Ted Cruz is Totally Mance Rayder

Cruz ducked the question of which "Game of Thrones" house he belonged to, so we're helping him figure it out.
Photograper: HBO, left; Getty Images, right

No, really. Ted Cruz is Mance Rayder—like, totally Mance Rayder, King-Beyond-the-Wall in Game of Thrones.

He's a loud insurgent with establishment bona fides, a loyal following, and a total thing about border security.

How did we get to this (pretty brilliant, for 20 minutes) theory? The Texas senator went on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Wednesday, and the conservative host played Cruz in with the theme to the popular fantasy book series books and HBO show.

"I enjoyed coming in to the Game of Thrones theme song," Cruz said.

Hewitt then asked if he identified with any identified with any of the houses, proposing the gold-loving Lannisters and the stoic Starks. (Duh, no.)

"Oh, I enjoy them all," Cruz said with a laugh and almost Lord Varys-like diplomacy. "Thankfully, politics in Washington, although cutthroat, rarely involves cutting as many literal throats."

Fair enough, but we think it's simply untenable that a politician who previously revealed his inner Trekkie to Bloomberg Politics could be left unaffiliated in the world of Westeros. Since he refused to pick a a side, we are forced to pick one for him.

Before we get into this, some spoilers below.

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Our initial instinct was that Cruz belonged in House Martel, since he, like its scion Oberyn Martell, showed up in the capital from the south and immediately sought out his enemies openly, rather than covertly. His ultimate bloody failure, though, seemed a bit too quick and extreme, no matter where Cruz is polling in a possible presidential race.

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We also thought about Baratheon and Greyjoy (because of the loud insurgent thing), but neither seemed quite right.

But then it hit us: He's not in a house at all. He's Mance Rayder.

Mance (who goes by his first name) was once part of the establishment, just like the Princeton- and Harvard-educated Cruz, as a senior member of the Night's Watch. What's more, Mance specialized in border security as a one of the Watch's most-skilled rangers patrolling for potential invaders. 

At some point, though, Mance defected to live among the marauding Wildlings, then declared himself king. While Cruz never quite betrayed any oaths that we know of, he did find a new life by crossing a border in the other direction, having been born in Canada before moving to the states. He has become a beloved leader of once-fledgling movement of Tea Party conservatives who are quite open in their desire to shake power loose from the rule of a federal government. And as with Mance's Wildlings, Cruz's partisans argue that they are free people with no true leaders, only men of accomplishment with good ideas.

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Both also have a charisma and intelligence that enemies routinely deny. 

Yes, the Mance's Wildings could be accused of illegally crossing the border, which Cruz wouldn't like, but they also want to seal that border behind them for safety from the horrors in their own land. Cruz hasn't shown much flexibility on humanitarian refugees, but, as the son of a Cuban refugee, perhaps he'd re-consider in the future. (Incidentally, Mance was also the alleged son of non-Westerosi.)

So Ted Cruz is Mance Rayder, and it'll take at least two more books before we know where he ends up.

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