The jury is still out on whether or not Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States, knows how to read. For the purpose of this article, let’s give POTUS the benefit of the doubt and assume he is not only literate but has already read many books, be it All Quiet on the Western Front, Adolf Hitler’s My New Order, or any book with his own face on the cover. Quite a selection! I’m here to expand the President’s horizons. I’m here to say that Donald Trump should really, really think about reading George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. (If he gets bored, he could at least watch the HBO adaptation)
Despite the fact that Martin’s books contain countless themes that should interest Trump on a personal level–the Lannisters? Come on–I think it would be both beneficial and enlightening for POTUS to focus on the parts dealing with a wall. Or, I should say, THE Wall, Martin’s massive border of ice and stone that stands between the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the wild Northern regions, where Winter lasts forever.
Perfect, right? Trump loves walls. If you have access to the internet, or a TV, or an open window you probably already heard the President has plans for a wall of his own, between the United States and Mexico. The very first bullet-point of Donald J. Trump’s 10 Point Plan to Put America First Reads, “Begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border, on day one.” And he’s going for it! On just his fifth day in office, the President signed two Executive Orders directing the “immediate construction” of his wall, still insisting that Mexico will foot the bill. Maybe not immediately. Maybe not ever. But definitely, Mexico will pay for the wall.
Should Trump decide to dive into A Song of Ice and Fire–and, again, he really, really should–he’d learn that Bran the Builder, architect of The Wall, did not use Executive Orders to construct his barrier. He used giants. And the mystical Children of the Forest. Oh, and he definitely used magic. “More than ice went into the raising of the Wall,” Martin said in a 2000 interview. “Remember, these are fantasy novels.”
Martin went on to say The Wall took “hundreds of years to complete and thousands to reach its present height.”
“Yikes, that’s a long time,” the President may say, clutching A Storm of Swords in his average-sized hands. To be fair, Mr. President, Brandon the Builder and his magical construction crew of fairies and giants were building a Wall 300 miles (100 leagues) long. Here’s a picture!
Should Trump send a member of the Secret Service to the closest Barnes and Noble to buy the complete A Song of Ice and Fire–and remember, Mr. President, only 5 of the scheduled 7 novels have been published–he can compare the 300 miles of magical ice Wall to the US-Mexico border, which is roughly 1,989 miles long. (Though Trump has said, in the past, that 1,000 miles should do the trick)
What Trump might then realize–should he use the White House’s Prime membership to get free shipping on The Complete Song of Ice And Fire hardcover collection–is that the United States does not currently have magic, or giants, or the Children of the Forest. What we DO have is…unclear. He is allegedly mulling over a 20% tax on Mexican imports to cover the cost (anywhere between $10 billion to $25 billion, maybe, possibly), as well as “a buffet of options.” But how the President plans to build a 1000-foot cement wall across desert terrain, the rapidly-winding Rio Grande river, and through stretches of private property over the next 8 years, much less the next 800 years, well…well it’s just going to happen. Mark his words, it will happen.
Two important points here. The first, something I am sure many are dying to point out: The Song of Ice and Fire novels are fantasy, and The Wall does not actually exist. First of all, thank you for the info. Second, some of life’s strongest lessons come from reading fantasy. My hope, my only wish here, is that maybe the President takes a moment in his reading to realize he’s planning to build a wall six times the size of an unimaginable fantasy creation that was built over hundreds of years using giants and magic, construction that George RR Martin, a very creative man, doesn’t even offer details on because the very thought of this Wall existing, in reality, is impossible to comprehend. You need giants.
[Hadrian’s Wall, Martin’s inspiration, did exist. It also didn’t work, after requiring an “army of 15,000 men” to complete. The Great Wall of China, which admittedly is longer than the US-Mexico border, also didn’t work, and killed an estimated 400,000 workers that helped build it, many of which are still buried in the walls.]
The second point, for you ASOIAF nerds out there, is that the Wall of Martin’s creation is, admittedly, far more impressive in height than length. While Trump estimates his wall will be “probably 35 to 40 feet up in the air,” The Wall rises 700 feet in the air. That is, objectively, a tall-ass wall. But, in the end, it is the sheer size of Martin’s Wall that teaches the most important lesson. This monstrosity, 700-feet tall and 300-miles wide, constructed with a mystical mixture of ice, stone and magic over several millennia…..doesn’t. fucking. work. The Wildlings, or Free Folk North of The Wall get over all the time, either by scaling it or just, like, sailing around it. The Nights Watch, who, like the actual US Border patrol are severely understaffed, can’t possibly patrol 300 miles of Wall. And that’s with their enemies using hooks, and ladders, and boats. Imagine an organized Wildling Cartel capable and determined enough to construct an elaborate, underground escape tunnel.
In the end, I just really think Donald Trump needs a good read. It’ll get him off Twitter for a while, which might help with any signs of depression. He could take the book to bed on Saturday nights, and ignore late-night sketch comedy shows being mean to him. And maybe, should he choose A Song of Ice and Fire, the President will read far enough into the story to reach the part where the Wildlings and The Nights Watch decide they have more in common than they thought. The part where they realize there are far more pressing issues to address, bigger, scarier enemies, and that walls, either as symbols or physical objects, have never worked.
Just a thought.
[Note: Please, no one tell Trump how long it’s taking Martin to write “Winds of Winter.” The guy still has the nuclear codes, after all]