Literature Review

A Game of Literary Review

By Jakob, Michael, Michelle, and Simon

The community and viewers of the show Game of Thrones have responded to the show and engaged themselves in the series through a number of online networks. These collections of knowledge, opinions, conversations, texts, and other general information regarding the show allow us to observe what the show’s community is saying, thinking, and doing. IGN, Wikia, winteriscoming.net, and talk.hbo.com are examples of sources on the web that stand out as thorough, organized, and complete collections.

Due to the highly modern “cult” nature of the Sci-fi community and also the Game of Thrones community, almost all of the sources are online. The fantasy television series Game of Thrones is adapted from novels, which accounts for the existence of certain details and information that are not covered in the show. IGN is originally a video game website, but it also caters to certain shows with large fan bases. The site includes episode reviews, discussion forums, videos, and comical memes and gifs. Wikia is a site with extensive encyclopedic and behind-the-scenes information (eg. where scenes were filmed, who storyboarded episodes, etc.) This website is less discussion oriented, but still allows for collaboration on the information that is presented. Winteriscoming.net is a website that focuses on in-show character development and relationships as well as the actors outside of the show. It includes cast/writer interviews, new season anticipation events, podcasts based on the books, and discussions on the more controversial scenes and plot events. Talk.hbo.com is arguably the most comprehensive of the sites and covers material ranging from fan favorite characters, to future plot predictions. The site is run by HBO, the network responsible for Game of Thrones, and tackles debated topics such as whether or not Game of Thrones works on television and how the book compares to the TV show.

IGN, wikia.com, winteriscoming.net, and talk.hbo.com appear to host the leading communities of discussion about Game of Thrones. They all present an opportunity for viewers to research, discuss, and explore the series.

The online resources developed for Game of Thrones followers vary widely; however, the sources described in the summary have many similarities. All of the sources host blogs and other types of discussions in which viewers of the show can make an account and contribute. These discussions all contain elements of character development, storylines, and plot summaries, all of which help viewers grasp and interpret the vast content of the series.

The forums on these sources are typically structured in three different ways; they are designed to contain the discussion of major plot events, the implications of those events, thematic and symbolic analysis of the content of each episode, and analysis of the development of main and minor characters. These are clearly the most common types of discussions among the online resources available with regard to Game of Thrones. Much of this dialogue is fact-based – participants discuss what happened, why it happened, and what its implications in the realm are. On the other hand, there is a small portion of the discussion that is opinion based, where viewers share how they feel about certain events, or how they would have preferred the scene to have played out. These types of conversations are less common than the fact-based discussions.

Although the variation in subject matter of these forums is great, there are certain topics that have risen above the rest and receive the most attention. For instance the forums have directed their attention to the gratuitous and pervasive sexual content, the comparison of the Game of Thrones books and the television series, and the level of satisfaction that the plot progression arouses among the followers of the series. Critics and viewers alike have engaged in active discussion over whether or not the sexual content of the show is warranted. Many believe that the sexual content of the show is detrimental to its ratings and that it is not good for children, while others argue that Game of Thrones is not a kid’s show and applaud the show’s raw realism. A large portion of the discussion is also focused on the books. Many comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the books and the television series because of the natures of their respective mediums. Lastly, satisfaction levels based on the progression of the plot have dominated most of the discussion boards. It is not uncommon for television series enthusiasts to share their personal opinions on the major plot events, and in doing so, the show’s most serious fans dominate the online forums with their comments.

Viewers of Game of Thrones seem to love debating the excessive sexual content displayed in the show. One blogger even claims that the sexual scenes and nudity have “ruined the show.” The blogger intended to sit down with her family, which included children, and watch a family friendly show, but that was not possible with Game of Thrones. She goes so far as to describe the show as “pornography.” Many users share her opinion that the series would remain intact with the elimination of the explicit sexual scenes and nudity, and it could appeal to a larger audience, such as children and other viewers who do not approve of nudity. Other bloggers responded by saying the sexual scenes were integral to the series because they were included in the books, written by George RR Martin, on which the show is based. Others simply state that the show is not family friendly and that the sexual scenes are not the main part of the show. The debate over the necessity of the explicit scenes to the show is actively discussed. Fans also love to discuss the continuity of the Television show, and Martin’s books. Most viewers were introduced to the television adaptation of Game of Thrones first and then began to read the much denser books. Those introduced to the books believed the television adaptation of the series was missing some information, but was for the most part accurate. Many stated that a film adaptation of Game of Thrones would fail, but television is the perfect medium to display the book visually. The show follows the book and displays about half a book in a season, which is a good pace for such a long story. There is also an emphasis on major plot twists and character development, specifically what happens to characters. There are several popular spoilers, or major plot twists that users frequently discuss and react to. Bloggers often compare the impact of several plot twists to the story as a whole. These plot twists often involve the fan’s favorite characters who are severely impacted in an episode. These discussions also relate to comparisons between the book and the television show because there are some plot differences between the show and the books.

Due to Game of Thrones’ massive following, there is a lack of many blank spots within the fan base. The fan base of Game of Thrones is merged with that of “A Song of Fire and Ice,” therefore the discussion goes above and beyond what is just mentioned in the television adaptation.  The online discussions have been so extensive that on one particular page there can be up to 1000 links to other related pages. Considering the popularity of online discussion concerning the sexual content of Game of Thrones, it is surprising that there is not more debate about the amount of violence. Blood and gore is as popular, if not more, than the nudity within the show, however there is little dialogue about whether or not this causes the series to be family friendly.  The absence of blank spots is a testament to the quality of the online following, proving that audiences are interested enough to not only follow the show in a passive sense, but to dedicate their time by thoroughly discussing topics mentioned regardless of their influence on the story line.

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