WHAT IS CULTURE?
There are many ways to define culture, probably the most famous one is that culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. Most people when they hear “culture” thinks of nationality, and although one is part of the culture present in their country, they’re not limited to it. In fact, people are part of many different cultures at the same time.
Culture is all about people sharing a way of life, behaving similarly, sharing values, and so on. People from the same places tend to be part of the same culture, but thanks to globalization, culture has no boundaries. Cultures have no need for physical space, their members needn’t be near. Two people living thousands of miles away can be part of the same particularly culture, even if they are unaware of each other’s existence. These are relatively new concepts, but new generations find them essential. Cultures that aren’t stopped by borders can be anything a group of people have interest on, sports, films, music. And this culture is as significant as any other one. One may live in a completely different country, with different habits, but once a soccer game is on, for example, he is part of a culture which enjoys the game.
HOW IT IS IN ASOIAF
In A Song of Ice and Fire the same happens. Regardless of where someone comes from or what they like in life, from the moment they sit to enjoy reading the books or watching the series, they become part of a culture. It matters not what has caused someone to discover the books or what are the reasons for their enjoyment, every person who enjoys it becomes part of this culture, even if they are completely unaware such culture exists.
The ASOIAF culture is very similar to other fantasy books cultures. A group of people who enjoy it, sharing their appreciation and thoughts. There are no rules as to how each member of this culture should behave, or to how their views must be, which differs this culture from most. There are, however, expectations for everyone who becomes a member. Not everyone can accomplish everything expected, but this does not exclude them from being members. The expectations on the members vary a lot, but they tend to be about the overall enjoyment of the book. Minor expectations include having read the book, understanding why it is valued so highly. The culture also tend to expect readers to enjoy the original work better than any adaptations made from it, which most do. People who don’t however, are still part of the culture, as this is not a rule. People are also expected to understand the struggles of the main characters and the story, and relate to both. Most importantly, however, the ASOIAF culture is all about expecting people to enjoy the books, however this may be achieved.
As mentioned before, the ASOIAF culture has no rules that each member must follow. The members do not depend upon it to live, except for the author and the people involved in the production of the TV show, and most people see this culture only as a hobby. For these reasons there are no rules which determine how people should behave, dress, or interact with other people. There are expectancies, sure, but people are not obligated to do what’s expected.
AN UNIQUE CULTURE
This is a common trait of most cultures based films, series, or books. The ASOIAF culture, however, is capable of being unique. It differs from most of these similar cultures because of the importance of minor details in the story, which most cultures will not do. The ASOIAF culture, inspired by George R. R. Martin’s, the author, attention to every single detail in his literary work, is accustomed to having every detail valued, even small ones. When reading the book, one has to pay close attention to every sentence, as nothing can be missed. Nothing in the books is irrelevant. Something that also differs this culture from the rest is the importance that is given to the lore (the equivalent of the real world’s history). George R. R. Martin has written so many details about the history of the world he created, that it even was collected and made into a book (The World of Ice and Fire). The ASOIAF culture is so familiar with small details being important and the importance of a backstory that they have become inseparable, which cannot be said about most cultures.
A CULTURE, NONETHELESS
The ASOIAF culture is not your everyday culture. It is not known for how people dress, it doesn’t seem to care about someone’s language, economic power, class, gender, or race, and it does not care about backgrounds. It is however, very important for the people who are members of it. If the culture does not affect how people dress, or their social class, it definitely affects how they view things. People have their views of the world changed after becoming members of this culture, and this is why it is so important, and why it can be considered a culture.