“Game of Thrones” is set in a fictional universe. But that doesn’t stop questions of race and representation from creeping up in Westeros, according to Penn GSE’s Ebony Elizabeth Thomas.
“We can have the best of intentions, but unless we’re thinking deeply about the fantasy worlds that we build, we will re-inscribe the cartographies of the known world into our stories,” Thomas recently told The Guardian.
Many of the authors, directors, and screen writers who created some of the most popular fantasy and science fiction books, movies, and TV shows haven’t considered the historical and literary traditions they are working in. That can lead to characters of color perpetuating stereotypes. Thomas explores how creators’ handling of race and identity, intentionally or unintentionally, affects the audience in her forthcoming book The Dark Fantastic: Race and Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games.
“Fantasy is created from the depths of a creative’s imagination … It is a very vulnerable thing to do and, thus, fantasy writers are protective of their creations,” Thomas told The Guardian. “That’s understandable. But the act of ‘mythopoesis’ — making your own myths — is one that requires much thought. And still you may not see everything.”