Fantasy trumps reality as Julia Gillard reflects on Game of Thrones and her time as prime minister

‘‘For many long months we starved. The best we could do was rewatch old episodes to remind ourselves of the many ingredients that make up this densely populated drama.’’

What could former Prime Minister Julia Gillard be writing about? The period in the wilderness after Kevin Rudd Mark II returned, throwing her out of her job?

The lean times when she and Tim departed from The Lodge, adjusting to life after politics and before the Adelaide mansion, sustaining themselves on nothing but the parliamentary pension and memories of the never-ending drama they had left behind?

Not at all. Ms Gillard has taken to the esoteric business of critiquing, for an online publication, the cult TV show Game of Thrones.

Her starving was done between episodes, she tells. In the dark times, she discovered sustenance in the fantasy series.

‘‘I first felt the addictive power of Game of Thrones when I was prime minister, living in a world where power was also pursued relentlessly, albeit far less colourfully,’’ she writes for Guardian Australia.

‘‘Certainly the characters of my world were nowhere near as good looking or exotically dressed.’’

Quite. Faceless men and Kevin Rudd would seem unlikely to get a call-back from casting directors for a fabulously successful fantasy in the making.

‘‘The staff who worked with me most closely talked in a language I didn’t understand, discussing the Wall and the White Walkers, the Iron Throne and dragonglass,’’ Ms Gillard writes, granting a revealing glimpse of the weirdness of her prime ministerial office.

‘‘During moments of rest, the police on my protection detail would be hunched over iPads watching and talking the same strange lingo.’’

Revelation came to the prime minister when she binged for three days over Christmas, 2012, on series one of Game of Thrones.

‘‘Fiction and reality started to collide’’ she recalls. ‘‘Returning to my office after an aborted coup in March 2013, I was greeted with posters of sword-fighting with the slogan: ‘What do we say to the god of death? Not today.’ I made it known I was barracking for the Khaleesi. After all, what girl has not yearned for a few dragons when in a tight spot?’’

History shows, of course, that the Khaleesi, mother of dragons, was not enough. The god of death, named Kevin, came another day, and put Ms Gillard to the sword. Perhaps she should have yearned for a white knight rather than dragons.

Ms Gillard, would-be slayer of misogynists, continues to find inspiration in the females of the Game, though her own throne is long gone.

‘‘In this world of constant war, female characters have never been relegated to the sidelines,’’ she notes with satisfaction.

‘‘They confound the stereotypes. Being a wife or being a whore does not mean being a bit player in a male drama. The women of combat command our attention once again.’’

We are not entirely sure precisely what she means, but it’s hard not to get the drift, even if it's fantasy.

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The story Fantasy trumps reality as Julia Gillard reflects on Game of Thrones and her time as prime minister first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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