Some Knights are Dark and Full of Terror: The Queer Monstrous Feminine, Masculinity, and Violence in the Martinverse

Tania Evans*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Violence is intimately connected with the body, and in particular with male embodied masculinity, in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-forthcoming) and its television adaptation Game of Thrones (2011–2019). While many scholars and media commentators have decried the series’ depictions of aggression, in this essay I focus on intersections of violence and male embodiment to reveal a more complex negotiation of normative masculinity than has been acknowledged in existing scholarship. A psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer reading of Martinverse constructions of monstrous masculine violence–by some of the series most abhorrent characters–Joffrey Baratheon, Gregor Clegane, and Ramsay Bolton–indicate how it is critiqued by association with the monstrous feminine. This critique involves a circularity of horror wherein these monstrous men both enact abjection and are subjected to it, a process that reveals the inability of heteropatriarchal violence to produce anything but destruction. Specifically, I argue that the normative male body and phallic masculinity are foregrounded alongside the symbols of the monstrous feminine. These instances rupture the illusion that a stable and coherent masculine subjectivity can materialise through horrifying depictions of heteronormative masculinity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)134-156
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Language, Literature and Culture
    Volume66
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2019

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