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Friday 1 September 2017

Game of Thrones: Political Edition

OK, so first of all, even though I've waited a while to write about this and by now I'm guessing every real GoT fanatic has already seen the season finale, here's a big SPOILER warning that I'll be mentioning in brief a certain event that took place in that episode. If you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now.

Right. That's enough warning.

So the events in the finale regarding Littlefinger, and how he was set up by the Stark kids was to me the biggest surprise of the season.   And it ended up leading me to see Littlefinger as a very interesting metaphor for modern politics: he is the symbol of the Establishment Elites. Littlefinger is CNN and the Neocons and the Hillary Democrats.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who clued into this:

Littlefinger is in many ways a perfect representative of the Globalist urban Establishment.  He himself comes from a background of privilege, but he wants to destroy the entire system, not out of any true ideals or a sense of Justice (though he pretends to justify himself that way) but because of petty personal resentments he has. Resentments against other people who had more than him. Resentments against the success of others. Resentments about the fact that he doesn't get to control the world, so he'd rather see it burn down.
I was saying from way back in the series that the true supervillain of the series was Littlefinger, because while other villains were more immediately dangerous (Joffrey, Bolton, Cersei, etc) his method of operation was always pure destruction: he works to turn people against each other with the goal of generating chaos, in the hopes that somehow from the ashes of the seven kingdoms burning themselves to the ground in civil war he'll somehow end up on top of the dungheap that remains and finally get to rule without anything or anyone standing in his way. He works through lies and hidden betrayal, by spreading intentional disinformation. By using people's goodness against them, by using people's selfishness against them, by using people's fears against them, by playing on people's desires to feel noble or just or powerful while simultaneously offering them paths that don't technically require they be any of those things. He's the master of appearances over reality.

And then, in the season finale, he gets caught out by a group of country bumpkins. He always looked down on everyone as his intellectual inferiors but especially people like the Starks. And he even gets taken out thanks to the "Three Eyed Raven", the internet of Westeros, who bring in a new force to the playing field that he can't control or thwart, that is able to uncover secrets and reveal truths that leave him totally exposed, and taken by surprise.

And they cut his fucking throat.

I doubt any of this metaphor is intentional. I don't give either GRRM or the writers of the tv show that much credit. But sometimes good metaphors emerge unintentionally from people who aren't really up to the task, because they tap into archetypes that lead them there haplessly. This was one of them.  The dude who spent years fucking up Westeros for his own self-serving pleasure ends up exposed and eliminated, just as people are moving to band together to fight the evils that threaten to tear down their entire civilization.  A necessary first step.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti oversize + H&H's Chestnut

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