The blockbuster fantasy TV drama Game of Thrones with all of its violence and sex, may be based in part on Taiwan and the nation’s political and military struggles with China.
According to the Washington Post, the fictional island of Dragonstone — a centerpiece in the story — may in fact be a metaphor for Taiwan. The TV series created for HBO is sometimes drawn from “real historical events, and suffused with real lessons for nations and governments,” the Post said, and it does not take a tremendous leap of imagination to see a parallel with Taiwan and China.
Now commanding a worldwide audience — including HBO broadcasts in Taiwan — US President Barack Obama is among the production’s biggest fans and gets advance copies of each show.
Under the subheading “Dragonstone or Taiwan?” the Post said that the most storied house in Game of Thrones is that of the Targaryens, the silver-haired, dragon-riding family that begin the show in exile.
“We learn that the Targaryens once ruled all of Westeros until a rebellion, punctuated by a few hideous slaughters, chased them to a small, craggy isle off the coast called Dragonstone,” Post foreign affairs correspondent Ishaan Tharoor wrote. “Dragonstone exists in the series as a permanent reminder of dissent, brooding sullenly off the shores of the realm. In 1949, Mao Zedong’s [毛澤東] communists defeated the nationalist forces, the remnants of which fled en masse to the island of Taiwan. To this day, Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province, while Taiwan — the Republic of China — in theory claims suzerainty over all of the Chinese mainland.”
“The story of Game of Thrones makes one thing clear, though: It’s the dissidents from the renegade island who will ultimately reshape the balance of power on the mainland,” the Post concluded.
According to the newspaper, beyond its ice zombies and shrieking dragons, the show offers an engrossing meditation on political power and personal loyalties. The TV show compels viewers to root for separatists, who are trying to split away from the tyranny of the capital.
“Moreover, the show reinforces over and over in the viewer’s mind just how unnatural and manufactured the centralized authority of a high king is,” the Post said.
That is not quite the message China’s authoritarian leadership — beset by its own palace feuds, and tales of vice and corruption — would want internalized through its own realm, the newspaper said.
Based on the novels of George R.R. Martin, the series has an international viewership of millions and is said to be the most talked-about show since The Sopranos.
As the Post published its article, the magazine National Interest carried a feature story on Taiwan. Written by Robert Hathaway, director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the article said that Taiwan lives in a “rough neighborhood” and in many respects had been dealt a “tough hand.”
“A senior Taiwanese politician warned a visiting American delegation a few days ago not to underestimate Taiwan. ‘We may be small,’ he conceded, ‘but we are not insignificant.’ These are words worth recalling as the United States continues to look for friends in the world,” Hathaway wrote.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a rebuttal to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who said a fistfight in the Legislative Yuan might have been “provoked from the outside” to destabilize Taiwan. Rice made the comment in an online discussion about the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the UK and the US hosted by the Policy Exchange forum in London on Thursday. On mention of Taiwan, she was quoted by The Australian as predicting that Beijing would use paramilitary forces and acts of sabotage to destabilize the nation. “There was a fistfight in the Taiwanese parliament a few weeks ago
ADVANCING TECH: With revenue on target to reach US$15.4 billion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said it is looking to produce 3-nanometer chips later this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to build a new plant in Japan next year to produce 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips in its latest effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint. The Japanese fab is to start operations in 2024, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker said, ending months of speculation. “We have received strong commitment to supporting this project from our customers and the Japanese government,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a quarterly investors’ conference. “We believe the expansion of our global manufacturing footprint will enable us to better serve our customers’ needs and reach global talent,
KNOWN ISSUES: Fire safety issues were found in the 40-year-old building, which previously housed a theater and restaurants, in 2019, last year and May, an official said Forty-six people died and 41 were injured in a building fire that raged out of control for hours overnight in Kaohsiung, authorities said yesterday. Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building on Fubei Road in Yancheng District (鹽埕), as firefighters tried to douse the blaze from the street and aerial platforms. The death toll rose steadily through the day as rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been found, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55
China’s recent increase in military exercises and warplane missions near Taiwan was necessary to defend sovereignty and territory, a Chinese official said yesterday, prompting Taipei to say that it had sabotaged peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China’s military flew 56 planes off the southwest coast of Taiwan on a single day earlier this month, a single-day record that capped four days of a sustained pressure campaign involving 149 flights in international airspace. The purpose of the maneuvers was to “fundamentally safeguard the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the vital interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan