We Couldn’t Help Ourselves: The 2016 Candidates As Game of Thrones Characters
The 2016 presidential election is underway, and you know what that means: editors hastily searching for metaphors to explain the bacchanal of intrigue, money, and women-bashing we’re about to experience. And what better metaphor for the 2016 campaign season than Game of Thrones?
Here’s our guide to who on Game of Thrones each candidate’s supporters think they should be, opponents think they should be, and who they actually are.
Who she should be: Cersei Lannister. She can be a polarizing figure, but there’s no debating that she’s whip-smart and highly driven. She may have come into power by way of her husband, but it’s clear she’s capable of running things on her own. Yet she can also be perceived as scheming and calculating, protecting no one but her own family.
Who her supporters think she should be: Daenerys Targaryen. A battle tested queen with a proud name and a vision for social justice, Khalinton will soon come sweeping across the Potomac on her flying, fire-breathing coalition of minorities and young people.
Who her opponents say she should be: …Cersei Lannister. A scheming villain willing to crush anyone in her way, this Queen Mother just doesn’t know how to let go of power. She’s rich, out of touch and corrupt to no end. SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.
Who he should be: Stannis Baratheon. Yeah it seems too obvious, but it’s true. He believes the throne is his by birthright and he’s increasingly likely to do whatever it takes to get there. He appears at times honorable, yet his dark nature can come out in cruel ways.
Who his supporters think he should be: Jon Snow. He’s willing to compromise and let the people from across the wall stay here when necessary, but only if it serves his people. He’s not much like his dad or siblings, and he’s proud to be his own man.
Who his opponents think he should be: Alliser Thorne. He’s not nearly as smart as he thinks he is, and his foolishness just might doom us all. He’s worked his way into a position of power and prestige, but that doesn’t mean he’s a skilled leader.
Who he should be: Arya Stark. Young and ambitious, he was a breath of fresh air when he first struck out on his own. Now he’s become a bit frightening, but we still have hope he could prove to be a voice of reason.
Who his supporters think he should be: Renly Baratheon. Young and full of ideas, he represents a break from the corrupt families of power. But as so often happens with honorable leaders, he’s been stabbed in the back once or twice.
Who his opponents think he should be: Oberyn Martell. Full of promise and hope, he rode into town as one of the few good ones. But when he actually took on a tough fight he failed spectacularly, scaring everyone in the process and ensuring no future progress.
Who he should be: Ramsay Bolton. He seems to take joy in inflicting pain on others, torturing and beating his rivals and low-income voters just for sport. He’s taken on more powerful armies and won, but he’s made many enemies along the way. So far he’s had an impressive streak of victories, but when it ends he’s unlikely to be in such good shape.
Who his supporters think he should be: Ned Stark. Always willing to die for what is right, he stood up in the face of corruption and lies. The only difference is — Walker’s won his fights.
Who his opponents think he should be: Joffrey Lannister. Perhaps the only character more hated than Ramsay, Joffrey had significantly more power and used it to similarly evil ends. The key common feature may be that Joffrey came to power fresh-faced and kind — much like Walker’s promise of bipartisanship and reform in 2010 — before showing his true colors.
Who he should be: High Sparrow. A seemingly kind and humble man, he gains prominence by proclaiming his devout religious beliefs for all to hear. He rides this surge of support to some unlikely wins, and it is only later that those in power realize he meant all the dangerous things he was saying.
Who his supporters think he should be: probably still the High Sparrow. But let’s not forget that the people the High Sparrow is punishing are murderous, incestuous, corrupt power-brokers and brothel-goers. Finally we have a presidential candidate of that same moral fiber. Also, the gays are gross.
Who his opponents think he should be: we all agree he’s the High Sparrow. As the only candidate to accuse Beyonce of poisoning young minds with her sexy dance moves, it’s not hard to imagine that the Huckster and the High Sparrow would get along well.
Who he should be: Petyr Baelish. He’s always scheming, with no regard for how his plans impact others. His plans don’t usually work out as well as he expects and he seems incapable of learning. He’s got some strong backers and he’s undeniably bright, but karma will probably get him in the end.
Who his supporters think he should be: Tyrion Lannister. He’ll say what others won’t, and though he’s viewed as an outsider, he always has a plan. He hates the very government he serves in, but he’s one of the few good ones.
