It has taken several years but my youngest daughter has finally talked my wife and I into watching the Game of Thrones, the popular HBO series based on the books by George R.R. Martin. My first impression was forged when my daughter was watching an episode from Season Two many years ago where two women were essentially involved in pornography and each time I looked up from my work while she watched these episodes someone was naked. So I didn’t have a very high impression of the show but for an excuse to get people naked and make it a medieval setting. I thought it was just another tacky enterprise and I wasn’t impressed. But it has done well over the years and people obviously like it for some reason, so my wife and I gave it another chance recently and started watching it from the beginning, and much to our surprise, we both actually like it. For me, I find myself living in the Game of Thrones literally as I have those experiences in most of the people I know in politics, business, and family quite literally. I find the characters created by George R.R. Martin to be very realistic in their motivations and how they apply those needs to the world around them.
I can’t help but draw parallels to the Game of Thrones and real life, specifically in the case of Hillary Clinton. The character of Cersei Lannister comes to mind—the queen who will literally do anything to stay in power and close proximity to the throne for which her son sat for most of the first seasons once her husband had died. House of Cards involves much of the same kind of power grabbing soap opera style narrative and when I was watching that series drew unmistakable parallels to the Clinton White House. Now that Hillary Clinton has been caught and the DNC exposed the United States is having its moment or discovery where we learn how vile all these characters in this real story actually have been. When we voted for Donald Trump many of us only suspected it, but now in the aftermath, we understand all too clearly what Hillary and her minions have been up to and the plots are not unlike the Game of Thrones stories, and for the same reasons that exist in the realms of that fiction.
My mom and my grandmother used to get very involved in their day time soap operas. When I was a kid and went to the store with them on their daughter mother days I’d often make fun of how they’d cackle after the various narratives of whom was sleeping with whom and for what reason. I never understood their fascination with such boring stories of love, lust, betrayal and scandal—it seemed small-minded to me even at a very young age. However I do like fantasy stories, such as Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, and clearly these are very similar styles of stories with a soap opera quality to them when you start getting into the private motivations of the human condition. A fantasy backdrop seems to work well for our society in observing things that might otherwise be all too real for us. And this appears to be the big secret of Game of Thrones.
I think this is why the actions of Hillary Clinton and many politicians just like her go by people generally unknown. People may suspect many of these things but their only real acceptance to these motivations are best presented through fantasy stories which seem removed so far from our reality that the villains often get away with hiding from us in plain sight, and once we discover their villainy, we don’t know what to do with them because our only experience with understanding these types of characters is from the voyeuristic comfort of our television screens.
It wasn’t ironic to me that as I was watching Game of Thrones for the first time seriously and I heard the dialogue by the character Cersei Lannister that Hillary Clinton was doing media for her new book, What Happened. What was revealed was a character right off the pages of George R.R. Martin. Hillary was so insulted by the Donald Trump election that she couldn’t stop herself from showing the world just how arrogantly she believed she had a right to the throne of the American White House. For her it was a rightful claim passed down to her from some progressive assumption that American politics was the same as European politics, or those throughout the world functioning from the same kind of social illness as we see on display in fantasy stories like Game of Thrones. We rebelled in America to get away from this kind of thing, not to advance it. We don’t look, for kings to worship in America, at least we aren’t supposed to. Literally, the American White House is not supposed to be just another episode of the Game of Thrones or House of Cards.
In many ways I think this is the problem people have with Donald Trump—he is truly something different. I know that’s why I voted for him. Trump has virtually the perfect wife, he has perfect kids—Trump himself is a pretty perfect person—he’s not sick, he never sleeps; he doesn’t have little insecurities that he’s trying to hide behind public office. He’s just a guy who loves to solve problems and be in the heat of the kitchen—and this doesn’t fit the narrative of the typical American politician that we have come to think of as corrupt. Hillary Clinton does, but Trump requires us to accept all new motivations which have not yet been explored in a contextual way articulated through our fantasy stories. I would go so far to say that only a novel by Ayn Rand begins to cover the Donald Trump presidency while most of us experience the range of human emotions driving modern politics through fantasy works like Game of Thrones, or even Harry Potter.
Deep inside us all is still that European fascination with names and titles—the very things we rebelled against as Americans. We may not like people like Hillary Clinton, but we trust that dysfunction because it’s what we understand at a primal level. In Game of Thrones I haven’t yet found a character I can relate to except for some of the Stark kids—but even then the idea of duty to a family name and the promise of a reign on some Iron Throne doesn’t make much sense to me. But most people watching can find something they can relate to in the characters of the very sprawling epic that has become Game of Thrones. And to my experience it works because it’s not so much fantasy, but is actually quite real. The fantasy settings of dragon stories and magic allow us to create some emotional distance to the subject, but honestly the psychological explorations of the characters themselves is all too real. What is shocking about Hillary Clinton is that she is every bit as vile as the most dastardly villain from Game of Thrones, but we have been exposed to her without the trappings of a fantasy story set a long time ago in a time long forgotten—but she’s standing right in front of us on full display. Our modern society may not be as simplified as a medieval setting so to examine all the plotting and scheming that goes on in the human mind for the advancement of infantile ideas about control and human achievement, but the essence of those motivations are all too real—and not so much a fantasy.
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