On Being Deliberately Offensive

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On Being Deliberately Offensive

Hatred is a game that is deliberately trying to be offensive. Forgive me if that's obvious to you, but it apparently slipped by some people.

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I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Onto the subject at hand - I can't be mad at the likes of Hatred. It is trying so very hard to be edgy and inappropriate, it comes across like the real people it is based on; desperate, sad, and try hard. I don't think Game of Thrones was trying to cause a moral outrage with the show, they just inserted rape because they thought it was suitably dramatic. Hatred tried to go for moral outrage however, much like Postal games do; they want to be bad taste and crass because that's what the idiot, delinquent kid does in class for easy attention.

But perhaps it waits in vain; it hasn't escaped my attention that the popular discourse on Hatred seems to have abruptly ended with its release.

Because the screaming moralizer's goal was to prevent it from being released. They failed. So they slunk back to their Twitters and Tumblrs to prepare for the next horrible thing that must be stopped lest society fall apart.

I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

If you think it didn't fit, it would require you to be some kind of blind lunatic who hadn't watched Game of Thrones up until that point. Like many who poured out of the woodwork to try and criticize it.

maninahat:
I don't think Game of Thrones was trying to cause a moral outrage with the show, they just inserted rape because they thought it was suitably dramatic.

Granted I've never gotten into Game of Thrones or the books but I think the point he's making is that getting mad at a show that for five seasons now has been about fan favorite characters getting rapped and killed for rapping a fan favorite character is as silly as a getting worked up over a game that is trying so very hard to get people worked up.

Great article, but I disagree that Hatred was under no threat. The game got an undeserved AO rating for having violence milder than MKX or even the Tomb Raider reboot, which features similar (and often more brutal) executions with firearms, with the ESRB pretty much admitting to political pandering under the excuse of "taking context into account". Besides, the game getting put back on Steam was the result of a not trivial campaign complaining to Valve about its removal, don't doubt for one second that without the backlash Hatred would have remained banned.

Yes, I thought the reaction to Hatred was rather strange. It was obviously peddling the `2edgy4u` thing and was rather well received by people who indeed are 2edgy4u. Getting mad at it is just kinda what it wants? And it was taking itself far too seriously to be anything but funny to me.

And as an aside, I stopped watching Game of Thrones because I am an insufferable book snob about it and the way in which it was changing things from the books just got under my skin (of course now it's caught up to the books I'm in a bit of a pickle).

maninahat:
I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Yeah, pretty much. I'm not one of those who cried for GoT's shutdown, but when I saw the episode I literally started laughing at the scene. The way they chose to focus on some unrelated character's comically stupid facial expressions was just dumb.

maninahat:
I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Actually, it fitted extremely well.

A passive character whose most defining characteristic is being silent while she is dragged around and abused, marries an aggressive character whose most defining characteristic is being sadistic and evil to the point of being close to a mustache twisting villain. Under the circumstances, I would say abuse and rape are implicitly obvious. Given how both the books and the show depicts violence and sexual content, that scene was shot almost tame.

People hated it because it was not in the original content. George R.R. Martin writing uncomfortable material == Groundbreaking genius; Benioff & Weiss writing uncomfortable material == flamewar material.

TheYeIIowDucK:

maninahat:
I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Yeah, pretty much. I'm not one of those who cried for GoT's shutdown, but when I saw the episode I literally started laughing at the scene. The way they chose to focus on some unrelated character's comically stupid facial expressions was just dumb.

I think by this point, most people clearly perceive the double bind there. Focus the camera on the rape, and you're catering to the "male gaze", or showing gratuitous violence against women or some nonsense. Focus the camera on an observer so you can see the rape through a 3rd party's reaction, and now you're not focusing enough on what rape does to a woman, and instead focusing on how a filthy insensitive man feels.

There is really no winning with the sorts of people who want to be offended by everything.

TheYeIIowDucK:

maninahat:
I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Yeah, pretty much. I'm not one of those who cried for GoT's shutdown, but when I saw the episode I literally started laughing at the scene. The way they chose to focus on some unrelated character's comically stupid facial expressions was just dumb.

