• Helen Sloan/HBO

    CULTURE WARS

    A Game of Genders

    Is ‘Game of Thrones’ a man’s show?

    There’s no doubt that the HBO fantasy Game of Thrones is a hit, but are its fans more male or female? The show wasn’t pitched as a manly-man series, and the series’s author, George R.R. Martin, has gone on record as a feminist, yet critic after critic has claimed that it doesn’t draw women because, ew, blood and guts and stuff. This is not only false, as proved by a massive fan base of women devoted to the feisty female characters, but also a harmful assumption to make. As Sexy Feminist points out, “Saying that violent works appeal only to men reinforces the idea that men are inherently violent.”

    Read it at Sexy Feminist
  • illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker

    Girls

    The Secret Teen World of TV Dramas

    Alyssa Rosenberg on how the struggles of teenage girls enable television dramas to be read as YA fiction.

    On Sunday’s season premiere of Mad Men, Sandy (Kerris Lilla Dorsey), the Francises’ teenage violinist houseguests sits down with Betty (January Jones) over a midnight snack, telling her what it’s like to live on your own as a young person in New York City. “The kids are just living. It’s beautiful. People are naturally democratic if you give them a chance,” she says, without a trace of irony. “Are you on dope?” Betty asks her, suspicious of anyone who’s that enthusiastic about human nature. It’s a sharp, funny exchange that illustrates Betty’s strange attraction to Sandy and her cynicism.

    But it’s also a reminder that there’s another show lurking in Mad Men behind the façade of Don Draper’s suits and scotches. Like almost every major anti-hero drama on television today, Mad Men is also a story about what it’s like to be a young girl discovering the realities of the world she’s living in. The secret of today’s prestige television is that it can all be read as young adult fiction.

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  • Daenerys Targaryen and Robb Stark of "Game of Thrones". (HBO)

    OMG!

    The ‘Game of Thrones’ Sex Ad

    Marlow Stern on the hilarious ‘Game of Thrones’-themed Craigslist ad that has to be seen to be believed.

    So much carnal knowledge is on display in Game of Thrones, HBO’s hit swords and sandals fantasy series, that the show inspired media critics to coin the term sexposition—providing plot exposition mid-humping.

    But this may be a bit too kinky…even for the Seven Kingdoms.

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  • Keith Bernstein/HBO

    Dragons and Damsels

    ‘Game of Thrones’ Author: I’m a Feminist

    George R.R. Martin on his female fans and characters.

    The fiction of George R.R. Martin has always appealed to female readers (when he met his future wife in 1975, she said his first book had made her cry). But since the wild popularity of Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on his A Song of Ice and Fire books, his stories have reached an ever-larger pool of ladies. Most critics have lauded his representation of fierce female warriors, who are more fleshed-out than your average TV hero or villain. And he’s a feminist to boot: “I regard men and women as all human,” he says. “Yes, there are differences, but many of those differences are created by the culture that we live in, whether it's the medieval culture of Westeros, or 21st-century Western culture.” We’ll have to stay tuned to see if Daenerys will ever get equal pay—er, her Iron Throne.

    Read it at The Telegraph