Game of Thrones and Philosophy

Posted on June 13th, 2016 by:

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The book Game of Thrones and Philosophy covers the story of George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (mainly the first couple of books.)  The material presented in this book covers the philosophical predisposition of each character and their actions. The book asks the questions “what would Thomas Hobbes do in westeros?” or even Machiavelli, or Nietzsche. What type of council would Thomas Hobbes give to Ned Stark after he found out that Joffrey was born of incest?


Applying their principals found in their philosophy you find that some of these philosophers would preach that instead of Ned Stark trying to adjust Joffrey becoming king due to his illegitimacy, Ned should have let him become king without protest. Because all in all, isn’t the stability of the realm more important? The ideas presented in the book are debatable, but it is still quite interesting to ponder. What makes Cersei a less sympathetic character than Catelyn Stark? Or Ned Stark? All three of them make sacrifices for their children, they even lie (and in some cases kill) for their children. But ethically there is definitely a difference between the Starks’ actions and Cersei’s. Cersei acts in the first book of ASOIF are egoistic, and purely out of self preservation. She comes out the winner at the end of the first book, since Joffrey becomes king, King Robert is dead, and Ned is dead. Her secrets are kept safe. But at what cost? Her affair with her brother Jamie put the entire realm in jeopardy. On the other hand what has Ned’s honor gotten him in the world of westeros? Maintaining honor was an important thing to Ned Stark, but that honor ended his life, and as Littlefinger said to Ned ““You wear your honor like a suit of armor, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move.” In the world of westeros, honor is a vulnerability, but it is extremely important to characters like Ned and Barriston Selmy, Brienne of Tarth, etc.


All in all, this book is really great for fans of the a Song of Ice and Fire series, because I think one thing that fans of the series have in common is the excitement over material as dense as George R.R Martin’s work. It is so much fun to pick apart these characters, and their motivations. This book adds another dimension and a new tool and perspective to analyze the characters in the world of ice and fire.

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