On Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s meeting stood out for reasons beyond the topics at hand, which included the ongoing partial government shutdown, North Korea and its nuclear weapons program, and the U.S. stock market’s recent volatility. As pointed out by a number of publications, including USA Today, this meeting was noteworthy for a rather curious sighting — a Game of Thrones-inspired poster featuring Trump, with the words “sanctions are coming” written in the long-running HBO series’ trademark font.
While the above sighting marked the first time Trump was spotted with the poster, the image shown on it had first surfaced early in November when the president tweeted it out as a warning about the sanctions he planned to impose on Iran on November 5. According to Mashable, Twitter users quickly reacted to the post, with many sharing their own riffs on the image, such as one that replaced Trump’s image with that of special counsel Robert Mueller and the original text with the words “indictments are coming.” Others made references to Game of Thrones characters, including one Twitter user who quipped about how the villainous King Joffrey “got real old real fast.”
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, was among those who reacted to Trump’s “sanctions are coming” tweet, as she simply replied with the words “not today.” This is a reference to what Arya is supposed to say to the “god of death,” per master swordsman Syrio Forel’s advice in the series’ first season.
As separately recalled by io9 earlier on Wednesday, HBO issued its own response to Donald Trump’s use of Game of Thrones imagery, issuing a statement asking him to stop referring to the show in his political posts, and posting the following tweet.
“How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?”
At the moment, it remains unclear why Trump displayed the Game of Thrones-referencing poster during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting. While the sanctions Trump said “were coming” were indeed reinstated in November, io9 noted that the president did bring up a talk he had with his generals about Iran, albeit in passing. The publication, however, speculated that he might have been vaguely hinting at sanctions relating to his proposed border wall.
“I mean, it’s possible, technically—[Game of Thrones] does have a wall. But really, there’s no need to vaguely threaten winter horrors from a government building; the latest White House holiday decor already took care of that,” io9 wrote.
Additionally, the Daily Mail offered its own theory for Donald Trump’s Game of Thrones poster, writing that the president possibly laid it out during his cabinet meeting to hint at further sanctions against North Korea if the country’s government does not follow through on its “vaguely-worded” promise to denuclearize. As further noted, Trump said during the meeting that he hopes to have a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, amid his recent threats of resuming nuclear missile testing if the U.S. does not lift previously imposed sanctions against the country.