There’s no evidence of dragons and White Walkers popping up during the life and times of Jesus - though there are those mystery missing years between age 12 and 30, so anything’s possible. But plenty of other hallmarks of Game of Thrones feature if we’re to take The Bible as, well, gospel.
Gratuitous violence and sex, intrigue, betrayal, sorcery, wine... his story has it all. And as you’ll see in two-part Easter documentary Last Days of Jesus, GoT author George RR Martin has cherry-picked some elements of Jesus’s life and death for his own tomes.
In the meantime, pop yourself in the jury box as we present the irrefutable (OK, fanciful) evidence that the era of Jesus and the world of Westeros are scarily similar.
Jesus: Performed miracles as a practitioner of “white magic”, a force of good. Among his many achievements, Jesus healed lepers, the blind, the paralysed, a bleeding woman, a man with dropsy and a deaf mute. He restored the lopped-off ear of a high priest’s servant, performed exorcisms including one involving possessed swine, walked on water, stretched five loaves and two fish out to feed five thousand people with some to spare, and turned water into wine. Queen Cersei Lannister would've loved to have Jesus on staff as her own self-sufficient sommelier.
Game of Thrones: The yin to Jesus’ yang, Melisandre, a Red Priestess of the Lord of Light, was originally a practitioner of the dark arts. She’s given birth to a shadowy murderous baby demon, has the ability to look like a beautiful witchy woman when she’s really an old hag and she’s performed “blood magic” with leeches on the king’s bastard son. More recently, the Red Woman has used her forces for good, resurrecting Jon Snow.
Jesus: The most striking example is his drawn out crucifixion, where he was whipped, had his hands and feet nailed to a cross and a crown of thorns placed on his head, and was stabbed in the side to make sure he was dead. In other evidence: John the Baptist was beheaded, a high priest’s slave had his ear cut off, immolations were popular, and there were violent uprisings and massacres, among other gruesome acts.
Game of Thrones: Where to start? Horrific interludes include the crucifixion of some 160 Great Masters in Meereen, Ned Stark had his head lopped off, Prince Oberyn Martell (aka The Red Viper) had his eyes gauged to bursting, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons regularly burn people to a crisp, Stannis Baratheon’s daughter was burned at the stake (thanks again, Melisandre), what felt like most of the Stark clan was slit and stabbed at The Red Wedding, Jon Snow was stabbed multiple times, Theon Greyjoy’s underwent a penectomy, and there's been murder by hungry dogs, cannibalism, heads on pikes… Need we say more?
Jesus: Apart from his own stunning resurrection, Jesus resurrected a number of people in his lifetime. He raised a young man back to life from his coffin, resurrected the young daughter of a synagogue elder and, most famously, returned life to his close friend Lazarus.
Game of Thrones: Westeros has also been the setting for some strange returns to life, including Jon Snow via Melisandre after his death by the traitorous Night’s Watch; Beric Dondarrion, who was resurrected after six - count 'em, six - deaths; behemoth Ser Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain), who was reanimated à la Frankenstein’s monster; and Daenerys, who is either fire resistant or reborn in fire a couple of times. In the books, Caitlyn Stark is also resurrected - by serial resurrectee Beric Dondarrion, no less.
Jesus: To avoid claims of sacrilegious slander, let’s clarify that the sex we’re referring to here is regarding the time when Jesus lived, rather than his own sex life, which, as documented at least, was non-existent. The Roman rulers of Judaea were bound to have got up to some steamy stuff with permissive sex and ample sex slaves. There were also pagan cults in the first century that practised sexual worship.
But the pièce de résistance - or at least one of them - has to be the decadent debauchery of Roman Emperor Tiberius, a prolific pederast who ruled at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion. In his luxurious clifftop villa in Capri, food and wine was served by nude handmaidens, aesthetically pleasing youth engaged in kinky orgies for the emperor to perve on and young boys were on tap for his pleasure. Meanwhile, Julia, one of Tiberius’s wives, is said to have had a dwarf fetish.
Game of Thrones: Again, where to start? So many opportunities taken for sexposition - the debauchery of Littlefinger's brothel in King’s Landing, Prince Oberyn Martell’s playful bisexual threesome, rough Dothraki sex, Cersei and Jaime’s push-boy-out-of-the-tower incest, Cersei and Jamie’s grief sex near their son/nephew, Melisandre and Stannis’ war-strategy-table-resulting-in-shadow-demon sex… Phew! We need a cigarette.
The Last Days of Jesus airs on Easter Sunday, 16 April at 7:30pm on SBS.