A past that never was: historical poaching in Game of Thrones fans’ Tumblr practices

Jolie Christine Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article explores the textual and historical poaching practices by Tumblr fans of the novels A Song of Ice and Fire and the television adaption Game of Thrones, a pseudo-historical fantasy series. Fans critique both the text (novels and TV show) and other fans’ interpretations of the text, as well as parallel real-world history with the world and characters of the series. Tensions arise around the “historical accuracy” of the novels and show, along with the role that dominant narratives and cultural norms play in interpreting a past that never was through the lens of a real-world past. Fantasy and history intersect in layered ways and are used by fans to support a variety of textual points of view. Issues of violence, presentism, colonialism, gender, and “historical truths” are argued in relation to the ahistoricism or historicism of the novels/show.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-242
Number of pages18
JournalPopular Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Fandom
  • Game of Thrones
  • Tumblr
  • fantasy
  • historical poaching
  • history
  • online discussions
  • social media
  • television
  • textual poaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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