Game of Thrones, based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, is arguably among the greatest television shows of all time. The story line is highly complex, following a number of wonderfully built characters through their journeys in Westeros. For some, these quests are nothing more than desperate attempt to get home or even survive. For others, however, the primary focus is obtained the coveted Iron Throne.
While Martin’s works explore extremely mature plots in a world where dragons and white walkers wage war, there is a certain reality to these stories that I have yet to find in another work of fiction. I acknowledge that Martin’s goal in developing the wonderful world of Westeros was likely not to create a commentary on the global political environment, but there is no denying the tiny hint of truth that viewers can find in the series. It is easily one of the most relevant and important shows of our time and watching it has helped myself — and countless others — to better understand the world we live in.
Let’s start with the obvious. You can’t deny that the race for the Iron Throne nearly mirrors ever political race I know of. It’s important to understand that assassinations, affairs, and the exploitation of children are essential to being a highly successful politician. It’s crucial to draw parallels between House Lannister and the Clinton family — Think about it: unfaithful king usurped by a vindictive and dishonest queen who will do anything to get ahead — or to see that you don’t necessarily have to be on the throne to be in charge — Littlefinger practically runs Westeros and he has yet to take the Iron Throne.
Now, I’m not saying that Hillary is hooking up with her brother on the side or pretending that using an illegal email serves even compares to setting wildfire to a sept and killing hundreds of innocent people, but understanding Cersei Lannister and predicting her movements could be key in deciding how a person feels about her. Seeing how easily Littlefinger manipulates his superiors is essential to understanding that it’s the people behind the scenes — not necessarily the ones you see on TV — that you need to look out for; more often than not, the representatives, much like Westerosi monarchs, are nothing more than expendable scapegoats to the political machine.
What is perhaps most important about my current understanding of Game of Thrones is that fact that it reinforced my trust issues. The show teaches us that you can’t trust anyone, especially those in power, and it makes it very obvious that, no matter how benevolent they appear, people can and will use you for their own personal gain. Politicians are corrupt, but we can only imagine the extent of their corruption when it is put in a fantastical circumstance. This needs to change. Should any of us have been even remotely surprised when we learned that the CIA has possibly assassinated people and treated it like an accident?
Maybe I’m just cynical, but the brilliance in Martin’s stories speaks for itself. The world is not what you think it is. The only difference is, in our world, we can’t count on a pretty blonde girl with dragons to save us from the evil lion lady.