Why Are Fantasy World Accents British?
But while aimed at a US audience and adapted from the books of American author George RR Martin, Game of Thrones is entirely dominated by British accents.
UK accents also dominate in The Lord of the Rings and the forthcoming Hobbit films.
It contradicts the traditional stereotype of British accents cropping up mostly as bad guys and upper crust types in period drama.
“It’s such an ingrained part of fantasy and science fiction that I’m a little surprised when those kind of characters don’t speak in British accents,” says Matt Zoller Seitz, TV critic for New York magazine and vulture.com.
“In the fantasy realm they could have any kind of accent but British does seem to be the default.”
An American-accented Gandalf might not have pleased fans
A British accent is sufficiently exotic to transport the viewer to a different reality, argues Seitz, while still being comprehensible to a global audience.
The neutral Mid-Western accent is still what counts as “normal” in the US dominated entertainment industry. A British accent provides a “splash of otherness”, when set alongside it.
American viewers of Game of Thrones also get a coherent range of accents from all of the British Isles.
In the complex array of languages he created for the books, the influence of Old English, Old Norse, Gothic, Welsh and Finnish have all been identified
Those from the north of the fantasy world tend to speak mostly with either northern English or Scottish accents. In the first series, Yorkshiremen Sean Bean and Mark Addy played their parts with their own accents. There are also characters with an Irish tinge.