Game of Thrones as Theory

It’s Not as Realist as It Seems—And That’s Good

Commentary by foreign policy analysts on the first season of HBO's Game of Thrones stressed its supposed underlying theme of political realism. Thus one writer claimed that the TV show and the George R.R. Martin novels on which it is based "clearly demonstrate the power of might over right," and another agreed: "In this kind of harsh relative gains world, realpolitik should be the expected pattern of behavior." But a closer look at Game of Thones suggests a different take. To be sure, life in Westeros is poor, nasty, brutish and short, and Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire…