Major television shows often reflect the times they’re made in. Breaking Bad was about the growing pressures of hyper-masculinity and an acute critique of the American healthcare system.
The Handmaid’s Tale gives us a glimpse of what the total collapse of the protections of women and minorities could look like, which is a real fear we have in Trump’s America.
Game of Thrones as a wildly popular fantasy show is a bit more subtle in its delivering of commentary on our real world. A recurring and growing theme comes through its most overarching plotline, the approach of the White Walkers and their destruction of life itself.
The White Walkers are a massive army of the dead that grow by resurrecting dead bodies no matter how deteriorated. They threaten life itself and seek to take over the whole of the seven kingdoms. They often leave symbols behind made out of the limbs of their victims.
In the premiere of its final season, we see one of these symbols burn to resemble a familiar symbol that strikes fear.
Nazis, Neo-Nazis and other alt-right white supremacist movements in the past and present burn symbols such as crosses and swastikas as part of their rituals and scare tactics.
Since Trump’s rise and the Unite the Right rally, hate crimes continue to rise in the U.S. The influence of these events on the Game of Thrones’ writers’ room is likely. One of the defining features of the White Walkers is their pure blue eyes, basically Hitler’s wet dream.
FYI the White Walkers are the bad guys.
— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) April 18, 2019
The White Walkers are an ancient group that rears its ugly head time and again often after having grown out of sight without much the rest of the world noticing.
The first line of defense against them and the first ones to notice their appearance are the men of the Night’s Watch. The Night’s Watch stands in stark contrast against the White Walkers because of their black “crow-like” clothes.
The first to notice and believe the rise of the White Walkers are the Night’s watch or “Crows”. In old racist cartoons, crows have been stand-ins for Black people. Usually in western understanding, white is the color of good and black is negative or even evil. In GoT it’s the opposite. White is akin to death and the black is the last hope against this threat.
The Night’s Watch spends much of the show trying to convince the rest of Westeros of the White Walkers.
Everyone south of the wall believed this threat to be long dead (ha!). This is much like the continued reluctance of white America to believe in the threat of white supremacy. America also doesn’t think the true threat to the U.S. lies in the resurrection and growth of white supremacist groups.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that the Night’s Watch is not strong enough to fight the threat of the White Walkers.
The real-life interpretation of this is that POC and other minorities are not strong enough to fight White supremacy. On their own, minorities risk annihilation or severe destruction if they fight alone.
The Night’s Watch teams up with the Wildlings and ventures out to unite the rest of the Westeros.
It’s essential to convince everyone South of the Wall that it’s their fight too. “Uniting the South” is what’s necessary to beat the threat of the North. Perhaps GoT’s message is that uniting the Left is the only way to eradicate white supremacy.
If you don’t overtly stand against white supremacy you stand with it.
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) April 14, 2019