A Dem Thrones Love Letter
Dear Dem Thrones Community,
I love us 3,000. Shit, wrong nerd franchise. Let’s try this again. I love us with every fiber of my Fire and Ice Soul. I love all of us. Those of us who recently joined the community and those of us who were members of the community during its initial inception. We colonized the Game of Thrones social media-verse and made it our own. We gentrified it. We put a Popeye’s in Westeros. We white peopled, white people’s shit.
According to Dictionary.com, The term and hashtag “#DemThrones” is rooted in the African American Vernacular English dem, meaning “them,” and the popular HBO television show, Game of Thrones (i.e., Them Thrones). The importance behind the Dem Thrones movement was to provide Game of Thrones commentary from OUR point a view. An African American commentary that would provide the same nuance and perspective as our white counterparts, except with enough added Lawry’s Seasoning Salt to put the social media-verse on high blood pressure medication.
And we succeeded.
We succeeded in voicing the achievements and failures of a show not made for us, but taken over by us. We succeeded in enjoying a white show with non-white dragons while also pointing out the lack of minority representation that allowed us to uniformly say, “We see the lack of representation, but the show is so good, sooo fuck it.” The Dem Thrones community voiced time and time again our concern about Daenerys’ portrayal as a white savior when she freed the slaves of Yunkai. Our frustrations were voiced by articulately pointing out the problematic nature of white saviors being portrayed in mainstream media. And even though such criticism of the show’s portrayal of Daenerys as a white savior was accurate, we also voiced our support for her character, as she soared through the air on Drogon, looking like the Beyoncé of Westeros.
When attempting to explain to the “wokest” among the African-American non-watchers the complexity of our relationship with Game of Thrones, it got rather frustrating, at times. Attempting to explain that yes, we were also frustrated with the lack of minority representation; and yes, we knew it was a show made by white folks, for white folks; and yes, Daenerys’ portrayal as a white savior was indeed problematic. And trust us, non-watchers, we had a plethora of Dem Thrones meetings set up by Microsoft Outlook. However, after endless think pieces and meetings, the Dem Thrones community concluded that the show was simply too fucking dope. And our response to the wokest non-watchers among us was that, “You just gotta watch the show, my n*gga. You just gotta watch the show.”
The rise of our community owes much of its vitality to the podcaster, Rod Morrow (@rodimusprime), who hosts the successful podcast “The Black Guy Who Tips” with his wife Karen Morrow (@SayDatAgain). Not realizing what the powerhouse the #DemThrones hashtag would turn into, he used it to provide black commentary on twitter for a white show. However, when Black Twitter got a hold of the hashtag, it took off into something more than what the originator could ever imagine. It became a movement. It became a community. A community filled with endless hilarious memes that provided accurate yet funny 140 character or less descriptions of episode, episode moments and characters. And even if the show had bad moments, Dem Thrones was always there to provide a funny pick me up.
Our commentary kept us laughing to keep us from crying…
And when the Game of Thrones creators (D.B. Weis and David Benioff) decided to create an alternative history show about what if the Confederate won the Civil War, we told them, in one unified voice, “Oh y’all n*ggas tripping,” and needless to say, the show never saw a Caucasian sunrise. The final season of Game of Thrones can be viewed as a microcosm of the overall Dem Thrones relationship with Game of Thrones. A roller coaster ride of emotions, happiness, disappointment but ultimately proclaiming that it was worth it. That the juice was indeed worth the squeeze. We love Thrones, regardless of its failures, because the show was worth it. But just as important, our community, our Dem Thrones community was worth it.
Leslie “Tall Tyrion Because I Drink Henny and Know Plenty” McLemore