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In a last-ditch attempt to drum up support among MPs for the deal to make it through parliament tonight, Environment Secretary Michael Gove appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to warn about what would happen should the deal not be passed.
The interview took an even stranger turn when Gove chose to quote Game of Thrones to further punctuate his point.
“If we don’t vote for the deal tonight, in the words of Jon Snow, ‘winter is coming’,” he said.
“I think if we don’t vote for the deal tonight we will do damage to our democracy by saying to people we are not going to implement a Brexit, and the opportunity that all of us have to live up to our democratic obligations is clear.”
Game of Thrones fans will recognise Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) utterance, foreshadowing the army of frozen undead attacking Westeros.
While Gove may have thought this to be a canny comparison, listeners were left less than impressed.
Some pointed out that Gove may have missed the mark with the reference, with columnist Caitlin Moran tweeting, “I love all the male politicians who keep quoting Game of Thrones without realising it’s real subtext: climate change and ALL THE MALE LEADERS DYING OR KILLING EACH OTHER AND WOMEN TAKING OVER.”
I love all the male politicians who keep quoting Game of Thrones without realising it's real subtext: climate change and ALL THE MALE LEADERS DYING OR KILLING EACH OTHER AND WOMEN TAKING OVER.
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) January 15, 2019
TV critic Toby Earle also wryly commented, “Remember, Jon Snow knows nothing.”
Remember Jon Snow also knows nothing https://t.co/8v8YQIrDXs
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) January 15, 2019
Writer Tony Lee added, “ Michael Gove has just said on Radio 4 that ‘Winter is coming.’ But this could be a good thing. I mean, at the start of Game of Thrones, Ned Stark says this. And since then we’ve had the resurgence of Dragons in the show. That’s right! If MPs don’t vote Brexit, we get Dragons!”
Michael Gove has just said on #Radio4 that 'Winter is coming.'
But this could be a good thing. I mean, at the start of Game of Thrones, Ned Stark says this. And since then we've had the resurgence of Dragons in the show.
That's right! If MPs don't vote Brexit, we get Dragons!
— Tony Lee (@mrtonylee) January 15, 2019
Others felt the comparison between Brexit and a TV series somewhat lessened the seriousness of the situation.
How fitting that Michael Gove used a quote from Game of Thrones. On the one hand we have a group of power-crazed, backstabbing, murderous sex-fiends, compared to a TV show with high production values.
— Matt Taggart (@MattTaggart) January 15, 2019
Meanwhile, other Game of Thrones fans felt it was necessary to point out the TV series is eligible for EU funding when filming in Northern Ireland…
Has anyone told Michael Gove that #GameOfThrones received EU funding while filming in N. Ireland?
Or that GoT brought an estimated £200 million of tourism to N. Ireland?
Has anyone told Gove that lack of funding is going to impact the decisions of producers to film in the UK?
— Kolley Kibber ???????? (@camcamdamn) January 15, 2019
While political editor Stig Abell spoke for the nation when said he was fed up of politicians giving stupid Game of Thrones references at every opportunity.
I just wonder whether Parliament could take a break from Brexit and pass a small law banning all politicians and political commentators from Game of Thrones references?
— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) January 15, 2019
Gove is not the first politician to reference the HBO series, which is due to air its final series later this year. President Donald Trump shared a Game of Thrones-styled poster with the words Sanctions Are Coming, in reference to sanctions he put on Iran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018
It is also not the first time that Gove has compared politics to GOT, with the former chief whip popping up in a frankly utterly weird video by journalist James Delingpole.
Titled ‘Gove in the Garden’, he explained his favourite character was Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage.
“The moment I love most is when he leads what’s apparently a hopeless charge of his troops in defence of King’s Landing against the forces of Stannis Baratheon,” Gove declared in the 2014 video.
“You see there that this mishappen dwarf, reviled throughout his life, thought of some as some toxic figure, can at last rally a small band of loyal followers and at the last moment, he suddenly hears the sound of the relief column coming. And it’s his father, a father of which he has the most complicated of relationships, who then comes ahead of our relief army in order to defeat the Baratheon forces.”
He then compared Lannister to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying he would “never, never, never surrender.”