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Call for Contributors: Fan Phenomena: Game of Thrones

June 15, 2016
full name / name of organization:
Kavita Mudan Finn
contact email:


With five books and approximately eight million words published thus far in the Song of Ice and Fire series (1996-ongoing) and the sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones currently airing, we are seeing the beginnings of a school of criticism devoted to George R.R. Martin’s works and their peculiar brand of deconstructive and in many ways postmodern interpretations of the fantasy genre and medievalism. Often positioned as the grittier antithesis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, Martin’s narrative focuses on the darker side of chivalry and heroism, stripping away these higher ideals to reveal the greed, amorality, and lust for power underpinning them.


The Fan Phenomena series from Intellect Press is seeking contributors for a new volume on Game of Thrones. This series explores and decodes the fascination we have with what constitutes an iconic or cult phenomenon and how a particular person, TV show, or film character/film infiltrates its way into the public consciousness. Game of Thrones has done precisely that, first subtly and on the fringes as the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, before the lush production values and dynamic cast of the HBO series made it a worldwide blockbuster.


Some suggested topics are listed below, although feel free to propose something not on this list. The only requirement is that your proposed chapter focus not just on the show or the books, but on fans and fan responses to either or both.


  • Demographics of Game of Thrones fans: Who makes up the Game of Thronesfandom? How does the actual fandom differ from the show’s perceived/intended audience?
  • Location tourism: Fans who visit filming locations for the HBO series in Ireland, Croatia, Spain, etc; how these locations are capitalising on Game of Thrones fans
  • The cast of the HBO series and their engagements with fans/social media: e.g. cast accounts on Twitter/Vine/etc; advantages and disadvantages of cast interviews
  • Game of Thrones as a response to Tolkien/Tolkienesque fantasy traditions
  • Is Game of Thrones “medieval”? Why or why not?
  • Languages: Dothraki, Valyrian, Ghiscari, etc.
  • Official/unofficial merchandise: e.g. items with house sigils found on HBO’s website in contrast with items found on Etsy/Deviantart; T-shirt sites like Teefury, which walk an interesting line between official and unofficial merchandise with Game of Thrones-inspired designs
  • Costumes and cosplay: e.g. exhibitions of actual props/costumes from the series, mechanics of Game of Thrones cosplay
  • Fanart vs. officially sanctioned art: e.g. Kickstarter for Draw ‘Em With the Pointy End (2015) in contrast to The World of Ice and Fire (2014), published with George R.R. Martin’s involvement; art based on Game of Thrones as opposed to art based on A Song of Ice and Fire
  • Fanfiction vs. adaptation: Is Game of Thrones just big-budget sanctioned fanfiction of A Song of Ice and Fire? If so, what does that mean for fan authors? If not, what differentiates it from fanfiction? Divides in the fandom over books vs. show
  • Feminist/Postcolonial/Intersectional critiques of the books/show and how they manifest within the fandom
  • Fancasting vs. HBO casting: e.g. fancasting actors who eventually appear on the show (Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell), whitewashing controversies, racebent/genderbent fancasting
  • Curative (Wikis, forums) vs. Transformative (fanfiction, fanart) engagement
  • Negotiating two co-existing “canons,” book and show
  • Spoilers: What do we do with them? Do we even have them anymore, now that the show has overtaken the books chronologically?
  • Reacting to people reacting to Game of Thrones (i.e. the “shocking” moment videos on YouTube)
  • Intertextuality: References on other TV shows, movies, books (CommunityParks & RecreationThe Seth Myers Show, even President Obama); Internet memes
  • Parodies
  • House Sortings: Compare to sorting quizzes in other fandoms (e.g. Hogwarts Houses)

Essays in Fan Phenomena volumes are generally expected to be 3,000-4,000 words and written to appeal to both academics and fans. There are also a limited number of slots for interviews and profiles of specific fans or people involved with the series that would be 1,500-2,000 words each.


Please send a 300-word abstract and a short biographical statement to Kavita Mudan Finn by June 15, 2016. Please also indicate whether your proposed chapter would include images; if so, how many; and whether you anticipate needing to obtain copyright permissions.


Note: Completed chapters will be due September 1, 2016 in order to accommodate a publication date prior to Season 7.