A throne fit for a messiah: Daenerys Targaryen as a contemporary Christ

Today’s advent essay comes from Joanna Fountain, one of the students who took our Bible and Popular Culture course (THEOREL 101) earlier this year. Joanna has just completed her third year of studies towards her Bachelor of Arts degree, double majoring in history and classical studies. After university she hopes to become a published writer, encouraging future generations to get off their screens and read a book instead. Joanna enroled in Theorel 101 out of interest, and assures me that she  thoroughly enjoyed taking the course – and would highly recommend it!

Joanna’s essay touches on one of our more popular themes in the course – modern messiahs in pop culture. So read on, and enjoy.

game-thrones-daenerys-her-dragons-gifs

Protector of the Realm, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons: Daenerys Targaryen as a Christ Figure in Game of Thrones

by

Joanna Fountain

“This Mother of Dragons, this Breaker of Chains, is above all a rescuer.

-Tyrion Lannister, A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire Book 5)

As Bruce David Forbes says, “religion appears not only in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples; it also appears in popular culture” (2005, 1). Often appearing in the fantasy genre of literature and visual media, including film and television, is the common trope of a messianic protagonist who is very much the hero of the story. In George R. R. Martin’s fictional world of Westeros, there is no one singular protagonist, but in the character of Daenerys Targaryen are numerous indicators of a Christ figure. Such a figure appears in popular culture again and again, subsequently creating the concept of the American Monomyth (Lawrence and Jewett 2002, 6). In many ways, Daenerys Targaryen provides an implicit parallel to the biblical Christ as a secular counterpart. The circumstances surrounding multiple events in her life, the messianic symbols attached to her character, and her perceived image by others as a liberator and a powerful contender all bear a close resemblance to the Biblical narrative of Jesus Christ as told in the New Testament Gospels. This essay will seek to explain how Daenerys Targaryen both fulfils and sabotages the notion of the American Monomyth in the way that she is a messiah figure who operates outside the standard black and white paradigm, rather operating within shades of grey in her characterisation. Because this essay will discuss plot details of both Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-present) and the HBO television series Game of Thrones (2011-present), spoilers will follow.
game-of-thrones-daenerys-dragonFig 1: Daenerys hatches three dragons in “Fire and Blood” (1.10)

According to the writings of John Shelton Lawrence and Robert Jewett, the American Monomyth secularises “the Judaeo-Christian dramas of community redemption”, creating a character who embodies a combination of the ‘selfless servant’ who sacrifices their own needs for those of others and the ‘zealous crusader’ who triumphs over evil (2002, 6). The American Monomyth therefore serves the function in which a character in popular culture serves as a secular replacement to the Biblical Christ (ibid). What also is indicative of this supersaviour or the popular messiah is their justification for their use of violence for the greater good (5). These figures operate under a paradigm of black and white; the supersaviour is the light and good hero pitted against the bad villain. In terms of Daenerys’ character, she befits these prerequisites, but she is not wholly ‘good’ in the way she is portrayed. The constant use of warmongering imagery in her use of military might to free the slaves in Essos, and her unapologetic sexual appetites present her more as a character who operates in between the black and white paradigm, as a somewhat ‘anti-messiah’ who uses violence to fulfil and justify her noble task of freeing slaves. Constantly associated with Daenerys are the words ‘fire and blood’; words that do not necessarily match her with the image of the ‘perfect’ biblical Christ. But perhaps this is because Daenerys modernises and humanises the Christ figure of the American Monomyth concept. Therefore, this brutal side to her character is woven into the messiah rhetoric as a way of presenting a Christ figure who is flawed, humanised and relatable, thus shedding new light on the messianic individual of popular culture.

got2Fig 2: The Red Comet, seen in “The North Remembers” (2.01)

Robert Detweiler argues in his article ‘Christ and the Christ Figure in American Fiction’ that often in modern fiction the allegorical Christ figure offers the symbolic potential of Christ without the added implication of commitment to Christian faith (1964, 118). The likening of Daenerys Targaryen as a secular Christ figure is done implicitly in the way that the signs and symbols of the biblical messiah are translated into signs and symbols of Daenerys, the popular messiah. The first, and most obvious, of these is the Red Comet that appears in the sky soon after Daenerys successfully hatches three dragons from stone eggs (a ‘miracle’ in itself as the species were previously extinct). She even says herself in A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire Book 2): “[the comet] is the herald of my coming”. Such treatment of a comet signifying her “coming” immediately bears resemblance to the star that proclaimed the birth of Jesus Christ in the New Testament Gospels (Matthew 2.2-10, Luke 21.25). Additionally, both Daenerys and Christ are descended from a line of kings (Matthew 1), and both undergo a “resurrection”. As highlighted in Luke 24.46, there is the emphasis that the death and resurrection of the biblical Christ was foretold in the old teachings long before the coming of the messiah. Such a prophecy of the messiah has a similar treatment in the world of Game of Thrones. Mentioned numerous times in the books and in the television adaptation is the prophecy of Azor Ahai, also known as “the Lord’s chosen” and very much the Game of Thrones’ version of a prophesied messiah. According to Melisandre, a red priestess, in A Dance with Dragons, the coming of the prophesied Azor Ahai will be signified “when the red star bleeds” and this saviour will “be born again … to awake dragons out of stone”. All three of these signs occur in short succession with Daenerys walking into a burning pyre, only to be discovered the next morning sitting amongst the ashes of the fire, alive, and holding three baby dragons (fig 1), while the red comet (fig 2) appears very soon after. Though it has not been confirmed in either the books or the television series if Daenerys is in fact the prophesied Azor Ahai, she has nevertheless fulfilled these three parts to the prophecy. Regardless, the fact alone that the symbols associated with the biblical messiah are translated to symbols of Daenerys therefore provide the implication that she indeed represents a secular Christ within her own narrative.

game-of-thrones-season-3-episode-10-mhysa-daenerys

Fig 3: Daenerys proclaimed ‘mhysa’ (‘mother’) by the freed slaves of Yunkai in “Mhysa” (3.10)

Just as the biblical messiah’s noble task was to be a saviour to humankind, Daenerys Targaryen is again portrayed in a similar light in the way that her task to free all slaves in Slavers Bay makes her a saviour to many as a result. The aforementioned symbols of Daenerys as the popular messiah adds further justification to her role as a saviour. With three dragons in her possession, Daenerys becomes a powerful contender to those she considers her earthly enemies, in this case the slavers, and is able to wage war on them for their slaves’ freedom. In fact, this contempt for slavery is a common ideal in the Christ figure (Gunton 1985, 137, 143). This may be due to slavery often having strong connotations to sin in the Bible, particularly in the way that Jesus says in John 8.34 that mankind is “a slave to sin”. Therefore, it can be argued that Daenerys’ preoccupation with ending slavery takes a rather more literal interpretation of the biblical messiah’s task of liberating humankind from their sins. Daenerys’ resulting reputation as a saviour is best highlighted in the final scene of Game of Thrones’ third season in which she is proclaimed ‘mhysa’ by the freed slaves of Yunkai (fig. 3). The cinematography of the scene arguably bears some similarity to Jesus entering Jerusalem, declared a king (Luke 19.28-40). This image of Daenerys being surrounded by grateful slaves who declare her their “mhysa”, or “mother”, therefore provides the best visual justification as the “Breaker of Chains”, a liberator, and a saviour from “sin”.

got4Fig 4: A slave of Meereen beholds one of the many unlocked collars that Daenerys has catapulted over the city walls to show that all who follow her are freed in “Breaker of Chains” (4.03)

Hebrews 2.14-15 speaks about how Jesus Christ “shared in [mankind’s] humanity” so that “he might break the power of him who hold the power of death … and free those … held in slavery”. Therefore, Daenerys Targaryen is an equally human messiah with added flaws, and exists within the “grey areas” of the good/bad paradigm whose noble task is her attempts to liberate slaves in Essos, thus earning her a reputation as a saviour to those she frees. What further develops Daenerys as a popular messiah figure are the numerous implicit parallels of her character to the Biblical Christ of the New Testament Gospels, including messianic symbols and experiences. As a result, Daenerys Targaryen arguably serves as a secular counterpart to the Biblical Christ. But in the wide world of popular culture, Daenerys Targaryen is only one of many popular messiahs according to the American Monomyth (Lawrence and Jewett 2002, 3-5). This is perhaps because in a world that is becoming increasingly secular, popular culture is one of the ways that a secular audience may engage in religious themes. As Detweiler argues:

With the shift of interest away from religion and the relocation of values from the divine to the human sphere that have characterised the past one hundred years, the traits and mission have been transferred to man, so that for some writers the nature and intentions of Christ can be observed in any good, moral, or heroic person. (1964, 3-5)

Therefore, the American Monomyth serves to initiate a dialogue between religion and popular culture, so that readers of modern literature may learn about Jesus through a secular counterpart. Daenerys as the (theoretically) prophesied Azor Ahai parallels the Biblical prophesied messiah, just as her noble task to end slavery is a very literal adaptation of the Christ as a liberator of everyone who is a slave to sin. This is why Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen makes a great fictional, popular messiah to a secular culture seeking a saviour from the many growing tensions apparent in contemporary society.

