Game of Thrones quote used as evidence against capitol rioter

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

After the January 6 attack, a Capitol rioter went on social media and quoted Cersei Lannister. Prosecutors used it as proof of his criminal intent.

The January 6 Capitol riot, when insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, felt like something that was more out of Westeros than the real world. And indeed, there was some crossover. Thanks to a court sentencing memorandum filed on Tuesday, we learned that not only was the riot reminiscent to something out of Game of Thrones, but prosecutors actually used the show as evidence in court.

Per Business Insider, 25-year-old Jeremiah Caplinger took part in the Capitol Riot and is currently facing six months in prison for “stepping on, climbing, removing, or injuring property on Capitol grounds.” He pleaded guilty to those charges back in November, but the court memorandum from the case has just been made available to the public this week.

And here’s where things get interesting: two days after the failed coup at the Capitol, Caplinger posted a picture of an American Revolutionary War soldier to his social media, with the caption “As said by Cersei Lannister, ‘I choose violence.'”

Prosecutors used this to prove Caplinger’s criminal intent…since, you know, Cersei wasn’t exactly the best role model on Game of Thrones. Where things get kind of hilarious is that the prosecutors then actually explained the plotline surrounding the quote to drive their point home.

“Cersei Lannister is a fictional character in the HBO television series ‘Game of Thrones,'” a footnote in the memorandum reads. “After being confronted by a group of politically-empowered religious zealots, who warn her that if she does not yield to them ‘there will be violence’, Cersei Lannister responds, ‘I choose violence.”

This section they’re referencing is from season 6 episode 8, “No One,” where the Faith Militant try to place Cersei under arrest, and in turn she unleashes Gregor Clegane to bash in their heads. The memorandum goes on to explain the longer-term repercussions of Cersei’s actions, including her using “a weapon of mass destruction to blow up one of the largest and most important buildings in the capital city” which contained “politicians and religious leaders.”

"In stating, ‘I choose violence’, Cersei Lannister embraced — and then carried out — mass murder to achieve her political ends. In the context of Caplinger posting this just two days after January 6, Caplinger’s adoption of this quote is alarming and provides insight into his mental state and intent in storming the Capitol."

Clearly the prosecutor was either familiar with the show or did their research. If you’re going to quote Game of Thrones while committing a crime, you’d better be sure about that choice. You never know if the person convicting you might be a fan.

And I’m just going to put this out there…if you’re quoting Cersei Lannister to make your point, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

Next. Peter Dinklage: Game of Thrones spinoff will be “really f***ing good”. dark

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