The Food Across The Narrow Sea
The fantasy world of Game of Thrones offers unlimited inspiration for fans to get creative and utilize elements from the show for their entertainment purposes. From bestselling costumes for Halloween to the exotic food that the characters enjoy, Game of Thrones has become a cultural phenomenon that brings out the creativity in the fans. The food in Game of Thrones is exotic and interesting. One of the things that help the fans feel closer to the show and take ownership of it is recreating its food. Surfing the net, one can find various recipes of the same food. The way fans treat the food in Game of Thrones shows how each of them takes ownership of an element of the show and uses it to their own liking.
Fans have created various versions of the same food according to their own taste. For example, there are several videos on YouTube that teach the recipe of the infamous Pigeon Pie. In one video, the chef uses pigeons, bore, bacon and rabbit meat. (Binging with Babish: Game of Thrones) In another video, the creator uses Swine and prosciutto which demonstrates how each fan injects their originality to a famous text. (Game of Thrones PIGEON PIE | How to Bake It) Fiske regards this treatment of text as “consumption of art”. (Fiske, p107). He goes further by saying that the fans of popular culture are “undisciplined, dipping into and out of text at will”. (Fiske, p107) However, I cannot agree with Fiske because his approach to fans using a text is harsh and not entirely true. Fans feel a sense of ownership over a pop culture text, and they refer to it on a daily basis through memes, images, and videos. They reflect their love of a show by creating things that help them feel closer to the show.
Moreover, recreating the food from the show helps the fans form a community where they taste the food and comment on it. A video on Clevver Style’s YouTube channel shows the fans tasting the food and expressing how they feel about it. The video is a fun and cherry video demonstrating how fans gather together, have fun, and taste the food from the show. It is amusing to see how some of them hate the food and some of them love it. (Food from Game of Thrones - Taste Test! (Cheat Day)) Furthermore, there are numerous possibilities that food can bring fans together. Some other fans on the “React” channel created a challenge called “Try not to eat” where they are presented with food from GOT. The ones who can control themselves and not eat the food in front of them win the game. (Try Not To Eat Challenge - Game of Thrones Food | People Vs. Food) Engaging in these types of activities help the fans create similar experiences as the characters of the show.
Analyzing the treatment of Game of Thrones’ text according to what John Fiske regards as “functionality”, we see that the fans of the show have picked elements of it that they wanted, and have altered them in order to fit their desire. In this case, the way the text can be functional is apparent in the community it brings together to experience the food. Fiske points out to this treatment of a pop culture text by saying; “readers select what they want from a text according to their own needs and creativities.” (Fiske, p.106) Game of Thrones fans value the lifestyle of the characters in the show, therefore, they too like to experience similar things that the characters do. The food is an element that helps them achieve this goal.
In conclusion, a pop culture text inspires fans to get creative and try to experience the world of a text. The food in Game of Thrones acts as inspiration for its fans to create a community surrounding the food. The way each fan brings their originality to the food shows how they take ownership of an element of the show and alter it the way they want. Moreover, the way fans utilize the food element and create videos about it shows how they try to create a community of fans and enjoy the same lifestyle that they see in the show. Some critiques like John Fiske regard this treatment of text as “consumption of art” and state that pop culture fans abuse the text. However, what fans are really trying to do, is to feel closer to the show they enjoy.
1. “Binging with Babish: Game of Thrones” YouTube, Binging with Babish, 11 July 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_hc07rAQlc
2. Fiske, John. Understanding Popular Culture. Routledge, 2011.
3. “Food from Game of Thrones - Taste Test! (Cheat Day).” YouTube, Clevver Style, 5 May 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KEI29IfOp4
4. “Game of Thrones PIGEON PIE | How to Bake It” YouTube, Bon Appetit, 18 April 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue1WicwqKD4
5. “Try Not To Eat Challenge - Game of Thrones Food | People Vs. Food” YouTube, React, 4 April 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piitNgfU2Wk