It wasn't an unrelated character though, if you have seen the latest episode. To say it was pointless is ignoring the context before and after. There was a definite purpose to the scene, regardless of what the screeching brigade who have only seen one scene of one episode would like you to believe.

Overall I pretty much agree with you on internet arguments, except for the fact that I don't think the people yelling loudest are the extremists, those are actually far rarer than they seem. What you hear the most are people yelling about the extremists on the other side. This makes the echo chamber all the worse. You are not hearing the loudest arguments said by the other side because that is the only thing that makes it over the wall. You are sending people out to hand pick the augment that proves your point the best, and bringing it back to play on loop in your sound proof enclosure.

I really don't see what was supposed to be so offensive about Hatred. Or better yet, what made Hatred more offensive than half the games out there.
Yeah, you kill innocent people. But you do that in every GTA, every Saints Row game. Hell, one could make the argument that you kill innocent people in Bioshock Infinite, Rage, all the Fallouts.
It doesn't seem to be a unique selling point.

Small typo in the article:

It reminds me of the response to that one recent episode of Game of Thrones in which one of the 'innocent' characters who had thus far gotten through most of five seasons without being successfully maimed, raped or murdered - which, in Game of Thrones, is up there with getting three winning scratch cards in a row - was forcibly married to one of the villainous characters and sexually brutalized As predictably as the tides, certain kinds of people immediately hit the social networks to demand that the show be taken off the air, or at least pledge to stop watching.

The period is missing between "brutalized" and "As".

zerragonoss:
Overall I pretty much agree with you on internet arguments, except for the fact that I don't think the people yelling loudest are the extremists, those are actually far rarer than they seem. What you hear the most are people yelling about the extremists on the other side. This makes the echo chamber all the worse. You are not hearing the loudest arguments said by the other side because that is the only thing that makes it over the wall. You are sending people out to hand pick the augment that proves your point the best, and bringing it back to play on loop in your sound proof enclosure.

Well said. This should be a sticky on the top of every GID thread.

zerragonoss:
Overall I pretty much agree with you on internet arguments, except for the fact that I don't think the people yelling loudest are the extremists, those are actually far rarer than they seem. What you hear the most are people yelling about the extremists on the other side. This makes the echo chamber all the worse. You are not hearing the loudest arguments said by the other side because that is the only thing that makes it over the wall. You are sending people out to hand pick the augment that proves your point the best, and bringing it back to play on loop in your sound proof enclosure.

It's hard to pin down. Extremist has no real definition or objective standard to measure, so it comes out as a deflection when someone else has done what one side claims it isn't about, yet hasn't made an effort to shout down themselves. Using Hatred as an example, cultural critics are always saying no one is trying to take away or change our games, yet here were people trying to do just that to a game, and it was hardly the only example of such a batch of complaints being taken seriously and causing changes or edits to or limited removal of a piece of media. No one had the brains to tell these people to stop what they were doing to stop feeding the stereotype about those delivering cultural criticism really being moral censors (hey dumbass, we just want more variety so stop proving their fears right) which more often than not just places doubt that in your silence, you actually support the extremists.

Thanatos2k:

If you think it didn't fit, it would require you to be some kind of blind lunatic who hadn't watched Game of Thrones up until that point. Like many who poured out of the woodwork to try and criticize it.

I thought that rape part fit the universe, I just thought it was regressive character development considering how much time they spent finally trying to make Sansa an active character last season. They seemed to be hyping up giving Sansa some actual agency in the plot before immediately going "lol nope victim again" and relegating her as Cersei's Joffery's Lysa's Littlefinger's Ramsay's chew toy. It's entirely realistic giving the context of the setting, but I still felt it was bad storytelling on top of an already bad character regardless.

Anyways, on the actual content of the article, I agree. I mean, I'm as social-justicy as they come but the blatant controversy bait of Hatred seemed obvious when it was first announced. It should never have been a hot button issue that it became, and garme jurnalists who denounced it and the e-warriors who defended it are equally stupid for buying so hard into the ruse.

