I trust most of you have already heard about Game of Thrones, HBO’s hit TV show based on a series of epic fantasy novels, written by George R. R. Martin. The show is well established within popular culture, as are the books, and now everyone knows the author and his work, nearly 20 years after the release of the first book.
Among the several differentiating aspects of the show and the books, are the violence, nudity, and intricate social and political connections. It is the political side of a fictional story that has specialized publications such as Foreign Policy or Foreign Affairs (the links will lead you to several articles on the subject), trying to explain what kind of world is the one portrayed in Game of Thrones, after having already tried to explain the world we live in. It also has veteran political journalists interviewing some of the actors.
Even if we don’t dwell into political theory, it is hard not to make parallels between our world and our history and Game of Thrones’ middle age based fantasy world, which happens to contain dragons, demons, dire wolfs, sorcery and ice zombies (they look as scary as they sound).
In this story, the civilized world is composed of a giant country that comprises seven kingdoms, most of which, at one point fight for the right to sit on the Iron Throne, which is the seat of the King. The King rules over all of the seven, which do have some autonomy, similar to the way Washington rules over all the states in the USA, even though each state has its own constitution and government. The scramble for power can be compared to what happened in Europe from middle age until World War II, when several countries / nations fought to expand their domains in Europe and the newly discovered continents (mostly Africa and America).
Besides power politics, there is also the other side of international relations in Game of Thrones. The alliances, the sanctions, the backstabbing and deceit. It is politics on a big level and on a small one, and it is fascinating to compare our world to the one we get to see on TV. Once we set aside the obvious fantasy aspects of that world, and the natural technological differences, it is interesting to understand that not much differentiates us from that ruthless planet. Class struggles, corruption, bribes, poverty, war and famine are all present and that should stifle some reflection on our own path, and on the evolution we ought to have achieved by now.
It is hard for me to dwell more into the subject more without revealing too much about the show. So, for those that have not seen it yet, I encourage you to watch it and read the above mentioned articles. For those that already do watch Game of Thrones, try to look at its political intricacies because you will probably find it interesting. The main reason being that it is rare to see such a complex and accurate portrait of how ruthless the world of politics really is.