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Title chapter: Branding Game of Thrones Across Media: HBO’s Visual Creation of a Brand Identity
Author: Julie Escurignan
Keywords: Game of Thrones; Transmedia; Storyworld; Merchandizing; HBO
Abstract: Starting as a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin in 1996 and adapted as a television drama series by HBO in 2011, Game of Thrones is one of the most popular examples of what is sometimes referred to as transmedia narratology. Its storyworld has, namely, expanded across a range of HBO official and licenced products and platforms, from board games to video games, dedicated websites and collectibles. With the series, the network has developed a particular visual identity for the franchise. The aim of this chapter is to uncover the various elements of this visual identity and to discover if the storytelling across the various media platforms matches the visual universe established by the television show, that is to say if the visual elements characteristic of the series can be found across the different media. In other words, is there a coherent identity in all the products associated with HBO’s Game of Thrones or can we find visual discrepancies in the individual media iterations? To do so, this study will attempt to distinguish the visual features that characterise Game of Thrones as a brand. Building on Barthes’ semiotic approach (1957), on studies of transmedia narratology (Ryan, 2004; Jenkins, 2008; Mittell, 2015) and on research exploring the relationship between marketing and transmedia storytelling (Bourdaa, 2014), this study offers an in-depth analysis of the series’ visual identity as it is created on different media sites.
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Media and
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