Tag Archives: game of thrones

Liberal heroes in pop culture Part 1: Jon Snow from Game of Thrones

This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of light-hearted pieces that we will publish over the summer. Please do nominate further entries in the comments. Part 2 is here.

It is fair to say that the brutal, feudal polity of Westeros, featured in Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R. R. Martin, beset as it is by civil war, turmoil and hardship, is not generally a hotbed of liberal thought and action. In fact, it’s hard to think of a less likely environment in which the tradition of Mill, Gladstone and Beveridge could bloom. However, like a flower growing out of the ice, there is one man in the Seven Kingdoms who could be said to be a consistent, striving liberal, in spirit and in deed. I refer to the brooding 998th Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow.

Jon Snow shows us how a character with a liberal spirit deals with immigration, reform of institutions, and issues of larger social integration. Despite many stresses and temptations, he fails to fall back on easy pettiness and fear, which has prolonged the conflict between both sides of humanity for millennia. Instead, he uses his personal admiration and compassion for both sides to break down barriers, to marshall and combine disparate forces, and to prepare his people for the inevitably-encroaching tide of White Walkers. For White Walkers, essentially insert Climate Change, world hunger, nuclear proliferation, or any existential threat to us you care to imagine. He is also one of the few characters in Westeros elected to his position, and his awareness of this responsibility is part of his virtue.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments
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