Fantasy Is Not Just For Boys

I was put off by this New York Times Review of A Game of Thrones on HBO and penned a letter to its author. The letter is reproduced below:

Dear Ms Bellafante,

I was excited to see a review of A Game of Thrones in the New York Times, but I was put off by the sexist remarks particularly in this paragraph:

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

It’s demeaning to imply that women would only watch A Game of Thrones for the sexy bits and not for anything else. Your statement that perhaps “no woman alive would watch otherwise” offended me.

As someone who has read the book (and the rest of the books in the series), I can confidently say that while there is sex in the story, that’s not what kept me reading. It was the winding plot, the unbelievable amount of morally ambiguous characters to follow, and the writing that made me turn each page.

On, where I work, around 30,000 members have read A Game of Thrones and a little over 10,000 of them are women. Over 1/3 of the members who read A Game of Thrones are women.

The numbers don’t lie. Women read fantasy. Maybe not as many women read fantasy as men, but it’s not such an miniscule amount that it warrants continuing the outdated idea that fantasy is only read by men who play Dungeons and Dragons. Fantasy hasn’t been a boy’s club for a long time.

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