestricted airing was a technical issue, stating they, “fully [accept] strong content should not be broadcast before the watershed without the necessary mandatory PIN protection.”
How Game Of Thrones’ Mature Content Shapes The Series
To prevent younger viewers from seeing more mature series like Game of Thrones, Sky is required to lock episodes behind a pin code if they are airing prior to 9 p.m. This rule is understandable when it comes to Game of Thrones given the number of mature themes and situations the series presents to its audience. While Ofcom was primarily worried about children’s exposure to harsh language, Game of Thrones also delves into topics like incest, prostitution, and the violence of war on a regular basis. The use of these overarching ideas adds a compelling level of darkness to the world of Westeros, keeping audiences engaged as they watch characters like Jon Snow and Arya Stark navigate the unforgiving world they’re forced to traverse.
The mature themes of the series also help bolster memorable characters in the show who are forced to grapple with the state of the world in order to grow and change. Daenerys Targaryen exemplifies the idea of adapting to a dark reality, as she evolves from Khal Drogo’s bride to a fierce, respected contender for the Iron Throne. The series also features more villainous characters like Joffrey Baratheon, whose willingness to order the deaths of children and kill a prostitute with his bare hands made him one of the darkest – and most hated – characters on television. Characters like Joffrey act as antagonistic forces for heroes in the series like Sansa Stark, as they fully embody the worst aspects of Westeros.
Due to how many moving parts in Game of Thrones require the use of mature content to bring the world of Westeros to life, it’s understandable why Ofcom wouldn’t want children to be exposed to the series. The same could likely be said for House of the Dragon as well, whose graphic Targaryen birthing scenes add another layer of mature content to the world of Westeros. While the Game of Thrones episode airing without a pin code was a technical issue, Sky will likely be paying closer attention to its content to make sure nothing similar happens again.