Whether you’re subscribing to paid channels, watching shows on websites like Hbouk.com or faithfully queuing up a selection of must-see box sets, TV plays a huge part in many people’s daily routine.
The hottest TV release in recent years has to be HBO’s Game of Thrones: a fantasy drama set in a fictional realm where various clans fight for power. The show has had a huge cultural and creative impact around the world, especially in the UK where the royal family’s recent visit to the set was enough to make news headlines.
Although the fact the show boasts many of the traits thought to appeal to a male demographic (power, politics and violence) is it really the manliest fantasy drama ever created?
Encouraging Teenage Interests
Having become associated with teenaged Dungeons and Dragons fans, it seems that fantasy dramas of all descriptions were eternally destined to become relegated to the realm of males. As fantasy drama stereotypically features gross-out scenes, complex plotting and unnecessary female nudity. The genre seemed geared mostly towards male interests.
However, with contemporary shows now working hard to unify elements of fantastic storytelling, suspense and sexuality, fantasy drama is once again en vogue with men and women alike.
Whilst those who aren’t fans of the genre might claim that fantasy drama is just a creative space for ‘nerdy’ writers to act out male misogynist fantasies and objectify women, the fact is character-driven productions such as True Blood, Merlin and Grimm feature too much complexity to be dismissed as ‘manly’ fantasy.
Indeed, Game of Thrones might be bursting with swordfights, dragons, monsters, booze, blood, gore and sex but even a quick look at Game of Thrones fan sites like Winter Is Coming or The Guardian TV pages (along with statistics published by Nielsen and reported on Wired.com) reveal that the show has still managed to strike a chord with women who form 42% of the show’s total audience.
One of the reasons that Game of Thrones appeals across the board is that George R.R. Martin writes both men and women with the same attention to detail. Cersei, Arya, and Daenerys are every bit as three-dimensional as Tyrion, John Snow or Petyr Baelish, entering in to power games with equal skill and ruthlessness.
With its impressively layered female characters, intricate plotting, multiple character perspectives and moral dilemmas, the fact is Game of Thrones doesn’t just appeal to men … it appeals to humanity.