Game Of Thrones Analysis Paper
The essay focuses on the very famous and popular television series that is named ‘Games of Thrones’. It is important to mention that this particular form of series has a big role to play in the social setting of the United States. There are many lessons that can be taken from the series which needs to be learnt in order to make sure that the people or the audiences who are watching the show know that it is depicting them what they are going through. The best thing about this series is that it reflects the setting of the society and helps us overcome the things which are difficult for us to handle. It is important for us to know that the people who are a part of this crew of the series know how to perform their actions on the stage. They make sure that whatever they do or perform is giving the reflection of the true picture of the society.
Not only is this causing a massive upheaval in the society by helping the community to learn and know things, it is also important that people also derive lessons about politics from it. The series is effective in the sense that the people are learning to understand the basic things that they can know about politics. So, it is very important for us to know that this series reflect many things that people go through in their lives and are deeply affected by the political environment around them. In this case, this series acts as a buffer for those who are interested to learn many great lessons about politics from it. However, it cannot be underestimated in any case and it needs to be ensured that the people who are living in a certain society needs to know that they should be knowing the basic tenets and things about living in a certain manner. However, all of these things can be accessed by making sure that the people get an idea about the political activities from this scenario.
It is important to mention that the legendary human’s rights activist Malcom X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” Through this quote, Malcom X speaks about a very relevant issue in the global society today, that being the control of the media over society. This fact is undeniable as we use the media in everyday life, whether it be listening to the radio, watching TV or reading a newspaper/magazine. Now more than ever the media has an immense effect on its consumer, so much so that in 2016 there was a Senate hearing on how social media superpowers Google, Facebook, and Twitter had an effect on the presidential election (United States).
The reason for the media’s control is simply their ability to control information. Effectively, the media controls the flow of information from one source to another, thus, allowing for the media to mediate or in certain cases skew what information society can obtain. Technology used by media (namely social media) such as cookies are meant to further control the information exposed to you as it filters the information your shown through the storage and analyzation of your personal data in order to “effectively target the consumer and optimize their experience” (Luzak 551).
Though the general population may not realize, general concepts such as fashion trends and even governmental policies are based off how the media frames society and the perception of the general social climate at the time. Entertainment media such as movies, TV, and music also contribute in the influence over society, as it normally parallels real societal issues. Through the impact of mass entertainment media on the population, it is evident that there are flaws within the socio-political structure of modern America. Today, mainstream entertainment media plays a significant role in shaping the people’s perception of society, but more so it affects the settings in which different societies exist. In relation to that fact, every national society has its own identities and flaws, this is especially true in the American socio-political setting.
Westeros. Though a fictional world created by world renowned author George R.R Martin, the world of Westeros in Game of Thrones is much more than a hit HBO TV show or award-winning book series. Rather, it is also a challenge to and representation of American socio-political issues such as international relations, unequal power within the social structure, radical political behavior, exposition of the capitalist system, etc. to name a few. These ideals are challenged and emphasized within the novel through characters and symbols such as Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, the iron bank, the wall and key events such as the blowing up of the Sept of Baelor, red wedding, the overthrow of Slavers Bay, etc.
“The age of global capitalism, however, is defined by the waning of any sense of outside. Guided by Margaret Thatcher’s infamous neoliberal mantra, “There is no alternative,” Empire’s cultural logic has no space for a different world, whether real or imaginary.” (Hassler-Forest 3) Within the first scene of Game of Thrones we are immediately introduced the Wall, a massive structure separating the South of Westeros and the North.
Martin’s use of the wall is to create an outside, more so the ideas of the others or “wights” that symbolize the apocalypse and impending doom of the world of Westeros. The idea of the wall and outside is the first parallel drawn to socio-political America, that being, the concept of capitalism. Much like how the Wall creates a “waning outside” from the impending apocalypse, capitalism needs the inside to survive, this is because without continuous growth a Capitalist society wouldn’t survive. Though the Wall provides great insight on imperial and global capitalism there is another entity within the Game of Thrones world that directly correlates with today’s capitalist society.
