“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”
– George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
“Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impassible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization – bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments – all recede into irrelevance.
Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted.”
– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
I’m always a little behind when it comes to popular TV, especially when the shows are on premium cable channels. Being cheap, I’ve refused to pay for any premium cable channels, plus I’ve spent much of my life on baseball fields and in hockey rinks, rather than watching TV. When my kids recently signed up for HBO Now, I finally got to watch The Sopranos, eleven years after its final episode aired. Now I’m finally able to watch Game of Thrones, after it has been on the air for seven seasons. In the opening episodes I was impressed by the theme which permeates the series. Numerous characters stated “Winter is Coming”. I was immediately struck by the parallels with the Fourth Turning theory about the cyclical nature of our world.
The phrase “Winter is Coming” has multiple meanings in the context of Game of Thrones. First, it is the motto of House Stark, referring to their vigilance regarding dark times ahead. It is a manifestation, meaning one should always be prepared for the worst. As rulers of the North, the Starks were always ready for anything that could happen because eventually something wicked would come. Thus, winter is coming. Another meaning was related to the actual seasonal dynamic in the land of Westeros. They had a very odd seasonal structure where summer and winter could last for long periods of time without anyone knowing when they would switch. They had experienced a long period of summer, meaning a long winter was coming.
The deeper metaphorical meaning of the phrase is how seasons are a reflection of sentiment and mood in our lives and in the world. Even though things may be going well in your world (summer), you know it won’t last forever – a dark period of bitter cold is coming and events will turn against you. The underlying message of the entire show is no one is safe and disaster, danger and death await everyone. Just when you think you are safe, the ominous foreboding of the phrase conveys the message that peril is just over the horizon. The advent of winter unquestionably foretells doom, destruction, and hostilities will rage on the winter winds in a never ending gale. Whether any character survives the onslaught of winter is always in doubt.
George R.R. Martin, the writer of the Game of Thrones books, was inspired by the Hundred Years War in creating the setting and mood of his dystopian adventure. The populations lived on the edge of starvation as the Black Plague, war, famine, and unyielding weather created a bleak existence. The allegorical use of winter in literature spans centuries, from Shakespeare’s winter of our discontent to the Fourth Turning describing our current Crisis period as winter in the generational cycle of history. Winter is used in Shakespearian plays, the Game of Thrones and the Fourth Turning as a metaphor to convey the dark and bitterly cold period wherein peril and death menace all who reside on this earth. Death and destruction come suddenly and un-expectantly during winter storms.
I also see other parallels between the Game of Thrones world and other aspects of Fourth Turnings. I wrote an article about the Gray Champion of this Fourth Turning – Gray Champion Assumes Command two weeks after the shocking election of Donald Trump in November 2016. There is nothing that has happened since then to convince me Donald Trump is not a Gray Champion of this ongoing Fourth Turning Crisis.
The generational alignment which happens every eighty to a hundred years unfolded once again in 2008, with a financial crisis on par with the 1929 Crash and subsequent Great Depression. It took until 2016 for a Gray Champion to appear, and to the surprise of the elitist chattering class it wasn’t Hillary Clinton, but billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump. His arrival marked the beginning of the most perilous portion of this winter of our discontent.
“At each of these great gates of history, eighty to a hundred years apart, a similar generational drama unfolded. Four archetypes, aligned in the same order – elder Prophet, midlife Nomad, young adult Hero, child Artist – together produced the most enduring legends in our history. Each time the Gray Champion appeared marked the arrival of a moment of “darkness, and adversity, and peril,” the climax of the Fourth Turning of the saeculum.”
– The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe
There is a major misconception regarding the term Gray Champion. The term champion has a positive connotation as an admired winner who is universally cheered and esteemed. This is why half of the people who read Donald Trump described as the Gray Champion immediately tune out or go ballistic. The true meaning of champion in this context is an advocate for a specific cause or agenda. Strauss and Howe borrowed the phrase from Nathaniel Hawthorne as he reflected upon the arrival of prophet generation graying stalwarts who decisively took control when all appeared lost.
