Power and Subversion in Game of Thrones

Critical Essays on the HBO Series


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About the Book

This collection of essays examines the structures of power and the ways in which power is exercised and felt in the fantasy world of Game of Thrones. It considers how the expectations of viewers, particularly within the genre of epic fantasy, are subverted across the full 8 seasons of the series. The assembled team of international scholars, representing a variety of disciplines, addresses such topics as the power of speech and magic; the role of nationality and politics; disability, race and gender; and the ways in which each reinforces or subverts power in Westeros and Essos.

About the Author(s)

A. Keith Kelly is a professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College, outside of Atlanta, where he teaches medieval literature, linguistics and writing. In addition to being a poet and author of short fiction, he has published work on literary pragmatics, Old Norse saga, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the representation of the Middle Ages in film and television.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by A. Keith Kelly
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8264-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4466-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
A. Keith Kelly 1
List of Seasons and Episodes: HBO’s Game of Thrones 7
Breaking the Wheel: Game of Thrones and the American Zeitgeist
Daniel Vollaro 13
Dangerous Nostalgia: Fantasies of Medievalism, Race, and Identity
Robert Allen Rouse 30
Game of Victims and Monsters: Representation of Sexual and Female Violence
Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun 48
Subversion or Reinforcement? Patriarchy and Masculinity
Andrew Howe 68
“I’ll go with anger”: Female Rage in and at Game of Thrones
Lindsey Mantoan 87
The Developing Verbal Power of Daenerys: A Pragmatics Analysis
Graham P. Johnson 108
“Who has a better story than Bran the Broken?”: The Power of Disability Narratives
Jan Doolittle Wilson 131
Magic’s Failure to Reanimate Fantasy
Jason M. Embry 161
A Brief Conclusion on the Conclusion
A. Keith Kelly 181
About the Contributors 185
Index 187

Book Reviews & Awards

“This book stands out as a collection of essays that together present a sweeping examination of the HBO series, with some attention to the books, from various disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. …Collectively, the essays in this book demonstrate how the series is open to multiple readings and repeatedly explore how conflicts between readings may have shaped the audience’s dissatisfaction with the final seasons….recommended”—Choice