The Attractions of “Recoil” TV: The Story-world of Game of Thrones

The M in CITAMS@30

ISBN: 978-1-78769-670-9, eISBN: 978-1-78769-669-3

ISSN: 2050-2060

Publication date: 30 November 2018


My analysis is structured as a comparative study between two countries – New Zealand and Italy – and focuses on the relationship between national audiences and the trans-media structure of the popular television series Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011– present). Game of Thrones’ narrative is characterized by elements that emphasize its fictitious world, since these elements belong to the fantasy genre, which, by definition, deals with the supernatural. From this standpoint, the fantastic universe of the series functions as an escape route from everyday life. However, instead of following the genre rules, “Game of Thrones articulates a striking refusal of the hopeful mythologies of high epic fantasy” (Tasker & Steenberg, 2016, p. 189) by focusing on the brutal, the extreme, and the overall injustice and chaos that permeate a society in which war and death appear to be inescapable. In this chapter, the textual schematic of Game of Thrones is examined through the emotional reactions, during focus group sessions, of national fan groups to themes and events of the show. In particular, the analysis of Italian and New Zealand followers’ comments on Game of Thrones will be instrumental to illustrating the reasons for their passion for the series as well as the main concerns that arise during the viewing. This ambivalent attitude in fans’ responses and engagement will emerge as significantly dependent on the media text’s capacity to transcend the boundaries of a simple categorization, to stand as a notable example of a program that manages to appeal to diverse audiences beyond the country of origin.



Spanò, C. (2018), "The Attractions of “Recoil” TV: The Story-world of Game of Thrones ", The M in CITAMS@30 (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 121-148.

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