Fans of the series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” already upset that HBO’s “Game of Thrones” adaptation has advanced past the novels and spoiled their plot, can now only watch in horror as the series is appropriated into a propaganda war between the United States and Iran, neither of which displays the slightest appreciation for the subtle intricacies of author George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world.
President Trump, who was not previously known to be a fan of the show or the 20-plus-year-old book series on which it is based, announced Friday that he will reimpose economic sanctions on Iran via a doctored “Game of Thrones” style poster: “Sanctions are coming.”
The words are an obvious play on “winter is coming” — the unofficial motto of the protagonist Stark family, whose eldest living member, Jon Snow, literally led a caravan of refugees through a border wall in Season 5.
Trump might complain the Starks are globalists, if he knew anything about the canon.
The National Iranian American Council, which has condemned Trump’s plan to scuttle an Obama-era nuclear deal and reimpose all sanctions, sees the president as less of a Stark than a White Walker — “fear-mongering, war-mongering, and championing division at every opportunity.”
It’s not really accurate to say the White Walkers champion division, however, as they tend to assimilate everyone they kill into the same undead hive mind. But at least the National Iranian American Council seems familiar with the basic outlines of the plot.
The can’t be said of whoever runs HBO’s Twitter account, which snarked at Trump: “How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?” As if a civilization of desert raiders who barely tolerate the concept of free trade would have any use for trademark law!
The worst, however, came last.
Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander in Iran’s elite Al Quds Force and veteran of at least one flame war with Trump, released his own knockoff “Game of Thrones” poster Saturday.
“I will stand against you,” it reads, below an icy image of the general standing stoic in profile in the snow.
“I will stand against you” is not a motto of anyone in “A Song of Fire and Ice,” “Game of Thrones” or HBO’s upcoming prequel series, “The Long Night,” as far as we know. Although it could apply to many characters in George R.R. Martin’s fictional universe, where crises between the factions of Westeros are continuously born from their mutual suspicions, stubbornness and egos.
"Come! We are waiting. I can stop you. Quds Force can stop you,” Soleimani wrote to Trump — on Instagram, because this is the state of foreign diplomacy in 2018. “You start this war, but we will finish it.”
The U.S. sanctions, aimed primarily at Iran’s oil economy and feared to devastate the country’s poor, will go into effect on Monday.
The eighth and final season of “Games of Thrones” will premiere in 2019.