If You Ever Wished To See A President's Head On A Pike, "Game Of Thrones" Already Made Your Dreams Come True
We've all been there, haven't we? When we've gotten so infuriated with somebody -- usually for not sharing our political/religious beliefs or our taste in pop culture ephemera -- that we'd like to pull an Engineer and rip the head off the dastardly offender for daring to speak to us? Then place that head on a wooden spike in front of our home/apartment/cubicle to let everyone else who hates what we cherish as a overt and bloody warning? Come on, I know I can't be the only one. Well, if you've ever had those feelings for a certain former U.S. President (and don't tell me about it if you have, we're probably being watched), the producers of "Game of Thrones" have seen your Vision Board and made your fantasy a reality. Sort of.
Naturally, it would be uncouth, at the very least, for a television show to use the real thing, so they merely used a replica of former U.S. President George W. Bush's head for set dressing in an early, memorable scene from the season one finale. Though there is a satisfying amount of violence on the show, there are actually relatively few severed heads on display, but fans will immediately know to which scene I refer. If they're like me, they totally didn't see the uncanny resemblance the first (or second, or third) time, but now that you know what to look for, queue up episode 10, "Winter is Coming," to about 12 minutes on your DVD, Blu-ray, HBOGo, or head over to IO9 for a clip of that scene, and see for yourself. It's relatively mindhole blowing. And if you're reading this and haven't watched the HBO series, yet, a) What is wrong with you? Find a way!, and b) The IO9 video is refreshingly devoid of spoilers.
Or, I guess I could provide a still image here:
Hm. Let's sharpen 'er up a little bit...
Okay, now let's raise the contrast...
Not bad, but we can probably see more if I zoom in...
Just a smidg' more...
That's probably good enough, but let's go ahead and take a second look at that header pic, shall we?
And one more at a similar angle...
Yep, that looks like our most recent (as of this writing) ex-President sporting dirty auburn locks and a painful grimace. Or, more accurately, Bush II's latex doppelganger made a cameo in HBO's hit sword & sorcery & politics series. I'd say he has a good head on his shoulders, but he doesn't have any! Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Literally.
So, why, exactly, when "Game of Thrones" is one of the most popular shows on television, would the producers choose to include this possibly controversial, troll-baiting, and kind of unnecessary Easter Egg? Surely it couldn't be something as simple as using whatever leftover props from some other project happened to be around? Here's a quote from showrunner David Benioff on the episode's commentary tackling the question at hand:
"The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush's head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around."
Oh. That's it? Huh. Well, I stand corrected. I wonder what other beheaded cameos might there be in the first two seasons? Get on it, Internet!
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his wares can be purchased here and here (if you're into that sort of thing). He doesn't condone any calls for the severed heads of current or former political leaders, or anybody else for that matter, just to be clear to whomever may be reading.
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