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Lessons from the seven kingdoms

Lessons from the seven kingdoms

Murder, drama, betrayal, incest, bribery and treason – these are just some of the plotlines from Game of Thrones, the HBO fantasy TV series. But are they equally applicable to the world of business?

The series is not for the faint-hearted. A scene featuring kings and queens leisurely drinking wine and celebrating life, can be followed by stomach-churning bloodshed or some uncontrollable ferocious dragons.

Based on George R. R. Martin’s best-selling book series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ the TV show depicts the story of a few powerful families – kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men – playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westoros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne.

The TV series has created a huge fan following - which has gone beyond Twitter trends and Facebook pages to real souvenirs and a Game of Thrones-themed hike in Northern Ireland. But it doesn’t stop there. Authors Tim Phillips, a freelance journalist, and Rebecca Clare, a business editor and publisher decided to write a book on what business tips can be gleaned from Game of Thrones.

The book goes into detail on how the attention-grabbing TV series can be put into use for businesses. It critically analyses every major character and compares them to a real-life business leader or politician, describing what viewers can learn from them and their behaviour. For instance, in the first few chapters it compares Tywin Lannister to Apple genius Steve Jobs and Daenerys Targaryen to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The book says Ms Merkel is clearly a leader who inspires love, and somebody the German people feel is a safe pair of hands who has their best interest at heart. Daenerys freed the slaves; Merkel kept the German economy healthy throughout the recession and resultant eurozone crisis. The authors also say that while Daenerys is referred to as “Mhysa” (‘Mother’ in the Ghiscari language); Merkel is referred to affectionately by her people as ‘Mutti’ – Mummy.

Another interesting comparison is between Jon Snow and Bill Clinton in the chapter, ‘Don’t mix work and pleasure.’ The authors say that, while it would be nice to compartmentalise lives so that one relationship could be isolated from the others and have no effect on your career, as Jon Snow managed after his affair with Ygritte, in reality a workplace-based relationship is more likely to cause the sort of ignominy that Bill Clinton and – to a greater extent – Monica Lewinsky suffered.

Being a woman in the Game of Thrones’ world is tough, the book says. If you’re low-born you are a servant or a prostitute. And if you’re high-born it’s more or less the same but with nicer clothes. Thus, it says, one must learn from Cersei that if you can’t lead, you must influence. First as queen and then as queen regent Cersei has immense influence and uses it to play events to her advantage.