Political Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 2 on Salon.com!

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So…my original gig to write about the politics of Game of Thrones for Bloomberg Politics fell through on Friday, but I managed to find a new home for my writing on Salon.com, which I’m really pleased about. This week, I’m writing about the concept of a just ruler for Westeros– what would a just ruler look like? How would they handle questions of war and peace, justice and punishment, inclusion and exclusion?


29 thoughts on “Political Analysis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 2 on Salon.com!

  1. David Hunt says:

    I’m glad to see that the article found a home. Am I correct in assuming that the current plan is to do one on each of this season’s episodes? That would be really cool. I don’t tend to notice these overall themes that run through the episodes…not consciously at least.

  2. winnie says:

    Steve-I was most pleased to see your piece at Salon. Right now for just rulers I am leaning towards Jon though I do have a begrudging respect for Ser Alliser-which makes likely future events even more tragic.

    Oh, Bronn….you should have known Cersei would go back on her word.

    • illrede says:

      Cersei benefits from close association and semblance to an accepted type of members of her class- sufficient that she is able to access and spend their communal store of social capital and have her enormities associated with the group.

      But she’s just an evil and powerful narcissist, not a cruel aristocrat. Well, she’s that too, but how she came by it would have her being the same a miller’s daughter that grew up to terrorize and brutalize her village.

      • winnie says:

        It is notable that Cersei (and pre behanding Jaime) were incredibly arrogant and narcisstic even among their peers.

    • Son of Fire says:

      Bronn would have told jamie to feck off,i think jamie is the architect of the royal decree not cersie.

      • winnie says:

        Maybe but Cersei would have had to sign off on the decree even if it wasn’t originally her idea.

        • Son of Fire says:

          Yeah she would have to,book tommen loves signing his name & stamping sealing wax.Show tommen is a bit old for that.

    • Glad you liked it!

      Well, as I’ll discuss with Jon (although possibly in ADWD and not in Season 5), it’s not enough to be just, you need to build a constituency for justice.

  3. Son of Fire says:

    Great article
    Looking forward to more!!!

  4. haplo6 says:

    Good for you man, you’re material on Martin’s work is the tip-top. I’m glad Salon is picking up your work, much deserved. I will say, from a purely selfish standpoint, anything that slows your chapter-by-chapter analysis causes me to wince. It’s really incredible reading. Cheers SA!

    • It all helps – I’m planning to use the Salon money to cover a summer of nothing but chapter-by-chapter writing.

      • Winnie says:

        I was hoping that the Salon gig, (besides giving you some much deserved exposure,) might also deliver up some coin as well.

        And oh, this makes me think it will be a very good summer indeed as we plow through on to Blackwater!

      • illrede says:

        Congratulations, then. I do like your stuff- the integrated body of knowledge you bring to bear makes it not at all frustrating to read. I’m glad that somebody saw that specialized view as worth something.

  5. JT says:

    One of the interesting changes the show has made is that Varys is now unambiguously a good guy. In the books, his end goal may be noble, but he’s using means on par with Littlefinger to achieve that goal.

    – Varys’ reasoning that “Robert’s reign was a disaster, and that Tommen is too weak to rule and Stannis too hard” (since show Stannis likely *is* too hard to be a good ruler) is sound.
    – Leaving out that Varys was responsible for feeding Aerys’ paranoia, the planned Dothraki invasion, the child mutilation, etc. makes both his ends and his means noble.

    • Well, they did leave in his “assassination attempt” vs. Dany…

    • djinn says:

      Well, Varys was the guy planning to have the Dothraki invade Westeros to put Viserys on the Throne and later helped the Lannisters keep Joffrey on the Throne, so are you sure you want put the good guy label just yet?

      • Winnie says:

        To be fair, it wasn’t so much about Varys keeping Joffrey on the throne as it was about keeping Stannis (and Melisandre) away from it. But yeah, getting into morally grey territory there no question.

        • djinn says:

          Sure, but after Stannis is defeated, Varys still plays along with Joffrey’s regime. It’s LF and the QoT that remove him.

          Funny how he seems to have a personal opposition to Stannis for being supported by red priests, but he’s going for Daenerys that will (likely) be supported by red priests as well.

          • There’s a significant difference between being supported by red priests, and having a red priest as your main policy maker, actively supporting and engaging in the spreading of said religion (and against other religions) and using the red priest’s magic to eliminate political opponents.

  6. somethinglikealawyer says:

    Sad to hear the original posting gig fell through, but glad to hear that Salon picked you up. Congrats, Steve.

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