If Political Parties Were 'Game Of Thrones' Houses, Here's How The Map Would Break Down
Game of Thrones fans suffering from withdrawal after the show's stunning June 14 season finale could easily find the same cutthroat and dramatic entertainment in the 2016 presidential race. Like Westerosi noblemen temporarily aligning by familial affiliation for control of the Iron Throne, American presidential hopefuls square off into opposing political parties and temporarily collaborate within the interests of their parties, all the while individually vying for the highest seat in the nation. The only difference between the 2016 presidential race and Game of Thrones is that the president's chair in the Oval Office probably isn't made of the swords of Aegon I Targaryen's slain enemies. But essentially, American political parties and Game of Thrones houses are pretty much the same thing. It's really just a question of which noble houses reflect which American political party.
The first houses that come to any GoT viewer's mind are Lannister and Stark — just like the first political parties that come to any American citizen's mind are probably Democratic and Republican. But there are definitely a couple other important American political parties, and there are definitely plenty of other important GoT houses. So, which houses represent what parties?
1) The Democratic Party
The Democratic Party supports social programs, higher taxes on the wealthy, and protecting immigration rights, women's rights, and LGBT rights. Democrats also support programs to protect the environment and save energy. Democrats like a government that assumes responsibility for and takes care of its people.
House Stark: The Starks might seem relatively conservative on the surface, with their encouragement of gender roles and patriarchal dynastic tradition. However, Lord Eddard Stark was generous and heavily involved with governing his people; it's easy to picture him supporting American domestic programs. The Starks were also known for their close connections with nature (as if anyone could ever forget Ned and his Heart Tree), so I can imagine they would be pretty supportive of green initiatives. And as for the Republican Party's "traditional family values" — those were pretty much out of the picture the day Ned came home with Jon Snow and Arya got her hands on a sword.
House Tyrell: The Tyrells are probably the second most liberal house in the whole GoT series. Margaery Tyrell's generosity and compassion with the peasants of King's Landing would easily translate to enthusiastic support of forgiving economic domestic programs, and her patronage of dressmakers in the city could just as easily translate into supporting the American job market. And her offering to have a threesome with her gay husband and brother? How's that for gay rights?
House Martell: At least in the book series, you would be hard pressed to find a house more pro-women's rights than House Martell, where the heir is determined by age rather than gender. This hasn't really been demonstrated on the show, but nonetheless, the nontraditional lifestyles of the Sand Snakes and Oberyn Martell's open-minded outlook on sexuality reflect the kind of unorthodox progressiveness of the Democratic Party.
2) The Republican Party
The Republican Party is known for supporting various tax cuts, particularly when they stand to benefit wealthy Americans. Its members support traditional family values, government and religion, and cutting social welfare programs. Members of this party aren't too enthusiastic about change, and typically support measures that best suit the country's native men. This party is also big on American intervention overseas and exporting labor for cheap.
House Lannister: The Lannisters are known as the wealthiest house in the land, and that's a title you can bet they want to keep. They'd probably be enthusiastic supporters of Reaganomics. As for green initiatives? Well, Tywin Lannister ordering Gregor Clegane to burn the fields of Lannister enemies to the ground probably wouldn't translate to anything too environmental, and given how consistently Cersei feels undermined because of her gender, I could picture the Lannisters bypassing a few key concepts of women's rights. Last but not least, do Cersei and Jaime reflect loving family values or do they?
House Targaryen: The Targaryens weren't originally from Westeros, as you've probably pieced together from Dany's lengthy introductions and their mentioning of a certain Old Valyria. But House Targaryen sensed that Westeros needed them, and so to Westeros they went to offer their governing talents. Dany herself may have good intentions as she seeks to spread justice in the slave cities, but ultimately, her work is in some ways only feeding the conflicts between the cities. The Targaryen policy of installing rulers in foreign nations with the help of superior weaponry (dragons? hello?) can be associated with the well-meaning Republicans who supported American involvement in the Middle East, or really anywhere threatened by "communism."
House Baratheon: Stannis Baratheon is pretty into traditional values and conceptions of honor and nobility, and let's not forget how his "campaign platform" for the Iron Throne is centered around the Lord of Light. Under him, government and religion would probably be pretty tightly knit. However, his women's rights policies probably stray a bit from the traditional, considering his chief adviser is a woman and he has (or... had) a small family consisting of one daughter, who had been his heir. Well, that is, until he sacrificed her in a burning pyre for a chance to be king.
3) The Green Party
The Green Party is a relatively small American political party outside of the country's dominating two-party system that enthusiastically supports environmental initiatives and social justice.
House Tyrell: The Tyrells may, for the most part, reflect the Democratic party, but their agriculture-based seat and obsession with flowers could easily translate to enthusiastic support for green initiatives.
House Tully: House Tully's sigil is a fish and the culture of their region is centered around rivers. Their home is literally called Riverrun. I can definitely see them supporting clean water and air initiatives.
4) The Libertarian Party
Also outside of the traditional two-party system is the Libertarian Party, which taps into both the fiscal conservatism of Republicans with the social liberalism of Democrats.
House Mormont: Detached from Westeros on Bear Island, Jorah Mormont demonstrates fiscal conservatism by supporting overseas slavery for a cheap price. House Mormont has also expressed socially liberal values by, in the books, teaching its women to wield weapons and hunt.
House Greyjoy: The governing policies on the Iron Islands are fairly detached and uninvolved. Lord Balon seemed hardly involved with regulating the trading practices of his lords in their overseas travels, demonstrating the laissez-faire policy supported by the Libertarian Party. Yara/Asha Greyjoy also demonstrates House Greyjoy's progressive women's rights values, as she owns her own ship and commands her own men.
Just as friction emerged within the Tyrell-Lannister alliance as both houses danced too close to the Iron Throne, internal conflict awaits American political parties as the primaries approach. Whether it's the Iron Throne or the Oval Office, the closer any politicians get to power, the more enemies they make both in and out of their alignments. And in case you're still bummed about having to wait until April 2016 for Season 6, just remember it's better than waiting until November 2016!
Images: Getty Images (3); Steve Baker/Flickr