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The Reek of Death: Masculinity, Abjection and Sacrifice in Game of Thrones

Fri., Nov. 15, 2019 3:30 p.m. - Fri., Nov. 15, 2019 4:30 p.m.

Location: AH 318

Dr. Susan Johnston
Department of English
Friday, November 15
AH 318   3:30-4:30 pm
Reception to follow in AH 349

All are welcome!

Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Samwell “The Slayer” Tarly, Theon “Reek” Greyjoy: one burned; one soft, cowardly, uncontrolled; one deformed by torture. Each of these men is marked by what Patricia Horton calls “the sign of abjection, that is, they threaten the defilement of the material body” (220), and each is met by other characters with a kind of horror. For Julia Kristeva, such horror underscores the different ways the bodies of these men show them marked by death and by the gross dissolution of identity which death makes inevitable. Thus is the abject “what I have permanently thrust aside in order to live” (3). In this way, the television series foregrounds the way the game of thrones is fought through and over and on the sexed and gendered body.

Susan Johnston (Associate Professor, English) is the author of articles and conference papers on fantasy, masculinity, and popular culture, including “Concupiscence, Coercion, and the Communion of Persons: Reading the Rape of Cersei,” forthcoming in Theology and Game of Thrones, and “Family Man: Walter White and the Failure of Fatherhood” in Masculinity in Breaking Bad: Critical Perspectives (McFarland, 2015) and co-editor with Jes Battis of Mastering the Game of Thrones (McFarland, 2015).