Game of Thrones: Would be Prime Ministers of Westeros

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In a previous analysis I discussed how representative government would be the solution to many of the problems Westeros faces. There were characters who realised this and made attempts to limit autocratic rule. Sadly, most of these attempts failed.

 

Tywin Lannister was the first in the series to try to introduce more responsive government. As hand of king Joffrey and later Tommen he used his prestige and his Lannister army to limit the king’s power. Tywin imagined his role as that of a prime minister who makes pragmatic decisions while the king reigns. Had he managed to stay alive, he might have transformed the Seven Kingdoms to a constitutional monarchy.

Tywin’s plan had several flaws, though. His authority came as much from his own army and gold as from any popular mandate. His relationship with his king was based more on blackmail than on genuine understanding. And his methods – like orchestrating the Red Wedding – clearly violated all concepts of rule of law.

His son, Tyrion also became hand of the monarch – in this case, queen Daenerys Targaryen. Tyrion had no army and no money to offer as support – he could only rely on his strategic insights and wit. Tyrion tried to build a coalition of support around his queen: he allied himself with Varys, and – in a way – with Jon Snow and Grey Worm as well. While he undoubtedly had a positive influence on Daenerys – making her a more predictable and compassionate monarch – in the end he had far less influence than his father. He remained a trusted personal advisor rather than a proto-prime minister.

The North came closest to establishing what resembles a constitutional monarchy. When Jon Snow was elected (!) king, his name and family lineage was but one factor. As Lady Lyanna Mormont explained, Jon proved himself in battle and was a good ruler. When he left Winterfell, Sansa Stark ruled more by consent than by force. While no formal advisory body was set up, the seeds of constitutionalism have taken root in the North.

 

 

Author: Dr. Csaba Tóth, Director of Strategy at Republikon Institute, a liberal Think Tank based in Budapest. He is also author of two books on Science Fiction and Politics.