This essay explores the depiction of Eastern warrior races and channels of violence in Game of Throne from the perspective of military Orientalism: the Western fascination with Eastern warfare. Such a division of Eastern and Western martial practice serves not only as a source of horror but as a means of “othering” and defining what the West is not. Game of Thrones (GoT) follows this pattern, presenting a partly shocking, partly romanticized version of the military history of real-world races and cultures as a means of framing the more Western values of Daenerys and the superiority of her proto-European “civilization.” Other forms of violence that take place on the continent of Essos are also part of this othering, such as gladiatorial combat, use of mercenaries, assassination cults, and insurgencies. Despite characterizations that present GoT as groundbreaking in its fantasy, it offers its audience little new in its depictions of different cultures, falling into line with hundreds of years of military Orientalism and a long history of normative whiteness in the fantasy genre.

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