Hugh Hewitt, popular Catholic lawyer, academic, author, and radio talk show host, urges Christias to get involved in popular culture – especially the hit TV show "Game of Thrones." But this show is definitely not for children.
Sunday, the show ran a revolutionary episode, "The Rains of Castamere," which involved the death of two major characters. Twitter exploded with Game of Thrones tweets – fans expressing anger, outrage, and mourning for two fictional characters, killed in a wedding betrayal.
"I think all Christians have to swim in the culture," Hewitt told The Christian Post in an interview Tuesday. "Game of Thrones," in particular, features "Medievalism, Arthurian legend, meeting up with War of the Roses politics which history buffs love."
The show also provides cultural references for fans. Hewitt mentioned his claim that "'Winter is Coming' to the Department of Justice" as "a wink to those who are among the initiated."
While "the fantasy genre typically appeals to young males, with very little appeal to women or adults," 'Game of Thrones' "had the appeal of breaking out into a wider demographic."
Both the show and the books series – A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – drew in both women and adults. Martin's success has even gained him the title "The American Tolkien."
Nevertheless, "Game of Thrones" is definitely not for everyone. "'Game of Thrones' is undeniably violent and pornographic," Hewitt warned. "So people with problems with pornography and lust should not watch it."
Nevertheless, "if you're mature, and you can fast forward," you should watch it. The talk show host echoed St. Paul's suggestion to follow conscience in Romans 14:20-21, "All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak."
He compared "Game of Thrones" to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and the film The Godfather, both of which drew flack from the Christian community. "When Harry Potter came out, it was an enormous success," he recounted. "A number of Christians developed the idea that they should not watch it because it involved witches and sorcery."
"A very fine theologian named Mark Roberts, a good friend of mine, wrote a series on why Harry Potter was not a threat to your faith," Hewitt said.
Like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones features great character development. The show and book series feature "very well developed characters," with "extraordinary diversity and development," Hewitt said. He mentioned some outstanding good characters, like "the Onion Knight," some "of mixed quality," and even a few villains, like Joffrey.
A brief introduction to Ser Davos Seaworth, "The Onion Knight," illustrates the characters' depth. Davos made money as a smuggler for 20 years, and smuggled in onions to Lord Stannis Baratheon while he was under siege.
"It's ultimately a battle of good against evil with third parties who are a little less evil," Hewitt said. But fundamentally, the characters have "stories of redemption," where they "meet and overcome diversity."
Hewitt sees the story climaxing in a great battle on the wall – a huge man-made structure of ice, built to keep out undead, zombie-like, "white walkers." "They are clearly the worst," he explained, "they destroy men and suck their souls out."
"There's a final battle coming," Hewitt predicted.
At the end, Danaerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the old king's daughter and "mother" of three young dragons, will lead the attack on the white walkers. Hewitt also predicted that she and two other characters connected to the original hero, Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), will ride the three dragons and save the mythical land of Westeros from a frigid death.
"Three people on three dragons, which is pretty Trinitarian, right?" Hewitt asked.
For book readers, it is clear that Danaerys will ride one dragon. Hewitt's suggestion for the other two riders, Eddard's alleged bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and true born daughter Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), makes sense. He defended it by hinting at Jon's parentage – "Jon Snow is not a Stark" – and Arya's exploits – "Arya is being prepared for great things."
"It's a ripping good story," he said. "I don't know how he gets it done in two [more] books." Martin announced that The Song of Ice and Fire series, already standing at 5 books, will end with number 7, "A Dream of Spring."
"You'll never find a pastor who will say this is good for kids," Hewitt admitted, reiterating his warning that "Game of Thrones" isn't for everyone. But "if you're involved in youth ministry, you'd better know about it."