Thank you, Stephen, as always, it is a great pleasure to engage with you and our readers. I love your opening remarks and your inclusion of Game of Thrones into the mix of mythologies that show or even celebrate archetypal heroes in their naked brutality.
So the question remains, as I put it at the end of my blast, do these epics succeed in tearing down or glorifying hero worship? If you allow me to turn the tables for a moment, what do you think about this?
After all, there is a considerable gap between the intention and the execution of a work of art or a speech act—the difference between what an author “means to say” and what is actually said despite the author’s best intentions. This is a theme that fascinates me endlessly. Because the greatest artists always say a great deal more than they consciously intended. That indeed is where the power of myth comes in. But this is also true in everyday speech notwithstanding any Freudian slips.
You could say that only mediocre artists or propagandists can say no more than what they intended to say. But even they can’t help telling the whole truth unconsciously.
So one way to answer this question, whether these mythologies subvert or prop up hero worship, is to look at the way a myth functions in its social and historical context. When we jump into a particular fandom or belief system, we should always take a look around and see who we’re getting into bed with. It’s kind of funny, you can find out a great deal more about the nature of what you believe when you meet a bunch of others in established communities that profess to believe as you do, than when pouring over the esoteric contents of the belief system itself.