This book was reviewed for the San Francisco and Seattle Book Reviews
The Ultimate Game of Thrones and Philosophy is yet another offering in the wonderful pop culture and philosophyseries. This one focuses on GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, and the HBO show Game of Thrones. There are seven sections, looking at various aspects of the stories, from the ethics and morals employed by the various people woven through this elaborate tapestry, to the lenses disability is viewed through, to questions of power and its misuse, to the Machiavellian influence woven in the story. The philosophies that guide the lives of certain characters such as Arya, Jaime, and Tyrion are examined closer, with an eye to their deep growth and evolution.
Some of my favourites include:
‘There is Only One God and His Name is Death’ looks at why the random, unexpected deaths of central characters tends to be rare in art, and how Martin has successfully pulled it off.
‘Tyrion’s Humour’ discusses how humour can be used as a criticism of social injustice, and how Tyrion’s brand of humour reflects not malice, but compassion abraded by cynicism. He’s also reflecting the archetype of the Fool, who can get away with saying and doing things others can’t. That doesn’t always mean he’ll get away with it.
‘Guilty of Being a Dwarf’ compares Tyrion’s life journey to Sartre’s views on self, and how we choose to see ourselves. (Yes, I am a huge Tyrion fan)
‘Varys’ Riddle’ talks about concepts of power, and where power is really derived from. Perhaps something those of us in the US need to be thinking about right now, as a country.
I love these books! They focus and sharpen philosophical concepts, revealing how they are present underlying our entertainment, and illustrating their relevance in today’s society. This particular one had more, yet shorter essays. All were really good.
GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Ultimate Game of Thrones and Philosophy both pack a wallop right now, as we watch the corrupt struggle for power right now, and wars rage on helpless civilians. Stories like these, with various people jockeying for power on a global stage underscore the dangers of such thinking, and ways to work with and against it.
????? Highly recommended for any lover of philosophy, and for fans of the Song of Ice and Fire book series, or the HBO Game of Thrones series.