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University of Innsbruck: “Game of Thrones“ as a mirror of our society

scene from Game of Thrones © HBO

The social scientist and psychologist Gerald Poscheschnik of the University of Innsbruck took a closer look at it from a psychoanalytic perspective in order to find out what the success of the series tells us about our collective psyche. In particular, he was interested in the dynamics of large groups which are reflected in the topography of the fictional world. “Fundamentally speaking, the interpretation of books and films is not uncommon in psychoanalytic research. Psychoanalysis is also always interested in the subtext, in topics that are not explicitly treated. Here the ‘Game of Thrones’ offers us a wonderfully broad spectrum”, Poscheschnik said. 

For him the three areas and storylines represent the unconscious and also characterise our society today. “Westeros is the world in conflict, in decline. This can be seen as the symbol for today’s culture, in which, subjectively speaking, there is more and more uncertainty and societies are increasingly growing apart. The North embodies the oppressed, the danger that is deliberately ignored or ridiculed with a smirk. Essos is a projection screen on which we see hope for a turning point that is good, a solution to conflicts and the ability to repel threats. Hope always arises in times of fear and crisis, and also serves to help us cope with the dreadful things that happen, and to provide consolation - also a form of self-deception similar to suppression.”

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