Game of Thrones, an alternative view

We’re considering giving up terrestrial TV, and thinking of the different strategies we’d use to get our content. One of them is to buy everything we watch today on DVD or iTunes. This brought the stark realisation that if a lot of the stuff we were watching wasn’t free with subscription, we wouldn’t be paying for it.

Game of Thrones fits that definition. As I said before it’s a soap opera, and deserves to be picked up and dropped like one.

I did however find a rather interesting review in The New Yorker by Emily Nussbaum who places it not in the context of fantasy, but of modern premium cable series.

“Game of Thrones” is the latest entry in television’s most esteemed category: the sophisticated cable drama about a patriarchal subculture. This phenomenon launched with “The Sopranos,” but it now includes shows such as “Deadwood,” “Mad Men,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Big Love.” Each of these acclaimed series is a sprawling, multi-character exploration of a closed, often violent hierarchical system.

It’s an astute comment, though I’m not sure it legitimises GoT. Nussbaum also notes that

Fantasy—like television itself, really—has long been burdened with audience condescension: the assumption that it’s trash, or juvenile, something intrinsically icky and low.

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p>If fantasy wants to elevate itself above such assumptions then portraying it as yet another eye on the patriarchy for the premium subscribers is not the way to do it.

I’ll probably continue to watch GoT while it costs nothing, but I doubt I’d miss it much – other than for the title sequence, which is the best thing about it.

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