It's More Than a Game

By Hani Azzam on July 18, 2012

Elites struggling for power while the poor suffer anonymity and hardship. Impending climate change threatens yet leaders stand idle. George R. R. Martin set Game of Thrones in Westeros, but our world sets as thrilling a stage of intrigue and influence.



“Winter is coming”

Most episodes include warnings of climate change and global warming seems the obvious parallel on Earth. While Geopolitical squabbles leave the monumental issue on the backburner here, elites of Westeros make love and war, while winter looms. The Season Two finale demonstrates Westeros’ dnager due to wayward preparations. Although no army of zombies marauds our  borders, the catastrophic consequences of climate change will leave us as stunned as Sam.


“A Lannister always pays his debts”

I did a fair amount of “America-bashing” in my last post, and unfortunately, the theme continues. America has the economic riches to match the Lannister’s fortune, yet both have an inclination for debt guaranteed more by their prestige than cash (or gold). What’s more, the misery of the Lannister peasants and the arrogance of Cersei and Joffrey mirrors the priorities of most American elites: making money and maintaining muscle. To do this, Lannisters and Americans turn to “big business”. The Lannisters have Petyr Baelish’s brothels, and banks have been screwed with American money for years.

A recent inability to defeat an army of lesser size and training solidifies Americans as the real-life Lannisters. If this leaves a bad taste in your mouth, here’s a hopeful caveat for Lannisters and Americans; they have some of the brightest political minds and innovative scientists .



“Lord of Light”

Her creepy, definitely out-of-wedlock, birth aside, the priestess Melisandre and her sway over Stannis Baratheon mimics modern, religious extremism.

From the Westboro Baptist Church to Al-Qaeda, religious perversions inspire cruel adherence to absolutes, and promises of salvation. Stannis and Melisandre, as well as the aforementioned groups, forment revolution against established institutions. Fortunately, their victories are short-lived and their “divine conflicts” have ended up blowing-up in their face…literally.



Blood of the First Men”

The Starks pride themselves on lineage from the “first men” in Westeros and maintenance of many of the old traditions. The Industrial Revolution has introduced a rapid pace of change to our world, and not all of it positive. The Starks correspond to those who reject globalization and cling to their native customs against the seemingly unstoppable wave of modernization. Some of whom have  held to a naïve trust in man to their detriment. The decline of Native American civilization and the head of Lord Eddard provide a “stark” warning to these people.

Like the Starks, those living as their ancestors did stand first in the line of fire when climate change exacts its toll. Those fighting occupation in Tibet, Palestine, Kurdistan, and other regions fight the same fight as Robb Stark, “The King of the North;”A struggle for to protect of the way their ancestors have lived for a millennia.

“Mother of Dragons”

Research into Westerosi history gives Europe a compelling case as our world’s Targaryens. Like the Renaissance Europeans, the Targaryens came from across the sea to conquer Westeros. After 300 years of subjugation, the Westerosi overthrew the Targaryens, and banished their ancestors across the sea once again. In our universe, World Wars crippled Europe and replaced its three centuries of supremacy with that of its former protégé and “descendant,” the U.S.A. Interestingly, the usurper to the Targaryen throne, Robert Baratheon , descended from the Targaryens himself. Not convinced? Danaerys’ stands mired in financial despair, has a sweet accent, whines constantly, and is exotically hot. Definitely European.

By Hani Azzam

Uloop Writer
Hani Azzam is a student of International Relations in the Tufts University Class of 2015 and co-founder of the blog "Until Next Year in Jerusalem." Follow Hani on twitter @HN_Azzam

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