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Game of Thrones and its portrayal of disabled people

  • Robin Tuffley

Now that Game of Thrones has concluded, it’s only right that we now reflect on why this TV behemoth was so successful (despite the questionable ending).

Robin TuffleyClearly the writing was excellent as was the acting, casting, CGI and set design and costumes – pull all of these things together and you have all the ingredients for an amazing piece of small screen history.

But it’s the story’s use of abled and less-abled people across all levels of this epic drama that really struck a chord with me.

The screen play allowed us to see the character first and their abilities second – in fact it was often their ‘flaws’ that endeared us to them more.

During the eight series, the writers covered multiple disabilities, from Hodor and autism, through to Bran and his spinal cord injury.

The less-able characters, in my opinion, were treated equally, experiencing the same highs and lows as the able-bodied characters. However this isn’t a view that is shared by everyone – in fact I have read many articles recently that suggests the representation of disabled people in the show was overly negative. I disagree.

What is clear is that despite the good work seen in Game of Thrones, there is still a long way to go before we have parity, not just ‘on screen’ but across all sections of modern life.


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