Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 1, "Wintering."
Strip Game of thrones of sex, violence and supernatural horror, and what is left? The Chinese fans of the show are finding out, since they are watching a version of the series that has been censored by the government. Many say that the censored version of Game of Thrones to which they have access is rather like a mundane "medieval documentary" with unconnected plot points.
HBO's Chinese partner, Tencent, has distribution rights Game of Thrones in China, but to abide by local laws, it cut nearly six minutes from the premiere of season 8, "Winter." Most of what was cut was pretty standard, including nudity when Bronn spends time with three women before Qyburn summons him and violence when Theon rescues his sister Yara.
But a particularly crucial scene was removed from the premiere: when the body of Ned Umber is found stuck to a creepy sigil on the wall that the Night King has left to send a message. There are two potential reasons why the scene was censored: China refutes the undead creatures that are shown on the screen, as they are considered superstitious, and the dismembered body parts used to make the spiral could be considered too violent and frightening.
Chinese viewers who saw the censored version of the premiere of season 8 were confused when they participated in discussions after the episode. Many fans were angry about the censorship because it kept important hidden points for them, including the fall of the Last Heart, the death of Ned Umber and the message of the Night King. But others simply suggested that hacking the program was a better solution than watching a bowdlerized version. One user wrote a commentary half in English and half in Chinese on Weibo, the social networking platform similar to China's Twitter: "I want my money back, #TencentVideo. I want a refund, I do not want the censored version of #GameofThrones #EighthSeason. "
Another user noted:" When other people discussed the episode and said that a little gentleman was burned to death, I really had no idea what they were talking about. I am speechless. In order to censor blood and violence, the whole story has been affected. "
He continued his tirade in a post that was full of emoji and emoji horse crying. (" Horse "is a namesake of a curse China extremely common). "Censure to the point where the plot is cut; What is the point? I was thinking that in the whole episode, I did not see a single ghost, and I found it so weird. All the time it was Tencent who eliminated the scene, ruining it completely. So, how can I see the uncensored version? "
Several users responded to their publication, looking for the same thing: A user linked to a pirated file, which was subsequently deleted. He was faced with a technical problem and could not share files, but suggested that the first user look around on Weibo. "Everyone is sharing the files with enthusiasm, just look around," he wrote, one day after the premiere of the season. an analytical firm, the premiere of the season has already been pirated more than 55 million times.
Game of Thrones has been censored in China for a long time.In 2014, an Internet user commented that in the For the first three seasons, "they have cut out about a quarter of all the fight scenes, and then a quarter of the nude scenes. I guess it's okay if all you want to see is a medieval documentary about a European castle. "Another person said that he estimated that 20 minutes were missing for the pilot episode, and that the rest did not make much sense, without all the beheadings, poisonings and murders, Game of Thrones is missing a considerable percentage of its moments of the fundamental plot
As Game of Thrones increases the action in its final season, the spectators await a conclusion of the battles that have been commented on in previous seasons, including a final showdown between the two living dragons and the zombie dragon, the army of Cersei Lannister confronting the army of Daenerys Targaryen, and the Army of the Dead making their bloody descent into the heart of Westeros, but as the bloodshed increases, presumably, too the censorship in China will do it.