Like many other fans I’m looking forward to viewing more episodes in the eight and final season of the Games of Thrones, HBO’s popular dramatisation of George RR Martin’s multivolume A Song of Ice and Fire, a decidedly gritty fantasy series partly inspired by the works of JRR Tolkien and the history of Plantagenet England and France. However, I could do without the moronic observations of some television reviewers. Here is the editorial assistant Rachelle Hampton and the staff writer Inkoo Kang from the online liberal magazine Slate discussing the latest instalment of the show:
Kang: While everyone willing to fight for Team Human gathered at Winterfell and tried to get over their individual, familial, and tribal resentments to work together at a group, there were two conspicuous exceptions to that project in this episode. What was up with the two little girls who wouldn’t talk to Missandei because of her skin color, and are you also hoping that they end up with a fate similar to Lord Umber’s as a fucked-up 3D Magic Eye art installation?
Hampton: The show’s writers have gone out of their way to spin the Northern resentment toward Dany and her army as justified fear of another Targaryen ruler, though Tyrion assures us that she’s not like other girls Targaryens. And still, despite the hedging that it’s really a dislike for Dany and not just garden-variety xenophobia, the racism leapt out, ruining what otherwise would’ve been a sweet scene between Grey Worm and Missandei.
…Even in the face of an army of dead people, those two little girls—and by extension the North—still found time to be bigoted toward the people defending them. For that, I think that they deserve to be crowned this week’s worst people in Westeros.
Even in a world of casual twincest and undead armies, it’s comforting to know that good old-fashioned racism still makes you the worst.
Give me strength. The Game of Thrones is set in a quasi-Medieval world where the “North” and its inhabitants are separated from the rest of the fantasy continent of Westeros by a vast expanse of wilderness territory. Unless the writers of the show were making a similarly idiotic point, surely it’s far more reasonable to assume that the two young girls were frightened and overawed by the appearance of an unfamiliar and exotic-looking woman and her fearsome companions in their backwater region. And were not motivated by notions of “old fashioned racism”. And why would a pair of television reviewers want “two little girls” to be done to death in a TV drama (the horrific fate of the character of Lord Umber, a mere boy in the series)? It’s reflex virtue-signalling commentary like this, wilfully ignorant of the complex social, economic and political forces which create and sustain racism, that is eroding the standing of progressive opinion in the West. And surely reviewers should be far more animated by the lack of leading black or non-white characters in a contemporary television series, a glaring omission in the Game of Thrones? Which is a facet of real and culturally institutionalised racism.