“One afternoon in April 1689, as the American colonies boiled with rumors that King James II was about to strip them of their liberties, the King’s hand-picked governor of New England, Sir Edmund Andros, marched his troops menacingly through Boston. His purpose was to crush any thought of colonial self-rule. To everyone present, the future looked grim.
Just at that moment, seemingly from nowhere, there appeared on the streets “the figure of an ancient man” with “the eye, the face, the attitude of command.” His manner “combining the leader and the saint,” the old man planted himself directly in the path of the approaching British soldiers and demanded that they stop. “The solemn, yet warlike peal of that voice, fit either to rule a host in the battlefield or be raised to God in prayer, were irresistible. At the old man’s word and outstretched arm, the roll of the drum was hushed at once, and the advancing line stood still.” Inspired by this single act of defiance, the people of Boston roused their courage and acted. Within the day, Andros was deposed and jailed, the liberty of Boston saved, and the corner turned on the colonial Glorious Revolution.
“Who was this Gray Champion?” Nathaniel Hawthorne asked near the end of this story in his Twice-Told Tales. No one knew, except that he had once been among the fire-hearted young Puritans who had first settled New England more than a half century earlier.
Would the Gray Champion ever return? “I have heard,” added Hawthorne, “that whenever the descendants of the Puritans are to show the spirit of their sires, the old man appears again.”
Posterity had to wait a while before seeing him again—the length of another long human life, in fact. “When eighty years had passed,” wrote Hawthorne, the Gray Champion reappeared. The occasion was the revolutionary summer of 1775—when America’s elders once again appealed to God, summoned the young to battle, and dared the hated enemy to fire. “When our fathers were toiling at the breastwork on Bunker’s Hill,” Hawthorne continued, “all through that night the old warrior walked his rounds.” This “old warrior”—this graying peer of Sam Adams or Ben Franklin or Samuel Langdon (the Harvard president who preached to the Bunker Hill troops)—belonged to the Awakening Generation, whose youth had provided the spiritual taproot of the republic secured in their old age.
“Long, long may it be ere he comes again!” Hawthorne prophesied. “His hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invaders’ step pollute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come….” Although Hawthorne did not say when this would be, perhaps he should have been able to tell.”
– The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe
I have been focused on Trump as the Gray Champion, as he becomes the lightening rod during the second half of this Fourth Turning. Domestic tyranny is spreading across the land as the Deep State attempts to maintain their stranglehold over the financial, political and media levers of our surveillance state. Our hour of darkness, adversity and peril is approaching like a deadly winter storm. The arrival of Trump through the wintry mist has not rallied the entire country to his cause.
“Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning the way you might today distance yourself from news, national politics, or even taxes you don’t feel like paying. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted. The Fourth Turning necessitates the death and rebirth of the social order. It is the ultimate rite of passage for an entire people, requiring a luminal state of sheer chaos whose nature and duration no one can predict in advance.”
– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
In Part One of this article I laid out the reasons for Gray Champions arising to meet challenges during crisis periods in history. We are ten years into this Crisis and I have been pondering where we go from here. The plot line of the Game of Thrones has opened my eyes to the fact there isn’t just one Gray Champion during a Fourth Turning. During the Civil War, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were Transcendental prophet generation representatives of the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln and William Tecumseh Sherman were Gray Champions of the Union.
These were men who would do anything to further their cause, from ordering thousands of men to their deaths on Cemetery Ridge, to burning down cities, to suspending the writ of Habeas Corpus, and seceding from the Union. They were destined to brandish their terrible swift swords in achieving total indisputable victory. But, we know only one side could win.
During the World War II/Great Depression crisis FDR is known as the Gray Champion who took drastic measures on the economic front with his New Deal and sent 16 million young men into battle on a scale never seen in history. Douglass MacArthur commanded many of those men in battles to the death across the Pacific. What is less discussed is the fact Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin were also members of the Missionary prophet generation and were the Gray Champions of their nations.
Churchill defied all odds in holding out during the darkest hours and showed no mercy in bombing Germany into submission when he gained the upper hand. Stalin, a man who had slaughtered millions during his purges, was willing to sacrifice millions more to halt Hitler from conquering his country. The alliance of these three Gray Champions virtually assured victory for the Allies in World War II. An epic crisis required unyielding men to face the challenges without blinking – resulting in the deaths of 65 million people.
