Is Game of Thrones ‘Boy Fiction’?


In her review of HBO's Game of Thrones in the New York Times today, Ginia Bellafante argues that the series appeals to men: "While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to The Hobbit first. Game of Thrones is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half." Needless to say, the characterization of the series as "boy fiction" has some women up in arms ("NYT disses thousands of intelligent female viewers who may or may not already like #GameofThrones," goes one tweet, and there are plenty more like it. Io9 has a funny this review is bogus, but Game probably does appeal to boys piece as well). Is Bellafante's observation baloney? Isn't it fair to say that these books, even though they appeal to some women, may be more popular with men, like most fantasy series? Or does that diminish the books, and both genders, in some way? And is describing something as "boy fiction" or "girl fiction" a helpful distinction, or just unnecessarily reductive?