In high school, I took a required world history course. As with most teachers at my high school, the teacher did a phenomenal job with the course material. How we packed history of people all over the world into nine months of class is still a mystery to me, but I left that class feeling like I had true sense of the major events in human history that brought us to the end of the 20th century.
Still, for as much as I enjoyed that class, I hated the times we learned about pre-colonial Europe. Hell, I also hated the period we spent on post-colonial Europe. Even as a teen, without the language to properly articulate or experience to fully understand why, I did not enjoy learning about white people’s history. I now realize that is because I have never been able to view white people outside the white supremacist lens.
And that is probably why I resisted watching Game of Thrones for 8 years and seasons despite everybody and they mama talking about it. After finally becoming fed up with being left out, three weeks ago, I decided to give the show a try. Since, I’ve watched more than 80 episodes of that show about white people an their fuckery.
Except, Game of Thrones ain’t about white people, or rather it ain’t just about white people’s legendary fuckery.
Game of Thrones is about family bonds forged outside bloodlines. It’s about parents using children as devices. It’s about children deciding for themselves who they want to be. It’s about the dangers of clinging to the fights and plights of our fathers. It’s about limitless love for our children. It’s about the parental egos that kill our children. It’s about the human desire to belong. It’s about defining and finding family. It’s about keeping family secrets and exposing family truths.
It’s about power absolutely needs concession. It’s about the masses looking for a good, kind leader instead of questioning why they need a leader. It’s about liberators who believe liberation is theirs to give. It’s about honest motives being easily corrupted by the intoxicating power of exaltation. It is about the lesser of two evils still being evil. It is about loyalty as obligation rather than repayment and reciprocation.
It is about white women playing both victim and victimizer. It is about white womanhood
It is about manhood unchallenged by sexuality and gender without regard to genitals. It is about polyamory and bisexuality. It is about sex work as a choice and the men who inevitably take advantage of it. It is about those engaged in the most immoral and repulsive sexual acts judging sex workers (think the way Cersei says “whore”. It’s about rape culture and women taking control of their sexual pleasure.
It’s about the two types of white women and how they wield their power: one who is hateful, spiteful, deceitful, divisive, dishonest, evil, selfish and power-crazed, and how the other is the same hiding behind a smile and a few seemingly good deeds. It’s about how there is no noble quest for power. It’s about how betrayal becomes necessary when we’ve misplaced our loyalty. It’s about how birthright and inherent power are societal constructs which do nothing but guard classism, racism and elitism.
It’s about how capitalism is built on war and slavery. It’s about class warfare and infighting. It’s about how banks have money to lend because they bet on war, murder and tyranny. It’s about depriving the poor of necessities as strategy. It’s about how cash is king and morals can be bought and sold. It’s about reputations as currency.
It’s about the wisdom of women and the men who ignore the women who’ve proven themselves loyal. It’s about how women are fit to lead, but men aren’t fit to follow. It’s about how women play the background, making all the tough decisions and saving the fucking day, only to have a man heralded for a woman’s accomplishments.
It’s about liberation from physical chains without liberation from the mental chains that bind. It’s about the formerly enslaved looking to a member of the power majority for our liberation. It’s about praising a white liberator for giving the freedom that was not hers to give. It’s about being freed only to choose another master. It’s about confusing strategy and benevolence.
It’s about how quickly the able-bodied can become disabled. It’s about how we foolishly discount the mental fitness of those with physical disabilities. It’s about how we mark the disabled for ridicule, isolation and bigotry from birth. It’s about how we make jokes of the disabled when they are sometimes the most worthy of us all.
It’s about clinging to tradition because it is tradition. It’s about a refusal to question why. It’s about accepting that power rests with those who usurp it.
It’s about wars built on lies (I see you Dubya). It’s about how there are no innocent soldiers and “following orders” must you no less responsible for the carnage. It’s about how there are no winners in war. It’s about how people are sent to die for causes that will never benefit them. It’s about military strategy. It’s about commanders happy to send their troops to certain death while cowering at the thought of their own deaths.
It’s about the difference in nice and kind. It’s about people can smile and speak warmly while plotting your demise. It’s about how those who will feed, shelter and even save you don’t need to be smiling. It’s about redemption.
It’s about accepting death. It’s about understanding that life is never promised. It’s about having something you’re willing to die for. It’s about how memories and spirits live on. It’s about promises that survive death. It’s about how death doesn’t discriminate or keep scorecards. It’s about how you can’t kill enemies because our loved ones carry on our beefs. It’s about death as the great equalizer.
It’s about how the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s about how we feed our children vengeance. It’s about how even when we’ve accepted that our loved ones were monsters who wreaked havoc on innocent people, we still believe that their death should be avenged. It’s about destroying what we can’t have. It’s about the mania of revenge. It’s about how often our quest for redemption ends with us destroying all we said we wanted.
It’s about gentrification and colonialism. It’s about stepping into foreign spaces with the arrogance xenophobia and ethnocentrism. It’s about attempting to roll over centuries of tradition. It’s about white people believing that Black and brown people need saving, and that their white asses are the rightful saviors.
It’s about how children see the truth and ignoring them has fatal consequences. It’s about the bravery of children. It’s about how children’s kindness, loyalty and love is often betrayed by the adults they trust most. It’s about how listening to children can save us.
It’s about how our sanctimonious adherence to religious dogma will be our ultimate demise. It’s about how the homophobia that religion drives kills. It’s about how religious leaders are usually just power-crazed, arrogant manipulators intent not on adhering to the tenets they preach, but on commanding a flock that lauds them as the one truly fit to lead.
It’s about anarchy and how government is inherently corrupt. It’s about how the government will see us all starved to death, slaughtered or in chains. It’s about the dangers of nationalism and how an unwillingness to compromise will lead to the end of the world. It’s about how leaders aren’t elected by the populous but chosen by the powerful.
But above all else, Game of Thrones res about the limitless limitations of the white imagination because for all their fantasy about fire breathing dragons flying through the sky, of a woman emerging from fire unscathed, of faceless teams of assassins and cheating death over and over, the white writers could not imagine a world where Black and brown people are fit for anything more than slaves, plot devices or servants unquestioningly loyal to white power.
There is no story about white people that is not also about Black people. Whiteness only exists in opposition to Blackness, as such, their stories are our stories. Game of Thrones ain’t about white people, it’s about the tyranny and doom they visit on the world. And when it comes to the consequences of their evil, we are always the main cast.