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The King demands your vote


I’m far too refined to write about something as petty and droll as a Presidential election, but I thought I’d share this utterly unrelated series of images I concocted for my Game of Thrones class. The idea is simple: this one character, Joffrey, believes he should sit on the Iron Throne because


As if looking like someone central casting would consider a king should be a consideration. But there are more substantive reasons he believes he should have the Iron Throne, for example


Why does he want it? Because


I’m not sure that’s a good rea—


Calm down, little lordling. Nothing can stop you from being crown—


I wouldn’t worry about them. What was it you told me earlier?


Exactly. All kneel before Joffrey, scion of greatness, sole hope for the realm!

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  • SEK

    Before the Donalde shits his drawers, let me say for the record that I didn’t actually concoct this for my class.

    • Woodrowfan

      it’s still better quality than any of his lessons….

    • It would never occur to him that it might be for classroom use. Needs moar boobiez.

      • Halloween Jack

        Yeah. The Donalde would use an entirely different set of screenshots, if you know what I mean and I think thee doth.

  • Darek

    You know, there is some physical resemblance between Joff and Ryan… and they’re both petulant little shits.

    This can only mean one thing. King! King! Ryan King!

    • Jameson Quinn

      I want to see Joffrey with a backwards baseball cap now. Any skilled photoshoppers in the house?

      • Jameson Quinn

        But then who’s Romney? Xaro is smarmy enough, but there’s an obvious problem with that.

        • Jameson Quinn

          I guess it’s Jaime, ca. book I.

          • joel hanes


            Romney’s relationships to money, truth, and ethics are exactly those of Littlefinger, Lord Petyr Baelish, the King’s Master of Coin.

            • 미친놈

              Littlefinger, Lord Petyr Baelish, is clever.

              • joel hanes

                > Littlefinger is clever

                Why, so he seems, yes.

                And yet, none of his machinations ever turn out quite as he planned, and the longed-for power never quite devolves into his hands.

                Also, no one should trust him (which is central to my point).

                It’s almost as if Littlefinger is over-enamored of his own cleverness, to the point of feeling entitled, and because entitled, aggrieved that the Realm has not yet been awarded to his really-far-more-clever-and-unscrupulous-than-anyone-else self. Raw power keeps going instead to some undeserving clod who is hampered by considerations of law, ethics, or humanity.

                If Littlefinger were content to work behind the scenes and get his fix of power second-hand, he’d be Karl Rove.

                • ajay

                  And yet, none of his machinations ever turn out quite as he planned, and the longed-for power never quite devolves into his hands.

                  He seems to be doing OK – Lord Paramount of the Trident, Regent of the Eyrie, guardian of the heiress of Winterfell…

                • witless chum

                  I think you underestimate Littlefinger’s realism. He isn’t angling for the top job because that’s not ever in the cards, he’s just trying to be the power behind the throne. Maybe he aspires to be Hand of the King, but never King.

                • Herbal Infusion Bagger

                  Littlefinger a bumbling moron compared to Varys.

            • Jameson Quinn

              Littlefinger is an upstart. Romney was born to it. Can you imagine Baelish in the haircut story?

    • Murc

      Tangent: the Iron Islanders, despite the fact that Martin has made them somewhat exaggeratedly brutal compared to the Saxons/Jutes/Vikings he draws them from, actually have semi-democratic traditions that are in some ways superior to the norms the more ‘continental’ inspiration the people in mainland Westeros follow.

      Traditionally, the King of the Iron Islands had to be mooted; that cry of ‘$NAME King!’ was used to acclaim a candidate at the moot. Granted, such a moot would only include the landed/wealthy elite of the Iron Islands, but it meant that every new King had to be broadly acceptable to a coalition representing the whole of his kingdom and, more importantly, would need to make bargains and cut deals with them, thus making his rule far from absolute.

      • There’s a great bit where Tyrion is gathering up the clansfolk of the Mountains of the Moon (the crazy Capital One viking folks), and mentions that one of the signs of how backward they are is that in their council meetings, everyone, including women, have a right to speak!

        Kind of a trip to hear democratic forms of government discussed as an weird hillbilly pastime that no civilized person would consider for a second.

        • Murc

          Kind of a trip to hear democratic forms of government discussed as an weird hillbilly pastime

          They honestly kind of were, really.

          In the western world, historically, it was the barbarian hillbillies of the north (northern and western Europe was considered a backwater until relatively recently) where the settled peoples weren’t very far from a tribal structure that had what we’d recognize as pseudo-democratic norms; you still had a Big Man in charge, but he had a lot of trouble ruling arbitrarily because he was ruling a people that were used to having a say in things.

          • True. It’s just a novelty.

