A few days ago, as I shamelessly surfed the net for Game of Thrones theories and analysis following the Season 7 premiere, I stumbled upon an article on Bustle, by Kylie Cheung. From the headline, it was obvious the author sought to compare the major houses of Westeros with American political ideologies. Without a second thought, I put down my ice cream and clicked the link.
What a great idea for an article! I slouched into my recliner, waiting for the page to load, eager to read about the Stark’s conservative values, the Martells and their socially progressive thinking, and of course House Lannister, the walking epitome of corrupt, uncaring, Establishment Democrats.
Imagine how disappointed I was when Ms. Cheung’s in depth analysis amounted to comments like, “The Lannisters are known as the wealthiest house in the land”, and “they’d probably be supporters of Reaganomics”. Her final tally held that House Stark fell in the Democratic camp, as did House Martell and House Tyrell. The Lannisters (those greedy, cold-blooded pigs) were obviously conservative Republicans, as were the members of House Targaryen and House Baratheon. She proposed that Houses Mormont and Greyjoy were Libertarian, and she omitted the Wildlings, who are quite possibly the most ideologically consistent group in the show, entirely.
After I finished reading the article, I checked out Ms. Cheung’s bio page and found links to other “excellent” articles. These included, “People Love John Oliver’s Rant On Paris Attacks”, “Dumb Things Republicans Have Said Since Debate #2”, and of course, “Why Gun Control Is A Feminist Issue”.
Ahhhh ok, I see what’s happening now.
Breaking down entire houses is a difficult undertaking, because the houses, just like political factions in real life, retain members whose views vary wildly at times. I disagreed with Ms. Cheung’s assessment so strongly, that I decided to take another look at some central figures in each house, in an attempt to break down their would-be affiliations in the 2017 US:
Mance Rayder and Tormund Giantsbane (Wildlings)
“The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted.”-Mance Rayder
I wanted to start with the Wildlings because their political views are unmistakable. Mance, Tormund and the Wildlings are dyed in the wool Libertarians. The Wildlings followed Mance, and now Tormund, by their own choice, effectively electing their leaders, while maintaining smaller tribal allegiances. They believe in liberty over all else, as demonstrated by Mance’s martyrdom after commands to bend the knee. The similarities between Wildling and Libertarian ideology are so strong, in fact, that even leftist propagandists like Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone acknowledged the connection, albeit in a stupid, stupid article that went on to compare King Joffrey to George W. Bush, Sarah Palin to a White Walker and Daenerys Targaryen to Barack Obama. Yes, this is an actual article that exists, and yes, it’s as dumb as it sounds.
Stannis Baratheon (House Baratheon)
In Stannis, we had a militaristic battle commander who demanded that all bend the knee. He sought to crush dissent, and there’s little question, that had he found himself on the iron throne, as opposed to slumped and dying in the woods of Winterfell, he would have ruled with an iron fist. Stannis was not a conservative, as others have claimed, but a Theocratic Fascist, a true wannabe dictator. His pseudo-religious obsession with Melisandre and the Lord of Light, combined with delusions of grandeur led to the murder of his only child, and his eventual downfall. Had he succeeded, there is little doubt that the “old Gods and the new” would not have survived his authoritarian reign.
Cersei and Jamie Lannister (House Lannister)
If Hillary Clinton were young, attractive, and more clever, she might actually be Cersei Lannister. Cersei is a social climbing, centralized government elitist. She espouses literally zero politically conservative values in the show, constantly maneuvering and politicking in an effort to keep big government power for herself and quash dissent from the peasants. Jamie is to Cersei, what Bill is to Hillary. Both men are smooth talkers, loved by women, and are strangely likable despite having committed gross atrocities towards their fellow man. There is no question here, House Lannister seeks centralized control and complete governmental power over the individuals living in the realm. These two would unequivocally be Establishment Democrats in the present.
Ned Stark, Robb Stark and Jon Snow (House Stark)
The Starks are certainly the Conservatives in the seven kingdoms. Throughout the show, Ned emphasizes family values, individual liberty and personal responsibility (“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword”). Robb espoused many of the same values during his warrior’s quest to King’s Landing. He believed, as did the Northerners, that the interests and values of the crown did not represent them, and they craved liberty from the tyranny of the King. This is a classic state’s rights vs. centralized government argument. Who better to rule the North than the North? The bastard Snow also followed his adoptive father’s example, advocating for the individual rights of the Wildlings, and later acknowledged, as he too became King of the North, that a centralized government was a poor solution to the problems that ailed Westeros.
Daenarys Targaryen (House Targaryen)
Powerful, and mostly, inherently good, Daenarys is a moderate. She simultaneously, ardently fights for individual liberties and freedom for the slaves of Essos, a very conservative/libertarian position itself, while also fighting for complete centralized control, flowing only from her. The Mother of Dragons is willing to negotiate her power though. This is seen with Yara and Theon in the final chapters of season six, when she conditionally grants them independence from the crown. It leads me to believe that she may yet embrace more conservative values, ruling like a small Federal Government, and largely allowing the individual kingdoms control over their day to day lives.
Occupy Movement and The Women’s March. This is relatively self-explanatory.
So it’s settled then, I’ll continue rooting for House Stark, the conservative beacons of truth in Westeros. Well, the Starks and Dani. Also The Hound, I like him too. Actually, I'm also rooting for the Brothers Without Banners, and Tyron, Varys, and Jorah, Littlefinger, Olenna. Aww hell, I’m rooting for everybody because as we’ve been told now, Winter is Here.
Tyler Dahnke is a father, husband and wine enthusiast who's doing his best to make sense of today's insane political landscape. You can follow him on Twitter at @tylerdahnke.