Perils of Generation: Incest, Romance, and the Proliferation of Narrative in Game of Thrones

  • Martin Bleisteiner
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Not all is well in the Seven Kingdoms: The children of the king are not in fact the children of the king. As the closely guarded secret of their true parentage seeps out, the cogs and wheels of an unstoppable mechanism grind into motion that will plunge the realm into all-out civil war. The fragile political equilibrium in the fictional world of Westeros is destroyed, and what we get in return is George R. R. Martin’s multivolume series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire (1996 to present),1 HBO’s award-winning television adaptation of that epic saga, Game of Thrones (2011 to present),2 as well as a computer game of the same name (2012), and a steadily expanding range of associated merchandise. What, then, is the precise nature of the impetus that triggers this colossal narrative machine? As it transpires, the actual father of King Robert Baratheon’s official heirs is none other than Jaime Lannister, the queen’s twin brother.


Television Series Fictional World Filmic Adaptation Bantam Book Medieval Literature 
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    Geraldine Heng, Empire of Magic. Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), p. 2.Google Scholar
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    The show starts as a group of mounted men clad in furs and armed with swords emerge from the portcullis of what appears to be a kind of icy fortress, venturing out into a hostile winter forest where they discover a number of horribly mutilated corpses and have a thoroughly fatal encounter w ith zombiel i ke creat ures. A choice set of signs like crenel lated battlements, horses, coarse clothing, severed limbs and swords is sufficient to lend the scene a distinctly medieval air, although a closer look reveals that only the particular type of cross-guard-equipped sword that is shown could be said to be unique to certain parts of the historical period commonly referred to as the European Middle Ages. Other popular markers of the medieval in evidence here are bad teeth (Sarah Salih, “Cinematic Authenticity-Effects and Medieval Art: A Paradox,” in Medieval Film, ed. Anke Bernau and Bettina Bildhauer [Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009], pp. 28–29 [20–39]) and filth, that classic litmus test of the attitude of a film or television series towards the Middle AgesGoogle Scholar
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© Andrew James Johnston, Margitta Rouse, and Philipp Hinz 2014

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  • Martin Bleisteiner

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