Game of Thrones isn't just a Western phenomenon. The HBO series is big in China too, and after watching the second episode of the final season, netizens flooded social media with their reactions. One scene was compared to Chinese politics, while another angered people so much that they actually wished the hated censors had cut it out entirely.
BEWARE: There are heavy spoilers in this story for Episode 2 of Season 8 ahead!
One user on Zhihu has some suggestions for the glaring question facing Sansa Stark and Daenerys Targaryen: If they survive, what should the Dragon Queen do with the North's wish to be independent?
The commenter jokingly suggests that they learn from China's example to create a system called "One Kingdom, Two Faiths", just like China's "One Country, Two Systems" concept for managing Hong Kong and Macau.
"There is only one Westeros, and the North is an inseparable part of it," says the Zhihu user, also referring to China's proposition for Taiwan.
Weibo users also drew other political comparisons with the episode.
"The whole scene with Dragon Queen holding Sansa's hand is very state-owned enterprise-like," says one Weibo user.
"The second episode is about team building," another user comments.
One of the worst parts about watching Game of Thrones in China is the censorship. Nudity and especially violent scenes are often cut by the country's censors, which is a bit of a problem for Game of Thrones given how much it features both of those things.
Five minutes were cut out of this season's first episode, including a whole scene where little Lord Umber is found dead -- before reanimating as a zombie. Fans complained bitterly about the missing scene, with some complaining that the episode "just didn't feel right" without it.
But this time, fans actually demanded that censors cut a scene out.
Yup, we're talking about the one with Arya and Gendry -- just like people everywhere else it seems, Chinese viewers are having a really hard time accepting that Arya isn't a kid anymore.
"She's still a kid!" one Weibo commenter says. "For the first time I think it's better to watch it censored!"
"I don't care, I'm going to mail a knife to Martin and the crew," says another Weibo commenter. "I would have watched a censored version if I had known about this."
(Don't worry, HBO is not getting a death threat. "Mailing a knife to the crew" is a common saying for Chinese anime fans when they say they're not happy with where a show is going.)
There were no major cuts to this episode, but that doesn't mean there weren't other adjustments. For instance, in the Chinese version, Tyrion tells Jaime that he thought he'd die with a girl near him. The original English version of that line was… well, let's just say it was far more graphic and descriptive.
Most commenters agree that the most touching scene goes to Brienne -- our new knight of the seven kingdoms -- but that doesn't stop people from putting her into memes.
Overall, it was a rare heartwarming reunion before the big battle. But for some people it just wasn't exciting enough.
"This episode is like me slacking off in the last few days before the college entrance exam," says one Weibo user, referring to China's most important exam, known for the grueling pressure it puts on millions of students each year.
And now people are waiting for the final battle. One popular Zhihu comment sums it up best.
"Those who have excessive alcohol level in their bodies, fool around, secretly produce controlled-knives… The Night King law enforcement team is on their way."
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