Gray Champions are not necessarily good, admirable, or moral. Most have narcissistic tendencies and have at least as many enemies as allies. All of the men I’ve named were deeply flawed and in some cases malevolent. What they all had in common was tremendous confidence in their own abilities and an unbreakable determination to achieve the outcomes they desired. Winning was all that mattered to these men.
Americans, blinded by their normalcy bias, never see a Fourth Turning until it arrives with fire and fury. When it arrives, many want to turn back time to the glorious days of spring or summer, but it is not to be. Winter is upon us and even though we wish a Gray Champion wasn’t needed, come he must and come he will. And they won’t be asking for the opinions of the sheep before taking control.
“A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep.”
– Tywin – Game of Thrones
During the last Fourth Turning, the three Gray Champion leaders (FDR, Churchill, Stalin) were all on the same side. They were strong willed and had violent disagreement at times, but they all had the same immediate goal – defeating the Axis Powers. I had been focusing on Trump as the sole Gray Champion, but hadn’t considered other Gray Champion leaders who may have a major impact during this Fourth Turning.
Two powerful dictators – Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping – are also Prophet Generation leaders who are ruthless, unyielding, shrewd, and most important, strident nationalists. These men rule their countries with an iron fist and do not blink when faced with challenges from other nations. They are powerful men with large egos who cast large shadows on the world stage. Opponents are terminated with extreme prejudice in Russia and China. They do not operate under the same moral standards as non-authoritarian nations. The legacies of Stalin and Mao run deep in their countries.
“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
– Lord Varys – Game of Thrones
This alignment of Gray Champion leaders is significantly dissimilar to the World War II alliance. Trump is the more powerful rival of the other two, but is hog tied by domestic opposition on many fronts. All three of these leaders are facing financial, demographic, domestic, and military challenges, creating tensions within their countries and internationally. Putin and Jinping have been pushed towards greater cooperation as Trump and the American Empire have used their economic and military power to intimidate and provoke both of these nuclear powers.
There is already an undeclared currency, resource and financial war being waged between Russia, China and the U.S. Proxy conflicts in the Middle East and relentless tensions on the Korea Peninsula have heated up in the last year. The current Wag the Dog scenario playing out in Syria has further alienated the voices of reason within the U.S., Russia and China. The threat of a real shooting war between these nuclear powers is the highest in decades. These three Gray Champions are vying for dominance on the world stage. There will be winners and losers.
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
– Cersei – Game of Thrones
The American Empire has dominated the world stage since the end of World War II. There were no economic or military rivals over many decades, except for the corrupt and ultimately bankrupt Soviet Union. Its demise left the U.S. as the only major power standing. But arrogance, hubris, debasement of its currency, military overreach, and endemic corruption have, like an unrelenting disease, weakened the empire and made it susceptible to new rivals.
The global chaos and disorder being created around the globe by the teetering American Empire, flailing about in its extended death throes, is accelerating rapidly and setting the stage for the inevitable bloody Fourth Turning conflict. There will be no compromise or diplomatic resolution of this war for control of the 21st century. We are witnessing a modern day version of the Game of Thrones. There are many “kings” vying for the throne as leader of the world, but only one can win. Intrigue, broken alliances, back stabbing, military conquest, secret deals, and eventually bloody struggles will decide the victor. There will be no happy endings.
“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
– Ramsay – Game of Thrones
Further complicating this Fourth Turning for our Gray Champion Trump are a couple other Gray Champions opposing him on the domestic front. Hillary Clinton and Robert Mueller are also prophet generation figures who continue to dog Trump, making his everyday existence a non-stop twitter battle for his presidency. Despite losing the election, and going away like most losers, Clinton is on a perpetual speaking tour raking in millions while trashing Trump on a daily basis.
Mueller appears to be the tool by which the Deep State insiders are attempting a coup to bring down Trump by any means necessary. There is a daily litany of indictments, FBI raids, leaked documents, bimbo eruptions, tell all books, exclusive interviews by the propaganda media of traitorous scum like Clapper, Brennan and Comey, and the accusations and counter accusations between Trump and his foes. Trump is learning a hard lesson from the Game of Thrones.
