So this Sunday marks the debut of the first episode of Game of Thrones, the HBO t.v. series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s alternate world fantasy series, Song of Ice and Fire. Song is a favorite of mine, a spin-off look at the War of the Roses combined with a zombie invasion tale. It has a little of everything in it, with brilliantly done points of view, and I would have up until recently assumed that it was the sort of story that would never be made into film or t.v. But times change, and so they are bringing this vast story to life and all bits and clips so far indicate that it’s going to be pretty good. It will also be a template for what may be possible for fantasy fiction in the future in the dramatic mediums.
But girls, according to folk who pay selective if any attention to the world around them, are not supposed to like cool things, something I’ve been told all my life — and yet curiously ignored. And so the New York Times reviewer, a woman, roundly denounced Game as throwing in some romance porn for the ladies, most of whom would otherwise flee, to allow guys to go and enjoy their cool stuff (which curiously does not apparently include porn.) This bizarre review, which made almost no mention of the show whatsoever, was accompanied by another one in Slate magazine online, which also didn’t really talk about the show and instead had the reviewer, a guy, talk about how awful he thinks all forms of fantasy are. But it’s the New York Times one that really has everyone up in arms, because in 2011, after Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Supernatural, Smallville, Heroes, Dead Zone, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Charmed, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, the legendary Doctor Who, etc., not to mention times past — Bewitched, I Dream of Jeanie, The Wild Wild West, The Avengers, Lost in Space, The Flying Nun, Nightstalker, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The Addams Family, The Munsters, Fantasy Island, Wonder Woman, Highway to Heaven, Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, Xena, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, etc. — to declare SFF a guy thing when it’s your job to watch t.v. for a living is basically having your head up your ass. Not to mention virulently anti-feminist.
Of course, what the reviewer meant was that the D&D fantasy stuff — what she imagines that to be — is the guy stuff. Things like Charmed, where three sisters worried about their love lives while kicking ass with spells to save the world, that’s not the same thing as lots of political skullduggery and women and men running around with swords. Girls can play house, but not soldier, and definitely not against a dragon. Oddly enough, you run into this attitude a fair amount among hardcore fantasy fans as well. They might agree that Games is really all theirs. And just like always, millions of women will ignore them.
Here’s the article, if you want to read something strange, and below is the response that I’ve found to be the funniest so far, from io9.