November Is Coming
Rare among us possess The Sight, but we all see that one, irreversible truth: November is coming. And with it comes misery. Especially from our relatives. Especially on social media.
Let us dwell on these times. Let us look honestly upon ourselves and others. Let us bask in glaring criticism, lest the pandering and lying drown us like milk of the poppy.
Let us first cast this world of a stage.
The coveted prize, roughly 40 miles from Hamsterdam via Kingsroad (expect delays).
Many Westerosi blame their woes entirely upon one man: His Grace, Barack of House O’Baelish, First of His Name, King of the Andals and First Brothaz, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.
We both peddle fantasies. Mine just happen to be entertaining.
— Barack, to Sarah Palin, on his award-winning ‘election’ ‘campaign‘
By future generations of Westerosi, Barack may be remembered most for his passing of a major health initiative — known in the Common Tongue as “O’Baelishcare” — and more superficially, as the first man of the Summer Isles to sit the throne. For the latter alone, Barack enjoys widespread adoration from those he calls “my people“; however, some critical thinkers, endear him to a lesser extent.
The realm holds an overall welcome view of Barack, effectively forgiving his triangulations. Even old enemies share premature requiem. To fair credit, he has conspired far less catastrophe than his predecessor, The Moron King, taking positive steps to curb the reckless, though still, he has not absolved himself from future charge of war crimes.
Furthermore, too often, the peaceful of Westeros are caged. Too often, nameless, innocent victims are claimed across the Narrow Sea. On firm ground, we can argue that Barack’s pleas for hope have sunk to the demand to obey, and that, behind his wry smile, beneath his mellow charm, Barack must not cast the strangler upon one brave human or any other. Coolly, he could let ruin the lives of thousands more.
Or, then again, he might not.
As his reign ends, Barack must realize that time alone does not rebuild trust, that meaningful hope does not grow from promises. Time offers redemption. Good deeds encourage hope.
At this moment, we must accept another constant in this Game:
No one rules alone.
We are surrounded by Wildlings, by Crows, by the attractive, by the attractively corrupt. Every leader of rivals, of distant tribes, of kingdoms far and feared — they play our Game too.
Several deserve our recognition:
The high road is very pretty, but you’ll have a hard time marching your armies down it.
— Vladimir, on vacationing in Ukraine
You want a good girl, but you need the bad pussy.
— Bashar, in an open letter to the US Military-Industrial Complex
King Salman Lannister
A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.
— Salman, on privilege and decency
We will be with you until time comes to an end.
— Netanyahu, to those who define U.S. ‘national interests‘
Kim Jong-Butcher’s Boy
It’s only a stick.
— Kim Jong, commenting on his 1:48 scale nuclear missile
We must place our most dedicated and blistering focus on the hungry lords of America, for one of these mammals will become President.
One of these mammals may demand we pray to the Old God. One may rain wildfire upon Blacksmatter Bay. One may leave an East Wing closet gay. One may humbly welcome a revolution of the people.
Either way, one will rule. But that ruler depends on us.
Let us begin with a quick flush of this turd:
— Hodor, hodor “Hodor hodor.”
You are a sinner, and you shall be punished.
— Carson, to anyone under questioning
A child of undeniably difficult circumstance, Carson would grow up to study at The Yale of the Eyrie, eventually becoming a surgeon, and in his prime, Carson performed incredible feats with the blade. As is the case with certain savants, however, his wisdom in other fields is all but juvenille, even regarding the fundamental sciences.
Perverting the ironically unscientific mind of Carson is a faith so militant that even The High Septon prays he find reason. From his mumblings on war to his fantasies about buggery to his stand-up routine regarding the pyramids we should all fear where such longing for hyperbole and avoidance of logic could take us.
For all we care, let him sell dead pigeons in the alleyways of Pentos. Outside of Chickenfinger’s brothel, let him protest those naughty, steamy acts of sexuality, no matter if they are entirely and mutually consensual.
For all we care, once his campaign takes the walk of atonement, let him pass his surgical talent on to talented Dornish men and women, via residency programs or in Sunday School.
Let him daydream peacefully, just not behind The Resolute.
There is a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.
— Jorand, discussing the militarization of U.S. police
Jorand’s claim to the throne now seems untenable, befallen to the chains of systemic forces, and the stabs of uneducated political revolt. Jorand’s greatest obstacles lie neither beyond The Wall nor past the Dothraki Sea: they lie within.
He must abandon and rise above his current fealty. He must never again don that limp, bloated sigil.
He must tame his obsession with the Mother of Dragon Teeth. The lure of permanent selfishness need not corrupt honest, decent men.