            • Mayur

              Well, it’s worth noting that the Great Northern Menace (a/k/a the wildlings) are the ones who clearly have the superior views (from our secular democratic perspective) on government, marriage, and property.

              • joel hanes

                The wildlings are running from the Great Northern Menace, or placating it with sacrifice a la Craster.

                • Mayur

                  I mean in terms of how the citizens of the realm think of them. That was meant to be mildly facetious.

                • joel hanes

                  Engineer here.
                  Some of us tend to speak up with unwontedly serious responses to not-serious questions.

              • I don’t agree. I think GRRM is critiquing both “othering” and the idea of the “noble savage.”

                Yes, the Wildlings elect kings. But they also believe in marital rape and aggressive warfare on civilian populations. I’m not down with either of those as a secular democrat.

                • Mayur

                  As with almost everything else in ASoIaF, that applies to all sides involved.

                  Marriage as property right is also “marital rape,” and moreover it is pointed out in the books numerous times that wildling women don’t go with men they don’t want.

                  “You can own a woman or a knife, never both.”

                  The wildlings engage in warfare on civilian populations in order to get resources. That describes everyone in Westeros at least.

                  I also think that critiques of the “noble savage” trope are trivial at this point. No one is describing the wildlings as prelapsarian innocents, and we really don’t often do this in literature. (Well, maybe GRRM’s own presentation of the Children of the Forest…)

                  Rather, I hold with my original statement: GRRM is highly critical of the European-ish model of political and social relations that he presents in “mainstream” Westeros culture, and thereby does engender a fair amount of sympathy for democratic ideals as voiced by wildling and other “outsider” characters (bastards, refugees, fugitives, cripples, etc.).

                • Stealing women by force is not legal in Westeros and rape outside of marriage is a crime. Among the wildlings, it’s a marriage proposal. As Craster proves, Ygritte is a bit blind about her own nationalism.

                  In the south, when people raid and pillage, the King is supposed to send people out to stop them – hence Beric Dondarrion.

                • Mayur

                  Craster isn’t at all typical of the wildlings, though. They’re crying out for the rule of law, and Craster is an excellent example of that lack, but it’s pretty clear that most wildlings don’t behave like him.

                  Also, there are plenty of instances of rape south of the Wall and little evidence that it happens among the wildlings. Ygritte may be blind to the faults of her own culture but to the extent that we get anecdotes about the wildlings, women being forced more than they are in “civilized” lands doesn’t feature.

      • Oh, on the Iron Islands, I wonder if we could critique the Kingsmoot from a campaign finance perspective?

        • Julian

          I would just like to say that raceforthethrone is fucking awesome and may be my downfall, because I have work to do and can’t afford to spend hours reading intensely interesting deconstructions of my favorite books series.

          Take your poison elsewhere, death merchant!

          • Thanks!

            Think of it as my personal dissertation therapy, and then use it on a reward basis. Finish some work, read a chapter; then it goes up to three units of work per chapter, and so on. Motivation!

      • “superior to the norms the more ‘continental’ inspiration the people in mainland Westeros follow”

        A larger share of the population of Poland could vote for king than could vote for the Parliament of the UK.

        • Dave

          Yet, at the same time, rather fewer of the British population [or indeed the Irish] were actually enserfed.

          Anyway, what’s with taking a pseudomedieval fantasy as anything except what it is?

  • Leeds man

    Who told the sorry little sod that he looks like a king? Apart from his mum, I mean.

  • arghous

    What, Khal Drogo is making a play for the throne (I’ve only seen the first two episodes so far)?

    Yes We Athjahakar!

    • Church

      Go. Read all the books. Then you can read these threads.

  • Barry Freed

    Winter is Coming.

  • All this whining about King Joffrey.

    Look, Wyldfirebaggers: The dark art have provided Lord Stannis with his armies and paved his path to our door. For a man in service to such powers to sit on the iron throne, I can think of nothing worse.

    • I say it’s the true king who seeks to defend the realm before he wins it.

    • Jameson Quinn

      If I actually had to vote between Joffrey and Stannis, I’d pick Stannis in a heartbeat. IOKIYAR is better than an incompetent insecure domineering sadist.

      • anniecat45

        “IOKIYAR is better than an incompetent insecure domineering sadist.”

        They aren’t the same thing?

        • Mayur

          How is Stannis an (R)?

          I’d consider “harsh, but fair” a serious tradeup from the GOP line.

