'Game of Thrones' Strange Relationship With The White House

You would think the so-called leader of the free world would have more on their mind than some silly fantasy show, but between 2011 and 2019, not even international politics ranked above the fates of their faves in anyone's mind. Naturally, the occupant of the Oval Office at the time the show premiered, Barack Obama, was a big fan and also the most powerful person in the world. Unaired Game of Thrones eps may have been the only thing locked down under better security than the Secret Service, but the president of the United States can also do anything he wants, and when Obama was in office, that meant demanding advance copies of Game of Thrones episodes.

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"If you can trust me with the nukes, then you can trust me not to spoil the 'Red Wedding.' Come on."

And he got them. He was the only person outside of HBO to be granted the honor, sometimes even before cast members got to see them. But even that wasn't enough for him. Once, when director David Nutter was hanging out with Obama, which is apparently something you get to do when you're a Game of Thrones director, "He turned to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, 'You didn't kill Jon Snow, did you?'" Of course, Nutter had to lie and probably got his taxes raised as a result. You don't cross the president.

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After Obama left office, however, the franchise stopped being so friendly. Throughout his presidency, Trump (or rather, someone on his team who knows how to use Photoshop) created several lame Game of Thrones–style images to promote himself, earning him various degrees of reprimands from HBO. First, it was the cheeky reply, "How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?" from the official HBO Twitter account, but eventually, a spokesperson told the media, "Though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes," which is to say, political purposes they don't like.

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They wouldn't say whether they'd issued any cease and desist orders, probably because the tweets earned them the equivalent of five Super Bowl ads in publicity, but no one -- especially on the creative side -- was happy about it. More recently, the actor who played the Night King got in on the fun of mocking Trump's delusion about the 2020 election results:

Tragically, the show has ended, so we'll never get to see what kind of dragony hijinks Biden would have gotten up to. Probably go on an hour-long rant about Daenarys's arc to Emilia Clarke's face while calling her "Cersei."

Top image: HBO, Matt H. Wade

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