Silentpony:
I really don't see what was supposed to be so offensive about Hatred. Or better yet, what made Hatred more offensive than half the games out there.
Yeah, you kill innocent people. But you do that in every GTA, every Saints Row game. Hell, one could make the argument that you kill innocent people in Bioshock Infinite, Rage, all the Fallouts.
It doesn't seem to be a unique selling point.

Does it matter at this point? If you didn't see it in the trailer, you'll do it even less with the real game.

"paradoxical feedback loop" sounds like something out of a Doctor Who episode.
I loved today's takedown of loudmouth extremists of both sides of the political spectrum, and the echo chambers that allow them to thrive.

Phrozenflame500:

Thanatos2k:

If you think it didn't fit, it would require you to be some kind of blind lunatic who hadn't watched Game of Thrones up until that point. Like many who poured out of the woodwork to try and criticize it.

I thought that rape part fit the universe, I just thought it was regressive character development considering how much time they spent finally trying to make Sansa an active character last season. They seemed to be hyping up giving Sansa some actual agency in the plot before immediately going "lol nope victim again" and relegating her as Cersei's Joffery's Lysa's Littlefinger's Ramsay's chew toy. It's entirely realistic giving the context of the setting, but I still felt it was bad storytelling on top of an already bad character regardless.

Anyways, on the actual content of the article, I agree. I mean, I'm as social-justicy as they come but the blatant controversy bait of Hatred seemed obvious when it was first announced. It should never have been a hot button issue that it became, and garme jurnalists who denounced it and the e-warriors who defended it are equally stupid for buying so hard into the ruse.

It sounds to me that like the people who watch Game of Thrones are getting fed up with all the raping and murdering of likeable characters like it's the only thing that show is about. They want something more and to see the worst characters get what they have coming. It's becoming this slow, dark, joyless slog to get through, and the fans are realizing "Oh my god, everything the show's critics say about it are right!"

I despise Hatred for what it represents. It's the tired and predictable come-back against the anti-fun Nazis that want ALL games banned. This is not how you refute the extremist dipshits. If the game was going to make a point that anti-fun Nazis need to fuck off, could it at the very least have been an actually FUN game to play, rather than a pretentiously goth-monochrome top-down shooter featuring a disgustingly stereotypical punk whose literally only defining trait is misanthropy?

You don't defeat the stereotypers by pretending to be stereotypical, you're just being the thing you're trying to refute, which goes nowhere. We gamers have wanted to get RID of this retarded stereotype that we're all Columbines and Sandy Hooks just waiting to happen for [insert Faux News pseudoscientific reasoning here].

Darth_Payn:

It sounds to me that like the people who watch Game of Thrones are getting fed up with all the raping and murdering of likeable characters like it's the only thing that show is about. They want something more and to see the worst characters get what they have coming. It's becoming this slow, dark, joyless slog to get through, and the fans are realizing "Oh my god, everything the show's critics say about it are right!"

There was a great post on the book's Subreddit which claimed that the show has moved from refusing to cheat to help the good guys win to cheating to make the good guys lose. I liked the idea of good-intentioned characters losing because of their own tragic flaws, but contriving unrealistic scenarios just to get the edgy rape/gore scenes in is cheap and against the spirit of the material.

I have to disagree with Yahtzee's defense of the GoT rape scene. Not because I have a problem with the scene, because I haven't seen the episode. But I don't think his argument in general holds water.

There are many storytelling devices that will always get an emotional reaction out of the viewer, regardless of how well told the story is. Killing an innocent dog, for example. Rape is one of those devices. You could have the most poorly written, 2-dimensional character ever, but if you show them being raped people will react strongly. In fact, many lazy artists will use rape for exactly this reason. As a result it's really hard to make a rape scene that doesn't feel exploitative or manipulative, because so many rape scenes are exploitative and manipulative. A rape scene getting a rise out of it's audience only means the audience is human, not that the scene was tasteful or worked in the story.

Also, I don't buy the argument that this is okay purely because GoT is a story where awful things constantly happen to the characters. GoT is more than that. Yes, it takes place in an incredibly harsh and unforgiving world, but it still tells an engaging character driven story. If it was just bad things happening to good people it wouldn't be nearly as popular.