          • Jameson Quinn

            “I’m right, therefore black magic I would abhor from others is OK for me”

            • Mayur

              Well, technically BLOOD magic as opposed to BLACK magic. And isn’t it pretty clearly not to Stannis’s taste anyway? I mean, they somehow manage not to burn anyone really okay in the course of the books so far. The traitorous Hand, Rattleshirt…

              • Mayur

                Sorry, can’t figure out how to edit…

                Stannis’s major problem doesn’t seem to be that he’s immoral, but rather that he’s mistaken. He thinks he’s Azor Ahai reborn and seems to accept that as a mantle of responsibility rather than an assumption of power (which is a morally superior position to being after power for power’s sake, as are most of the players in GRRM’s universe); it’s just that Melisandre picked the wrong guy despite having genuine powers of foresight. Likewise, he agrees to the burnings but he’s clearly unhappy about allowing them; any time he gets an out (e.g. Edric Storm) he goes with it. He thinks that the prophecy is real, that it requires blood, that he has to reward his knights with lands along the Wall in order to make the North secure, etc. Those aren’t immoral positions; they’re misapprehensions. Likewise to the entire validity of his claim in the first place. Stannis IS the rightful heir to the Iron Throne if you assume that the Targaryens either forfeited their claim (thanks to Aerys’s madness and abuse of power) or don’t plan on making one.

                Stannis (along with Young Griff) is one of the characters who makes it so difficult for me to read these books. He’s really not a bad guy at all by the standards of this world, but it’s pretty clear that he isn’t going to make it to the end once Dragon Girl shows up.

                • My prediction: Stannis as 1000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

                • Cody

                  This theme in general makes the books so hard to read. You go through

                  “Is this person acting morally?”


                  “Okay, he’s about to die in a gruesome manner”

          • JoshA

            Dunno about an R generally, but he does remind me of Mittens specifically—he inspires no one, but can become an acceptable choice for his faction once the more loved but perhaps less suitable wildcards are dispatched. He once governed a land that is not much respected by his faction, he feels he governed it well and is angry he is not given more respect for it. The people in that land don’t exactly agree, his governance was not respected by the time it ended.

            He isn’t exactly incompetent, but he follows such a predictable line of attack that at times he finds himself on the wrong end of horses and bayonets, so to speak, when his opponent has anticipated his move and prepared a counterstrike.

            I guess Mitt would have had to convert to evangelical Christianity to make it a slightly even more apt comparison.

  • OmerosPeanut

    The closest analogy I can think of would have Firebaggers supporting Balon Greyjoy for the throne because a solid decade or two of Ironmen raping and plundering the kingdom would convince the nobles to support the king it truly needs: Aemon Targaryen. Of course he’ll be alive when we call on him to rule, and of course people will want him for the position.

    • Murc

      Oddly, this is precisely Varys’ strategy with regard to Aegon and/or Daenarys; to make things so awful, so shittily bad in Westeros, that the people cry out for a savior he then provides.

      Seems to be working, in the context of the books.

      • mr. sc

        Oddly, this is precisely Varys’Baron Vladimir Harkonnen’s strategy with regard to AegonBeast Rabban and/or DaenarysFeyd-Rautha Harkonnen; to make things so awful, so shittily bad in WesterosArrakis, that the people cry out for a savior he then provides.

        Seems to be working, in the context of the booksfails miserably

        • L2P

          Of course, Harkonnen fails largely because an alternative savior was handily provided in the form of Paul Atreides. Martin’s universe is lacking in Kumquat Haagen Daaz to save the day . . . so far.

          • Murc

            Two words:

            Bran Stark.

            • L2P

              You don’t think he has a grisly death in store for him? I’m in then!

            • Jameson Quinn

              King in the North, sure, but he has no claim at all to the Iron Throne.

              • Rhino

                Sweet Jesus neither did Robert baratheon.

                • Jameson Quinn

                  A warrior’s claim. Hard for a cripple.

                • Sure he did. He was the closest living thing to a Targaryen on the continent.

                  With all the other T’s either dad or abdicated, a descendent of a bastard off-shoot line actually would be next in line — no?


                • Murc

                  Not even a bastard offshoot line.

                  Robert and Stannis’ grandmother was Rhaelle Targaryen, daughter of Aegon V Targaryen, Aegon the Unlikely, the Egg of “Dunk and Egg.”

                  Stannis is actually one of Daenerys’ closest living relatives; until we found out about Aegon VI, he was THE closest. They are second cousins; their grandparents were siblings and they have a common great-grandparent.

                  In the absence of a Targaryen, the Baratheons actually have a fairly strong claim, if you take bloodlines seriously.

      • Pretty much, which really complicates Varys’ ethos of serving the realm above the monarch.

        • Church

          Spoiler: Varys is a Faceless Man. He’s going to serve the realm by sparing them all the burden of living.

        • How do we know that Varys is serving the realm, rather than simply acting as Targaryen loyalist?

          • witless chum

            (Slight spoilers)
            I think Varys is serving his friend Illyrio. They came up on the mean streets of Pentos together. That makes a lot more sense of Varys stirring the pot than anything else. Why Illyrio cares about who sits the Iron Throne is the tough question.

