Media Content Cultivation Theory Analysis

Game of Thrones is a very popular TV show.  But it is also one of the most violent in mainstream media.  According to there have been 456 deaths in 4 seasons of Game of thrones.  That is incredible, especially considering the statistics count only characters that are prominent to the plot and prominence is determined by “importance to the plot.” 456 deaths in 4 seasons that effected the plot in one of the most popular shows, that is a great illustration of the prevalence of violence in mainstream media.

This portrayal of murder as something that is common place and maybe necessary is disturbing because it may make children, young people who are not yet able to discern fact from fiction, believe that death and specifically murder is normal.  Now for adults and teenagers who know that the show is fiction yet are still influenced they might experience “Mean World Syndrome” (McIntosh 350).  Because murder is viewed so much it makes the viewer believe that is the way the world is they are more likely to view the world as a dangerous place.  Below is a statistic for the most deadly characters on Game of Thrones, they seem quite active in killing people.Deadliest game of thrones characters

One concern I have about the implications of cultivation theory is not about “mean world syndrome” but how it will distract people from important issues in the world(350). Most shows deal with very selfish and individualistic goals, portraying a world in which everyone is out for his or her self will stifle any altruistic tendencies in young children.  Game of Thrones is the worst offender because all the deaths are for furthering someone’s cause or getting revenge.  Adults as well may have this problem, if the only reason an adult values a relationship is that the relationship benefits him or her then the relationship is just a means to an end and not intrinsically valuable.  If nothing is intrinsically valuable then there is no reason to stop global warming for most Americans and there is no reason to care about international politics because it won’t effect the average American’s life.

I believe teenagers are the most susceptible to these problems because they watch shows about teenagers trying to fit into society while they are trying to fit into society and the lessons they see can and will effect how they act, especially when seeing certain shows may be something that makes students popular or not.  This need to fit in will distract them even more from important issues in the world.  Here is a message a majority of the population would likely find funny but trivializes death.  I wouldn’t call this a good message. game+of+thrones+meme+5

When we see the same message repeatedly in different forms of media we may begin to believe the message or at least be increasingly influenced by it. This extension of TV media allows the world of a TV show to be seen more often increasing the effect of Cultivation theory.  Which is frightening because children may begin to see murder as an everyday occurrence but a nice distraction from caring about greater issues.


Picture of the most murderous killers on Game of Thrones came from

picture of Game of thrones creator meme

Pavlik, John V., and Shawn McIntosh. Converging Media: A New Introduction to Mass Communication. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

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