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Game of Throne's Daenerys is Machiavelli's Perfect Princ[ess] - PopMatters

Machiavelli's First instruction

First instruction to maintain power and preserve order: The prince does not have free range to conduct evil, but must strive for goodness as the primary measure of actions.

Daenerys gives conquered soldiers a choice: "Bend the knee and join me. Together, we will leave the world a better place than we found it. Or refuse and die."

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Game of Throne's Daenerys is Machiavelli's Perfect Princ[ess] - PopMatters

Game of Throne's Daenerys is Machiavelli's Perfect Princ[ess] - PopMatters

https://www.popmatters.com/game-thrones-niccolo-machiavelli-2565283466.html

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Key Ideas

Niccolò Machiavelli's Prince

Machiavelli ends his treatise The Prince invoking a "redeemer" who shall save enslaved Italy from the domination of foreign powers that have left her gravely wounded and "almost without life". If we consider The Prince through the optic of its concluding chapter, it becomes evident that the scope of Machiavelli's project regards "issues of redemption and foundation", the "love of country and of glory," more than it does the banality of evil.

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen

Her character development throughout the seasons unfolds within a dynamic that probes fundamental questions of politics and leadership. 

Machiavelli examined the same questions in the 16th century in his treatise, The Prince.  Daenerys may be a version of the redeemer  he talk about in his treaty.

Machiavelli's 2nd instruction

Second instruction to maintain power and preserve order: The prince must know how to enter into evil and to what extent evil actions are required given the circumstances at hand.

  • The even-tempered Tyrion ultimately concedes that Daenerys will at times "need to be ruthless if [she's] going to win the throne." 
  • He also calls attention to the results of abusing cruelty.

Machiavelli's 3rd instruction

Third instruction to maintain power and preserve order: When can a ruler enter into evil -  "if necessary" and when all other options fail.
  • Pointing to his sister as a negative example, Tyrion suggests that an overreliance on fear presupposes an overuse of cruelty.  
  • Once a ruler's actions fatally blur the fine line that separates fear from hatred, as Cersei's have done, maintaining power becomes increasingly difficult because popular favor deteriorates.

Machiavelli and need for unquestioned loyalty:

"Therefore, a wise prince must think of a way through which citizens will always, regardless of what the circumstances may be, need him and his power, and, as such, will always remain faithful to him." 

  • Daenerys inspired this spirit of fidelity among her subjects by her continued promises to "bring peace back to Westeros", 
  • to "destroy the wheel that has rolled over everyone, both rich and poor", 
  • and to offer better lives to all her subjects.

The Prince and the Game of Thrones

Beyond the practical insight they may afford us, The Prince and Game of Thrones also reciprocally inform the respective viewing and reading of one another. 

Just as The Prince elucidates the politics of Game of Thrones, so too does Game of Thrones provide a lens through which we can approach Machiavelli.

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Daenerys Targaryen’s Philosophy

Daenerys follows French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who described how the society he lived in stripped away freedom and humanity.

Daenerys is perceived as standing on the morally high ground.  She’s freeing slaves. She’s the Breaker of Chains. She’s righteous and is seen as supporting the greater good, a cause above herself. She’s righteous and is seen as supporting the greater good, a cause above herself.

Philosophies of Game of Thrones characters

It’s no secret that George R.R. Martin has pulled heavily from history for inspiration - historical events and characters.

There’s also a less obvious source of inspiration which fuels the motives and behaviors of GRRM’s immense world of characters — historical philosophers and their teachings. 

Denying Your Own Creativity

That’s a self-imposed and self-limiting belief. Stop that.

Creativity is a requirement for problem-solving and we all problem-solve. Acknowledge that you're inherently creative,

Being Afraid Of Being Wrong

We hate being wrong, but mistakes often teach us the most and allow us to innovate.

Think of the pros and cons of trying something and then free yourself to do it. If it doesn't work, take what you learn, and try something else. 

Being Too "Serious"

The persona of the fool allows the truth to be told, without the usual ramifications that might come with speaking against social conventions. Give yourself permission to be a fool and see things for what they really are.

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Thomas Hobbes explained

Hobbes, an English philosopher, believes mankind's nature to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short as described in his book, The Leviathan.

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Moral issues

The 'Show, don't tell' rule is especially pertinent when it comes to immoral acts.

Until a book becomes moving pictures, any moral issue with it doesn't seem to reach national press levels, because it shows these contentious issues to a wider audience.  If you show the act, but don't tell anyone what to think about it, the fact that an author or film-maker hasn't clanged down a big sign saying 'And this is bad' is tantamount to advocation. 

GoT's similarities with the Leviathan

A Song of Ice and Fire might very well deliberately echo Leviathan. The notion that, without protection from the Iron Throne, the land falls into an every-man-for-himself struggle does echo the ideas laid down in Leviathan. 

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