The television series “Game of Thrones” is liked for its style resembling the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy for great fights and intrigue, as well as reviled for its graphic sex and violence.
But amid the hype, there is no shortage of great life lessons from George R.R. Martin’s classic stories which led to television series
Fiscal Responsibility: “A Lannister Always Pays His Debts.” (Tywin Lannister)
That oft-repeated line serves as the motto for the toughest family on television. It seems like a no-brainer: who doesn’t tell us that fiscal responsibility is important? But we rarely think why, other than avoiding debt. Not only does being indebted allow one to have power over you, but there’s another reason to pay your debts: it shows you can be trusted. The Lannisters use this to their advantage, even over more “noble” houses that can’t seem to keep their word.
Courage: “Can a man still be brave when he’s afraid?” (Bran). “That is the only time a man can be brave.” (Lord Eddard Stark, Bran’s father.).
We’re taught to be fearless in adversity, but recognizing fear is the first step toward success. Accepting and coping with it may go further than a foolish courage that is ignorant of the consequences.
Relationships: “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow.” (Ygritte).
This is sure to get a lot of laughs, as it was spoken by a snarky female barbarian toward a bastard of a noble family to point out how little he knows about the opposite sex, as well as sex. But there are a whole lot of men who are cocksure, figuring based on some experiences they’ve had that they know everything. If Socrates can admit how little he knows, there’s room for a little humility in all of us.
Education: “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.” (Tyrion Lannister).
As an educator, I can’t laud this line enough. It’s spoken by a dwarf whose despite his size seems to outwit his larger opponents on or off the battlefield. Those who do comprehend books and pick up lessons from them are considered “the wizards” of that age. Today, we call them professionals and problem solvers.
Goal Setting: “When you play ‘the Game of Thrones,’ you win or you die.” (Cersei Lannister).
When the queen employs the line, she reveals herself to be the most ruthless ruler since Lady MacBeth. But the lesson shouldn’t be to kill anyone who gets in your way, given how many problems that plan provides. Instead, it shows the importance of giving it your setting out a goal, and avoiding starting a lot of half-hearted projects.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, GA and became a fan of the show upon another professor’s recommendation.