Game of Thrones was a metaphor for the Democratic Party!


It’s all clear now. The series came to a slow, awkward close, by having all the complex story lines that had been building for years wrapped up by having a band-aid slapped on them. I’ll say that for it — it did end.

Then, to resolve who finally is going to sit on the throne of the seven kingdoms — you know, the whole core premise of the conflicts in the show — all the surviving noble leaders sit down and talk it out instead of murdering each other, which was weird and out of character. To decide who would be king, they then announce that stories are important, which I can agree with, and that the person who should be king is the one who has the most compelling, interesting life story, an idea only a writer could come up with. They think about it.

Would it be Arya, who fled the execution of her father, wandered up and down the country having adventures, trained in an exotic land to be a magical assassin, and who killed all of the zombies?

Would it be Sansa, the woman who went from a fawning child mooning over kings and queens, through a series of dynastic marriages and rapes and abuses to emerge a hardened, cynical queen of the North?

No, don’t be silly. They’re women.

Instead, they picked the most boring, mediocre guy in the whole show, the guy who spends most of his time staring vacantly into space, who just followed along in the wake of all the heroes in the series, who did nothing but pretended to know everything. He gets the throne for showing up. It seems “interesting story” is defined as “safe, harmless story”.

Obviously, the council of aristocrats who decided who is to be king is the DNC, and the show is prophesying that they’ll nominate Joe Biden, because he is the most mediocre white man they can find.

Only in this real world no one bothered to eradicate the zombie horde with Valyrian steel, so that pat decision isn’t going to end the conflict.

Winter is coming, we’re screwed.

Comments

  1. Saad says

    Shout out to Davos for mentioning that Night King and White Walkers were a thing.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    And the one character who suggested that maybe it’s time to give the people a voice who should rule them was laughed at. Silly Samwell, next thing you know he’s going to suggest national healthcare and forgiving student loan debt!

  3. square101 says

    So just FYI the old boring candidate was Edmure Tully, aka Westerosi Joe Biden, the guy Sansa told to sit down. If you noticed, the guy who actually got chosen didn’t stand up and you may have even picked up on the wheeles on his chair, but all that doesn’t matter cause he’s boring. The stories of disabled people don’t matter at all so we should just ignore them and pick someone else. I mean how much of a story could someone stuck in a chair have.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I thought he was going to be king, because he was peripheral to the main strife. I thought it was an intense foreshadow having him be the first casualty of the conflict (essentially). The fact that the Night King was aimed solely for him and was stopped at the last instant, I also thought was a strong foreshadow of his destiny. He was also the only one who had the ability to overview all of the war from an areal perspective.

    I thought GOT stayed within the mythical form of the history of Britain, especially by having The North (ie Scotland) stay independent of the nascent Britain, especially given that Sansa was a “ginger” which I associate with Scotland, and being female, a metaphor for of Mary Queen of Scots.

    I personally fail to see it being a metaphor of the 2020 DNC, I understand how it could be seen that way.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    slithey tove @4:

    …having The North (ie Scotland) stay independent of the nascent Britain,…

    No, no. The North is Yorkshire! The Scots are north of the wall.

  6. Ivan says

    It’s a metaphor for the Soviet Union.
    Near its end, the Communist Party seemed to elect its Chairmen based on their age and health… the worse, the better.
    So here the lords chose a cripple, planning to build up their forces and make alliances in a few years he has left to live. Makes sense.

  7. kingoftown says

    I enjoyed how it went against the monarchist Tolkien trope of the realm living happily ever after with the return of the true king. Honourable Jon Snow, true heir to the iron throne, resurrected by the god of light wound up exactly where he started.

  8. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    It can be funny to read people arguing about shows I haven’t seen, because I’m not actually invested in them.
    So, just looking from the outside, Ivan really proves square101’s point with his comment.

  9. Michael says

    I thought Bran was a strange choice since all he really did was warn them about events that were happening far away, and tell them about events in the past. He had shown no real leadership ability, nor demonstrated good decision-making skills. I’m surprised they just accepted Tyrion’s proposition without debate, and went with it.
    A better choice, if they wanted someone who was selfless and always working for the good of everyone, would have been Sam. He was knowledgeable, and had regularly demonstrated the ability to do what was right, no matter what anyone else thought.
    So why didn’t Drogon eat or fry Jon? Did Drogon agree that she needed to be stopped, and the prize taken away?

  10. birgerjohansson says

    ….but who is the sucker who gets to report to the Dothrakians that the sacrifice of their able-bodied men in a futile suicide attack resulted in them not having any influence on the choice of the new king? The mainstream media?

  11. consciousness razor says

    Instead, they picked the most boring, mediocre guy in the whole show, the guy who spends most of his time staring vacantly into space, who just followed along in the wake of all the heroes in the series, who did nothing but pretended to know everything. He gets the throne for showing up. It seems “interesting story” is defined as “safe, harmless story”.

    Tyrion wasn’t talking about Bran’s personal life story. He meant the history of Westeros, which Bran can access magically.
    What you should do is laugh at the idea of the author claiming that stories are most important. You apparently took it seriously, but it makes sense if this was supposed to pull that rug out from under you.
    In a way, picking Bran seems like a small move away from authoritarianism. (On the other hand, they rejected the idea of a democracy.) He’s not merely unambitious. He doesn’t want anything and wouldn’t use his position selfishly, which you wouldn’t get with anyone else. Plus, he’s young and could outlive pretty much everyone, so they could have a relatively stable “kingdom” for a long time, where he won’t really be a “king” in the problematic ways that’s usually understood. He’ll be more like a constitution or something like that … not a normal person with their own interests and motivations.

  12. Rob Grigjanis says

    So they didn’t go for anarcho-syndicalism? Too bad.

    I still want to know why winters are of unpredictable lengths. That bugged me so much I stopped reading the first book.

  13. blf says

    I still want to know why winters are of unpredictable lengths.

    The turtles supporting the planet thought all the antics so silly there had to be a better planet to live under, so they migrated away. As a result, the planet has been falling, having winters when no star is close enough, and summers as it passes by a star.

  14. kome says

    It was a safe and familiar Hollywood ending by people who I suspect are bored working on the show without the author’s source material to draw from anymore, rather than a good ending or an ending that did Martin’s story any hint of justice. The wheel didn’t break, the exact same system that led to the whole fiasco was kept in place, just with a temporarily not-awful ruler. The first time the council of lords disagrees on who should be the next monarch, or the first time a monarch asserts that their offspring deserve to inherit the throne by virtue of being born, everything will basically repeat itself. Hell, even a Night’s Watch still exists even though the Wildlings no longer pose a threat and the White Walkers are all destroyed. But the Starks mostly got their happy endings. Bran was crippled from the very beginning but now he’s king! Sansa is Queen of the North! Arya gets to go on her adventure, and Jon gets to basically live the life he wanted north of the Wall! All the nonsense that drove the story still exists but at least the family we like got happy-ish endings!

    To have done Martin’s story any justice, either the wheel must have broken – an idea toyed with when Sam suggested everybody get a say in who rules – or the inevitable darkness of the wheel and the message that power is an entirely corrupting influence must be shown by having the series end with Dany on the throne. An ending that elides the whole problem the story was premised on is a cop out, but it’s a cop out that will satisfice most viewers and studio execs who are simply not happy with fiction trying to make any real point about how we should see the real world.

    What this season lacked was any awareness that everyday common people may have reactions to the events that unfolded. We were told things like the Northern armies would be tired after fighting the White Walkers and then marching south to fight Ceresi, but they arrived in the south and just went to war without complaint because who wants to think about soldiers as anything other than disposable people. The rest of the Westeros might have had some reaction to Danaerys burning down King’s Landing, but we don’t get to see it because little people don’t matter. We don’t get to see how the Unsullied or the Dothraki react to Jon’s murdering Dany because they don’t matter. Only the named characters matter, and even then some of the more than others.

