I’m sure many of you have seen where the NY Times put together an interactive chart that asked people to rank all the characters in Game of Thrones on a good-evil/ugly-beautiful axis. The results should be of interest to storytellers for the lesson is clear.
You could argue of course that this is the result of the show’s producers rather than a statement on the culture, but per the article, the producers claimed to have picked actors (and costumed them) based on the books. More importantly, I’m not sure it matters. A movie or TV show is still a “cultural text,” same as a book, and just as open to criticism. And finally, it’s very possible that a “better” casting would have furthered these results rather than contradicted them. In the article, for example, one of the show’s creators mentioned that they were “too kind” with The Hound.
There is a clear bi-lobed grouping, with all of the “good characters” in the upper right and all of the “bad characters” in the lower left, with two small clusters of allowable exceptions, divided by gender:
- Women can be vixens, beautiful but false (Cersei, Ellaria, The Red Woman, Shae)
- Men can be fat lovable oafs, ugly but true (Samwell, Hodor, Tyrion)
The graph is pretty much a complete fit to this model. In other words, if you take out the seven exceptions, every character’s token at least touches either the upper right or lower left quadrant.
The converse of the model, then, would also seem to be true: that no beautiful man is truly evil and there’s no such thing as a good ugly woman.