by Taylor Follett
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Sunday, April 14 marks the much-awaited premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones. As you don the sigil of your preferred house, place bets on who will win the throne, and over-analyze everything, we suggest embracing an additional type of critical thinking with which to wow your friends at the inevitable watch parties. Consider preparing for the final season by checking out some of the academic criticism and literary analysis around the book series that started it all, A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as criticism that takes the HBO interpretation as its primary text.
We would be remiss if we didn’t remind you…it was a book first. You could also read the ‘history’ of Westeros, just to help you along with your theorizing.
Familiar with the books? Ready to dive into some literary criticism? Try these essay collections, which have critical essays ranging from an analysis of childhood in Game of Thrones to the amusingly entitled “Sex and the Citadel.”
Westeros is commonly compared to medieval England, except with dragons and Red Priestesses. Explore the relationship between the Seven Kingdoms and their historical analogue:
Between Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Melisandre, and many (mostly dead) others, A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones boasts many, many women. The series features women who rule (literally) to witches to wives who operate in complex and often unpredictable ways. If you’re interested in gender in popular culture, this is a great place to start.
Enjoy bringing academia into popular culture and remember—Valar morghulis.