Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Ser

Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)

An in-depth look at the philosophical issues behind HBO’s Game of Thrones television series and the books that inspired itGeorge R.R. Martin’s New York Times bestselling epic fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and the HBO television show adapted from it, have earned critical acclaim and inspired fanatic devotion. This book delves into the many philosophical questions that arise in this complex, character-driven series, including: Is it right for a “good” king to usurp the throne of a ”

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3 Responses to “Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Ser”

  1. John V. Karavitis Says:
    10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Verily, I say to thee: The Man who reads the Book writes the Review! “Stick them with the pointy end! GAME (over)THROWN!”, March 9, 2012
    By 
    John V. Karavitis (Chicago, IL USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) (Paperback)

    This latest entry in the Wiley-Blackwell “Philosophy and Popular Culture” series is geared to coincide with the start of Season 2 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, based on George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy books. ***Although there are a number of excellent essays, there are also a number of severe defects and failings that make this entry in the series lackluster and disappointing. *** These defects are (1) spoilers, (2) unexplored relevant themes, (3) weak essays and inconsistent segmentation, and (4) the recognition of three very peculiar yet persistent phenomena that appear to plague collections of essays of this type.

    SPOILERS
    The “Editor’s Note on Spoilers” advises “some readers” who are fans of the HBO series may not have read all five books upon which the series is based, and that they may wish to “delay reading” of six of the 20 chapters. First, most readers of this book most likely will only be fans of the HBO series, and not have read a single book, like myself. Asking them to “delay reading” almost one out of every three essays will most likely result in those essays never ever being read. For those readers that ignore this warning, the spoilers may be confusing at best, upsetting at worst. Second, I disagree with the Editor’s Note that “[M]any of the philosophical quandaries can’t be discussed without looking at events across the five books”. Wrong. Everything covered in these essays is found in Season 1.

    UNEXPLORED RELEVANT THEMES
    I can think of two themes that should have been addressed in this book that were not. First off, where is the essay that deals with the morality of incest? The incestuous relationship of the Lannister fraternal twins is a persistent theme throughout Season 1, in fact, it is one of the major themes that drive much of the action. To not have directly addressed it, and in depth, is a grievous error. Would you like to know where this essay lies? Go to Wiley-Blackwell’s “Arrested Development and Philosophy”, Chp. 2, “Kissing Cousins” by Deborah R. Barnbaum.

    A second theme that should have been addressed deals with the development of the social identities of two of the underdog characters: Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister. Arya Stark is a young girl who rebels against the expected social identity for women, and Tyrion Lannister is a dwarf who shouldn’t even be alive in the world of the Seven Kingdoms. How each fought against society’s expectations for how they should behave and live was worthy of an essay exploring how social identity is formed. I’m thinking Heidegger, Sartre, and Foucault, and definitely some feminist philosophers too for Arya’s case. Although Arya and Tyrion’s plights were in a sense indirectly touched upon in a few essays, how they went about creating their own social identities contra society’s expectations was not. (Although one may argue that the essay on game theory does this for Tyrion Lannister.)

    WEAK ESSAYS AND INCONSISTENT SEGMENTATION
    There are twenty essays divided equally among five parts. Each part tends toward a specific philosophical theme, but not every essay within each part adheres to this segmentation scheme. In general, the parts cover: (1) political philosophy, (2) morality, (3) metaphysics and epistemology, (4) morality (again), and (5) miscellaneous topics (fate and freedom, morality (again!), game theory, and insanity as a social construction). The essays started off strong; in fact, there are a number of very good to excellent essays herein, especially all of the essays in Parts 1 and 2. Even Don Fallis’ essay on lying and deception was excellent, in addition to which I believe he broke his own record for most philosophers mentioned in an essay: fourteen! However, starting with Part 3, unsatisfying, bland, lukewarm, and weak essays appeared. A few essays seemed to be more social commentary than true to the mandate of books in this series.

    Both of book editor Henry Jacoby’s essays were poor. “Wargs, Wights, and Wolves That Are Dire: Mind and Metaphysics, Westeros Style” was unsatisfying, weak, and all over the place. In addition, his claim that “many animals have sophisticated languages” (p. 121) is incorrect. I hate to “appeal to authority”, but animals have “call signs”, only human beings possess true language. His second essay, “No One Dances the Water Dance”, was an attempt to make “East meet West” as he tried to meld Aristotle with Zen, Taoism and martial arts. Mr. Jacoby’s attempt at cross-cultural philosophical syncretism was a catastrophic failure. Oil and water do not mix, Mr. Jacoby, regardless of what your karate sensei may have told you. Wax on, but water stays off!

    Katherine Tullman’s essay on cultural relativism was very poor, no better than high school-level social commentary. Ms. Tullman also confused me when she claimed that there is no way to prove that one system of morality is superior to any…

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  2. NLM4501 "book worm" Says:
    9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    FINALLY MY PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED!!, March 6, 2012
    By 
    NLM4501 “book worm” (Chicago, IL USA) –

    This review is from: Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) (Paperback)

    The printed synopsis for the book is as follows:

    An in-depth look at the philosophical issues behind HBO’s Game of Thrones television series and the books that inspired it. George R.R. Martin’s New York Times bestselling epic fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and the HBO television show adapted from it, have earned critical acclaim and inspired fanatic devotion. This book delves into the many philosophical questions that arise in this complex, character-driven series, including: Is it right for a “good” king to usurp the throne of a “bad” one and murder his family? How far should you go to protect your family and its secrets? In a fantasy universe with medieval mores and ethics, can female characters reflect modern feminist ideals?

    Draws on great philosophers from ancient Greece to modern America to explore intriguing topics such as the strange creatures of Westeros, the incestuous relationship of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, and what the kings of Westeros can show us about virtue and honor (or the lack thereof) as they play their game of thrones
    Essential reading for fans, Game of Thrones and Philosophy will enrich your experience of your favorite medieval fantasy series..

    WOW – these are exactly issues and questions that have been troubling me for years. I don’t know about anyone else but what a timely release. Hopefully this book will answer all my philosophical questions and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I plan on reading it every evening before bed wearing my The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee and drinking a big glass of Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz.

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  3. Knurk Says:
    9 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Song of Ice and Fire cash-cow, March 6, 2012
    By 
    Knurk (Zeist) –

    This review is from: Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) (Paperback)

    I give this book 5 stars simply for exploiting George RR Martin almost as much as he exploits himself. A true proper effort, well done.

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