A highly watched, brutal, epic, and gut-wrenching struggle for power is still fresh in Americans’ minds, and so is Game of Thrones. Hillary Clinton was certainly thinking about the HBO series during the 2016 presidential election, and in her new book, What Happened, the Democratic candidate likened herself to a GoT villain. But, to be fair, the specific scene Clinton is referencing does feature Cersei Lannister at her most sympathetic.
Checked out this video to find out who killed the most named characters on Game of Thrones.
A Breitbart reporter (sigh) was the first person to point out Clinton’s shout-out to George R. R. Martin’s rich fantasy world. In a passage in the book where she offers her take on Donald Trump’s rallies, Clinton compared the feeling to Cersei’s walk of shame.
“Crowds at Trump rallies called for my imprisonment more times than I can count,” Clinton writes. “They shouted, ‘Guilty! Guilty!’ like the religious zealots in Game of Thrones chanting ‘Shame! Shame!’ while Cersei Lannister walked back to the Red Keep.”
So, like, there’s a lot to unpack here, regardless of how you feel about the popular vote winner/electoral vote loser. In Game of Thrones, Cersei’s walk, which takes place during the fifth season finale, is meant to be a humbling moment for her. Shaved and stripped naked, Cersei needs to walk from the Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep at the bequest of the religious fanatics she enabled. It’s an ugly scene, and the Faith Militant are clearly bad news; they enable the people of King’s Landing to do some ugly, ugly things to a helpless woman.
But, on the other hand, Cersei was for sure guilty of the crimes they were shaming her for — and more. She slept with her cousin while Clinton used a private email server. That server was certainly bad, but did it deserve all the condemnation it got? The comparison to Cersei, while apt on a visceral surface level, invites a whole bunch of not so flattering comparisons if you take a moment to think about it. Cersei was the one who let those religious zealots rise to power in the first place, and she’s ultimately a bad guy, no matter who much you might empathize with her in that scene.
I’m not exactly sure where the fact that Bernie Sanders is a dead-ringer for the High Sparrow fits into this whole metaphor, but it should probably be mentioned somewhere.