    Martin’s world was full of seeing how the important characters’ actions affected everyone else. Except for a pseudo-long shot of Arya running through the streets as Drogon was setting everything on fire, we got zero indication that there were the narrative equivalent of NPCs this season. Instead, we get a callback to a joke about a brothel and a montage of the Starks living the lives they (mostly) wanted all along. Cool.

    It’ll be so interesting to compare this to how Martin ends his story.

  15. logicalcat says

    I’m pretty sure Bran can see the future and control time. Yes, he should be leader. Probably the most powerful character in the whole world.

  16. logicalcat says

    Also seeing Bran as the “safe story” tells me that you skipped a few seasons PZ.

  17. susans says

    I don’t know why this ending would surprise anyone and I say this as someone who did not watch the show, but anyone who reads newspapers and blogs could not escape knowing something about it without being willfully ignorant. The last man standing was always going to be an actual man. When GRR Martin was asked why there was so much violence against women, so much rape in the story, he claimed that in the medieval period, it was a dangerous time for women, completely ignoring the fact that GofT is not set in the middle ages, but is in a time and place that he made up. He could have chose to invent a world that was safer, not more dangerous for women. All the violence, all the rape was his choice.

    Of course a competent woman was not the chosen one.

  18. logicalcat says

    @18 The world GRRM came up with is a fantasy inspired re imagining of real historical events. So he is basing the world in real life problems despite being made up.

  19. dannicoy says

    @18 The show has a lot to say about epic fantasy stories and it does this by juxtoposing the type of medieval societies those stories tend to be based on with what we know of medieval society from history. A big part of that is not sanitising the violence, including the violence against women.

    Typically violence against women is a problem because it serves as a vehicle to drive the story for male protagonists and that is not the case here (there are maybe one or two insidences in the series that the show could do without). The violence that each character experiences really drives their own development.

  20. says

    @#19, logicalcat

    Yeah, sure, I remember in my European History textbooks how much of a role dragons and zombies had in wars of succession. If anything, I’m amazed at how they left out the steampunk time travelers, flying saucers, and caped superheroes and still maintained such a realistic setting.

  21. Porivil Sorrens says

    @21
    That’s…literally the point? Applying realistic historical politics and behavior to an ostensibly fantasy setting in order to deconstruct very common fantasy tropes is the entire point of ASOIAF.

  22. susans says

    @19, tell us which historical events the rapes represent. And why is it almost exclusively women who must be raped in order for their characters to be developed? Is there something special about men that makes it possible for them to become fully developed humans without enduring rape?

  23. madtom1999 says

    Not seen it myself – why watch it if you hate it. Over the pond here you’d get the impression you’d die if you dont watch it but out of my respected peer group only one watches it because his wife does and cant actually give any of us a reason to watch it. That’s from around 40 people and everyone else seems to hate it. It seems to be a bit like sport – no-one really likes it they just dont want to miss out on something that even if they saw it they wouldnt enjoy it.

  24. lotharloo says

    @susans:
    Jon snow was killed, Jaime has his hand chopped off, Theon was tortured and mutilated, all the unsullied come mutilated. Keep your bullshit white feminism for real-life events and fantasy novels.

  25. jefrir says

    Ivan, please don’t use words like “cripple”. That sort of language has a real effect on actual disabled people.

