HBO's Game of Thrones may be over, but the battle over its controversial final season wages on. And apparently some judges are even making a federal case out of it.
On July 8, the Ninth Circuit court of appeals handed down an opinion, which was fairly unremarkable as far as legal opinions go. It was a pretty standard reversal of a lower court decision, at least to the untrained eye. Hidden on page 15 of the 20-page opinion, however, there appears to be some serious shade. Staffed by a panel of three judges, the Ninth Circuit used the final season of Game of Thrones to make a pointed argument for why the lower court was wrong to ignore the decision in the 2014 case of Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice.
The decision reads, in part: “We will not render Troice meaningless the way that Game of Thrones rendered the entire Night King storyline meaningless in its final season.”
Ummm, can we get a cold compress bandage for that burn?
According to the legal sleuths over at Law360, the judges referenced GOT's final season and its treatment of the Night King to help draw attention to Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice. The panel believes the lower court erred in ignoring this previous decision when it ruled on the current case Banks et al. v. Northern Trust Corp. et al. To couch this in TV terms, the panel was basically like, "You can all pretend like there weren't seven seasons of build-up of this storyline and character arc only to render it totally pointless at the end, but The North remembers!"
Is this kind of behavior totally uncharacteristic for judges? Not at all. According to the New York Times, justices regularly invoke popular culture in their legal decisions. It may be hard to believe, but even those who wear the black robe like to have a little fun from time-to-time. They are human after all, and who wouldn't want their hot takes preserved for all time? Social media posts come and go, but legal opinions last forever.
At this point, we'd be more surprised to find someone without an opinion about the final season of the epic fantasy series. Some so-called fans of the show even tried, unsuccessfully, to force HBO to remake the final season with a widely circulated petition. From dimly-lit battle sequences to condemnation over the show's treatment of female characters, GoT Season 8 was rarely without its hot takes and haters. Mind you, none of these controversies were enough to stop the final season from breaking all kinds of records, from viewership to social media engagement.
Okay, Ninth Circuit, if you're listening; gives us your thoughts on Season 3 of Stranger Things?