He must embrace our evolving understand of the world around us, for not unlike the transfer of greyscale, commitment to reason and commitment to science go hand in hand. Jorand likely cannot articulate the difference between a tardigrade and a Targaryen. Uncomfortably, for us, he even dodges warnings of the upcoming Long Summer.
97 of 100 of Castle Black’s top Rangers claim that White Walkers exist, yet Jorand defers to those doubtful three .
With sound reason, we must wonder why, and how noble he could be.
I want to see the bad man fly.
— Marcobot, longing for World War III
why dost thou suckle so deep
on the river’s breast?
Thou Eyrie thirst seems
wack and misplaced,
like a brat
who tosses off
upon snow castles.
it is past your bedtime,
it is time for your reboot.
The bad man deserves
trial before execution.
The man who passes the sentence
should swing the sword.
Control your nerves.
Alternate your current.
Delete your childish worldview.
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.
— Cruz, rejoicing the End of Days
Words cannot describe the dissonance and blasé creepiness of America’s Next Top Bastard, who as it turns out, was born in Dreadfort, Canada. Despite his monumental ego, we may discover that he has no valid claim to the throne anyway.
Until that blessed day we must recognize that Munsters tend to breed Munsters, and between Father Cruz and his newly weaponized sperm we find no exception. This hoser’s unpopularity among his co-workers, his seedy references spanking (both young and old), his underhanded scheming, his disdain for scientific fact, his shameless pandering, his awful company, his delusions, his lies, and his breathtaking merchandise all deserve their own cringe-inducing explorations.
However, this creature’s desire to have others be violent and his indifference to torture and other war crimes should alarm us most. If his dirty tactics, his hungry palms, his inescapable dickishness serve only as broad yellow flags, then Cruz, with his passionate longing to see “if sand can glow in the dark“, has forced upon us one massive red disqualifier.
Ask yourselves, does this longing not recall The Mad King’s last wishes?
Burn them all! Burn them all!
We know how well that ended.
Everyone is mine to torment.
Inheriting only the shoes on his feet, young Drumpf climbed the ladders of success without controversy or bankruptcy. Guided by his gentle blue collar attitude, his salt-of-the-known-world humility, and his powerful moral compass, Drumpf knew — he just knew — that he was like the rest of us, and that, one day, he could make Westeros great again.
Though praised by everyone, he was most beloved by Los Olvidados: the outcasts, the sick, the weary. Devoting his life to the betterment of those less fortunate, as he often explains in his characteristic whisper, is what has made him such a happy person.
With his obscene wealth, Drumpf has built palliative care centers, rehabilitation clinics, open-door hospitals, animal shelters, parks, cultural museums, refugee welcome centers – not to mention the most distinguished center of higher learning this side of Braavos. All while resisting the temptation to spam or whore out his name.
How could any man, woman, or starving child believe that King Drumpf would fail us?
None of us can begin to imagine.
There is only one hell, Princess: the one we live in now.
— Hillasandre, to Debbie Wasserman Shultz, justifying their collusion
(pause, wait for laughter)
To gather this couple’s known crimes against both reason and humanity would require more servers than any extras at her disposal.
For now, let us only reference a few objectionable acts of Hillasandre alone, though, we must continually remind ourselves that if not for her marriage to Oathkeeper (and the fame it brought her) we would not know the name Hillasandre, let alone bear the ruin she could bring.
In brief, Hillasandre has:
— overlooked human rights abuses and corruption
— benefited financially from international terrorism
— denied action to improve our rotting healthcare
— ruined democracy
— proclaimed a confused desire for Big Brother
— oppressed the very people she claims to help
— diverted bribes to Oathkeeper’s wallet
— manipulated television programming
— planted moles into on-air debates
— mislaid damning statements (still to this day)
— compromised national intelligence
— obliged the FBI to indict her
— blamed homeowners for the 2008 crash
— allied with the realm’s most prolific cheaters
— boasted of her fondness for a war criminal
— joked poorly about her own war crimes
— flopped on the Trans-Pacific Partnership scam
— shadow-queefed a demon assassin
— disrespected her inferiors compulsively
— plotted to frack over the environment
— defiled victims of tragedy
— depicted innocent people as “super-predators”
— worshiped corrupt power in the name of “faith”
— handcuffed her duties to financial criminals
— destroyed a victim of child rape
Better yet, let us shift to the more popular arguments, to use the term loosely, made in defense of Hillasandre. They range from passionate word vomit to frumpfests to pleas of victimization so tawdry and desperate the Lord of Light herself could not possibly appease them all. Attacks on Hillasandre have also triggered realm-famous notables, including feminists, warlords, even all-but-convicted-rapists-turned-Brawny-Men.
Do the ladies and Oathkeeper protest too much? No, not entirely.
