For three weeks, we have preached about how Game of Thrones teaches us everything we need to know about white America. So, this week, you might expect us to joke about how Sansa should’ve cooked for Bran when he came home from that long road trip, or how Euron Greyjoy is turning into Anthony Scaramucci. I bet you just knew we would have an extended discussion about the scene where the official from the Iron Bank lamented how its investments in the slave trade were doing poorly.
Instead, this week, the Game of Thrones writers created an episode that spoke in coded language, dropping jewels only black people could pick up. While there are too many to name, here are the major keys dropped by episode 3 of this season of Game of Thrones:
Beware of White Allies
What happens when you mix white feminism with white privilege and add a dash of white allyship? You get Daenerys Targaryen—the physical embodiment of the word “problematic.”
While it might be true that she is the “breaker of chains” (notice how she rattled off every one of her titles when our play cousin Jon Snow walked into her living room at Dragonstone, while Davos simply introduced Jon Snow as ... well ... Jon Snow), we must remember that Daenerys’ much-ballyhooed benevolence is tied to her obsession with winning the
presidency Iron Throne.
She repeatedly reminds everyone how she helped free oppressed people across the Seven Kingdoms, but doesn’t mention that she’s now using those same people as disposable pawns in her narcissistic quest for ultimate power. Daenerys wants Jon Snow to honor the pledges of his ancestors while simultaneously distancing herself from the atrocities committed by her forebears. Isn’t that the epitome of white privilege?
Her only accomplishments were achieved because she was born in the right family and had dragons dropped in her lap, yet she expects everyone she comes in contact with to “bend the knee.” The only reason Daenerys even pretends to care about the rise of the “Alt-White” Walkers is that she needs an endorsement from our people in the North.
Trust me, Daenerys Hillary Targaryen Clinton doesn’t believe that #UnsulliedLivesMatter.
We Need Black Leaders Like Jon Snow
Many people have criticized Jon Snow. Because of his mixed heritage, some say he’s “not really one of us.” Others say that since he left our neighborhood and started hanging out with those white boys at the wall and the
rednecks Wildlings, he can’t be trusted.
But we must remember that not only did Jon give his life for his people, but he also went toe to toe with the white (walker) supremacists and lived to tell the story. He is literally a living martyr. What have you done for your people?
While it is true that he does dress a little Al Sharpton-ish (No one in the Seven Kingdoms can fuck with his collection of fur capes. I’m still trying to figure out where he got the one he was wearing at Dragonstone. When he, Davos and the Fruit of Winterfell arrived on the shores, he was wearing armor and they didn’t have any luggage. How, Sway?), during his private meeting with Daenerys, she came at him with every iota of game, charm, threats and logic she had, yet Jon Snow held true to one thing:
That motherfucker will not bend the knee.
Had Jon been any of our other supposed “leaders,” he would have endorsed Daenerys, made a commercial for her, and come back to our people with only two or three pieces of dragonglass and a pocketful of promises.
The Black Imagination Is Too Small
We know Cersei is evil, but we sometimes forget how smart she is. This episode also reminded us to what lengths white America will go for its own financial gain. Cersei reminded us that when ships arrive on those foreign shores to fill their bowels with slave bodies, those vessels are parts of businesses that have financial backers.
The greatest line in this episode was from the greatest shade-thrower in the Seven Kingdoms—Lady Tyrell. In her final scene, she explained to Jamie that Cersei (the Seven Kingdom’s version of Donald Trump) had done things she could never imagine:
“Perhaps that was my prize mistake: A failure of imagination,” she said.
Perhaps that was ours. We could not imagine that any civilized human being could possibly believe he owned another human being. We were unable to envision that a country that touts itself as a champion of liberty and justice would fight the bloodiest war in its history to keep a race of people in shackles. We could never wrap our heads around why anyone would throw a Molotov cocktail into a bus of Freedom Riders or bust the heads of peaceful protesters to keep them in the back of a bus or out of a voting booth.
We can’t comprehend how anyone could repeatedly see police blast holes into black boys and girls and counter with, “Blue lives matter.” We couldn’t fathom how poor white people would believe that a billionaire, vagina-grabbing, nectarine-colored trust-fund baby with a brain like a head of wilted lettuce and covered by a shitty lace-front would rescue them from poverty.
We are too prone to believing in their pledge of allegiance to notice them behind our backs plotting to stab us to death. We have been brainwashed too long to believe that they will sic their dragons on us. Burn our ships. Lock us in dungeons. Murder our children. Decapitate our fathers. Massacre our brothers and mothers when they have been convinced they are among friends and family. Perhaps this is our “prize mistake.” Our hearts are too big and we want to believe what they’ve told us.
Game of Thrones teaches us that if we are to remain alive, we must always remember that even when they are offering a kiss, there might be poison in their mouths.