While folks are betting on who will die next during Game of Thrones (GoT) 8th and final season in the treacherous Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, where life is violent and terrifying, with any character might be felled at any moment, the political intrigue, the egos, the incest, and the battle for the iron throne are overwhelmingly sensational, it’s perhaps not too heartening to hear that world leaders are thinking in such cinematic terms.
Middle Kingdom Is The Real-Life Seven Kingdoms of Westeros
The fantasy TV show seems to be influencing everything from baby naming to global politics. And the latest among the powers that be making a reference to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy work is none other than the boss of the Middle Kingdom, China’s President Xi Jinping.
Xi Jinping Turns Out to Be Game of Thrones’ Fan
“We must all make sure the world we live in does not descend into the chaotic, warring, Seven Kingdoms of Westeros,” Xi reportedly told a group of foreign visitors at the the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing and spoke to the South China Morning Post.
Demonstrating a profound knowledge of where the locale is set in the famed HBO show, and the political intrigues woven into the plot, Xi noted that he would prefer reality to be far different from the one depicted, even warning against copying it in real diplomacy.
Xi Jinping appeared to surprise both his aides and guests when he touched upon the wildly popular HBO production, and thereby making a reference to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy work.
The second-highest ranking official in China, Premier Li Keqiang, appeared to have also revealed having a soft spot for the iconic series that is now drawing to a denouement in all of its dramatic twists and political intrigues. He notably cited Game of Thrones when elaborating on China’s ties with Central and Eastern Europe at a last month’s forum in Dubrovnik, the medieval Croatian city that doubles as King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, in the show.
A Chinese official in Beijing, who declined to give his name when speaking to the Chinese edition, laughed it off heartily when asked whether Xi and other high-ranking officials had seen the edited or the abridged version. He remarked that the country’s leadership got to see an even more condensed version, which he referred to as “the diamond version”, as it would be problematic to squeeze the full version into their busy schedules.
Although it is a rare occasion for the country’s leadership to elaborate on their hobbies, Xinhua earlier reported that Xi takes a vivid interest in movies and literature, adding that as the Chinese president made a point in a letter to US students studying Chinese, he is particularly fond of “philosophy, history, literature, culture, music and sports.” Among Hollywood productions, he is said to especially single out “The Godfather” and “Saving Private Ryan”.
Power That Be Are Playing Game of Thrones Everywhere
Meanwhile in the US, Donald Trump tweeted a GoT meme ahead of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in US elections. Meanwhile, 2020 presidential contender Elizabeth Warren wrote an essay entitled “The World Needs Fewer Cersei Lannisters” in The Cut (paywall) about why the character Danaerys Targeryn—aka Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains—should sit in the iron throne and rule the fictional kingdom.
In India, the government is posting GoT-themed memes on social media to encourage voting in the ongoing parliamentary elections.
Beyond Seven Kingdoms: Game of Thrones with Chinese Characteristics
Game of Thrones has become a global TV phenomenon and the crown jewel of its network, HBO, and the company is turning to the Asian market to capitalize on the series’ legacy.
HBO May Create Asian-Style Game of Thrones in Ten Years
The Westeros-set epic is translated into Mandarin as “Middle Kingdom”, with its Chinese fan base estimated to comprise tens of millions people across the country, notwithstanding the fact that the version shown in China through Tencent is an edited one, as much of the violence and saucy sex scenes have been removed from the show.
“Asia will potentially create Asia’s own Game of Thrones in ten years. As we see now, there are more big-budget TV shows, for example in China, that have high production value,” Head of HBO Asia Original Production Jessica Kam-Engle said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The world-famous TV series is based on A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of epic fantasy tales by George R.R. Martin, which is partly based on real medieval history.
Kam-Engle believes that, as far as the genre is concerned, Asia has stories to tell but no product to sell — at least, until there are good showrunners in place.
“In terms of stories, there are a plethora of Asian court power struggle dramas, add to that a few dragons, and then we’d have something in the vein of Game of Thrones,” she was quoted as saying.
“Writers that can command an overarching structure we might not have a lot of, but we do have them. What it is scarce is showrunners that can oversee the whole machine. Game of Thrones had different productions on the same day in perhaps four countries. We might not have that kind of showrunners. We might have to import them.”
According to the producer, a successful way for a possible Asian-style Game of Thrones to be aired would be to appeal to a global audience while at the same time serving the local market.
“The audience in Asia has its own needs, but if we bypass their needs and plan a Chinese or Japanese show that can woo the world, we might lose our local audience. That is not a wise path to take. We have to take care of our home turf first.”
Here a brief list of characters, sayings and names from the Game of Thrones as the Chinese fans see them. This way, next time you talk to your Chinese friends about your favorite characters, they won’t be scratching their heads when you try to explain that you are talking about the “Small Monster (The Imp).”
I have no doubt there will be a ‘Chinese Game of Thrones’. The question who gonna make it, where will the show be made, and how is it gonna be made?
Assuming it’s meant for global consumption, there will be extremely delicate challenges as evident by many similar attempt before.
Just take a look at movies like “Crazy Rich Asians”… The Chinese consider it a western movie. FAIL. So is Scarlett Johansson’s Under the Skin, also a flop.
1 If it’s by Hollywood stars and produced entirely in Hollywood
Then Chinese Characteristics will be a big suspect because westerners simply do not understand Chinese, even it’s done by ethnic Chinese. I mean the real Chinese thingy, especially the story-line.
2 By China’s stars produced in China with Hollywood expertise?
This is even worse.
First off, China’s stars probably won’t appeal to western audience. The next one is who gonna write the script? If it’s a western guy, then it may not appeal to China’s audience, and there will be a conflict in Chinese Characteristics.
In any case, I hope President Xi provides author of this article some grant to help produce a truly sensational plot for the the ‘Asian style Game of Thrones’ with real Chinese Characteristics of course.
Why the author? Because the author is seasonably cross cultural as well as a creative animal.
Game of Thrones in Chinese – Ready, steady …Go!
1.“ Game of Thrones” 权力的游戏 (Quánlì de yóuxì)
Game of Thrones in Chinese – Winter is ComingGame of Thrones in Chinese – Winter is Coming
The literal translation of “Game of Thrones” in Chinese would be “宝座的游戏” (Bǎozuò de yóuxì), but as for many other countries, in China the title has been changed to 权力的游戏 (Quánlì de yóuxì) which literally means “Game of Power”, referring to how each house tries to establish itself as the supreme power among the Seven Kingdoms.
2. “A Song of Ice and Fire” 冰与火之歌 (bīng yŭ huŏ zhī gē)
As the book series itself is called A Song of Ice and Fire rather than Game of Thrones, it is only fitting to give you also this name in Chinese. The name uses Classical Chinese characters 与 (instead of 和) and 之 (instead of 的) to give the name more of a literary feel.
3. “Winter is Coming” 凛冬将至 (lĭn dōng jiāng zhì)
This is a common saying by the Stark family of Winterfell. Literally, 凛 means “cold”, 冬 is “Winter”, 将至 means “will reach” and sounds more epic than just saying “冬天马上到了” due to its use of Classical Chinese.
4. “A Lannister Always Pays His Debt” 兰尼斯特有债必还 (lán ní sī tè yŏu zhài bì huán)
This one is a saying commonly heard from the Lannisters of Casterly Rock and King’s Landing. 兰尼斯特 is how you say the Lannister family, 有债必还 literally means “(if) there is a debt, (one) must return (it)”, also taken from Classical Chinese elements to make it sound more literary.