Themes of Liberty in Game of Thrones

Blogger Amber Taylor has a fascinating Institute for Humane Studies podcast on themes of liberty in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones fantasy series (which has now also been turned into an HBO series). Amber previously wrote about Game of Thrones for a symposium in the Atlantic. I agree with most of Amber’s points, but I’m not entirely convinced that the Starks are more favorable to liberty than their enemies, the Lannisters. There doesn’t seem to be more than a modest difference in the way the two sides treat the common people who come under their control. By contrast, I think Amber is right to suggest that Daenerys Targaryen is a quasi-libertarian heroine, with her devotion to the abolition of slavery and the promotion of freedom more generally (which, however, as Amber notes, coexists with a devotion to the divine right of “legitimate” kings). I commented on the series here.

For those who may be interested, I have done two IHS podcasts on political themes in science fiction myself: one on Star Trek, and one on Battlestar Galactica (covering both the new series and the 1970s original).