Hillasandre, for example, was not an active pro-segregationist in her youth. It is plausible, too, though somewhat difficult to pinpoint, that she has championed causes of progress and decency on her own without borrowing struggles, or claiming the groundwork laid by others.
Also, rightly, much of Westeros yearns for a female ruler, for symbolic purpose if anything.
On this we must note that to properly satisfy the most important yearnings we need sound, objective judgment, not the demand that satisfaction occur regardless of cost. As with the flying dragons, or skydiving, or losing one’s virginity, that first “go” can be magnificent or it can be disastrous.
And even for instances to which a “yes” answer applies, the free opinion in thought and speech of our fellow Westrosi remains paramount. It is better to have listened and disagreed, or taken offense, then to never have listened at all.
Otherwise, let us ask: does a girl actually pick a usurper with the hope of slaying boys? Does a fallacious rant warrant the time required to type it? Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think, that the very notion of a female voting by obligation — rather than by her own, educated, independent will — is inherently anti-feminist?
Ignoring our sexual organs (or lack thereof), we must recognize that the pursuit of facts and reasonable indictments does not equate to sexism: this equates to criticism. At its worst, criticism is the stake – though neither the appetite nor the sentence – on which human sacrifice takes place. At its best, criticism is the flour for the cake that is truth and justice. Without criticism, the realm would be filled with nothing but liars. Evidently, some of us lie too well already.
Before and forever after November, we absolutely must consider matters of honesty and likelihood. A high-ranking official removes her official communication from official oversight for the same reason a husband avoids conducting extramarital affairs at home: they both have something bad to hide. If half an onion is black with rot, we have ourselves a rotten onion.
Furthermore, we absolutely must concern ourselves any time the masters have anointed a usurper.
We believe that we speak freely un Westeros, but in practice, our political discourse bottlenecks to an extremely narrow spectrum. To stay in power, the masters of coin and propaganda aim to control this spectrum; they guard their interests, especially the interests polar to those of the people. Our minds earn them revenues. Our assets lend them capital. Give more donations, gain more favors. Bribery corrupts the heart, and this fatuous evil defines Red Witch politics.
Along with the aid of established powers, we find that Hillasandre casts an array of spells to further herself in polls. Understandably, she infatuates postmenopausals. Comically — should you appreciate dark comedy — the shackles of her witchcraft enslave Summer Islanders. Beyond these groups, we must consider: what won’t she say to manufacture trust? Who next will she burn alive, in order to gain leverage, or to please her higher powers?
At this point, to sway her flock from ignoring her past crimes is to convince the most devout believer that the Lord of Light does not exist. Good luck with that. Far too few have asked which Hillasandre is the real one. Make no mistake: The Witch wears red for good reason.
Regardless of her skeletons, regardless of these elections, let us fight bravely for the rights of all women. Let us allow women to take time to care for the new lives they birth. When that new life is hungry, for fuck’s sake let women breastfeed. Let us soon find that women learn and earn with equal opportunity as men. Let us reaffirm, always, that a woman controls the destiny of her own body.
Any person but this one.
I want to fight for the side that fights for the living.
— Bernie, as reported somewhere other than ABC World News Tonight.
We might all pity this grey fool — as he so often begs us to pity the elderly — if not for this sordid prayer, which he penned in 1972:
Given the long history of “Crows” slaughtering “Free Folk”, we can relate to why a “Wildling” might be wary of a man from “The Night’s Watch” among his ranks. Renly Baratheon was murdered in the company of only two individuals, Catelyn Stark and Brienne of Tarth, the latter he had met only days prior — we can safely understand why his bannermen would want to interrogate either.
We can also grasp why many staunch devotees of The Ass Party hold a skeptical view of Bernie, a lifelong Independent, particularly as he challenges their preordained usurper, particularly as he shuns the party’s fearless leader and its increasing conservatism.
We can acknowledge, further, that even progress-minded intellectuals and politicians have expressed skepticism towards Bernie’s ability to overcome so many hurdles to capture the throne. Despite growing support in Westeros for his philosophies, even his coarse, yankee bark, they keenly predicted heavy resistance and mutiny. Perhaps not in the form of a dozen blades. More in the form of a giant political Wall.
While everyone knows that a Lannister always pays his student loans, Bernie knows that most Westerosi are not Lannisters, nor are their parents as rich. In addition to extending public education from 12th grade to 16th grade, Bernie wants to curb the masters of coin; he wants to reduce Westerosi interventionism (while still continuing to support those who have battled); he wants to end rampant, unnecessary incarceration; he wants to hold accountable unjust law enforcement, he wants to protect the realm’s ecosystem, he wants to dampen the forces that guarantee income inequality. Most notably, perhaps, Bernie aims to ensure healthcare for every person of Westeros.
