Parasitical Stories, Narrative Viruses and Hybrid Storytelling in Fantasy Cinema and Culture

Doru POP


The main argument of the paper is that recent cinema is abandoning the traditional linearity of narrations and the
“classical” storytelling forms, and is cultivating new hybrid narrative structures, under the influence of games and online structures. Starting from the fact that narratives are forms of order making, by which humanity intends to make sense of the world, we have reached a moment in our cultural history when storytelling has become a machine of meaningless meanings. Using Game of Thrones as an example of storytelling transformations, the main aim of this study is to discuss how a combination of cartoonish characters, graphic novels and comic book strategies, soap opera and TV series drama structures has created a narrative of uncertainty. The narratives of G.R.R. Martin are heavily influenced by the fantasy worlds of MMORPG and of online gaming – the argument being that the continuously morphing and growing nature of storytelling, together with the unstable character of the universe and the improbable traits of the characters, are part of a phenomenon which can be called Massive Multiple-Options Relations of People and Culture. Using the concept put forward by Buckland, that of puzzle plots in contemporary cinema, and the concept of convergence culture, an idea developed by Jenkins, the author interprets the narrative “entanglement” in the Game of Thrones saga as emblematic for the disorienting imaginaries of humanity today. With an apparent limitless evolution of the storytelling lines, where the fantasy experience continues to develop incessantly, we witness the development of a global hodgepodge saga, manifesting as a true pathology of narrative monstrosity. Re-mixing ice demons, zombie slaves and fire dragons, witches and evil priestesses, chivalrous heroes and monsters with no humanity, heraldry and criminal nomads, the HBO television series has generated a fictional world populated with hybrid themes and parasitical story lines and cultural viruses.

Keywords: Game of Thrones, storytelling, digital narratives, fantasy, MMORPG, online games story-lines, media and multimedia