Analysis Of George R. Martin 's Epic Fantasy Saga Game Of Thrones Essay

Analysis Of George R. Martin 's Epic Fantasy Saga Game Of Thrones Essay

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George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga Game of Thrones transcends the traditional boundaries of the fantasy genre, representing the harsh reality of class exploitation in feudalism and its dichotomous social structure: high birth (nobility) and low birth (peasant). Throughout the series, the interpersonal strife of the noble houses dictates the lives of the peasants. Family is the principle institution through which power is acquired, sustained, and imposed on others. The conflict and subterfuge that occurs in the interest of political gain between houses in this feudalistic society sows the seeds of its own destruction; as a result of war, thousands die in battle, countless villages are pillaged and raided, and the aristocracy falls into insurmountable debt. The struggles of the different houses and classes mirror Karl Marx’s paradigm of social development: each society progresses through four main epochs, each stage defined by its primary means of production: Primitive Communism, Ancient Society, Feudal Society, and Capitalistic Society. The means of production in Game of Thrones most clearly resembles a feudal society. As opposed to operating on the market principles of capitalism, where the means of production are privately owned, investment is privately controlled, and labor is bought and sold as a commodity, the feudal society in Game of Thrones operates according to tradition and custom. The nobles gain their primary means of wealth, or surplus, from the peasants, who, as the main producers, are expected to surrender a majority of their labor to their lord. In the coming seasons of Game of Thrones, the feudal system that defines the show will crumple in the face of immense debt incurred by the aristocracy, widespread peas...


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...that] cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary (Bourgeoisie) class, the class that holds the future in its hands” (Marx, 1884, p. 26). His position of low nobility and mastery of finance, trade, and business allow him to gradually weaken the feudalistic Westerosi society and promote a more capitalistic approach.
Applying historical materialism to Game of Thrones suggests that societal transformation is in the air. With the crown’s lack of resources and power exposed, unified peasant revolts, and an uprising of the Bourgeois class—the downfall of Westeros’ feudal system, and thus, the rise of capitalism, is inevitable. In using the fantasy genre as a medium to analyze the social transformation of one mode of production to the next, one can better understand the current state of social reality and thus make more accurate predictions of future societal changes.

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