Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tyrion the Liberal

Game of Thrones – Season 7
The wine drinking has disappeared, and so has the sex except for an odd act of one person lying on top of another.  As you can see, there are many aspects to Game of Thrones, but what is most interesting is it's political ramifications.  I don’t just see this as just a historical fantasy, but as a commentary on the present.  This is not unusual, as GoT has seeped into the general culture.  George Martin was not devoid of politics and certainly his views infused his books and the beginning chapters of this HBO series.   Martin became anti-war during Vietnam and thinks imperial domination is an abomination.  That is why it is called ‘game’ of thrones, which belittles the whole process of imperial rule.

The Lannisters Always Pay their Debts...
So the basic question for this season is:  Who thinks they can make a deal with Cersei Lannister?  Cersei is certainly the Mad Queen at this point, a medieval fascist intent on maintaining her rule over the Iron Throne and her imagined ‘7 kingdoms’ no matter what.  This in the context of a stagnant medieval economy that has lasted far beyond anything in real human history.  She is a climate denialist of the first order regarding the fact that “winter is coming” and the Night King with it.  She is an intimate of the Iron Bank, which will lend money to anyone for any purpose, as long as interest is paid.  She personifies a Westerosi  nationalist who thunders against the invading hordes of ‘foreigners’ represented by the Unsullied and the Dothraki.  As Bronn and Jaime comment, the Unsullied are an army of dickless men, not ‘real’ men.  They might even be gay!  Does this all sound familiar?  

The deal with the Iron Bank for an army of 20,000 mercenaries – the Golden Company – is built on stolen Tyrell money that the Lannisters seized through military conquest.  Cersei’s brutal ally, Euron Greyjoy, will ferry the Golden Company from Essos to Westeros in his bid to become King, allegedly with Cersei.  However, one of the recent absurd fact problems in GoT is that this money is never seen getting to King’s Landing - a place which may also just be the Hunger Games capital of Londonium.  Was it the paltry sum of gold in Bronn’s saddle-bag on a horse that was probably incinerated by a dragon while rescuing Jaime?  Was it in the train of wagons incinerated by 3 dragons?  Did it arrive in King’s Landing by an invisible boat?  No. 

Let’s assume the money exists somehow, because the script writers do.  That is all Cersei has now.  Money.  The Iron Bank?  The City and Wall Street! And with money comes power.  With which you can buy military power, much as the U.S. has the biggest army in world history, funded by their imperial system of economic domination.  And even many mercenaries, as in Afghanistan and Iraq - our "Golden Company."  Or the use of Blackwater, now XE, a close partner with the Defense Department and Donald Trump.  No reference to Blackwater Bay, but you never know...

GRR Martin, in an interview, commented that the dragons were the equivalent of nuclear weapons.  Anyone who has ‘dragons’ holds an ace in the war of thrones for domination of the world.  No wonder Kim Jong-Un doesn’t want to go the way of Libya’s Gaddafi , and so keeps his pathetic ‘ace.’  The biggest nuclear arsenal in the world is held by the U.S.  And now the nuclear threat again hangs over the whole world, both in North Korea but now even in the crusade against Russia, because of our own mad King and our mad military and their bi-partisan allies.  You see, the problem is nuclear proliferation, as now even the ‘Night King’ has one too.  Witness the collateral damage of dragons burning sheepherders or eating livestock.  This is no different than the radioactive pollution from Hanford or Seabrook, not to mention Chernobyl, Hiroshima, Nagasaki or Fukushima.

This leads one to wonder – is the ‘breaker of chains’ the U.S.?  Certainly, but only if hypocrisy is taken as reality.  This is where the analogy breaks down.  Unless Daenerys does incinerate Kings Landing and its million citizens in frustration over Cersei’s betrayal, Daenerys is not the U.S. quite yet.  The U.S. is a maintainer of chains, wage labor, wage slavery, literal slavery and is attempting to sit on the imperial iron throne.  The U.S. is King's Landing.

The Night King seems to represent the advance of world-historic barbarism.  Of course anyone looking at their internet phone constantly might also be a zombie.  Or those worker-bee drones that work without thinking.  You can extrapolate this…

How did the Night King get the bomb?  Well, that is where liberalism comes in.  Tyrion is a beloved character - a drinker, lover, wit, an intellectual of sorts.  Another ‘half-man’ like so many damaged men in this tale – but a real one in character, more so than many taller men.  However, Tyrion, as Daenerys has noted, lately gives very bad advice.  His odd fretting over Daenerys’ possible death.   His idea to capture Casterly Rock by the Unsullied fell into a diversion, which Daenerys corrected by attacking and destroying the Lannister and Tully army.  His worst recent idea was to capture a White Walker’s wight and show it to Cersei, who would then suddenly ‘see the light’ and send her armies north to fight alongside Daenerys, Jon Snow and the rest.  