            Personally, I like the crackpot theory that Aegon VI is actually Illyrio’s son by his deceased wife who is actually a Blackfyre (Targaryen bastards from the period before the book) whom he’s passing off as the long-dead heir. That’s all speculation, based on Illyrio’s somewhat odd behavior in A Dance With Dragons when he’s taking Tyrion to meet the boat. And the fact that we don’t get any details on whom Illyrio’s wife was, just that he’s still very devoted to her memory.

      • Mayur

        Not really. The strategy is pretty orthodox counter-revolution. Varys is just eliminating (or, in the case of Ned, collaborating in the elimination of) anyone who is competent and decent enough to keep the realm together despite the fact that the ruling family is a bunch of a-holes.

        The analogy to the US would be if we had people out there making sure that the Huntsmans and Bruce Bartletts of the world were kneecapped. Said analogy obviously doesn’t hold because the people in power are perfectly capable of excluding those folks themselves.

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    Sometimes casting amazes me. Before Joffrey uttered a single word, I already hated him more than any other character.

    • Murc

      I actually kind of feel bad for the kid, and I hope he’s just enough of a good actor that that face of his is just an expression he puts on for the cameras.

      Because he has a really punchable face. Everything about it says ‘I am a douchebag.’ And I kind of hope that’s not how he looks in real life.

      Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) is the same way; he gives interviews and you listen to him and you’re like ‘this is a genuinely cool guy, he seems so nice’ and then you look at his face and think that he and his preppie frat-boy buddies would look more at home in a bar trying to roofie freshmen.

      • He’s said that this is his last acting gig. Apparently there are less risks in philosophy and Ancient Hebrew; no tenure on the Iron Throne.

  • SEK

    Just so you know: this has been linked by Reddit, so if you see a troll’s comment before I have a chance to delete it, remember: don’t feed the trolls.

    Or if you must, feed them pancakes.

    • Rob

      Wow, is this a variation of a humble brag? The “I’m sorry this is so popular that all these trolls are going to be here soon” brag?

      • SEK

        Not at all. It’s an indication that I’m lesson-planning in another window and won’t have the time to tend the garden of comments for the next few hours. Making pancakes isn’t what I’d call fun, after all.

        EDIT: Sorry if I sounded unduly annoyed. It’s just that from the content-provider end of the blog, dealing with trolls is the most tiresome aspect of writing online. I just assume everyone knows that, then I remember, most commenters aren’t bloggers.

        • Church

          Probably could do better than hanging up a “Welcome Trolls!” banner.

          I’m just sayin’.

    • cpinva

      i’d prefer arsenic.

      Or if you must, feed them pancakes.

      • cpinva

        ok, pancakes, with a lovely arsenic syrup.

  • rea

    I’m not sure that’s a good rea

    I’m not sure, either.

  • Just ’cause he started & ran a dance co. for a few yrs. isn’t enough reason he should be a king.

  • witless chum

    This reminds me a bit of show casting that annoyed me. In the books, Renly is supposed to look like the very image of a king of Westeros, just like Robert did when he was younger.

    SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2 of the show/A Clash of Kings

    The show casting Gethin Anthony and portraying him as much less impressive in public undercuts the drama when he gets offed by shadow baby. It would have helped sell the drama, too, because awesome-looking Renly compared to Stannis would have helped sell the idea that Renly was much more powerful, given that they don’t have the budget to convey the advantage in numbers over Stannis visually.

    • Murc

      It wasn’t just the casting.

      I still don’t understand the narrative choices they made with regard to Renly in the show. Renly in the novels was shallow, but he was also supremely self-confident and he radiated that. He wasn’t awkward or unsure about anything in his life.

      I don’t have a problem with them changing things, per se, but they don’t really DO anything with it. And, well… I feel it might have been sort of hinky that the guy they turned from ‘powerful, commanding, and charismatic’ to ‘sensitive, tortured, wanting to please his lover’ just HAPPENED to be the gay guy. You know?

      • witless chum

        I know. Not Mel Gibson with Braveheart levels of homophobia or anything, but a little weird.

        Yup, it was the portrayal, too. And you’re abosolutely right. I don’t have a problem with changes in adaptations, but that one seemed to be for the worse.

        The whole manipulated by Loras thing would also have played better if he’d been commanding and confident in public, but unsure of what to do in private. Either, really, would have been a better choice. You never get a sense of Loras and Renly’s relationship dynamics in the books at all, but I’d bet it was more balanced of a partnership if we’d gotten that POV.

        • Murc

          Frankly, making Loras and Renly’s relationship explicit was unnecessary. In the books it was wonderfully subtle and it only really relates to the plot in terms of how Loras interacts with Brienne.

          Basically the changes they made bring nothing at all to the table, and worse, they waste time doing it.

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