Game of Thrones returns for its sixth season this month and fans are eagerly awaiting a resolution to the numerous unfinished story lines. And while the specific storylines are no doubt interesting, many fans also appreciate the deeper philosophical themes of series.
One of these recurring themes is the tension between individualism and collectivism. Many of the main characters – including John Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen – are heroic individualists, pursuing their goals in the face of challenges and mediocrity.
But these characters are also contrasted by collectivists like the slave societies of Essos and the Unsullied Army that is made up of blood soldiers serving their master.
In the Learn Liberty video below, Georgetown Professor Daniel Jaworski discusses this theme, asking: Where would be the worst place to end up in the Game of Thrones? “If you place no value in yourself, then your answer is probably the Unsullied Army,” he answers. “This sort of collectivist hive mind that is the very opposite of individualism.”
A collectivist mindset means that your values and needs are subservient to the group. It is the opposite of individual liberty upon which this country was based and which is largely responsible for our standard of living. In other words, individual liberty is the reason why we can say that our lives are not a game of thrones.