“I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.”
– King Robert Baratheon – George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
The current configuration of foreign and domestic Gray Champions does not bode well for the second half of this Fourth Turning. But it does support the dynamics driving this Fourth Turning – debt, civic decay, and global disorder. The reason the American Empire is in terminal decline is the unpayable trillions in debt and unfunded promises made by corrupt politicians destined to bankrupt the country. That which is unsustainable will not be sustained.
This unsustainable fiscal condition is driving the irrational desperate actions of the Wall Street controlled Federal Reserve, the production of fake economic data to keep the ignorant masses sedated, and the rigging of markets to boost the wealth of the billionaire class while throwing the average family under the bus. There is nothing normal about the frantic flailing attempts to keep this empire of debt from collapsing. All actions by politicians, government apparatchiks, the military industrial complex and central bankers must be viewed through this lens of reality.
The Deep State invisible government is apoplectic at their imminent demise and is using every tool in their deceptive repertoire to maintain their power, control and wealth. Utilization of surveillance state assets, false flags, fake news propaganda, blackmail, bought off “experts”, rigged financial markets, creating foreign enemy bogeymen and banking cabal machinations have pushed the world towards global conflict. And that is what they want. War is good business and further enriches the Deep State. We are just cannon fodder to them.
The seething hatred permeating American society with left wing social justice warrior nutjobs on one side and bloodthirsty warmongering neocon Nazis on the other, leaves no room for compromise or common ground. The vast majority of the American populace is either blissfully ignorant or delusional when it comes to the hard truths facing the nation. The Deep State funds the ongoing civic decay in order to keep the public distracted by inconsequential social issues. Fantasizing about a savior coming to the rescue and singlehandedly solving our problems is wishful thinking. Denial is not a plan. It is time to face the hard truths.
“Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.”
– Tyrion Lannister – George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
In Part Three I will attempt to make some sense of the seemingly indecipherable events happening on a daily basis and try to peer through the fog to get a glimpse of the future. Will it be a boot stamping on our faces forever or a new Spring dawning across our land.
“The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.”
– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
In Part One of this article I laid out the reasons for Gray Champions arising to meet challenges during crisis periods in history. In Part Two of this article I assessed the configuration of Gray Champions throughout the world and the potential impact on the course of this Fourth Turning.
The swirling fog of confusion enveloping the globe as the high lords of the universe play their game of thrones has even the most critical thinking individuals baffled by the course of events. The desperation and blatant lawlessness of the Deep State players in their endeavor to preserve their hegemony over the course of global affairs is palpable with every attack, false flag, accusation, and ratcheting up of their propaganda media machine.
Like Game of Thrones, the behind the scenes machinations, subterfuge, and deceptions taking place outside the purview of the common folk are designed to only benefit the rich and powerful players undertaking these traitorous actions. Open warfare will not happen until it is thought to be in the best interests of those manipulating the levers of society and the narrative produced by their perpetual propaganda media machine. But, in the end, it will be the innocent common people who will suffer the consequences, while the lords reap the riches, glory and power.
“Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?”
– Lord Varys – George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
The common people have always been blind to the next turning until after it fully arrives. Even now, the average person has no idea we are in the midst of a crisis period which will change the course of history. The overwhelming majority of the 325 million Americans, and billions around the globe, go about their daily lives oblivious to the intrigues, conspiracies, and treachery playing out at the highest levels of government and in smoky backrooms, where deals are made, wars plotted, and billions dispersed to the oligarchical lords running our world.
The common people get up, go to work, try to earn enough to survive or get ahead in life, raise their children, and endeavor to attain the lifestyle sold to them by their overlords based on delusion and debt. They are easily distracted by technological baubles, watching sporting events, enslaved by government handouts, and told what to believe by their keepers. They don’t want to experience the challenges of winter, but a never ending summer. They don’t want to think and be responsible for their lives. They want to be left in peace on Twitter and Facebook, but that isn’t how it works during a Fourth Turning winter.
“The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” He gave a shrug. “They never are.”
