As every fan of Game of Thrones is aware, holding a position of power in Westeros is difficult – and dangerous. As Cersei says in Season 1, "When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground." And as the characters battle it out for the Iron Throne, there are a few lessons to be learned from the show's power players.

Also, considering Game of Thrones continues to increase its viewership year upon year, it's probably best to put a SPOILER ALERT here. Amazingly, there are still some people who haven't watched all six seasons of the show and so haven't been jumping out of their skins waiting for Season 7 to BEGIN ALREADY.

1. Trust

If only Ned Stark knew who his true allies were, he might have kept his head. Alas, poor Ned puts his trust in Petyr ‘Littlefinger' Baelish, a man who always puts himself first.


Unfortunately, Robb subsequently met a pretty young nurse, fell in love and married her, negating his agreement with the Frey family. Anybody who has seen the Red Wedding episode knows what happened next. It's not viewing for the faint-hearted.

And it demonstrates exactly why it's important for a leader to keep his promises. When a leader doesn't hold up their end of the bargain, neither will the other party. Broken promises turn allies into enemies.

3. Mentorship

Daenarys Targaryen has played it smart by surrounding herself with experienced and trusted advisors, starting with Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy. Jorah helps her navigate Dothraki life, while former Kingsguard member Barristan lends his services as Head of the Queensguard.


Jon, wit the assistance of Sansa, has also managed to rally the houses of the North behind him, allowing him to reclaim Winterfell. He doesn't let prejudices, traditions or old feuds get in the way of an alliance that will further his goals. And neither should business leaders.

5. Might doesn't make right

Joffrey's death by poison in Season 2 made for exceptionally satisfying viewing. The spoilt brat king's death was mourned only by his mother.

The schadenfreude was strong and universal, if not tinged with a small amount of regret at losing the villain everyone loved to hate. But that universal hatred was the reason Joffrey got his comeuppance. He wielded the stick without the carrot.


The lesson? Use resources wisely. Don't waste them on a problem that can be solved with quick thinking – or by taking advantage of a situation. Sure, Tywin comes to a somewhat ignoble end in Season 5, but it can't be said he didn't know how to play the game.

Images: HBO