7 Things Game Of Thrones Toned Down For TV

A song of censorship and omissions.

Game Of Thrones Daenarys

'Toned down' is not a phrase we commonly associate with HBO's hit TV show Game of Thrones.

Love it or loathe it, it's famous for its graphic depictions of sex and violence as well as its sharp writing, strong characters and tendency to kill of fan favourites at unexpected moments. But what makes Game of Thrones so loved by the old fans and the new is that this graphic mixture of sex and death is not an attempt at fanservice but a faithful representation of the hugely graphic A Song of Ice and Fire series.

George RR Martin famously came up with the idea to the series as a reaction against the limitations of writing for television at the time. He could have horses or Stonehenge, as the story goes, but not both in the same scene. In retaliation he wrote a book that he considered unfilmable.

Stonehenge never made it in but there are plenty of horses, as well as dragons, direwolves, three eyed crows, battle scenes, shapeshifting assassins, a huge wall made of ice and basically everything else he could think of that would make a special effects producer weep.

Fans fell quickly in love with this richly imagined world and, more than a decade later and once technology had caught up, that love fuelled the demand for a no expense spared adaptation. But there were some things in the book which would be too complicated, controversial or even flat out illegal to show on TV.

Read on for the seven most controversial moments Game of Thrones had to tone down for TV.


Kate Taylor has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and an MRes in Creative Writing. Her nonfiction, reviews and other articles have appeared on Cuckoo Review and Mookychick as well as WhatCulture. Her fiction has been published in Luna Station Quarterly, Eternal Haunted Summer and in anthologies by Paizo and Northumbria University Press. She is 23 and lives in the North of England.