– George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
There is no telling how the next ten or so years will play out; which alliances prove to be successful or disastrous; whether Trump is compromised by the Deep State or wins this internal struggle; and the outcomes of the fast approaching civil and global wars, which are inevitable given the current state of affairs in the world. The Fourth Turning isn’t a prediction. It’s a period of crisis driven by the generational alignment which happens like clockwork every 80 to 100 years. It predicts nothing. The course of events is up to the individuals driving those events.
Those who attempt to dismiss this generational theory by calling it doom porn or saying it is impossible to predict the future are revealing their fears rather than arguing based on facts or substance. A man who fears the coming trials and tribulations has already lost. Fear works far better than swords in keeping the masses controlled. Take the Russian bogeyman scenario being utilized at the present time to keep the ignorant masses distracted and bemused. Praying for a lone wolf to save the day and restore the world to its summer like condition is irrational and again based upon fear. Winter winds are already blowing at gale force.
“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
– Ned Stark – George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
It’s fear that appears to be pushing people over the edge. The common people are being manipulated by the “powers that be” though propaganda, mistruths, distractions, iGadgets, hero worship, irrelevant social justice warrior issues, the illusion of political choices, and being lured into debt servitude by the banking cabal and their mega-corporation co-conspirators. They have successfully divided us into angry subsets of lone wolves unwilling or unable to unite and fight the true enemies.
The common people will again do the dying and get the short end of the stick, just as they did during the Civil War, Great Depression and World War II. In order to change the dynamics of this Fourth Turning from one where the lords determine our fate, it would require the majority to open their eyes to see the truth and be led by truly just men to overcome the forces of darkness currently in control. Based on history, this is an unlikely scenario, but still possible.
“Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true.”
– Syrio Forel – George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
An extremely important question on which hinges the future course of history, will need to be answered in the near future. Is Trump a moral, just, honorable leader who has the best interests of the American people as his sole priority or will he continue to represent the interests of the vested interests (aka Deep State)? Words are not enough. It’s his deeds by which he will be judged. Is he a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a noble warrior doing battle with Deep State enemies?
His contradictory and baffling actions over his first fifteen months in office have given hope to many, infuriated others, and confused the majority. Does he have principles or is everything negotiable? His decision making, relationships with foreign adversaries, ability to defeat his domestic enemies, and courage to do what is right whether it is popular, will determine his place in history. Failure could be catastrophic for the nation.
While Trump, Putin, and Jinping play their game of thrones for world dominance, we the people still have to do our part at this crucial time in history. While the vast majority of Americans may not be intellectually capable of independent thought or critical thinking due to decades of dumbing down through the government education gulags and a steady diet of government propaganda, there are a minority of patriotic people who respect the Constitution and will need to man the wall.
We know the existing social order will be demolished by the end of this Fourth Turning and courageous acts will matter, sacrifice required, and defeating enemies from within and without will be compulsory. There will be no glory for common men who make the ultimate sacrifice and die for a better tomorrow for their children and grandchildren. Everyone has the potential to make a difference. Danger is omnipresent.
“I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.”
– The Oath of the Brothers of the Night’s Watch – Game of Thrones
You don’t have to be a fan of the Game of Thrones or a believer in the Fourth Turning to realize the world is in the midst of a crisis. Denial and willful ignorance will not turn back time to better days. Whether it be a fictional battle for control of the seven kingdoms or a real battle for control of petro-currencies, gas pipelines, natural resources, and military dominance, the humans locked in these battles never change.
Human nature has remained the same throughout history. The shortcomings of men across centuries have remained consistent: greed, power seeking, arrogance, cruelty, immorality, and hubris. Even Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a man of true courage, knew “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being”.
The coming storms will bring out the best and the worst in humanity. The nation could be snuffed out or be elevated to new glorious heights. If good wins out over evil the heroic deeds of the winners will become the stuff of myths and legends. If evil wins out over good the final shocking scene in The Planet of the Apes may be our future. The choices we make will matter.
“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort–in other words, a total war…
History’s howling storms can bring out the worst and best in people. The next Fourth Turning can literally destroy us as a nation and people, leaving us cursed in the histories of those who endure and remember. Alternatively, it can ennoble our lives, elevate us as a community, and inspire acts of consummate heroism–deeds that will grow into myth like legends recited by our heirs far into the future.”
– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning