A Game of Genders: Comparing Depictions of Empowered Women between A Game of Thrones novel and Television Series
Keywords:Women, Fantasy, Archetypes
The main women in George R. R. Martin's novel Game of Thrones, first published in 1996, and the adapted television series in 2011, are empowered female figures in a world dominated by male characters. Analyzing shifts in the characters’ portrayals between the two mediums conveys certain valences of the cultures for which they are intended. While in the novel the characters adhere to a different set of standards for women, the television series portrays these women as more sympathetic, empowered, and realistic with respect to contemporary standards. Using literary archetypes of queen, hero, mother, child, maiden and warrior and applying them to Cersei Lannister, Catelyn Stark, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Daenerys Targeryen, provides a measure for the differences in their presentations. Through the archetypical lens, the shifts in societal and cultural standards between the novel and series’ airing reveal changing pressures and expectations for women. By reading the novel and watching the series with the archetypes in mind, the changes in gender norms from 1996 to 2011 becomes clear. The resulting shift shows the story’s changes in the realm of fantasy in relation to the American society that consumes it.
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Copyright (c) 2012 Rebecca Jones
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