Anything that does not agree with certain dominant ideologies is under threat these days.

El Camino of Rampage:
A rape scene getting a rise out of it's audience only means the audience is human, not that the scene was tasteful or worked in the story.

Just how, pray tell, does one make a rape scene tasteful?? It is a universally reviled and disgusting act.

And don't go and talk about it's story significance. That only means it is justified within the narrative, not tasteful.

Darth_Payn:
It sounds to me that like the people who watch Game of Thrones are getting fed up with all the raping and murdering of likeable characters like it's the only thing that show is about. They want something more and to see the worst characters get what they have coming. It's becoming this slow, dark, joyless slog to get through, and the fans are realizing "Oh my god, everything the show's critics say about it are right!"

Nah, one of the main reasons I personally even like the franchise is relative lack of plot armor. And for me fifth season and book were no less enjoyable than first ones. And no, I'm fine with villains being relatively fine and well. You know, they are as necessary to the story as protagonists.

you know maybe people being offended by something is not the worst thing ever? maybe it actually opens up discussion as to why some people find something offensive?

like with the Game of Thrones debacle. There are issues with using rape as a dramatic device, issues that have roots in all kinds of things in our society, media being a by product of said society...

you'll notice a lot of criticism in regards to GOT is the fact that it feels gratuitous compared to the books, not that staying true to the source material is the only measure of what should/shouldn't be but many write it off as the compelling of overly sensitive PC police

hell if I'm being a little harsher here I'd almost get the impression that those who cry "censorship" and "PC police" want to do the exact same thing to people who take issue...to silence them

but I don't, I want to know WHY people find said thing offensive and decide for myself where I stand

perhaps I'm just biased but Yahtzee tends to have that smug "middle everything" approach where you can appeal to peoples liberalism by dismissing the whiners

Cid Silverwing:
I despise Hatred for what it represents. It's the tired and predictable come-back against the anti-fun Nazis that want ALL games banned.

who are thease Anti-fun Nazis? do they meet up? is there a branch in my country?

Vault101:

Cid Silverwing:
I despise Hatred for what it represents. It's the tired and predictable come-back against the anti-fun Nazis that want ALL games banned.

who are thease Anti-fun Nazis? do they meet up? is there a branch in my country?

You can join my circle if you want. We meet every Saturday afternoon. We start by beating up a clown (NO FUN ALLOWED!), then we proceed to burn a university book on game theory (IT HAS THE WORD "GAME" IN ITS TITLE!), then proceed to march up and down the streets in the neighborhood while making silly hand-gestures and steal candies from little kids (FOR THE EVULZ!) You should really come to our next meeting, we are planning out how to build our first concentr*cough-cough* I mean education camp for gamers. Yes. Good times. :P

On a more serious note on being deliberately offensive:
That's not a new thing. That's not even a new thing for games. Yes, it is tasteless and dumb, but that's kind of the point. It is supposed to be shocking. It is supposed to be over the top. Anything short of that and it wouldn't be what it is, just like how a black comedy joke that doesn't make you cringe even a little is not black comedy.

Now, the execution of it, we can discuss. It can be good, it can be bad, it can be rubbish, just like how a black comedy joke can be completely unfunny. I would put hatred in the "bad" category, partially because of the negative hype made it out to be more than what it was, but its the same negative hype and what said hype tells us about modern social media culture that provides us with some food for thought. What is pointless to talk about however, is offensiveness.

For that one, I have one simple mantra: "Offending you =/= offensive". People can be offended by the stupidest of things, because it is 100% subjective. There are people who are offended by the murder of innocents in Hatred, but there are also people who don't care the slightest about that and focus on the game as a whole, and there are yet others who think it's fun and silly. There are people who think that rape in a series about bad people doing bad things to good and bad people alike is offensive, others see it as par for the course, yet others would find the lack of it inexcusable due to the context. Some people are offended by, say, loli content in eroge or even just ecchi games/anime and consider it child pornography, others look at it and just see a bunch of pixels, yet others have a fetish for it.