  26. says

    @#22, Porivil Sorrens

    In other words: it was always going to be the case that fans would excuse anything they liked because it was “realistic” even though the whole thing is, from the start, impossible. You do not get to say “oh, but I’m trying to deconstruct this fantasy trope by making it realistic”. “Realistic” means: dragons don’t exist. “Realistic” means: magic doesn’t work. “Realistic” means: prophecies are wrong. “Realistic” means: rulers who make their people suffer get overthrown. You don’t get to have dragons flying around and then then defend the inclusion of rape because it’s “realistic” — you know what would be “realistic” in a setting where magic exists? Magic users who were raped fanatically researching how magic works and producing anti-rape curses that make would-be rapists’ heads explode, and then selling that to new parents, so long in the past that every member of the nobility is protected as a matter of course. (Hell, it’s been decades since Diana Wynne Jones pointed out that the whole “all the secrets of high technology and/or magic were known in the distant past and have been irretrievably lost” trope is cliché and kind of stupid, and I doubt she was the first one to say that, either.)

    Realism quit without notice and was escorted from the building in the first episode; rape exists in the series because GRRM either gets off on it and/or knew his fans do, and it shows up in the TV version because the producers know that half their viewers want to see it and the other half will provide a lot of free publicity by endlessly chattering about it.

  27. John Morales says

    The Vicar @27, to Porivil Sorrens:

    You do not get to say “oh, but I’m trying to deconstruct this fantasy trope by making it realistic”. “Realistic” means: dragons don’t exist. “Realistic” means: magic doesn’t work. “Realistic” means: prophecies are wrong. “Realistic” means: rulers who make their people suffer get overthrown. You don’t get to have dragons flying around and then then defend the inclusion of rape because it’s “realistic” — you know what would be “realistic” in a setting where magic exists?

    Um, something that has been done is not something that the doer does not get to do, quite evidently. But of course, that is a false claim, since that which you claimed was done but was not something the doer got to do despite purportedly having done it is not what was actually done in this instance.

    So, your peroration might have had some weight had Porivil claimed that the realism was about the magic, or about prophecies, or about the inevitability of tyrants being overthrown.
    But that is not the case at hand.

    Here is the actual quotation: “Applying realistic historical politics and behavior to an ostensibly fantasy setting in order to deconstruct very common fantasy tropes” — clearly, the expressed contention is that the politics and behaviour are realistic, but are applied to a fantastical setting.

    So your imagined claim that the magic, the prophecies, and tyrant’s non-overthrow being somehow realistic is entirely in your imagination.

    Realism quit without notice and was escorted from the building in the first episode

    The only purported realism that was claimed was regarding “historical politics and behavior”, and furthermore the setting was explicitly stated to be fantasy.

    Heh. You’d do far better to address claims actually made rather than your own contrived interpretations.

  28. lotharloo says

    BTW, since everyone seems to love to talk about the rape scenes without actually having a clue, here’s some PSA:
    1) Dany does not get raped in the book. She says no and Khal Drogo actually respects that. Drogo does not share a common language with Daenerys, but still he understands the word “no” and they only have sex much later when Daenerys consents.

    2) In the books, Cersei does not get raped by Jamie. In fact, I think even the show did not have it as a rape scene and I think they actors did not play as a rape scene and it turned into a rape scene only because of incompetent directing and editing.

    3) In the book Sansa does not get raped and it is very likely that she does not marry Ramsey. In fact, I would be very surprised if her arcs gets much more set backs in the books.

    I might have forgotten some other scenes but basically a lot of the “rape scenes for character development” were added by the show for various stupid reasons.

  29. Dunc says

    “Realistic” means: rulers who make their people suffer get overthrown.

    Even a cursory knowledge of history shows this to be false.

  30. kingoftown says

    ““Realistic” means: rulers who make their people suffer get overthrown.”

    Not true. Also the people do turn on bad rulers in the show. Many in Stannis’ abandon him when he sacrifices Shireen. Joffrey and Tommen only stay in power because of Margery’s charity. Tyrion’s plan to siege the city and wait for the people to turn on Cersei probably would have worked.

  31. Porivil Sorrens says

    @27
    No shit, dragons and magic aren’t realistic (and magic as you’re describing it doesn’t actually exist in the setting).

