From the Medieval Studies Research Blog: "Subverting Expectations in Westeros: A Notre Dame Medievalist Watches Game of Thrones"

Author: Dov Honick

Game of Thrones blog post imageDaenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clark) with her dragon, Drogon. Image © Game of Thrones.

George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is currently one of the most popular fantasy series, both on television and in print, and some have begun to describe the work alongside J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings and J. K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter. As with Tolkien and Rowling, Martin borrows readily from medieval history and literature, but somewhat differently; Martin seems at times to invert certain fantasy genre expectations and stereotypes.

His fantasy series centers on themes generally associated with modern medievalism, especially issues of rightful rulership, noble lineage, courtly politics, codes of chivalry, medieval warfare, ancient prophecy, arcane magic, mysterious monsters and spiritual mysticism. However, Martin’s somewhat more innovative characterizations and reimagining of traditions are what I have personally found most enjoyable about reading Song of Ice and Fire and viewing Game of Thrones ...


This is an excerpt from “Game of Thrones: The Overthrow of the Patriarchy in Westeros?” written by Richard Fahey, Ph.D. (University of Notre Dame). Read the full story.