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Prosecutors explained the plot of ‘Game of Thrones’ to argue that a rioter quoting Cersei Lannister was proof of criminal intent

A composite image of Jeremiah Caplinger and Cersei Lannister.

Department of Justice / HBO

  • Jeremiah Caplinger quoted from “Game of Thrones” in a social media post days after the Capitol riot.
  • “As said by Cersi Lannister ‘I choose violence,'” he wrote, according to a sentencing memorandum.
  • Prosecutors explained the episode in which that quote appeared, and cited it as proof of criminal content.

Prosecutors explained the plot of a “Game of Thrones” episode to argue that a Capitol rioter who quoted the character Cersei Lannister on social media showed proof of criminal intent, according to a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday. 

Two days after the insurrection, Jeremiah Caplinger, 25, posted an image of a soldier from the American Revolution with the caption: “As said by Cersi Lannister ‘I choose violence,'” according to the document. 

In a footnote, the prosecutors explained the plot of the episode in which the quote appears, saying: “Cersei Lannister is a fictional character in the HBO television series ‘Game of Thrones.’ 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.'”

The footnote went on to explain that Lannister used “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,” the document adds. “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.”

Prosecutors said that Caplinger brought body armor with him on January 6, scaled a wall on Capitol grounds, and entered office suites. Other social media posts, cited in the document, show he had little remorse.

Caplinger in November pleaded guilty to one count of stepping on, climbing, removing, or injuring property on Capitol grounds. He faces up to six months in prison, the court filing said.

Last year, Caplinger told MLive that he was inspired by former President Donald Trump to travel to Washington, DC, and participate in the “Stop the Steal” rally. 

“I think it was a great stupid thing when it came to breaking and destroying things, sure … But I will not sit here and allow people to constantly demonize, patronize, criticize and try to ostracize Trump supporters for doing what they believe in,” he told MLive. 

Caplinger will be sentenced on February 1, the filing said.

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