Game of Thrones won Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmy Awards recently, and its fandom has reached a feverish pitch. Though its medieval society filled with dragons, giants, and magic may seem far removed from our present day, the principles underlying the nature of power remain the same in both.
In the video below, economist – and GoT superfan — Matt McCaffrey explains how the pursuit of power – whether for the Iron Throne or a present-day political position – hurts regular people, who just want to go about their life. In the words of the character Jorah Mormort: “The common people pray for rain, health, and a summer that never ends. They don’t care what games the high lords play.” The same is true for the vast majority of Americans today.
McCaffrey points out that societies emerged from the brutal conditions depicted in GoT to the relative prosperity and stability of modern times by limiting the power of the throne – or its modern-day equivalent. “The very existence of the Iron Throne,” McCaffrey explains, “encourages people to kill for it, even die for it.”
To increase (and retain) our prosperity, ordinary people must question the nature of arbitrary authority like the Iron Throne. When people remove their consent of such authority, power is weakened, and the Iron Throne becomes nothing more than an uncomfortable chair – something especially so when the emperor has no clothes!