NYT: “Women Won’t Like Game of Thrones”

Senior Contributor
12.01.11 20 Comments

Oh, man. Oh, man. We can’t believe we missed this one when it first hit the streets. But better late than never.

In the middle of yet another discussion about how women are marginalized in nerd media and why they shouldn’t be, Kotaku links to this absolutely hilarious review of “Game of Thrones” from Ginia Bellafante.

Granted, professional critics having a…less than informed take on specific genres is nothing new, but this actually manages to come off as, well, weird. And sad.

And hilarious.

Some of the best parts under the jump.

Keeping track of the principals alone feels as though it requires the focused memory of someone who can play bridge at a Warren Buffett level of adeptness. In a sense the series, which will span 10 episodes, ought to come with a warning like, “If you can’t count cards, please return to reruns of ‘Sex and the City.’ ”

Wouldn’t “Entourage” be a better example?

Embedded in the narrative is a vague global-warming horror story.


The strange temperatures clearly are not the fault of a reliance on inefficient HVAC systems. Given the bizarre climate of the landmass at the center of the bloody disputes — and the series rejects no opportunity to showcase a beheading or to offer a slashed throat close-up — you have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

At this point, you realize she didn’t even bother to read the press materials.

The series claims as one of its executive producers the screenwriter and best-selling author David Benioff, whose excellent script for Spike Lee’s post-9/11 meditation, “25th Hour,” did not suggest a writer with Middle Earth proclivities.

Because, of course, fantasy writers never write straight fiction and vice versa. EVERYBODY STAY IN THEIR LITTLE BOX! SCHNELL!

And, then, of course, there’s this gem:

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first.

This is sexist in just about every way imaginable. No, really, it actually is worse than it reads at first glance.

First of all, women write a hell of a lot of SF&F: Octavia Butler, Esther Friesener, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Connie Willis…it’s a really long list. Secondly, women read a lot of fantasy: we don’t have any hard facts, but if there’s not gender parity, it’s probably swinging in the favor of the ladies. Thirdly, Lorrie Moore? Seriously? Not that Moore is a bad writer at all (she isn’t, and in fact if you’re in the mood for some non-fantasy reading, she’s quite good), but she’s the stereotype of what women look for in fiction: sensitive, about “female topics”, etc.

Then again, we can’t really expect Ginnie here to understand that when she closes with this:

If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.

And how did that prediction turn out? Take it away, “Parks and Recreation!”

UPDATE: Lothar Of the Hill People, in addition to having an awesome handle, also dug out her responses to the big fat piles of hate mail she got, and manages to completely miss the point of valid criticisms while continuing to condescend to her audience. It’s the delicious comedy salt on this failure pile in a sadness bowl.

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