How 'Game of Thrones' and 'A Song of Ice and Fire' changed genre epic fantasy.
As the final season of Game of Thrones comes to an end, and the world waits with bated breaths to find out who sits the Iron Throne, I could not help but think how a show with dragons and white zombies rose to dominate TV ratings all over the world, where a show of such a genre had always found it difficult to be taken seriously by adults.
But I guess the answer lies in the statement itself. The show did take itself seriously, just like the book. 'A Song of Ice and Fire' did what other fantasy series were not doing at the time, it made fantasy realistic. Now before you debate the existence of dragons to me, I understand that it was still primarily fantasy, but the way it was presented, with its portrayal of gruesome medieval life, betrayals which were common to the the dark ages of Europe and daily struggles of the common folk, again a feature of medieval Europe, the book made sure the reader got invested in the story which appeared more like a historical fiction than an epic fantasy. And when the 'fantastical' elements were introduced later on, they did not feel out of place, or abrupt, they fit the world of the books perfectly and the readers saw them as essential to the continuation of the story.
'Game of Thrones', the TV show, did the same. It started off showing a gruesome beheading, telling the viewers that this show was not your average bedtime fairy tale for kids, but a show that would make you clutch your blankets and pull them closer to your chest as you hoped for the continued existence of your favorite character. The show introduced themes which were common to the real world, like love, betrayal, thirst for power, and wove them in a tale which happened to have elements of epic fantasy. And thus, the readers never realized when they were becoming part of something that, back in the day, only the nerds only used to like.
And now, at the point of culmination of this worldwide phenomenon, i am happy to say 'Game of Thrones' and Mr. George R. R. Martin have given a new life to epic fantasy as a genre, and authors like me who write in this genre will forever be grateful to this stomach churning, heart rate increasing tale of Westeros.
If you like reading epic fantasy, then consider buying my debut novel, 'The Passage of Kings', which is completely free on Amazon! Click on the image below to read now!