Bring on the beasts and boobs

I’d never watched Game of Thrones. I’d heard good things – but I’d heard them from fantasy fans. Fanboys and fangirls alike were dedicating their Monday nights to group viewings of the HBO show. I was dedicating my Tuesday mornings to skimming through post after Facebook post about the previous night’s show, unengaged and disinterested.

I have to admit, however, that after the screening of the first episode of Game of Thrones as part of the TV Cultures course my interest was piqued. My assumptions about the show were based on genre and taste, but certainly not gender. Mythical creatures in faraway lands don’t usually float my boat. I couldn’t sit through even one Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek makes me shudder. But it was precisely the elements of Game of Thrones critiqued as being “boy fiction” that I enjoyed. Beasts balanced with boobs. Royal banquets bookended by orgies and incest.


“Beheadings, barbarians, bastards and boobs. We we f**king love Game of Thrones.”

Twitter @IGN

Sure, the assumption that these elements of Game of Thrones are what keep the boys interested is probably well-founded, but the challenge to that assumption is clear in the plethora of online content written by female bloggers – not just fangirls and geek girls, but your Average Joeline as well.

In response to a NY Times criticism positing Game of Thrones as “boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half”, a fan wrote:

“This made me shriek…and nearly toss my laptop across the room… I find the terms ‘girl fiction’ and ‘boy fiction’ offensive and needlessly discriminating.”

(Faith, 2011)

Maybe I’ll give Game of Thrones another go. Episode 2 Season 1 leaves me plenty of time to get hooked (and plenty of time to escape!). Perhaps fantasy isn’t so bad. Perhaps fanatic friends are not geeks. And perhaps the show doesn’t appeal because of gender, but because it’s full of good stuff. Perhaps.



McNutt, M (2011) ‘Questions of Taste: Dissecting the Dissection of Early Reviews of HBO’s Game of Thrones’, blog, 9 April, Cultural Learnings, viewed 5 September 2012, <>.

Taillefer, C (2011) ‘Game of Thrones? More like Game of Bones. As in ‘boners’.’ blog, 15 April, Bibliotech, viewed 31 August 2012, <>.