Torture TV

Fox is bringing back 24. Alyssa compares the show’s pro-torture scenes with torture story-lines in newer shows, which are unafraid to depict more sadistic horrors. On the treatment of one character in Game Of Thrones (spoilers below):

[Theon Greyjoy’s] expectations that anyone will be merciful are slowly dismantled. “Water. You want some water?” his main torturer asks Theon, then tells him “I wish I had some for you,” while pouring out the water on the floor. And bit by bit, his corporeal body is pared away, first a finger Theon begs the man to cut off after it’s been flayed, hoping amputation will relieve his pain, and then his genitalia, taken from him as a way of robbing Theon of the part of his identity that’s bound up in his sexual prowess. “No, mercy, please. Mercy, mercy,” Theon cries as his emasculation approaches. “This is mercy,” his torturer tells him. “I’m not killing you. Just making a few alterations.” It’s an efficient and nasty definition of what torture is, not an intelligence-gathering technique, not a tool that must only be used occasionally with great regret, but the process of turning someone into something else, and often something less. And Game of Thrones is making sure that its audience understands the full weight of that process.

Watch that gruesome scene here, if you must.