Tyrion is the expression of the liberalism of the male HBO showrunners, but also of liberal principals in general.  He is humane, but also ‘humane’ sometimes to the point of betrayal.  His idea to allow slavery in Meereen and Essos in Season 6 after it had been militarily defeated was a stunning example of trying to make a deal with the devil.  He argued against the former slaves on this issue, Missandei & Grey Worm, who knew a deal with the slavers was a terrible idea.  It would be like Lincoln deciding that, after winning the Civil War, the South could still have slavery or that Jim Crow was a good compromise.
Now Tyrion again wants to make a deal with a fascist and a climate denier, his sister, and thinks that will work.  And so the fateful and idiotic machinery goes into action, of capturing a zombie wight, having a bogus peace parley and losing a dragon to nuclear proliferation.  That dragon then melts Hadrian’s ice Wall at Eastwatch, which otherwise would have provided an effective barrier against the White Walkers for some time, at least until the ocean shore froze over. Tyrion was instrumental in this. The real Hadrian’s Wall was supposed to protect England from the ‘freemen’ - Scotsmen and Norsemen.  But the Wildlings are now south of the Wall, as freemen in league with the King of the North and survival. 

After showing the wight to Cersei, she publicly agrees to send her armies north.  And she is lying of course, which is not unpredictable.  Even Jaime leaves her at this point after she almost kills him.  So much for negotiating with medieval fascists.  So do we negotiate with climate deniers?  With fascists?  With virulent opponents?  Tyrion does, though we don't know all that transpired, and this might indicate something else is going on.  But the real answer is obvious.  Time for Arya to put on Lord Baelish’s face and have an audience with the Mad Queen. 

So what is this “Night King” that humanity must unite against?  Why is he framed in the phrase “Winter is Coming” all the time, as if he and some turn in nature were the same?   Because snow storms do rage as he approaches.   I see ‘winter is coming’ to be the inversion of ‘summer is coming’ – meaning global climate change.  Not a stretch at all.  Jon Snow is always arguing with people who have killed each other that they need to unite against this greater danger.   He’s the only one consistently doing it, which is why he is the actual leader here – not all the limited players concentrating on their little thrones, even the Mother of Dragons. 

Now you might even interpret this as an argument for a working military and political unity of the left against disastrous climate change; the present rightist threat in the U.S. or the capitalist class in general.   The need for a U.S. Left Front or Anti-Capitalist Front, even among those who are in historical currents that have killed each other! The Internationalist Socialist Organization, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Action, Socialist Appeal, Redneck Revolt, Socialist Party, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Workers World Party, Industrial Workers of the World, Democratic Socialists of America, the Socialist Gun Club, Black Agenda Report, the Communist Party, etc. – a bunch of Trotskyists, Stalinists, anarcho-syndicalists, Maoist, Marxists, radicals, left populists and social democrats.    

These are all real organizations, just like the Wildlings or the imaginary Brotherhood Without Banners, who have rejected kings and queens and defend the ‘smallfolk’ – who want to ‘break the wheel.”  But they need to unite to have any impact, ala Jon Snow.  The Hound is one of their number, one of the few who has turned on the rich.  The show-runners certainly will not question the idea of a 'good' queen or a 'good' king, as this is the basis on which they probably plan on ending this series.  Even thought JRR Martin was against the idea of 'good kings.' But not our liberals...

Am I blurring fact and alleged fiction?  You bet…

Will the real groups unite?  Or like Cersei Lannister, only use a united front to further their own ends?  Ah, yes, we know how that works … because history and Game of Thrones has told us so.

The real message from Tyrion’s liberal mistakes or relation to the Lannisters (remember his class and family background...) is that liberalism is treacherous in the present period.  We need a revolutionary attitude to adequately cope with reality, be it fictional or real as real can be.  After all, giving police grenade launchers and armored vehicles seem to be 'The Mountain' in actual fact. Hillary Clinton just compared herself to Cersei Lannister in her recent book.  This is the problem with people who are so out of touch they assume a pop citation will prove their 'groundedness.'  But there is much unintentional truth in it nevertheless.  

Prior discussions of the TV series Game of Thrones” and other dystopian films, below.

Red Frog
August 30, 2017

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