The much anticipated final season of Game of Thrones premiers in Australia on Monday 15 April.
Tania Evans, a researcher at The Australian National University (ANU), will be available to talk about the hit series, and how George RR Martin’s universe portrays violence and masculinity.
“The view of masculinity the series gives us is really broad,” Ms Evans says.
“We’re seeing bisexual male characters, disabled men, and women who are masculine. That’s really important because in Western society and Australia in particular, we have a really narrow idea about men and how they should behave and think.”
Ms Evans believes there’s another simple reason for the show’s extraordinary popularity.
“We all struggle with our relationships, just like these larger than life characters who are trying to work out who they are, and how to be in the world,” she says.
“We love genres like fantasy partly because we don’t want the story to end, we want to keep seeing those struggles, because in our own life they often don’t get resolved. Real life doesn’t end neatly.”
The show raises some important questions about the use of violence – both on screen and in real life – and how we react to it.
“In the real world, we see people getting the message that violence is ok, that domestic violence for example is a way of showing how manly you are,” Ms Evans says.
“That has a really strong parallel with characters in Game of Thrones who feel they have to be violent because maybe that’s what their family does, or that’s what is expected of them in their class position.
“It raises the dilemma of society telling us we should do something, and our choice whether or not to do it based on whether we think it’s right, or whether it helps other people.”
As for who will end up on the Iron Throne, Ms Evans is confident good might just win out over evil.
“The whole way through they’ve been sending fairly consistent messages about violence, and why various characters are using it – because pretty much every character has to use it to survive in that world.
“I don’t think they’re suddenly going to flip those messages and leave someone like Cersei in charge.”
Ms Evans is a cultural studies researcher who has just completed her PhD on masculinity and violence in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones universe. Her research has been published in the journal Aeternum: The Journal of Contemporary Gothic Studies.