Alpha: Winter is Here

ALPHA: exploring current events & concepts from the framework of who & what holds power, fleeting or lasting, in Western pop culture.


By Dawn Pichón Barron


Yup, GOT fans and critics alike, the title is referencing the Game of Thrones iconic series and the catch-all phrase now a cultural go-to saying that bad shit is about to happen (or is happening:  “Winter is Coming”). I feel a bit saddened that Winter, the season of dormancy and chilliness, is being plagued with the task of standing in for Demons, Monsters, Unbelievable Atrocities, Racists and White Supremacists, Justice Corruptors, Dictators, and every bad human in our current political realm, but something has to be the place holder, so Winter it is.

Washington DC will be home to a new pub, modeled after GOT. This pop-up pub will be opened through the summer, and according to Ellen Smith, will have: “Nods to particular scenes in the show are scattered throughout this immersive experience, including a chiming bell accompanied by the bartenders yelling "Shame! Shame!," a room filled with dragon smoke, and of course, a chance for guests to sit on the Iron Throne.” I wonder if they will re-enact the King Jeffrey poisoned death scene, or the Father and Son duet of burning to ashes scene? Or the Mad King’s stabbing? Such fantasy violence, yet is there a ring of truth to the power hungry and loyal to no one but themselves (and their immediate family) being taken out of the game? Is there a lesson for revolutionaries and resistance fighters here?

Or the right questions might be:  Is anyone voting for the White Walkers? Does it matter if the good join forces with the evil in order to prevent the “other” from winning?

Is Daeyners, with her “children” dragons, the embodiment of all feminists—fighting for safety and equality, while being a woman in a man’s world? Jon Snow could be Barack Obama, always attempting to be fair and understanding and uniting all amidst chaos, distrust, and hatred. Sansa, it remains to unfold, could be Ivanka Trump; Aria could certainly be Mueller; Tyrion perhaps Joe Biden; Cersei Lannister most likely is the Donald, down to her awful shag wig helmet, and her unrelenting, feckless desire to drain any and all swampers that don’t bend the knee to her. If Cersei had Twitter, we’d certainly be barraged by her woes and privy to her hit-list.

GOT has over a million viewers each week because this kind of story is relevant, has always been a reality in human history just with different players and different evil forces to contend with.

Humans need their lessons dressed up and disguised as escape and entertainment. Even if they are not outright making the connections between a televised show and the real world, I doubt anyone can deny that Winter is Here.

Dawn PIchon Barron is a mixed indigenous/white writer and educator working at the Northwest Indian College-Nisqually Campus. She is founder and curator of the Gray Skies Readings Series in Olympia, WA where she lives with her wingman and teenage love spawns. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Yellow Medicine Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Pontoon, the anthology Washington 129, the anthology Of A Monstrous Child (Lost Horse Press), Oregon Quarterly, and her chapbook "Escape Girl Blues" will see the light in 2017 (Finishing Line Press). Follow @pigeongirlsgot.