Game of Thrones and International Affairs: Lessons for the Realpolitik World
What goes up, must come down. It’s a law of nature. Like all good things that come to an end, it is time to conclude a chapter that transpired over 8 long beautiful years. Now that we have entered into the final hours of the last bloody Monday we will ever encounter as a global audience, here are my two Lannister cents.
Breaking its own viewership records by 2019 with over 17.4 million people watching, the global cultural phenomena nears its end.
Leaving fans with somewhat of a bittersweet taste in the mouth, Game of Thrones concludes its final episode on 20th May 2019. With some fans almost uniting over a petition to remake the final season, Game of Thrones is soon going to be a thing of the past. This article is mostly written from a Before Finale (BF) perspective mostly.
Despite all, Game of Thrones is going to be remembered as one of the most cult shows of its generation. It is no secret that George R R Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series are inspired by ancient European history and events, intertwined with fantasy and war drama. In GRRM’s words, fantasy and historical novels are twins. All throughout the show’s history, people have drawn many parallels to real-world history and current state of world order in multiple writings.
On this final Monday, here are some life lessons for the real realm inspired by takeaways of ‘half a decade long romance’ with the biggest show on television.
To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
With ‘fans’ of the show almost being synonymous with worshipers, the series ended with its highest viewership (and also one of the lowest rated episodes: feel free to ring the bell while leaving, if you had a good time). 17.4 million of the online population loves what they see.
Goes on to prove how all humans want to seek peace, but thrive on the visions of violence.
The post-cold war generation that has grown up to universal digital hell always finds beauty in chaos. Magic in madness. That is the whole revolution of this generation. An ongoing battle. Everyday.
The show’s fan following is an iconic proof of how many people seek that kind of cinematic experience. Finding art and beauty in the deaths, victories and disturbances of the some of the most well-written characters on TV, is not an easy task. Spending years in anticipation of it, even tougher. But there are also those who feel the show was unnecessary and a bit ‘ too-violent’ and after all those sad and bittersweet final episodes, these are the people that must be rejoicing in their decision of never having watched a single episode.
The two-nation theory of the Finale: D&D tossed a coin
As the popular Targaryen proverb goes: madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. In terms of playing the game of thrones, eventually, there were two popular votes. Daenerys and Jon. One party, a succulent for power, the other, a voice of reason.
In real world too, for every Drogon-Danny, there is a Jesus Jon
In the realm of earth, if nationalistic leaders rule, there blooms one or more centred, noble flowers of leadership. For instance, the rising popularity of leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pete Buttigieg under the Trump rule in America.
When expectations are too high, disappointment is warranted
The fury of fans feeling exasperated over Jon not petting Ghost has fostered many a discussion within every circle. It hurts but in life, restraint is a virtue of a few. Maybe, the scene was indicative of the fact that even the voice of reason, sometimes, to an extent, must dilute its own emotions and continue fitting into the leadership glove.
Truly, sometimes power suppresses emotion or changes our relationship with it.
This was even underlined in the disassociation of Jon’s character towards embracing every accession to the throne, which was rewarded with the exact opposite, his annual redundancy to it.
Put your faith in the Starks of your life: They’re a dying breed
The starks have taken the cake on the show, baked it over 8 long years and consumed it ( frozen) slice by slice. In a popular ongoing statista vote in the US deciding which of the major characters was likely to die next, most people before episode 5 voted for the twins. Funnily, the stark sisters were not even on this list.
I guess, struggle does build character. And also gives you immunity?
Nevertheless, eventually, after today, they will be the ones ruling over everyone. In real life, however, Starks is a dying breed. So be grateful for all the noble comrades present, everywhere. People who do real work, don’t have time to be idolized.
Two extremes always need a counter centre
Whether it’s the hands of the clock, the pendulum or the throne, everything must reach its locus. By the end of the story, ( and I must admit, all throughout the history of the show and books), Arya’s character has been the most resilient, silent, patient and undergone the most interesting arc. Her trials and tribulations defined her complete balance and built her as the centre to the powerhouse, Danny and the chosen recluse, Jon. Which goes on to validate, for every two-nation theory, there is always a wall being torn between two other divided nations. In this case, a Night King being killed.
