The game of thrones TV show is all about power. Through the episodes, we clearly understand that being good or loyal does not get you to the top. The plot focuses on how does power affect a person and who deserves the throne.
Warning: this post contains spoilers.
When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. After nearly a decade of broadcasting, power is still the main theme of the American TV show. Everyone wants the throne, but kings who managed to have it, lost their minds. It is not a comfortable seat, even for the most capable of kings. The plot is full of betrayals, battles, wars, treachery and blood. For the one and only purpose: power. How do characters deal with power? And how does it affect them?
The Mad King: Why Did He Go Mad?
His name is King Aerys II Targaryen. True heir to the throne, he ruled roughly twenty-one years. He is called the Mad King because he went slowly mad during his reign over the seven Kingdoms. The Targaryen incestuous bloodline was one of the reasons why he turned mad. However, power played a major role as well. In fact, Tywin Lannister, his childhood friend and his hand was so competent that Aerys was jealous of him. Some people doubted Aerys and wished to see Tywin as a king. This jealousy drove him over craziness.
Moreover, another fact worsened his situation: The rebellion. When the seven kingdoms noticed how crazy he was, a rebellion emerged. Tywin, his bestfriend left and joined them. When they arrived at King’s Landing, the capital city where the throne resides. The Mad King ordered his soldiers to burn the entire city, including its inhabitants.
It ended badly for him. The ruthless king was slaughtered by his guard Jaime Lannister, son of Tywin.
Robert Baratheon: the king who enjoyed having fun
Robert Baratheon who led the rebellion, overthrew the Mad King. His reign lasted fifteen years. He got married to Cersei, Tywin’s daughter. Robert was a true warrior on battlefields, charismatic and strong. He was neither mad nor cruel, but he had no interest in being king. Furthermore, he was too busy with alcohol and whores that he almost forgot the king he was. His absence during small councils showed how little interest he gave for his advisers.
Besides, Robert was aware that as a king, he could afford whatever he wanted. He was so reckless spending on luxuries and entertainments that he was forced to take loans from Iron Banks and Tywin Lannister. He ignored the danger of being in debt with both to the bank and to a man as ambitious and ruthless as Tywin.
One of the Robert’s biggest mistakes was giving too much power and trust to the Lannisters. They took advantage of his absence as a king.
The luxury life he loved ended up by killing him. His wife poisoned him during his hunts in the kingswood.
King Joffrey and Tommen Baratheon: wickedness and naivety
After Robert’s death, the throne was straight taken by two different types of kings; both were his legitimate sons. However, we all know that the two sons were born secretly from an incestuous relationship between Cersei and her brother Jaime.
The throne was firstly taken by Joffrey Baratheon. He was only 12 years old when he became king. His lack of experience, self-control and sadism were the three main causes of his failure; too young and cruel to be king. Furthermore, He enjoyed forcing people to fight each other, watching people suffer and insulting them. He had no sense of personal responsibility and his lack of wisdom resulted injustice.
He ended up poisoned by his mother-in-law who saw the monster hiding inside him.
Unlike his ruthless brother, Tommen Baratheon was calm and quiet. He was only 7 years old when he became king after his brother’s death. He was the kind of king who is always looking for someone to tell him what to do. He was too young and naïve to be a king. He was directed by his ruthless mother and beloved princess. He ended up by killing himself because of his failure on protecting his wife who was killed ruthlessly by his own mother.
Cersei Lannister: egoism
After the death of her husband and children, she took the lead. She was a good player in the game of thrones. She had a great experience and good strategies against her enemies. She had all the requirements a king or a queen should have except her uprising ego.
Cersei is the kind of person who would rather think more about her power and beloved brother than the population of the seven kingdoms. She has no plans for the population of King’s Landing, they were starving but she didn’t care. Her crown is her only preoccupation.
Instead of serving the people as a monarch, she sees monarchy as a way to have power and control over other people. Thus, her ego killed her. She died with her beloved brother.
Daenerys Targaryen: megalomania
She was the rightful heir to the iron throne, the daughter of the Mad King. She helped millions of slaves to be free, had a great army on her possession but most importantly three dragons.
She managed to overthrow Cersei from the iron Throne but couldn’t become the queen she has always wanted to become. She was loved by both her army and population, she was wise and had a great evolution through time. People saw her as a great leader.
There is one more specific thing about her: she is a Targaryen. She wanted to overthrow those whom she saw as tyrants and usurpers to establish a new order as a legitimate queen. But inevitably she is alike. She ended up by killing all the civilians just like her father ordered it once. I would rather compare her to the great leaders in the world who helped their countries gain independence such as Fidel Castro or Muammar Kadhafi. Once they liberated their population, they remain in power for life. They had a sort of obsession with the exercise of power. She was stabbed just after winning the end battle with Cersei. Megalomania killed her.
Every king and queen had their weakness. Robert Baratheon was strong but not smart enough. Joffrey and Tommen were both too young. Cersei was an egoist ruler. Daenerys couldn’t survive through her lust for power.
A good king is a king that only exists in fantasy according to the way Game of Thrones ended up. Surprisingly, Bran Stark won the game. The TV show couldn’t answer to the question of who is a good ruler. They choose Bran Stark because of his supernatural powers, but what about reality?