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Is HBO’s Game of Thrones series Anti-American?
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If you are a fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones (as I and millions of Americans are) you are probably aware of the first season where former president of the United States George W. Bush’s likeness was placed on a spike in company with Eddard Stark’s (Sean Bean). This led to a "blogosphere" uproar and subsequent apology by HBO, “We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.” I personally found it mildly amusing and not unsurprising given Hollywood’s political disposition.
I was however, surprised to see during a viewing of the second season a possible second instance of political chicanery. During King Jofferey’s “name day celebration”, the character Ser Dontos Holland (Tony Way) is to fight in a dual. Ser Dontos arrived drunk and disheveled and hardly prepared to fight. King Joffrey took this as a personal insult and commanded that Ser Dontos be put to death. Sansa Stark (Sophia Turner) subsequently pleads for his life and is made a Fool in the court on her suggestion.
What is interesting about this scene is Ser Dontos’ armor. His armor appears to be decorated like an American flag. Is it a coincidence that this knight made Fool is adorned in what appears to be a revered American symbol? I am sure that it is just a coincidence that the chest plate is decorated with a blue field with white crowns (instead of stars) adjacent to red and white stripes.
What about the cast? The preponderance of the cast hails from the British Isles with a couple of Germans and only two Americans. Well, “truth be told” this fact is hardly surprising as the Song of Fire and Ice (a historical fantasy novel) by George RR Martin is fashioned after England’s own War of the Roses. It stands to reason that the British accent would be more appropriate to the screen adaptation. The producers of the show, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are American as is (arguably) the most dynamic character in the series (so far), Tyrion Lannister (aka The Imp) played by Peter Dinklage.
President Bush’s likeness on a spike, a fat drunken knight decorated like Captain America, a cast that hails from across the Atlantic Ocean; I do not believe that these observations support an assertion that HBO’s Game of Thrones is Anti-American. More than likely these perceived slights are the work of snarky members of the Game of Thrones production team.
In any event, the series is excellent. This series is enjoyable for the readers of the Song of Fire and Ice and the audience that has no experience with George R.R. Martin's opus. I am looking forward to the next installment and will be diligently looking for the American flag lapel pin on Mance Rayder when he is introduced next season!