'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Has 6 Minutes of Sex and Violence Censored China

The final season of Game of Thrones premiered worldwide on Sunday, but Chinese viewers missed out on six minutes of content. CNN reports that six minutes worth of sex, violence, and profanity were removed from the episode before it streamed on Tencent, the website and app that owns the exclusive rights to the series in China. The cut scenes include Bronn’s conversation with three nude prostitutes, brutal deaths by ax and arrow, and one curse word. It is unclear whether the Chinese government is responsible for the censoring of the episode, or if Tencent or HBO preemptively removed the scenes in order to avoid government involvement.

Chinese Game of Thrones fans took the nation’s social media website, Weibo, to vent their frustration with the censored content. "I'm not unwilling to pay Tencent for this show, but how can I watch when they cut so many scenes? I'll have to download the video from the internet eventually," reads one comment

The final season premiere of Game of Thrones broke rating records for HBO. The episode was watched by 17.4 million viewers on Sunday night, accounting for encore presentations and streaming views.

Game of Thrones is based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George RR Martin. The television adaptation will come to its conclusion before the source material. The most recent novel in the series, A Dance with Dragons, released eight years ago, a month after the premiere of Game of Thrones. There are still two books left — The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring — for Martin to complete his epic. Some fans worry that Game of Thrones will spoil the finale of the fantasy saga, but Martin has said the two will come to different conclusions.

"I’ve been so slow with these books," Martin told Rolling Stone. "The major points of the ending will be things I told them five or six years ago. But there may also be changes, and there’ll be a lot added."

Co-showrunner DB Weiss told Entertainment Weekly about the privilege fo adapting the series, saying, "If you’re going to spend 10 years working on one show, you better really love the people you work with because you’re spending a sh**load of time away from your family and friends. You always put everything into it. So to spend time on a show that people respond to all over the world, it’s incredibly gratifying. You have these characters you love and you can come up with ideas for them, and a few months later these incredible actors will be saying those things. That’s such a rare gift."

Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its final season on April 14th.

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