 

game-of-thrones-wallpaper-daenerys-wallpaper-1

Bibliography

All references to biblical texts are taken from the NIV.

Detweiler, Robert. ‘Christ and the Christ Figure in American Fiction’. The Christian Scholar 47, no. 2 (1964): pp. 111-124.

Forbes, Bruce David. ‘Introduction: Finding Religion in Unexpected Places’. In Religion and Popular Culture in America: Revised Edition, edited by Bruce David Forbes and Jeffrey H. Mahan, pp. 1-20. University of California Press, 2005.

Game of Thrones. Television Series. Created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. New York, NY: HBO, 2011-present.

Gunton, Colin. ‘“Christus Victor” Revisited: A Study in the Metaphor and the Transformation of Meaning’. The Journal of Theological Studies 36, no. 1 (1985): pp. 129-145.

Lawrence, John Shelton and Robert Lewett. The Myth of the American Superhero. W. B. Eerdmans, 2002.

Martin, George R. R. A Song of Ice and Fire. Bantam, 1996-present.

 

 

 

 

Spotlighting student work 3: Dear Lord, it’s Harry Styles

A special treat to end the week with – another essay from one of our Theology 101/G students, this time focusing on the theme of contemporary messiahs, or supersaviours. In particular, this essay considers the messianic qualities of Harry Styles, singer in the band One Direction and all round pop icon and hearthrob. The author of this fabulous essay is Courtenay James. Courtenay has just finished up her second year of a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Auckland, majoring in History and minoring in Ethnomusicology. She will spend her third and final year on an study abroad exchange to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An enthusiastic and unapologetic boy band fan, she spends most of her time thinking about her one true love – Harry Styles.

So, sit back and enjoy Courtenay’s essay on the heavenly Harry.

harry with cross

Thou shalt worship no other God: Unless he’s Harry Styles

by Courtenay James

According to Rolling Stone, Harry Styles is ‘the boy of the year of the girl’ (Sheffield, 2014). Genetically blessed with deep green eyes, just-rolled-out-of-bed hair and legs a supermodel would envy, Styles has a Jagger-esque aura about him, gliding coolly around in gold leather boots, too tight skinny jeans and his signature crucifix strung around his neck. One quarter of the uber boy band One Direction, Styles is undoubtedly the most popular, the most praised and in many ways, the most significant member. The phenomenon of teen worship of celebrities is nothing new, however recent cultural changes and Styles himself have changed the way celebrity idolatry works in society. It has even been suggested that ‘perhaps fame is the new religion, and celebrities our Gods’ (Abane 2009, p. 1). For many teen girls, Styles is in fact, their God/Jesus/Saviour/Messiah or any other religious figure that accurately embodies their adoration for him. Despite the Book of Exodus explicitly stating that there shall be no others before God, girls (religious or not) have disregarded this statement, elevating their own personal God, Harry Styles to the status of super saviour (Exodus 20:2-6; 34:14).

Harry at prayerThe phenomenon of ‘fandom’ is not a new concept, however the following that Styles and his fellow band mates have amassed has taken on a distinct identity.Teen girls are arguably one of the most powerful demographics on the planet – collectively, they have the ability to influence popular culture, set trends and have purchasing power worth billions of dollars each year. Teen girls are wirelessly connected, shaped by social media and shaping its development in return. Social media is a space ‘in which to engage in a practice (fandom) that has been ridiculed, dismissed and scorned by the dominant adult culture for decades’ (Mitchel and Walso 2007, p. 284). Despite their collective power, more often than not teenage girls are seen as the polar opposite of powerful; governed by emotion and controlled by what’s ‘hot or not’, teenage girls are assumed to be guided by emotion rather than logic, heart over head, an assumed trait that is viewed negatively in society.