Although many reputable scholars support his proposals to fund these efforts adequately, numerous individuals vehemently disagree (Seven Hells, they say, to any counterarguments). As many embrace his radical past and his desire to cooperate, others question his most radical statements and positions — just as we all should.
Some put scorn to his support of destruction abroad and at home. Some doubt his ability to lead in foreign matters (though, again, many others lend surprisingly honest support). Some cast essence of nightshade on personal issues, including his income, his age, and his health. If the nomination of Barack O’Baelish has taught us anything, we Westerosi only want our ruler to break ankles on courts, not in them.
More than any usurper, however, Bernie has been forced to endure belittling of straw man by a populace and media so rabid and misinformed the wights of Hardhome seem tame by comparison. True, as a whole us Westerosi often covet painful ignorance regarding both decent candidates and foolish ones, but certain usurpers do conjure the ghosts of fascism, others simply do not. Too seldom do we encounter people who grasp history, politics, and morals and can place them all within in context.
When we grow up taught certain ideas and groups are evil, that some thoughts are too radical even to consider — in other words, when we indoctrinate with absolutes — we often discover conflicts with deeply held beliefs: beliefs that we may not, upon further consideration, believe after all. Although the House of Black and White exists, the realm, and life itself, is anything but.
The fact remains that our efforts to provide health and education greatly suffer in Westeros, that our country invades more than any other, that our country cages more of its own than any other. The fact remains that, politically, Bernie is the most balanced usurper remaining. The rest are not even close.
Ironically, Bernie resonates poorly with the many droves who claim fealty to the The Lamb of God, and who so outwardly profess love and generosity. History does not tell us that the Lamb (before taking flight to heaven over 725,000 days ago) introduced the concept of doing unto others what we would have others do to us. The Lamb, however, can easily be described as the realm’s most famous socialist.
How might The Lamb address such hypocrisy among his flock? If only we could ask him in a town hall meeting, and not via our imaginations.
Moral contradictions aside, we must compare the leading usurpers and their heftiest criticisms: all but one of the remaining usurpers call for continued aggression along with the death, misery, and debt that war brings us, let alone the endless supply of enemies we would create waging it. The one other usurper wants the richest of Westeros to pay more in taxes, forcing the wealthy to help everyone but themselves.
If that is the case, the realm will not end, The Doom will not fall upon us. We will have missed a much better opportunity; we will have chosen a less admirable person with an inferior sense of principle. The powerful will become more powerful. The rest of us will become weaker.
Should Bernie’s campaign bleed out and die in the snow, as many literally pray it will, he will have at least forced Hillasandre to act as a more compassionate usurper. Whether she proves to act on her fresh new positions, or she proves her campaign was an act after all, would be a discussion for another day.
Like it or not, Bernie has forced us to consider not only what we value, but also how we value — how temperamentally and how arbitrarily we slam that gavel, how badly we need that shiny new sword, how that third vacation home seems kinda frivolous after all. He forces us consider at what point our happiness not longer depends on more ships, or new armies, or more coin, or new stuff.
How happy stands the highest penthouse in Quarth, with its breathtaking views of the Garden of Bones?
How happy sits a man by a fire in Castle Black, knowing the eyes of every Wildling will soon turn blue?
Unlike Hillasandre, unlike those in the Grand Old Clowncar, Bernie forces us each to ask “How selfish must I be?” — a persistent, crucial reflection of any decent person.
If you lack empathy for lives other than your own, if money is your most important concern — if cash truly does rule everything around you — then, quite simply, you are an asshole. Of course we can all be assholes in some ways, however there is a major difference between “can be” and “is”. A difference that only the individual can realize.
And, of course, sociopaths and psychopaths do exist — far too frequently as our masters — but, compared to the vast, morally-capable majority, these unfortunate vermin are relatively few. What excuse do the rest of us have to pride ourselves on indifference?
Our children adore books like Dr. Seuss, programs like Sesame Street, characters like Jon Snow, yet we adults mock the notion of putting decent humans in voting booths. We desire authority more than morality. We bow to ambition before reason. We ridicule honesty before fraud. We value appearance over substance. We find weakness in humility.
Indeed, money does serve a purpose, but civilization demands that money must not be served. Wealth inspires neither creativity nor genuine innovation. Wealth is no one’s friend, nor does it love or hate. Wealth is indifferent. It is just a placeholder. It adheres to the law of diminishing returns.
Money is not the root of all evil: it is only the soil, and one day it will be replaced. Our minds are the roots that need our attention.
As technology intensifies, as hatreds compound, as our only climate worsens, the realm will face its most urgent dilemmas in this century. Only together will we face them.
As this November comes, there is only one type of person we must criticize more than the politician: ourselves.
Let us be brave enough to admit we can be wrong. Especially that instant we know we are.