Who his opponents think he should be: Ellaria Sand. Yeah, he’s always plotting. But to what end? And when has he ever had success? He’s nothing more than a powerless instigator kicking sand (lol) in the eyes of others to get attention.
Who he should be: Ygritte. He’s a rebel with a cause and a penchant for fiery antics. He’s never been one to back down from a challenge, but he’s made some strange allies along the way, and those uncomfortable alliances could hurt him in the long run. He believes in what he’s fighting for, but strategy does not appear to be his strong suit.
Who his supporters think he should be: Ser Davos. Surrounded by corruption and greed, he may have some pretty big differences with those he’s sworn allegiance to. But that doesn’t stop him from fighting for what’s right and marching forward.
Who his opponents think he should be: Jorah Mormont. He’s not as loyal as he likes to pretend, and his advice doesn’t really work out all that often. He’s arrogant and obsessive, and honestly I’m not sure why he hasn’t stayed banished.
Who he should be: Tywin Lannister. Old, mean, conniving and not as rich as he’d have us think. The world has passed this man by and his bigoted views haven’t aged well, yet he somehow clings to his empire. He’s got more staying power than you’d expect, but his days of true power are over.
Who his supporters think he should be: The Mountain. He’s the biggest, classiest, most successful fighter in the world. He’s huge. A lot of people have said he’s incredible. And he is.
Who his opponents think he should be: Joffrey Lannister. He’s a smug little fuck who’s gonna get what’s coming to him.
Who he should be: Hodor. No, he’s not the brightest of the bunch. And yes, he’s kind of at the periphery of relevance. But goddammit, he’s trying. And honestly he’s doing better than people give him credit for. Obviously he’s not going to sit on the Iron Throne, but he’s doing his best, ok?
Who his supporters think he should be: Brienne of Tarth. He failed in the past, but things were really out of his control. Now he’s faithfully doing his duty, bound by honor and loyalty. He’ll never be the most charismatic or relatable, but he’s one of the few trustworthy people.
Who his opponents think he should be: Podrick Payne. The ultimate “me too” player, he’s probably harmless and occasionally well-intentioned. Even when his incompetence is showing he’s hard to hate. But it does seem like one of these days he’s gonna screw things up too much to fix.
Who he should be: Maester Aemon. Long a source of advice and intelligence, he’s really come into his own late in life. He’s not afraid to take on powerful interests or speak truth to power, and he sees big issues coming from a distance. But he’s never been one to play the game well, and as a result he won’t ever see more power than he has now.
Who his supporters think he should be: Bran Stark. He sees what others can’t, and he may be our only hope for survival. Others don’t take him seriously, but they underestimate his potential. Don’t sleep on this gifted outsider.
Who his opponents think he should be: Grand Maester Pycelle. If he seems old and slightly deranged, it’s probably because he is. And while he’s done a lot over the years to get himself into a position of power, he’s never really done much for the people he helps rule.
Who he should be: Robert Baratheon. Maybe he could have been a good leader. Maybe if he’d ever listened to anyone else’s advice it wouldn’t have ended like this. But he let his ego get the best of him and now, his days of power are over. Also… fat.
Who his supporters think he should be: Tyrion Lannister. He says what he wants, he doesn’t take shit from anyone and he’s smarter than you. Make fun of his appearance all you want, but he’s gonna get shit done.
Who his opponents think he should be: Jaime Lannister. This former golden boy has seen his time come and go. He relied on his charisma more than his intellect, and eventually things were always going to come crashing down on him. And of course, there’s that little scandal hanging over him.
Who he should be: Melisandre. He literally might be a witch doctor. Can we prove he’s not a witch doctor? Whether it’s using fire-smoke-kingsblood monsters to kill enemies or using hands to separate conjoined twins, there’s no telling what this monster can do.
Who his supporters think he should be: Lancel Lannister. He has seen the light and he will guide us on our way. His personal story is compelling and his sincerity is beyond doubt. He’s not the stereotypical leader, but he is virtuous and true.
Who his opponents think he should be: Lord Varys. Seriously what is he even doing? Why is he here? Is he evil? I can’t really tell, but I feel like he is?