Game of Thrones fans in China are not happy that the season premiere they watched on the country’s online streaming platform was heavily censored, with six minutes’ worth of action — including what some say are key scenes — removed.
In China, the popular fantasy series is streamed exclusively on tech giant Tencent’s video platform. HBO has been blocked in the country since June of last year following a segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in which the comedian criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“It feels like a whole century was cut out,” said one user on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo.
“They’ve sanitized the episode and removed all the action and excitement,” another complained. “It’s like I’ve paid to watch a family drama.”
Online, social media users discussed which scenes had been cut, sharing clips of the redacted scenes and remarking on their relevance to the episode.
The redaction of a more violent scene showing a message from the White Walkers, the supernatural humanoid creatures who pose a threat to the fictitious continent of Westeros, was met with criticism. That particular moment has been discussed by fans as a significant and defining portion of the episode.
A sex scene involving one of the soldiers, Bronn, and three prostitutes was also taken out.
One user said he understood the removal of the lewd parts, but disagreed with the removal of the White Walkers scene.
“I didn’t even know that important part happened,” he commented. “Why would you delete these scenes which are crucial to the plot?”
Chinese broadcasters routinely impose censorship in its media. Gay scenes were redacted from Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody when it landed in China last month, and last year, authorities banned rappers and actors with tattoos from appearing on television.