By: Lewis Slawsky
There are many reasons that G.R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, has been such a tremendous popular and critical success. Here is just one reason, but a major one – A Song of Ice and Fire is an eminently political piece of literature.
Discussion is Coming!
Over the next few months, we are going to examine the political insights of A Song of Ice and Fire through a series of character studies. Join us!
The beating heart of the story is the seemingly endless number of political moves made by various parties as they seek power. This is the action that gives its name to the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones.
Now, A Song of Ice and Fire is not political in the sense of partisanship or ideology, although these things can indeed be found among the panoply of groups and individuals within the context of the books. This fact alone makes it a valuable work of literature, in these days of big party politics and entrenched partisan commitments. But A Song of Ice and Fire is political in the broader sense of politics – the series is concerned with how human beings choose to live together or how they are compelled to do so. It is concerned with questions of power: who rules, in what manner, on what basis, and what the effects of power are on both the rulers and the ruled.