And talking of two’s and extremes
Twins are quite weird! They just are! No matter how different their personalities could be, they would always appear as one entity, eventually. Having grown among twins in my own family, I would know. In the show, Cersei and Jamie chose to leave the world, as they entered it, stuck together in a womb, eventually a womb of rocks that is. The only two people in the world that mattered, as they would put it, killed by debris!
Great agendas are built when people collaborate for a higher cause
Somethings are just bigger than the realm of things in totality. Above the people who inhabit it. By the end of season 7, two of the extreme protagonists who came face to face the first time managed to bring together the greatest army ever in the Westeros. Episode 2 of the finale witnessed the most elaborate strategic round table on the show ever. It was the Paris Agreement of the Westeros: à la COP24.
Young minds are capable of ruling a North or two
More credit, accountability and leadership must be given to future generations. Involving young minds in decision and policy-making must be considered seriously in 2019. Whether education or the climate, youth should be brought in as key stakeholders. In the final battle of Winterfell, Lyanna Mormont single-handedly attacked her most giant counterpart in the series. Currently, in the real world, a 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has single-handedly incepted the most impactful global strike on climate change, spearheaded by youths in over 100 countries. Thunberg was called upon the UN to address the COP24 gathering. Inviting more young leaders
Riding the dragons of Feminism Fire
2016 was when female characters were at their peak. The show has birthed fierce female characters to life. Strong and progressive. Every one of them. Cersei, Arya, Sansa, Daenerys, Lyanna, Lara, (Ser) Brienne of Tarth, Margaery, Melisandre, Missandei, Ygritte, Olenna, Shae, Ellaria & her daughters. Each drafted like perfection. (BF period)
Eventually, a lot will argue that white supremacy writing won over feminism fire.
But the show will go down in history as one of the most balanced representations of gender and leadership, (at least for the majority of the show) And whether it is the parliament, cinema, art or any other form of voice, representation is half the battle won. Currently, in the US, % of women in the United States House of Representatives is at its highest (~24%), but there is still a long way to go.
People don’t follow parties. But they always follow great leaders
This analogy is best understood from the evolution of the relationship between Tormund and Snow. When they first met, Jon was just a suspicious captive-crow in the wildling army. Both have had multiple confrontations and almost a death battle.
Despite their differences, Tormund and Jon have shared the most respectful relationships on the show.
At the conclusion of which, Tormund was ready to follow Jon into the biggest battle in Westeros ( and ending the game of thrones with him in the wilderness). In the current political scenario as well, parties have used this (anti) analogy to create a product or brand, in most cases, embodied by one single candidate on the front lines. [The Modi>BJP delusion]
Great Leaders often lose themselves to throne-state of mind.
Robert’s rebellion was built on a lie. Most leaders must strive to find the complete truth to their land’s history and cultures. Moreover, leaders may often lose their true sense of judgement. Danny and her executionist agenda to the throne eventually led to her feeding half the population to her last living, fire breathing, Drogon, starting with Lord Varys. She did promise to burn him alive if he ever betrayed her. She only kept her word. Sometimes words that powerful leaders use, may be their very own Achilles heel.
Leaders, therefore, always need to surround themselves with voices of reason.
A crucial point, where it all started in the books/show as well. A noble advisor calls out the King’s murderous ways and gets beheaded for it. Constant confrontations, whether that was Ned during Robert’s reign, Tyrion during Joffrey Baratheon, Jon during his crow steward days, and Varys, Tyrion and Jon and others by the end of Daenerys’ reign, have been a huge part of the show’s narrative. In the realpolitik world, It is acceptable for people who supported you in the past, to feel differently as times change. A great example of this is the fact that over 60 members have either resigned or have been fired from the administration under Trump’s reign. Thus, building a ruling party with and seeking the advice of good advisors and a team of noble people representing the realm, is key to a sane and functional ruling party.
Fulfil personal prophecies as an individual of the realm
Each one of us has a prophecy to fulfil. Whether it’s Hodor, who died holding the door, Jamie, the KingSlayer, Arya the possible Westeros Warrior aka NightKingSlayer and Jon, the resurrected Jesus of the people, each character had a specific purpose, agenda or duty. Jon was resurrected mostly to fulfil the unfinished duties, the world bestowed upon him, despite his desire for them. Find your slaying machine and get on with it.
And as the games finally end with the throne itself, here’s bidding farewell to them all! Our watch has ended now and thank the lord for that.
Originally published at http://thebigfatpoet.com on May 20, 2019.