The great Game of Thrones controversy

Posted by David Konow

HBO's wildly popular Game of Thrones is certainly attracting a lot of attention and controversy these days. 


In the space of a week, the show definitely got the good news / bad news routine, which only illustrates how mainstream the fantasy series is becoming.

With the second bit of news, you also wonder if the controversy has sprung up simply because we're so close to the presidential election.


First things first - the good news, at least in terms of popularity. A story recently hit the L.A. Times about how Game of Thrones is apparently the most pirated show on TV. The Times learned this from the site TorrentFreak.com, who follow what movies are the most heavily pirated, and it's a trip to see a TV show on the list, because according  to the ratings, at its all time high Thrones has 4.2 million people tuning in, while there were 3.9 million people downloading it.



As the Times tells us, Thrones "is unique in that it's one of the only shows to have as large an illegal audience as it does a legitimate audience."
 
So the good news that fans are tuning in to Thrones any way they can was countered by the fact that the show was forced to apologize for featuring George Bush's head on a stick. The severed head in question was in episode ten, which is already available on DVD, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, it's being removed from HBO Go, iTunes, and future editions of the first season box set.
 
HBO scolded the show's creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and said in a statement, "We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series, who apologized immediately for this careless mistake." On the DVD commentary, Benioff and Weiss said the head wasn't used by choice or a political statement, "we just had to use whatever head we had around."
 
You may recall we did a story last year about the Mike Tyson tattoo in Hangover Two, and the artist who created Mike's face illustration sued Warner Brothers over using his art without his permission. Had he won the suit, it would have to be digitally removed from all future DVDs and Blu Rays of the movie, but Warner won the suit and didn't have to worry about a costly recall.