Byronic to Ironic Hero Pride Presentation

Students brought their A-game to the Lions Pride event last Wednesday.

Mike Adams spoke about the popular HBO series Game of Thrones in a presentation that he calls “Byronic to Ironic Hero.” He came up with the idea based on his love of the genre combined with the suggestion of his advisor.

Dr. Hugh Davis asked Adams to present this literary analysis as a practice run for the upcoming Pop Culture Conference in August. “I thought that he would represent the English department well and I know that he’s planning to do a paper, and hopefully an entire panel on Game of Thrones this fall,” said Dr. Davis.

The seats were full until Adams began his introduction. “If any of you here are Game of Thrones fans – I will be talking a little bit about last Sunday’s episode – so if you have not yet seen it, you might want to exit the room,” he said. About one-third of the room stood up and left. The remaining students and faculty had a brief chuckle before the room went quiet and his video began.

As the audience watched the HBO trailer, Adams drew a diagram on the board that connected the remaining characters with the literary device of Jamie Lannister – each having an ongoing storyline with him.

“Does anyone here know what a Byronic Hero is?” Adams asked the crowd. Only two raised their hands. Both of which were English Professors. Mike explained the term “Byronic” to be like the character Manfred from Lord Byron’s piece “Manfred”.

After the literary device was established, he proceeded to showcase the irony in Jamie Lannister’s character profile. He spoke about the beginning of his fall when he pushed little Bren out of the window and touted “The things I do for love.”

After making this point, Adams made a few predictions for the end of the series, which will air its final episode on May 19th. He predicts that fans will be surprised to find out that the Byronic hero is the Dark Horse. “He’s the Dark Horse contender to become the Lord of Light and overall hero of the series. The obvious choice are the fan favorites, but as Faulkner famously says – “kill all your darlings”.”

Students and faculty were both surprised to hear his predictions and stayed after the presentation to ask questions. “I thought it was great. I never really thought about all of those connections, but he makes a good point. It will be exciting to watch the last episode and see if he [Adams] is right.” said sophomore Keaton Benfield.

Adams is planning to expand on the presentation to prepare for the annual Pop Culture Conference in North Carolina this year. The conference features scholars and students that publishing the journals “Studies in Popular Culture” and “Studies in American Culture.” They meet every year to present and discuss ideas about popular culture, American and world-wide culture. Adams will be part of an extensive panel writing about the Game of Thrones series from a student’s perspective.

“The Lions Pride Exhibition was a great starting point for me to get my feet wet,” Adams said. “I’m really excited to present on something that I am very passionate about and to connect with other GOT fans during this year’s Pop Culture Convention.”

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