At the end of the day "being offended" is not worth discussing. It's akin to "like" and "hate"; something extremely subjective that no one can really "appreciate" aside of the person making the claim, and therefore it forestalls any constructive discussion.

El Camino of Rampage:
You could have the most poorly written, 2-dimensional character ever, but if you show them being raped people will react strongly.

Ishal:
Just how, pray tell, does one make a rape scene tasteful?? It is a universally reviled and disgusting act.

Female on male seems to be okay, even in comedy films, because the male is always consent, obviously [(not) just in case the sarcasm gets by and someone bothers to take it seriously]. For example, I don't remember any backlash for Wedding Crashers, maybe because it was a more simple age, without teens growing up on smartphones.

Ishal:

El Camino of Rampage:
A rape scene getting a rise out of it's audience only means the audience is human, not that the scene was tasteful or worked in the story.

Just how, pray tell, does one make a rape scene tasteful?? It is a universally reviled and disgusting act.

And don't go and talk about it's story significance. That only means it is justified within the narrative, not tasteful.

That is an interesting question. I suppose tastefulness depends on what purpose the rape has within telling a story - If the primary purpose of the rape scene is to let you know that one character (the rapist) is a bad guy, then that can be seen as lazy and exploitative writing. Similarly, if the purpose is just to make you dislike someone more, or feel more sorry for the victim, then you've kind of used rape as a shorthand, and again will be seen as lazy and exploitative.

The Mary Sue put forward the view that rape in a story should carry a lot more weight. That rape should play a more central role to the story, and thus be granted a reasonable degree of gravitas. If the story feels like it is dismissing the rape, or there is a lack of time given to showing the physical and emotional consequences of it, then it can feel like it isn't treating the issue terribly seriously. I watch a lot of Tamil movies, and sexual assault/rape comes up a lot. In these, the hero will kung fu fight with about 30 bad guys to stop them raping a woman. Once the woman has been rescued, that's the end of the issue - the woman seems to forget that a horrendous sex crime even happened and no screen time is given to address what the hell must be going through her head after going through that.

Totally agree with the Game of Thrones comments by the way. You didn't like watching the rape of a young women who you've grown attached to for 4 and a half seasons? Gosh I bet that wasn't the intended effect!

I do kind of get the criticise that it's a regressive moment for Sansa back to being a victim... but "being a victim" is all about how you deal with abuse and not about whether or not you can avoid it. When Sansa was mistreated by Joffrey she became numb and fatalistic, this time round she immediately tries to do something and keeps trying after having major setbacks. She recognises that this shouldn't be happening and that things can change. That's a very important character development for someone who's been abused!

Anyway, back to the actual topic... Games that are deliberately offensive as a substitute for actual quality are annoying and make gaming in general look bad but unfortunately there isn't really a way of addressing it without making the problem worse.

I can't really decide who's dumber in this situation. The people who constantly talk about how Hatred crossed the line apparently without realising that they are doing all of the games advertising for them OR the people who bought a fairly dull game just to stick it to the SJWs. What exactly has disliking video game violence got to do with social justice anyway?

Phrozenflame500:

Darth_Payn:

It sounds to me that like the people who watch Game of Thrones are getting fed up with all the raping and murdering of likeable characters like it's the only thing that show is about. They want something more and to see the worst characters get what they have coming. It's becoming this slow, dark, joyless slog to get through, and the fans are realizing "Oh my god, everything the show's critics say about it are right!"

There was a great post on the book's Subreddit which claimed that the show has moved from refusing to cheat to help the good guys win to cheating to make the good guys lose. I liked the idea of good-intentioned characters losing because of their own tragic flaws, but contriving unrealistic scenarios just to get the edgy rape/gore scenes in is cheap and against the spirit of the material.

The series has shown that ruthless actions have consequences. Most agents who have committed some atrocity face repercussions. Think: Jaime losing his hand, Joffrey being poisoned at his wedding, Tywin losing his legacy and dignity, Cersei being pubicly humiliated (boy lots of Lannisters in here), Black Watch traitors, Stannis' defeat, Arya's whole goddam character arch. Without the tragedy those moments wouldn't have the impact they do.