A major part of Harry Styles’ appeal is his ability to validate the otherwise disregarded feelings of the teen demographic that worships him so dearly. The One Direction fandom views Styles as their almighty leader, a figure who creates a safe and supportive environment for fans to express emotions and passions. This imagined community is created through various means, whether it be the music the band produces, attending concerts or interacting with fellow fans on social media platforms such as Twitter or Tumblr.

harry cute

The elevation of Styles to supersavior status is in part due to his unwavering crusade to empower young women. From the band’s first single “What Makes You Beautiful” to the track “Girl Almighty” off their most recent album, One Direction has made it their ‘core mission [to sing] to girls about how excellent they are’ (Sheffield 2015). “Girl Almighty” is a 3 minute and 21 second devotional from One Direction to their fans. The use of religious language in the lyrics is clear, with words such as saviour, light, believer and the title itself, “Girl Almighty”. One key lyric is repeated throughout the song, ‘I’d get down, I’d get down, I’d get down on my knees for you’. The song makes clear that the band members have not only fallen in love with the Girl Almighty, they worship her. “Girl Almighty” uses the same logic that Styles does in his attempts to make young women feel powerful, so much so that the song was used in a fan organized charity drive for Women’s Aid, ‘a charity that helps to support women and children suffering from domestic violence’ (Maximum Pop 2015).

friendly harryHarry Styles’ ability to make girls feel important is one of the key factors in his elevation to the position of modern messiah. When performing, usually to tens of thousands in large stadiums, ‘every limb of his body is an instrument he uses to express to girls how happy he is to bask in their presence’ (Sheffield 2015). Styles is an enigma, encompassing all the boy band stereotypes (the ladies’ man, the baby, the dreamboat and a little bit of the bad boy) while at the same time completely rejecting them and forging his own identity.

harry he for sheAware of his supersaviour status, Styles uses the phenomenon of celebrity worship to campaign for social justice, using his fame as a call to action to raise awareness of various causes. The importance he places on female empowerment is shown through his involvement in Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign, a movement for gender equality that has a strong presence on social media. Styles tweeted a photo of himself holding a sign with the hashtag #HeForShe, with the caption ‘”I’m supporting @UN_Women and @EmWatson in #HeForShe As should you..”, which garnered almost half a million favourites on Twitter. Styles consciously uses his immense influence on fans to raise awareness of philanthropic causes. The phenomenon of celebrity worship often results in fans imitating what their idols do, say or think, adopting various aspects of the celebrity’s identity in a way to feel a greater connection with them, in a similar way to religious devotees who aim to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Styles takes advantage of this devotion on social media, in interviews and in concerts.

The recently launched Action1D campaign, an effort that ‘supports the United Nations’ own 2015 Time for Global Actionharry action 1d campaign to eradicate poverty, inequality and climate change’ (UN News Centre 2015) encourages fans to join together to create change. A promotional video on the Action1D website has Styles encouraging fan involvement, with a short monologue that includes statements such as ‘over the years you have shown us what you can achieve if you rally together’ and ‘time and time again you’ve shown us how incredible, passionate and creative you all are. And now we want to ask you to come together with us and use that to make a change for good (ibid).

Arguably his most passionate philanthropic cause is marriage equality. Unafraid to demonstrate his support for the LGBT community, Styles is frequently seen on stage at One Direction concerts with a rainbow flag draped across his shoulders. Matt Bellassai, a writer for Buzzfeed, proclaimed on Twitter that  ‘@Harry_Styles is the most important LGBT icon of our time we are so blessed to have his prancing, flag-waving presence on this earth’. A 2013 protest by the Westboro Baptist Church outside a 1D concert in Missouri led to Styles tweeting ‘Despite the company outside, I believe in equal rights for everyone. I think God loves all. Thanks for coming to the show though,’ which was retweeted over 200,000 times. His mention of God in his tweet is significant, as both a response to the harry rainbowChurch who labelled One Direction as ‘fag-enabling [and] God-hating’ and as an affirmation of his personal beliefs (Sieczkowski 2013).

Although ambiguous about his specific personal religious beliefs, he has affiliations with both the Christian and Jewish communities. Despite not actually being Jewish, Styles was named number 73 on the Jewish Chronicle’s Power 100 list (Jewish Chronicle 2015). According to the Chronicle, Styles ‘may not be Jewish but he seems very much at ease with a Jewish lifestyle, [wore] a silver Star of David at the Teen Choice awards, hangs out at kosher eateries and is not afraid to throw the odd Yiddish word or two into the conversation’, not to mention his Hebrew tattoos and his mention of Jewish festivals such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on social media (ibid). His place on the list is most likely due to the 25 million Twitter followers he influences, and is justified by the Chronicle due to the fact that ‘his Jewish knowledge is stronger than one has any right to expect from a 20-year-old boy-band singer from rural Cheshire’ (ibid).

