Just when you thought the 2016 election was finally over, former candidate and popular vote winner Hillary Clinton has released her memoir of the campaign, called What Happened. The book is the sort of ballsy tell-all that politicians rarely get to do in this day and age, when appearances and connections are everything. Not only does it include some juicy behind the scenes stuff, but there's also a shout out to the world's most popular TV show to compare real world politics, with Hillary Clinton's Game of Thrones reference.
While some of Hillary's revelations in the book are born of the fact that she's never running for anything ever again, and neither is Bill (and also, neither is Chelsea), the reference to Game of Thrones is less about revealing a sharp wit, or a sick burn. Instead, it's a reminder that for all that we look down upon Westeros for sexist shaming of women in the public square, our country in the 21st century is just as guilty of the same crime when it came to the first female nominee of a major party. We just have different ways of going about it.
But the outcome, and the feelings it gives to those who put themselves out there, is the same.
Here's the passage in question from the book:
It's not easy for any woman in politics, but I think it's safe to say that I got a whole other level of vitriol flung my way. Crowds at Trump rallies called for my imprisonment more times than I can count. They shouted, “Guilty! Guilty!” like the religious zealots in Game of Thrones chanting “Shame! Shame!” while Cersei Lannister walked back to the Red Keep.
For those who found the crowds at Trump rallies calling for Clinton's head more than a mite medieval and creepy (and the fact that they keep doing so even now just bizarre), it's good to know that Clinton herself was just as skeeved.
Clinton's chosen metaphor is certainly an apt one, thought most would immediate start arguing that Cersei, who unlike Clinton really did reach her goal of being the first woman to rule her country, is also a Mad Queen, having done some unspeakable horrors to reach that goal.
And when it comes to Cersei's Walk of Shame, the show went to great lengths to make sure audiences felt Cersei had brought it on herself, not just by her actions of sleeping with her brother and passing his children off as Baratheon heirs, but by allowing the Faith Militant so much power without ever considering it might boomerang back on her.
But that's because both the show (and the books) had to make such a scene palatable to readers and viewers. If Cersei had been innocent, as Clinton has shown to be time and again over all her alleged crimes, the horror would have been far more visceral.
Most fans of Clinton and Game of Thrones will find her choice to compare herself to Cersei an interesting one. Most of the time during the 2016 campaign Hillary was most likely to be compared to Daenerys Targaryen, who was viewed as the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, and who would come in and clean up everyone's mess.
Ironically, if Clinton had kept up the "Khaleesi is coming to Westeros" metaphor that Keegan Michael Key spawned instead, the comparison would still work. Upon arriving in Westeros, Daenerys has not had the smooth ride to the throne she thought she would. And now, with the 11th hour upon us, we've found out that she might fall short in her quest, and lose it all to a man who, as the saying goes, "knows nothing."
At least if she does, we can recommend a good book. What Happened is out on shelves now.