WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012 — Lord Ned Stark lost his head when a new administration came in. That’s politics for you or at least in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros on “A Game of Thrones,” which returns this Sunday night at 9 pm on HBO. (See video below)
Not only was the hero of the series Ned Stark killed, another political shocker ended last season when Daenerys ended up running a kingdom. Unlike her modern counterparts, she moved to the top the old fashion way by marrying the right guy, who then conveniently died. Of course, being able to walk through fire and hatch three baby dragons are essential to becoming the first female leader of the Dothraki. But that was only possible because of a political miscalculation by others, one that Hillary Clinton’s foes have been guilty of, they underestimated a woman.
However, viewing “A Game of Thrones” reminds us that today’s politicians have it easy. They only have to watch their backs from disgruntled staffers who might write a best seller about them. When administrations change, candidates and presidents get to keep their heads, write a memoir, make a million or so bucks, and are revered as statesmen no matter what their record was during their term.
But for a lesson in basic politics, any self-respecting politician, whether running for town council or Congress, should be in front of the TV on Sunday, taking notes.
There are three lessons to be learned from “A Game of Thrones”:
1. Avoid incest as a way to keep the throne — or the White House for that matter — in the family.
Incest is messy, making for unpleasant children and even worse rulers. Just look at what Queen Cersei has wrought with her twin brother Jaime Lannister, Joffrey. In fact all of her husband King Robert’s children are spawn of Cersei and Jaime. She explains her penchant for incest as the way her family has acquired and clung to power down through the ages. For her to now rule as Queen Regent with Joffrey as King means she has the power of the throne that as a woman she couldn’t obtain otherwise.
Fortunately for all of us, we eschew incest in modern politics, but we do have a love of family dynasties, sort of an offshoot from the days of royal families. Sometimes the dynasty is short-lived like the Adams Family or even the Roosevelts. Others seem to become part of the fabric of our country and for better or worse we get offspring and their offspring who have a wonderful name brand, like the Kennedys, but not always the right stuff. Right now, the Bush name maybe rebranded if and when Jeb Bush decides to run for President 2016.
Actually what is needed is more mutts running for office. Leave the inbred thoroughbreds in the kennel, which brings us to the dogs or dire wolves of “A Game of Thrones.”
2. A dog is both man and woman’s best friend and great for warding off enemies.
The six dire wolf pups, found after their death of their mother, were brought home and raised by Ned Stark’s children. Dire wolves are not mythical, but actually existed once, roaming the Earth for around 1.7 million years. Bigger than a gray wolf, they were – and in “A Game of Thrones” – a formidable animal.
One dire wolf is killed because it protected Stark’s daughter, attacking the malevolent future king Joffrey. Another wolf saved the life of Stark’s son Bran, who is a paraplegic and lay helpless as an assassin sent by the incestuous twins decided to end what they started and silence the child once and for all.
Dire wolves are no longer around to be man’s best friend, but there is nothing like a dog to make a candidate more human.
Americans love their dogs and they expect their candidates to have one or if not, get one when they become president. Putting a dog on the roof of a car – even in dog crate — is not a good idea if you want to get elected or even contemplate running for office. The Starks would never do that.
3. Short men don’t get to rule.
Just ask Tyrion Lannister, brother to the nefarious twins. Tyrion is a dwarf and he isn’t considered king material even though he is smarter than everyone in power. Called The Imp, he channels his lack of stature and power into prodigious amounts of drink and women. But he never stops scheming.
If you think being short, maybe not as short as Tyrion, isn’t a drawback consider this: Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis for President in 1988 was 5’8”. He was defeated by George H.W. Bush who stood 6’ 2”. So Dukakis’ photo in the tank isn’t what really tanked his campaign.
So how tall is the current crop of candidates?
Mitt Romney – 6’ 2”
Rick Santorum – 6’ 4’’
Newt Gingrich – 6’
Ron Paul – 5’ 10”
President Obama – 6’ 1”
That means Ron Paul hasn’t a chance and the primaries are always showing that. For the rest of the field, it’s a toss up. They are all tall.
As the new season arrives, the writers promise more sex and violence and we can hope more lessons in the art of politics. And with an all out war scheduled to climax the series this year, there may be similarities with our own adventures and misadventures with war.
Who knows, “A Game of Thrones” just may turn out to be Machiavelli’s “The Prince” for our times.
Preview video of Season 2
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