Protesters have been chanting “No justice, no peace,” for decades — a short percussive message that quickly conveys the consequences of people’s discontent. Other sayings seem to be pulled from the latest headlines, like the popular post-election chant “Love! Not hate! Makes America great.”
But was a chant heard during demonstrations in Boston pulled from an HBO show?
Boston was one of many cities where leaders feared a right-leaning rally — and the left leaning opponents who showed up to denounce it — would turn ugly, like the violent clashes in Charlottesville.
More than 500 Boston police officers were called in. City leaders banned sticks and other potential weapons, and the backpacks that could conceal them.
But violence never broke out. The crowds of counterprotesters vastly outnumbered the people who showed up for the original rally, and all were mostly peaceful.
The moments of conflict that did happen had a decidedly cinematic feel, at least for anyone for whom the phrases “Khaleesi is coming to Westeros” and “Winter is coming” are statements uttered by fictional characters and perfect ways to sum up major plot points of our lives.
According to the Boston Globe, about 10 minutes before the free speech really started, a man with a “Make America Great Again” hat walked through a crowd of counterprotesters.
“Shame!” they told him. “Go home!”
And, closing one’s eyes, it was not hard to be transported to another place — where dragons exist, magic is real and a character you’d grown to love more than your grandmother would die a gruesome death by the end of the season.
For those who haven’t spent hours binge-watching “Game of Thrones,” a brief recap of one of the most dramatic moments of Season 5.
Cersei of House Lannister — the former queen — confessed to (some of) her sins.
To demonstrate her repentance, she had her flowing blonde locks snipped and is forced to parade naked through the streets of King’s Landing. As she walks, the people of the city hurl rotten food and insults at her.
And, over and over again, the crowd chants “Shame.”
As The Washington Post’s Stephanie Merry wrote, “Cersei’s atonement is ripped from most people’s nightmares.”
By the end, Cersei’s feet are bleeding, and she’s covered in food and tears. Viewers who’d sat through five seasons of her machinations, meanwhile, had a better and more satisfying understanding of the word schadenfreude.
And, perhaps somewhere, an idea was planted in the mind of a future protester.