The Iron Bank in Game of Thrones is undoubtedly the novel’s version of corporate America, specifically massive banks such as J.P Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Throughout the storyline the iron bank shows extremely similar characteristics to corporate America and how they operate. Corporate America has, is, and always will be an immense influencer in politics throughout Americas history. Big banks and corporations have always supported politicians and policies that are advantageous to their goals of growth (Morris 52). The same can be said for the iron banks. Much like how corporations fund the politicians through PAC’s and direct donation within the show the iron banks do the same during the war. The iron bank was quick to back Stannis Baratheon during the as he had promised to pay off the crowns debts if he had taken the throne and won the war.
The bank was then quick to back Stannis’ opposition Cersei Lannister when it became apparent that she had begun to win the war. This exposition of capitalist corporate greed is similar to the corruption found within American society today. Corporate corruption and greed have always been a real issue within American society as it seems as though they control every aspect of politics, which is not entirely false. Martin does an impeccable job of mimicking the role of capitalism within politics through both the iron bank and wall. Much like capitalism social inequality (which can be argued as an effect of capitalism) is also a very important concept within the world of Game of Thrones.
Main protagonist Daenerys Targaryen throughout the entirety of the storyline is used as the symbol of Democratic possibility in the Game of Thrones world. Daenerys as a strong and independent female character who consistently fights the inequalities within Game of Thrones society namely poverty, discrimination, slavery, and corruption. Daenerys’ development, specifically the legendary nicknames she acquires as she develops such as “the breaker of chains”, “myhsa” (mother), “protector of the realm”, and “mother of dragons”, speaks to the effect she had in the Game of Thrones world. In fact, some argue that the development of Daenerys’ character within the novel as important socially progressive character is pivotal in order to understand the parallels that Martin draws to the American socio-political climate within the story (Phillips 37).
In the world of Game of Thrones, it is common practice to own slaves, participate in rampant and blatant discrimination towards different regional people, and understand the very apparent social hierarchy. This similarly compares to the inequalities within American society today as well. Racism, extremely polarizing economic distributions, and social concepts such as white privilege and the patriarchy carry the same implications that Martin writes about in the Game of Thrones general society. Daenerys role within the story is to become a righteous democratic savior, to rid the society of all its negative implications and this is seen through various events in which Daenerys strives to create a better society.
Three distinct ways in which Martin (through Daenerys) attempts to expose and correct the shared socio-political issues between American and Game of Thrones society are the overthrow of slavers bay, the freeing of her slave soldiers, and the change of the Dothraki culture. The most subtle and initial progressive movement that Daenerys works towards is the taking down the patriarchal dominant Dothraki society. Throughout the novel, the Dothraki people are seen as a savage and simple people who only know war and loyalty to the one on the throne. Daenerys, after being sold by her brother to the Dothraki king, was successfully able to advance Dothraki society and abolish the very strict gender norms within that society. This is very critical to a modern issue of having women being domestic and having barriers in the work force such as the wage gap or blatant discrimination. Though not as modern the issues of the patriarchy Martin address the issues of slavery, poverty, and discrimination through the freeing of the slave army and the overthrow of slavers bay.
One of the most iconic and socially progressive events within the story is Daenerys dropping the whip and freeing the slave army she had just bought. In this scene, Daenerys role as a warrior of democracy echoes a very similar iconic event in American history, President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. As Frederick Douglass described it: “The scene was wild and grand. Joy and gladness exhausted all forms of expression, from shouts of praise to joys and tears.” (Klitzman). Daenerys whip drop had a similar effect as the slaves and masters within the town were shocked when this occurred.
The overthrow of slavers bay also echoes 19th century American society and the events that occurred within namely the civil war. Unhappy of the unequal societal practices and laws that kept the salves in poverty and discriminated against Daenerys attempted to overthrow the Oligarchy that resided within slaver’s bay. Similar problems were the root cause of the civil war, economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict. Just as in the civil war, in the world of Game of Thrones democracy had won the war and a new system was put in place by yet another pivotal character Tyrion Lannister.
