Warning: The following article contains spoilers about Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. We don’t care if you haven’t seen the episode yet, because—why would you even be reading this? Plus, if you haven’t seen Sunday night’s episode by now, chances are you aren’t aware that “Dem Thrones” is a coded, metaphorical analogy for everything you need to know about the politics, culture and shenanigans of white America.
As one of the greatest interpreters of Game of Thrones culture and co-host of Dem Thrones—the definitive black Game of Thrones review show (you should definitely binge-watch the previous seasons), I present five lessons from Sunday night’s episode.
1. Code-switching is key.
Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote a poem called “We Wear the Mask” that reads, in part:
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
This is probably one of the poems Arya had to learn when she pledged Delta Sigma No-Face. I’ve never been a fan of hazing, but we must admit that Arya’s pledge process was hard but fair—even though she murked her dean of pledges at the crossing ceremony. And killing Walder Frey and everyone responsible for the Red Wedding in one fell swoop was probably the greatest probate show ever!
As we previously discussed, the Starks are all our cousins, and they represent all black people in the Seven Kingdoms. Arya’s ability to blend in with white people may be the most valuable tool of them all. It helped her exact revenge on the people who ambushed our cousin Robb and aunt Catelyn. Now she’s headed over to
Trump Tower Westeros to get the people who chopped Uncle Ned’s head off.
2. The alt-white is coming.
The blue-eyed devils are on their way to take over everything in their paths. We’ve heard about them for years, and it’s not as if they’re new, but now they are everywhere.
We all know what the Night King (I haven’t read the books, but I think they call him Steve Bannon in the novels) wants: He wants to turn the entirety of the Seven Kingdoms into White Walkers so he and his Night Supremacist army are growing their numbers.
And just like white America, the people in the Seven Kingdoms think a stupid wall will keep them safe.
3. PWIs don’t acknowledge racism.
Many people were upset when Samwell Tarly enrolled at Maester University, a predominantly white institution, instead of Maester A&M, a historically black maester school. None of the white people at the PWI want to face the fact that there is a group of evil white people who want to destroy us all—even though they’ve read about it in history books from various sources. As a graduate of a predominantly white college, I could have told Samwell not to expect them to teach him his real history. You gotta get that for yourself.
But that is exactly why Samwell took the scholarship to Maester U.—to get the benefit of its great facilities and its award-winning library, and to come back to use it for the hood.
4. Sansa vs. Jon Snow:
This is the existential question all black people must answer. Sansa has been raped, traded, abused and treated so badly for so long, she has turned radical. She wants reparations. She believes that the people who betrayed her family should never be trusted.
Jon Snow, on the other hand, is willing to offer amnesty to people who literally stabbed him in the back, knowing how they betrayed him and his people.
Which is the right answer? Should the movement include people who have historically betrayed us but now want to offer themselves as allies? Should we hold the children and grandchildren of our abusers responsible for the sins of their fathers?
Even if we let those people be down with us, Sansa knows—even with that sly dude, Lil’ Finger, you must always keep an eye on them. Trust me—the North remembers.
5. White privilege is back.
Daenerys has returned to her ancestral home after years of being away. Accompanied by her black slaves, she found that Dragonstone hadn’t yet fallen to gentrification, and even her Legos were where she left them. She stopped to play with her Dorne Beach House Barbie but was eager to get back to work queening.
We can never forget that Khaleesi is the epitome of white privilege. She believes that ruling the world is her birthright, and her dragons are a physical representation of her privilege: Even when she doesn’t have the intelligence, strength, background or army to achieve a damn thing, someone has given her a few dragon eggs, so she can do whatever the hell she wants.
I bet she lets the dragons eat off her plate and kisses them right in the mouth. You know how those people (Targaryens) love their animals.
There are a few things to look forward to in the future episodes: Now that the Hound got saved, sanctified and filled with the Lord of Light, will he be a different person? Will he put some lotion on his burn? Will Cersei repeal and replace Tommencare?
Stay tuned for weekly updates, and click here to watch the Dem Thrones web series.