Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Blogger Michael Offutt on "Gays in 'Game of Thrones' Season 2"

Gethin Anthony as Renly Baratheon

With the return of Season Two of George R.R. Martin’s HBO series, A Game of Thrones, I wanted to examine the gay connection.  The first three books in the series, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords are masterpieces.  George writes them borrowing a page from Faulkner in much the way Absalom, Absalom! is written using its four narrators.  George starts with a point-of-view character and goes from narrator to narrator, chapter by chapter and unfolds an epic tale of deceit, magic, terror, and the rise and fall of kingdoms.
The first gay character we encounter is Renly Baratheon. He’s played by very handsome Gethin Anthony. His lover is Ser Loras Tyrell, also known as the knight of the flowers.  And yes, I think Ser Loras is absolutely beautiful. 

Gay tropes that George falls back on in the novelizations: 

1. Renly's personal host of men that surround him are known as 'The Rainbow Guard.' George knows full well that the rainbow is the symbol of gay culture. I feel that this is a nod toward gays and how they have been under-represented in mainstream fantasy.

2. Renly Baratheon takes a "beard." In other words, he is married to Ser Loras' sister (who is young and beautiful) but there is much talk that the marriage was not consummated. This use of a beard seems pretty standard in a culture (much like our own) that frowns on open outright homosexuality from men in the position of role model.

3. Ser Loras is the Knight of Flowers. This in itself is a kind of stereotype, but whatever. I still like him.

Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell
Where George bursts through the boundaries and breaks stereotypes:

1. Renly is a king and a powerful one at that. He raises a huge army and people love him. They literally flock to his banner, making him a serious contender for the Iron Throne

2. Ser Loras is the bravest and teh best knight in the realm. No one can out-do him. It is questionable if Jaime Lannister can even best him in single combat. This is frickin' awesome.

3. We saw in Season 1 that Renly and Ser Loras fled as soon as King Robert died. That tells me that the gays are the smart ones. Poor Hand of the King, Ned Stark stayed and got his head chopped off. He should have listened to the gays.

Sean Bean as Ned Stark
Thanks for letting me guest post I hope all of you are watching "Game of Thrones" on HBO.

1)     Uncle P, here. I don't have HBO and have never seen "Game of Thrones," so I have no idea what the heck Micheal's talking about here, but I trust him. His first novel, Slipstream is now available at Amazon. I'll be reviewing it after Hairspray closes. You can read Micheal's blog here.                                                          


1 comment:

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Game of Thrones is brilliant sir! I hope you get to take a look at it soon.