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 11:  Harry Styles arrives at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards at Gibson Amphitheatre on August 11, 2013 in Universal City, California.  (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

In relation to Lawrence and Jewetts’s exploration of The American Monomyth, Styles has qualities similar to the author’s definitions of the contemporary messiah, which are evident in the way he is perceived by fans and in the media. A popular topic of discussion in the media, Styles is often discussed similar to the way the supersaviour is described by Lawrence and Jewett, as ‘utterly cool’ and ‘divinely competent’ (2002, p. 47). The media harry b and wrepresentation of him varies, from tabloid fodder to appearances on best dressed lists. However, the most in depth assessment of Styles’ came in a 2014 Rolling Stone article where he was described as ‘unprecedented’ and a ‘pure enigma’ (Sheffield 2014). Focusing on his charisma and enthusiasm, the author praises Styles for his divine competence, stating that ‘if [Styles] has any inner turmoil, he keeps it to himself… the strain of the pop hustle never leaves a mark on him. He has all the flash, without the neurotic wear and tear’ (ibid). The article later goes on to describe the developing mystery surrounding Styles, as ‘the more famous he gets, the more mysterious he seems’ (ibid). The article’s main narrative is one of praise, and comes to a point where the author states ‘Try to find a photo where he looks weary or bored. You can’t’ (ibid). The Rolling Stone article is a reflection of the way Styles has indeed shown qualities of a contemporary messiah. His philanthropic involvement, unwavering enthusiasm and the air of mystery surrounding him are all self made Messianic qualities, separate from the supersaviour status imposed on him by fans.

harry fireworksA popular topic for British tabloids, Styles has been the subject of various articles since his career began. The most popular topic seems to be his love life, however his philanthropic efforts and occasional ‘healing powers’ also seem to be well publicized. A 2014 Metro article ran with the headline ‘Kiss from Harry Styles gives mute girl back her voice, proves 1D star is basically Jesus’, describing a 15 year old girl who suddenly ‘came out talking’ after Styles moved closer to her during a concert (Yeatman 2014). The article quotes the 15 year old talking about the ‘miracle’, as she states ‘when he blew a kiss in my direction, a scream came out’ (ibid). The article finishes with a final quote from the girl, summarising the power of Styles; ‘No psychiatrist, no speech and language, no doctor or nurse could bring my voice back, but One Direction could (ibid). A 2014 Huffington Post article ran with the headline ‘Harry Styles Comforts Fan Mid-Panic Attack, Restores Our Faith In Humanity’ (Scherker 2014). Alongside media reports of Styles’ saviour-like behaviour, various posts on social media highlight his supposed divine being. A quick search of ‘Harry Styles is God’ on Twitter finds thousands of posts, mainly from the key fan demographic of teenage girls. Examples of tweets include ‘Harry is an angel sent from God to save me’, ‘Yo, God is real I saw him tonight taking the human form of Harry Styles. I’m feeling blessed’ and a personal favourite, ‘not to overreact or anything but Harry Styles is actually Jesus Christ himself’.

harry crucifix

His ever growing hair has caused many fans to compare his looks to the ‘original’ Jesus Christ, with fans photo-shopping an image of Styles into Jesus’ likeness. A major element of Styles ‘supersaviour’ identity with fans is due to his physical appearance, similar to the #HotJesus phenomenon on Twitter. Harry Styles is not immune to sexualisation and neither is religion. As mentioned in the 2014 Rolling Stone article, his growing fame creates a sense of mystery about him (Sheffield 2014). Not unlike Jesus Christ, Styles has devoted followers that would do or say almost anything to be close to him or even harry beardsee a glimpse of their hero. Fans devote money, time and attention and go to extremes to meet him and be in his presence, an encounter which many fans consider to be one of the best moments of their lives. The mystery of Styles causes disbelief that he is actually real until seen in person, on a scale similar to that of the Disciples not believing that Jesus had risen in Mark 16: 9-11, ‘When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it’ and Matthew 28: 16-17, ‘When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.’ Described as the ‘St. Thomas Effect’ in celebrity culture, this fan disbelief is compared to the ‘disciples of Jesus Christ [wanting] to touch him…to prove he was real’ (Lee 2009, p. 82). Comparative fan behaviour is seen in fans mobbing, following and often aggressively taking photos of Styles.

