Sacrificial Shadows: Tragic Greek Heroines Reinvented for Television in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Game of Thrones

  • Tania EvansEmail author
  • Amanda Potter
Part of the The New Antiquity book series (NANT)


Contemporary television programmes offer new insights into classic tragedies, specifically the role and experience of the sacrificial fantasy heroine. In this chapter we argue that the characters Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and Shireen Baratheon in Game of Thrones are marked as ‘classical’ because they echo earlier sacrifices made by female characters in Greek tragedy and myth, specifically Iphigenia and Alcestis in Euripides’ plays. We examine Buffy and Alcestis in relation to the gift of life, and Shireen and Iphigenia in relation to the gift of war. Through this analysis we demonstrate the striking parallels Buffy and Shireen share with classical sacrifices made by tragic heroines and reveal insights into the classical texts, their indirect receptions, and the representation of women.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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