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Humanities 2016, 5(2), 43; doi:10.3390/h5020043

“They All Lived Happily Ever After. Obviously.”: Realism and Utopia in Game of Thrones-Based Alternate Universe Fairy Tale Fan Fiction

Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, Muntstraat 2A #1.09, Utrecht 3512 EV, The Netherlands
Academic Editor: Claudia Schwabe
Received: 1 April 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 9 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fairy Tale and its Uses in Contemporary New Media and Popular Culture)
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Abstract

Fan fiction alternate universe stories (AUs) that combine Game of Thrones characters and settings with fairy tale elements construct a dialogue between realism and wonder. Realism performs a number of functions in various genres, but becomes a particularly tricky concept to tie down in fantasy. Deployments of realism in “quality TV” series like Game of Thrones often reinforce social stigmatization of feminine genres like the romance, melodrama, and fairy tale. The happily-ever-after ending receives significant feminist criticism partly because it falls within a larger framework of utopian politics and poetics, which are frequently accused of essentialism and authoritarianism. However, because fan fiction cultures place all stories in dialogue with numerous other equally plausible versions, the fairy tale happy ending can serve unexpected purposes. By examining several case studies in fairy tale AU fan fiction based on Game of Thrones characters, situations, and settings, this paper demonstrates the genre’s ability to construct surprising critiques of real social and historical situations through strategic deployment of impossible wishes made manifest through the magic of fan creativity. View Full-Text
Keywords: realism; fantasy; fairy tales; fan fiction; feminism; queer theory; television; transmedia; utopia realism; fantasy; fairy tales; fan fiction; feminism; queer theory; television; transmedia; utopia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kustritz, A. “They All Lived Happily Ever After. Obviously.”: Realism and Utopia in Game of Thrones-Based Alternate Universe Fairy Tale Fan Fiction. Humanities 2016, 5, 43.

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