Despite his elevation to supersaviour status and the various characteristics of the modern messiah that Styles encompasses, he is in reality a 21 year old human from small town England, thrust into the spotlight on a reality television singing competition. He is not always prophetic or eloquent when delivering his messages of social justice, for example a recent crusade against SeaWorld was delivered to fans with a simple ‘Does anybody like dolphins? Don’t go to SeaWorld’. However, the dynamics of celebrity culture and the power of the teenage girl demographic have elevated Styles to a level of cultural superstardom, where he is no longer human but rather a divine being. To many, for various reasons (and by many, I mean millions), Styles is a God. And in the true era of 21st century consumerism, where not even religion escapes commodification, you can even purchase a Saint Styles candle for at home worship sessions.

 harry candle

Works Cited

WEBSITES

“Harry Styles Prayer Candle. Saint Styles! Great Gift! Premium Handmade 9″ Soy Candle!” Etsy. Accessed October 8, 2015. https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/241254717/harry-styles-prayer-candle-saint-styles.

“JC Power 100: Numbers 100 – 51.” The Jewish Chronicle. Accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/121977/jc-power-100-numbers-100-51.

“One Direction Fans Make ‘Girl Almighty’ Empowerment Song for Women’s Aid. What a Bloody Lovely Idea!” Maximum Pop. April 26, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2015. http://www.maximumpop.co.uk/girl-almighty-1d-fans-give/.

“One Direction Launches New Campaign in Support of Action/2015.” UN News Center. July 10, 2015. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2015/07/british-band-one-direction-rally-youth-to-take-action-on-poverty-climate-change/.

Scherker, Amanda. “Harry Styles Comforts Fan Mid-Panic Attack, Restores Our Faith In Humanity.” The Huffington Post. December 12, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/harry-styles-comforts-fan_n_6315014.html.

Sheffield, Rob. “Harry Styles: Boy of the Year of the Girl.” Rolling Stone. December 12, 2014. Accessed October 3, 2015. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/harry-styles-boy-of-the-year-of-the-girl-20141212.

Sheffield, Rob. “16 Reasons One Direction Are on Top of the Stadium Rock Game.” Rolling Stone. August 6, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2015. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/live-reviews/16-reasons-one-direction-are-on-top-of-the-stadium-rock-game-20150806?page=2.

Sieczkowski, Cavan. “Westboro Baptist Church Pickets One Direction Concert; Harry Styles Responds.” The Huffington Post. July 22, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/22/westboro-baptist-church-one-direction_n_3634663.html.

Yeatman, Dominic. “Kiss from Harry Styles Gives Mute Girl Back Her Voice, Proves 1D Star Is Basically Jesus.” Metro. July 13, 2014. Accessed October 8, 2015. http://metro.co.uk/2014/07/13/kiss-from-harry-styles-gives-mute-girl-back-her-voice-proves-1d-star-is-basically-jesus-4797064/.

BOOKS

Abane, Richard. Religions of the Stars: What Hollywood Believes and How It Affects You. Michigan: Baker Books, 2009.

Lawrence, John Shelton, and Robert Jewett. The Myth of the American Superhero. Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002.

Lee, C. J. P. Celebrity, Pedophilia, and Ideology in American Culture. Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press, 2009.

Mitchell, Claudia A., and Jacqueline Walsh. Girl Culture [Two Volumes] an Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Pub. Group, 2007.

TWEETS

@aubrieharmonn. Twitter Post. October 4, 2015, 1:52 PM.

@badlandhemmo. Twitter Post. September 12, 2015, 2:48 PM.

@cailynveronica. Twitter Post. September 12, 2015, 11:50 PM.

@Harry_Styles. Twitter Post. July 19, 2013, 9:11 PM. https://twitter.com/harry_styles/status/358393633147326465

@Harry_Styles. Twitter Post. September 25, 2014, 11:45 AM. https://twitter.com/Harry_Styles/status/515165253068660736

@MattBellassai. Twitter Post. September 14, 2015, 12:05 PM. https://twitter.com/MattBellassai/status/643455570461200384

SONGS

One Direction, “Girl Almighty,” in Four, Columbia Records, 2014.

BIBLE

All references to the Biblical text are from the NIV.