Game Of Thrones Can Teach Us About Politics, At Least According To This Professor

HBO's Game of Thrones isn't just fun and games. Unless, of course, you look at politics as a big game: A Tufts University professor of international politics believes that the Game of Thrones, now entering its fourth season, can be used as a springboard to talk about politics today.

How? Well, in the first three seasons alone, Professor Daniel Dreznor says Game of Thrones addresses issues like gender politics, weapons of mass destruction, the nature or power, and credible commitment. Turns out that the GoT writers aren't big fans of the Bush Administration, since a fake George W. Bush head was shoved on a stake in a past episode — which prompted an apology from the cable network after it went viral. (The showrunners claimed it wasn't a political statement. Right.)

Watching the show is almost like majoring in political science, Dreznor says (which must mean we've got our master's degree by now.) It discusess politics as it relates to genre television, Dreznor continues, rather than real politics or even shows that depict traditional politics like Scandal, House of Cards, and The West Wing. That's especially true when people get "uncomfortable" when talking about real politics and its players.

Dreznor, the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies, says the third season's plot resembles political issues and ideals of the 21st century. Which is maybe why President Barack Obama asked HBO's chief executive for an advance copies of "Game of Thrones" in February... he needs all the help he can get, after a downright awful year in 2013.

“Cersei Lannister is the Vladimir Putin world view,” says Drezner, referencing the Crimea situation, during his lecture at Duke University. “In the short term, power does equal power. The U.S. is multiple orders of magnitude [of power] over Russia, except in perception…. You need to give the impression that the U.S. still has some agency.”

Dreznor noted that the U.S. doesn't want to just sit back and do nothing — hence Thursday afternoon's additional sanctions – but also doesn't want to escalate the situation further.

Somewhere in the White House, Obama is re-watching the Red Wedding. Probably.

Images: HBO