In the space of four years, the entire western world wants to befriend a sarcastic dwarf, adopt a direwolf or shoot a crossbow at a prostitute (OK, maybe not the latter), but what man doesn’t secretly want to be Jon Snow? And while Khaleesi takes her clothes off like the rest of the cast, the most desirable woman on TV isn’t just a piece of eye-candy; Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryan-Stormborn is a badass, vengeful, emasculating, power-crazed, Amazonian she-warrior Queen and no amount of walking around naked in a fire can dispute her power as an icon of both sexual objectification and feminism (who knew that it was even possible to be both?). You don’t see THAT in Lord Of The Rings – no really, you actually don’t.
Maybe GOT has found such broad appeal by restraining itself where other Fantasy literature storms ahead with all guns (swords) blazing. The show does feature dragons, magic and mystical spectral creatures, but for 99% of the time you could be forgiven for thinking it was set in a parallel version of medieval Europe (albeit a medieval Europe where they wax, fake tan and thread their eyebrows). It’s like gateway Fantasy; it’s Fantasy, but only occasionally, which makes it all the less alienating for the casual viewer; less niche, less genre specific and requiring much less understanding than a universe jammed with centaurs, minotaurs, werewolves, bogarts, unicorns, mermaids, soothsayers, ghosts, ghouls and jabberwockies. The lore is simple where the politics are complex; it’s more Macbeth than it is Harry Potter.