    The point was that it’s supposed to be an ostensibly fantastical setting, except with more realistic politics and societal norms, in order to deconstruct that many fantasy tropes would not work if people acted halfway similar in fantasy books to how they work in real life.

    It’s pointing at Lord of the Rings and Arthurian Legends and going “sometimes the right and proper king is an inbred idiot and will destroy the realm, and knights were just armored rich people, not moral paragons”

    This is a pretty normal method of deconstructing tropes (see: every book Terry Pratchett has ever written) and the fact that this is obviously so foreign to you means that I don’t really have to care that much about your obviously uninformed opinion.

  32. Rob Grigjanis says

    Porivil Sorrens @32:

    sometimes the right and proper king is an inbred idiot and will destroy the realm, and knights were just armored rich people, not moral paragons

    Yeah, that’s called “history”. Does “deconstructing” mean “pointing out the obvious”? I do get the appeal of this sort of story, but does it merit such hifalutin terminology?

    Does the Gormenghast series get props for deconstructing tropes? How about Bored of the Rings?

  33. Porivil Sorrens says

    @33

    I do get the appeal of this sort of story, but does it merit such hifalutin terminology?

    Uh, yes? Just as much as any other kind of term of art used in academia? No need to be an anti intellectual “Why are you science-types callin’ my water Hydrogen Dioxide” type, lmao.

    Regardless, it clearly isn’t obvious, given that the series was written to critique the metric fuckton of the fantasy genre that, as mentioned, uncritically presents monarchs as brilliant born-to-rule magic people that never fuck up and knights as uncorruptible symbols of moral purity.

    Insofar as Bored of the Rings or Gormenghast, no idea because I haven’t heard of them, but that’s not prima facie ridiculous. Deconstruction is a really common literary tool (as mentioned, it’s like 90% of what Discworld is, when it’s not satirizing real life stuff)

  34. Rob Grigjanis says

    @34: Mocking pretension is anti-intellectual? OK.

    the series was written to critique the metric fuckton of the fantasy genre

    It was written to make a metric fuckton of money. If you think most of the fans are appreciating the “deconstruction”, you’re fooling yourself.

  35. Porivil Sorrens says

    @35
    Yes, mocking terms of art used for academic research and analysis is anti-intellectual. It’s a term to describe a specific literary device that pccurs in literally hundreds of works so I’m not sure why it’s so objectionable that there’s a word for it. It’s just as facile and anti-intellectual as whining that them there science folks got themselves a fancy name for water.

    Also yes, I’m sure GRRM wrote ASOIAF at least partially for money, and a non-zero amount of the fans of the books don’t appreciate the deconstruction.

    That doesn’t remove the intent to criticize fantasy tropes by putting them in a setting where they are challenged or criticized.

  36. Rob Grigjanis says

    @36: I was waiting to see if you would correct your use of “hydrogen dioxide”. It’s not water. But don’t mind me, ah’m jest one o’ them thar anteye-interleckshuals.

  37. Porivil Sorrens says

    @37
    Oh man, you totally owned me. I got a phrase wrong in a field I haven’t studied for like two decades.

    Regardless, you are correct, you are indeed an anti-intellectual, as demonstrated by your weird contempt for fairly entry level terms of literary analysis. The fact that you also happen to be better than me at chemistry names doesn’t like, magically make you not a douche with a weird contempt for the concept of naming discernible trends.

    But like, sick burn nonetheless.

  38. Rob Grigjanis says

    @38: Correction isn’t about “owning”. I doubt you’ll make that mistake again.

  39. Porivil Sorrens says

    @39
    Ah, yeah, I’m sure you brought it up as an honest attempt to correct a misunderstanding and not as a puerile little “gotcha!” Anyways, feel free to continue mocking basic literary analysis terms, but I’m done talking to you.

  40. logicalcat says

    @21 The Vicar

    Like I said, fantasy re imagining. Actually read my post next time.

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