Vault101:

perhaps I'm just biased but Yahtzee tends to have that smug "middle everything" approach where you can appeal to peoples liberalism by dismissing the whiners

Aren't you no different? By dismissing those who oppose the whiners, by insinuating that they want to censor the whiners?

Darth_Payn:
It sounds to me that like the people who watch Game of Thrones are getting fed up with all the raping and murdering of likeable characters like it's the only thing that show is about. They want something more and to see the worst characters get what they have coming. It's becoming this slow, dark, joyless slog to get through, and the fans are realizing "Oh my god, everything the show's critics say about it are right!"

I'm not sure why people are watching expecting things to suddenly "get better." Bad things happen to everyone in Game of Thrones. Sometimes people get what they "deserve" and sometimes not! That's why the storytelling is actually compelling, because you don't know what's going to happen. No character has plot armor. It's refreshing.

Coruptin:
The series has shown that ruthless actions have consequences. Most agents who have committed some atrocity face repercussions. Think: Jaime losing his hand, Joffrey being poisoned at his wedding, Tywin losing his legacy and dignity, Cersei being pubicly humiliated (boy lots of Lannisters in here), Black Watch traitors, Stannis' defeat, Arya's whole goddam character arch. Without the tragedy those moments wouldn't have the impact they do.

Exactly. All of the events make sense in the context of the world, and all led logically from the events preceding them. What doesn't happen are the tropes you come to expect out of television shows. So genre savvy viewers trying to predict things based on accepted tropes get mad when things don't happen that way. After 5 seasons now, I'd expect them to be used to it, but apparently not.

maninahat:
I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Onto the subject at hand - I can't be mad at the likes of Hatred. It is trying so very hard to be edgy and inappropriate, it comes across like the real people it is based on; desperate, sad, and try hard. I don't think Game of Thrones was trying to cause a moral outrage with the show, they just inserted rape because they thought it was suitably dramatic. Hatred tried to go for moral outrage however, much like Postal games do; they want to be bad taste and crass because that's what the idiot, delinquent kid does in class for easy attention.

Should all things art be tasteful, artful and meaningful? In general, can art not sometimes be tasteless, impulsive and senseless, as in life? I understand critiquing, but this sounds more like judging, and in bad form.

Isn't it wonderful how we've enshrined "criticism", regardless of whether it's nuanced and constructive or the ravings of overwrought hypocrites who can barely string a sentence together? (Which is fortunately less than the entrance admission to Twitter?)

The people who said jazz was leading to juvenile delinquency were critics. The people who said that the rhythm of rock and roll was going to cause irregular heartbeat were critics. The people who condemned movies for presenting unmarried couples as something other than moral degenerates were critics. The people who saw Communism behind everything were critics. It's only afterwards, with the climates that enabled such ill-founded criticism all but forgotten, that we pat ourselves on the back for our enlightenment and say that of course, we'd never fall prey to something like that.

AgedGrunt:

maninahat:
I think people were mad at Game of Thrones, not because they really liked the character and didn't want them to be raped, but because they felt the rape was a tasteless, unimaginative and inappropriate plot device that didn't fit.

Onto the subject at hand - I can't be mad at the likes of Hatred. It is trying so very hard to be edgy and inappropriate, it comes across like the real people it is based on; desperate, sad, and try hard. I don't think Game of Thrones was trying to cause a moral outrage with the show, they just inserted rape because they thought it was suitably dramatic. Hatred tried to go for moral outrage however, much like Postal games do; they want to be bad taste and crass because that's what the idiot, delinquent kid does in class for easy attention.

Should all things art be tasteful, artful and meaningful? In general, can art not sometimes be tasteless, impulsive and senseless, as in life? I understand critiquing, but this sounds more like judging, and in bad form.

No. But rape scenes inserted into tv shows tend to demand a little more diligent writing and taste. A tv show about sword chairs and pet dragons is certainly no exception. Also, of course they are judging Game of Thrones, what's wrong with judging shit?

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