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Game of Thrones: the rebirth of fantasy in TV series

Game of Thrones: the rebirth of fantasy in TV series

It all started in 2001, when Peter Jackson brought the grandeur of The Lord of the Rings to the cinema. Since then the interest in the …

It all started in 2001, when Peter Jackson brought to the cinema the grandeur of The Lord of the Rings. Since then the interest in the fantasy genre has known a renewed interest among the public. The credit goes in part to Jackson’s work on the most important work of JRR Tolkienbut the narrative of this genre has evolved in recent years, thanks to the resounding success of the series game of Thronestaken from the novels of George RR Martin.

Inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire, the TV series since 2011 has held millions of old and new fans in suspense. An exemplary case of how (perhaps for the first time) a saga of fantasy books has been able to find a new medium to tell itself again.

In addition to the subsequent editorial return of the novels, game of Thrones has the great merit of having cleared customs for a genre, managing to approach a narrative style appropriate to the language of the TV series. A recipe that has proved to be a winner and is about to come to an end with the next release of the eighth and final season. Obviously, in these eight years, the TV series industry has not stood by, and has jumped at the opportunity to continue to offer fantasy-themed products, trying (with mixed fortunes) to meet the tastes of the public. One detail, however, must make us think: all these series find their origin not on the screen, but in short stories and novels.

In this regard, it is right to consider a cultural flaw that the fantasy genre struggles to get rid of. Products of this genre have always been relegated to the sphere of children’s entertainment or at most young adult, struggling (even among paper works) to establish themselves among a mature audience, with consequent little or insufficient attention from publishers and producers. game of Thrones it was therefore the perfect work to remove (or at least to try) this label from a genre that by its nature lends itself to addressing the most varied facets of the human soul. Here then is that court intrigues, amorous and passionate intertwining, combined with a good dose of violence and *** have found a new voice in the television media, managing to touch the interest of its audience regardless of the imaginative and magical background of the history.

This premise is necessary to understand the difficulty of producers in creating a series from scratch. This is the reason why, today, it is preferred to base the subjects of the broadcasts on adaptations of already known literary works. These represent a less risky investment, being able to count on already existing fandoms, made up of the readers of the sagas and who therefore ensure a “slice” of the audience. The experiment game of Thrones it has certainly proved to be a success and can be defined as the driving force of a serial genre that is finally (re) taking hold.

Unfortunately, producers don’t always hit the mark. It is the case of The Shannara Chroniclesseries based on the novels of Terry Brooks, but still linked to the aforementioned “childish” taste. The result is a show with little bite, which in less than three seasons is already losing appeal to its audience. A completely different story is expected for the adaptation that Netflix is preparing for The Witcherinspired by the famous tales of the Pole Andzrej Sapkowski. What is expected of The Witcher it is much more in line with the canons of game of Thrones. Although addressing different issues, the way of narrating the legends of popular folklore that characterizes the series will certainly appeal to the “greats”, and will certainly find a very interested audience among those who have known it through video games.

In the coming months we will also see the launch of another serial, produced by Amazon Studios, which intends to ride this renewed interest in fantasy. Let’s talk about de The Wheel of Timemonumental saga by Robert Jordan. We do not exclude that a good direction can give impetus to Jordan’s tale of fight against evil, given that also in this case the complex relationships between the characters constitute a strong and appreciable backbone even by a mature audience. Also in this case we find an audience already aware of what they will see, also being able to count on products of different genres taken from The Wheel of Time (songs, role-playing games and even two videogames inspired by the world of the novel).

But the real challenge raised by the “fashion” launched by Games of Thrones is the realization of the TV series based on the fantasy work par excellence: The Lord of the Rings. Martin himself has repeatedly stated that he sees Tolkien as an essential point of reference for the world of fantasy, drawing inspiration from it himself. But getting Tolkien to film is never easy, and even now the English professor’s fans are divided on the judgment to be given to Peter Jackson’s films. The series on The Lord of The Rings it will also be produced by Amazon Studios and there is already talk of a mind-boggling budget. The producers have been somewhat vague in explaining how they will manage one of the most important books of the last century, but we know that the series is expected to hit screens in 2021.

If on one hand LotR it is a classic that will keep countless crowds of spectators glued to the screen, it is not so certain that the result will be able to do justice to the work of novelist and to Tolkien’s mythopoeic. Certainly fidelity to the events narrated will not be enough to achieve the purpose, but we will be able to know this only in a few years. For now we continue to enjoy this happy new era of fantasy, hoping that the television relaunch of GoT may have really sanctioned a rebirth, finding in the spectators of the series not only the followers of a profitable fashion, but also the engine to bring this genre to a new level easily usable by future generations, much more interested in TV series than in books.