“More than any other character, Tyrion exemplifies Sartre’s existentialism and how people are a complex, multifaceted product of their facticity and the choices they make. In Tyrion’s full acceptance of himself as a dwarf and his determination to still be his own person, he embodies Sartrean authenticity.” (Silverman 38) A personal favorite, Tyrion, though a dwarf and normally looked down upon in the novel (both figuratively and literally) he is crucial to understanding the common political behavior within the Game of Thrones universe.
Not only does he expose political corruption that is evident in the storyline, but Tyrion also helps the audience understand legitimate corruption and political behavior issues found within American society and politics. His role within the storyline is to serve one head to the three head of the dragon prophecy (more to come on that) as the hand of the queen (a role similar to a modern-day prime minister) tot the aforementioned Daenerys. Tyrion can be seen as an embodiment of Realpolitik ideals, as he is constantly seen bringing Daenerys to a more realistic scenario on multiple occasions especially when it came to the aftermath of Daenerys slavers bay liberation crusade.
The liberation of slavers bay was shown to be a parallel to the acts that occurred within the civil war, so it is clear the aftermath would parallel reconstruction within American history. Immediately following the liberation of the slaves Daenerys and Tyrion saw the backlash from the slave owners whose thousands of years of tradition had been broken. This echoes the backlash President Lincoln faced post-civil war. More so, the Sons of Harpy within the novel are directly comparable to the KKK during the reconstruction period and how they proceeded to protest the new laws imposed by the government (TIME source). Though where it differs is how Tyrion offers the solution showing how this time period within American history could have been handled differently. Tyrion had offered that the slave owners be allowed to open the fighting pits (originally closed cause it was slaves fighting) under new laws and rules that it would be free men fighting.
It is important to mention that this series has a lot to offer for the general public. The people who are going through various things in their lives always need a role model from which to learn various things. They can do this with the help of media that is a reflection of the things these people are going through in their lives. In this situation, it is important for them to ensure that they learn whatever media is telling them to do. However, they should also not blindly follow what media is showing them but they need to use their mind also. They need to see that they have to be critical in their approach towards the media. They cannot just take all the lessons from this series without thinking about them. They have to ensure that whatever they are learning from media will have to be filtered and only then they will be able to apply these lessons in their own lives.
The series revolves around the characters that seem to engage in international relations. The story depicts the tale of international players who know how to engage in these global political relationships with one another. They need to ensure that they have to be able to know that they can critically assess whatever is being shown to them. If it is not the case, they might select their options so that they could better decide how to apply these lessons on their own selves. These people have to be good in the sense that they must not blindly follow the messages given out through this series. However, they should strive hard and research well before using any of the lessons from this series. They cannot simply take a lesson out of the context and use it in their lives.
Hassler-Forest, D. (2016). Science fiction, fantasy and politics: Transmedia world-building beyond capitalism (Radical cultural studies).
Klitzman, Zach. “Black Reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation.” President Lincoln’s Cottage, 22 Feb. 2013, www.lincolncottage.org/black-reaction-to-the-emancipation-proclamation/.
Luzak, J. (2014). Privacy Notice for Dummies? Towards European Guidelines on How to Give “Clear and Comprehensive Information” on the Cookies’ Use in Order to Protect the Internet Users’ Right to Online Privacy. Journal of Consumer Policy, 37(4), 547-559.
Morris, E. (2015). Wall Streeters: The creators and corruptors of American finance.
Phillips, K., McAbee, Kris, Cox, Earnest, & Thomas, Jan. (2018). The Power of Rhetoric in Game of Thrones: How Gender and Language Reflect Character Development, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
Silverman, E., & Arp, Robert. (2016). The Ultimate Game of Thrones and Philosophy: You Think or Die. (Popular culture and philosophy). La Vergne: Open Court.
United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Intelligence author. (2018). Open hearing: Social media influence in the 2016 U.S. election : Hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, first session, Wednesday, November 1, 2017. (United States. Congress. Senate. S. hrg; 115-232).
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