I finally came to the thread on Racism and Misogyny in the show. A valid discussion, obviously. What I found interesting were the defenses of the show, which I didn't always disagree with. Namely, that epic fantasy is usually set in a kind of medieval European setting, which means that the roles of women are going to be fairly strictly circumscribed, and that there will be conflict between "knights" and "savages." I don't think that putting a fantasy world inside that very prototypical Tolkien-esque environment necessarily means you have to write female characters who do nothing but have babies and enemies who are ambiguous brown people who just aren't that civilized - even Tolkien himself wrote Eowyn, for starters. So even though I ended up deciding that Game of Thrones isn't really better or worse than most of television on those scores, the conversation did make me think.
It made me think about why fantasy always does seem to be set in that quasi-European dark ages? Why is there always a backdrop of knights and castles and chivalry, and dragons and quests? Could someone write a fantasy with a different setting? Different rules? Would it still be fantasy?
Aaaaaaaaand now I've spent three days pondering an idea for a novel - a NOVEL, for Christ's sake - and wrote 3000 words on it today. Why.