TV Fandom Across Media
: Transnational Fans and Transmedia Experience of Game of Thrones

  • Julie Escurignan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    This PhD analyses Game of Thrones transnational fans’ experience and their appropriation of material content. Game of Thrones, adapted from George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels into a television show by the American network HBO, is one of the most famous examples of television fandom. The series benefited from worldwide renown for next to a decade, with a vast international audience, a diverse fanbase and considerable media attention. As one of the televisual phenomena of the 21st century, it deserves scholarly attention.
    Therefore, this research analyses the particularities of transnational fans’ experiences, fans’ appropriation of transmedia content and fans’ material practices of fandom through the case study of Game of Thrones. The goal of this study is to offer a transnational and transmedia approach of television series fans’ experience, with a particular focus on their material practices. Material practices are understood here as the haptic, offline experiences fans engage in, from consumption to tourism, cosplay and convention-going. The questions at the heart of this project are thus: What constitutes the experience of Game of Thrones fans and what is the place of material practices within this experience? Is Game of Thrones fans’ experience globalised or are there local and language specificities? To answer these questions, I relied on a mixed methodology combining qualitative and quantitative methods which have led to a rich and complex set of data composed of ethnographic fieldnotes, visual and textual analysis, 1954 surveys answered by fans and 103 interviews of fans and industry professionals. In this thesis, I strive to examine a more holistic understanding of fandom and fan experience by looking at transnational fans and weaving together fans’ online and offline presence as part of their material practices. My analysis enables me to assert that whilst language does not impact fans’ experience, Game of Thrones fandom faces issues of access: despite being a globalised phenomenon, fandom does not erase physical, cultural and economic borders. Finally, I advocate for a “trivialité” approach of Game of Thrones to counter-balance Western perspectives of popular and mainstream.
    Date of Award25 Jan 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorStacey Abbott (Director of Studies) & Miguel Bernal-Merino (Co-Supervisor)

    Keywords

    • Game of Thrones
    • fandom
    • fan studies
    • television
    • fans
    • transnational
    • transmedia
    • HBO
    • language
    • material
    • borders

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