Game of Thrones author: Donald Trump reminds me of Joffrey

"They have the same level of emotional maturity," says George R.R. Martin.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

President Donald Trump reminds Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin of one of his characters, King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson).


The characters in HBO's Game of Thrones are all fighting for power in a fictional land, but series creator George R.R. Martin sees some parallels to real-world politics as well.

When asked by the New York Times which of his characters reminded him most of President Donald Trump, Martin had a royal answer.

"I think even during the campaign I said that Trump reminded me most of Joffrey," Martin told the Times in an interview for T, the newspaper's style magazine. The interview will be published in print Oct. 21, and is online now.

His reasons aren't exactly complimentary.

"They have the same level of emotional maturity," Martin said. "And Joffrey likes to remind everyone that he's king. And he thinks that gives him the ability to do anything. And we're not an absolute monarchy, like Westeros is. We're a constitutional republic. And yet, Trump doesn't seem to know what that means. He thinks the presidency gives him the power to do anything. And so, yeah, Joffrey is Trump."

King Joffrey Baratheon, played by Jack Gleeson, was the oldest son of Cersei Lannister and her twin brother Jaime, though he thought his father was the late king Robert Baratheon. Joffrey was known for his tyrannical cruelty and was murdered at his own wedding feast.

Martin wouldn't answer some other hot-button questions, such as how the series relates to modern-day geopolitics, and he declined to match up his other major characters with real-life political figures. But he did have a response when asked what modern leaders could learn from his fantasy world.

Watch this: Comic-Con 2018: Game of Thrones characters reveal season 8 spoilers

"Certainly at one point, the very simple statement is made that the king is about justice, or what is a king for?" Martin said, noting that while the US doesn't have kings, the sentiment is the same.

"It's about serving the people and leaving the country in better shape when you leave office than it was when you took office," he told the Times. "That should be the overriding principle of anyone who decides to run for office or do any sort of public service. Are you making things better? You're there to serve the people, not to serve yourself, not to serve your contributors."

Martin didn't reveal any spoilers for the upcoming final season of the HBO show, or drop any hints about the long-awaited next book in the series, The Winds of Winter. But he did admit that the TV series' huge success took him by surprise.

"Game of Thrones hasn't just been a successful TV show. It's been the most successful TV show in the world," Martin noted. "And there's no way anyone could possibly anticipate it, and certainly I did not, no. But it's been fun."

Game of Thrones is expected to return to HBO in the summer of 2019.

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