“Game of Thrones” is a perfect political show: major characters squabble over the Iron Throne using the inherent powers of their own houses, and their different worldviews and governing philosophies clash in ever more interesting ways. The connection between this intriguing struggle and America’s fractured politics is almost too good not to make.
But some connections make more sense than others. Bustle‘s Kylie Cheung, for example, seemed to go through the show, putting heroes into her Democratic camp and villains into the Republican camp. This isn’t just unfair to those who disagree — it’s twisting George R. R. Martin’s basic point.
Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, on which the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones” is based, intended to present many warring factions in all their glory, capturing the human condition by showing vice and virtue, kindness and meanness. Even the notorious villain Cersei Lannister has her redeeming quality: her love of her children.
In that spirit, PJ Media has connected the houses of Westeros to their counterparts in American politics. This is not meant to villainize one party or the other, but as an illustration of the values and power struggles in America today, which echo those in Westeros. Enjoy!
1. The Sand Snakes/ The Women’s March.
Dorne is the land of women’s equality, for better and sometimes worse. Most of Westeros is very patriarchal, true to the medieval Europe on which it was based. But in Dorne, women can inherit lands and titles, they can rule, and they can own property. Modern Americans would see this as more just, but it also has inspired grasping for power.
In the show, the Sand Snakes, desperate to get revenge for a historic injustice (*ahem* patriarchy), actually turn on their own in a desperate ploy for women’s empowerment (to crown Myrcella Baratheon in the books, and to back Daenerys Targaryen in the show).
2. Cersei Lannister/ Establishment Democrats.
If Hillary Clinton were younger, more beautiful, and more ruthless, she could be Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). The Lannisters used political connections and sheer ruthlessness to take control of the throne, just like the establishment Democrats. Like those establishment Dems, House Lannister seeks centralized control and complete governmental power over individuals in their realm.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is even a great match for Bill Clinton, as The Daily Wire‘s Tyler Dahnke pointed out. Both Jaime and Bill are smooth talkers, ladies’ men, and strangely likable despite having done horrible things.
Like Cersei, Clinton found her greatest challenge from the true believers of the Left…
3. The High Sparrow/ Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a different kind of religious zealot. He wouldn’t smash barrels of wine, but he did say Americans don’t need “23 kinds of deodorant.” The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) is a true believer in a faith that emphasizes equality between the rich and the poor. Bernie Sanders led the Occupy Wall Street crowd to revolt against a corrupt economic system.
4. House Tyrell/ Establishment Republicans.
House Tyrell is a rich house which made common cause with House Lannister to gain power in the capital. They were willing to overlook small matters of sexuality (the homosexual exploits of Loras, Finn Jones) to keep power. Like House Tyrell, establishment Republicans will agree with their ostensible enemies to hold power.
5. Littlefinger/ Donald Trump.
Lord Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) is a businessman with no political credentials, not taken seriously by the nobility who consider him a rude and immoral invader into the circles of power. Despite being underestimated, “Littlefinger” has taken power in surprising ways, and he’s ready to betray any ally to achieve his goals.
President Donald Trump is a businessman hated by the political establishment, considered immoral and rude, and powerfully underestimated in the 2016 election. While he has become president, it remains to be seen whether he is canny enough to achieve all of his goals — but after last November, it would be foolish to underestimate him.
6. House Stark/ social conservatives.
Family values and tradition drive House Stark. This proud northern house goes back centuries, and seeks to live undisturbed in the North without being bothered by the far off government in the capital. Their traditional values are a clear moral strength, but they also get Ned Stark (Sean Bean) killed, and lead Robb Stark (Richard Madden) to underestimate his enemies.
Like the Starks, social conservatives hold to a grand tradition (the West), family values, old fashioned morality, and federalism. They want to escape the power of Washington, D.C. and live virtuous lives. Unfortunately, they want to play by the rules and often find themselves betrayed by those claiming to represent them.
The alliance between Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) illustrates the relationship between social conservatives and Donald Trump. Trump has promised to champion their cause, but he has fallen short in many ways, and even seemingly betrayed them in others. He may yet prove himself a good ally, however, just as Littlefinger may redeem himself in Sansa’s eyes.
7. The Wildlings/ Libertarians.
“The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted,” declared Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds). Rayder became the leader of the Wildlings, who call themselves the “free folk,” by convincing warring tribes to band together against the White Walkers. Like libertarians, the Wildlings voluntarily chose a king, they don’t pay taxes, and they live completely outside the control of the capital. They identify as “free,” and so they are.
Mance Rayder even decided to die rather than bend the knee and pledge fealty to King Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). As The Daily Wire‘s Tyler Dahnke pointed out, even Rolling Stone‘s Jon Dolan acknowledged that the Wildlings would be libertarians, even though he went way off the deep end in saying George W. Bush was King Joffrey and Sarah Palin a White Walker.
ReasonTV published a hilarious YouTube video explaining this perfect connection. One man describes the wildlings as savages, saying, “They do whatever they please, they marry who they want, they pay no taxes, do you know they don’t even have a real king? Just some guy they voluntarily choose to follow.”
The other guy turns to him, asking, “So we built that wall, and we paid for it, to keep out the free folk and their red heads, and now we’re on this side of the wall? Is there like a door?”
8. Daenerys Targaryen/ The elusive centrist.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) represents the hope of what a united Westeros could be: a queen dedicated to freedom, receiving wise counsel, and a restoration of an old dynasty whose collapse ushered in a period of confusion and civil war. In American politics, she represents the elusive centrist who would bring Americans together, restore the full checks and balances of the Constitution, and end the partisan vitriol.
No figure in American politics fits this description, although America sorely needs such a figure. Rolling Stone’s Jon Dolan suggested Barack Obama. After eight years of Obama’s presidency, this suggestion is absurd and laughable. But before Obama took power, Democrats saw him as this savior.
Even Dany would have to conquer Westeros by force, so she’s not a perfectly hopeful figure. Perhaps the best American equivalent would be Abraham Lincoln, who restored the founders’ vision of the end of slavery (and their vision of a union of states), but at an exceedingly high cost.
Americans must hope that someone besides another Lincoln can bring about the unity sorely needed.
Click “Load More” to see the series trailer for “Game of Thrones” seasons 1-6.