Emotional Realism, Affective Labor and Politics in the Arab Fandom of Game of Thrones
This article examines the Game of Thrones (GoT) fan phenomena in the Arab world. Although I contextualize GoT as a commodity within HBO’s global ambitions to attract a global audience, I study GoT Arab fans as an organized interpretive online community. I examine the Arabic fan Facebook page “Game of Thrones‒Official Arabic Page” (GoT-OAP), which has over 240,000 followers, as a case study of cultural production and consumption by fans. Based on interviews with members of the administration staff of the GoT-OAP Facebook page, as well as textual analysis of the page’s posts, I ask: How is fan culture around GoT produced in the Arab world? How are the boundaries between being fans, media producers, and consumers negotiated? Are there connections between the themes of GoT and the current unrest across the Arab region? If so, how are they articulated? Through emotional realism and hybridity, I show that Arab fans find ways to negotiate their fandom of GoT with their local context and lived experiences.