I can't comment on what others are talking about, but I have read an interview with GRRM where he pointedly says that he kills off major characters for the shock value. And I would assume that "shock value" means that the value in the action is for the shock it produces in readers more than anything else.
I think the key point here is Kills of MAJOR characters. Yes there is shock value but is it because of the violence or because we as readers are taken from the typical world where major characters suffer no permanent death to one where the reaper shows no obedience, save duty? If we look at GoT the first shocking death of a major character isn't actually that violent compared to it's peers. I say GoT because I don't remember exactly how it was portrayed in ASoFI.
You can view it this way: A story coated in Gore and Grit is just as bad as a story that is coated in honey and cuteness everywhere. Some serious violence is fine as long as the storyteller does not abuse it, and it's a good idea to use those scenes as a necessary part of the narrative instead of doing it just to have a creepier setting.
Shock value is a scene that is designed to scare or shock the readers. Good shock value has a purpose in the story, but cheap shock value is there just to make a story or a setting darker or (in the opinion of some people) more adult. However, a story does not need all the violence and torture and deaths in order to be serious and adult.
I have to disagree. Like many have said in this thread, it depends on the story. As an example: I really like chick flicks, they make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, that is the point. Now there are limits if suddenly there is a graphic evisceration than it becomes....I don't know what. The point is some stories are about themes that involve honey and cuteness while others involve gore and grit, some even have a mix. I don't see how they are bad because they include those things, they are different and that is where I am trying to go with these questions. Let me be clear on one thing though, I never intended for violence to be something so over the top as to become comedy or something akin to saw where the entire purpose is graphic violence for it's own sake when I asked these questions. Something I should have clarified at the start. One reason why I hate horror movies.
Random question why do you keep capitalizing gore grit?
Talking about the famous and infamous GoT again:
When all the Gore and Grittiness everywhere is taken to the extreme and glorified like that, soon what could be good shock value degrades into cheap stuff. The shock is not shock anymore, it simply becomes disgusting. Judging from all that I have seen of the TV series so far it's just disgusting, and I mean disgusting in the same sense that a very dirty toilet is disgusting.
I mean, after watching the endless Gore in that series I am starting to think that I could just write stories about characters that endlessly flay people alive after raping everyone and sacking entire cities, and probably it would be a success...
See these are the questions I want answered by people. What is the extreme? This is something that can only be answered at a personal level. When I watched GoT I never reached the same conclusions as you, why? I don't think anything was taken to an extreme, nor glorified which I'll be honest I don't understand where you came up with that. Lets say it's extreme, but is it more extreme than reading the news? we know terrible violence exists so why is it so shocking that we encounter it while reading a book. *If you want to read something with those themes or something like a chick flick that is a different matter and no relevant, we have moods that influence what we feel like reading. I'm not saying violence isn't disgusting, I hope; I really do hope that violence is disgusting to everyone here, however where do You draw that metaphorical line where it is just too much. Is it because it is shocking, unexpected, or is it because the intensity of said violence in its portrayal?
For me the idea that people don't like violence because it is shocking is a weak argument. It's like saying I don't like birthdays because I walked into my room and was surprised with a birthday party, that really depends on who is in their birthday suit though. So that leaves the idea of Intensity (Thanks, Nerdycavegirl intensity is a great way of putting it) of said violence that is the cause of such "disgust." Seeing my entire family and all my friends show up in their birthday suits would make me loath birthday parties.
On that thought I don't really see people being surprised by the violence so much as the graphic portrayal of said violence being the reason why individuals feel a certain way about it. This is why I'm having trouble understanding what is shocking which regards to violence. To me it seems irrelevant to the questions at hand.
Your Thread and Poll are great, because they provide us with a good opportunity to discuss these issues and determine what is good and what is bad for a Story. I am against the elimination of all Gore from our beloved Fantasy genre, but I do think that the current trend to be super gritty is wrong for us.
I have already lost count of how many threads we have had with questions about gore, torture, rape, tremendous injuries and all those things, and it's all thanks to GoT.
Thank you, I'll be honest that I wasn't sure if I should even ask, and I"m still uncertain if I should ask the follow up questions I had planned simply because the subject matter doesn't get any easier to answer. I really hate the 0-10 scale, ideally I would have 50, double blind questions with multiple choice answeres but....