Music in fantasy pasts: neomedievalism and Game of Thrones

Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam (2018). Music in fantasy pasts: neomedievalism and Game of Thrones. In: Kolassa, Alexander; Cook, James and Whittaker, Adam eds. Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen. Ashgate Screen Music Series. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 229–250.



HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the major successes in what critics have called a new golden age of television. Its vogueish brand of fantasy neomedievalism has caught the imagination of global audiences and generated renewed interest in historical subjects. Through the exploitation of changing viewing contexts and audiences, as well as new media technologies, Game of Thrones represents a new sort of television spectacle which rivals cinema in its scope, ambition, and immersivity. Music has been essential for the Game of Thrones brand, and its role in the new television landscape demands different perspectives. This chapter, then, explores how legacies of fantasy medievalism and evolving transmedia scoring practices in long-form television interact to reinvent and make history (albeit, of a fantastical sort) present in Game of Thrones.

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